In a bit of unexpected news, Six Flags Fiesta Texas in San Antonio has jumped the gun a bit early of the August 31st announcement date for the rest of the Six Flags chain, and decided to announce their 2018 project a bit earlier. Their plans? To build “Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster”, the worlds first roller coaster to use Rocky Mountain Construction’s “Raptor Track”, a track style in which the train only rides on a single rail, rather than two.
According to the Roller Coaster Database, this new coaster will be about 113 ft tall and reach a top speed of 52 mph. It also states that it will have 3 inversions and feature a 90 degree vertical drop, all of which can be seen in the picture above. Each car will hold only 1 passenger each, with the trains comprising of 8 cars, and a total of two trains for the whole attraction.
The track being used, Rocky Mountain Construction’s Raptor concept, is one of two ideas the Idaho based company has for a “Monorail” coaster. The other being the “T-Rex”, a bigger variation of the track that is to be used for larger rides, and will feature more tradition cars (4 riders per, instead of one). Both tracks are based on the company’s “I-BOX”, a style that was originally developed as a replacement for traditional wooden coaster tracks, but has now branched out to other rides. Already, two of Fiesta Texas’ newest coasters, Iron Rattler and Batman: The Ride, feature the track.
Going into the actual look of this new ride, I have to say, I’m really digging that layout! It’s extremely compact, yet features just about everything you would want in a big, thrilling coaster. Crazy first drop? Check. Inversions? Check. Sharp turns and changes in direction? Check. Airtime (when your butt wants to come flying out of your seat)? Check. This little coaster takes up less land than a lot of family mine train rides, yet is ready to pack more of a punch than a lot of rides 3x its size. This seems to be a bit of a trend at moment, as we have been seeing more and more rides, both in concept and in actuality, that have been using the “small coaster, big punch” formula. For example, Euro-Fighter type rides, such as the brand new “Hydrus” at Casino Pier in New Jersey, has become an extremely popular design at both bigger and smaller parks. This makes sense, as rides like “Hydrus” and “Wonder Woman” help reduce two of the biggest problems of building a big, extreme roller coaster: Space and cost.
Now, “Millennium Force” at Cedar Point is arguably one of the most well known and beloved roller coasters ever built, but not every park can do a ride like that. The price tag of $25 million (which is well over 30 in today’s money) already rules out most parks other than the Ohio Mega-Park (including the Six Flags chain, who’s current yearly spending budget is capped at about $15 million per park). And that doesn’t even include all of the marketing and yearly maintenance something like Millennium would require. Now, even if you do have the budget as well as the attendance for something like this, that still leaves one issue: Where the hell are you going to put the thing? Now, some people like to say that there is no such thing as park being land locked, that any park can make space for a new addition if they find it necessary. This is true, but at the same time, there is a good chance that they will have to do away with a popular attraction to make room if it comes to that, not only bumming out fans but adding to the cost of building the new coaster. And that’s not even including all of the zoning and local laws that must be followed in order to even get started on something like this.
Well, OK, maybe “Millennium Force” wasn’t the BEST example for what I’m trying to get at, since it’s sort of in a league of it’s own, but what I’m trying to say is this; rides like “Wonder Woman” are making big, extreme roller coasters more and more available to more and more parks. Although the two coaster may seem completely different, at the end of the day, they are both designed to do one thing really really well; scare the living hell out of you. And the great thing is, a ride like this works just as well in a smaller family owned park as it does at one of the corporate giants. This mean that some family park in, say, the Midwest could build something like a “Raptor-Track” ride that would fit perfectly in their foot print and and at a fraction of the cost, and still end up with there own version of “Millennium Force”. I mean, the Wooden Warrior, a 32ft tall wooden roller coaster at a small family amusement park in the middle of nowhere Connecticut, has often been proclaimed as being one of the best coasters ever made. Making the “small coaster, big punch” rides more available is great, and think we will see more and more of them in the future.
Now, that’s not to say that this particular attraction isn’t without its flaws. I think the capacity is extremely low for a ride like this, and, as this is also a prototype, we really don’t know how well this coaster is going to work until it’s open. But I have faith that this will be a very popular attraction for Fiesta Texas, and I could easily see this as become another staple addition to the Six Flags chain.