Towering at an awesome 235 feet, Goliath broke the world records for tallest roller coaster and longest drop on a roller coaster when it opened in the spring of 2000. By virtue of its 255-foot plummet into a tiny tunnel, this Six Flags Magic Mountain hypercoaster instantly made a huge hit upon opening. Of course, interestingly, Goliath would only hold its records for a couple of months, for later that year, Cedar Point's own Millennium Force would steal the world's tallest coaster title away from Six Flags. But even Cedar Point could not avoid the oddities of a year that would see four different "world's tallest coasters," for even later in 2000, Steel Dragon 2000, located in Japan's Nagashima Spaland, would swipe the title away from Millennium Force!
With that said, Goliath still remains among the world's tallest roller coasters. This mighty orange and turquoise beast is located in the park's Collosus County Fair themed area, although the landscaping of Goliath could very well merit its own themed land. Guests enter the line by approaching the giant, stone carved GOLIATH standing to the side. The combination of the stone lettering and the backdrop of the coaster makes a very nice effect and is great for photos. Once past the letters, guests weave down back and forth through a seemingly endless queue line. At least the scenery is nice, though. Tropical plants and large, lush leaves hint to a Mayan touch, with a few rocky ruins littered along the way. On busy days, the wait for this coaster can be two to three hours long.
Even with continuous walking, it will take at least a minute or two to navigate the line. Thrill seekers will have to pass under the front of Goliath's station and then climb a flight of stairs to reach the boarding dock. The station itself is quite nice, cut out of massive stone blocks and scattered with ivy leaves. It is as if the station was some sort of ancient temple. The treasure, of course, is the hyper coaster itself.
As with any hypercoaster, the back seat provides the most intense thrills, while the front seat gives the prettiest views. The trains are sleek and polished. The chairs are slightly raised and sideless to enhance the feeling of vulnerability. Only a simple, comfy lap bar restrains riders and keeps them from being thrown out of the carriage. With that said, coaster fanatics know they're in for the time of their lives.
The train slowly exits the station, making a gentle U-turn to the right before beginning its climb. As mentioned before, the station itself is rather high above the ground--at least two stories, and it is a bit fun to gaze down upon those in line underneath the riders. As the train ascends the long lift hill, the tension mounts. It is almost like electricity crackling through the air. Those riding the coaster for the first time are especially nervous. They have no idea why they are strapped onto this scream machine, and some voice their apprehension out loud. Still higher the train goes. Far below, Magic Mountain's former record-breaking wooden roller coaster, Collosus (quite the behemoth back in its day), looks more like a shrimp. Perhaps boarding this coaster was a bad idea, but it is too late to exit now...
Finally, the train crests over the top. Whether it is a trick of the mind or actual mechanics, the coaster seems to slow down just before the drop, as if pondering whether or not to take the actual plunge. Then, with the screams of terrified riders echoing through the air, Goliath drops. Four and a half full seconds of plummet pull riders through an insanely small, smoke-filled tunnel. Stomachs are shoved up into throats as the straight drop completely overtakes the bodies and sensations of the riders. Exiting out the other side, the train screams up a turnaround that towers high above the wooden racer, Collosus. The relief can almost be felt immediately as riders let out a collective sigh. An ecstatic feeling of giddiness fills the train. Even though the ride is far from over, the first drop is so intense that, now, having just been through it, riders feel like they've survived a natural disaster.
Turning around, the train drops once more, leaping through a camel back hill that gives some nice floating airtime before dropping again and zooming up a curving incline into the trim brakes. In the days when Goliath had just opened, the brakes were relatively light, allowing for an incredibly intense second half of the ride. However, reports that some riders actually blacked out during the powerful helixes and curves led to more forceful braking, which has since slightly detracted from the ride.
Coming out of the trim brakes, the train dives down to its left, then swoops up for a turn to reverse its direction. Another curve leads to a tight helix appropriately nicknamed "the centrifuge." In this helix, the G-forces are so great that riders will be hard pressed to raise their hands into the air if they entered the element with their hands down. Even those with their arms up, waving with glee, may actually find their hands being pressed down by the tremendous forces. Exiting the helix, the train makes several more turns before rising up back toward the station, hitting the final stretch of brakes before returning to the station.
Disembarking from Goliath, riders feel a joyful sense of triumph, as if they had conquered Goliath. If they buy the park T-shirts, they can even say that they did. Some will rush back in line for another ride. Others will purchase an on-ride photo (the camera is located right before the tunnel on the first drop of the coaster) and be overcharged. Still others will run to ride other attractions at Six Flags Magic Mountain. However, all who come off will know that they have just experiences one of the best rides in the world.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
February 11, 2000
- 255-foot drop into tunnel
- Intense helixes after trim
- PHOTOS -
Photos courtesy of America Coasters Network.
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