Six Flags Over Texas has revealed that the updated Texas Giant rollercoaster will reopen on April 22, 2011, as the park celebrates its 50th anniversary season.
The park revealed the date via its official Facebook page, having begun its 2011 season last weekend. It has spent $10 million on renovating the Texas Giant, installing an all-new steel track and introducing what it claims is the steepest drop of any wooden rollercoaster in the world.
Although Six Flags Over Texas has left much of the ride's wooden support structure in place, the new steel track places it into the hybrid wood-steel bracket. The Texas Giant's height has been increased by 10 feet to 153 feet, with the coaster set to hit a top speed of 65 miles per hour following the 79-degree first drop. In total, some 4,700 feet of new track have been added during the renovation work.
To add to the sense of disorientation caused by the sharp twists and turns, two tunnels will form part of the revamped circuit, both of which will take place on sections where riders are travelling at unusual angles. Three turns that are sharper than 90 degrees have also been added into the new layout.
An aerial video of the coaster taken towards the end of refurbishment work is embedded below:
The Texas Giant's new Gerstlauer-built trains will be themed around 1961 Cadillac Deville cars, with the park celebrating its 50 years since it opened in 1961. Three distinct trains will operate on the ride, in aqua metallic, black metallic and red metallic colors. Each train will feature a front-mounted "cattle-horn" and authentic-looking grills, headlights and tail lights.
The Texas Giant opened in 1990 and was the tallest and fastest wooden rollercoaster in the world at the time. However, it has since suffered from frequent complaints by riders that it offers an violent, painful ride. The current re-work is the second time the Texas Giant has been renovated, following a previous update nearly ten years ago. The cost of the latest renovation is greater than the original $5.5 million construction cost for the coaster, even when adjusted for inflation.