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Ride Profile: Green Lantern First Flight

By on 03/23/2012

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Ride Type: Roller Coaster

Manufacturer: Intamin AG
Model/Style: ZacSpin
Year Built: 2011

In late 2010, when Six Flags Magic Mountain announced its plans for the 2011 season, people got excited. They were going to install the very first Intamin ZacSpin coaster in the United States and call it Green Lantern: First Flight. A ZacSpin coaster is very unique in that the entire track is contained in a single, vertical plane. There are no curves or loops on the Green Lantern ride, but that doesn’t mean you won’t go upside-down. Each side of each car rotates freely, a full 360 degrees. As the track drops and cuts back and forth on itself, you are at the complete mercy of physics and never know when you will flip upside-down or how many times. The amount of weight in the front versus the back of the car also plays a big factor.

Intamin manufactures four different models of the ZacSpin coaster, varying in size and layout. Magic Mountain installed their second largest model, a “32.5-247”, referring to the height and track length in meters. That makes it 97.5′ tall, with 741′ of track, and a maximum speed of 34 MPH. The coaster can handle a maximum of six cars, but I believe the park only purchased five. Each car seats eight riders, four on each side of the track, with two facing forward and two facing backwards. Maximum capacity with six cars is 800 people/hour. With only five cars, that drops it to roughly 665 people/hour. I often times only see the park run four cars with one underneath the ride in the maintenance bay, reducing capacity to around 530 people/hour.

An unused plot of land in the back of the Gotham City Backlot was chosen for the ride location. Located behind the Corn Cart and what was the Papa John’s pizza stand, many people didn’t even know this area existed because there was never any reason to go back there. It was a well shaded area with many mature plants and trees. They even piped in the sounds of birds chirping. It was very peaceful to sit and eat your lunch at one of the many tables and chairs surrounding a large, round planter that contained this statue:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Within just a couple of days of construction starting, the entire area had been cleared of most of the vegetation. This is the planter box where the statue once stood:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Clearing the land not only exposed quite a bit of area to work with, but it also exposed some old facades that hadn’t seen the light of day in quite some time. From what I’ve been told, the Batman: The Ride queue has snaked through at least a part of this area when it first opened in 1994:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Within just a couple of weeks, in early February, coaster pieces started to arrive and were carefully stored in the lot behind Apocalypse:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

The footings never look like much on the surface, but you’d be impressed if you saw how deep they ran and how much concrete it took to pour them:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Once the footings were in, and all the underground utilities were laid, more concrete was poured and the supports for the station started to go up:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

The station support columns above looked pretty big by themselves, but they were quickly dwarfed once the coaster supports and track started to go up:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Once they got to this stage, the coaster started to go up quickly. You can see how the lowest part of the track runs right through the middle of the station. That’s the vertical lift hill being installed up the righthand side of the coaster:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

And just like that, the track work is done. It was weird seeing a coaster with no turns:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

About halfway through construction, they closed down all of the Gotham City Backlot for it’s transformation to DC Universe. The only way to monitor their progress on the coaster was either from the Sky Tower, like the shots above, or from what we could see over the construction walls, which wasn’t much, so when Six Flags Magic Mountain posted this picture on their Facebook page, people started to get very excited:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Image © Six Flags

After the coaster was built, it was time for some finishing touches, like this massive Green Lantern logo attached to the front of the ride:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

One thing I absolutely love is that they outlined the entire logo in green, low-voltage lighting. One of my very first posts (here) was about using low-voltage lighting to light up the coasters at night. It may only be the logo, but it’s a start, and it really stands out at night. You can easily see it at night from a couple of miles away on the freeway:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Just a couple of weeks before the proposed opening date, the coaster cars could be seen hiding out in the back lot, close to the administration building:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Media Day was held on June 30, 2011. I was one of the very first people in line and got a spot up front and center. Everything looked absolutely spectacular:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Bonnie Rabjohn, the Park President for both Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor, took the stage. She thanked everyone for coming out, identified a couple of special groups in the crowd, and acknowledged all the hard work by the many people involved in the building of this coaster. She also pointed out that with this 18th coaster, Six Flags Magic Mountain had regained the title of Roller Coaster Capital of the World, albeit much more subtly than I probably would have done:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

There were lots of DC Comics characters on hand for the ceremony:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

In a surprise move, Bonnie then introduced Geoff Johns, the Chief Creative Officer for DC Comics. Johns is also a well established comic book writer and is credited for the relaunch of the Green Lantern series with Green Lantern: Rebirth in 2004:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Bonnie was then joined on stage by the man of the hour, the Green Lantern himself, and we all recited the Green Lantern oath. Then we all held up our green rings to the massive green lantern to get power and officially launch the ride:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Remember the statue surrounded by all the trees and bushes in the very first picture? This lantern is sitting in the exact same spot. Looks a lot different, huh?

