Batman: The Ride
A vertical loop and corkscrew on the ride at Six Flags Great America
General statistics
TypeSteel – Inverted
ManufacturerBolliger & Mabillard
DesignerWerner Stengel
ModelInverted Coaster – Batman
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Inversions5
Duration1:45
Capacity1280–1400[1][2] riders per hour
G-force4
Restraint StyleOver-the-shoulder
Height restriction54 in (137 cm)
Trains2 trains with 8 cars. Riders are arranged 4 across in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.
Height100 or 105 ft (30 or 32 m)
Length2,693 or 2,700 ft (821 or 823 m)
Speed50 mph (80 km/h)
Drop84.5 ft[3]
Flash Pass available

Batman: The Ride is an inverted roller coaster based on the DC Comics character Batman and found at seven Six Flags theme parks in the United States. Built by consulting engineers Bolliger & Mabillard, it rises to a height of between 100 and 105 feet (30 and 32 m) and reaches top speeds of 50 mph (80 km/h). The original roller coaster at Six Flags Great America was partially devised by the park's general manager Jim Wintrode. Batman: The Ride was the world's first inverted roller coaster when it opened in 1992,[4] and has since been awarded Coaster Landmark status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts. Clones of the ride exist at amusement parks around the world.

History

The concept of an inverted roller coaster with inversions was developed by Jim Wintrode, the general manager of Six Flags Great America, in the early 1990s.[5][6] To develop the idea for the park, Wintrode worked with Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard – from Swiss roller coaster manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard – and engineer Robert Mampe.[5] The ride soft opened to the public on May 2, 1992, with an official opening one week later on May 9.[5][7] Although the full cost of the ride was never disclosed, it was the single biggest investment made by Six Flags Great America on one attraction.[8]

After the ride's huge success, then-parent company Time Warner devised an expansion plan to install clones of the original at the rest of the US parks throughout the rest of the 1990s. These parks included Great Adventure, Magic Mountain, St. Louis, Over Georgia and Over Texas.

In mid-1992, Six Flags Great Adventure announced that Batman: The Ride would be added to the park. In order to build the ride, Lightnin' Loops would have to be removed.[9] Batman: The Ride would open to the public on May 1, 1993.[1]

On August 4, 1993, it was announced that Batman: The Ride would be coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain.[10] The ride would open on March 26, 1994.[11]

On September 7, 1994, Six Flags St. Louis announced that they would be receiving Batman: The Ride for the 1995 season. It would be located towards the front of the park in the Studio Backlot section.[12] Batman: The Ride would give its first rides on April 22, 1995. It was the first one to be mirrored and have a different queue line.[13]

In late 1996, Six Flags Over Georgia announced that Batman: The Ride would be opening in 1997 as part of a new Gotham City section, the park's ninth themed area covering 8.6 acres (3.5 ha) of land.[14] The ride would become the park's largest capital investment in 30 years.[14] The ride opened for the first time on May 3, 1997.[15]

Six Flags Over Texas began teasing the attraction at the end of summer 1998.[16] On November 4, 1998, the park revealed more details about the new attraction. It would be a new inverted coaster named Batman: The Ride. The ride would be located towards the back of the park next to Mr. Freeze. This would create a new Gotham City section.[17] Batman: The Ride made its debut on May 26, 1999.[18] Unlike the other locations, the one at Six Flags Over Texas has a different station. Instead of being Gotham Public Works, the station is Wayne Foundation Industrial Park.[19]

Since the original Batman film series was ongoing, the Six Flags St. Louis installation opened to coincide with 1995's Batman Forever and the Six Flags Over Georgia version opened to coincide with 1997's Batman & Robin.

