01 of 08
Six Flags Magic Mountain Basics
Six Flags Magic Mountain boasts one of the world's largest collections of extreme rides. It doesn't have the cohesive "theme" of other area parks, but it has its fans. Some folks call it an "iron park" for the steel used to build the rides, and its collection of roller coasters come with superlative descriptions that include fastest, tallest, first and only.
Six Flags Magic Mountain Basics
Fans of fast, scary thrill rides like Six Flags Magic Mountain best. Some attractions are geared toward the under-48-inch-tall set, but most visitors are in their mid-teens to mid-twenties (especially on weekends).
On select days between mid-March and early September, Six Flags puts on an evening parade that ends with fireworks. Six Flags Magic Mountain also hosts musical concerts and other special events. In October, their Fright Fest offers special themed activities.
Will you like it? That depends. For many people (including me), the scariest ride just isn't worth the wait. And I like the more... cohesive, themed environments like Universal Studios or Disneyland, where it feels like you've gone to another world.
Other people love the Magic Mountain rides so much that they're willing to overlook the park's faults and rank Six Flags Magic Mountain as one of the best California attractions.
Good and Bad at Six Flags Magic Mountain
This is a summary of Six Flags' good and bad characteristics, based on our visits and reading lots of online reviews.
- Lots of thrill rides
- Online reviewers who give the park high ratings think the thrill of their rides outweighs other factors. You can read some of their reviews on Yelp.
- Six Flags Magic Mountain has made progress in keeping people from cutting in line (a huge problem a few years ago).
- Johnny Rocket and Chop Six have improved the food choices.
- To minimize the "fry" factor while standing in line on a hot day, misters help keep the queues cool.
- Mediocre maintenance: too much peeling paint, chewing gum on the sidewalks and smelly bathrooms.
- Waits can be 3 hours at the worst. With fewer visitors, they run fewer cars and lines are still long.
- Online reviewers who give Magic Mountain low ratings write about questionable cleanliness, poor customer service and "rude, vulgar" behavior.
- On a summer day, the heat can be nearly unbearable.
- Lots of extra costs (locker rental, parking, some activities).
- It's a long drive out to Valencia and traffic can be more than aggravating.
What's New at Magic Mountain in 2017
Six Flags Magic Mountain opened as just plain Magic Mountain in 1971, with trolls named Blop, Bleep, Bloop, and the Wizard as mascots. Six Flags Corporation bought it in 1979. Today it's a place where new attractions appear every year.
For 2017, Magic Mountain's new attraction will be Justice League: Battle for Metropolis 3-D. It's an interactive dark ride the theme park writer Brady MacDonald rates as one of best coming attractions at US theme parks.Continue to 2 of 8 below.
02 of 08
Magic Mountain Tickets, Coupons and Discounts
You already know the easy, obvious way to get Magic Mountain tickets: Go there, walk up to the ticket booth, buy tickets and go in.
There's nothing wrong with that. It's easy. But it also sucks up your time waiting in line, and you'll pay full price when you may have other, less expensive options.
If you get a little organized ahead of time, you can save some money.
All the (sometimes confusing) ticket options, passes, discounts and coupons are outlined in the Magic Mountain Tickets Guide.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
03 of 08
Shorten the Wait at Magic Mountain
Wait times at Magic Mountain are long enough to make its most ardent fans think twice about standing in line, but it's just about the only way to get your adrenaline rush. If you can visit the park on a summer weekday or during the off-season when kids are in school, waits may be shorter. That is unless they cut back on the number of cars running.
The only reliable way to save time in line is to get a Magic Mountain Flash Pass, which you can buy online. It works more or less like Disneyland's FastPass, except at Magic Mountain you have to pay for it. With it, you can reserve a time to go on the most popular rides (over a dozen of them) and do something else while you're waiting.
With a Gold Level Fast Pass (and paying an extra fee at the park), you can reserve a ride time on the over-popular X2. At the Platinum level, you can wait once and ride twice. The per-pass price goes down the more passes you buy, so try to get them for everyone in your group at the same time.
On a slow day, the... Flash Pass won't be necessary. If the park is busy and you don't have one, you probably won't have time to do all the busiest rides and will need to prioritize. We've gathered some information and tips that may help you save time in line.
Continue to 4 of 8 below.
- Six Flags' "parent swap" option can save you from standing in line twice if you have children with you who are under 54 inches tall. Get in line together (kids and all), then when one person rides while the other waits. When the first person returns, they swap places and the other person rides.
- Younger kids are very anxious to ride when they first enter the park. Try to find something with a short line to ride first to take the edge off the excitement.
- Some people suggest getting to Magic Mountain early enough to be inside as soon as it opens and go on the newest ride right away. If you run to it, the wait may be about 20 minutes, but if you walk, it may be 45 minutes, and from after that, the wait quickly builds up to 3 hours. Others think you should ride the new rides last because nothing else will measure up.
- After running to Full Throttle, go to X2, Tatsu, Terminator Salvation, then the rest.
- In general, the wait for roller coasters is longer in the morning, and the wait for water rides is longer in the afternoon.
- Try the more popular rides during meal times, Noon to 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
- When the park first opens, everyone rushes to the newest rides or the ones nearest the gate. Head straight to the back of the park first, and you may get on some of the rides there with less wait.
- Bring something to amuse yourself (and the kids) while you stand in line.
04 of 08
Be a Smart Magic Mountain Visitor
Know Before You Go to Magic Mountain
Food is expensive, and you'll have to drive to get to a restaurant outside the park. Bring a lunch to eat in the picnic area outside.
Two-thirds of the rides have minimum height restrictions which range from 48 to 54 inches tall. Measure your children's height before you go and explain which rides they can go on. At the park, get a one-time height check wristband at Guest Relations, security information booths, and the major rides.
Be sure your smartphone is fully charged. You'll be using it for picture-taking, texting and using the Magic Mountain app.
In case you split up, or someone gets misplaced, plan where to meet or be sure everyone has all the phone numbers they need.
If you buy your tickets online, be sure they print out clearly. If you can't print the ticket, go to Guest Relations Booth with your email receipt or order confirmation number, photo ID, and the credit card you used to buy it.
Magic Mountain has metal detectors outside the entrance.... You can speed up the process by dressing simply and being prepared. In the picture above, they are searching my friend's bags thoroughly, and they confiscated her small pair of folding scissors. They'll also take your food, so don't even try it.
You can leave the park and come back in the same day, but you need to get your hand stamped, even if you have a season pass.
Getting Around Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain is relatively small, but it can still wear you out. You can save time (and aching feet) by using the Orient Express people mover. It runs from near the entry plaza to the Ninja ride.
Magic Mountain is easy to get around, with big signs everywhere. You can also get a paper map at the gate, or get their mobile app.
It can be as much as 20°F hotter at Magic Mountain than at the closest beach. Even the mid-70s can feel like a scorcher in this park with few trees and lots of asphalt to radiate the heat. Waterproof sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water can help. Keep cool: freeze a wet washcloth and put it in a plastic bag or bring along a bottle of frozen water. In summer when they're open late, arrive in mid-afternoon.
Don't carry too much. You have to drag every ounce of it around with you all day.
Don't try to stow things in shirt pockets or they'll join the sunglasses I lost on Colossus, which have never been seen again. If that happens to you, lost items go to Lost and Found where they stay for a week.
Lockers are behind Guest Relations. And renting one of them for the whole day is cheaper than paying for the lockers near each ride entrance. A better option is to travel light and wear clothing with pockets that close securely with buttons, zippers or Velcro. A wallet-sized purse with a long strap may be just big enough to hold the necessities, and you can secure it in the pocket of cargo pants or inside your shirt while riding.
You won't be allowed to carry fanny packs, backpacks, camera bags and the like onto X2, Viper, Tatsu, APOCALYPSE, The Riddler’s Revenge, Batman The Ride, Scream or Goliath.
If anyone is susceptible to motion sickness, research how to prevent and treat it.
Go shopping and play arcade games late in the day, so you don't have to carry purchases and prizes around.
Wear comfortable shoes that cover your feet. Leave dangling jewelry at home and avoid wearing anything that park management might find "inappropriate." That includes clothing with rude, vulgar or offensive language or graphics and turning a shirt inside out isn't accepted.
Bring warmer clothing for the evening, even in summer.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
05 of 08
Extra-Cost Experiences at Magic Mountain
Tickets for Magic Mountain can be found at a discount, but they'll find other ways to get your money.
In some businesses, they call those "extras" revenue generators. Seems like a good name to me. At Magic Mountain, they include:
Continue to 6 of 8 below.
- Parking: Although many people complain, the Magic Mountain parking fees are in line with other area theme parks.
- Dive Devil: It's like skydiving without the parachute, a 15-story, 60 mph free fall - and you'll go even faster after they lighten your wallet.