With an explosion of fireworks, the ride was officially open for business and the very first car full of people ceremoniously rose up the lift hill:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Confetti filled the sky as we watched that first car make its way through the course:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Once they dropped the rope and invited us all to “take a spin” on the Green Lantern, I was one of the first people to make my way through the queue. Right before I ducked into the station for my Green Lantern ride, I took a quick picture of the line behind me, and it was a doozy:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

They did some great theming on this ride. The main queue entrance looks like an entry to Ferris Aircraft, which is where Hal Jordan, aka the Green Lantern, was a test pilot:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Lots of trees and palms not only helped hide the switchbacks, but also looked great:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Lots of shade and TVs to keep people entertained while they’re waiting in line:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

After the switchbacks, the final pathway leads back across the front of the station and into a partially hidden entry behind a protruded door:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

The Flash Pass entrance leads in from the other side. You get to bypass the long queue out front and merge into line where it enters the station:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

The very first thing you see when you enter the station is presumably Hal’s crashed jet. All of the rocky desert and back half of the plane are artwork on the wall, It’s cleverly mixed with props such as the front of the jet and the faux rock in the foreground. It’s very well done and is fun to look at while you’re waiting in line:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

The next room the line moves into has a giant green rock in the center with a green lantern on top. The Green Lantern backstory is projected onto a video screen:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

As the line loops around the rock, you’ll see the video being projected onto another screen on the opposite wall:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

A solid metal station in Valencia, CA can get very hot in the summer. Fortunately, they installed a huge fan in the room to help keep the air circulating. Now, about that dirt…

Green Lantern Ride Profile

The line turns right and heads directly under the track:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Standing here, you are directly underneath the track above you. Since it’s a dual-loading station, you need to pick a side by going left or right just before the door:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

If you went left, these are the stairs you would climb. This side is open, with lots of air and sunshine coming through because it’s the back side of the station:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

If you went right, these are the stairs you would climb. This side is enclosed because it’s the front of the station:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Once you get to the top of the stairs, you’ve made it to the loading/unloading area. The dark corridor you see on the far side is the exit, stairs leading down:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Here is a close-up of one of the cars. It has standard coaster seats with an over-the-shoulder-restraints and soft shoulder straps. There is an arm guard on the outside seat as the clearance coming back into the station is incredibly tight. The giant green sunburst is to protect the inside rider’s limbs from hitting anything during the ride. Two riders face forward and two riders face backwards. Each side rotates independently of each other and the weight distribution between the front and back will affect the ride experience:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Here you can see both sides of the car loaded and ready for dispatch. This coaster uses a very unique curved vertical lift hill with twin, hydraulically-driven, lift chains:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

This picture shows the car as it heads up the lift hill. You can also see the newer style sunburst arm guards that replaced the originals that you saw above. The bottoms are cut flat to allow clearance while the cars are in the station. Knowing that the flat section of the sunburst corresponds to the bottom of the car, you can easily tell that the side closest to the camera is fairly well balanced and the far side is clearly not balanced at all:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

A park operator can somewhat control how wild this ride is by how freely they allow the cars to spin. The tighter they make it, the less it spins. The looser they make it, the more it spins. I’ve heard that the European operators have it wide open, allowing for people to spin many times during the ride. Six Flags Magic Mountain is much more conservative. Most people will typically only get in one spin, if any at all. If they do get one, it will usually come at the very end of the ride, on the last little hump. As you can see here, these people might actually make it all the way around. But looks can be deceiving. Watch closely on the video below. It looks like they may loop once, but they actually don’t:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

