At Six Flags Great America they were jealous of the attention that Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast was getting so they challenged the creative engineers of Bolliger and Mabillard to do something similar with Batman the ride. After 20 years of thrilling crowds forwards, a new chassis was provided and guests are experiencing this revolutionary ride in a new way.
On Opening Day 2013, the park expected great interest, which they received. The line extended out of the queue, behind the concession stand, and partially wrapped around the East River Crawler. It was like 1992 all over again, when Batman could only be ridden at Six Flags Great America and extremely long waits were common.
From this shot you can see the seats are the same, just facing in a different direction. Due to the length of the vertically dropping loading platform, one row of seats was removed for safety reasons. The sheaths covering the mechanical pieces on top of the train have yet to be returned to place, they serve more of a theming purpose instead of a operating one.
Watching the train climb the lift hill backwards seems so wrong, but once experienced it is very much a new ride sensation. The "g" forces on Batman always seemed the most intense of any B & M coaster to us, but we have not seen any hard figures to back up that statement. It is just a matter of personal perception.
Here you can clearly see the missing row of seats. Going backwards through a loop is one of the more rare, on roller coasters, sensations so it never fails to tickle our tummies. The last backward facing row gives a fantastic view of where you've been, along with a visual explanation of what just happened, but good luck explaining it to your friends.
The helices in the finale are both intense and exhilarating, but no cameras are available to catch the effects of the forces on rider's faces. Their classic design still makes for a great finish whether you are facing forwards or backwards.
It feels like a giant hand is doing things to the train when you can't see and anticipate the next ride element. For all of the hundreds of Batman rides we have experienced, this was the closest to those original rides back in 1992 when you did not know what was coming.
Batman Backwards was so popular that it was still running the line out long after the park had closed for the day. We did not stay late enough for a dark ride but that combination has to be a fantastic experience. You can bet we will plan that for our next trip.
As you fly through the course without seeing ahead it feels very disorienting, but in a totally great way. The twists, turns, loops, and barrel rolls mess with your perceptions a little bit as you watch the track behind you while you feel yourself moving in a different direction.
The first time on the backwards first drop the difference between what your eyes see and what your body felt gives you just a taste of what is to come during the ride.
For now, this is a unique ride sensation only available at Six Flags Great America, for a yet to be disclosed limited time only, here is a montage of video clips from our visit on Opening Day 2013. Many thanks to Brandon and the entire Batman Backwards crew for their help in bringing you this story. We can't wait to visit you again.