Colossus Countdown at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in In the Parks, Six Flags Magic Mountain

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Published on August 10, 2014 at 3:00 am with 26 Comments

SIx Flags Magic Mountain is entering into the final week of operation for what is arguably the second most iconic roller coaster in the park, Colossus. We’ll also give you an update on Ninja, take a look at the growing intrusive nature of the sponsorships in the park and ponder what the heck they are thinking about the awful aesthetics of the reworked areas of the park.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We have corrected the misleading information that Magic Mountain is the only Six Flags Park in the US.  We apologize for this misleading information.

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As we enter the park we come upon the entry plaza and the Revolution coaster, which in our opinion is the most iconic coaster in the park.  To be honest, the Tatsu coaster is actually growing on us here.  If only they would freshen up the pain a bit.

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Season Pass

Season passes are being promoted throughout the park. With the year more than half over it’s still a decent deal.  Especially when you consider that this is one of two Six Flags parks in the US opened year-round and they have added the new Holiday in the Park event towards the end of the year.

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Colossus

Colossus, the King of Wooden Coasters, ends its reign Saturday, August 16th.  The monstrous woodie has held multiple records over the years including the tallest fastest coaster in the world, the first coaster to feature two drops over 100ft, the largest wooden coaster in the world, and is still the largest dual track wooden coaster in the world. To say this roller coaster, which was opened on June 29th 1978 at a staggering (for the time) cost of 7 million dollars, is a landmark attraction is an understatement.

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As time rolled on, this towering ivory masterpiece became dwarfed in the search for more extreme thrills.

As we stated at the outset, we have to hand it to Magic Mountain and their approach to closing this important ride.  They are giving fans plenty of time to say goodbye and relive the memories.  Six Flags has also created displays to explain Colossus’ place in movies and television setting up a variety of displays.

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We took one last ride on the King of wooden coasters.

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Inside the once-bustling queue, was an empty station to the right.  In fact, they were already doing a bit of work on that side.

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The black train still running.

The ride felt surprisingly smooth.  Smoother than Ghostrider over at Knott’s, that’s for sure.

On a personal note, Colossus means a great deal to me.  I can remember the very first time I set eyes on this astounding structure.  I was 6 years old and a tiny little guy.  The wait on opening day was just over 7 hours and my mom, dad, sisters, and cousins were all there, all in line.  They took turns walking little me over to the kiddie land to take a spin on the rides there, while everyone else waited for the big new ride.

As our group inched closer to the queue building, anticipation grew.  We were all getting so excited to ride this, the biggest coaster in the world.  I had cut my coaster teeth on Space Mountain just a year earlier when it debuted at Disneyland, and I had lived through the Corkscew at Knott’s as my first looping coaster just a few months before.  At age 6 I was ready to conquer Colossus.

the train pulled into the station, the guests in the train jumped out and my aunt and I began to get into the car.  Suddenly, the young man working the platform caught me, and asked that they measure me to the height limit, to see if I was tall enough to ride.  Imagine my displeasure when to hear that I was too short to ride.  After a seven and a half hour wait, “Access DENIED.”  Crestfallen I trudged over to the exit bridge that originally spanned over the track.  The train left the station and I watched as my family passed under me.  It wasn’t until a few years later, and a new pair of cowboy boots that added to my height, that I was able to ride the King of Coasters.  The wait was worth it.

What are your Colossus memories?  Does this ride mean something special to you?  Share it in the comments below.

Ninja is Back

Just about three weeks after a tree fell against the tracks, sending a few riders to the hospital, the suspended coaster Ninja is back open.  The ride looks and feels just fine.  However, foliage near the path of the attraction has been cut way back.

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Around the area of the incident, the trees have been cut back considerably.

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Yep, James and Matt survived.

 

Sponsors Attack!