After the last hump, it’s a straight drop down and back into the station. This is where the outside arm guards are necessary. It’s hard to tell from this photo, but there is very little clearance between the car and the building as the car slides back into the station:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

A close-up of the final drop shows a slew of Intamin’s friction-less magnetic brakes:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

This is the exit stairwell I mentioned earlier, from the front side of the ride:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

See how open the backside is? The stairs on the left are the exit from the backside. The stairs on the right lead to the ride operators station and also acts as the single rider line:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Once you exit the ride and head down the stairs, this is where you exit. It also doubles as the Flash Pass entrance I mentioned earlier. You go through the gate and hang a right to bypass the main queue:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Remember all the old, dirty facades that were exposed when they cut down all the trees? Did you recognize them in the photo above? They did a fantastic job at cleaning them up and re-purposing them. They now look like various business from Coast City, a popular town used in various DC Comics stories and the fictional home of Hal Jordan.

If you’re unable to climb stairs, but would still like to experience riding Green Lantern, you are in luck. There is an elevator that leads to the back side loading station:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Located directly underneath the front side loading area is the massive hydraulic pump that drives the double-chain lift hill:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

Underneath the track itself is a small maintenance area. Here you can see an active car above, with a ride operator giving the thumbs up, and a spare car in the bay directly below. The red machine to the right is the hydraulic pump:

Green Lantern Ride Profile

This short video shows the making of Green Lantern, from a bare lot to the grand opening to the public:

I’d like to thank Kirby Krackle for letting me use their Green lantern-themed song “Ring Capacity” for the video. Check out their awesome animated video for the song here.

32 Comments

  1. Dan Sheffer

    03/23/2012 at 5:05 pm

    One Of My Favorite Coasters At Si Flags Magic Mountain.

  2. Josh

    03/23/2012 at 11:08 pm

    Why did the change the sunburst arm guards?

    • Kurt

      03/23/2012 at 11:38 pm

      My guess would be to provide additional protection. I’m wondering if it was possible for some people to still stick things (arms?) between the tips of the previous sunburst. The new model is solid all the way around.

  3. JJJJ

    03/24/2012 at 1:03 am

    There used to be a small ride that was a lot of fun back there. Youd go backwards up, then be dropped down, then return backwards into the station.

    Was it located where this ride is now?

    • Kyle

      03/24/2012 at 8:18 am

      I think your talking about Freefall. That ride was not located here, it was located next to Tidal Wave and The Riddler’s Revenge. Green Lantern First Flight is located where the extended que for Batman was located.

    • Kurt

      03/24/2012 at 8:31 am

      Kyle is right, Freefall was on the other side of Tidal Wave. Prior to Batman being built in 1994, this area was home to Reactor, a Schwarzkopf Enterprise ride. It was located here from 1977 to 1993, when they started work on Batman.

    • R. Dominic Coleman

      02/21/2013 at 3:44 am

      I think you were talking about Deja Vu. It was my favorite! Gone! Sent away like an unwanted child!! lol

  4. mike

    03/24/2012 at 9:13 am

    And of course Z-Force was is this area (I think).

    • Kurt

      03/24/2012 at 9:33 am

      Yes, Z-Force stood where the entrance to Batman is today.

  5. JJJJ

    03/25/2012 at 3:23 pm

    Thanks, so what is now where freefall, the best ride ever, used to be? I cant quite place it on a map.

    • JJJJ

      03/25/2012 at 3:28 pm

      Also, was the enterprise ride the same one that was in six flags mexico city (reino aventura) that broke and killed a few people? I loved that ride, it was my favorite one in the park. I rode it a week before it killed people.

      • Kurt

        03/25/2012 at 4:01 pm

        I can’t answer this one. I haven’t fully researched this ride yet. I would be surprised if they moved it to another park. It was at Magic Mountain for 16 years and I wouldn’t think it would have much life left in it after that.

        • Steve-O

          02/14/2013 at 5:55 pm

          Yup, the Reino Aventura Enterprise was a Schwarzkopf Enterprise. It was originally called “Cyclops” when the park opened in 1982, then changed. Magic Mountain went the opposite direction, originally calling theirs the generic “Enterprise” before changing it to “Reactor” during (I think) the Gotham retheme.

