Six Flags Magic Mountain opened up the construction wall today for a hard hat tour of the Full Throttle construction site. A very small group of reporters and bloggers were invited in to get an up close and personal view of the progress they have made so far. I feel very fortunate to have been part of that group.
There were only about five of us, plus a small group of Six Flags employees as our escorts. We were met in front of the park by Tim Burkhart, Magic Mountain’s Director of Maintenance, Construction and Engineering, who was going to be our official guide:
As soon as we entered the construction area, the space just seemed to open up. The entrance to the ride is going to be a giant tent-like structure with a jumbotron TV inside playing music videos. It’s going to be located just past the orange cone you see below. The path will then lead underneath the track, just before the loop, and then turn right into the loading station:
Mr. Burkhart was very open with us about the project, answering any questions we had. Everything in this area will support living the Full Throttle lifestyle, but the area won’t have a specific race car or motorcycle theme. “It’s going to be the most heavily themed area that we have ever done,” said Burkhart:
The old Palace games building will be completely re-skinned for the Full Throttle theme. The entire area in front of it will be a giant plaza. The building will house two food locations and some retail space. One side will be a brand new hot wing restaurant, featuring a Full Throttle-themed menu including several all new hot wing flavors developed in-house. The other side will be gourmet hot dogs, much like Loaded Dogs was, but with a new name. The middle will be a combination of retail space and multiple Coca-Cola Freestyle machines. The entire back of the building is being reserved for a secret future project:
The area just beyond the people in this next photo will be a seating area to eat your meal, as well as an outdoor BBQ for cooking the hot dogs:
There were lots of people working on this ride today. The old Log Jammer pump house will not be used for anything. It was actually kept as a matter of cost savings. It would have cost $150,000 to remove it and then re-engineer the hillside. It was far less expensive to keep it, add a new roof and some paint, then slap some sort of Full Throttle sign on it:
What’s left of the old Log Jammer station will actually remain. The front of it will be preserved to keep the High Sierra Territory theme alive as people walk past Mooseburger Lodge. The inside will be used for a maintenance shop for the Full Throttle ride, as well as storage. The Fright Fest maze Blackout, which was located in this station and very popular last Halloween, will be brought back this year but relocated to another part of the park:
Unfortunately, several more trees had to be removed. Hopefully they’ll be replaced:
The track pieces are being shuttled from the parking lot, where they are being stored, to the construction area via these trailers:
In addition to track pieces, there were also several columns ready to be installed. Some of the larger columns weigh up to 30,000 lbs each:
This next picture shows how the crane got up the hill. It arrived from Washington on 21 semi-trucks. It was then assembled and driven up the hill using the path you see. The boom is 340′ long and the entire crane weighs 900,000 lbs! Once the back half of the ride is complete, the crane will drive down the hill and park just to the left of this shot, and will remain there until the rest of the track is complete:
The support columns starting around the Gold Rusher track and extending around to the backside of the hill were the first to be installed:
It’s very nice to see this construction start to go vertical:
After the above columns were installed, they next installed all the track inside the tunnel. They bored small holes into the existing concrete structure, filled them with epoxy, and then inserted threaded bolts. Once set, they were then able to bolt down the track inside the tunnel. A 40,000 lb long-reach forklift was hoisted up to the tunnel with the big crane. This is what they used to get the track pieces inside the tunnel. The tunnel is one solid piece of concrete and exceeds the minimum requirements for the load that will be placed on it:
After the tunnel track was installed, they started working backwards on the track installation, placing the pieces on the back hill next. Once the track makes its way over the Superman plaza and next to the Gold Rusher track, the crane will be moved down the hill:
After the crane is moved, the track in the loading station will be done next. This will allow them to work in parallel, continuing to build the loading station while the vertical loop assembly begins. At this point, it’s a race between the track fabricator and the team assembling the ride. They’re predicting the track install to be complete in early April.
The track length is 2,200′ long and the entire ride will last between 1:20 – 1:30 minutes. Two trains, carrying 18 riders each, will launch directly from the loading station. The stop in the tunnel will be approximately 2-3 seconds to execute the special effects. Those are still a secret and won’t be revealed until the ride’s debut. The forward launch out of the tunnel will produce 1-1.25 seconds of airtime as the train rounds the top of the vertical loop. The expected throughput of the ride is between 750-800 riders per hour.
Once our tour was over, we were invited over to Mooseburger Lodge to sample the various hot wing flavors they are developing for the new Full Throttle hot wings restaurant:
The six different flavors we sampled were Original Buffalo, Lemon Pepper, Hot Habenero, Orange, Bar-B-Que, and Garlic Parmesan. I have a very sensitive mouth, so I didn’t even attempt the Habernero. Everyone said they were majorly hot. My favorites were the Orange and Garlic Parmesan:
We also sampled the Garlic Fries and the Full Throttle Fries, which were topped with Thousand Island dressing, cheddar cheese, and caramelized onions:
I’d like to thank Robert Bustle, who is in charge of Magic Mountain‘s food and beverage, for the preview of their new food offerings. Everything was delicious:
I’d also like to thank Tim Burkhart, Sue Carpenter, Connie Lujan, and all the Six Flags employees who made today’s event happen. It was very fun and educational.