I am a thrill ride junkie. That’s not to say they don’t scare the beejezus out of me. Or, that I don’t triple check my shoulder harness after it locks to make sure I don’t fly out, while upside down. But that is exactly why I love roller coasters and thrill rides. There is a sense of danger. A sense of defying the laws of physics and gravity. It shouldn’t be possible, but somehow it is and we make it out alive every time.
Los Angeles has some good theme parks, but none satisfies my thrill seeking heart, quite like Six Flags Magic Mountain. The diversity of thrill rides is what puts this amusement park at the top of my list. They have old wooden coasters, new modern steel looping coasters with drops, and spins that will leave you breathless. There are unique vertical track rides and free falls from insane heights. The faint of heart need not apply.
Here is my not to miss list for Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Full Throttle – I avoided this ride for a while, because the lines were always too long. (See below for finding the least crowded days to attend.) I am sad that it took me so long to experience this unique ride. It currently holds the record for the fastest, tallest looping roller coaster in the world. What blows my mind is the lack of shoulder harness. You only have calf and lap bars, and while I feel secure, it seems improbable that those two small safety measures keep me from falling out while I zoom through a 160 foot tall loop at 70 mph. First you travel upside down through the loop and pause for a moment of weightlessness before plummeting back to earth. After a succession of twists and turns you come to a stop before the same loop. Then you shoot backwards at a furious pace only to go forward once again. This time riding up and over the outside of the loop. It’s an experience like no other. This ride is near the entrance of the park. Which makes it the perfect place to start your day and really get that adrenaline pumping.
- Goliath – This is and always will be my favorite non-looping coaster in the park. The 255 foot drop never disappoints. The moments of airtime through a series of hills challenge your ideas of gravity. The ride ends with a diving helix, allowing you to experience 4.5Gs. It really has everything. I recommend riding this coaster twice. First choose the front car to get the full effect of the 255 foot drop. I swear it’s worth it. You don’t even see the track until you’re already screaming on your way down. Then choose the very last car. You get more speed and airtime back here. Plus that diving helix makes you almost red out as your spin downward, with your skull pressed firmly into your headrest. It’s a real rush.
- Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom – I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of heights, but this ride makes me think twice about my phobias. Perched along side the Superman Tower this free fall ride climbs 400+ feet into the air. The ride up only takes 90 seconds but I swear it feels longer. They tease you here at Magic Mountain. You rise up and think that’s not too bad. Then the ride pauses and continues upward. You see Goliath beside you and think okay, that’s 255 feet up, not bad. But it’s not over yet. Once more the ride pauses and climbs yet again. You finally stop at the top and feel the wind push your seat around as you sway in the breeze. God help you if the Superman ride takes off while you’re atop the drop. It shakes the entire tower and is almost scarier than the drop itself. Like all good free fall rides, you have no idea when you will drop. Lex Luthor says something barely audible, then silence. There is no count down, you just begin falling at 85 mph. I swear I had time to scream, catch my breathe and scream again before finally reaching the ground. No matter how many times I ride it, it freaks me out every single time, like it was the first time.
- Twisted Colossus – I love a good revival. Colossus was an old school wooden roller coaster featured in a ton of movies and TV shows. Last season it received a full upgrade, making this hybrid coaster the best of both worlds. The iconic rickety wooden ride is now intertwined with steel tracks boasting steep banks and spirals. My favorite part is the length. Many complain that they wait hours in a line only to enjoy a 30 second ride. Not the case here. Twisted Colossus lasts almost 4 minutes. This is because you get to ride through twice. Just like in the original ride, there are two tracks which run simultaneously. I love trying to race the other coaster through the track. When you complete one track, you switch to the other, experiencing both sides of this hybrid masterpiece. I knew I would enjoy this remastered version either way, but it greatly surpassed my expectations.
- X2 – How in the world can you begin to describe X2. It’s like no other coaster on the planet. It’s considered a 5D coaster with seats that rotate 360 degrees. This was one ride I thought was even too much for a thrill seeker like myself. I honestly didn’t know if I would enjoy it. I could not have been more wrong. When you say 360 degree rotating seats, I thought they would spin independently from the coaster, which to me just sounds vomit educing. Instead the spins are carefully planned out to enhance the loops, turns and inverted dives. There are two loops that change their mind half way through and turn you the other way round. I had no idea which way was up or down at any time. I usually scream for portions of coasters, during loops or big drops. This time I screamed the entire ride. I left feeling flushed and woozy. It was the perfect ending to my day. Here is a video of X2 in action.
There are plenty of other amazing rides at the park. The above is just my short list of favorites. Other honorable mentions go to: Tatsu, a face down flying roller coaster. Riddler’s Revenge, a classic stand-up coaster. Superman: Escape from Krypton, a fast launch and faster free fall ride. And, Apocalypse, and old school wooden coaster that rattles the fillings in your teeth. Magic Mountain also has a wonderful children’s section called Bugs Bunny World that offers pint size coasters, train rides and plenty of kid friendly action.
What rides to skip? There are a few thrill rides that are just not worth the wait. Batman: The Ride is too short and unless you’re in the front car you’re staring at the back of the seats in front of you. Viper, and old looping roller coaster that feels slow in comparison to it’s modern counterparts. Revolution, it’s like Full Throttle if it was called First Gear. Good news for Revolution is that after labor day weekend it will get a full upgrade (like Colossus) and will re-open in 2016.
As a season pass holder, I’ve been here many times. If you live in SoCal the season pass is so worth it. If you go twice in a year, it pays for itself. Plus the gold pass comes with free parking, which is normally $20 every admission. This way, I can go for a few hours, ride a couple rides and leave without spending a penny. There is a big flash sale going on this labor day weekend. Passes are 65% off the normal price. Plus you get the rest of 2015 and all of 2016 included. They also offer a dining pass of which I have never partaken. I’m not here to eat. I find the less food I ingest in between coasters, the better. Although I do enjoy going to the Full Throttle Sports Bar. It’s nice to take a break, sip a beer and get waited on instead of grabbing a snack on the go.
The other good thing about the season pass is that if it’s too crowded I can always come home and try again another day. My most recent trip was the Friday before labor day weekend. Thankfully it was alright. The most I waited in line was 30 minutes. But that is not the case during the height of summer or on weekends. Pass or not, I always check www.isitpacked.com before leaving the house. This fabulous website offers real time crowd tracking information for most theme parks and attractions in the US.
There is still plenty of Southern California sunshine on the forecast to get out and enjoy. So go get your season pass, and ride some of the best coasters in town at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Plus Fright Fest is coming this October for another scary season! I always go to enjoy freaky mazes, Halloween inspired shows and to ride roller coasters in pitch black darkness. It’s just one more way I can up the thrill factor!
Are you a thrill seeker? What are your favorite rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain?