The second day of our USA trip took us to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, my first Six Flags park. Having heard a lot about the park over the years I was expecting El Toro and Kingda Ka to be the stand-out rides, but wasn’t expecting too much in terms of overall park presentation and operations.
As it turns out, the park was presented very well for the most part with a nice plaza (past the entrance), lots of greenery with some moderate theming and there was a viewpoint looking across to El Toro with Kingda Ka in the background which was absolutely stunning. I would say that some of the more recent coasters felt shoehorned in and that perhaps the park doesn’t put the same level of quality into their more recent attractions in comparison with some of the older ones.
The park was fairly quiet on our visit with fantastic operations for the most part which surprised me. All coasters were running two/three trains, staff on Bizarro were literally giving people seconds to enter through the gates before closing them and rushing the trains out even with a 5-minute queue.
Now, onto the ride reviews;
This ride has been on my bucket list since becoming an enthusiast, purely for the fact that it’s the world’s tallest roller coaster. I wasn’t sure what to expect in terms of how it would differ to something like Stealth, but in my opinion it was incredible. The launch was strange as it felt like it was broken up into phases. It launched to a speed, then stayed consistent before having one final burst just before you reach the end of the launch track; it was unexpected and surprised me a lot the first time.
In terms of the height and speed, it was everything I expected really and justifies being short through how impressive it is (a merit I can’t give to something like Stealth or Rita, for example).
Overall a very good coaster, I did prefer Top Thrill Dragster (it’s worth mentioning that I hadn’t ridden Top Thrill at this point in the trip) but Kingda Ka is still fantastic.
Zumanjari: Drop of Doom
Possibly the best single drop tower I’ve ridden, it was quite unnerving being attached to the side of a coaster and it felt as though it just kept going and going, as I was thinking “we must be about to hit the brakes” it just kept dropping.
It is a bit of a farce that it affects Kingda Ka’s operations, though.
One of my most anticipated coasters due to the promise of insane levels of airtime and yes, it delivers. The first three hills are absolutely MENTAL.
The ride delivers incredible airtime, the turns have force and whilst there are some tamer sections, they feel needed before the next moment of crazy airtime/fast paced turns.
One particular hill dropping into the ground level turns provided crazy levels of unexpected airtime, the coaster then meanders its way into the brakes at the end.
Overall, I really liked El Toro but I didn’t enjoy it as much as most people seem to. It suffers from the same issue I have with Balder, which is that it doesn’t feel like a natural wooden coaster. The turns don’t flow with the hills in the same way that a GCI does, for example, and it feels very much a case of “airtime, airtime, airtime, turn, airtime”. With that said, there’s no question that it has some of the best airtime around and is overall a very good coaster.
I found it strange how the ride had obviously been fitted in around Rolling Thunder, only to remove that ride a few years later. There are random gaps in the supports (and even a part where track from RT remains in place!) – weird.
A very good, solid B&M multi-inversion coaster. It wasn’t a stand-out ride for me but did everything it needed to; the fire effects added a lot too as you could actually feel the heat from them.
Runaway Mine Train
I mean, it’s Arrow, so it’s already a winner in my books.
Of course, it had strange transitions, funny square turns, but it was good fun and there was one airtime hill which came from out of nowhere which nearly ejected us into the lake below!
A family coaster in the dark except that there were gaps in the building and a weird coloured laser. The queue line and station were well themed, the ride not so much.
I’m not sure what to say about this really, it was my first experience of a B&M hyper coaster and whilst I enjoyed the ride, it wasn’t a stand-out for me.
Everyone raves about the floaty-airtime on these but we didn’t really get that with Nitro, there was some airtime but I was in the seat going over the top of most hills, the ride lacked character and whilst there was some force in the dips, it just felt like a standard smooth B&M coaster but on a larger scale.
Not a bad ride by any means, but I’d take the charm and rattle of an Arrow hyper over this any day.
Batman: The Ride
WOW. This ride absolutely blew me away, the force and combination of elements in the layout was fantastic, the “pullover” of some of the corkscrews in the back few rows was just insane.
It’s just proper old school B&M, an incredible ride.
The Dark Knight Coaster
I really enjoyed this, standard layout but the theming and effects made it something special IMO.
Superman: Ultimate Flight
Dull and boring but the signature inversion was good. Better than Air.
Amazing layout with some different elements to most B&M coasters, awful stand-up trains ruined it. Ouch.
Yuck, yuck and more yuck. I’m not sure why people like these but it felt as though I’d been put in a blender. Disgusting coaster, the only jokers are the people who decided to build it.
The log flume and rapids were good fun and we ended up soaked, the park also had some decent flats and a good Marvel themed dark ride… definitely worth making time for if you’re there.
Overall Six Flags Great Adventure exceeded my expectations massively in terms of park presentation and operations. The coasters were excellent for the most part, the park had a good atmosphere and I’d definitely return if I did another America trip in the future that covered that area.