Retro Great Adventure 3

3rd in Great Adventure article series
October 17, 2008
This article will be about Great Adventure from 1989 to 1992. Same as the first two articles, credit for the pics go to Harry Applegate and Tom Bohsen.

1989 (cont')- HalloWeekends debut

Up until 1989, Great Adventure had no Halloween event. The only time the park did something like that was in late '70s. Park management would encourage park employees to wear costumes to work on the final day of the season, which usually fell around Halloween. The first "attraction" in this new event was a simple hay ride that went through the park. The rest of the event had fall decorations with some store bought Halloween decorations here and there. The event was like this for three seasons. In 1993, that would change.

1990- Shockwave debuts. Condor is removed

In 1989, Great Adventure recieved a ride from Magic Mountain as part of the "Ride Rotation" program. Construction soon started on the site which was home to the Garden of Marvels. Shockwave opened on April 20, 1990 as the first stand up coaster in the Northeast. Despite its popularity, it was plaqued with problems. The ride had long lines due to the complications of adjusting the harnesses. Guests who came just to ride Shockwave were dissapointed because throughout the first season, the ride would have daily noon openings. Shockwave stayed for three seasons at Great Adventure.

After running for three seasons, Condor is dismantled and sent to it's current home at Great America.

1991-Adventure Rivers debuts. Splash Down is renamed Irrawaddy Riptide. Roaring Rapids is renamed Congo Rapids. Rotor is renamed to Typhoon

Adventure Rivers was Great Adventure's first new section since 1979's Hernando's Hideaway area. This section was also the beginning of the park coming closer to its "theme" park roots. The area was the precursor to the Hurricane Harbor water park. The area had dry water slides: water slides that didn't require riders to wear bathing suits. The area had three slide complexes: Asian Rivers, African Rivers, and North American Rivers, all themed to famous rivers in those continents. Three exsiting rides that were part of the area were renamed.

Roaring Rapids was renamed Congo Rapids, named after Africa's famous Congo river and rain forest. Other than the name change, the ride was still the same

The Splash Down flume ride was renamed into Irrawaddy Riptide, named after Burma's famous river of the same name. The ride's loading staion canvas was repainted from blue and white to red, giving the ride an Asian theme. The once unpopular ride had increased popularity and its ridership increased.

The park's Rotor ride was renamed to Typhoon. Like Congo Rapids, the name change was the only new thing it recieved.
1992- Time Warner buys Six Flags shares. Batman Stunt Show debuts. Lighting Loops and Shockwave removed. Sports Illustrated All-Star Sport's Festival debuts. HalloWeekends is renamed to Fright Fest.

During the 1991-1992 off season, Six Flags was on verge of bankruptcy. Then, media giant Time Warner bought some shares of Six Flags. The company was saved and the Time Warner Six Flags era was in its beginnings.

In 1989, a theme park regular was changed:the live action show. Disney MGM-Studios debuted the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. Its sucess caused Six Flags to plan stunt showIn 1991, Great Adventure planned on building a new show facility to house a stunt show. The park did a test, to see if a stunt show would be popular. The park created a mini stunt show based on the Warner Bros. film, "Robin Hood-Prince of Thieves". The show was a sucess, which prompted the park to build the arena. The stunt show was based on the 1989 Tim Burton Batman film. The first season's show focused on a film crew filming a movie (like the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular), this was later dropped in later seasons. The show was an instant sucess. The original show lasted unitl 1994. As part of the show's debut, the area that the arena was housed in was renamed into Action Town. The buildings in Action Town were given fresh paint, a sign of bigger things to come in the year to come. Here are some pics of the other Batman Stunt Shows the arena hosted over the years.

I'll upload more pics of this show in the fifth article

Same goes for this show

I can't say the same for this show

After three seasons running, Shockwave is dismantled and sent to AstroWorld where it reopens as Batman the Escape in 1993. At AstroWorld it was repainted white, given an elaboratly theme queue which included a just as elaborate Batcave portion (which closed in 1998 due to fears of asbestos in the cave) that was themed to Batman Returns. Batman the Escape lasted until AstroWorld closed in 2005. The ride is currently in storage in Darien Lake. Here's a pic of Shockwave as Batman the Escape

After four seasons of losing popularity to the Great American Scream Machine, Lighting Loops was removed and the upper and lower loops were moved to other parks. What was state of the art for 1978, was going to be replaced a coaster that was state of the art for 1993. Plans were originally called to move one of the loops to the site of Ultra Twister next to Rolling Thunder. It was to be renamed Lightin' Loop, a perfect companion to Rolling Thunder. Plans were cancelled and the upper loop was moved to the Wild Adventures theme park in Largo, Maryland where it became Python and the lower loop was moved to Frontier City in Oklahoma City where it was renamed Diamond Back. Both loops reopened in 1993. Python lasted until 1998 when it was put into storage. In 2005, it's steel was scrapped. Here are pics of the two loops in their new homes

When Time Warner bought the Six Flags shares, the company was allowed to use Time Warner properties like DC superheroes and Sports Illustrated. This event took place where the Oktoberfest event was held (The final Oktoberfest was held the same year this event happened). The area had pavilions that had different sports like football, baseball, soccer, and roller blading(which was a hot sport at the time). The event was so popular, that it was brought back in 1993. This time the event was held on the parking lot instead of the Garden of Eatin'.

The park's Halloween celebration recieved a new name: Fright Fest. Despite the name change, the event was still the same as HalloWeekends. In 1993, that would change.

Hope you enjoy part 3. Part 4-1993 is coming soon
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