Yesterday was a very sad day for me. Through an email, I just learned that one of my all time favorite roller coasters will be closing down in just one week’s time. Six Flags Great Adventure, located in Jackson, New Jersey, announced yesterday that The Great American Scream Machine will be inducing its last screams on Sunday, July 18th. The coaster that’s been giving riders thrills for 21 seasons will be demolished to make room for a “major” new attraction for the 2011 season.
When The Great American Scream Machine first opened on April 15, 1989, it was instantly a fan favorite. The roller coaster was innovative for its time, with a then unprecedented 7 loops, a height of 18 stories, and maximum speeds of up to 68 miles per hour. It was the tallest looping coaster in the world when it debuted and I remember waiting in line hours to ride it.
With the advent of newer and more inventive thrill rides at Six Flags Great Adventure, such as El Toro, Nitro, and Kingda Ka, The Great American Scream Machine’s ridership has dwindled in recent years. The wait to ride it is no longer hours, but mere minutes. As such, the news is not so surprising to me, but it is sad nonetheless. Riding the Scream Machine was always a must during a visit to Six Flags, though I admit the ride no longer carried the same thrills as it used to.
The Great American Scream Machine was simply a great ride. Though over the years, it seemed to get bumpier and bumpier, a ride on the Scream Machine was always thrilling. The 173-foot ascent offered great views of the other rides in the park and the first drop was a great one, sweeping down and to the left straight into a vertical loop. The rest of the ride was fast and furious, with two more consecutive vertical loops, two “bat wing” loops, and two corkscrews. (The first of the two corkscrews was where those unflattering pictures were always taken, the ones where the look on my face was never one I wanted to remember later on.)
Six Flags Great Adventure will be celebrating the Scream Machine’s departure with a big sendoff. On Sunday July 11th and its last day, Sunday, July 18th, the park will be offering double rides to all who come to ride the great coaster for the last time. They are scheduling ERT’s (Exclusive Ride Times) for invited guests, including fans of their Facebook page (see below) and members of American Coaster Enthusiasts (see their link below and read more about them here).
The Great American Scream Machine will make its final run at 11:30PM on Sunday, July 18th. The first and last cars will be then auctioned off on eBay and the remaining 24 seats will be sold through the Six Flag’s website for $50 each. All proceeds will be going to the NRCMA (National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives).
The closing of The Great American Scream Machine is both bitter and sweet. Although it will be sad to never be able to ride it again, the prospect of a new major attraction is exciting. In past years, Six Flags Great Adventure has opened up new thrill rides or attractions approximately every two years on average. The last investment made in the park was the 2009 remodeling of Medusa (see Six Flags Great Adventure Announces Plans for 2009) and the last new coaster built was 2008’s “The Dark Knight” indoor coaster. Stay tuned to this page to find out more on the new attraction as news becomes available.
Take a video ride on the Great American Scream Machine here.
To visit Six Flags Great Adventure’s Facebook page, click here.
American Coaster Enthusiasts
National Roller Coaster Museum and Archives
Six Flags Great Adventure