Superman Ride of Steel Review

Superman Ride of Steel at Six Flags America, Maryland
Martin Lewison/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

The highlight of Six Flags America, Superman: Ride of Steel is a great coaster with an exhilarating, er, super first drop.

Superman: Ride of Steel Up-Front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 7.5. Extreme height, acceleration, and speed (although there are no inversions).
  • Type: Out and back steel hypercoaster.
  • Height: 197 feet.
  • First drop: 205 feet.
  • Max. speed: 73 mph.
  • Ride time: 2:10.
  • Height restriction (minimum, in inches): 52.

The Thrill of a Lifetime

Its red track dominates the Six Flags America skyline. Just looking at the impossibly high and steep first drop of Superman from a distance gets your adrenaline pumping. Up close, it takes more than a bit of nerve to hop into line and board the super-sized ride.

The coaster cars have elevated seats and low-slung sides. Instead of an over-the-shoulder harness (there are no inversions), an unobtrusive seat belt and a single ratcheting safety bar add to the car's open and exposed feeling -- the better to scare the daylights out of you.

The coaster uses a traditional lift hill. The train click-clack-clicks up, up, and WAY up, until it seems it should be approaching the planet Krypton. Then eeeeyah!. Superman delivers a delirious high-speed first drop followed by an equally exquisite second drop. There is a nice pop of airtime just before the second drop.

From there, the coaster loses a bit of its oomph. Superman certainly doesn't limp along, but the second half of the ride, featuring an over-banked double helix, doesn't pack the same punch as its first act. To me, it's a waste of kinetic energy to take a 73-mph train and send it racing in circles.

Superman is essentially similar to the Ride of Steel ride at Darien Lake in New York (which used to be a Six Flags park). The Superman coaster at Six Flags New England, however, is a second-generation version and is, in my opinion, not only a marked improvement over the Maryland and New York rides, but our pick for the best steel coaster period.

All three coasters were designed and manufactured by master ride makers Intamin of Switzerland. The New England version is taller, faster, and positively screams to the end. It is also better located in that park for maximum visibility. The Six Flags America Superman is set back and is in a more remote section of the park. Its relative speed feels slower without other rides and crowds of onlookers rushing past.

The Maryland coaster is, however, wonderfully smooth. It does include a few great bunny hills that deliver some nice brief spurts of air time. More of those would have made the ride even more super.