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Ultimate Rollercoaster > Discussion Forums > Roller Coasters, Parks & Attractions > Rolling Thunder

Rolling Thunder

Jumbo-Jet Jumbo-Jet Profile

Posted:
9/9/13 at
9:51:11 PM

Although I haven't been to Six Flags Great Adventure since 2000, I personally hate to see the Rolling Thunder go. I've been on it only a handful of times, with my first ride being in 1989 (the year GASM opened) and despite it being on the rough side, I still enjoyed it. With it being built in 1979, I can't see why they should get rid of it. With a little TLC, it can be a great coaster. Look at the many other parks with similar racing wooden coasters that have been around much longer than Rolling Thunder and they don't plan on getting rid of them anytime soon...as far as I know. One example would be Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion. I know that El Toro is the "main attraction", but Rolling Thunder is more of a "classic", family-friendly woodie and I imagine it was many a kids' first (wooden) coaster experience. I just can't imagine a parent taking their 6-year-old on El Toro for their first roller coaster ride. I know Rolling Thunder is not the most popular ride in the park, but I feel it should remain.
BTW, a bit of trivia I've found out a while back...I've read (forgot where) that Kings Dominion's Rebel Yell "stood in" as Rolling Thunder in 1979 Great Adventure brochures and TV ads! I know the layout of both coasters are very different, their lift hills/first drops are pretty much identical in appearance.

Re: Rolling Thunder by MABrider MABrider Profile at 9/10/13 1:26:13 PM
ROTB attendees this past Saturday got certificates to be redeemed* for "a piece of Rolling Thunder." I'm not really into such stuff but I figured why not, it's a pretty cool thing they are doing, it was a surprise announcement/offer and they had it all set up right there outside RT's entrance (after a little history slide show).

RT was my last ride of the event.
And I thought it was running very well (at 9:45 PM).


* how/when TBD

Mike B.
Re: Rolling Thunder by rush211243 at 9/10/13 3:15:56 PM
Jumbo-Jet said:

Although I haven't been to Six Flags Great Adventure since 2000, I personally hate to see the Rolling Thunder go. With it being built in 1979, I can't see why they should get rid of it. With a little TLC, it can be a great coaster. Look at the many other parks with similar racing wooden coasters that have been around much longer than Rolling Thunder and they don't plan on getting rid of them anytime soon...as far as I know. One example would be Rebel Yell at Kings Dominion. I just can't imagine a parent taking their 6-year-old on El Toro for their first roller coaster ride. I know Rolling Thunder is not the most popular ride in the park, but I feel it should remain.
BTW, a bit of trivia

I couldn't agree with your logic more! I only was going to reply, "... It's Six Flags, that's why" but they definiately do not have sentimental vision when you look at the fact Six Flags was six flags because they only were going to open six parks. But anytime a bit of money came their way they would open new parks, which frankly these days in Amercia, new parks do not have appeal for many families and park enthusists.

I couldn't see a family taking a kid on El Toro even if they were 14! I don't think six year olds would be tall/large enough to get on. LOL

Trivia, Rebel Yell was the 'IN' coaster back in the day in 1977 it and KD was featured in the movie Rollercoaster. I haven't seen it but it is famous for that. I happen to like The Racer at KI better and simply love Lighting Racer, glad to see it finally is getting love from Amusement Park Today!

* This post was modified at 9/10/13 3:19:01 PM *

Re: Rolling Thunder by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 9/10/13 3:24:16 PM
MABrider said:


RT was my last ride of the event.
And I thought it was running very well (at 9:45 PM).


We really did just miss one another. We took our last ride after getting the certificate, which would have been a little before you. We went to Ka afterwards, and that was at about 10-ish.

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Rolling Thunder by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 9/10/13 3:37:23 PM
rush211243 said:



Six Flags was six flags because they only were going to open six parks.

The company only BUILT 3 parks. All others were acquisitions. And the name did not come from how many they were planning to build, but from the six governments by which Texas was ruled throughout its history.

Mike

* This post was modified at 9/10/13 3:50:42 PM *

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Rolling Thunder by mugen828 mugen828 Profile at 9/11/13 8:21:31 AM
beastmaster said:

rush211243 said:



Six Flags was six flags because they only were going to open six parks.

The company only BUILT 3 parks. All others were acquisitions. And the name did not come from how many they were planning to build, but from the six governments by which Texas was ruled throughout its history.

Mike

Did not know that! Nice facts there.