We understand that Magic Mountain is not a theme park, and that visual intrusions aren’t an important concern here. We also understand that sponsorships in any park are nothing new.  But Six Flags Magic Mountain has been taking sponsorships in an aggressive direction, seemingly selling every square inch of visual space in the park. It is impossible to avoid being pitched snacks, credit cards, phone carriers, and time shares.

Take a trip to X2 as an example.  It is now fully sponsored by Twix. Not just the ride being “presented by Twix,” but a full on advertising assault.

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At every turn, TWIX TWIX TWIX!

But Twix isn’t the only sponsor that the park is over-promoting. . .

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Passing back under the bridge that led to X2 we find a garish banner for Takis

In order to buy all of that snack food, we might need to take out a credit card.  Thankfully they have a suggestion for us.

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Twix isn’t the only candy bar with an appetite for thrills. Snickers is a great candy bar to enjoy while riding Ninja. Or perhaps you’re just hungry.

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That isn’t even a fraction of the advertisements we saw. Magic Mountain is blessed with lovely terrain, beautiful vistas and some of the best thrill rides on the planet. We are just sad to see them degrading themselves with such blatant and obtrusive sponsorships. This has been a growing problem for quite some time now.  We’ve tried to tolerate it as advertising and sponsorships happens in every park.  But the level of in  your face banners in this park really seems to cross a line.

Full Throttle

We close this update with a look at the new Full Throttle Sports Bar.  This re-theme of the Mooseburger Lodge has all of the charm and class of a locker room.

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If a hockey arena and a log cabin had a baby, it might look a little something like this.

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Nice touch, the bleachers for seating. ;)

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It’s just sad.  Sad to see the lovely wooded area that once was home to one of the better flume rides in California, if not the United States, reduced to a barren concrete quad area.  Nothing about this portion of the park looks permanent.  It’s all very modular and rudimentary.  Like a thrill coaster festival that never leaves.

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The stage which is supposed to really sell the YOLO mantra to guests sits baking in the sun . . . mostly unused.

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Our sincerest request to Six Flags: We have seen what you have done with the once beautiful wooded area that contained the Log Jammer.  PLEASE don’t take Colossus out simply to flatten everything out and install another thrill machine on an ugly concrete slab.  Please leave the lush gardens and trees along the path in Colossus County Fair. Please don’t remove whatever remaining charm there is in that section of the park.

And that concludes this mixed bag of an update from Six Flags Magic Mountain.  There are some nice things coming later in the year with FrightFest and Holiday in the Park.  So let’s look forward to what we hope will pan out to be a great second half of the year at Magic Mountain.

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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  • JMazz

    Really?
    REALLLLLY?
    I came out of extreme lurker mode to ask you that.
    Your website is bathed in ads and you guys ask for donations. So how can you bag on sfmm for cute and appropriate ads? X2 and twix came up with a cute ad campaign and it works (2sides on X2 and two sides on twix… both are identicle and ties into the national ads). Snikers and ninja, again it works. The CC company fits the theme and gives quite the chuckle.

    If you cut that kettel/pot section of your article, I’d say well done and thanks. Instead, all I can ask again is REALLY????

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      What did you pay to read today’s article? Nothing. MiceChat is a free publication which is advertising supported. Six Flags is an amusement park. They charge you for entry, we don’t. There is no comparison here.

      Regarding the ads in Six Flags. The number, size, and in your face nature of the ads in this park are really getting out of controll. Aesthetics in all corners of the park seem to have been thrown out the window. There is so much unrealized potential at Magic Mountain, it’s a park we love and are nostalgic about, but ripping out forested areas to put down concrete, replacing a themed restaurant with an unthemed sports bar and plastering the park with ads is not an encouraging direction.

      Thank you for reading and not just lurking.

    • swimboy97

      Agreed- ads are very similar on Miceage to Six Flags- all over the place. Do what you need to keep the site open/ do what you need to keep the parks operating.

