Yesterday marked my first visit to Six Flags Great Adventure, a high-class theme park in Jackson, New Jersey. The park is home to Kingda Ka, the world’s tallest and second fastest roller coaster, and El Toro, one of the world’s most highly acclaimed wooden roller coasters. The park also holds the record for the most Bolliger & Mabillard coasters in one park, with five. Aside from Kingda Ka and Safari Off-Road Adventure, all waits were under half an hour throughout the day. I went as part of a group of 17, including Tyler, another writer for Coaster Hub.
We began the day on El Toro, one of only four Intamin prefabricated wooden roller coasters. What makes these rides so popular is the fact that track parts are pre-built before they are shipped to the part, with track welded specifically for the ride. This creates an exceptionally smooth ride that can be very extreme without maintenance issues.
Personally, I believe that El Toro is, by far, the best wooden roller coaster I have ever been on. Because we had reached El Toro within the first couple minutes of operation, we had five rides complete before the line reached over a train long. On the first ride, I had even greyed out slightly after the second hill. With many intense turns and extreme ejector airtime throughout the ride’s duration, El Toro is a truly amazing experience and deserves its title as one of the world’s best wooden coasters.
After El Toro, we moved to Runaway Mine Train the park’s Arrow Dynamics mine train. Because of its lack of intensity, Runaway Mine Train is a perfect ride for families and younger riders. Although it has become rough over its 41 years of operation, Runaway Mine Train is certainly worth riding and is a fun family mine train in the midst of thrill rides.
Up next on our visit was Bizarro, the park’s Bolliger & Mabillard floorless coaster. Having previously been on Scream at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the ride’s mirror image, I was expecting a forceful, rough ride. However, this ride felt much smoother and, subsequently, less intense. Both are a lot of fun, and Bizarro now resides as my favorite floorless coaster.
After meeting up with more of our group, we continued to Green Lantern, our second B&M coaster of the day. It is agreed among enthusiasts to be the second best stand-up coaster in the world and is a very fun ride. With five inversions and one surprising pop of airtime coming out of the mid-course brake run, Green Lantern is a smooth, enjoyable stand-up coaster and is certainly worth a ride.
Being right next to Green Lantern, Superman: Ultimate Flight was next on our lineup of rides for the day. The B&M flying coaster has been cloned at two other Six Flags parks due to its compact layout and is mediocre for a flying coaster. Regardless, we had all loved this coaster purely due to the ride experience. Not being able to see the track in front of you creates a truly unique sensation while on-ride and is only replicated by the roller coasters of the same type. The Superman: Ultimate Flight clones are by far inferior to Tatsu at Six Flags Magic Mountian and Manta at Seaworld Orlando but are still very fun rides as a whole.
After Superman: Ultimate Flight came Movietown, home to Dark Knight and Batman: The Ride, which is currently operating backwards! Dark Knight is an indoor heavily themed Mack Rides wild mouse. The ride was surprisingly smooth and includes a fun surprise at the end of the ride. Because the pre-show releases riders in blocks, waiting in the back of the pre-show and entering the queue last often enables you to ride twice because the next set of guests will not have entered by the time your first ride has ended!
The other ride in Movie Town was Batman: The Ride: Backwards! Batman: The Ride both forwards and backwards is a very intense experience, but backwards is so intense that many riders leave the ride nauseous. I personally prefer riding Batman: The Ride clones forwards, and although riding backwards is not particularly enjoyable, it is still worth riding just because it is such a unique experience.
Nitro was the next ride in our lineup, being our fifth and final B&M coaster of the trip. This was my first B&M hyper coaster of all time, and after our first ride, Nitro was easily tied for my favorite coaster at the park. With many floater airtime hills and some ejector airtime later in the ride, Nitro is a flowing, smooth ride that is primarily through the forest around Six Flags Great Adventure. Nitro may be known to be a lesser hyper coaster compared to its counterparts, but even with that it is still an amazing ride.
Our party continued to Safari Off Road Adventure, which is a very underrated ride. Riders are loaded into safari trucks that hold 26 riders each and are taken through along a path spanning acres with almost twenty zones and hundreds of species of animals. The ride, in total, lasts almost an hour and is well worth the time. You could see everything on-ride from tigers to ostriches. It was a very comprehensive and complete experience in all, and halfway through the course, a small park known as Camp Aventura was available to ride a zip line and meet the animals up close! Of course, Camp Aventura is an extra charge.
After returning from Safari Off Road Adventure at about 5:45 pm, Kingda Ka had still not opened, leading us to sample some family rides and SkyScreamer, Six Flags’ FunTime StarFlyer. Standing 242 feet tall, SkyScreamer was a fun ride and provided a superb view of the park. Skull Mountain was going to be our next stop, but that was also closed at the time. Thus, our party continued to ride various family rides until Kingda Ka began to operate at 6:30 pm.
After heading across the park to Kingda Ka, we began to endure what is always the park’s longest wait, which totaled to almost two hours for our group. In just the time while we were waiting to ride, Kingda Ka stopped operation twice, one of which was for half an hour.
Because it is such a short ride, I did not expect it to be such an amazing experience. I had previously been on both Xcelerator at Knott’s Berry Farm and Stealth at Thorpe Park, and although those are both fantastic rides the launches feel much less intense than Kingda Ka’s though they both have a more intense acceleration. Overall, the ride experience on Kingda Ka at night is something unlike any other (excluding Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point). The sheer immensity of the launch is enough to blow you away, and that’s followed by a 456 foot climb and subsequent drop, making the ride the tallest in the entire world!
After Kingda Ka, Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, the world’s tallest drop tower. Although we made it outside to ride by 9:30, it was not operating. Our group split into two, one of which stayed to ride Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom after opening while the other group headed to Nitro for night rides. Because I had not yet tried it, I ran to Skull Mountain and onto Nitro after. Skull Mountain is an Intamin family coaster and is another fun ride for everyone.
The night was finished with three consecutive rides on Nitro, one of which was on the last train of the night! Night rides on Nitro are truly a special experience and are a must-do while at the park.
What do you think of Six Flags Great Adventure? Post your feedback in the comments below!