Retro Great Adventure
The Tri-State's Disneyland in the 80s
Hello RetroJunkies, this my first article on my first day on RetroJunk. I bet some of you have heard of or been to the Six Flags Great Adventure theme park in Jackson Township,New Jersey. This article will be about 80s Great Adventure from 1980 to 1985.
Picutres are courtesy of Harry Applegate and Tom Bohsen of Great Adventure History.com and AmusementPics.com
1980- Theme Park recieves three new additions- Bucaneer, Adventure Theater, and Oktoberfest
This ride was the world's first Pirate Ship swinging ride and when it opened, it drew huge crowds. Even 28 years after it opened, it still is a favorite with families and is still one of my favorite rides at the park.
Adventure Theatre aka. Cinema 180
This facility was used to show 15 minute movies. The movies showed fighter planes, car chases, and other exciting moments wrapped together with little or no plot. The theater showed movies until 1994. In the 1995 and 1996 seasons, the theater was renamed "Looney Tune Lakeside Theatre" and inside the theatre was a meet and greet called "Backstage with the Looney Tunes". It sat dormat in the 1997 and 1998 seasons before finally being demolished in the 1998-1999 off season. Its spot is now occupied by the Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train roller coaster Below is a picture of the theater in its "Looney Tunes Lakeside Theatre" configuration
(Note- the pictures above were taken on the event's second and final run)
In 1980, in one the first efforts to extend the season, the park debuted the Oktoberfest event. This event brought German culture and food to park visitors. The event was a sucess and they brought it back in the 1981 and 1982 seasons. After a seven year hiatus, it was brought back in 1989 and lasted until 1992. The area where Oktoberfest was held hosted other events and is used today as a private picnic area
1981- Roaring Rapids opens
In 1980, the now defunct Six Flags AstroWorld, Intamin debuted the River Rapids ride. Unlike the average log flume ride, the River Rapids ride managed to get all of the riders not just wet, but completely soaked. Its success prompted Six Flags to add another version. Like AstroWorld's version, it was a sucess. It is still in the park with a new name: Congo Rapids. Its popularity is still as much as it was in its opening season.
1982- Joust-A-Bout opens
During the 1981-1982 off season, the park's original games area were destroyed in a fire. The current game area were built. To attract people to the area, a new ride was added. This ride was the only Schwarzkopf Dschunke (Chinese Junk) in the United States. In 1997, the ride was renamed to Sky Pilot to theme it to the nearby Right Stuff Mach 1 Adventure theatre. Here is a picture of the ride as Sky Pilot
After the 1998 season, the ride was removed from the park. Its spot is now occupied by the Twister top spin ride
1983- Parachuter's Perch and Freefall opens
In the 1939-1940 Worlds Fair, there was a ride called Life Savers' Parachute Drop. This ride is now at Coney Island. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, there were many variations of that ride. This paticular ride was relocated from Six Flags St. Louis, where it was known as Sky Chuter. The ride is still in the park, now know as Parachute Training Center Edwards AFB Jump Tower.
In 1982, Six Flags Over Texas opened the now defunct Texas Cliffhanger (later known as Wildcatter). It was the first Intamin Freefall ride (1st generation). After its success, Six Flags decided to install the ride in all of their parks, Great Adventure was one of the first to recieve them. The ride ran unitl 2006. During its final decade of operation, it was known as Stuntman's Freefall.
1984- Sarajevo Bobsleds and Shirt Tales Land opens
In 1984, the park's existing Kiddie Kingdom was renamed and rethemed to the cartoon "Shirt Tales". This configuration lasted only one season.
The main addition was the Sarajevo Bobsled coaster. It was themed to the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia. The ride was prone to not operate when there was moisture on the track. The ride was removed after the 1988 season and its spot is now occupied by The Great American Scream Machine
1985- Looping Starship and Looney Tunes Land open
During the winter of 1984-1985, Six Flags purchased Mariott's Great America in Gurnee,Illinois. Along with the purchase, Six Flags got the ride to use the Looney Tunes characters as mascots. Shirts Tales Land became Looney Tunes Land. This version lasted until 1987
The main addition was the Looping Starship ride. This ride was a variation of Intamin's Pirate Ship ride. This ride not only swung back and forth, it also went upside down in a 360 degree loop. In 1993, Looping Starship was renamed and rethemed to Space Shuttle Flight Testing. At the end of the 1996 season, it and the nearby Scrambler ride was moved to the Boardwalk section of the park.
Hope you enjoyed my first article. Expect a part 2 coming soon.