SIX FLAGS GREAT ADVENTURE
& Six Flags Hurricane Harbor
Jackson, New Jersey
Six Flags Theme Parks
Park News - (8/21/14) Six Flags Great Adventure has now apologized to the Marine veteran who was refused entry to the park after an employee said the shirt he was wearing was “offensive”. I didn’t know it myself at the time, but it turns out the “Keep Calm / Return Fire” shirt was tied to a military charity organization as well called The Reconnaissance Foundation and featured a link to the non-profits’ website on the back. The park has also offered to bring him and his family back to the park for a day with VIP treatment if they are willing to return.
According to a statement from Six Flags, “We strive to maintain a family-friendly environment and similar to many other public venues we have a dress code. Unfortunately, at the time our employee did not know Mr. Alejandro’s shirt was related to a military charity and we apologize to any military personnel who may have been offended by our mistake.”
(8/17/14) I normally hate to pick out a story like this, because sometimes the person involved may have been acting like an ass-hat and given security an excuise to ask them to leave or change their clothing choices, but in this case, this seems a very extreme to me... if not actually quite a bit shameful on the part of Six Flags Great Adventure.
A U.S. Marine decided to take his wife and kids out for a day at Six Flags Great Adventure, but was denied entry into the theme park because of the shirt he was wearing… which was one of the vary UK Olympic meme style shirts that in this case simply said “Keep Calm & Return Fire” and patriotic red, white & blue letters. Upon going through the security checkpoint at the gate, the security guard stepped forward, asked him to come with him because “that shirt is offensive” because it also included the outline of red, white and blue marine rifle at the top.
The Marine, part of the initial invasion force of Iraq back in 2003 refused to take it off on principle, and the park staff wouldn’t budge because they claim their policy is to not allow offensive clothing with vulgar or violent language or images into their parks. While I agree in principle with the Six Flags policy, I also know that about every vulgar t-shirt I’ve ever seen in my life, was typically seen proudly on display on a guest at whatever Six Flags theme park I was visiting at the time over the years. In fact, some of the worst examples I ever saw in my life I saw during my one visit to Six Flags Great Adventure back in 1999, which was a fairly miserable experience all around and a reason I’ve never gone back.
In my opinion, “Keep Calm & Return Fire” is is mild compared to most other pro-military patriotic t-shirts I’ve seen. You don’t have to go too far back to remember seeing guests all over theme parks wearing shirts showing US aircraft dropping bombs over a cartoon desert, or a skull wearing a military hat with a knife in his mouth that said, “Kill them all, let god sort them out” across the top. In fact, most military imagery shows our armed forces standing proudly on display with their weapons, and I wouldn’t call them offensive either. For example, by Six Flags terms, both this shirt and this one would also be deemed offensive because they show an assault rifle.
Meanwhile kids are running around in t-shirts with Transformers or Ninja Turtles on display, armed to the teeth, and no one says a word. Iron Man and the rest of the Avengers, just fine. Ok, these are not “real” people… but you get my point.
I’m sorry Six Flags… but you are wrong and out of line here, and even more so when I remember all the past offenses I’ve seen first hand in your parks. Fess up and do the right thing here and make this right.
(6/10/14) In a sad story, a disabled teenager who has been enjoying trips to Six Flags Great Adventure with his family for years is now in the middle of a serious legal battle with the chain over the revised safety rules set in place at the park which were put under review after a disabled Veteran was killed when thrown from the Ride of Steel roller coaster at the Darien Lake amusement park in New York. (NOTE: Darien Lake is no longer part of the Six Flags theme park chain, and was not part of it when the accident took place)
Joseph, now 16, was born without feet, has one arm that ends at the elbow and his remaining arm has only a malformed hand. Prior to 2012, he had enjoyed going on almost all the big thrill rides with his family at Six Flags Great Adventure. Following the accident at Darien Lake, the safety rules for many of the parks rides were revised by the manufactures, and Six Flags put the rest under their own review process as well to determine a set of requirements disabled guests must meet to ride any given attraction.
The end result is that Joseph, who used to ride almost everything, now is limited to just two attractions in the entire park: the Ferris Wheel and Skyway. He isn’t even allowed to ride the carousel under the new rules, which don’t permit the use of prosthetics of any kind out of fear that they may break away and strike someone else. According to the article, attractions that even a 3 year old can ride while under supervision, or rides that will allow a quadriplegic who has the limits, but has no control of them, are still beyond the reach of Joseph. Joseph can both walk and run with his prosthetics and is said to have both a firm grip as well as the ability for fine motor control with his one hand, but is still banned from the rides because the hand is malformed.
Currently the issue is before the US District Court in Trenton, as they are asking that disabled guests be allowed to undergo personal evaluations to determine their exact limitations and strengths, rather that just following the current checklist rule regarding the number of fully formed and functional limbs that they have. While the limitations are there for safety reason, it now seems clear that perhaps they do need to undergo some revision and personalization, rather than just make broad general strokes.
