Modern USAModern USA parktimes Sat, 08/14/2010 - 14:41
USA - The Modern Section
The USA Section represents Texas under the US flag. It is often called the "Modern" section, because it represents the current and future Texas. The Original Attractions included The Petting Zoo, a small Zoo which housed various animals that the could be feed and petted. Included were small farm animals, such as goats and a donkey, as well as some exotic animals, such as a baby elephant and giant turtle.
Another original attraction was the AstroLift. The Astrolift was a cable car with four passenger gondolas which took riders from the Modern section to the Texas Section. Also included was Happy Motoring, in which guest drove two seat gas automobiles around a track.
The Sidewinder was the parks first roller coaster and the Misslechaser was a scrambler ride. Other Attractions: The Jet Set was an airplane ride. It was replaced by the Big Bend roller coaster, which was added in the seventies. Loony-Tunes Land The Cliffhanger Splash Water Falls 3d Theater Modern Food Courts.
Astrolift RideAstrolift Ride parktimes Sun, 08/15/2010 - 10:19
The Astrolift was one of the original rides at the park's opening in 1961. The ride was a suspended cable car ride similar to rides at the Texas State fair, the San Antonio Zoo, and other amusement parks. The 25 cars provided guests a panoramic view of the park as they traveled up to 55 feet high.
The 2,100 feet ride traveled across the park from the Modern section to the Texas section. The Modern station sat near where the 'Escape From Dino Island' theater is now. The Texas Station was located near what is now the picture center for the Texas Giant. At various times the ride was two-way, allowing guests to return to their starting terminal, and one-way, requiring they exit and the opposite terminal.
While the ride originally traveled across the park, by the time it was removed, expansion placed the Modern station more towards the middle of the park.
Built by the Von Roll Co. of Berne, Switzerland, the ride cost $300,000.
Happy Motoring FreewayHappy Motoring Freeway
1961 - 1986
The Humble Happy Motoring Freeway (known as the "Modern Cars") opened with the Park in 1961. The track ran along the South edge of the Modern Section from near the Zoo to the area that would become Boomtown.
The ride consisted of small go-cart sized vehicles with sport car bodies. Each of the twenty-two cars were powered with a 7½ horsepower rear gas engine. The gas pedal on the driver’s side actually moved the car forward, while the steering wheel controlled the direction of the cars travel.
The cars traveled around the track at six miles per hour, passing billboards and waiving by-passers. Just to make sure that there was no rush hour grid lock, the roadway contained a metal guide-strip directly in the middle. The guide-strip prevented the cars from leaving the track while still allowing the driver to steer the cars on the track.
The ride was favored by the younger crowd, because it allowed them to actually “drive” the car, controlling both the speed, and within limits, the direction of the car.
Eventually the body style of the cars changed in order to keep the appearance of the cars up to date with actual car styles and designs.
Due to the popularity of the ride, in 1962 a second Happy Motoring Freeway was added next to the first track. The queue house used by the Sidewinder Rollercoaster was converted into the queue house for the second happy ride.This increased the number of cares on the two tracks to 38. In order to make room for this second track, the Sidewinder roller coaster in turn was moved to the Mexican section.
Six Flags would operate with two Happy Motoring tracks until the end of the 1980 season. At that time, the original track was removed. The track added in 1962 continued to operate as the lone track until 1986, when it also was removed.
Missile ChaserMissile Chaser parktimes Sat, 08/14/2010 - 23:09
The Missilechaser was a scrambler type ride. It opened with the park in 1961 and was removed from the park at the end of the 1977 season. The area where it was located was later used for the Sensational Sense Machine
attraction. This area is no longer open to the public.
The ride was the first of three scrambler rides installed in the park. The second scrambler, also named the Missilechaser was added in 2000 at the current site for the Superman Ride. It was removed at the end of the 2002 season.
The park's current scrambler is known as the "Sidewinder" and is located in the Texas Section. It was added as part of the 10 new rides of 2006.
Petting ZooPetting Zoo
The Petting Zoo was located in the Modern Section in what is now Looney Tunes Land. It was an original attraction when the Park opened in 1961,
The zoo, initially, sponsored by Southwestern Life Insurance was a place guests could visit and pet friendly farm animals, such as cows and goats, as well as birds, and a giant tortoise.
