The coaster is built over Six Flags New England’s wooden staple Cyclone, which opened in 1983 and shut its gates in 2014. Now the storm is back with a vengeance, this time bigger, stronger and faster. The devilish transformation by Rocky Mountain Construction, which represented the largest capital investment for Six Flags New England since 2002, added more than 300 feet of track and upped the speed to make Wicked Cyclone one of only five hybrid coasters on the planet.
The park puts in great effort to give Wicked Cyclone some theming, and it pays off. The story of the coaster is that a mega-storm is barreling its way toward Western Massachusetts, and TVs along the queues feature fake but convincing local newscasts that warn guests of the impending doom they are seemingly willing to walk right into, as they pass weather satellites and abandoned storm-chaser vans. Even storm chaser Reed Teamer of Discovery Channel’s Storm Chasers show and meteorology students from Western Connecticut State University, alongside representatives from the Red Cross, were on hand at the opening ceremony to usher in Wicked Cyclone’s fearsome arrival.
Wicked Cyclone takes 24 riders to a train and throws them headfirst into the storm. At 109 feet, the first hill plummets riders down a hair-raising 78 degree drop and then catapults them through the world’s only double reversing bank airtime hill and 200-degree stall. It’s also the first coaster of its kind to have a hang-time inversion and two Zero-G rolls.
The major feature for me, though, was Wicked Cyclone’s extreme airtime - 14 airtime hills which offer more time to enjoy weightlessness than any other coaster on the East Coast, according to Six Flags. Once I was speeding down that first hill, I don’t think I ever really came back to my seat. Most of the ride was spent in the air and weightless, feeling like you’re caught up in the gale force winds of the cyclone itself.
The inversions are insane – smooth and seamless, and enhanced by the wooden structure of the ride. The coaster weaves in and out of itself with an intricacy that seems to defy the steel track it travels on. There seems to be justthismuch headroom as you roll under and through wooden beams and supports, which add to the feeling of speed. But while the majority of the ride is incredibly smooth, at times the track jerks you in an awkward and unexpected direction, reminding you that you’re at the mercy of Mother Nature.
The individual lap restraints leave riders virtually free from the waist up, adding to Wicked Cyclone’s freewheeling intensity. With nothing to hold onto, it feels like you’re being thrust into a storm - the coaster feels even smoother and freer, the Zero-G rolls even more extreme and the feeling of weightlessness heightened. Ride in the far back row to enjoy nearly the entirety of the ride weightless, and opt for the front seat to enjoy a terrifying and exhilarating sense of freedom of movement, thanks to the unoppressive harness system and smooth inversions.
The interplay of wood and steel produces a coaster experience unlike any other, and one-of-a-kind coasters are something Wicked Cyclone’s designer Alan Schilke knows a thing or two about. The famed mind behind Twisted Colossus and the world’s first fourth dimension roller coaster, X2, at Six Flags Magic Mountain, Schilke was hanging out by the line for the front row, talking with fans and coaster enthusiasts and enjoying watching riders scream and smile at his newest creation.
Wicked Cyclone lives up to the hype and anticipation – with innovation and intensity, it’s a storm that you don’t just chase – it’s one that you ride.
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