Six Flags New England really gets their audience. Just the title alone of their new, jaw-dropping coaster, Wicked Cyclone, proves that without a doubt. This is a ride for New Englanders.
With the record-setting winter that hit Massachusetts this past year, it only further demonstrates that New England weather is a force to be reckoned with. So naturally, a ride themed around a devastating storm about to hit the riverside town of Agawam, Massachusetts is a perfect match.
Theming at coasters is tricky. Often times a name of a superhero or movie (Lethal Weapon: The Ride and the Top Gun coaster are perfect examples) is just simply slapped on the coaster just to give it an association to something audiences already know. Connecting the frantic nature of the ride, along with the scenery in the queue, makes the rider feel like they’re going through a storm and less like they’re in a car chase with Mel Gibson and Danny Glover.
“We opted to create a complete story line that was immersive and interactive from when you first step into the queue line,” explained Six Flags New England Communications Manager Jennifer McGrath. “This particular project has been years in the making and we wanted to try something new. We opted to create a complete story line that was immersive and interactive from when you first step into the queue line. Weather is such an important topic in our daily lives and everyone can relate to it. The idea of having the guest be the storm chaser just made perfect sense as the ride is very intense, fast, powerful, wicked and just like an intense storm.”
The queue featured cars and planes damaged from the storm, news footage and local newspapers warning locals about the impending disaster.
One of the biggest thrills that sets Wicked Cyclone apart from most other coasters is the “I’m about to fly out of my seat” feeling that comes from the 14 airtime hills. The use of a lap bar and the lack of an over-the-shoulder restraint definitely helps in obtaining this amazing sensation. The ride hits a staggering 55 mph, has a track length of 3,320 feet and the 109-foot 78 degree vertical drop has nervous riders wondering if they should have stuck to the carousel.
Wicked Cyclone actually takes the place of Cyclone, a wooden coaster that opened in 1983 and closed last summer. Replacing the fan-favorite original, according to McGrath, is the largest capital investment the park has made since 2002, however, the wooden frame and footprint of the ride is still from the original.
“Aside from that we invested in the most incredible hybrid technology that will provide riders with a smoother, faster and more intense ride than the 1983 Cyclone,” she explained. “In total this project took over 70,000 man hours! We started the process in July and had a crew out there daily for over eight months. However, the planning for this ride started years ago as our engineers designed a unique attraction exclusive to Cyclones original footprint.”
Thrills of all shapes and sizes are an essential part of the Six Flags New England experience. The Bizarro (formerly called Superman: Ride of Steel) coaster, which has won the “Best Steel Coaster” award from Amusement Today’s Golden Ticket Award five times. The 221-foot drop set perfectly to the classic John Williams “Superman” score makes every rider feel like they are flying through the sky with a red cape on their back.
In 2014, The New England SkyScreamer opened to rave reviews, as the 400-foot-tall swing ride is the largest of its kind on the planet. On a clear day, riders can literally see 50 miles around the park. One of the biggest benefits of this ride is that those seeking thrills can ride it without worrying about drops or inversions.