There was also a small seal pool. For a nominal fee, guests could purchase dead fish to feed the seals.
The highlight of attraction of the Zoo was “Sis” Flagg, the Baby Asian Elephant. Although a baby elephant, Baby elephants grow so fast that Sis had to be replaced nearly every season with a younger elephant. The original “Sis” was purchased from Thailand for $2,000.
By 1968, the season of the last “Sis”, eight elephant will have lived in the park under the same name. Representing the other political party was Sis’s companion, Tulip, the white burro. The Zoo was a significant attraction in the park until the early 70s. It dwindled down over the years until only the Seal Pond remained in the mid 70s. Over a period of a few years, it was gradually downsized until nothing remains of it today. Looney Tunes Land now occupies the space which held the Zoo.
The Story of Sis, the Six Flags Elephant is now online at: Sissy's (The Six Flags Elephant) Story.
Modern Food CourtsModern Food Courts parktimes Sun, 08/15/2010 - 10:41
The Jet Set RideThe Jet Set Ride parktimes Sun, 08/15/2010 - 10:34
1967 - 1970
Introduced for 1967 was the “Jet-Set” ride. The ride was located at the current site of the train facade in Loony Tunes Land. It consisted of individual ride units designed to look like Jet Airplanes. The units each sat two people side by side in a single front seat. Each “Jet” was mounted on a pole behind the driver’s seat. The mounting allowed the Jet to move up and down along the length of the pole, as well as to rotate, so that the nose of the plane could be pointed in any direction in a 360 degree circle.
The ride was controlled by the riders, who could lift, drop, and rotate the plane as they desired in order to pretend that they were in command of an actual jet plane.
The ride was in the south end of the USA Section. Like the Spindletop, it was also located outside of the railroad tracks along the new path between the Front gate and Boomtown. The ride lasted only four seasons. It was removed after the 1970 season to make room for the Big Bend Roller Coaster.
The ride was the first one built by Intamin for Six Flags Over Texas. It is possibly the first Intamin ride installed at any location. It is also possible that it was the only version of this ride every installed anywhere.
Big BendBig Bend
1971 - 1978
In 1971, Six Flags introduced the Big Bend Roller Coaster. The name “Big Bend” was a clever play on words, since it refers both to the many “bends” felt by the riders on the curving, “bending”, track, as well as Texas’ rugged Big Bend National park, with its diverse rivers, mountains and deserts.
The ride was installed five years after the introduction of the Mine Train. Six Flags purchased the Big Bend from Schwarzkopf Company of Germany, Beginning in 1974, Schwarzkopf was represented in the United States by the Intamin Company. The name INTAMIN is taken from the phrase INTernational AMusement INstallations.
The Big Bend had many features that stand out, even by today’s standards. The roller coaster was what Schwarzkopf denoted a “Speed Racer” style coaster. Rather than bench style “side-by-side” seating, in which two riders sit next to each other, the Big Bend cars had a “toboggan” style bench seat, in which two riders straddled the seat and sit in front and back of each other, similar to the configuration of the log ride units. .
The seats were deep in the vehicle, with a high side railing. This configuration negated any need for seat belts or other restraints. Restraints were, however, added after a few years of operation.
The ride was also different in that unlike most roller coasters, which have some type of independent lift mechanism which pulls or lifts the units to the top of the lift hills. Instead, the Big Bend cars had their own motors in the units which “drove” the units to the top of the lift hills. The motors were activated by a third rail, in between the two track rails, much like an electric train.
Once over the top of the hill, the third rail ended and the trains were left to roll around the track at speeds of up to 52 mph.
The unique lift arrangements allowed the coaster to have more visually interesting, and suspense building, spiraling style lifts, rather than the straight up hill normally associated with roller coasters.
The Big Bend was built in the modern USA section, in keeping with its futuristic appearance. The dock and queue line were located along the same platform which had previously served as the Jet Set, which was removed for the installation of this ride.
The ride had two of the spiraling lift hills, the first was 81 feet tall, significantly higher than the more established Runaway Mine train. The second was 51 feet tall. The track length was 2,876 feet, slightly shorter than the Mine train track.
The ride was an immediate success and become extremely popular.
The ride was removed at the end of the 1978 season for various reasons.