2014 - Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom - NOW OPEN!! - (7/9/14) According to an update from a staff member, the unload/loading process for Zumanjaro can actually begin when the mobile roof section over the station is lowered into place, protecting the cars from any falling items from above. At this point, Kingda Ka is cleared for launch and once they roof panel goes up again, Kingda Ka’s operations are put on hold.
Also, according to this source, the operational throughput of Zumanjaro really hasn’t been affected by this proceedure, as the time it takes for Kingda Ka to position and launch two trains is how long it takes to reload and check the restraints at Zumanjaro, so the full impact of this proceedure is being felt mostly over at Kingda Ka.
Also speaking with some other more knowledgeable folks... I’m told that the state is actually justified in wanting some better protection for the Zumanjaro riders as the area where the ride sits has long been a graveyard for lost guest objects dropped during a ride on Kingda Ka. The area would routinely be littered not only with hats, but an unhealthy number of cell phones have been chewed up and spat out here as a few too many guests failed to realize that taking a selfie during a Kingda Ka launch was simply not the best idea. (Like this poor fellow...)
(7/8/14) While Six Flags Great Adventure managed to open their new Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom thrill ride this past weekend, built onto the side of the massive Kingda Ka coaster, all is not well in the park right now… or with either attraction. For reasons than I find hard to fathom, the state of New Jersey has put some serious restrictions on the operations of both rides, that is simply causing more harm than good. So be fore warned… if you intend to ride either of these… get ready for a LONG wait time.
The short story version is this… the state has decided that Six Flags can not run both of these rides at the same time, and is rumored to have gone so far as to require that the park link the ride control systems of each ride together so that there is no chance of it happening. Why? Because they are worried that either on purpose, or on accident, that loose objects from the riders on Kingda Ka may go flying into the riders on Zumanjaro: either horizontally during the launch towards and up the tower, or could fall down on them from the top of the tower. It seems that they felt the roof panel on the top of the Zumanjaro cars provided inadequate protection and the only way to protect the riders is to simply not run the rides at the same time. While it is a slightly different layout, apparently the lack of any problems with the similar Superman / Lexx Luthor combo ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain was not enough to convince them otherwise.
The resulting bit of insanity has caused very long lines as a result so far on both attractions as I’m told the operations go something like this. While Zumanjaro sits empty and idle, Kingda Ka will load and launch two trains back to back. Once they return to the station Kingda Ka goes into a hold and only then are riders allow to load into the Zumanjaro seats and then dispatch into a ride cycle. Once they land again and are removed from the car, Zumanjaro goes back into a hold mode and Kingda Ka can launch two more trains. Rinse… Repeat… and watch the faces of the park guests start to contort as the lines get longer and longer.
I can only hope that clear heads and look into this and solve this issue, as rides criss/cross over and under each other all the time and they’ve never been banned from running at the same time. The state obviously had no problem with El Toro running over the top of Rolling Thunder for all those years, so why the headache now?
(7/7/14) Zumanjaro is now open, and Six Flags has posted a fun video showing off some of their staff test riding it from a variety of angels ahead of the grand opening.
(8/29/13) It’s official… a world record setting new freefall drop ride is being mounted to the FRONT of the Kingda Ka tower and they are calling it Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom. Lifting riders 415 feet in the air, it will be the tallest drop tower in the world, sending you rocketing back down to Earth at 90 mph aboard an 8 passenger cart.
To help speed things up however, you will first “blast up” to the top of the tower in just 30 seconds, pause… and then you’ll be back down again 10 seconds later. There will be three separate Zumanjaro tower rides attached to the Kingda Ka structure. While waiting to board you will pass through a new animal exhibit area and watch Africa Anubis baboons.
2015 - Looping Dragon / New Attraction(s) - (8/28/14) As rumored, the park is adding a 7-story tall Super Loop style flat ride called Looping Dragon.
(8/26/14) Coaster-Net did some incredible digging into the official Six Flags website and using their knowledge of Drupal, the content management system Six Flags uses for it, apparently they were able to pull the names for many of the new 2015 attractions to be announced on Thursday.
According to their report my rumor about Looping Dragon being the name for their new Larson 22m Super Loop was right on the money. Again I’m hearing that Six Flags may try to promote this little flat ride as their next coaster… which seems insane because everyone knows it isn’t. So you may be asking yourself, why are they trying to do this? Because with the opening of Laff Trakk, nearby Hersheypark will now have 13 coasters and take the crown for the North-East for having the most coasters away from Six Flags Great Adventure, who will only have 12. Sorry Six Flags, but this does not count as a coaster. Please don’t try to insult our intelligence by marketing it as such, it will backfire, just go out with some grace and do better next year.
Besides, it really doesn’t matter anyway… both Kings Dominion and Carowinds will each have 14 coasters in 2015, knocking you both out for having the most on the East coast.
(8/25/14) Screamscape sources tell us that the rumored Super Loop going into Six Flags Great Adventure will likely be called Looping Dragon.
(8/23/14) The various image hints coming from Six Flags Great Adventure have got me thinking about a few things that may be coming to the park in 2015. Forget the rumors about a new coaster, because that isn’t happening… but instead I think we may see 2 or 3 things come for next season.
