NCL Free At Sea

Apocalypse At Six Flags Magic Mountain

By on 04/24/2012

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Ride Type: Roller Coaster

Manufacturer: Great Coasters International, Inc.
Model/Style: Custom Wood Twister
Year Built: 2009

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain did not begin life with that name. On 22 Oct 2008, Six Flags Magic Mountain issued a press release announcing the park’s 16th roller coaster, Terminator: The Coaster. Themed after the popular movie franchise of the same name, Terminator: The Coaster was going to be a custom-built wooden coaster designed by Great Coasters International, Inc. The name was later changed to Terminator Salvation: The Ride to match the name of the upcoming movie from that series, Terminator Salvation. The media day event was held on 21 May 2009, the exact same day that the movie opened to the public. Two days later, on 23 May 2009, Terminator Salvation: The Ride made its public debut.

Terminator is a twister coaster with custom layout, built in the Cyclone Bay area of the park on virtually the exact same footprint as Psyclone, another wooden roller coaster that existed from 1991-2007. Standing at 95′ feet high, Terminator reaches speeds up to 55 MPH along 2,850′ of track featuring high-speed drops and turns. The ride is fairly smooth for a wooden coaster and made even more enjoyable by a pair of Millenium Flyer trains. Each train has 11 cars, holding two riders each, for a total of 22 riders per dispatch. Each train also featured an on-board audio system, the first ever installed on a wood coaster, with a custom soundtrack. The ride is approximately 3:00 minutes long and can handle up to 1,000 riders per hour at maximum efficiency. Terminator was built for $10,000,000, including $1,000,000 just for the custom theming alone.

At the end of the 2010 season, Six Flags as a corporation chose not to renew several licensing deals they had as a cost saving measure. One of those licenses was the right to use the Terminator brand. On 11 Jan 2011, Terminator Salvation: The Ride ceased to exist and the entire roller coaster was rebranded as Apocalypse: The Ride.

This first photo shows the entire ride as seen from the Sky Tower. The entrance to the ride is the white concrete teardrop that you see towards the bottom-right. As soon as you cross over the draining ditch, you hang an immediate right and head towards the queuing areas, which are the three tan rectangles you see on the right side of the coaster:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Side note: The green and blue coaster you see was Deja Vú. It has since been relocated to Six Flags New England and is now called Goliath.

This is what the main entrance looks like from the ground:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

This is a closer look at the three outside queuing areas. As soon as you pass through the entrance and turn right, you come to the first set of switchbacks. That’s the large tan rectangle in the bottom of this next photo. After snaking your way through that line and under the track, the line continues to the second set of switchbacks which is the large tan rectangle on the far right. That line eventually makes its way through the large guard tower and into the third set of switchbacks. It can be a very long line. This section of track curves around the queue at the end of the ride, before heading into the brake run:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

This next view is as you pass through the entrance and turn right. I’m standing in the Fast Pass lane, which bypasses all three sets of switchbacks. The right lane is the normal path. If there are people backed up to there, it’ll be hours before you get to ride:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

The guard tower is the separation between the second and third set of switchbacks:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Just to the left of this next picture is where the Fast Pass lane, which I’m standing in, and the normal lane merge. On busy days, there will be an employee controlling the merge. They will only let so many people beyond that point at a time, who then pass under the track again and into another holding area, just outside the pre-show building:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

When theme parks use a post-apocalyptic theme, I have a really hard time telling the difference between good theming and neglect:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

