NCL Free At Sea

Ride Profile: Tidal Wave

By on 08/21/2012

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Ride Type: Flume
Manufacturer: Intamin AG
Model/Style: Shoot the Chute
Year Built: 1989

During the summertime at Six Flags Magic Mountain, the temperatures regularly exceed 100° Fahrenheit, and the heat radiating off the midways makes it even hotter. For many people, the best way to cool down is to take a ride on one of the park’s multiple water rides, like Tidal Wave.

Constructed in 1989 by Intamin AG, Tidal Wave is a Shoot the Chute ride. It’s basically a large boat that is shuttled up a lift hill, dropped into a flume, and then sent down a huge drop into a pool of water, completely soaking everyone in the boat and anyone standing nearby. Each boat has five rows of seats, each capable of holding up to four people, for a total of 20 riders per dispatch. The lift hill and drop are each roughly 50′ long. The result of the drop is a 20′ tall, 50,000 cubic foot wave of water.

The entrance to Tidal Wave is a bit off the beaten path and not easily found, despite the fact that the ride’s drop and splashdown can be seen from the main thoroughfare. Located in The Movie District, it’s just around the corner from JB’s Smokehouse BBQ. To find it, walk towards the entrance to The Riddler’s Revenge. Once you pass JB’s, hang a sharp right and you will see it:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The ride itself is a giant oval. The queue path wraps around the “bottom” half of the oval, the part just after the splashdown area and then around to the loading station:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

One of my favorite things about this ride is just how lush and tropical it is with all the plants and trees. There is a lot of great shade as you’re waiting in line:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

As you get close to the loading station, you will see this sign. Do not take it lightly:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Once you wrap around the last corner, you will see the queuing area. There are a total of five lanes, one for each row of the boat. The far right lane is for the front of the boat:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Since wheelchairs won’t fit through the queue rails, there is a swinging gate off to the right for them to go through. This lane, where the kid is walking, goes around to the front of the loading area where the ride is handicap-accessible:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

I should point out that this special lane is also the Flash Pass entrance. This entrance is a little hidden, far from the main entrance, just off the main midway between Center Ring Games and Sand Blasters. You can see the curved, covered queue path just behind it:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Once the boat is secure in the loading station, the departing riders exit to the left and the new riders board from the right:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

There is a very large and colorful warning sign overhead as you get on the boat. Combined with Daffy’s earlier warning, you cannot say they didn’t warn you:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Once the boat is dispatched, it gets picked up by a conveyor belt that carries it to the top of the lift hill. Once out of the water, you can see the rollers that are located on either side of the boat that keep it centered as it travels through the flume:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The lift hill is right around 50′ tall and provides a nice view of the surrounding area. As you can see, the majority of the people are often times looking to the right:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The reason for that is because Green Lantern: First Flight is right next to the lift hill and you get a great view of the people screaming as they roll through that ride:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

As you can see in this older photo (no Green Lantern), the boat is dropped into the flume once it reaches the top of the lift hill and it floats around a 180° turn to the drop:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The boat slides down these rails into the splashdown pool below:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The ride’s exit bridge crosses over the top of the splashdown area. If you are standing on it when the boat hits bottom, you will get wet:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The drop isn’t completely straight. There is a small bump in it that causes the boat to pop a bit as it passes over the top, giving a little extra thrill:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The boat pretty much levels out at the bottom before the big splash starts:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

If you are standing around the middle section of the bridge as the boat passes underneath, you will get very wet:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Although hard to see in the above photo, here’s what it looks like without people:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The wall of water continues as the boat passes underneath the bridge:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

That’s a pretty serious wave:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

From the front, it almost look as if the people in the boat would stay dry as the water is dispersed off to the sides. Looks can be very deceiving:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

From the air, you can see just how big the wave really is:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

As the boat starts to bleed off speed, the wave dies down and the water being displaced runs over the side of the trough, where it is collected and pumped back to the top:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The boat gets this far before it truly settles back down and calms itself:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Right about the time the boat gets to the second 180° turn is when people start to take stock of themselves and realize just how wet they really got:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

You may not have realized it in the earlier shot above, but this is the trough that the queue path wraps around as you are waiting in line:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The boat floats into the loading station, ready for another group of victims:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Once you hop out of the boat on your left, you exit the station through the turnstile and then up and over the exit bridge. Note the second large warning sign above the exit about getting wet on the bridge if a boats passes underneath. Again, you’ve been warned:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

That’s the exit from the loading station just across the way and the stairs up the bridge:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Just because there isn’t a boat coming down the drop doesn’t mean you won’t get wet on the bridge. Do you see all the red-tipped nozzles sticking up? Those are water cannons and some of them are pointed at the bridge. Right next to the bridge exit are their coin operated controls. You drop a quarter into the machine for a particular nozzle and it shoots a blast of water out of the cannon and onto an unsuspecting person, or people, on the bridge. I always ensure that nobody is at the controls before I walk up onto the bridge to take a picture, but others aren’t so fortunate:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

Just past the queue area is a steel beam that extends into the loading area. There is a sliding winch attached to the beam that they use to lift boats in and out of service. I believe there is a holding pool just on the other side of this wall for extra boats:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The only aerial picture I have of the ride is an older one. There is no Green Lantern or DC Universe, and the monorail beam has not yet been removed. However, it shows you the entire layout; the loading station, lift hill, drop, and exit bridge:

Six Flags Magic Mountain Tidal Wave

The next time you’re at the park on a very hot day, catch a wave on Tidal Wave to cool down. Just make sure you don’t have anything on you that can’t get wet.


