Friday, June 29, 2012

Grand Opening of Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, CA

Welcome to ThemeParkOverload.net!  I just got back from the Media event for Superman: Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and I have full coverage of the event! This article will be broken up into two parts. The first part, which is below, is video coverage from the opening ceremony, a POV of the ride, and various themed elements throughout the ride. The second part will be a written report of the ride, including when you’ll experience airtime, if the ride was rough or smooth, the launch, and other details you’ll want to know! Watch the video,  then scroll down to read the written review of the ride, Enjoy!

Full Media Day Coverage Video


HD POV of Superman: Ultimate Flight


Interview with Premier Rides Project Engineer Mark Treadwell

   Now let’s get to the ride experience, starting with the restraint system that holds you in place on the ride. Because this ride goes upside down and doesn't have the full restraints that go over your shoulders, they use very tight lap bars that are a little uncomfortable. It starts with a foamy-but-firm lap bar that goes on top of your thighs. This bar is the same restraint you’d experience on the average coaster that doesn't go upside down. But because this ride DOES go upside down, you have additional restraints on your legs. It is a very firm- but-padded bar that pushes your legs against the seat.

   Now for the ride itself. Once you sit down and are quickly locked into your restraints, you are given the go and launched through the tunnel. As you pass through the Superman-Emblem shaped tunnel, a set on synchronized lights will beam at you as the train clears the tunnel. (They later noted that they are planning on adding fog as you fly “faster-than-a-speeding-bullet” through the tunnel) As you get out of the tunnel, you start approaching the vertical climb to the top of the coaster. You only reach halfway before you fly backwards back into the tunnel and halfway into the non-inverting loop. After hanging there for mere seconds, you are shot through the tunnel once again and all the way up the vertical climb to the top. As you approach the top, many were expecting a pop of airtime (when you fly up into your seat and experience weightlessness). This is true, as when you twist on the vertical climb and reach the top you are literally thrown from your seat. Due to the firm restraints, this can be a little uncomfortable. After you reach the top, you immediately enter the Heartline roll inversion. In the original animation, it looks like there are brakes once you reach the top. But on the ride, there are no brakes.

   For the Heartline roll, the experience is absolutely amazing. Record wise, this is the 3rd tallest inversion in the world at 150ft. But because you only have a lap bar, your upper body is completely free! As you slowly enter the inversion, your whole body feels like it’s spinning on a 360 degree axis, upside down, 15 stories in the air. I cannot rave enough how amazing this feels, and this is the best element of the ride by far. This is the type of inversion you can’t experience at very many places, as it’s like hanging upside down on, say, a 150ft tree. But the element is quickly over and you start to enter the vertical drop into the non-inverting loop. Right before the loop, there are brakes that hold you momentarily over the edge, and it really sells the cliff hanger effect. You then twist down vertically (similar to Top Thrill Dragster’s Drop) and enter the non-inverting loop. This is the third non-inverting loop in the world, so this is definitely a pretty unique element that isn't found on many coasters. This element is fun, but VERY twisty and can make you dizzy fast. You experience a decent amount of forces while at the bottom of the loop. After you twist over and dive back into the station, you once again shoot through the station and part-way up the vertical climb. You then fall back into the station and are stopped fast and extremely efficiently by the LSM brakes. (The LSM’s are the white strips on the track in the launch tunnel that send an electrical current to the train to accelerate it. They also work as the braking system for the train as it re-enters the station)

   Let me just say that overall this ride is absolutely amazing. The speed, inversions, and dizzy-ing twists really add up to an amazing ride. The theming throughout the queue line and station are amazing! When you are outside in line, they have these really awesome 3D signs of comic book pages that line the queue explaining the story of Superman. And throughout the exterior ride they have these 20ft flat figurines that showcase characters from the DC Comics franchise like Lex Luthor  Superman, and Bizzaro. Once you arrive in the station you will see the signature red and blue colors of Superman along with wallpaper of Superman flying over the city that lines the station wall. But the experience doesn't just extend to the ride. Once you exit the attraction they have the “Daily Planet Newspaper and Gifts” gift shop that sells signature Superman merchandise from the ride. Overall, this is a perfect fit to Discovery Kingdom’s coaster lineup, and I already can tell this will be a winner. The amazing elements on the ride mixed with the theming from the park’s first DC comics themed attraction truly makes the experience unforgettable.  Go on a weekday during the summer and check this ride out, as it was worth the wait and truly amazing.

   Special thanks to Nancy and Charles from the park along with everyone else that truly made this event incredible. What are you waiting for? Go save the world, with the help of Superman, on Superman: Ultimate Flight. My name’s Nicholous, and thanks for reading!