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New record-setting wooden coaster, Goliath, opens at Six Flags Great America

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Published: June 21, 2014 at 11:46 AM

On a soggy Wednesday, Six Flags Great America opened its newest roller coaster, Goliath, to the press, with a public opening on Thursday. Due to the rough winter in the Chicagoland area, the construction was tougher and the coaster was finally completed last week. Goliath is a wooden roller coaster by Rocky Mountain Construction. However, unlike the Viper, Little Dipper, and the American Eagle, Great America’s other wooden roller coasters, Goliath is “giant” when it comes to size and records. This sits in Iron Wolf’s old footprint and uses the same station.

Goliath entrance

Because of this, it is taller rather than longer. The first drop is a world record for a wooden roller coaster in height (180ft) and angle (85 degrees). It is also the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, with top speeds of 72 mph. This roller coaster also goes upside-down, including a barrel roll which is usually unheard of in this type of coaster.

On track with Goliath

Park president Hank Salemi mentioned in his remarks the hard work it took to get this attraction completed, including on the media day when the attraction had a wheel issue. Watch until the end of the video for the on-ride POV.

After the opening, the sky seemed to have opened up and it started pouring. We stuck it out like the “warriors” and were able to ride it about an hour and a half later. When we finally got on, one thing we first noticed was how much safety was required for this coaster. There are two safety checks with seatbelts and then lap bars that hold on to your thighs too. They actually came back and pushed down my restraints down even more even though I was wedged in there pretty well. I think I understand why since you travel literally inverted for about a quarter of the ride. My mother felt like she was going to fall out since it is a scary feeling when going upside down without wearing shoulder restraints. This is not a ride for the faint of heart! It was one of the most intense roller coasters I have ever ridden. It was very fast, very steep, but very fun!

Goliath car

Six Flags Great America has done a really good job with being a park with a wide variety of roller coasters. This is a perfect addition to its collection and I recommend coming early since loading times are going to drive up lines. I welcome everybody to challenge the Goliath the next time they are in the Chicagoland area.

Readers' Opinions

From Robert Niles on June 21, 2014 at 1:02 PM
I want to thank Anthony for covering this for us, and to apologize for holding his post until the weekend. I didn't want it to get lost in all our Harry Potter coverage from Universal last week, and I thought it his post might get the additional attention it deserved by holding it until today. Anyway, thanks again, Anthony, and great job. Looks like a fun ride!
From James Rao on June 21, 2014 at 1:20 PM
Thank you, Anthony. This coaster looks tremendous and quite unique.

For those in our Orlando-centric audience who have not been following the coaster industry, what Rocky Mountain Construction is doing these days is every bit as exciting and revolutionary as what has been happening in Orlando and SoCal. If you have not seen the POV for this new creation, please watch. It is unbelievably cool. To me, this coaster is the kind of ride that makes a park a vacation destination, much like Outlaw Run did for Silver Dollar City last year.

Phenomenal.

From Gabriel Schroll on June 21, 2014 at 1:55 PM
Wow. The amount of time spent upside down on this roller coaster is insane, especially considering there are not the traditional shoulder harnesses that steel coasters employ.

I'm about 5 hours from this park, and would love to sneak a trip in this season to check this out. In all likelihood, I won't. But if I can find the time and money, it'd be enticing.

Thanks for the write-up, Anthony. Really cool article and ride!

From James Trexen on June 21, 2014 at 3:17 PM
This'll be my first RMC coaster, so I am sure excited to see what all the fuss is about. Gratz on getting your mom to ride Anthony. Mine would never, ever get on this thing.
From Melanie Howe on June 21, 2014 at 5:28 PM
I need to go to Chicago now.... Wow!!
From James Koehl on June 21, 2014 at 5:55 PM
Anthony, terrific article as always. Whenever I see an article from you I know it's going to be well-written, informative and interesting.
From Anthony Murphy on June 22, 2014 at 8:12 AM
Thanks for all the comments!

I actually went there on Friday and Saturday as well for Coasters After Dark and just a regular day at Great America. The lines were over two hours both days and the coaster broke down for two hours on Saturday. My theory is that the wheels, which are made of polyethelene are not standing up as well as expected.

From 71.239.223.38 on June 22, 2014 at 2:59 PM
How long are the seatbelts? I'm 6'6" and 280 pounds, so sometimes I have a hard time fitting into coasters. I have a trip to Great America planned for Wednesday, so I'm hoping they're long enough for me!
From 206.74.245.236 on June 22, 2014 at 3:44 PM
Gabriel wrote "The amount of time spent upside down on this roller coaster is insane, especially considering there are not the traditional shoulder harnesses that steel coasters employ".... and pretty much took the words out of my mouth.

I'm kind of amazed that this coaster does not have over the shoulder restraints!

From Anthony Murphy on June 22, 2014 at 8:14 PM
I am being honest here, but I am sorry to say that you might have a problem fitting on the ride. It has more to do with your height since your legs are likely too long. They have a test seat in the front. Try it out!

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