  1. Eric

    08/21/2012 at 9:02 pm

    I’ve only ridden Tidal Wave two or three times in all of its existence. While I do like water rides, I’ve never seen the point to riding something like this where you can get soaked to the bone.

    Like a few other rides, I’ve been hearing rumors about Tidal Wave soaking its last victims soonish. Because it gets so hot out there, the removal of yet another water ride is not a good idea (to me), but the park knows that these rides are energy hogs. On a side note, Jet Stream is only a year newer than Log Jammer, so I wonder how much longer that ride will be in place.


      08/22/2012 at 4:48 am

      I personally think its out dated and time for an new water ride. Something cost efficient and with a little more thrill. The tidal wave isn’t what it used to be, It’s just a wave now.

  2. caleb

    08/21/2012 at 9:09 pm

    Awesome ride report! I have been saying I think they should give this an Aquaman theme, cut down the trees around the 180 degree turn, and combine the Movie District with DC Universe! They could easily add some cutouts into Riddlers too 🙂


      08/22/2012 at 4:49 am

      What a great idea. I’m totally with it…..let’s start a petition.

  3. Byron Lopez

    08/21/2012 at 10:25 pm

    They are all staying I belive now that perilous plunge is going away tidal wave will be one of its kind around the area.

  4. JJJJ

    08/21/2012 at 11:01 pm

    Last time I rode it I barely got wet.

    Its a great ride because it does its job very well.

    1) You can get very wet (if not on the boat, on the bridge)
    2) It happens very quickly (fast ride, fast loading, fast line…or just go on the bridge).

    Removing the ride would be the pinnacle of idiotic.

  5. Eric

    08/22/2012 at 3:39 pm

    I forgot to mention that the “We’re not jokin’, you’re in for a soakin'” sign reminds me of the one that used to be in Jet Stream’s queue:

    “Thrills by the second
    You can bet.
    But we can’t help it
    If you get wet!”

  6. DC Marvel

    08/22/2012 at 8:20 pm

    I haven’t been on this ride in such a long time. I don’t see the point in it. Why go on a ride when you can get just as wet by going on the bridge? The best part is there’s no line!

    • Rosie

      02/24/2014 at 11:31 am

      Because it gets seriously hot here in California. We went in September and we were still roasting. Tidal Wasn’t working that day so we had to cool off on the Rapids Ride

  7. Byron Lopez

    08/22/2012 at 10:46 pm

    Kurt when u were in the coaster tour did you happen to stop by silverwood theme park in Idaho I’m going there next week. To tell you the truth that park looks like it needs help if people say sfne is small I think silverwood is smaller it only has five coasters, former dejavu from six flags great america former corckscrew from knotts berry farm two wooden coasters and a kiddie coaster. one day if u can and if u havent you should take a trip to silverwood to make a report and give your opinion about the park.

  8. Kyle

    08/22/2012 at 11:29 pm

    The ride itself isn’t that great at all. I rode it about two weeks ago, and it took about an hour to get through where the line splits off into the five different lanes, and they were even running two boats. And when I got off the ride, I was really not all that soaked, just a few drops here and there. Although it is cool seeing the giant wave it makes, and watching all the people get soaked on the bridge.

  9. joe miranda

    08/23/2012 at 6:07 pm

    Hey Kurt, you can see the Go Big cam #17 on youtube…

  10. Byron Lopez

    08/25/2012 at 4:05 pm

    Cedar point removed another coaster to make way for their wing coaster wich means when they open their wing coaster they will have 16 coasters we will have 18 and in other bad news I heard cedar points wing coaster will have a loop that will be 170 feet tall wich will be way taller than our coasters, I hate how they always try to compete with us

    • Kurt

      08/25/2012 at 9:50 pm

      I think you got bad information. There are no vertical loops on Gatekeeper. What you probably heard was that it will have the world’s tallest inversion. Once the train reaches the top of the lift hill, at 170′, it will do a 180 degree roll to the right, putting you upside down for the first drop. That’s a lot different than a 160′ vertical loop.

  11. Byron Lopez

    08/26/2012 at 1:28 pm

    So it’s separate world records

  12. Pingback: Photo Gallery: Tidal Wave |

  13. Pingback: 2006 Attractions At Six Flags Magic Mountain |

  14. Pingback: 1998 Attractions At Six Flags Magic Mountain |

  15. Jorgee

    04/02/2013 at 6:58 pm

    do those watter nozzles still work today? i went last week and didnt see a machine to enter money.

  16. Pingback: 1971 Magic Mountain Opening Day Photos - The Coaster Guy

Leave a Reply

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *