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Ride Profile: Road Runner Express

By on 08/09/2012

Ride Type: Roller Coaster
Manufacturer: Vekoma Rides Manufacturing
Model/Style: Junior Coaster
Year Built: 2011 (at SFMM)

On May 28, 2011 Six Flags Magic Mountain officially opened the Road Runner Express roller coaster. Built by Vekoma Rides Manufacturing, Road Runner Express is a small, family roller coaster located in Bugs Bunny World. Although you would never know by looking at it, this is this particular coaster’s second lease on life.

Road Runner Express was originally installed in the Jazzland theme park in New Orleans back in 2000 and was known as Rex’s Rail Runner. When Six Flags took over the park in 2002, the name of the park became Six Flags New Orleans and the coaster was renamed to Road Runner Express. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans head on and the entire park was flooded. Buried under 6-8′ of dirty sludge, virtually everything in the park was destroyed. The park was able to eventually salvage two of the roller coasters. Batman: The Ride was sent to Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 2007 and became Goliath. Road Runner Express was removed in 2009 and sent to Six Flags Magic Mountain.

The roller coaster was completely refurbished and given a red and black paint scheme. In 2010, the park started to clear away some land in the Cyclone Bay section in the back of the park for the new coaster and announced that it would be known as Mr Six’s Dance Coaster. Mr. Six was the elderly, yet surprisingly spry, dancing mascot of the Six Flags chain at the time. For unknown reasons, the prep work was abruptly halted and the ride sat in pieces behind the Apocalypse roller coaster for quite some time.

After toying with the idea of changing the name of the ride to Little Flash, themed to a kid-friendly version of The Flash, the park made an announcement in early 2011 that the coaster would officially be called Road Runner Express and would be built on the former site of Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls in Bugs Bunny World. After a few months of construction, and a couple of unexpected delays, the ride officially opened on 28 May 2011. The ride sits on a pretty sizable chunk of real estate within the park. This is what you see as you approach the ride today:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

The only piece of Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls that was saved was a small structure that now serves as the queue area for Road Runner Express:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

Just to the right of the queue area is the new ride station. The red stairs are the exit:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

I’m not exactly sure what is in this next building, but it’s been here for years. It’s across the way from the ride, so it doesn’t house any of the ride equipment. It might be something like an electrical substation for the area. Regardless, they painted it up really nice and it blends in well with the entire theme of the area:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

There is a lot of land in the area that this ride was built in. The park did a really nice job of landscaping it, but there is seldom any people in it and I wouldn’t be surprised to see additional rides added to this area at some point in the future to draw in more traffic:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

For a kids ride, they did a superb job at theming the entire ride to the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote. As you approach the queue building, you see some funny ACME ads:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

The queue building is just a series of switchbacks:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

This is how Wile E. Coyote will build and use the Rocketsled to catch the Road Runner:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

The line from the queue building eventually leads over to the ride station:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

The ride operator’s panel is located in the blue corner of the loading station. Here you can see how the track exits the loading station and heads up the lift hill:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

Unlike many roller coasters that use a large chain to drag the coaster train up the lift hill, Road Runner Express uses a series of friction tires to do the job. A thin metal fin that runs along the underside of the train feeds between each pair of tires. The tires spin in opposite directions, forcing the train up the hill as they firmly pinch the metal fin:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

There is one train that consists of eight cars, each seating two kids comfortably. It gets a little snug with one adult and one kid. With a very low 36″ height requirement, this is a great roller coaster for younger kids to start migrating to bigger coasters. The maximum height of the lift hill is 28′, but usually feels like 280′ to the younger kids:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

The park did a nice job of adding additional theming elements inside the ride as well:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

The ride lasts 0:45 seconds, has a max speed of 21 MPH, and handles 720 riders/hr:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

There is a total of 679′ of track with lots of twists and turns that kids love:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

This particular type of roller coaster is often times called a roller skater because the cars are designed to look like roller skates. From the front, you can see the “shoe laces” as well as the giant black bumper that is used as a brake on traditional roller skates:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

Since the coaster was originally going to be Mr. Six’s Dance Coaster, the “shoe” theme on the cars would have been perfect. After changing the name to Road Runner Express, the shoe theme became a challenge. However, the park had the perfect solution by making the roller skates “rocket powered”, just like Wile E. Coyote often wears when trying to chase down the Road Runner. This was very clever, in my opinion:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

Note: In both of the preceding photos, you can see the fin that runs along the underside of the cars. You can even see it entering a set of the friction wheels in the second photo.

