Ride Type: Flat Ride
Manufacturer: Eli Bridge Company
Year Built: 1973
The Scrambler, located at Six Flags Magic Mountain, is a classic amusement park and carnival ride that has been around for more than 50 years. It’s delighted generations of people, old and young, and still continues to put smiles on people’s faces, whether they are experiencing it for the first time or reliving childhood memories.
The Scrambler was built by the Eli Bridge Company, which originally started out as a bridge builder. The founder, W.E. Sullivan, was inspired by a Ferris Wheel ride in 1893 and started making his own amusement rides. The Scrambler made its public debut in 1955 and is still manufactured to this day.
Magic Mountain (pre-Six Flags) added the Scrambler to the park for the 1973 season, just two years after the park opened. It remained virtually untouched until 2003 when a nearby tree became uprooted and irreparably damaged the ride. Six Flags Over Texas had an identical Scrambler that had opened with that park in 1961 called Missile Chaser. They removed their ride in 1977 and put it in storage after it was involved with an injury to a park guest. They reinstalled Missile Chaser in 2000, but removed it again after the 2002 season to relocate it elsewhere in the park. When it became known that the Scrambler at Magic Mountain, now a part of Six Flags, had been damaged, the ride was shipped out to California and became the new Scrambler.
The Scrambler is located in The Movie District area of the park, directly across the midway from the entrance to The Riddler’s Revenge. The entrance is located on the righthand side of the ride:
There are a few switchbacks in the queue, but I’ve never seen it get completely full. You can also see that after 40+ years, the ride area is starting to show its age:
The Scrambler consists of a rotating center section from which three large arms are extended. Hanging off the end of each arm is a cluster of four bench seats for the riders, with each seat assembly positioned 90 degrees apart from each other. As the center section begins to rotate, each seat cluster rotates as well. The seats interlace with each other as they spin, but they never touch, much like a giant egg beater. Once you are up to full speed, it looks and feels like you are going to smash into the other seats as you rotate, but you obviously don’t. That’s where the thrill comes from:
Each seat can hold up to three people, with a maximum weight per seat of 510 lbs. With a total of 12 seats, the ride can handle up to 36 riders per dispatch. The ride is very efficient and reliable, operating off of a single 10HP electric motor. Maximum speed is 11.4 revolutions per minute. The length of the ride can be controlled by the operator. I have never timed it and and have no idea how long Six Flags lets the ride go for.
One thing to be aware of is that you always want to put the biggest person on the outside. In fact, it’s a park rule. Once the ride starts spinning, centrifugal force will force everyone to the outside, meaning that person takes the brunt of all the weight. Even when I’m just with just my son, we always get separate cars if possible to make it more comfortable:
Once the ride comes to a complete stop, the operator will unlock your car and everyone exits through the fence on the left side of the ride:
Due to the heavy foliage, it’s hard to see many of the smaller rides in the park from the Sky Tower. However, you can make out the very distinctive top of the Scrambler:
The Scrambler is a fun ride. It’s not going to give you the rush of a roller coaster or the heart-stopping thrill of Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, but it’s a great family ride and the younger kids love it. If you haven’t been on it before, give it a spin.