Once again, all parks in the Six Flags chain will be getting something new for the 2016 season. While there will be plenty of thrills on the way (this is Six Flags after all), that doesn't necessarily mean that every location will be rolling out a shiny, new, humongous coaster -- although rest assured that some coasters are coming.
In major news, the park chain announced in early March 2016 that it would be rolling out virtual reality coasters at nine locations. They will be taking existing roller coasters and adding VR experiences. Passengers will wear VR headsets while riding and be immersed in either a Superman or a "New Revolution" sci-fi story. Read about the exciting development in my overview of Six Flags' VR coasters.
As has been the case for the past few years, not all new coasters will be 100% new. That doesn't mean you should be any less excited, however. In fact, some of Six Flags' best "new" rides have been recent makeovers of older coasters such as Twisted Colossus at Magic Mountain and Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England. In 2016, the same company responsible for those gems will be reworking an old wooden coaster at Discovery Kingdom in California. Folks in the northern part of the state should be in for a treat.
The chain went to the dark side and opened two highly acclaimed dark rides in 2015. How acclaimed? Read my review. It's heartening, therefore, to see that two more story-based E-Ticket rides will debut in 2016.
There will also be some rides and lands geared to younger visitors, some new water park attractions, some spinning rides (affectionately known as "whirl-'n-hurl" rides in the industry), and other assorted goodies. Let's run down the entire Six Flags class of 2016. Parks are arranged alphabetically by U.S. state with locations in Canada and Mexico listed at the end.
- Valencia, CA
New for 2016: The New Revolution with VR experience
40 years ago, Magic Mountain opened the very first looping coaster. The historic ride had been known to beat passengers up a bit. The coaster's new trains will trade out over-the-shoulder restraints (which were the cause of much of the punishment) with lap and calf bars. The result should be a pain-free, smoother ride. Six Flags is promising more airtime as well. By tossing in a new paint job on top of the other modifications, the park should restore Revolution to all of its glory.
Also, The New Revolution will be one of the chain's coasters to offer a virtual reality experience this season.
- Vallejo, CA
New for 2016: The Joker
Innovative ride manufacturer, Rocky Mountain Construction, invented a new category of thrill machine: the hybrid wooden-steel coaster. The company grafts its patented steel track onto existing, past-their-prime wooden coasters and creates wonderful, wild rides that are somehow glass smooth at the same time. Every one has been incredible. I predict that The Joker will be another winner. RMC will perform its makeover voodoo on the former Roar wooden coaster and create the Batman-themed ride for next season.
- Austell, GA
New for 2016: DC Super Friends and Bugs Bunny Boomtown. Dare Devil Dive to add VR experience.
The Georgia park will make over and expand its kids areas with a batch of new rides themed to both the Looney Tunes characters and the Justice League superheroes. Instead of kids-only rides, the new attractions will be designed for parents and children to enjoy together. There will be spinning rides, a drop tower, a mirror maze, and more.
Also, the park's Dare Devil Dive coaster will add a virtual reality experience this season.
Illinois: Six Flags Great America
- Gurnee, IL
New for 2016: Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
Six Flags is not known for Disney- and Universal-level media-based, interactive attractions. But the DC Comics ride, which was introduced at its St. Louis and Dallas-area parks last year, is changing the perception. The surprisingly sophisticated and ambitious attractions are game changers for the park chain. As my review of Justice League: Battle for Metropolis indicates, visitors to Great America in 2016 will be in for a treat.
- Mitchellville, MD
New for 2016: Splashwater Falls. Superman Ride of Steel to feature VR experience.
A huge interactive water play structure, complete with a dump bucket, sprayers, small water slides, rope ladders, and more will keep kids of all ages busy (and wet) next season at Six Flags America's water park, Hurricane Harbor.
Also, Six Flags America's Superman coaster will add a virtual reality experience this season.
- Agawam, MA
New for 2016: Fireball and re-themed Superman coaster to include VR experience.
The park's wonderful Bizarro steel hypercoaster will return to its original theme and be renamed Superman the Ride. It will be repainted in Supe's blue and red colors. Whatever Six Flags chooses to call it, it is, IMHO, the best steel coaster in the country. And get this: It will also add a Superman-themed virtual reality experience this season.
Also, many Six Flags parks have been getting Fireball's carnival-like thrill ride. Now it's time to bring it to Massachusetts. A train on a coaster-like track will make continuous loops, both forwards and backwards. The 70-foot-tall contraption will include lots of upside-down moments.
Missouri: Six Flags St. Louis
- Eureka, MO
New for 2016: Fireball and Ninja to add VR experience
The park's Ninja coaster will incorporate a virtual reality experience this season.
I told you that many Six Flags parks have been getting clones of the mega-looping carnival-like thrill ride (see above). Here's another one.
- Jackson, NJ
New for 2016: Total Mayhem 4D
Last year, Six Flags introduced the prototype "Free Spin" wing coaster at one of its Texas parks. The "4D" coaster, a compact ride that took inspiration from the groundbreaking X2 at Magic Mountain, was a huge hit. A second version of it is coming to New Jersey. To get a sense of what's on the way, read a detailed preview of Batman: The Ride at Fiesta Texas, the coaster that opened in 2015.
- Queensbury, NY
New for 2016: Steamin' Demon to add VR and new Greezed Lightnin' ride.
The park's Steamin' Demon steel coaster will add a virtual reality experience this season.
Yup, Greezed Lightnin' is another mega-looping ride. (See Six Flags New England above.)
- San Antonio, TX
New for 2016: Fireball, Hurricane Force 5, and Spinsanity
Fireball will be just like the looping rides coming to other parks such as Six Flags New England. Hurricane Force 5 will send passengers on a rotating platform back and forth along a U-shaped coaster track. And Spinsanity will be a 21st-century version of the classic Tilt-A-Whirl.
Texas: Six Flags Over Texas
- Arlington, TX
New for 2016: Shockwave to feature VR. The Riddler Revenge, Catwoman Whip, and Harley Quinn Spinsanity
The park's classic Shockwave looping coaster will add a virtual reality experience this year.
The original Six Flags park will also be getting three new rides, all themed to villains who have terrorized Gotham City and given Batman plenty of agita. The Riddler Revenge will be a swinging pendulum ride. On Catwoman Whip, riders will spin around (but thankfully not, as the name suggests, get whipped), and Harley Quinn Spinsanity will be an updated Tilt-A-Whirl ride.
- Montreal, Quebec
New for 2016: Le Vampire Backwards plus Phoenix and Graviton. Goliath to get VR.
La Ronde's wonderful Goliath hypercoaster will add a virtual reality experience this year.
The park will reverse the direction of the train on its coaster, Le Vampire, so that riders will experience it facing backwards. Riders will be able to pilot their vehicles on the spinning Phoenix, while they will be sent into a 360-degree spin on Gravitor.
Mexico: Six Flags Mexico
- Mexico City
New for 2016: Justice League: Battle for Metropolis
This will be the second park in the chain getting the interactive dark ride in 2016. See Six Flags Great America above.