This is the staging area just outside the pre-show area. The folks that were allowed to pass the previous checkpoint gather here, waiting for the doors to open:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Once the doors open, you are gathered inside this room to watch the first of three pre-show videos. It is air conditioned, too, which is appreciated after standing outside in the hot sun for awhile. When the ride was themed as Terminator Salvation, the videos starred a couple of the actors from the movie, Moon Bloodgood and Common. The plot was that the machines were coming to kill you and this abandoned Terminator manufacturing facility was now a safe house. When the Terminator theme was removed, the park had to shoot all new videos. Since I usually visit the park when it’s not crowded, I have not personally watched any of the new videos, but I hear that the quality is quite poor and I’m not even sure what the storyline is. I think the premise is that you have survived the apocalypse and you have gathered here with other survivors:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Once the video was done in the first room, you were allowed to pass into this long hallway to watch the second pre-show video:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After the second video, you were passed into another room to watch, yup, the third pre-show video. At least in this room they had some cool Terminator robots. The yellow racks you see held the upper torsos of Terminator robots, as if they were rolling through the assembly line in the factory. They would even roll back and forth a few inches in each direction as you were standing there. I’m not quite sure why an abandoned factory would have a moving assembly line, but I guess you can’t read too much into it. Anyway, once the Terminator theme went away, so did the robots:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Between the four staging areas outside, the three pre-show rooms, and the actual loading area, this ride has massive capacity for people waiting to ride. Fortunately, when the ride is slow, you can just walk right through everything, including the pre-show rooms.

Once you get past the third pre-show room, you’re almost there. All you have to do is head up these stairs and hang a left:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

A few more steps and you’ll be ready to hop on board the ride:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Each train has a total of 11 cars, and there is a numbered lane for each. The opening on the other side is the exit. The primary ride operator’s control booth is at the front left of the train, just on the other side of these people:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

There is another ride op’s station in the rear, on the other side of the train. Also, in case you missed in the previous photo, look up. This ride features a station fly-through, so you will see a train come flying through the station as you’re standing there, assuming they are running more than one train. If not, then you won’t get to see it, but you will get to experience it as your train passes through the station during your ride:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Here is a train being dispatched from the station with the fly-through track overhead:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

When the train leaves the station, it basically does a 180 degree turn to the left and heads up the chain lift hill. The first drop is short before the track banks hard to the left and picks up some major speed rather quickly:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Here is a train coming down the first drop, banking towards the steeper drop:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Once the train has gained maximum speed, it cuts to the right, passing back through the structure and under the exit bridge, which I am standing on:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After passing under the bridge, the train heads up and through a large, sweeping curve to the right, putting it on a course back towards the first drop. Besides showing the train heading around the curve, this next photo also shows the platform attached to the back of the train that held the on-board audio equipment. The coaster ended up being to much for the sensitive audio equipment and it would frequently stop working. After a mere 14 months of operation, the audio equipment and speakers were removed for good:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

There are a couple of high-speed banking turns like this:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

On the way back to the first drop, the train arcs around the first special effect:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

There is a large flame-thrower that spews its fire as you pass by:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

The flame-thrower is mounted in the engine compartment of this truck:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After passing the flames, the train ducks into the first of two tunnels, the Sector 3 Transport Tunnel. It’s filled with fog and red lights, and wraps completely around the outside of the first drop:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After exiting the first tunnel, the train does a station fly-through:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After the station fly-through, the train quickly dips into the second tunnel, Sector 12:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After the second tunnel, the train emerges on the other side of the ride and does a complete 360 banked right-hand curve all the way around the outside queue area, which you saw in one of the very first photos above:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

After circling the queue area, the train passes underneath the second tunnel and makes a 360 turn to the left and spins up to the brake run. After the brake run, the train slowly makes left hand turn into the maintenance shed and transfer track area, which is the  building you see below in the very top-left part of the photo. The train then makes another left turn back into the station:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

In the above photo, the building you see with the two smokestacks is the first pre-show room. The long metal hallway is the second pre-show room, and the smaller building on the left is the third pre-show room.

After the ride, you exit on the opposite side of the station, which I pointed out above. You go down a flight of stairs and make your way towards the gift shop. Before entering the actual gift shop, you will pass by the old photo station from the on-ride photography system. I was told they removed this from the ride because it was losing money:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

From this aerial view, you can see the main entrance on the right. The walled path to the left of that is the exit, forcing you through the gift shop. When it was still themed to Terminator, there was obviously a lot of Terminator themed merchandise. That was all cleared out and it’s just generic park merchandise now, including Apocalypse stuff:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Last but not least, here is a great aerial of the ride from Microsoft Bing. You can see the entrance on the right and the queuing areas towards the top. The maintenance shed is the large white-roofed building on the left. The three pre-show rooms start just above that and you can see the L-shape of the covered stairs leading up to the loading station. From the track exiting the top of the station and banking to the left, you can follow the entire course using the description that I provided above:

Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Image © Microsoft Bing


  1. JJJJ

    04/25/2012 at 1:04 am

    By far the smoothest wooden roller coaster Ive ever been on. Massive difference from Physclone, which was a migraine machine.

