More than six years after its initial debut, the troubled 4D roller coaster from Arrow Dynamics is reborn at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Now X2, the coaster features redesigned trains, on-ride audio and couple neat sensory effects. (Think of it as the 4D movie meeting the 4D coaster.)
But how is the ride? That's what I went to Valencia, California this afternoon to find out.
X2 is not a ride for coaster novices. You sit in rotating chairs, mounted on the sides of the track -- chairs that flip you heels over head, and back again, as you move from element to element on the track. As a result, on X2, every seat feels like a front row seat, with nothing blocking your view. But, ultimately, that doesn't matter.
Once your train drops face-first 200 feet from the top of the chain lift, you simply don't have time to stop and enjoy the view at any point on X2. You're flipping, flopping and flying every moment. That soundtrack? The riffs get you pumped on the main lift, and keep you going as you wait to unload. But in between? I'll confess that I didn't notice the music. My brain was a little, uh, preoccupied. With simple things like, oh, staying within my skull.
That's not to say that X2's new effects went completely unnoticed. The cool zone on the final twist slapped me with a frigid blast, an effect that I am sure riders will welcome in the coming Valencia summer heat. Gusts shut down the ride's fire effect and scattered much of the fog at the bottom of the initial drop, though I did enjoy the effect of passing through the mist as we rode into the first of the ride's two raven turns.
So... take a ride with me on X2. (I apologize for the audio not picking up my commentary. Six Flags' mic was mounted too far away to pick me up over the rather loud chain lift and audio track... not to mention the air rushing by at 70 mph.)
Here's a photo gallery, showing you the various elements on X2:
The real test for X2? Uptime. Will X2's lighter trains allow the ride to run multiple trains all summer long, as Six Flags management plans? Today wasn't much of a test. With one train rigged for filming, Magic Mountain could operate only two trains, and there were plenty of delays to accommodate video crews.
X2 remains one stunning ride. If Six Flags' efforts have worked, and X2 can operate near its designed capacity, Magic Mountain might finally have the revolutionary coaster that it envisioned.
Note: Southern California theme park fans might also want to take a look at my recent reviews of The Simpsons Ride, now open at Universal Studios Hollywood, and Toy Story Midway Mania, opening next month at Disney's California Adventure.
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