Coasters, especially within the Six Flags chain, are routinely retired and relocated to other parks across the country and even around the world. Many see great success in their new location and go on to have long lives of delighting riders.
However, this isn’t the case with Goliath at Six Flags New England. While other Vekoma Giant Boomerang coasters have had successful relocations, Goliath’s short second life was plagued by issues. Let’s look at where it might have gone wrong for Goliath at Six Flags New England.
The Birth of The Giant Boomerang Coaster
Goliath, originally named Déjà vu, first debuted at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2001. Manufactured by Vekoma, Deja Vu was a Giant Boomerang coaster, characterized by its distinctive forward and backward shuttle motion along a vertical loop and cobra roll.
What set these giant boomerangs apart from previous iterations was the two 194-foot-tall vertical towers. In 2001, four of these boomerangs were built including three in the United States at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags Great America, and Six Flags Over Georgia, and one at Parque Warner Madrid in Spain though it actually opened a year later than its US counterparts.
While it was a thrilling ride, technical issues plagued these coasters at all three Six Flags parks. Speaking from experience, although this reporter visited Six Flags Great America several times when Déjà vu was there, it was closed for technical reasons or maintenance every time they visited.
All three coasters built in the US would be closed and relocated to other parks. Six Flags Over Georgia’s coaster went to Mirabilandia in Brazil in 2009 but has sadly remained in storage. Six Flags Great America’s coaster was relocated to Silverwood Theme Park in 2008 and it is still operating today.
The Rebirth of Déjà vu As Goliath
Six Flags took the last Déjà vu coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain and decided to relocate it within the Six Flags chain. This decision led to the coaster's transformation into Goliath at Six Flags New England. There was one major medication that was made to the coaster following its relocation.
Rather than continue to utilize the Vekoma trains which featured staggered rows, Six Flags opted to hire Premier Rides to design new straight-row trains. It seems Six Flags felt that the staggered rows confused oncoming riders and led to longer load times and lower capacity per hour. However, this change would prove to be a major mistake.
After the addition of these new trains, the coaster would gain a reputation for being incredibly rough. This was a coaster that features six inversions and travels backward and forward at speeds of up to 65 miles an hour. For such an intense coaster to also be very uncomfortable was basically a death sentence.
Over the years the coaster continued to experience downtime, maintenance costs, and lower and lower ridership. After only 20 years in operation at two parks, Goliath it was officially announced that the ride would be closing for good in 2021. This would be the death of this boomerang coaster as it was not relocated or sold to another park.
Wasted Potential Of A Great Coaster?
Conversely, Goliath's sister coaster, Aftershock at Silverwood Theme Park has had a much more successful second life. When it was relocated to Silverwood, the park wanted to ensure its massive new investment would be a successful one.
They worked with both Rocky Mountain Construction and Vekoma to relocate, rebuild, rewire, and reprogram the giant coaster. They also still utilize the Vekoma trains. Riders regularly praise Aftershock as being a good and enjoyable coaster experience. It is currently the only giant boomerang still in operation in the United States.
However, the boomerang, Stunt Fall at Parque Warner Madrid which opened in 2002 is the only original boomerang still operating. Extra time was taken to test and improve the coaster before its opening and it seems to have paid off. It has never been closed or relocated.
Perhaps if Six Flags had taken the time to update and improve Goliath like Silverwood Theme Park when it was relocated, it may have had a much more successful relocation It is also greatly believed that the switch to the new trains from a different manufacturer was what truly sent this coaster on its downward spiral.
However, it could be the rushed construction in 2001 that led to ongoing technical issues that eventually made the coaster simply too expensive to maintain. It is unfortunate that Goliath is now the only one of the Vekoma Giant Boomerangs to be closed without any current hope of rebirth elsewhere.
Did you catch a ride on Goliath when it operated at Six Flags New England? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or on our Facebook page.