Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Earn Your Wings! SkyScreamer at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Mother Nature must have known someone would be invading her airspace today and broke the long running sunny streak in the Bay Area by giving us a rainy media day at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. But a little rain didn't phase the park one bit in debuting their all new ride, SkyScreamer. I was fortunate enough to attend the event.

The event began with a presentation by the park's ambassador, Captain Lee. If anyone has ever met Captain Lee, you may be aware that even though he will hop in a Tiger or Lion cage without blinking an eye, he is deathly afraid of heights. In the photo above he shows us his diaper that will act as a final back up just incase dramamine and a brown paper "barf bag" dont prevent him from-- making a mess.

Next up to speak was Park President, Dale Kaetzel. Dale spoke about the new ride and how it makes a great addition to the park as they celebrate their 25th year in Vallejo, CA. He pointed out that when you reach the top of the ride you have an outstanding view of the surrounding mountains and Lake Chabot that borders half the park, not to mention the great views of the park itself.

Looney Tunes characters await the cutting of the ribbon.

Following Dale's speech, he moved to officially cut the ribbon with the assistance of Captain Lee and a representative from the local Travis Air Force Base.

And just like that, we were ready for departure! The ride is in a fairly unique location. It resides it the former Tram maintenance yard. To access the ride, the park cut a path through the former Medusa Plaza Fountain (which was later turned into Oasis Stage and now serves as planter boxes) and under Medusa itself in order to reach the ride. The path allows some pretty amazing views of Medusa that we were otherwise unable to see before.
The view of Medusa from the new SkyScreamer path.

The SkyScreamer queue line sits right next to Medusa's heartline roll.

Eager riders waiting to ascend the tower.

So how is the ride? Though it's not quite as "scary" as some had led me to believe it might be, it was quite the experience! The views of the park are stunning and the speed of the swing was much greater than I had ever imagined where you can actually feel the Gs as you speed around the tower.

The big question surrounding Discovery Kingdom's model is about the lower height and if it detracts from the ride. I haven't been on any other StarFlyers so it's hard for me to really pass judgment, but while on the ride I never felt like I was being let down by how high I was. With fantastic views overlooking Medusa, Cobra, Roar, Kong and the Front Gate the ride really satisfied. The only thing I wish was different was the ride length, because frankly I could sit up there all day just enjoying the view!

SkyScreamer officially opens Friday, May 27th which is also the park's first day of daily operation. If you are a season passholder, the park will be holding Coasters After Dark once the park closes friday night. This special season passholder only event will feature private ride time on Medusa, Kong, Cobra and of course, SkyScreamer.