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Superman: The Escape Was Almost Called Velocetron At SFMM

By on 02/27/2011

Anyone who has been to Six Flags Magic Mountain in the past 13 years knows what Superman: The Escape is. With a tower hovering at a very commanding 415 feet tall, it’s very hard to miss from almost anywhere in the park. Add to that the almost deafening, jet-like scream the cars make as they race up the tower and it makes for a very memorable experience, even if you don’t ride it. However, did you know that it almost wasn’t called Superman at all?

Many people outside of the theme park industry and enthusiast community don’t realize that most theme park attractions don’t have a set theme from day one. The park may know what type of ride they want to install in a particular area of the park, but they may not know what theme it will carry until some time later. They usually go through go through a series of brainstorming sessions where all kinds of possibilities are discussed. They take into consideration such things as the type of ride, the area of the park it’s located, and the general audience for the ride. Once they narrow it down to a couple of possibilities, concept art is usually drawn up to visualize the concept to get a better feel for how it would play out. Sometimes, looking back years later on concept art for a ride that didn’t make the cut can be quite laughable. Other times, the concept art still seems fresh and plausible. I feel that the following example falls into the latter category.

One of the interesting pieces that has been on display in the Magic of the Mountain Museum at the top of the Sky Tower was a conceptual drawing of a theme that was competing directly with the Man of Steel himself for which theme would adorn the new ride back in 1996. It was called Velocetron and this is what it looked like:

Velecetron Concept Art from the Magic of the Mountain Museum

The theme was basically a futuristic laser outpost contained within some ancient ruins. A classic take on technology ahead of our time being discovered in ruins from eons ago. If you look close, you will still see the basic traffic flow as it is today. You enter the ride queue from the plaza located on the south side of the building and go either left or right, depending on which track you want to ride. The ancient ruins theme continues inside along the walls of the line queue. The ride loads and unloads just as it does today. You can also see the area labeled as the maintenance zone and the emergency brake zone, also just as they are today.

The concept for the exterior is much more elaborate than the Superman theming is today. In addition to the ancient bricks, which obviously made up the structure, you also see lots of high-tech gadgetry as well. There is a giant laser labeled the Graviton Neutralization Laser and a Velocetron Particle Conduit running down the center. This theme continued inside the loading area with something called “massive set piece.” I presume this would have been a continuation of what was seen outside, extending the theme all the way through the building and enhancing the experience. Here is some exterior concept art for the theme:


Credit: Six Flags

As we all know, Superman won the battle and that’s how everyone knows the ride today. I understand how the superhero theme fits in with the rest of the park, but I can’t help but wonder if money was a factor as well in choosing the Superman theme. Compared to the stark “Fortress of Solitude” theme, I’m sure the Velocetron theme would have been much more expensive given how elaborate it looks. I also feel that the Velocetron concept would have better fit into this area of the park. Add in some Asian pieces and this could have easily been a lost Asian temple, feeling right at home with Ninja, Tatsu, and the entire Samurai Summit theme.

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  1. Pingback: Ride Profile: Superman Escape From Krypton |

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