On May 25, 2011, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey unveiled its newest coaster, Green Lantern, a 154 feet tall, 63 miles per hour thrill ride. Situated next to Superman: Ultimate Flight, Green Lantern replaces the Great American Scream Machine, a Six Flags mainstay for over 20 years. Like its neighbor, Green Lantern is named after a DC Comics superhero, however, it delivers a very different experience, having the rider stand fully upright during the entire two-and-a-half minute ride.
Although new to Six Flags Great Adventure, Green Lantern has been in the Six Flags family since 1997. Previously located at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, this 4155 feet long beast went by the name of Chang. Built by Bolliger & Mabillard, the coaster debuted to world record breaking proportions as the fastest, longest, and tallest stand-up coaster in the world.
After a quick make-over, the once entirely yellow Chang transformed into Green Lantern, coinciding with the June 17 release of the major motion picture by the same name. Although mostly painted over green in line with the character it's portraying, the first inversion remains yellow. Debatably, this could be a nod to its previous life as Chang, or could refer to "fear" as yellow depicts fear in the comic book. With 5 inversions in total including a 121-foot-tall loop and an initial 45 degree vertical drop, you'll definitely be experiencing some "fear" during this ride.
Overlooking the parking lot, Green Lantern and Superman are the first two coasters you see as you make your way to the entrance of the park. Initially, Green Lantern seems to meld into Kingda Ka, also green, however, the record breaking Kingda Ka is terrifyingly taller than the rather average (for Six Flags and regular rollercoaster standards) Green Lantern.
Once you enter the park and make your way to the coaster, you are greeted by some fantastic thematic props. A giant Hal Jordan cut-out, the first earthman ever inducted into the Green Lantern Corps, looms overheard. In front of him, a similarly sized Green Lantern replica, the "charging station" for the source of Green Lanterns' power, their power rings, greets you. This was a nice, albeit crowded, place to snap a photo.
The line begins outside the entrance and around the corner from the coaster, looking onto Superman and a rock climbing wall. Once you make your way through the roped-off line, you enter the real queue. Some nice touches include large comic strip panels outlining the Green Lantern story, from Hal Jordan's childhood to his induction into the Green Lantern Corps, the intergalactic group of officers charged with protecting the universe.
In addition, as you make your way through the queue, you come upon a very realistic, full-size replica of Hal Jordan's jet aircraft. As you make your way through the line, there is definitely a bit of whimsy and fun that adds to the overall thematic experience. With these very special touches, you truly feel connected to the Green Lantern story.
Boiling in the sun
The queue line itself, however, is ridiculous. It winds around and around, and though signs show wait times of around 60 minutes, you can, on weekends, expect to wait three times as long. While making your way through the line, you will notice that half the queue is covered, however, the other half is not, and on hot days, this is brutal. You do have refreshments offered every now and then for purchase on the line, however, they are snatched up pretty quickly, and mainly consist of popcorn and lemonade, neither of which will quench your thirst.
When you emerge from the covered queue area, however, you are directly under the ride. Quite literally, you are close enough to see riders’ faces as they careen overhead. This is a pretty amazing view from both the viewpoint of the soon-to-be-rider standing in the queue line, and the actual rider (unless you close your eyes…don’t judge me). Watching the car whip around loops and inversions and fly overhead adds to the fear and excitement building inside of you.
Once you finally make your way through the brutally long, and brutally hot line, you board one of Green Lantern's trains. Most of the time, strapping yourself into a ride, or waiting for the attendant to help you, is a fairly easy and short process. However, it takes a bit longer with the stand up element added. You straddle a bicycle-like seat and are locked into place with a harness. Full disclosure - this is not very comfortable. The seat seems to dig into you even though you are told to stand fully upright.
Careening through the air
Once everyone is finally locked into place, you slowly begin your ascent to the initial 45 degree drop. When you finally reach the drop (which feels like forever) the ride takes off, beginning with the initial yellow colored loop and quickly contorting and careening through the air into the other green loops and inversions. So quickly, in fact, that your stomach doesn't know if it should drop or fall out of your mouth. You are told prior to the ride to hold onto the harness, but honestly, that was a given, I held on for dear life.
The coaster, although uncomfortable, is rather exciting as you speed through numerous inversions at quite a high speed. Adrenaline rushes through you as the wind whips across your face. When you are in the air, the ride overlooks the parking lot, the queue line, and Superman: Ultimate Flight. However, most of the time, you’re going through so many inversions at such high speeds that it’s a bit difficult to concentrate on your surroundings. Although the ride starts off slow, and it's a full two-and-a-half minutes, it's over rather quickly. Wobbling off, you emerge onto stable ground, confused as to whether the over three hour wait was worth it.
Green Lantern is neither as tall as Kingda Ka, nor as sprawling as Nitro. The only real "newness" to the coaster is the stand up feature, which is, unfortunately, more uncomfortable than fun. Although a bit smoother than its predecessor Great American Scream Machine, Green Lantern still bangs you up and around pretty well. With the bicycle like seat digging into you, and harness holding you in place, you really can’t adjust yourself throughout the ride. You’re stuck in that uncomfortable position for the full two and a half minutes, while being tossed around through loops and drops.
Similar to the Great American Scream Machine, I emerged with a bit of a headache, however, that could have been a result of waiting under the hot sun for over three hours. In addition, while waiting on the queue line, the ride broke down for over half an hour. During that time, no one seemed to be able to tell us anything about the ride, and no announcements were made. With most of the queue line uncovered, you’re waiting in some brutally pounding overhead sun, with no real way to get off the line to use the restroom or buy a drink.
For a new coaster, Green Lantern definitely delivers some wow factors with the overall green ambience; the giant green lantern, the comic book strips on the queue line, and the full-size jet replica. Overall, although the stand-up element differentiates it from Six Flags Great Adventure's other coasters, in my opinion, it seemed more painful than fun. Add in the brutally long wait time and the uncovered queue line and it just doesn't seem worth it. Other rides at Six Flags Great Adventure definitely outshine this one, especially Nitro and El Toro, which are much more fun and not nearly as uncomfortable to ride. For the experience, it would be something to try if you've never had the chance to ride a stand-up coaster before, but it won't be the reason you come back to the park.
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