Rollercoaster Ranking – Six Flags Magic Mountain
Currently home to more rollercoasters than anywhere else on the planet, Magic Mountain has long been an absolute must visit for any coaster enthusiast. It happened to be my first real US mega park visit, throwing me in at the deep end on an overwhelming number of attractions to tick off in a day – and it failed me. It was busy, most of the operations were slow and some rides were out of action.
I anticipated such an outcome however and allowed a full second day to really get a measure of the place. Even if you did manage completion in a single visit there’s no way you’d get very well acquainted with any of the highlights. It was on this day that I found myself bouncing around the many standout attractions and appreciating the quantity of both significant and interesting coasters that they have.
You know I like to acknowledge that sort of thing in these park lists and particularly after visiting a few other Six Flags since, this fact stands out far more than any other park in the chain which tend to stick to a formula of 1-3 ‘headline attractions’ and then a lot of cloned filler. So here we go – let’s tackle the biggest of them all.
Just before we begin, note that Apocalypse will not be included as it was closed for the construction of West Coast Racers during my visit. Two for the price of one when I get back at least. Green Lantern was broken and about to be relocated (couldn’t care less). Oh, and some kids’ coaster is missing, not through lack of trying.
The Zamperla 80STD model has become one of the foremost family coaster clones over the last 20 years, with roughly 45 of the things existing in many places throughout the world. They’ve become a bit of an ordeal for me, the more I travel and the more I find, and the layout is a bit poxy. I don’t even recall seeing Speedy himself anywhere on this thing, he’s probably a little insulted by this being his namesake. Give me a Wacky Worm any day.
The Vekoma junior model has become one of the foremost family coaster clones over the last 30 years, with roughly 113 of the things existing in many places throughout the world. There’s a handful of different layouts and a few custom ones thrown in there so it’s not so bad, though I’ve likely done this particular version a dozen or so times as it has even been favoured by certain Disney parks. I don’t even recall seeing Road Runner himself anywhere on this thing, he’s probably a little insulted by this being his namesake. At least old Wile E. is there.
On to the bigger stuff and perhaps starting with something a little controversial now, I just don’t really get excited by speed or height on coasters in their rawest form. The backwards launch of this one bumbles along at what feels like a hugely underwhelming pace, probably not helped by lack of wind in the face and then you end up vertical for a while, looking down and in my case, feeling nothing. Reverse the process, this time with lots of braking and it’s done. Classic example of breaking records for the sake of it.
And for all of those reasons and more, I’d much rather ride a classic mine train. It has corners for a start, many lifts, some good terrain, a bit of interaction and comedy tracking. Things are getting solid now.
Characterised by it’s unusual looking very high up loops, Viper is the first of many rides here that feels like a bit of a legend. I didn’t expect to get on with it at all, most Arrow loopers I’ve experienced are more trouble than they’re worth, but this one was surprisingly… rerideable. The entry to that first loop sure is weird and it gets a little crazy in the ducking and diving towards the station at the end. Nothing on the coasters of today but nothing really wrong with it either.
I said interesting in the introduction but I didn’t necessarily say good. This one did have things wrong with it, but I learnt to adapt and appreciate it for what it is. As my first experience with the now rather rare B&M stand-up coaster, a ride type I had sought after for a good while beforehand, I went in unprepared for how terrible the seating position and restraint combo is – not at all what I expect at all from the most rider friendly manufacturer out there.
While not really doing any justice to the ‘standing‘ aspect of such hardware, it’s a huge multi-looper with a solid layout that feels like it goes on forever. In the right part of the train and using some tactical bracing techniques, I found it was possible to at least enjoy it.
Another Arrow I didn’t think I’d be too fussed about, as my only real experience with yet another dying ride type had been the already converted Vampire in the UK with floorless trains. It’s a classic, but it doesn’t do much.