CliffhangerCliffhanger parktimes Sat, 08/14/2010 - 23:03
The Cliffhanger was a 128 foot tall “L” shaped tower built by Intamin.
Riders sat in small gondolas which were lifted by an elevator mechanism 128 feet to the top of the tower’s structure. There they moved forward, outside of the lift mechanism, onto an outside track. Once properly positioned, the units were released for a free fall ten floors straight down the tower. Near the bottom, the track gradually curved, changing directions 90 degrees, so that it was parallel to the ground. The car then ran down the parallel track with the riders on their backs until it stopped.
The first of its kind ride cost the park 2.1 million dollars. A Six Flags press release for the ride notes that when riding the Cliffhanger, “the sensation is the same you would feel if you stepped off the roof of a ten story building.” As with the Flume and the mine train, the Cliffhanger was immediately copied.
Later, the Modern section was rethemed as an “Air Force Base and Astronaut training center” as part of the addition of the “Right Stuff Theater”. At that time the Cliffhanger was renamed as the “G-Force”, and themed as an astronaut training mechanism. Even later the ride was renamed as the Wildcatter and themed with the Boomtown section. Despite the fact that the ride became part of the Boomtown section, it was not physically moved. Its location was always on the border between the Boomtown and Modern Sections. Instead of moving the ride, the Boomtown section was simply expanded into the area around the Cliffhanger. The size of the Modern USA section was reduced accordingly.
The ride imploded in 2007.
Aquaman Splashwater (Splashdown Falls)Aquaman Splashwater (Splashdown Falls)
Aquaman Splashdown (Splashwater Falls)
Both the Flume ride and the Rolling Rapids have established that crowds in the Texas heat will appreciate a ride that gets them wet. Splashdown Falls, built in 1986 and opening in 1987, was built as the simplest ride that could accomplish this task. The ride is now named the “Aquaman”, based on one of the DC Comic Characters.
The design consists of a large lift hill, which pulls the rides’ six boats over fifty feet in the air. The boats then travel through a 180 degree curve section, where they then fall down a 45 foot drop at a 35 degree angle into a splash pool below. The twenty foot boats are each designed to hold 20 riders sitting in five rows of bench seats, for an hourly capacity of 1,800.
Up to twenty riders sitting in the boats five bench style rows, all experience some degree of splash. In addition, the riders could wait on the exit bridge after disembarking for the next boat to fall. Doing so, they could experience the full impact of the boats splash, virtually guaranteeing that they will be soak through and through.
The 800-foot ride uses 250,000 gallons of water, circulated around the ride by a 180 Horsepower pumping station. The ride was built by O.D. Hopkins Associates. Inc of New Hampshire.
The ride's name was inconsistent over the years. It was known as Splashwater Falls, just "Splashwater", and Splashdown Falls in various publications The ride was later renamed the “Splashdown Reentry Test Simulation” to correspond with the retheming of the modern section to an Astronaut training center with the addition of the “Right Stuff” simulator. The current name is "Aquaman Splashdown".
Adventure TheaterAdventure Theater
For 1995, Six Flags once again offered a new virtual reality theater. This theater, unlike the Sensational Sense Machine, did not feature a building which rolled or turned. Instead, for the Right Stuff Theater, the seats themselves pivoted and rotated based on the action on the screen, giving the rider the sense that they were participating in whatever action was depicted on the screen.
The first movie shown in the theater was the “Right Stuff”, for which the theater was originally named. The “Right Stuff” simulated flight in a modern Jet Fighter. It should not be confused with the full length feature film of the same name.
In 1999, the move was changed to "Escape from Dino Island." The following are the movies played during the life of the theater:
|1999||Escape From Dino Island 3-D|
|2000||Escape From Dino Island 3-D|
|2001||Escape From Dino Island 3-D|
|2002||Space Shuttle America|
|2007||Fly Me to the Moon|
|2008||Fly Me to the Moon|
|2009||Fly Me to the Moon|
|2010||Robots of Mars|
In addition, special features were played during Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park.
After the Right Stuff ended, the theater was known as the Adventure Theater and the 3D Adventure Theater.
Escape from Dino Island:
The original Right Stuff Theater.