Although Rolling Thunder recently made my back hurt for the first time (and I'm 25!) I am indeed sad to see it go. The line took forever sometimes, but I enjoiyed the ride, and would occasionally hop on for a spin.

What are they doing with that land? Also now that we're losing a coaster, you'd think next year is the year for another coaster right?!?!

One can only hope.

- mugen828
157 Coasters -- Favorite Coaster -- Nitro (SFGAdv)
117 Steel -- 40 Wood -- Home Park: SFGADv
Re: Rolling Thunder by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 9/11/13 9:08:19 AM
Sad does not even begin to describe it. That coaster has been a part of my life for 34 years. I will miss him dearly. I was fortunate that I was able to ride him the amount of times I did this season including on Sunday.

I'd like to share the slide show that was played at the ACE event and my behind the scenes pictures from the tour.

Video:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10201820219484322&set=vb.1147386071&type=3&theater

Pics:
https://www.facebook.com/GoYanks34/media_set?set=a.10201826009869078.1073741853.1147386071&type=3

Jen

Re: Rolling Thunder by Overbanked Overbanked Profile at 9/11/13 9:48:43 AM
^^^Awesome picture. I'm glad that I got a chance to ride Rolling Thunder(both sides) back in 08'.
Re: Rolling Thunder by Frontrider Frontrider Profile at 9/11/13 9:24:46 PM
Yes, I am very sad to see Rolling Thunder go. I'm a "wooden purist" and in my view, woodies will always be the "King Of The Midway".

I understand the viewpoint that it was eclipsed by El Toro, but to that I say, lots of parks have more than one woodie, and one is usually considered more thrilling and intense that the others (Voyage at Holiday World, Boulderdash at LC, etc). It doesn't mean the other woodies become "expendable", though.

After all, if Great Adventure has room for 11 steelies, than a mere TWO woodies is hardly excessive!

And another thing - while I (begrudgingly) admit that El Toro is higher than RT in my rankings (even if I don't care for the stapling trains), I truly did enjoy each and every one of my rides on Rolling Thunder - enough to make it my 3rd favorite ride in a park that I've ridden 13 coasters in. (and it is extremely rare for a steel coaster -in this case, Nitro- to be my favorite ride in a park that also has woodies, but Nitro is my number one steel, and even then my Top Tier of woodies easily beats it)

And there were many things I PREFERRED about RT than El Toro. Namely, the classic PTC trains, the buzz-bars, and the ability to actually enjoy the airtime to the fullest by coming out of my seat, rather than being stapled to it. RT just had more of the classic wooden coaster feel than Toro, and was really the only ride in the park that offered that.

I am glad I had the chance to get about 90 laps total on Rolling Thunder, including several on both sides, over the course of my time spent on my 3 weekends at Great Adventure, when I included it on the northeast leg of my 2010, 2011, and 2012 fall theme park/coaster trips. I regret not being able to make it back in time to say goodbye to RT - I'll be up that way a few weeks too late. Still, I would have strongly considered visiting the park earlier than planned (all the way from Louisiana!) for the final rides on RT, had the park given more advanced notice as to the final operating date. (I'm glad people in the area had a chance for closure, though, unlike the way Cedar Fair totally botched the closure of Geauga Lake)

I know some people seem to feel that woodies like RT that aren't considered "Top Tier" are expendable, but I disagree strongly. Because, I can honestly say that even my lowest rated of 73 woodies ridden is enjoyable enough for me to MARATHON on, and that I enjoy my lowest rated woodie more than 95 % of the steel coasters I've ridden. And RT is far from my lowest rated woodie!


So, to sum up, I consider it both a tragedy and a travesty for any park to tear down ANY woodie. When I started traveling heavily in the mid 2000's after Hurricane Katrina and had to make difficult decisions about what parks to skip on any given trip, one of the tools that aided me was that any park that tore down a woodie, without replacing it with a new woodie to make up for the destroyed one, would be tops on my "Skip List". For years, Dorney Park was the only park on this list. Magic Mountain joined it briefly until they built a new woodie to make up for Psyclone. And then Kings Island tore down Son Of Beast, a ride I had absolutely no problems with as far as "roughness". Its pacing and airtime was not as good as a CCI/Gravity Group, but I still enjoyed it. Next, The Park Formerly Known As Cypress Gardens made the boneheaded decision to reopen without John Allen's classic Starliner - which had been the best ride in the park.