In 2002, La Ronde in Montreal, Quebec, Canada opened a mirror clone of the ride under the name Le Vampire (The Vampire).[20] As La Ronde is not a branded Six Flags park, the licensing agreement with Warner Bros. and DC Comics for the name Batman: The Ride is not valid.[21] The La Ronde ride was expected to become Batman: The Ride when the park was scheduled to be converted to a Six Flags-branded park in the mid-2000s, however, these changes were never initiated.[22] That same year, Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid also opened a clone under the name Batman: La Fuga (Batman: The Escape).[23]

The final installation of Batman: The Ride was at Six Flags New Orleans in 2003,[24] having been relocated from the Japanese amusement park Thrill Valley, where it operated as Gambit from 1995 to 2002.[25] In 2005, the effects of Hurricane Katrina caused Six Flags to abandon its New Orleans park,[26] and after standing unused for two years, the ride there was relocated to Six Flags Fiesta Texas, where it was refurbished and repainted. The ride reopened as Goliath on April 18, 2008.[27][28]

From 2013-15, the Batman: The Ride coasters at five locations operated backwards at different times throughout the three years.[29][30][31][32][33][34] On February 1, 2018, it was announced that the St. Louis location would run backwards for the first half of the 2018 season.[35]

Installations

Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Locations for Batman: The Ride
Park Area Opening date Status Refs
Six Flags Great America Yankee Harbor May 9, 1992 Operating [7]
Six Flags Great Adventure Movie Town May 1, 1993 Operating [1]
Six Flags Magic Mountain DC Universe March 26, 1994 Operating [11]
Six Flags St. Louis Studio Backlot April 22, 1995 Operating [13]
Six Flags Over Georgia Gotham City May 3, 1997 Operating [15]
Six Flags Over Texas May 26, 1999 Operating [18]
Six Flags New Orleans DC Comics Super Hero Adventures April 12, 2003 Relocated[a] [24]

Characteristics

An overview of the ride's first drop and vertical loop at Six Flags Great Adventure
An overview of the ride's first drop and vertical loop at Six Flags Great Adventure

Structure

The original installation of the ride at Six Flags Great America features a maximum height of 100 feet (30 m), while the installations to follow reached 105 feet (32 m). Each installation of Batman: The Ride has a track length of approximately 2,700 feet (820 m). The rides reach a top speed of 50 miles per hour (80 km/h) and exert up to four times the force of gravity. There are five inversions, which are two vertical loops, a zero-g roll and two corkscrews.[36]

Batman: The Ride clones operate with two steel and fiberglass trains, each containing eight cars. Each car seats four riders in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.[36]

The ride's original layout was specifically designed to fit in the Yankee Harbor themed area at Six Flags Great America, on the space previously occupied by Tidal Wave. The layout for each successive attraction is either identical or a mirror image of the original.[37]

Color scheme

While some later Batman: The Ride clones opened with dark blue track and supports, the originals were all black. Over the years there have been modifications in Batman: The Ride color schemes, with more incorporating yellows, blues and purples. The original ride at Six Flags Great America retained the original black color scheme until 2004, when the track was painted yellow and supports dark purple.[7] Six Flags Great Adventure's originally featured a black color scheme with yellow rails until 2004, when the track was repainted yellow.[1] For the 2010 season, the clone at Six Flags Magic Mountain was repainted medium blue with black supports.[38] As of 2019, the only installation of Batman: The Ride to retain its all-black color scheme is Six Flags St. Louis.

Ride experience

Queue

Batman: The Ride theming at Six Flags Great America
Batman: The Ride theming at Six Flags Great America

The decorative theme of Batman: The Ride attempts to capture the spirit of the fictional Gotham City for those queuing to board the ride. As the queue moves through Gotham City Park,[39] the theme transitions from bright and peaceful, to dark and ominous.[40] Modeled after Nigel Phelps' award-winning art direction on the 1989 film Batman, the atmosphere indicates a crime-ridden and dirty environment, with discarded pieces of equipment, crumbling concrete, and in some versions, a Gotham City Police Department car riddled with bullet holes.[40] After the outside queue, guests enter the ride structure through an entrance themed after an access to a storm drain.[40] The ride passenger loading area is modeled after Batman's Batcave and features a replica of the Batsuit from the 1989 film.[39]

