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The Joker wreaks havoc at Six Flags Great Adventure

July 30, 2016, 11:49 AM · Ready for a ride that is refreshingly different and totally unpredictable? The Joker at Six Flags Great Adventure is exactly that. This drolly wicked 4D Free Fly coaster from S&S combines state of the art technology with some whimsical surprises. It’s located in the Lakefront section of the park, where the dolphin stadium used to be, and easily accessible from the main entrance.

Operating with five vehicles holding eight riders – four on each side of the green and purple track - The Joker features swiveling face-off seats which are tilted slightly backward prior to dispatch. So it feels somewhat like sitting in a reclining chair or a rocker. The restraint consists of an OTS harness with attached seat belt. Upon dispatch the vehicles ascend a 120-foot 90-degree chain lift hill and the seats do rock during the process. The experience of going up the lift hill is one of being suspended in midair, separated from the track. When sitting in a wing seat and going up backwards, you can see the lift hill behind you and it’s an odd sensation of disconnect.

The Joker

Shortly after the vehicles reach the top, the seats flip, for the first of half a dozen times. This is a multi-level ride with a series of dips and short hops and while the vehicles traverse the various levels, the seats flip at seemingly random intervals. To the casual observer, the ride looks like a tumbling exercise. There is no way to anticipate when the seats will flip and as a result the ride is utterly chaotic. (The flips happen so rapidly that it’s difficult to maintain any sense of orientation.) With the exception of a few dark rides I’ve been on, I can’t recall ever having been on anything with this degree of topsy-turvyness.

This coaster features two 90-degree "raven" drops which afford the sensation of free falling. It was during one of these that I found myself facing practically straight down in a way that was reminiscent of top spin rides but of course without the hangtime. There is a green side and a purple side, and having ridden both, I find that the ride is more intense from the green side. Why is something I haven't been able to figure out, as there are no readily perceptible differences between the two sides. And while it’s obvious from the RPOV that there is some jerking of the head forward, at no time during the ride did I experience any physical discomfort.

Nicely themed, featuring an image of the comic book villain with oversized playing cards outside the ride’s entrance, The Joker is a short ride and while it falls short of the extreme thrill category, it delivers titillation and wreaks havoc with the senses. Plus facing the riders seated across from you enhances the ride experience. Pretty cool! And fun.

The Joker

It could be said that The Joker really rocks, both literally and figuratively. It’s a good addition to Great Adventure’s stellar lineup of coasters because of its novelty. Also worth mentioning is that it has a single rider line, a rarity for coasters at this park. Thanks to public relations supervisor Kaitlyn Pitts and public relations coordinator Kaitlyn Adams for going out of their way to escort me to The Joker and set me up with a wrist-mounted GoPro to shoot a make-up video.

Replies (6)

July 30, 2016 at 9:27 PM · Although I have not yet been on the Joker, I did get to ride the other copy of this coaster at SF Fiesta Texas last month. Ironically theirs is named after the Joker's arch rival: "Batman The Ride". It was a very unusual unpredictable ride with the only discomfort coming from when my heels slammed against the ride vehicle during the ride.

From what I understand these are relatively inexpensive coasters and with the small required footprint, we will likely see more of these installed at other parks.

July 30, 2016 at 9:36 PM · From the video it looks like this coaster illicited some unexpected smiles from you, Bobbie! And as many coasters as you've visited, I'd say those smiles are a good sign. I am hearing rumors my local park, Worlds of Fun, might be getting a small footprint coaster either like this S&S thriller or like Tempesto at BGW. Based on your review, I am now hoping more for the former than the latter.

Thanks for sharing!

July 31, 2016 at 12:01 AM · From what I've heard, both this ride and the one at Fiesta Texas tend to get good to great reviews. While I don't know that I'd make a special trip for one of these, they do look like fun rides and definitely appear to be much better than the equivalent at my local Six Flags (Green Lantern: First Flight, which is not awful but not something I typically bother with). I would be very surprised if we don't see one or two more of these pop up in the US in 2017, as they look like great rides for mid-size parks.
July 31, 2016 at 6:49 AM · I rode it once and thought it was good but I wouldn't wait more than 3 minutes for it again. I'd rather ride El Toro or Nitro or almost anything else in the park another time. It's not that I didn't enjoy it, but I'll ride Justice League way more.
July 31, 2016 at 3:39 PM · GENERAL REMINDER: This ride is a complete crowd handling disaster. I love the ride, but let me give you some advice. First, this ride is the very first ride you see from the entrance of the park, making it a crowd magnet for the GP who don't know much about roller-coasters (it also looks insane), so those two facts make it so it draws huge crowds from the beginning. Also, the capacity is a total nightmare running one train of 8 people on the track at a time with others loading. Low capacity with an easily accessible entrance draws big crowds and long lines early.

My advice to avoid this is arrive to the park 30 mins before opening, and rush straight to it. If you arrive during/after opening, you won't arrive until much later, and lines will have grown immensely. After that ride Superman: Ultimate Flight, Green Lantern, El Toro, El Diablo, Bizzaro, Log Flume, Mine Train, then Skybuckets (a hidden gem), finally the West side of the park. And ride King da Ka/Zumanjaro at night or as late as possible (great views, a lit up park, and short lines).

SFGADV is my home-park and I go every week, so listen to me if you wish. If you don't, than enjoy the lines! Have fun

July 31, 2016 at 6:51 PM · @James Rao Yes, this coaster did elicit some smiles from me; it's so off the wall that I couldn't help laughing! I actually got an opportunity to ride it from the purple side about 10 days after it opened so had formed an impression of it but the RPOV was shot from the green side and this gave me a new perspective. I must admit that I was somewhat taken aback after cresting the lift hill and flipping for the first time; the ride was that much more intense from the green side. This could have had something to do with the weight distribution - I was riding with three solidly built men whereas I had previously ridden with three slender young women - or not. Reese Hollister's observations are spot on although I find that the ride ops are very efficient in loading; it's just a case of long queues due to the newness of the ride and as Reese pointed out, the high visibility.

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