    • Kurt

      03/25/2012 at 3:58 pm

      There’s nothing there now, except maybe some remnants of the concrete it sat on. You know that building facade just to the right of the Riddler’s entrance? The Freefall tower was just behind that and the Riddler’s track wrapped around it. The horizontal stretch of the track stretched out towards Tidal Wave, in that area that’s behind Earl’s gas station. I think it’s just all trees now.

      • JJJJ

        03/25/2012 at 10:10 pm

        This?
        http://g.co/maps/ds5sq

        Also, about the enterprise, I meant same model, not same exact ride.

        • Kurt

          03/25/2012 at 10:28 pm

          Yup, that was Freefall.

          • JJJJ

            03/27/2012 at 2:13 am

            They should build me a new one.

  6. Ryan

    03/26/2012 at 7:11 am

    I say that Insane at Grona Lund is a much better ride.

    • Kurt

      04/01/2012 at 7:21 pm

      I’ve never been on another ZacSpin, so I’m in no position to say one way or another. I hear stories that the European installations spin much more freely, but without actually riding them, I can’t compare the two.

    • Ezra

      07/01/2013 at 1:18 pm

      The thing is, Insane at Grona Lund is completely unbalanced. The ride ops just let the cars spin as much as they can. My uncle went as an ACE trip and they made it spin four times. Green Lantern is almost completely balanced and doesn’t spin much.

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  8. Martin

    08/15/2012 at 10:47 pm

    This ride is a bit of a let down next to all of the “extreme” rides in the park. We visited while it was still on the $15 Q4U list and note that a year later it generates significantly less interest. I didn’t know that the spin could be controlled by the ride ops- perehaps they should free it up a bit and make it a better ride. On our second visit from Australia we only rode it once, confirming how lame it was. It also seems to break down a lot….

    The only “good” Green Lantern ride is at Movieworld, Queensland Australia.

  9. Jamal

    08/21/2012 at 11:08 pm

    This ride is ok. But what really hurts this ride, is how long it takes to get on! I suggest you ride this ride early or late before closing, if you don’t you’ll be waiting in line forever! They should use all their cars, but since they don’t spend your time riding the more extreme rides!

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  11. Sean

    02/07/2013 at 10:19 pm

    Dear Coasterguy,

    How do they get the train(s) from the lower deck (under the station) to the top deck (station level)? And viseversa? Everytime I went in Green Lantern I tried to find out, I just dont seem to find out. The only thing I know is that the floor can be pulled in, so the train on the lower deck is in “open air” without roof. Do you know how they do this?

    Yours sincerely,
    Sean

  12. mitchell

    04/09/2013 at 8:56 pm

    this is my least favorite coaster at magic mountain, me and my sister got stuck upside down at the end and had to swing our feet

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  14. John

    07/01/2014 at 1:10 pm

    I have to say, this ride was a total let down for me. They are way to controlling over the balance of the ride. I have been on this 6 or 7 times and have yet to complete a rotation. The video simulations I found before the ride was open made it seem as if rotation was a sure thing.

    I dont even bother with this ride anymore unless someone else in my party wants to ride it.

    As for the back drop at the exit of the ride, back in the late 80, maybe early 90s, they have a ‘night club’ for teens in that area. I am 95% sure that is what this was left over from. We used to go before I hit high school. lol

    • The Coaster Guy

      07/02/2014 at 12:52 pm

      The Back Street area/theme was created in 1987. The Enterprise ride, which used to sit where Green Lantern is now, was renamed to Reactor. It was during this time that the Decibels dance club was moved next to Reactor and renamed to “After Hours.” Does that help bring back the memories?

  15. Hunter Horowitz

    12/04/2014 at 5:32 pm

    Hey kurt ,
    How do the transfer stations work on this ride? Like for example when they need to work or repair something on the car?

    • The Coaster Guy

      12/05/2014 at 10:47 pm

      That’s a really good question and one that I don’t know the answer to. I know the maintenance area is underneath the loading platform, and they have racks for the cars in storage, but I’m not exactly sure how they get them there. I’m guessing that part of the track in the loading area lowers down to the lower area, but I’m not positive.

  16. Kenzie

    08/11/2015 at 3:00 am

    This ride gave me a whiplash injury ugh

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