Six Flags Magic Mountain has done it again! The park has pulled out another coaster to put it back on top of the pile as the "Rollercoaster Capital of the World", with a total of 18 fully operating coasters. The latest addition to the theme park that’s celebrating its 40th anniversary this year is Green Lantern: First Flight, a ride which was strategically launched just two weeks after the Green Lantern summer blockbuster hit theatres.
The first Intamin ZacSpin coaster to open in North America, Green Lantern: First Flight is Six Flags Magic Mountain's third rollercoaster to be launched this year (if the revamped Superman: Escape from Krypton is included).
I was thrilled to be able to attend the press event for the ride the day before the official opening. The media day granted me, and several others (including hardcore comic book enthusiasts who were dressed in mock costumes), access to the roped-off DC Universe (formerly known as the Gotham City Backlot) which plays home to Green Lantern: First Flight.
We were privy to a fabulous opening with a press conference delivered by the park’s president, a speech from the best selling writer of the Green Lantern comics (Geoff Johns, who highly endorsed the ride and felt that it did justice to his comic series), a visit from The Justice League as well as Hal Jordan (the hero of the Green Lantern comics) himself. We were then showered with green and black confetti as we witnessed the first launch of the day - with a side of fireworks!
Entering DC's Universe
Before I delve into Green Lantern: First Flight, allow me to gush a little about the new DC Universe. Switching gears from the dark and gritty Gotham City Backlot, this new themed area is bursting with a typical comic-style punch of color. Now, I'm not a total comic book geek like so many of my friends, but I do know the main players. This little bit of knowledge was enough to have me staring in awe at the super cool DC Universe entrance - a huge arch showcasing the Justice League characters on one side, and DC villains on the other side. The addition of onomatopoeic words, such as KAA-BOOM and KRASSH was a particularly delightful detail to me because they reminded me of the old Batman television series that I used to watch as a kid.
In fact, I sort of stumbled around the new area pointing and gasping at every little detail! I saw the sleek Batmobile on display, a Kent Farm Roaster Corn stand, Teen Titans Tower Pizza building, Smallville Soft Frozen Lemonade stand and fabulously designed Metropolis building facades. There was even a telephone booth outside of the Clinton Street Apartments with the stunning detail of Clark Kent’s clothing hanging inside.
Okay, now on to the ride! At first glance, several of us in the audience had a difficult time deciphering the track. We knew that there was a vertical zigzag pattern track, but we also saw a seemingly connected track with loops and drops. Then we noticed a rollercoaster train that absolutely did not match up with the car that we knew Green Lantern: First Flight to have. As it turned out, we were experiencing an optical illusion. It was The Riddler’s Revenge track behind Green Lantern: First Flight! I, along with quite a few other riders, agreed that it was a poor choice to paint both rides’ tracks such a strikingly similar shade of green.
After the opening celebration, we were finally allowed to make a mad dash for the line. I enjoyed the line setup for Green Lantern: First Flight more than most of the other ride lines in the park. They did a nice job of entertaining riders with visual eye candy from section to section. First, we entered the “Ferris Aircraft facility” building where our hero, Hal Jordan, is a test pilot. There was an aircraft replica just outside, with a crash scene mural painted inside. It had a fantastic comic book feel - rightfully so!
From there we entered a second room that depicted comic book scenes of the Green Lantern’s training on wide octagon-shaped screens projected by a large tangible green lantern. It was a great treat for comic lovers, and a nice "cheat sheet" for clueless non-readers like myself.
Packing in the thrills
The line comes to a fork and branches off for double-sided loading. Each side loads 4 people in pairs of 2, with a total of 8 people seated per car. While I only rode the coaster once, I could tell that the experience is slightly different depending on whether you are front-facing or back-facing. Each side starts off with a separate perspective, but once you begin spinning it really doesn’t matter!
I was duped by the small and compact track while I was standing on the ground earlier in the day. The ride appeared to be interesting, but I had no clue as to how exciting it would actually be. The ride was, in a word, disorienting. But thrillingly so!
Let me begin by pointing out that while the rollercoaster is 107 feet tall, the track itself is 828 feet long. It makes for a fantastic vertical thrill that splices 360 degree spins with breathtaking plummets in a back and forth zigzag from top to bottom!
Spinning out of control
My body went through such a range in sensations during the nearly two minute ride. The long climb to the top of the track was nerve-wracking because as this is the very first vertical 360 degree spinning roller coaster in the US, I really didn’t know what to expect. Once our car reached the top, we were off with great speed. We started off faster than I had expected because from the ground, the ride appears to move at a fairly mellow pace. Oh, how deceiving! You can see how the rest of the circuit pans out in the video below:
From my vantage point, we were moving backward at first. I had a false sense of security before being thrust forward like Superman* himself and then rocking back again. It was in that moment that I knew I was on an extraordinary rollercoaster! I had never felt anything quite like it before. It was a surreal feeling to be on a coaster that spun you downward rather than offered twists and turns, loops and corkscrews.
*Speaking of Superman, the climb to the top of the ride granted riders a fantastic view of Superman: Escape from Krypton.
Midway through the downward twist, we more or less stopped at a "brake stop" where the ride geared up for an intense release. From there, everything became absolutely disorienting. I barely knew which way was up as I was spun and zagged in every which direction. The G-force was surprising and amazing! I think my car was especially radical when it came to spinning because from what I could tell, our group was a lightweight lot. The lighter your car, the faster you’ll spin. It was very much like a ferris wheel for adults! And then, sadly, it was over.
My one true negative with Green Lantern: First Flight is that it's not nearly long enough at just 1 minute 50 seconds. It’s difficult to tell on a media day just how long the line will normally be, but I feel confident in saying that while the ride is amazing, it’s not going to be worth the hour or so that you will have to wait in line for it. It also appears to lack the capacity to process the queues at a rapid rate.
Six Flags Magic Mountain guests do have the option of purchasing The Flash Pass. This pass allows you to virtually reserve your place in line while roaming the park until you're alerted to return to the ride of your choice. The Flash Pass has a wide range of price points that depend on the day of week that you purchase it, as well as the number of riders in your party. You can choose between regular, gold and platinum passes - each one offering a better wait duration. Expect to pay anywhere between $41 and $99+. This would be a potential option for guests who don't want to wait in the long lines during the opening season of Green Lantern: First Flight - though TPT's editors have made their feelings on paid-for queue jumping schemes known previously!
As I was leaving Six Flags Magic Mountain for the day, I couldn't keep myself from looking back at the bright green track and longing for another ride. The media day may have been over, but the green confetti swirling throughout the park was a reminder that I had taken one of the first flights - and I can't wait to take another in the near future!
Share your thoughts
Have you experienced Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain? Did it live up to your expectations? Let us know by adding your own review and rating.
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