    “Fortunately, when the ride is slow, you can just walk right through everything, including the pre-show rooms.”

    That wasnt the case for me. We had to wait for the door to open to continue. To ride again, we just got out of our seats and moved forward to an empty one, rather than go through that line again.

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  4. Eric

    04/26/2012 at 11:46 am

    The current pre-show videos are pretty boring, actually. Fortunately, I’ve been able to skip them a few times when Apocalypse has been slow. The old pre-show videos weren’t great, either, but at least you had Moon Bloodgood to look at. 😉

    Apocalypse is beginning to show its age. I’ve had a few rough rides on it, but I do agree that for a wooden coaster, it’s still quite smooth.

  5. Justin

    04/27/2012 at 10:14 am

    By far my favorite wooden coaster. This thing rips and roars!

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  7. h

    07/19/2012 at 7:40 pm

    are you going to make ride profiles of colossus and riddler and all that soon?

    • Kurt

      07/19/2012 at 8:02 pm

      Yes, all rides will eventually be profiled. Colossus, Riddler’s, and Batman are hard because I can’t get pictures of everything. Revolution and Scream are close to being finished.

  8. Nick

    12/20/2012 at 4:23 pm

    Terminator broke the CURSE! That’s right, that land is cursed, some say it was an Indian burial site, others say it was the site of a civil war battle. They are wrong, especially that 2nd group. I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Before Terminator there was Psyclone another wood coaster that had a reputation for being extremely bumpy. Well once a year they would do a survey, see what parts were sinking, unbolt them, jack it up, stick some wood under it and rebolt it down. That was the refurb process, of course sometimes it was just so bad they would have to retrack sections. Look at any picture from the sky tower and you’ll see 25′ sections of track sitting out behind the ride.

    Before Psyclone there was Shockwave, the 1st stand up coaster west of the Mississippi. That ride derailed one morning in the safety check (not entirely true). What actually happened was the ride supports were sinking and the track was slowly deforming. On this morning one of the wheel boots (the assembly that contains the Road, Upstop, and Guide wheels) came off the track, the ride op called it in and used the word derailed. That was recorded in the record and stuck. That was the end of Shockwave at Magic Mtn and it was shipped off to Texas and renamed Batman the Escape.

    Before Shockwave there was the Sarajevo Bobsleds, named for the Sarajevo Winter Olympics, a classic Bobsled ride, but this flume was made of fiberglass vs the classic wood. Over time the supports also sank unevenly, making the ride bumpy and damaged the fiberglass. After all, you can’t keep patching it.

    And before the Sarajevo Bobsleds, there was nothing, nothing but a curse in waiting. It was also called a swamp. So when they announced a new wood ride back there, I hoped that instead of building it on small concrete footers like Psyclone, they would go the Colossus route and pour an enormous foundation so it can at the very least sink together. And hey they actually did, it’s just like they say that the 4th try is the charm!

    • Rosie

      02/24/2014 at 12:11 pm

      didn’t know all that and here I thought psyclone was just an excruciatingly painful wooden. had no idea that there was anything there before it, let alone a stand up coaster

      • Eric

        05/23/2014 at 11:59 pm

        I got to ride Psyclone backwards one time. They ran it backwards only during Fright Fest 1994. At the time it wasn’t too bad, being less than four years old. But it did get noticeably worse over time. Thank goodness it’s gone!

    • Jake

      06/15/2014 at 1:10 pm

      Psyclone gained its bad reputation for being a spine-mangling, gut-punching nightmare machine only after 1994, where the structure of the ride was damaged in the Northridge earthquake. After the seismic event it was never the same. Apocalypse is an immeasurable improvement.

