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Ride Profile: Swashbuckler

By on 04/28/2012

Ride Type: Flat Ride

Manufacturer: Chance Manufacturing
Model/Style: Yo-Yo Swing
Year Built: 1983

One of the more tame non-roller coaster rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain is Swashbuckler. It is a classic Chance Yo-Yo, better known to many people simply as the “chair swing” ride.

In 1979, one of the park’s original attractions, the Galaxy double Ferris wheel, was taken down. In 1980, half of that space was used to install the Buccaneer pirate ship and in 1983 the Swashbuckler was installed, making both rides much older than most of the people who ride them today. As you can see in this first photo, the two rides share a ride building, with the Swashbuckler entry being on the right:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

A very fun detail that many people never seem to notice is that the entry is actually a crashed pirate ship. Looking back at the above photo, it pretty much just looks like a wood building with two open doorways. However, if you glance at it from the side, it takes on a very different look. It’s now obviously a wrecked ship lying on its side:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

As soon as you pass through the entryway, you will see a series of switchbacks. I haven’t actually seen these used in quite some time as the crowds aren’t usually that heavy for this ride, except perhaps during busy summer days. Most people waiting just gather in the area in front of the white fence, where you see the guy in the hoody standing:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

The ride operator works his magic from a small booth that has a clear vision of the entire ride. There is a gate in the wood fence to let people in, right about where the boy is standing that the ride operator is talking to. There is another gate on the fence just past that for the exit, which leads right back out to the midway:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

A Chance Yo-Yo is a circle of individual seats hanging from chains around the perimeter of the ride. When the ride starts, the orange arms that the chairs are hanging from are elevated up into the air, raising the chairs up with them. The ride also starts to spin in a counter-clockwise circle. Centrifugal force causes the chairs to be forced to the outside of the ride, not far from where you see the brown perimeter fence:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

One thing I really like about this ride is that it is tucked into some really green and lush landscaping. Here you can see the orange arms at rest, while the ride is stopped:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

When the ride is in motion, the orange arms lift up, providing height to the ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

Even from the midway it’s hard to see this entire ride because of the greenery. This next picture shows how far out the centrifugal force pulls the chairs while in motion:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Swashbuckler

As I mentioned above, this is a very tame ride relative to most other rides at Six Flags Magic Mountain and I don’t personally get much out of it any more. However, it’s great for thrill seekers in training. While I appreciate all of the greenery that it’s wrapped in, that also prevents you from really seeing anything while on it other than the ride operator and the people waiting in line. It can be refreshing to sit and have a strong breeze blowing on you on a warm day. If you’ve never been on it, try it at least once.

13 Comments

  1. Kyle

    04/28/2012 at 11:24 pm

    I always love to ride this ride after a long day at Six Flags Magic Mountain. It really helps relieve the stress off your tired and ached feet. I really hope Six Flags doesn’t end up taking this splendid ride out.

    On a side note, I went up in the Sky Tower for the very first time in my 12 years of going to Six Flags Magic Mountain today. Wow! That is a great view from up there! And man, does Six Flags Magic Mountain have a lot of land for devolpment. Coaster Guy, do you think you can show us a picture of all the land Magic Mountain orignally had and how much they have gotten over the many years this park has been open?

    Thanks for the great Ride Profile,
    Kyle MacPetrie

    • Kurt

      04/29/2012 at 6:52 am

      As far as I’ve been able to tell in my research, the park actually started with only 200 acres, as mentioned in the following SCV History article: http://www.scvhistory.com/scvhistory/mm0100.htm

      I seem to recall reading that the park picked up the extra 50 acres several years later, but I can’t remember any details or where I saw that. I want to say it was the land towards the Santa Clara River, which is part of the overflow parking lot today close to the employee parking area, but I’m not positive. Does anyone else know?

  2. Eric

    04/30/2012 at 9:19 pm

    It won’t be long before housing developments get close to Magic Mountain. I don’t know how close they’ll be, but Magic Mountain Parkway is supposed to be extended toward the west from where it now dead-ends below the first raven turn on X2. My guess is that Newhall Land & Farming won’t sell Six Flags any more land. There is plenty of room within the current boundaries for more attractions anyway, and older ones can be removed if necessary.

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  9. Matt

    08/01/2014 at 9:52 am

    This ride is now closed. It is disassembled and just laying there.

    • The Coaster Guy

      08/01/2014 at 10:14 am

      It’s actually been in that state for awhile now. It’s going through a very slow refurbishment. It’s getting a new spindle.

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