And now, there is a disturbing trend where Six Flags seems to be declaring WAR on the classic WOODEN coaster experience I love so much. I rode Texas Giant on its last day as a REAL WOODEN coaster, and even then it was still giving Top 5 caliber rides for me. The WOODEN Rattler at Fiesta had its own quirky charms and I dearly miss its intense opening where the train shook so much going down the twisted second drop, you got the sense it could fall apart at any minute!

And now WOODEN Medusa at SF Mexico (which I never had the chance to ride) is also being converted to an (ugh) steel coaster, and Rolling Thunder is being torn down completely. Who knows how many more woodies will be next.

Well, this will give me more time to focus on some of the smaller northeast parks I haven't visited yet (or visited as often) on my future trips to the region!

RIP Rolling Thunder (1979 - 2013)

"If it isn't wood, it's not as good!"

* This post was modified at 9/12/13 2:26:34 PM *

"If it isn't wood, it's not as good!"
Favorite wood and overall favorite - Voyage, Holiday World
Favorite steel - Nitro, Great Adventure
Re: Rolling Thunder by chitlins73 chitlins73 Profile at 9/11/13 10:09:47 PM
I am a huge wooden coaster fan also!! I really like your posts and what you have to say. You are welcome to look me up on facebook anytime. My name is Dion Bender on there.
Re: Rolling Thunder by Frontrider Frontrider Profile at 9/11/13 10:19:44 PM
Wow, thanks. I was hesitant to post that message when I saw how long it had become. I'm glad someone liked it :)

Your name sounds familiar - weren't you posting positive things about Voyage during the Golden Ticket Awards video feed? I was in complete agreement, of course.

I'm not a Facebook member, but I'll try to be more active on the message boards I belong to than I have been in recent years. I take most of my road trips in the fall and spring so I guess I'm starting to get excited about my 2013 fall trip!

On a positive note, maybe Great Adventure will take a page from the Great America playbook and eventually add a new woodie to make up for Rolling Thunder.

* This post was modified at 9/12/13 2:28:15 PM *

"If it isn't wood, it's not as good!"
Favorite wood and overall favorite - Voyage, Holiday World
Favorite steel - Nitro, Great Adventure
Re: Rolling Thunder by Jumbo-Jet Jumbo-Jet Profile at 9/11/13 10:26:40 PM
Instead of tearing Rolling Thunder down...why don't they do the same thing to it that they did with Texas Giant??? Make it a steel hybrid racer!!!
Anyway, they should at least replace it with another (kid or family-friendly) wooden coaster...even if it's a small junior woodie similar to Kings Dominion's Woodstock Express.

* This post was modified at 9/11/13 10:28:03 PM *

Re: Rolling Thunder by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 9/11/13 10:54:38 PM
Jumbo-Jet said:

Instead of tearing Rolling Thunder down...why don't they do the same thing to it that they did with Texas Giant??? Make it a steel hybrid racer!!!
Anyway, they should at least replace it with another (kid or family-friendly) wooden coaster...even if it's a small junior woodie similar to Kings Dominion's Woodstock Express.

Because the problem lies with the structure not really the track. Believe me I agree with everyone who loves RT and I am extremely upset about this - I rode that coaster for 34 years since I was a child. The cost to maintain it was high enough for a coaster with virtually no ridership never mind rebuilding the structure (that's why they closed the right side down - it was not structurally sound). If it remained a popular ride they probably would have allocated the money to do it but they couldn't justify that expenditure on a coaster that is always a walk on (except for the last month, naturally).

I really hope they build another REAL racing woodie. To me any elite theme park must have one and while nothing will ever replace Rolling Thunder for me another racer would at least fill a void that is now in the park.

Jen

Re: Rolling Thunder by Jumbo-Jet Jumbo-Jet Profile at 9/11/13 11:10:42 PM
GoYanks34 said:

Jumbo-Jet said:

Instead of tearing Rolling Thunder down...why don't they do the same thing to it that they did with Texas Giant??? Make it a steel hybrid racer!!!
Anyway, they should at least replace it with another (kid or family-friendly) wooden coaster...even if it's a small junior woodie similar to Kings Dominion's Woodstock Express.

Because the problem lies with the structure not really the track. Believe me I agree with everyone who loves RT and I am extremely upset about this - I rode that coaster for 34 years since I was a child. The cost to maintain it was high enough for a coaster with virtually no ridership never mind rebuilding the structure (that's why they closed the right side down - it was not structurally sound). If it remained a popular ride they probably would have allocated the money to do it but they couldn't justify that expenditure on a coaster that is always a walk on (except for the last month, naturally).