      • A.M.99

        07/05/2014 at 12:56 pm

        That’s what the wikipedia site says, but its not entirely true, it contibuted to its roughness, but the sinking was the main cause

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  16. Matt W

    11/18/2013 at 3:24 pm

    Had my first visit to SFMM this last weekend. Apocalypse was one of my favorite rides. It’s one of the few rides at the park that has a consistent theme and it wears the theme well, with the abandoned concrete pads around the ride and somewhat desolate (typical SoCal) scenery outside the park. The ride itself was fun and very smooth; I really liked the tunnels — the aluminum roofing made the passage of the coaster very loud. I also liked how the coaster wound its way in and around the waiting lines and props for the ride.

    • The Coaster Guy

      11/18/2013 at 3:38 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the park. You really found Apocalypse smooth? It’s a lot rougher than it used to be. You would have really liked it when it was new. I was on it this weekend as well and was thinking how run down and overgrown with weeds the area has gotten, but if you’re seeing it for the first time it does look like it’s part of the theming.

      • MM

        11/28/2013 at 11:07 pm

        Rode this on 11-27-2013 and the ride was much rougher than before. I really liked it before but now it’s borderline “do not ride.” I prefer the much older Colossus for not rattling my brain. I thought it was getting rough but the last couple of years seems improved. Hopefully Apocalypse can be tuned up. I like the view of the undeveloped land from the top.

  17. Rosie

    02/24/2014 at 12:07 pm

    We didn’t get to do this ride (my boyfriend is nervous of wooden coasters and refused to get on another one with us after KBF’s Ghost Rider) but I love the picture you took of that one banking turn, it looks like a wooden fan

  18. Josh

    03/09/2015 at 1:42 pm

    While it’s still a MASSIVE improvement over Psyclone and miles better than GhostRider, Apocalypse has gotten significantly rougher in it’s relatively short life, especially between 2011 and 2014. Unless the park does a good refurb and makes serious changes to the maintenance schedule, I don’t think it’ll be worth riding anymore in 5 years.

  19. Drew

    11/25/2015 at 8:28 pm

    I rode Apocalypse for the first time last month during Fright Fest in late October. I loved it and liked the fact this wooden coaster didn’t letup. I didn’t find the ride rough. I had my hands up the whole time and never felt any uncomfortable jarring moments. I also rode it at night which added to the thrill. The station fly thru, tunnels, and flame explosion were pretty cool effects. Two thumbs up from me!!

  20. Caden Thure

    12/31/2015 at 9:26 pm

    I don’t know if you’ve ridden it in a while, but that ride is not smooth anymore. It’s almost as rickity and rough as the old Colossus, and I personally love it. I feel like its even faster and more fun, like a Colossus on mega steroids. It’s one of my favorite rides there, a gem in the back corner of the park 🙂

    • The Coaster Guy

      12/31/2015 at 9:42 pm

      I’ve been on it recently and I know how rough it is. I don’t like it. It was way faster and felt more out of control when it was smooth. It’s a great ride, but you can’t help but think about the roughness when you ride it and that detracts from the overall experience.

      • Matthew Amato

        03/03/2016 at 5:09 pm

        I love this ride, but you’re right it was much better up until recently…. This past Fright Fest 2015 with the new on ride fright zone was pretty cool.

  21. Rob Kral

    06/06/2016 at 11:58 am

    Like the 2012 post up above I used to wonder at how smooth this was for a wooden coaster. Folks leaving the ride would always be commenting on that, it was a marvel of comfort, SMOOTHNESS and speed!

    Yesterday during MOUNTAIN MADNESS (which was an awesome event, thanks Coaster Guy!!) I rode it (June 2016) and it was to use words carefully, extremely rough. I’m not even sure now that Psyclone was ever quite this rough! I LOVE wooden coasters, and Apocalypse was one of my favorites. But even in the last 2 years it has gotten much much worse. It’s a great ride and I hope they can re-track it. Wondering, Coaster Guy, are you aware of any Six Flags talk about attending to this track of this ride? It’s reached “that” time, where beyond just personal opinions, it’s roughness currently begs for attention in order to keep this ride popular.

    BTW it was a walk-on yesterday, It’s not the summer season just yet but last summer I did see 1 hour wait times still. I rode it twice yesterday with my group. Some bailed for the 2nd ride. I went back, but for the first time ever I definitely felt very hesitant. After my second ride I highly doubt I’d ride it again which I’m sad to say as I never thought I would for this amazing ride.

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