When I visited Six Flags New England last year, my kids and I ranked all the roller coasters at the park. Closed down at the that time was the Cyclone, an wooden coaster built in 1985 and undergoing a renovation.
This week, I rode the Wicked Cyclone, the new thrill ride built on the framework of the old Cyclone.
It not only jumped to the top of the list of coasters at Six Flags, it jumped to #1 on my personal list of all the roller coasters I’ve ridden. I’ve ridden coasters from Disney World, including Space Mountain and Mission: SPACE, to the rides at Hershey Park to the coasters at several Six Flags locations, and at Lake Compounce in Connecticut, home of the best wooden coaster.
The Wicked Cyclone beats them all.
I had a chance to ride it twice with my eldest son, 19, at a press event held at the park this week.
The basic facts:
- 3,320 feet of track
- 10 stories
- Speeds of up to 55 mph
- 24 seats climbs the 109 foot hill
- First coaster of its kind to have a 200 degree stall and two Zero G Rolls
What do those facts mean?
1. The Wicked Cyclone rides differently than any coaster I’ve been on. This is not a coaster just interested in taking deep dives and sharp curves. This is one that twists and rolls the rider around constantly, even at the lowest levels.
2. It’s a completely smooth ride, no teeth-rattling need apply. This means that the experience is concentrated on the ride itself, not the effects of the coaster on the frame.
3. It has two zero G rolls. Keep your eyes open, you’ll be completely twisted around.
It’s a 94 second ride, an exhilarating experience in which I found the G-forces strong enough to prevent me from raising my hands both times I rode it, though others managed it. I rode it twice. I could have ridden it twenty times.
Those checking out the Wicked Cyclone on media day also included numerous members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). The consensus among the ACE members that I spoke to was that the Wicked Cyclone would go into the top five roller coasters in America and possibly even into the #1 slot.
Some tips if you should head out to the park to try it:
One, the ride only seats twenty-four at a time and each seat is equipped with a sensor to make sure the riders are secured by the shoulder harness. That could make loading take longer than usual, meaning long lines. If I had the money and came especially to ride this coaster, I would buy the park’s FastPass. Those can be pricey–about $85 per person. It’s hard to tell as the price depends on the group size and the only way to find the exact price is to start to buy the pass and tell the online checkout how many people are in your party. But it’s not cheap.
The coaster tries to do a little bit of what the Disney parks do, provide an immersive experience even in line, by decorating the line areas with various storm-related television screens, decorations, and props that play off the name “Cyclone.” But the area is loud, and my son and I found it hard to talk over the sound of the coaster. Those with younger kids should take that into consideration.
Once you get to the ride, the experience is a tiny bit more intense at the front and back than in the middle, so, if you have a choice, try one of those seats.
In conclusion, the Wicked Cyclone more than lives up to its name.