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Batman: The Ride is a steel inverted roller coaster found at Six Flags Great America, Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Six Flags St. Louis, Six Flags Over Georgia and Six Flags Over Texas. The ride was also formerly at Six Flags New Orleans.

The rides were manufactured by Bolliger & Mabillard and feature a height of roughly 109 feet and reach speeds of 50 miles per hour. The original coaster at Six Flags Great America was the first inverted roller coaster in the world when it opened on May 9, 1992 and has since been awarded Coaster Landmark status by the American Coaster Enthusiasts.

History

Design

The concept of an inverted roller coaster with inversions was developed by Jim Wintrode, the general manager of Six Flags Great America, in the 1990s. To develop the idea, Wintrode worked with Walter Bolliger and Claude Mabillard from the Swiss roller coaster manufacturer Bolliger & Mabillard and engineer Robert Mampe. The ride soft opened to the public on May 2, 1992, with an official opening one week later. Although the full cost of the ride has never been disclosed, it was the single biggest investment made by Six Flags Great America on one attraction at the time it opened.

Experience

Six Flags designers' decorative theme attempts to capture the spirit of Batman's world for those queuing to board the ride. As the queue moves through Gotham City Park, the theme becomes more ominous. Modeled after Anton Furst's award-winning set design for the original Batman film, the atmosphere indicates a crime-ridden and dirty environment, with wrecked cars, discarded pieces of equipment, crumbling concrete, and a Gotham City Police car riddled with bullet holes. The queue then enters the ride structure. The ride passenger loading area is modeled on Batman's Batcave, and features a replica of the Batsuit from the 1989 film.

At Six Flags St Louis, many of the theming elements in the queue of the ride were removed around the time of the Mark Shapiro era due to money constraints as the company fell into bankruptcy. These elements included the Batmobile, fog effects, a GCPD car, as well as banners for Gotham City Park.

Temporary backwards conversions

Six Flags Great America

On February 21, 2013, Six Flags Great America announced that their Batman: The Ride roller coaster would run backwards for a limited time during the 2013 season.

Six Flags Magic Mountain

On August 29, 2013, Six Flags Magic Mountain officially announced that they would run their installation backwards for a limited time of the 2014 season, along with the ride at the Six Flags Over Texas location.

Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags St Louis

Six Flags St Louis ran their installation backwards from March 25, 2018 until May.

Characteristics

Structure

The original installation of the ride at Six Flags Great America featured a maximum height of while the installations to follow reached 105 ft. Each installation of Batman: The Ride has a track length of approximately . The rides reach a top speed of and exert up to four times the force of gravity.

Batman: The Ride clones operate with two steel and fiberglass trains, each containing eight cars. Each car seats four riders in a single row for a total of 32 riders per train.

Ride layout

The ride's layout was specifically designed to fit in the Yankee Harbor themed area at Six Flags Great America, although the layout for each successive attraction is identical or a mirror image of the original.

Batman: The Ride begins with the track floor descending. The train moves out of the station and up a chain lift hill. At the top of the hill the train dips down through a Bolliger & Mabillard "pre-drop", coasts down a 180-degree swoop to the left, and drops into the first 360-degree vertical loop. It then flips through a zero-g roll to the right, followed by another vertical loop. The train then travels upward around a tight helix to the left, then through a wider turn to the right, drops slightly, and quickly turns through the first wingover element, also known as a flat spin or corkscrew. Following this is a tight right turn and another wingover, then a tight left turnaround before the train enters the final brake run.

Color scheme

Many changes have been made to the color schemes to match different eras of the Batman comics.

Some Batman: The Ride clones opened with dark blue track and supports, reminiscent of Batman's blue batsuit in the 1970s, while others featured gray and yellow, which resembled his more well-known black and yellow apppearances. Some of the colors remained the same, while others changed.

The original ride at Six Flags Great America retained the original black color scheme to match the theme of Tim Burton's Batman until 2004, when the track was painted yellow, and supports dark purple.

Six Flags Great Adventure's version of Batman: The Ride, while also being themed to Tim Burton's Batman, varied from the other versions since it originally featured a black color scheme with yellow rails until 2004, when the track was repainted yellow.

For the 2010 season, Six Flags Magic Mountain's version was repainted from it's light gray track and black supports to medium blue with black supports.

Incidents

On May 26, 2002, 58-year-old park employee Samuel Milton Guyton of Atlanta was killed in a danger zone under the path of Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Over Georgia by being struck on the head by the dangling leg of a 14-year-old girl on the front car of the ride. The girl was hospitalized with a leg injury.

On June 28, 2008, a 17-year-old South Carolina teenager was decapitated after being struck by Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Over Georgia. The teen, who was on a trip to the park with his church's youth group, scaled two fences with a friend into a restricted area and walked into the ride's path. Although witnesses stated he was trying to retrieve his hat, a Cobb County police spokesman reported the teens were attempting to take a shortcut back into the park after having finished lunch.

Awards

In Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards for Best Steel Roller Coasters, the original installation at Six Flags Great America was ranked 23 and 25 in 1998 and 1999, before returning in 2005 at position 45. In 1998, the Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags St. Louis installations ranked 19 and 21, respectively.

Golden Ticket Awards: Best Steel Roller Coasters
Year 1998 1999 2005
Batman: The Ride (Six Flags Great America) 23 25 45
Batman: The Ride (Six Flags Great Adventure) 19 N/A N/A
Batman: The Ride (Six Flags St. Louis) 21 N/A N/A

In Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll, Batman: The Ride peaked at position 21 in 1999 (the first year of the poll). The ride's ranking continued to fluctuate downwards in subsequent polls

Mitch Hawker's Best Roller Coaster Poll: Best Steel-Tracked Roller Coaster
Year 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Ranking
21
N/A
30
39
35
40
39
59
49
56
61
76
N/A
77
87

References