By Charly SHELTON
Just to start off, let me say I am a huge Green Lantern fan. I have read all the comics and I wear the ring every day, no matter what. I am dressing as Hal Jordan at Comic Con and I will say the oath every chance I get, whether it is appropriate or not. Suffice it to say, I was looking forward to the Green Lantern: First Flight coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
The coaster is a completely vertical setup – it takes you up and you wind back and forth, forward and backward without ever turning left or right. You do, however, flip completely over on the arm of the coaster. So the seats spin, the coaster drops and rises, and you spin some more before pulling back into the station. Overall, it is about a 50 second ride. The wait times in the hot sun though will no doubt be into the hour range, at least, all summer long. And Six Flags, located in beautiful tree-less Valencia, shows no mercy, putting the lines of people through direct sunlight until the last few yards when you go into an unairconditioned show building to see the legend of the Green Lantern Corps.
You would think that if you are building an amusement park in the desert, a quarter mile away from the surface of the sun, you would plan to have more shade outside or at least more than one fan in the show building. Bottom line: be ready to wait in a long line in the sun. Because you will be in line so long, you may get hungry, so bring an egg to cook on the pavement because it will be that bad.
The actual ride is kinda fun, to be honest, as are many rides at the park. Batman the Ride, a twisty spin coaster that lets you soar through the back alleys of Gotham with the Dark Knight, has just received some new paint and upkeep to make it look good for the re-theming of the Gotham City backlot area to now include the Green Lantern ride and the surrounding area as DC Universe, a very cool looking space for many of your favorite DC Comics characters.
Tatsu, the dragon coaster, lets you fly like a dragon over the park. Terminator Salvation, now called Apocalypse, is a great wooden coaster with fireball effects and misters sending you hurdling through tunnels at breakneck speeds and up nearly vertical inclines.
Many of these rides are fantastic. The reason this reporter would recommend to not ever bother going to this park ever again is because of the conditions you are subjected to while in the park. Many employees don’t seem to care about anything. I’m sure somewhere there are people with social skills and a willingness to help, but they must have all had the day off.
One employee on Apocalypse would not take her hands away from her mouth to answer questions. She only dropped her hands to grab her water bottle and shove the entire thing in her mouth, obscuring her speech as she said, “I don’t know” to every single question asked.
In addition, according to one of the employees, we were not allowed to have any bags on the rides. This does makes sense with the velocity of the rides however apparently the only place to leave your bags is in a locker at each ride that guests rent … at each ride.
Some other parks have the same rule, but provide lockers free of charge for up to two hours while you ride. Not Six Flags. I asked the employee if we could rent a locker for the day, she said “no” or at least that’s what it sounded like as she didn’t take the water bottle out of her mouth. So every ride we went on was a new locker. It is not the fee that is off-putting, it is the principle.
Then, to top it all off, apparently the park has no security cameras or perhaps no one is monitoring them. While in line for over an hour, one teenage couple behind us was making out the whole time. Noisily. Hands went in pants; children were there watching. In the line!
This is not the park’s fault. But it seems if the park actually cared, they would be watching the guests like all the other parks do. It’s not that hard. I actually have been the employee watching for this kind of thing at another park! All Six Flags did was every 15-20 minutes make an announcement over the all rides’ PA systems to say please don’t cut and keep it moving. And remember, have a Six Flags Day! That is a joke.
While at the press event the employees were model, everyone was on their best behavior but once out in the park, in the real world it was a different story. I know this is not the happiest place on Earth but it should not be complete apathy.
When I have a root canal and get run over by a bus and my house burns down, then I guess I’m having a Six Flags Day because that is the level of anger this reporter felt after spending a mere five hours at this park. Why even bother making the trip up there when Universal is so close? Disneyland is a drive but entirely well worth it.
The rides at Six Flags are fun, but having to deal with the lines, the heat, the lack of shade, the incompetent employees and the uncivilized, unsupervised rabble in the park makes this more of a chore than a day off.
If you ever find yourself kidnapped by a madman and tortured by going to this park, the Green Lantern: First Flight ride is a must. But until the park comes under new management with new rules, I am planning to stay away!
Time worth waiting for the Green Lantern coaster: 30 minutes.