- Sling Shot: Imagine yourself attached to a giant rubber band that's stretched to the limit before someone releases it.
- Flash Pass: The similar Disneyland FastPass is free, but at Magic Mountain, you'll pay for the same benefit. And the less time you're willing to wait, the more you'll pay.
- Arcade Games: Like most theme parks, the arcade games also cost extra.
06 of 08
Thrill Rides at Magic Mountain
Maximum Thrill Rides at Magic Mountain
Listed in alphabetical order. All have a minimum height requirement of 54 inches (1.4 m), except Goliath and X2, which are 48 inches (1.2 m). Deva Vu has a max height of 75 inches (1.9 m).
- Batman: You'll find nothing beneath your feet but air, flying around five banked turns
- Full Throttle: This roller coaster has no initial hill, using a magnetic launching system instead that thrusts you into a 160-foot-tall loop.
- Green Lantern First Flight: It's a "fourth-dimension vertical coaster with a zigzag track," billed as the first of its kind in the U.S. when it opened.
- Scream: A floorless train that Theme Parks writer Arthur Levine says is one of the most underrated roller coasters in North America
- Tatsu: The tallest, fastest, longest flying coaster on Earth suspends you face down, with your feet restrained. Sit in the front for the most thrilling experience.
- The New Revolution: New Revolution is a virtual reality roller coaster,... created in partnership with Samsung Gear VR and Oculus. Check this for more about it.
- The Riddler's Revenge: The world's tallest, fastest stand-up roller coaster turns you upside down six times, but it's a bruiser, especially when your ears bang into the headrest the whole time
- Viper: Your stomach faces the ground, and you fly like Superman through seven, dizzying loops.
Moderate Thrill Rides at Magic Mountain
48 inches (1.2 m) is tall enough to ride all of these:
Continue to 7 of 8 below.
- Apocalypse: It's a modern ride with the look of an old school wooden coaster
- Gold Rusher: It was Magic Mountain's very first roller coaster, and it's still a fun ride
- Goliath: It starts with a 255-foot drop into a dark tunnel, at 85 miles per hour. Read a full review.
- Lex Luthor Drop of Doom: The world’s tallest vertical drop ride (400 feet high), dropping at speeds of up to 85 mph
- Ninja: A steel-railed coaster with the cars hanging below the track (minimum height is 42")
- Superman Escape from Krypton: It reaches 100 miles per hour in just 6 seconds, throwing you skyward and leaving you weightless for a moment before you drop (thus the "escape" part of its name).
- Twisted Colossus: The world’s longest hybrid coaster opened in 2015, replacing Colossus, which was in the same spot. Get a review.
- X2: This super-charged ride spins and rotates forward, backward, upside down and head first.
07 of 08
Magic Mountain for the Younger Set
Magic Mountain may not be the first place you think of to take younger children, but if you do bring them along, you'll find a dozen rides that have no height restrictions at all (although they may require an adult to ride along). Another dozen or so have a minimum height of 42 inches or less, the height of an average 7-year-old.
Turn toward the right just past the entrance area, and you'll find Bugs Bunny World, an area that's targeted toward the shorter set. Looney Tunes characters hang out here, and little ones will love a train ride from Whistle Stop Depot.
For the slightly older kids, the paper map you get at the entrance lists rides suitable for thrill-seekers in training - and although they're extreme thrill rides, X2 and Goliath have 48-inch height limits, making them the only choice for adventurous kids who are big enough to get on.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
08 of 08
Magic Mountain Facts: Where, When, How to Get There
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor Water Park is right next door to Magic Mountain, but it requires a separate admission and has a separate entrance. Inside, you'll find water rides ranging from gentle play areas suitable for everyone to the max thrills of Black Snake Summit, Taboo Tower (shown above) and Tornado.
If you plan to visit Hurricane Harbor and Magic Mountain together, a combo ticket will save you money.
Details About Magic Mountain
Magic Mountain is open every day in the summer, weekends only during the school year, and extra days during holidays. They charge an admission fee and a per-car parking fee.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
26101 Magic Mountain Parkway
Valencia, California 91355
Six Flags Magic Mountain Website
Six Flags Magic Mountain is in Valencia, a 45-minute drive northwest of downtown Los Angeles off I-5. From LAX and the west side of LA, take I-405 and/or I-5 toward Sacramento. Exit at Magic Mountain Parkway.
As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with... complimentary tickets for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, About.com believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.