I really hope they build another REAL racing woodie. To me any elite theme park must have one and while nothing will ever replace Rolling Thunder for me another racer would at least fill a void that is now in the park.

Jen


Also what they *could* have done is tear down only the right side and keep the left side, making Rolling Thunder a single-track wooden coaster.
Also, it was said that the Rolling Thunder could be dismantled and possibly sold to another park...

Re: Rolling Thunder by Frontrider Frontrider Profile at 9/11/13 11:24:51 PM

Because the problem lies with the structure not really the track. Believe me I agree with everyone who loves RT and I am extremely upset about this - I rode that coaster for 34 years since I was a child. The cost to maintain it was high enough for a coaster with virtually no ridership never mind rebuilding the structure (that's why they closed the right side down - it was not structurally sound). If it remained a popular ride they probably would have allocated the money to do it but they couldn't justify that expenditure on a coaster that is always a walk on (except for the last month, naturally).

I really hope they build another REAL racing woodie. To me any elite theme park must have one and while nothing will ever replace Rolling Thunder for me another racer would at least fill a void that is now in the park.

Jen

Wow, I didn't realize it was considered an unpopular walk-on, but then I'm not from the area. My visits have all been during Fright Fest and I have had walk-ons on it on the Friday nights; but then I've also walked on Kingda Ka and Nitro on those Friday nights as well! Saturdays and Sundays on my visits though it always had a big queue.

Its worth it for me to travel in the fall though, because even though I may sometimes run into crowds, (esp Saturdays), I like the cool temps and the late closing times of those events which is good for plenty of night rides.

* This post was modified at 9/12/13 2:27:21 PM *

"If it isn't wood, it's not as good!"
Favorite wood and overall favorite - Voyage, Holiday World
Favorite steel - Nitro, Great Adventure
Re: Rolling Thunder by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 9/11/13 11:39:05 PM
Jumbo-Jet said:

Also what they *could* have done is tear down only the right side and keep the left side, making Rolling Thunder a single-track wooden coaster.
Also, it was said that the Rolling Thunder could be dismantled and possibly sold to another park...

Both scenarios are pretty much impossible. The structure is in such bad condition there is NO way they could take it apart intact and rebuild it. The wood is warped, splitting, cracked, there are sections held together by rope/wire. The left side is bad too, just wasn't bad enough so it could still safely be used until they closed it. They hardly used the left side. The right side was the side that they kept open when they weren't running both tracks. To repair it they would have had to pretty much rebuild the entire structure.

It is not being sold or going to another park - that has been confirmed repeatedly.

Jen

* This post was modified at 9/11/13 11:42:43 PM *

Re: Rolling Thunder by chitlins73 chitlins73 Profile at 9/12/13 1:52:21 AM
Frontrider said:

Wow, thanks. I was hesitant to post that message when I saw how long it had become. I'm glad someone liked it :)


Your name sounds familiar - weren't you posting positive things about Voyage during the Golden Ticket Awards video feed? I was in complete agreement, of course.

I'm not a Facebook member, but I'll try to be more active on the message boards I belong to than I have been in recent years. I take most of my road trips in the fall and spring so I guess I'm starting to get excited about my 2013 fall trip!

On a positive note, maybe Great Adventure will take a page from the Great America playbook and eventually add a new woodie to make up for Rolling Thunder.

Yes.....I was the one saying all the positive stuff about Voyage on the Golden Ticket live stream...lol...I can't wait to get back out to Indiana and ride it again next year!!!

Re: Rolling Thunder by chillforce chillforce Profile at 9/12/13 2:57:17 AM
Coaster, as it was actually referred to by the park, has served it's time as a good ride for the park. It's time has come, the design does not lend to the same treatment as the Giant and Rattler. Giant was a great coaster when I rode it, Rattler was totally fun ride 6 years ago as a woodie.

2 weeks ago, I met the new rattler and I am pleased, a few years ago, I met the NTG and was amazed. I don't believe this can work with an out and back like RT, I may be wrong on that, but I don't see it.

Next year, that area of the park will be pretty barren, but that is land that has already been reclaimed by the park. I can see a new Midway in that area for the future and not be affected by the wetlands rule of use an acre of wetland buy 2 and half somewhere else. The surprise of all of this is that Ka is a survivior with being the anchor of a new, needed drop ride.

Anyway, just stopped by to say hello, but any RT talk had to just make my own observations.