Layout

Batman: The Ride begins with the track floor in the station descending. The train moves out of the station and up a chain lift hill. At the top of the hill, the train dips down through a Bolliger & Mabillard pre-drop, coasts down a 190-degree swoop to the left and drops into the first vertical loop. It then flips through a Heartline Spin (zero-G roll), followed by another vertical loop. The train then travels upward around a tight spiral to the left, then through a wider turn to the right, drops slightly and quickly turns through the first corkscrew (referred to as a "flatspin" by the manufacturer). Following this is a tight right turn and another flatspin, then a tight left turnaround before the train enters the final brake run.[36][41]

Incidents

See also: Incidents at Six Flags parks

On May 26, 2002, a 58-year-old park employee working in the roller coaster's restricted area at Six Flags Over Georgia was killed after being struck in the head by the dangling leg of a 14-year-old girl riding in the front. The girl was hospitalized with a leg injury.[42]

On June 28, 2008, a 17-year-old South Carolina teenager was decapitated after being struck by the Batman roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia. The teen, who was on a trip to the park with his church's youth group, scaled two fences with a friend into a restricted area and walked into the ride's path. Although witnesses stated he was trying to retrieve his hat, a Cobb County police spokesman reported the teens were attempting to take a shortcut into the park.[43][44]

Reception

ACE Roller Coaster Landmark plaque for Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America
ACE Roller Coaster Landmark plaque for Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America

Batman: The Ride has generally received positive reviews. The Dallas Morning News stated the ride "is proof that new thrills on the cutting edge of technology generate excitement". They also praise the theme of the "smooth-riding coaster" stating "the mysterious crime-fighter is a proven crowd-pleaser".[45] American Coaster Enthusiasts have also praised the ride, awarding it Coaster Landmark status in 2005. They describe the ride as a "revolutionary design" which offers "unprecedented intensity, while maintaining remarkable smoothness, comfort, and pacing".[5][46] Ultimate Rollercoaster describes Batman: The Ride as "the ride of your life". They state "the sensation created by an inverted coaster is very different from that of traditional roller coasters. It is a sensation that every coaster fan must experience".[40]

Awards

In Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards for Best Steel Roller Coasters, Batman: The Ride ranked in the late 1990s before dropping off the poll and returning once in 2005. The original installation at Six Flags Great America was ranked 23 and 25 in 1998 and 1999, before returning in 2005 at position 45. In 1998, the Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags St. Louis installations ranked 19 and 21, respectively.[47][48][49]

