Retro Great Adventure 2
2nd article in Great Adventure article series
This article will be about Great Adventure throughout the remainder of the 80s. Same as the last article, credit for the pictures goes to Harry Applegate and Tom Bohsen of Great Adventure History.com and AmusementPics.com.
1986- Park opens Ultra Twister
Ultra Twister was the first and only TOGO Pipeline coaster in North America. Despite problems like low capacity and difficulties of evacuating passengers during the event of a breakdown, it was a popular ride. It ran until 1988. It was removed during the 1989 season. It moved to the now defunct Six Flags AstroWorld as part of Six Flags' "Ride Swap" program, in which a Six Flags park would get a "new" ride at a reduced cost. When AstroWorld closed, it moved to Six Flags America, where it is in storage Over the years, plans were made and canceled of what to add on the site. Eventually, in 1995, the Viper roller coaster (another TOGO coaster) opened. It was removed during the 2005 season. Now the site is occupied by El Toro: The 3rd tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world.
1987- Splash Water Falls opens
(Note- The second picture was taken in 2005)
Throughout the eighties, theme parks opened water rides that not only got people wet, but completely soaked. Great Adventure's first foray into this fad was in 1981 with the opening of Roaring Rapids. Their next entry came with the opening of Splash Water Falls. This ride was a modern "shoot the chutes" ride. The ride became an instant sucess. It was renamed "Movietown Water Effect" in 1993. It was removed at the end of the 2007 season. Its spot is now occupied by "The Dark Knight Coaster"
Despite the new addition, 1987 was a problematic season. There was a fight on Easter Sunday, which prompted park management to install medal detectors. There was also a death of the Lighting Loops coaster. All these problems almost caused the park to close permanatly. During the 1987-1988 off season, Bally's sold Six Flags (company) to Wesray. Under Wesray ownership, Great Adventure started to rebuild its family image and improve safety.
1988- Bugs Bunny Land and Condor debut. Sarajevo Bobsled removed
During the 1987-1988 off season, Great Adventure re-configured the Looney Tunes Land kiddie area. The new Bugs Bunny Land opened with the park in spring 1988. The featured exsiting Looney Tunes Land rides that were renamed as well as a few new rides. The area lasted until the end of the 2004 season. In its place is the Golden Kingdom area and Balin's Jungleland mini kiddie area. The kiddie rides in Balin's Jungleland were a few rethemed Bugs Bunny Land rides (with the exception of the elephant ride which was relocated from The Great Escape).
At 1984 New Orleans Worlds Fair, Huss introduced a new model called the Cyclo Tower. After not running for most of the fair due to operational difficulties, Huss did four more years of engineering work on the ride. In 1988, Huss finally put the ride in production as the "Condor". The ride lasted at the park until the end of the 1990 season, when it was moved to Six Flags Great America as part of Six Flags' Ride Rotation program.
After five seasons running, the Sarajevo Bobsled is removed and shipped to Six Flags Great America, where it reopened as Rolling Thunder. In 1995, it was put into storage and was relocated to the Great Escape in 1998.
1989- Great American Scream Machine opens. Ultra Twister is removed
During the 1987 season, Great Adventure was planning the open a looping roller coaster with a then unheard 7 inversions. The coaster was to called Ninja (In the 80s, Six Flags had several coasters with the Ninja name). The project was cancelled at the last minute when Great Adventure decided to open Bugs Bunny Land and Condor in an effort to rebuild its family image. The Ninja coaster project was moved to Great America, where it opened with a new name: Shockwave (Like Ninja, Six Flags opened several coasters with the Shockwave name).
During the 1988 season, Great Adventure started to plan this coaster again, but with a lift hill three feet taller than Shockwave. Then park president Ray Williams, who was park president of Six Flags Over Georgia before coming to Great Adventure, decided to renamed to project The Great American Scream Machine. The coaster was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world when it opened. The record would be broken in three weeks, with the opening of Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point. Even though it lost the record for tallest and fastest overall coaster in the world, it still had the record of tallest and fastest LOOPING coaster in the world (That record would be broken in 1990, with the opening of Magic Mountain's Viper coaster). The Great American Scream Machine and Magnum XL-200 are credited for started the roller coaster wars
After three seasons of operating, Ultra Twister closed in 1988. During the 1989 season, Ultra Twister was removed and relocated to AstroWorld. At AstroWorld, the ride's lift was changed for 90 degree ascent to a 45 degree ascent. When AstroWorld closed in 2005, Ultra Twister was moved to Six Flags America, where it is currently in storage.
Hope you enjoy part 2. Part 3- 1990-1992 is coming soon.