1) There isn’t a ton of evidence for this one, but I believe that there is a good chance we will see a new slide and water attraction go into Hurricane Harbor. This is mostly a hunch on my part, but the park can always use some added capacity to help things along, and there was one image in the hints showing off a spinning water wheel.
2) Batman Backwards – One of the image hints did have the year 1993 written backwards, and 1993 was the year that Batman: The Ride came to the park. Six Flags has a traveling train they have been using for this purpose to hit a couple of parks a season for the last two years, and it has yet to make it to SFGAdv, so it is obviously time. Already this year we have seen it spend the spring at Six Flags Magic Mountain and it is currently at Six Flags over Texas. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue East from there and hit up both Six Flags over Georgia and Great Adventure over the 2015 season.
3) Finally I’ve come to a realization as to what the park’s new permanent ride may be… and the one clue spells it out perfectly. SUPER… LOOP. To be honest, I’m surprised by this, especially after the downtime issues Elitch Gardens in Colorado has had with their new 7-story Super Loop (Brain Drain) this summer, but there are a ton of image hints showing off images of giant rings or the word “loop”. But the one hint of Domo in a Superman costume next to the word “Loop” just really drove it home for me. Just something to think about, and I’m thinking this wont be the only version of this ride being added to a Six Flags park in 2015.
(8/15/14) Six Flags Great Adventure has posted their first teaser on Twitter with clue images about what they will announce for 2015 on August 28th. The clues are odd, as it shows stuffed animals, an “O” on a sign somewhere and a spinning waterwheel from a splash playground somewhere. I’m not sure what to make of the first two, but I’m getting the feeling that the park could be opening a bunch of little things in 2015 instead of one big thing, with one of the things possibly going to Hurricane Harbor. Stay tuned…
???? - New Coaster - Rumor - (6/2/14) After doing some serious thinking and chatting with a reader about the idea… I have to say that I do have serious doubts about the possibility of a custom RMC wooden coaster coming to SFGAdv for 2015. This rumor has been in the pipe for well over a year now, and while I do believe that we will see an RMC creation in the park eventually, 2015 just may not be possible.
The main factor to consider is just how many rides can RMC actually design and construct in one season at this point in the company’s development? 2013 was the first time we saw 2 new rides launch from RMC in the same year, one of which was an I-Box transformation of an existing ride (Rattler into Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas) along with the built from scratch Outlaw Run (Silver Dollar City). 2014’s work slate for RMC follows the same pattern… one I-Box transformation (Medusa at Six Flags Mexico) and one custom creation (Goliath at Six Flags Great America). Keep in mind that RMC also has a heavy load of other side work, as the company is heavily involved with off season maintenance, structure rebuilding efforts and re-tracking on a number of other wooden coasters throughout America as well.
Looking ahead to 2015 and 2016, IF the pattern continues, we should only expect to see 2 new RMC coasters each year as well. While 2015 is still technically wide open… the long standing rumor has been for SFMM to re-work Colossus for 2015, or maybe 2016. Kolmarden is on the books already to build Wildfire, a custom RMC, for the 2016 season (their first project in Europe). If the previous pattern stays, if SFGAdv doesn’t add one in 2015, they may have to wait until 2017.
Other factors are already starting to stack up against adding one to SFGAdv in 2015 as well. If my sources are correct, they claim that the park has yet to have or schedule a meeting with the Jackson planning board to discuss their plans and how any possible tree removal that may be necessary, which I’m told is always a sensitive subject with the township. For now we’ll just have to wait, watch and see what happens.
(5/30/14) The early buzz for Six Flags Great Adventure is that the park may tap Rocky Mountain Construction to build another custom crazy creation like Goliath that will soon open at SF Great America, but bigger and meaner. The only clue as to the location is that our sources says that they would like for it to try and dive underground, traveling under 'the lake' at some point. If this is true, then look for this new coaster to go in the back of the park, perhaps near the old water-ski stands, or possibly over where the log ride sits. This also makes sense as the backside of the park could use a new major attraction, as almost every other new addition for the last several years has been placed either up front near the entrance (Superman, Green Lantern, Sky Screamer) or in the nearby north-east corner where we can now find Kingda Ka, Zumanjaro and El Toro. Off the top of my head the only new addition in the last decade to go elsewhere would be The Dark Knight indoor mouse coaster on the dead western side of the park where The Chiller used to be.
???? - Onsite Resort Hotel - Planning - (11/27/13) Adding a resort hotel to the Six Flags Great Adventure property has long been a dream for many over the years. As we’ve seen the torch of ownership and control of the company pass from one hand to another over the past couple couple of decades, the idea of adding an on-site resort has been revived, killed, and revamped more times than I can count. This latest video news report from “Today in America” about Jackson, NJ talks briefly with Six Flags Great Adventure’s President, John Fitzgerald about their latest attempt to revive the concept in order to allow the Six Flags property to become a multi-day vacation destination. Looks like the plan is back on again, and since the Jackson area is essentially devoid of other hotels, it sounds like an idea that should not only work, but should be a success if built at the right scale.