Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
By David Fraser
Have you ever been strapped to a chair, with your feet dangling precariously while your 150-feet off the ground? Better yet, have you ever been strapped to a chair that flies through a powerful series of twists, turns and inversions at speeds in excess of 60 mph?
If you've answered yes to the above. Then chances are you've been lucky enough to experience the unique, exhilarating, unforgettable thrills of a new generation of man-made adrenaline machines. Also known as the "floorless" roller coaster.
Medusa, one of the new floorless roller coasters, made its debut in 2000 at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California. As the 2nd generation model, it was designed to closely resemble the original Medusa that is located at Six Flags Great Adventure on the opposite coast in Jackson, New Jersey.
Type of Coaster:
Height: 150 feet
Max drop: 150 feet
G-force: 4.5 G's
Top speed: 65 mph
Length: 3,937 feet
Number of Trains:
3 - 32 Passenger
3 minutes, 15 seconds
Bolliger & Mabillard
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Thanks to the design wizardry of Bolliger and Mabillard, adrenaline junkies are treated to popular combination of a standard sit-down looping coaster with a few new twists.
First new elevated seats place you out there front and center for this show and finally the best evolution in this design is the floor or lack of one shall we say. Medusa, is a floorless coaster and the result is nothing between you and the steel artwork below. Do you dare to look down? You better believe you will!
Medusa begins by slithering up an intimidating 15-story lift hill that places you at a nice perch high above Six Flags Marine World. Cresting the lift, riders take a slight turn before plunging down into a rare element on a B&M roller coaster, a perfectly straight 150-foot drop, and this one feels good!
Pulling up and out of the first drop the coiled journey begins with a aerial maneuver in the form of a massive, 128-foot vertical loop, filled with powerful positive g-forces which force you into submission.
Without relent Medusa speeds out of the vertical loop into a second inversion... graceful a dive loop. Beginning like a giant corkscrew the track at the top instead pulls out, dropping down underneath itself. The spine chilling effect is similar to the classic "dive bomb" aerobatics stunt frequently seen in air shows. In its simplicity, this incredible inversion is a powerful exercise in speed and power, both pre-requisites for adrenaline junkies.
Without pause the train screams out of the dive and flies skyward into perhaps the most unique moment of the ride, the zero-G roll. This wonderful maneuver sends riders 360-degrees in virtually the shortest amount of track physically possible, leaving you disoriented and producing a weightless sensation that is most satisfying.
Dizzy yet? Great, the ride is far from over.
With four inversions left riders enter a new, unique double inversion named the Sea Serpent. This slightly altered cobra roll provides an unnerving unique twist where the element uncoils midway between the first and second inversions sending the train traveling on instead of reversing the direction of travel. The result is a mind teaser that is anything from the ordinary cobra roll and wildly exciting!
Passing the mid-course brakes rides get a brief (maybe a second) to recoup before Medusa slithers off the break run into a dive. Twisting, turning riders scream into a snapping barrel roll for yet another upside down experience.
Not ready to give up Medusa pulls another move forcing positive G's to run free through your body as it throws riders into a powerful banked turn before you approach to see a tightly coiled mess of steel ready to unleash one final strike.
Ready to strike for the final time, riders must endure a tightly wound coil of steel in the form of a double barrel roll. After five inversions number six and seven feel more like icing on a twisted steel cake, than that of an attacking steel reptile. The train winds through Medusa's final coils with grace before pulling into to hear the familiar sounds of the final brake run.
When your travels take you to Northern California, be sure to take a side trip to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for your own encounter with Medusa. But take our advice, don't fill your stomach with too many theme park goodies before you attempt to tame this wicked lady. You'll probably regret it!
More Medusa Roller Coaster Photos
Photos and article by David Fraser. Copyright © 2000 Ultimate Rollercoaster.
Medusa artwork courtesy of Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. All rights reserved.