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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

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X Flight is new this summer at Six Flags in Gurnee, Ill.
X Flight is new this summer at Six Flags in Gurnee, Ill.
The Whizzer is not new, but still a crowd pleaser.
The Whizzer is not new, but still a crowd pleaser.

Six Flag's new X Flight vs. old school coasters

Last week, my family and I went to Six Flags Great America. I go almost every year, and each time, I am flooded with memories of attending decades ago as a kid and with my grandparents. But that's another blog, I guess.

The focus of this year's trip, and this blog, is the new X Flight, a "wing coaster" on which riders hang off the side of the track, feet dangling, and not on the track, as is usually the case.

It's definitely extreme, with a 12-story drop, multiple loops and unexpected water sprays. The ride's intention is to make riders feel like they're cruising on the wing of a plane while speeding at 55 mph through crazy twists and turns.

Although I can't say I felt like I was on the wing of an airplane, it's definitely a new variation on other coasters and provides a truly thrilling experience. I screamed during the entire ride (this drove my kids nuts; he didn't want to sit next to me on any more rides) and then wanted to hop back in line as soon as it was over.

However, I didn't get back in the long line and opted to ride The American Eagle instead because the line was shorter. And after riding the Eagle, I remembered why it was – and still is – my favorite coaster of all time.

When the wooden coaster was built in 1981, it was the fastest and tallest roller coaster in the world. Today, even though many coasters have flashier appearances, more special effects and tracks that twist, invert and corkscrew, I still find the massive drop on this rickety rollercoaster to be more deliciously terrifying than anything else in the park. (Anyone know if they still run the Eagle backwards sometimes?)

I also really like The Whizzer (originally called "Willard's Whizzer"). Originally built in 1976 (!), it's another oldie but goodie. I love the swooping drops and the completely-on-your-side portion of the track. It was interesting to note that, at one point in the day, the line for The Whizzer was as long as the line for the X Flight.

Once again, newer doesn't always mean better.

Talkbacks

brewerfan13 | July 24, 2012 at 9:42 a.m. (report)

Remember Shockwave? You practically needed to wear a helmet on that one to avoid brain damage.

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