Re: Rolling Thunder by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 9/12/13 4:24:15 AM
chillforce said:

Coaster, as it was actually referred to by the park, has served it's time as a good ride for the park. It's time has come, the design does not lend to the same treatment as the Giant and Rattler.

Actually that's corporate that's making those statements. The higher ups at the park are pretty upset about its removal but there is obviously nothing they can do about it.

2 weeks ago, I met the new rattler and I am pleased, a few years ago, I met the NTG and was amazed. I don't believe this can work with an out and back like RT, I may be wrong on that, but I don't see it.

I may be meeting the new Rattler soon - glad I've been hearing good things about it. I think you're right about it not working with a coaster like RT - not without completely redesigning it.

Next year, that area of the park will be pretty barren, but that is land that has already been reclaimed by the park. I can see a new Midway in that area for the future and not be affected by the wetlands rule of use an acre of wetland buy 2 and half somewhere else. The surprise of all of this is that Ka is a survivior with being the anchor of a new, needed drop ride.

That's exactly what we were told at the ACE event by the park. To think of the drop tower as insurance that KK is not going anywhere anytime soon (and since you all know it's my favorite it has given me a new perspective on the drop tower I was not too happy about defiling my Green King!). We were also told that the talk is to create a midway with new flats/family friendly rides. We were told it wasn't set in stone but that's the plan for now anyway. They also talked about reopening the Old Country section as well which would be nice. That's a HUGE chunk of buildable real estate just sitting dormant.

Anyway, just stopped by to say hello, but any RT talk had to just make my own observations.

Hello back to you! Don't be a stranger! :-)

Jen

Re: Rolling Thunder by RobLec RobLec Profile at 9/12/13 8:40:21 AM
chillforce said:
Anyway, just stopped by to say hello...

Thanks for stopping in. It's been much too long. It's always good to see your name show up here now and then.

Re: Rolling Thunder by beastmaster beastmaster Profile at 9/12/13 8:56:10 AM
chillforce said:

Anyway, just stopped by to say hello, but any RT talk had to just make my own observations.

Hey Ed, were you at the event Saturday? I only met you once or twice before, but I thought I saw someone who resembled the mental image I had of you while I was looking (unsuccessfully) for Mike B.

Mike G.

The amusement park rises bold and stark
Kids are huddled on the beach in a mist...
Re: Rolling Thunder by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 9/12/13 1:34:36 PM
I admit I had no special connection to Thunder like most of you have. As for the other points: I agree I don't see how RMC could rebuild it and they may as well just start from scratch. I certainly think the disappointment of Thunder being scrapped could've been lessened if they were to build a pair of racers from GCI (maybe something like hershey's lightning racer). How long are they going to leave Chiller's site abandoned? And to further the DC theme, why not call one Harley and the other Ivy after the Batman villains? :)

I mean sure a 400+ft drop tower sounds cool, but I'd have preferred something like what KD or KI have as those types are much better from a capacity standpoint.

* This post was modified at 9/12/13 1:40:29 PM *

Re: Rolling Thunder by GoYanks34 GoYanks34 Profile at 9/12/13 2:16:05 PM
Cyclone_Phil said:

How long are they going to leave Chiller's site abandoned? And to further the DC theme, why not call one Harley and the other Ivy after the Batman villains? :)


I mean sure a 400+ft drop tower sounds cool, but I'd have preferred something like what KD or KI have as those types are much better from a capacity standpoint.

Rumor has it the new coaster we are supposedly getting for 2015 will be in the Chiller's vicinity.

I really wanted a gyro drop too but if this gives KK any insurance of not getting scrapped anytime soon I'll take it. If they took him out I would LOSE my mind and it wouldn't be pretty. ;-)

Jen

Re: Rolling Thunder by Cyclone_Phil Cyclone_Phil Profile at 9/12/13 6:21:36 PM
As long as they use the land for its full potential and not build some kiddie coaster (dark knight), I'm happy. I think a pair of racing/dueling wood coasters would be great.

As for the KK rumor, I just can't see the park getting rid of it. I mean sure operating it must be really expensive, but where else could they send it to? It's still one of the park's signature rides and would be a shame if moved elsewhere.

* This post was modified at 9/12/13 6:25:06 PM *

Re: Rolling Thunder by Schrecken Schrecken Profile at 9/12/13 8:07:14 PM
I'm glad I got to ride RT before they did away with it, especially since I passed on it the last time I was at the park a couple of years ago.
Also, Jen, I was going thru your pics, and it's really funny with all those busted cell phones around KK!