On June 29, 1978, Magic Mountain debuted the world’s tallest and fastest roller coaster; a wooden behemoth aptly named Colossus. For decades to come, it would serve as an icon to the thrill ride industry and would go on to be featured in more movies and television shows than any other coaster in history, most notably National Lampoon’s Vacation.
While Colossus was fairly well maintained over the years, with some modifications along the way, roller coasters at Magic Mountain as well as around the world got bigger, faster and more thrilling – including wooden coasters. The question always loomed in the back of fans’ minds – how much longer would Six Flags Magic Mountain want to maintain Colossus, and what would its ultimate destiny be?
The answer began to reveal itself last year, when Magic Mountain announced that the famed wooden coaster would close permanently on August 16, 2014. The news created huge buzz throughout the fan community as well as themed entertainment industry. What would become of the legendary Colossus? Would it be destroyed to make room for new rides or a new, modern roller coaster? One rumor that seemed to prevail, was that the coaster would be converted into a hybrid – steel track built on top of the original structure of Colossus. That rumor seemed to make a lot of sense; there are no other hybrid coasters on the West Coast, and one would lend itself nicely to Magic Mountain’s huge selection as the coaster capital of the world. Additionally, it would be cheaper to convert Colossus into a hybrid than demolishing the entire structure and then building something from scratch on its huge footprint. Like everyone else, we waited with great anticipation to see what would take place.
Very shortly after Colossus closed, Six Flags Magic Mountain put our fears to rest and stoked the flames of excitement with the announcement that yes, wood was about to meet steel in the good hands of Rocky Mountain Construction, a company that specializes in not only repairing and re-envisioning roller coasters, but designing and building them from scratch, such as Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City, Goliath at Six Flags Great America, Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, and Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England.
The announcement that RMC would be taking the reigns and converting Colossus into Twisted Colossus was heralded by fans everywhere. Over the following months, we all watched with great interest as Colossus underwent its transformation from iconic wooden coaster to much-anticipated monster hybrid sporting nearly 5,000 feet of track, two massive drops, and an assortment of amazing elements that would allow two trains to duel at once, bringing riders within very close proximity to each other during the nearly 4-minute experience!
During the reconstruction phase for Twisted Colossus, Magic Mountain held several media tours of the site, which Theme Park Adventure participated in; click here for the final tour prior to Twisted Colossus’ opening.
On the morning of May 20, 2015, media gathered at Six Flags Magic Mountain for the official opening of not just Twisted Colossus, but the re-themed Screampunk District section of the park where it resides. Street entertainers and high-energy drummers set the stage for things to come as the gates to the new area swung open and we flowed toward Twisted Colossus!
The Screampunk District is laid out the same as it always has been, with a food/beverage location and restroom facility. The re-themed Gearworks Theatre now features a show called Kwerk, which has been getting very positive reviews by media and park guests alike. The landscaping throughout the Screampunk District is fresh, decorated by giant gears and cogs, along with fanciful contraptions all lending themselves to the reinforcement of the steampunk theme Magic Mountain is going for. Theme Park Adventure broadcast a live Periscope walk-through of the new area for fans, and it was very well received by those viewing the video.
Steampunk is a really tricky theme to pull off. By nature, it is extremely ornate and detailed – something that can translate to big money when it comes to theming and design. While not terribly thick with the thematic elements, the new Screampunk District is detailed enough so that we, the fans, get it. There won’t be any meandering by guests excited to get to Twisted Colossus, but for those not riding the new coaster, the Screampunk District offers visual distractions, entertainment, and places to sit and rest; in short, it does its job, and is just what it needed to be in this case.
Fans have asked what’s “steampunk” about Twisted Colossus or Scream, the two coasters located in the Screampunk District. Honestly, there is very little that is steampunk when it comes to Scream; it has recently undergone a new paint job, and looks great – but the theming hasn’t really changed to be steampunk. Twisted Colossus’ station has steampunk elements, and the trains are very unique and definitely themed. However, when it comes down to it, the whole steampunk overlay to the area is thin, but does its job well enough aesthetically; the real reason people are passing through the Screampunk District is to get to the coasters; everything else is icing on the cake, really.
Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor President, Bonnie Rabjohn, presided over the opening ceremony for Twisted Colossus as hundreds of media representatives gathered and watched. On hand for the opening ceremony was Fred Grubb of Rocky Mountain Construction, along with the original construction group of Colossus, the Bernard Brothers, which we thought was a fantastic touch to an already-special day!
As the coaster was pronounced open by Bonnie and her guests, the trains climbed the 121 foot-tall lift hill and plunged into the history books as pyro exploded along the track as the vehicles flew through the elements to a moving musical soundtrack. Confetti cannons exploded and streamers launched into the air above the media as Twisted Colossus was announced “open” and we were all invited to the station for our first ride on Southern California’s newest metal monster at Six Flags Magic Mountain!
In a word, Twisted Colossus is badass. From beginning to end, this incredible coaster delivers a high-intensity experience that is maxed-out on fun as well as being very surreal when you get trains to duel. When two trains are zipping along together, it makes the experience 100% better for riders, as you’re in very close proximity and get to see the other vehicle moving through the elements and the riders’ reactions as if you were watching a video, or a mirror image – it’s beyond cool, and very, very odd to see so close for so long, especially when traveling upside-down together; amazing!
Here’s where the sexy idea meets reality – there will be times when the trains do duel; however, the truth of the matter is, more often than not, riders may not get that experience, depending on how many trains Magic Mountain has in operation. On slower days, there’s no way the park is going to be cycling enough trains to get them to duel consistently. And that’s a shame, although, that is the way park ops work anywhere, especially during slower times. The good news is, Twisted Colossus still delivers a mind-blowing ride when in single-train mode on the circuit. The way the vehicle twists and rolls is stunning, and having experienced the coaster “solo” as well as dueling, I can say that you’re going to be thrilled no matter what. When you do get to experience Twisted Colossus when trains are dueling properly – consider it like hitting a bonus round on a slot machine; not to be expected, but super fun when it does occur!
Twisted Colossus isn’t terrifying. With a relatively small drop (less than 130 feet) that is definitely very steep, followed by incredible track elements, Twisted Colossus delivers huge thrills and a stupid amount of fun rather than white-knuckled terror on the tracks. Twisted Colossus could almost fit into the “family” category when it comes to roller coasters, as we witnessed both young kids/teens and older adults enjoying the ride immensely together!
The restraint system on Twisted Colossus is pretty comfortable, although it should be noted that if you are “fluffy” or “top-heavy”, it’s going to be a very snug, somewhat uncomfortable fit. More than likely, the ride ops are going to “staple” your lap bar down, creating the “muffin top” (god, I love that term) effect on stocky or heavy riders. I’m 5’7″, and the lap bar comes down just below my rib cage; when stapled, it’s a tad uncomfortable, and I found that I can relieve some of that discomfort by holding the lapbar (there are no good “handles” to hold onto, which is somewhat scary – in a fun way) from the front, hooking my hand/fingers underneath between my body and the restraint. Your mileage may vary depending on body type, but in the end, for most folks who are thin to chunky, you should do just fine. Twisted Colossus is pretty smooth, and not at all jarring like other coasters out there; the ride is fantastic and very enjoyable!
We left Magic Mountain with our faces aching from laughing and grinning so much! Hands-down, they win all the way around for best new ride of 2015, and we cannot wait to get more ride time on that beautiful machine in the near future! When planning your summer park outings, definitely put Six Flags Magic Mountain at the top of your list if you’re seeking thrills and a mind-blowing new ride; Twisted Colossus has successfully made something old new again, and it’s going to be a classic now for many more generations to come!
Huge props and thanks to the staff at Six Flags Magic Mountain, as well as the team at Rocky Mountain Construction for delivering one hell of a great coaster to the fans here in Southern California! No doubt, it’s going to be a very busy summer for Magic Mountain! Now, plan your trip and get out there to ride this thing!
– Rick West