El Diablo Opens at Six Flags Great Adventure - But What Is It?

May 15, 2015, 11:32 AM · El Diablo, Six Flags Great Adventure’s new attraction for the 2015 season, opened for a preview to the media and season pass holders on Thursday, May 14.

El Diablo

Located in the Plaza del Carnaval area of the park, near TPI award-winning coaster El Toro, and standing seven stories tall, El Diablo features a train with face-off seats – forward and backward - the first of which are level with the loading platform and the last of which are at an elevation. Restraints consist of an over- the- shoulder harness and attached seat belt. Upon dispatch, the train rocks backward and forward until it gains sufficient momentum to make it to the top of the 360-degree loop. From that point riders are treated to a suspension in mid-air and reversals of direction.

On board El Diablo

The ride begins rather tamely but as the train picks up speed it becomes pretty intense. I rode El Diablo twice, once in the first car and once in the last car. The ride in the last car proved to be the more exciting and disconcerting, as finding myself suspended between the top of the loop and the loading area with the hold brake on felt like hanging perilously – and yes, almost diabolically. This reminded me of the top spin rides during which you feel as if you are going to pitch forward. The revolutions through the loop were a blast, especially when the direction was reversed.

But is it a roller coaster? The park is advertising it as their 13th roller coaster although RCDB does not recognize it as such and historically rides of this type have been defined as flat rides. However, Larson, the manufacturer, describes their Giant Loop – which this is - as a “larger dominating compact roller coaster,” so take your pick. I raise this issue only because numerous individuals, upon seeing the announcement of this ride, referred to it disparagingly as a carnival ride. And I personally am of the opinion that this is selling the ride short. Whatever it is or isn’t, El Diablo is a fairly aggressive thrill ride and a welcome addition to both the park and Plaza del Carnaval, where it fits in perfectly with the theme and other rides in that area. It will open to the general public on May 16.

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Replies (13)

May 15, 2015 at 12:12 PM · Thanks, Bobbie! Great report, as always.

It occurred to me as I was editing the video that a ride like this, with face-off seating, is one of the rare attractions where the POV and RPOV are the same shot! ;^)

Whatever one calls this ride, it seems to me that the big issue with it will be capacity. Like Tempesto, which Russell reviewed for us last month, this is one of those one-train-at-a-time attractions, so I expect wait times to get nasty in the next few weeks as fans queue for their first rides on it. Thoughts?

May 15, 2015 at 12:35 PM · I've been on one of these before.

At a carnival.

They're perfectly fun, but this type of ride being built as a marquee attraction at a park that attracts a lot of guests is...well, it's not a great idea. I'll be going to SFGADV in August and I can almost guarantee I'll be skipping this because of the wait — not to mention that I've done it before, albeit somewhere else.

May 15, 2015 at 1:06 PM · The roller coaster conundrum is answered simply by the fact that these Giant Loop attractions never actually "coast". The train is in constant contact with a drive chain and gear system. It has nothing to do with it being a carnival ride, it has to do with the fact that the train never coasts. If El Diablo where classified as a roller coaster, then Peter Pan's flight, E.T., and hundreds of other "wheel on track" rides would be roller coasters.
May 15, 2015 at 1:10 PM · I work at an amusement park in riverside and I work on a ride that's basically this. It's called the Fireball. It's the same ride just re themed. This ride is nothing new, (btw, we consider it a roller coaster)
May 15, 2015 at 1:25 PM · I was just thinking reading this. What's so special? You see these at the state fair and other local fairs. Weird to be at a theme park.
May 15, 2015 at 2:07 PM · Thanks, Robert! I really appreciate your giving me the opportunity to cover this and do the video - and of course you're right about the POV and RPOV being the same. As to capacity, in addition to the one train issue, I found that loading was slow - but hey, it's early days.

Russell's point is well taken.

As to El Diablo being at a theme park, I believe that the park is pitching this primarily to those who are beyond kiddie rides but not yet up to El Toro or Kingda Ka. It may be nothing new to fairgoers, but it was a novel experience for me, as I'd never ridden anything remotely like this before - and I'm always up for something new!

May 15, 2015 at 3:11 PM · I wouldn't consider El Diablo a roller coaster, but rather an inverting flat ride. The train isn't actually rolling freely on this ride and is more being pulled around the loop, as can be seen in an off-ride video (essentially, the inside of the loop is a moving ring that the train is rigidly attached to). As for the ride, it looks like fun but I still think it was a poor choice for SFGAdv. As part of a flat ride package, sure. As a single new attraction that is hyped up to be more than it actually is, however, I definitely understand where the disappointment comes from. That said, I do think this is a good fit for the other three Six Flags parks that are receiving one this year.
May 15, 2015 at 6:16 PM · It is a low capacity hamster wheel...

There. now you know what it is....

May 15, 2015 at 10:32 PM · +1 Brian

I'm sorry, but when I make my maiden voyage to Great Adventure, I'll be sure to skip this eyesore, regardless of its "coaster merit."

May 16, 2015 at 8:23 AM · this ride was a poor choice
May 16, 2015 at 2:24 PM · I don't care if this is a coaster, and I don't care if it's pretty much a carnival ride. (I actually rode a ride just like this at my local state fair) It's a pretty creative idea. And unlike most creative ideas it's not that expensive. What I do care about is how much hype they're building up around it. Like Brian said it's a hamster wheel! If and when I visit Great Adventure, I think I might give this ride a shot, but I'll make sure to do all of the major rides first.
May 16, 2015 at 7:36 PM · @Anon 66.87: I'm not sure how you can use the words "creative" and "carnival ride" in the same sentence, especially when it comes to Six Flags.
May 19, 2015 at 8:56 PM · Hi! Bobbie, great to see some new material from you! Always a pleasure to read. As for this ride...next year, I hope that SFGA brings something really worthwhile, like a new roller coaster. This is nothing more than a looping carnival ride. I hope no one considers this a roller coaster in any way, shape or form.

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