Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Log Flume to Batman, Six Flags Mixes Old and New

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

From Log Flume to Batman, Six Flags Mixes Old and New

Article excerpt

NO MATTER how technologically advanced the new rides at theme parks become, the old-fashioned attractions aren't likely to vanish any time soon.

At Six Flags Over Mid-America in Eureka, that means the old standbys like the Log Flume and the Screamin' Eagle remain members in good standing.

"There will always be a place for rides like Screamin' Eagle or the Mine Train or Batman because those rides are fun as well," says Harold Hudson, senior vice president of engineering and design for the Six Flags Theme Parks.

While the new Superman ride in California takes thrill seekers to the next level, Six Flags here entered the summer season with a mix of the new and the nostalgic.

Batman the Ride was on the leading edge of technology when it opened in Eureka last spring. It differs from a traditional roller coaster in that the track is above the riders' head as they sit in ski-lift-type chairs and swoop through five head-over-heels rolls.

Batman originally opened in Chicago and then was duplicated in other Six Flags parks.

"When it came to St. Louis, it was new and different for us and for folks in this area," said Jim Harig, the park's vice president of maintenance. "It was bigger, faster and better than anything we had in the park, in some people's opinions. The other side of the coin is there are people who swear by wooden roller coasters and swear at the steel coasters, so there are always two schools of thought on that.

"Every ride has its niche and its backers and detractors. The old rides are still thrilling."

Hudson, who is based in New Jersey, was involved in the development of Batman the Ride.

"It was the first outside-looping roller coaster," he said, "the first roller coaster that has no floor under your feet. We had a lot of concerns about people's shoes flying off, but it turns out it was great, and everybody now wants the inverted roller coaster.

"You always ask yourself if this is what we want to do. The public is always looking for something different, and we try to give them that. …

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