In this next photo, you can really tell how the cars look like roller skates from the side. If you look close, you’ll even see the little rockets the park added on the side of each car:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

Here are some more of the theming elements you will see around the ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

You have to look closely at everything or you will miss some of the details:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

One of the main scenes is the Road Runner stopping for some free bird seed, with lots of wired TNT just behind him:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

If you follow the wires up to the top of the nearby rock, you will see Wile E. Coyote leaning on the plunger, hoping to finally blow the Road Runner up:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

Speaking of blowing things up, I figured I’d leave you with an image of what looks like the aftermath of a bomb exploding. This next picture was essentially taken in the exact same place as the very first picture above. This was taken during the demolition of Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls, the ride that was removed to make way for Road Runner Express. The Yosemite Sam building you see on the left is what was saved and used as the queue building for Road Runner Express. Pretty big difference, huh?

Six Flags Magic Mountain Road Runner Express

14 Comments

  1. Eric

    08/09/2012 at 10:10 pm

    This may well be the best themed coaster in the park. Road Runner Express was the perfect ride to add to Magic Mountain’s coaster collection, and in a sense, I’m glad that they didn’t go with the Mr. Six theme. I’m sure that Six Flags corporate knew that the old guy was on his way out, so they went with a different theme. Not putting the ride in next to Déjà Vu left that area with a little more room for something else, especially now that Déjà Vu is gone. Anyone familiar with Gadget’s Go-Coaster at Disneyland will recognize that its layout is identical to this one.

  2. Ruby

    08/10/2012 at 11:46 am

    @Kurt

    Thanks for making this awesome ride profile. I know this is out of topic but, I’m going to SFMM on Sunday. I have never been to Six Flags on a Sunday and I’m wondering if it gets crowded?

  3. JJJJ

    08/10/2012 at 1:46 pm

    I dont remember the old ride at all, what was it?

    • Kurt

      08/10/2012 at 1:55 pm

      I never got a chance to check it out before I started covering the park. It was a kids water ride where you rode a small raft down a few hundred feet of tube to the bottom. If anyone has any pictures they are willing to share, please send them to me.

    • Eric

      08/11/2012 at 7:37 pm

      The old ride was called Yosemite Sam Sierra Falls and opened in 1993 when the park started heavily theming its various areas. You walked up a few flights of stairs to the top and were given a two-person raft. There were two separate tubes that you rode through in that little raft. It was very much like a ride you’d find at Hurricane Harbor, only you could ride with your regular street clothes. I rode it a few times and got a bit wetter than I’d wanted to get, but that’s what you expect when you ride something like that. After you got out at the bottom, the rafts were put onto a conveyor that took them back to the top.

  4. Rusty

    08/10/2012 at 2:27 pm

    I like the fact that this ride has some history with SFNO. It gives me something to think about when I look at it.

  5. DC Marvel

    08/11/2012 at 6:29 pm

    I know this is COMPLETELY off topic but who do you guys think would win in a fight to the death? Captain America or Batman?

    • Kurt

      08/17/2012 at 8:10 am

      And why exactly would they be fighting each other? 😉

  6. JIMMY TOVAR

    08/13/2012 at 10:54 am

    Really enjoyed reading this profile. One of the best themed rides at SFMM.
    Thank Kurt!!

  7. Pingback: Photo Gallery: Road Runner Express |

  8. Nick

    12/20/2012 at 9:45 pm

    Fun fact: The queue building not only served as Sierra Falls queue, but also for the old steam train queue. When I worked there, you could still see the wood boards bolted to the back edge of the platform.

    Also that small building with the stone chimney, that is for the area PSAs to clock in and leave their stuff along with supplies like trash bags etc.

    • Kurt

      12/20/2012 at 10:01 pm

      I knew about the train station, but I’ve always been curious about the other building. What is a PSA?

      • Rosie

        07/20/2017 at 9:53 pm

        Public Service Announcement

  9. Pingback: Bugs Bunny World at Six Flags Magic Mountain - The Coaster Guy

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