  • Ravjay12

    Disney and Universal do the same thing, only it’s more subtle. Sponsors pay for stuff. If it gives Six Flags more money to make the park cleaner, hire people, and build new rides, who cares? It’s like the Nascar race cars that have sponsors all over their cars. As long as it’s tastefully done, it’s ok.

    • http://micechat.com Dusty Sage

      You are exactly right. Disney and Universal do it the right way. We have no issue with sponsorships in the parks. But guests shouldn’t feel like they are being assaulted with advertising. Magic Mountain needs to bring in some business consultants to help them develop a business plan which works both for its bottom line AND guests.

  • Kennyland

    The excessive ads are definitely imposing and impact the beauty of the park. It’s sad to see what they did to the Log Jammer and Mooseburger Lodge area. As for my experience and thoughts on Colossus, I too anticipated this ride when it first opened. I always thought it was a beautiful and impressive structure, but as a ride, I found it disappointing. It seemed to lack the tight curves, sudden drops and lurches the smaller wooden coasters possess, but I’m still sad to see this iconic coaster go.

    As for the structure, do you know if they are they actually going to tear it down? Or are they going to convert it into a hybrid coaster like they did with “The Rattler” at Six Flags Fiesta Texas” and the “Texas Giant” at Six Flags Over Texas”. Enjoyed your article. Thank you.

  • Ken Goldenberg

    My first memory of Colossus was actually a report by Chuck Henry when he was with Channel 7. They had mounted a camera on the coaster train so he was doing a commentary while riding and was saying how paint chips were flying up in his face from the vibration! I rode it later on that year and to me the scariest part was the huge sweeping flat curve after the big drop. Because it was not. Banked “fan curve” it felt more like a curve on a wild mouse ride, but much faster and longer. Thrilling!

  • stamphead

    My first trip to MM was when I was 12. I didn’t like big roller coasters. My idea was to wait in line with my family for Colossus, step through the car, and wait at the exit. My plan failed! My mom grabbed me, shoved me down and slammed the lap bar closed. I screamed in terror all the way up the lift hill. But, in the end, LOVED IT! I rode it three more times that day. Even though I don’t go to MM, it will be odd seeing pictures without Colossus. Thank you Magic Mountain for helping me get over my fear of coasters (kind of)!

  • M69

    Thanks for the article. We enjoyed Magic Mountain just after the tree incident this summer, and bought the gold level Flash Passes. My nephews were able to ride Colossus for the first and last time. I concur with the lack of shade, green space, and consider Six Flags to be an amusement park with themes thrown in – and over the years more and more tangential advertising. YOLO as a space seemed to be a concrete void, with Full Throttle closed most of the day we were there. The coasters are, for the most part, terrific, but we head to Knotts or DLR for theme park fun – and I would never dine at the sports bar formerally known as Moose(burger) Lodge.

    As for Colossus, I rode it the first year it opened. It had all its hills intact, gave incredible positive and negative g’s with lightening fast speeds. It slowly but surely became a shadow of its former self. And, while I did enjoy our ride this summer (no real line to speak of), the brakes toward the end ruin the last portion. I am not sad to see this coaster go, and hope the Rocky Mountain rumors are true.

    Thanks again for the update. Magic Mountain can easily find ways to upgrade itself going forward; remains to be seen whether they do or not. That said, the nephews LOVED it, and betting we’ll be back next summer for their visit – despite the heat.

  • Tshaman

    My favorite TV spot that featured Colossus was a commercial for a shaving cream called Foamy. The pitchman said, “Is Foamy thick and rich enough to stop this speeding roller coaster? Nope.” The bottom of the first drop was filled with a huge mound of shaving cream and a train full of people plowed through it. I think of that ad from time to time when I see a coaster.

  • Tshaman

    Found that TV AD

    http://youtu.be/TPGxvOxu9gg

  • jcruise86

    Long ago, the Mooseburger was the only eating experience I looked forward to at M. Mtn.
    Did they go with the lowest bidder? Sad.
    If they step up their Halloween event I might return for that in 3-5 years. A 400′+ coaster would get me back sooner, but with the ads and the Mooseburger replacement, the might be too weird about money to make such a bold investment now.