Looney Tunes LandLooney Tunes Land parktimes Sun, 08/15/2010 - 10:36
Looney Tunes Land
Looney Tunes Land
In 1984, the Six Flags chain’s purchased Marriott’s Great America park. Great America held a license to use the Warner Brother’s Looney Tunes characters in the park since it opened in 1976. With the purchase, Warner Brothers expanded the license with Six Flags to include its other six parks, including Six Flags Over Texas. Six Flags now had access to a wealth of well-known and established characters to use within the parks. The characters became the park’s official mascots.
Several Six Flags Over Texas attractions were renovated to feature the various characters. The entire Pac-Man Land children’s section was rethemed to become the more child friendly Looney-Tunes Land.
While there was little change in the attractions available, there were changes in the names of the attractions. In the soft play area, the air pillows became the Porky Pig Play Pen and the ball pit was renamed as Tweety Bubbles. The children’s Ferris wheel became the Elmer Fudd Fewwis Wheel; the Rugged Buggy became the Roadrunner Runaround; and the Red Baron became the Tasmanian Devil Flying Aces. A fourth ride, a small boat carousel, was added and designated as Daffy Duck Lake. The other rides were relocated a small distance in order to make room for the boat ride.
In 1991, Loony Tunes Land underwent a major remodeling. As a part of the renovation, four new rides replaced activities in the soft play area.
One was the Martian Escape, a mini-swing ride manufactured by Zamperla, a ride manufacturer that specializes in smaller rides. The Martian Escape was a child’s version of the Texas Tornado swing ride. The ride was installed in the middle of Looney Tunes Land. In 2000, the name of the ride was changed and it was moved south of the railroad tracks.
Martian Escape, a mini-swing ride was installed in 1991 as part of the revitalization of Looney Tunes Land. In 2001 it was moved to a different location in the section and renamed Michigan J. Frog’s Tinseltown Parade.
The second new ride was a small train ride named Sylvester’s Jr.’s Train. The train was a Zamperla Rio Grande style train. Guests could ride in the engine cab, the tender, a gondola, or a passenger car. The ride was located under a covering to the east side of Looney Tunes Land.
The Convoy was the third new ride. The Convoy is a Zamperla Convoy truck style ride. The ride units resemble semi-trailer trucks, with cab seating for two children and an open back seat for an adult and child or two children. The trucks are connected to each other to form a train. It was installed in an open area on the west side of Looney Tunes Land. The Convoy is still located in the park at its original location. It is now known as Speedy Gonzales’ Truckin’ Across America.
The forth new ride was Porky Pig’s Magic Wheel, an Eli Bridge Company standard small Ferris wheel with twelve bench seats. Porky Pig’s Magic Wheel was larger than the park’s current Elmer Fudd Fewwis Wheel. It was added south of the railroad tracks, near the location of the section’s current four children’s rides. The ride was removed in 2001.
In addition to the new rides, a small jumping water fountain was placed at the north entrance in the section. The fountain was removed in 2006 and replaced with the Looney Tunes Gazebo stage.
As part of the Looney Tunes theming, the Kooper Kettle restaurant was renamed as Wascal’s Burgers and Fries.
At the end of the 1997 season, the smaller of the park’s two Ferris wheels, the Elmer Fudd Ferris Wheel, was removed from Looney Tunes Land.
The section underwent major changes in 2001. As part of a major overhaul, the name was changed from Looney Tunes Land to Looney Tunes, USA. Added was the Canyon Blaster roller coaster, as well as five other new small children’s rides.
A mini Empire Tower drop ride named Taz’s New York Adventure was added in the same location at which the small Porky Pig’s Fewwis Wheel had stood. For this ride, youngsters ride a bench seat that rises approximately 20-feet up the front of the “Empire State building”. When it reaches the top, the seat jumps up and down as it returns to the ground level.
The second ride was the Daffy for President Tour Bus. Known as a Crazy Bus style ride, guests sit in a small bus shaped unit that rotates in a vertical circle. The ride was also referred to as the Looney Tunes Capital Tours bus ride in some promotional materials. It is decorated as both a Hollywood tour bus and a presidential campaign bus.
The third ride, a teacup style ride named Yosemite Sam’s Texas Tea Cups, allows riders to ride in Texas style “oil barrel” teacups. The ride is located at the former site of the Daffy Duck Lake boats.