Notes

  1. ^ The roller coaster was relocated to Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags Great Adventure)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  2. ^ "Batman The Ride (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Parkz. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  3. ^ "Batman: The Ride". Beamer3K.
  4. ^ Meyer, Russell (May 12, 2014). "Coaster Tech: An Insider's look at inverted coasters". themeparkinsider.com. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d "Coaster Landmark Award – Batman: The Ride". American Coaster Enthusiasts. June 20, 2005. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  6. ^ O'Brien, Tim (March 24, 2003). "In my office: Jim Wintrode". Amusement Business. 115 (12).
  7. ^ a b c d Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  8. ^ Muret, Don (March 1994). "New attraction takes Six Flags into world of virtual reality". Amusement Business. 106 (10).
  9. ^ Daley, Margaret (September 9, 1992). "Batman ride to oust Lightnin' Loops". Asbury Park Press. Press Lakewood Bureau. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  10. ^ "New bat-twist for Magic Mountain". The Signal. August 5, 1993. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  11. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  12. ^ Flannery, William (September 8, 1994). "Holy Thrills, Batman! New Ride At Six Flags". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Post-Dispatch Staff. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  13. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags St. Louis)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  14. ^ a b "Batman The Ride debuts in the spring at Six Flags". The Gaffney Ledger. December 31, 1996. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  15. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags Over Georgia)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  16. ^ "Holy hype, Batman!". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. September 15, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  17. ^ "Milestones at Six Flags Over Texas". Fort Worth Star-Telegram. November 5, 1998. Retrieved September 8, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
  18. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Batman The Ride  (Six Flags Over Texas)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  19. ^ "Batman: The Ride Six Flags Over Texas - SFOT Source".
  20. ^ Marden, Duane. "Vampire  (La Ronde)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  21. ^ "Montreal-based theme park". Amusement Business. BPI Communications, Inc. 115 (9): 6. March 3, 2003. ISSN 0003-2344.
  22. ^ O'Brien, Tim (May 13, 2002). "New Coasters Ready To Roll". Amusement Business. 114 (19): 23–25.
  23. ^ Marden, Duane. "Batman la Fuga  (Parque Warner Madrid)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  24. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "Batman: The Ride  (Six Flags New Orleans)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  25. ^ Marden, Duane. "Gambit  (Thrill Valley)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  26. ^ "New Orleans: Six Flags New Orleans". Six Flags. Archived from the original on March 27, 2007. Retrieved November 13, 2010.
  27. ^ "Six Flags' Flashback coaster will live on (somewhere else)". kvue.com. September 27, 2012. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  28. ^ Marden, Duane. "Goliath  (Six Flags Fiesta Texas)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  29. ^ "Six Flags Great America Announces BATMAN: The Ride Backwards" (Press release). Six Flags Great America. February 21, 2013. Archived from the original on March 2, 2013. Retrieved February 21, 2013.
  30. ^ "Six Flags Announces a Full Season of Backwards". Six Flags. May 24, 2013. Archived from the original on July 2, 2013. Retrieved July 2, 2013.
  31. ^ "New for 2014". August 29, 2013. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  32. ^ "SFOT BB". March 25, 2014. Archived from the original on March 26, 2014. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  33. ^ "Batman ride at Six Flags Over Georgia to run backward". Associated Press. January 27, 2015. Retrieved August 3, 2015.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ Silverstein, Jason (March 24, 2015). "SEE IT: Batman ride at Six Flags Great Adventure to run backward for the first time". New York Daily News. Retrieved July 30, 2015.
  35. ^ "Batman fans can fly backward at Six Flags St. Louis this spring".
  36. ^ a b c See:[1][7][11][13][15][18][24]
  37. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Search Results  (Model = Batman)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  38. ^ "Batman Blue Track (HD POV) Six Flags Magic Mountain". The Coaster Views. YouTube. Retrieved May 21, 2013.
  39. ^ a b O'Brien, Tim (November 16, 1998). "Holy Thrills! Six Flags Over Texas Gets Batman Ride". Amusement Business. 110 (46): 3, 48.
  40. ^ a b c d "Batman The Ride". Ultimate Rollercoaster. Retrieved April 26, 2013.
  41. ^ Alvey, Robb. "Batman The Ride POV Roller Coaster Front Seat Onride Six Flags Over Georgia". Theme Park Review. YouTube. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  42. ^ "Six Flags' worker is killed in inverted coaster's path". Toledo Blade. May 28, 2002. Retrieved January 6, 2013.
  43. ^ "Teen Decapitated in Six Flags Accident". CBS News. June 28, 2008. Retrieved November 28, 2020.
  44. ^ Cook, Rhonda (June 28, 2008). "Boy Decapitated by Roller Coaster at Six Flags over Georgia is ID'd". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Archived from the original on July 30, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  45. ^ "Wild ride – Six Flags should keep thrills coming". The Dallas Morning News. A. H. Belo Corporation. May 28, 1999.
  46. ^ "ACE Coaster Landmark Awards". American Coaster Enthusiasts. Archived from the original on December 12, 2010. Retrieved January 1, 2011.
  47. ^ "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. September 1998. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013.
  48. ^ "Top 25 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. September 1999. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013.
  49. ^ "Top 50 steel roller coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. September 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 19, 2013.