The use of terrain for this particular installation combined with the size and, I assume, target audience, puts it in a totally different league. The low down turns taken at high speed produce a substantial amount of force as the original floorfull trains swing outwards to compensate and I like the way the layout doesn’t hold back, runining itself out of steam and resorting to a second lift hill to return to the top of the mountain.
I believe I named this one discount Lisebergbanan at the time and I stand by that statement even now. It has the Schwarzkopf vibe, sailing through the terrain and trees with a massive headline attraction interacting overhead. I’m beyond glad the trains were recently upgraded for this one (and that I missed the brief virutal reality overlay it had) as I imagine any form of shoulder restraint (or screen on my face) would have put me off it. As it stands, the world’s first modern vertical loop now has everything it needs to be appreciated fully.
I’ve already covered this famous clone a few times on here and the Magic Mountain edition was a decent example, though not the best. As a highly solid B&M Invert layout that’s always enjoyable it’s not worth writing home about, particularly across the Six Flags repertoire.
Let’s throw some more controversy into the mix. I think most people that don’t rate this ride extremely highly find it too intense or even rough. I’m the opposite – I was utterly underwhelmed. How?
There’s so much to unpack about X2 that I’ll probably save for another time, but know that I came into this legendary attraction from a very unusual position. I had already ridden both of the S&S 4D coasters out there and this is the original Arrow prototype.
Tons of expection both on ride experience and the overall presentation package (station music, soundtrack, atmosphere) led to tons of disappointment. None of this delivered on any level for me (mostly because it wasn’t even there) and the ride itself has got nothing on it’s two children. Don’t get me wrong though, if you’re anyone else in the world, I’m sure you’ll love this insane creation.
‘Better than it ought to be’ trumps ‘not as good as it should have been’ on this list.
As another legend of the industry, something about this one drew me in. On paper it’s not even very good – the layout seems a poor use of 255ft by modern standards with many, many corners and only really one airtime moment to speak of. I found the golden spot was in the back row though and there’s something about that drop profiling that makes this massive plummet to earth feel a lot more significant than others of this size, and bigger, that I’ve often lamented about.
The speed hill was also decent fun from this position, but the second half is trimmed heavily by a mid course brake run and is rather uneventful. I believe it used to pull some serious Gs and I’d like to have given that a spin.
I’ve become very unenamored with this ride type since riding Scream! as they’re all starting to blend into one, much like a few other B&M creations. You know it’s going to be good, great even, but there’s little to get excited about when you keep coming across the same elements in the same style presented in a slightly different way.
Having said that, when this car park coaster was running (they seemingly can’t be bothered to even open it half the time) I had great fun on my laps with it, particularly at night. There’s a nice flow to the whole experience and it has some above average B&M inversion moments.
B&M feel completely different when it comes to their flying coasters however. Much more boundary pushing and just about as intense it gets, this type is where they truly excel for me. My expectations for Tatsu were high and I did love it, though mostly for the unorthodox late game pretzel loop off the side of the mountain.
The location is amazing and the views are fantastic, but the first half feels a little too repetetive and I feel like it could have used the terrain better in order to be a real standout both in this park and on a global scale.
To have some questionable picks down the bottom you’re inevitably going to balance with a couple more at the top. I feel like Full Throttle hasn’t been that well received amongst enthusiasts due to early onset hype/potential, maybe even the obnoxious marketing? I never paid attention, turned up 5 years too late and absolutely fell for the thing.
Sure it’s short, but it has a clever trick up its sleeve to compensate, one that’s definitely right up my street. The trains are great, the launch is punchy, the stupid size of the loop and sensation of running through it is mindblowing and then coming back over the same piece of track from above gives some ridiculous airtime before being comically and forcefully trimmed. I just think it’s really cool and can’t bring myself to find much fault with this one.
The inevitable winner, I’ve recently raved about this one on here at great length. One of my most favouritest coasters in the whole wide world. RMC at their best, Six Flags at their best, I could spend all day on this one and quite easily forget the remainder of the park, which is quite a statement in itself.