    Despite the horrible, anti-hub layout, this park does have potential and I liked it in the 80s.

    • jcruise86

      correction: the should be “they.”

      P.S. Norm, what did you mean by, “they should freshen up the pain”?

      • Marko50

        jcruise, you beat me to it. I’m not the typo police, but some are just to juicy to ignore.

        You did know he meant, “They should freshen up the paint”, right?

      • jcruise86

        Six Flaggs coasters, like Knott’s Ghostrider and the Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris (when I was there) are all so painful I wasn’t sure. Norm did bravely review the scariest Halloween event, “Blackout,” least year, and I’ve seen him face clowns at Knott’s despite a clown phobia, so I thought maybe he had an interesting relationship with pain, :)

  • 22branch

    The main offender is the entire Full Throttle area. Ads can be removed and are usually seasonal, but the entire execution of the Full Throttle area, from the plaza, stage, sports bar, and queue are permenant changes to an area that I once liked and enjoyed. From a practical standpoint I don’t understand why SFMM management would tear out a nicely shaded, themed area and replace it with a giant slab of exposed concrete in the hottest park in California. Have you been there in July? At least create some kind of welcoming hang out spot where people can get some relief from the sweltering heat. Thy need to add a water feature or something. The ride itself is great. So now SFMM management needs to finish the job and build a proper queue, and overhaul the concrete stage/plaza area with shaded areas and landscaping.

    The whole sports bar change is just a reflection of lazy, uninspired leadership. If this is the “YOLO” coaster and the area is supposedly speaking to SFMM’s thrill seekers, why not make the restaurant all about the coasters? It’s the perfect spot to tout its rich history of record breaking coasters. Make it a walk down memory lane, with pieces from the past. A Hard Rock Cafe of sorts but for coasters. Show why in fact SFMM is the coaster capital of the world. I could go on and on about the possibilities of this one little area but I guess I’ll end my rant.

    Fingers crossed that the next big announcement from SFMM is a steel hybrid overlay for Colossus.

    • Kennyland

      I’m hoping for a steel hybrid overlay too. We shall see.

  • bluekirty

    I’m going to miss the Colossus. Thanks for the article.

    But I want to point out MM isn’t the only year-round Six Flags. Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo is ope year-round now

  • tooncity

    Goodbye Colossus. Welcome to the World Recorder beaker, Iron Colossus!
    Long live the King.

  • swimboy97

    ISlow down your typing and do more research- Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is also OPEN YEAR ROUND and has had Holiday in the Park for more than five years. A comparison of ads beween theme parks would be a great article. Maybe compare the much lower and oftern discounted entry to Six Flags versus Universal or Disney. Regional parks are completely different and should be compared to other like parks.

  • thebear

    “what did you pay to read today’s article?” Awesome response to ridiculous comparison. Very funny. And I also feel like some of the advertising is too much. Twix/X2 doesn’t bother me but it is everywhere in the park so that it seems more like a magazine come to life than an amusement park.
    Removing Log Jammer for Full Throttle has been heartbreaking for me. Log Jammer, especially at night, dark, hugging terrain, multiple drops, what a great ride. Full Throttle looks bad and just isn’t a very good ride, in my family’s opinion.
    I was also about 6, 1st time I went on Colossus. My brother sat it out, was pouting about being hungry. I came off of it blown away. My brother asked me “does it have a loop?” (we were kids!), I said “I think so!”. Just a great ride! And backwards is even more incredible.

  • YeahBoyee

    I WAS THERE YESTERDAY as the same as you!

    I was in Colossus, Ninja, Revolution, and the Orient Express!

    It wasn’t the best trip because my dad saw someone smoking weed in the restroom and the cast members said “Smoking is allowed”