The forth ride was a miniature bumper car ride, the Route 66 Bumper Cars. Each car represented a different Looney Tunes’ character.
These four rides were manufactured by the SBF-VISA Group.
The fifth new ride was Sylvester & Tweety’s State Fair-is Wheel. This was the third Ferris wheel located in the section. It is a Zamperla mini-Ferris wheel. This wheel has six enclosed balloon shaped units. It is located at the site of the larger Porky Pig’s Magic Wheel, which was removed.
In addition to adding the new rides, each of the remaining current rides in the section were renovated and rethemed. The small Red Baron airplane ride became the Bugs Bunny’s Spirit of St. Looie. The miniature swing ride was moved and renamed Michigan J. Frog’s Tinseltown Parade, also called Michigan J. Frog’s Tinseltown Revue. The Zamperla convoy truck ride became Speedy Gonzales’ Truckin’ Across America. The miniature train ride became Elmer Fudd’s America the Beautiful Railway.
A new Looney Tunes Land Stage was added for live outdoor shows. In order to make room for the new rides, the Rugged Buggy was removed from the park. The Rugged Buggy was the park’s first off the shelf small children’s ride. The Daffy Duck Lake small boat ride was also removed at that time.
ACME Rock-n-RocketACME Rock-n-Rocket
The Acme Rock-n-Rocket was added in the 2006 season as part one the ten new attractions added for the year. It was located in the Modern Section, next to the Adventure Theater, close to where the Modern Astrolift had stood. Shaped like a cartoon firecracker rocket, the ride is similar to the Conquistador. Unlike the Conquistador, however, the Rock-n-Rocket turned riders completely upside-down as it swung 84-feet in the air and around in a full 360-degree circle. The ride lasted two minutes and thirty seconds. The rocket held up to fifty-riders, for an estimated hourly capacity of 650 riders.
Both the Conquistador and the Rock-n-Rocket were manufactured by Intamin. The Rock-n-Rocket is a Looping Starship style ride. Parts for the ride were relocated from Astroworld when the park was closed. The rocket unit in which the riders sit was manufactured for Six Flags Over Texas.
The ride was removed in 2014 to make room for the JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis.
The Pandemonium opened in 2008 on and around the former site of the Cliffhanger. It was originally named the Tony Hawk Big Spin for the extreme sport athlete, Tony Hawk, and his “big spin” skateboarding maneuver. The name was changed in 2010 to The Pandemonium.
The ride consists of eight single car units with four seats each. Each unit is mounted on a round base that allows it to spin around in a 360 degree circle as it travels around the track.
The ride was built by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides of Germany at a cost of $6.5 million dollars.
The ride lift is 53 feet high with a 27-foot initial drop. The units travel around the 1,351 foot long at 31 mph.
The ride is designed for a throughput of 800 riders per hour with a ride run of 1 minutes and 51 seconds.
The Big Spin is similar to other Tony Hawk’s Big Spin rides that opened the season before at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Six Flags Saint Louis. The ride opened as Mr. Six’s Pandemonium at Six Flags New England in 2005. Another Big Spin opened at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in the 2008 season. The Texas, Fiesta Texas, and St Louis rides are identical, while the Discovery Kingdom ride varies somewhat.
JUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for MetropolisJUSTICE LEAGUE: Battle for Metropolis
The Justice League opened for the 2015 season at the site of the 3D Adventure Theater.
Guests ride in small six seat vehicles equipment with lazer guns at each seat. The riders use the guns to shoot at evil targets as they travel through the 20,000 square foot ride. The ride's scenes include props, movies and other images viewed through 3d glasses. The goal is to save several superheros that have been kidnapped by villains.
The ride has 10 ride units.
Props and animatronic characters were manufactured by Sally Manufacturing.
Texas SkyScreamerTexas SkyScreamer
The Texas SkyScreamer is a giant swing ride which opened in May, 2013.
The ride is 400 feet high and spins at 35 mph. There are 12 units, with two seats each, for a total capacity of 24. As the swings spin, the circle that they travel in becomes 124 foot wide. The ride lasts 2 minutes, 45 seconds.
The ride is a "Star Flyer" type ride manufactured by Austrian manufacturer Funtime.