Summer is roller coaster season, and nobody does coasters like Six Flags. Known for its innovative and record-breaking thrill rides, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Southern California is making headlines again with a new first – North America’s first virtual reality roller coaster, The New Revolution. This highly anticipated new coaster opened earlier this spring, and we’ve got the full scoop.
To say The New Revolution is new is not exactly accurate. The coaster itself actually debuted in May 1976. Then called the American Revolution (in honor of our bicentennial), it was in fact was the world’s first roller coaster to feature a vertical loop. Forty years later, it’s making history again, refurbished and renamed The New Revolution. But the big news is that The New Revolution has entered a whole new dimension. It’s gone virtual reality (VR). Riders wear Samsung Gear VR headsets, powered by Oculus, enabling a 360-degree, 3D, totally immersive experience.
What to Expect
The New Revolution takes riders into a virtual world with high-resolution imagery and 360-degree views that are in sync with the action of the coaster. Each rider dons a wireless headset and is instantly transformed into a fighter pilot. Riders are seated in a jet cockpit, flying through a city while engaged in a battle to protect the planet against aliens, all while racing over the 3,500 feet of twisting, turning, looping roller coaster track. You can even shoot by touching a button on the right side of your headset.
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This combination of high-definition imagery and extreme action synced up with the speed and thrill of a coaster is definitely a one-of-a-kind experience.
The teenagers we were with LOVED it. I liked it, but didn’t love it. In my opinion it felt like a simulator ride like the kind you’d find at Universal. And while those are plenty cool, if I am on an actual roller coaster I want to know I am on a roller coaster!
But the main problem is the wait time. Now granted, new rides are always going to garner the most attention. But in this case, the 60-90 minute average wait time was not really due to the sheer number of people in line. The problem we observed derives from the cumbersome loading and unloading process, which keeps the coaster train parked at the station for several long minutes between each run. Riders get off, get on, adjust their headsets, ask questions, buckle seat belts, etc. And then the ride operators have to help guests adjust their headsets, answer questions, check for buckled seat belts, etc.
I can’t help but fantasize that if this were Disneyland, there’d be a themed staging area for the next group before the ride’s loading zone, where they would be given the headsets and get to watch a cool video showing them how this thing works, so that by the time the train pulled up they’d be fully prepared and ready to just hop on and go, effectively cutting the wait time in half. But alas…not every theme park in the world can run as smoothly as Disney.
Things To Know
One important thing to keep in mind: because the manufacturer’s guidelines stipulate that kids 12 and younger should not use the headset, Six Flags requires riders to be 13 or older to wear them. Younger guests may still enjoy the coaster (if they meet the minimum height requirement) without the Gear VR headset. I rode The New Revolution both ways and actually liked it better without the headset anyway, but no doubt I am in the minority!
Also worth noting, all headsets are cleaned between uses, as in wiped down with anti-bacterial wipes. Trust me, I checked.
And here’s a little TMOM Tip I learned entirely by accident. The New Revolution offers a Single Rider line, which will cut your wait time down from an hour plus to only 10 minutes or so. The catch is, single riders don’t get a VR headset, so if you’re not into the virtual reality but just want to ride the ride, this is the way to go! Bonus – my son and I got to sit next to each other anyway, and in the front row no less!
So Many Coasters, So Little Time
The New Revolution Virtual Reality Coaster is an amazing addition to Magic Mountain’s menagerie of killer coasters. It is one of 19, making Six Flags Magic Mountain the Guinness World Record holder for most coasters in a theme park. The New Revolution joins the park’s heart-stopping collection of coasters, including Twisted Colossus — the world’s longest hybrid coaster; Full Throttle — the world’s largest looping coaster; Tatsu — the tallest, fastest and longest flying coaster in the world; X2 — the world’s first and only 5th dimensional coaster; and Goliath — the coaster that boasts the longest drop.
Located near the park’s entrance in Six Flags Plaza, The New Revolution is part of an area-wide refresh, including a remodel of surrounding attractions, food and retail locations as well as added entertainment.