I’m sure Batman’s life is dangerous and exciting, much like the roller coaster created in his honor. How exactly does the caped crime fighting lifestyle translate into a steel corkscrewing thrill ride? Let’s take a look at Batman: The Ride at one of my favorite places to go in New Jersey, Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson.
When Batmania hit with Tim Burton’s 1989 Bat-film, the Bat-symbol was slapped onto everything you could imagine for the next couple of years, including roller coasters in various Six Flags Theme Parks around the country. At the time, Warner Brothers wanted to start competing with Disney theme parks so they started utilizing their DC Comics characters to compete. Batman was the first to be exploited.
The first rollout of Batman: The Ride opened at Six Flags Great America in Chicago in May of 1992 to coincide with the release of Batman Returns a month later. It wasn’t until the next year (May 1993) that the ride opened at Great Adventure. Back when the ride debuted in New Jersey I don’t think I realized that the ride already existed elsewhere. When I was a kid it seemed as if the only Six Flags park was located off exit 7A on the NJ Turnpike, even though that clearly wasn’t the case.
The 1989 movie Batmobile is parked out in front of the entrance to the ride which has always been a highlight for me. At its peak, the ride queue was usually fully packed as it extended through the mock up of Gotham City Park. For most of the the early to mid ’90s I used to wait 2 hours to get on the ride!
Once you get into the loading area Alfred is heard over the speakers telling everyone they have entered the batcave. The bat-costume is on display as well. When the 2 minute ride starts to roll, the unexpected happens: the floor of your car drops out leaving your feet dangling! The ride is one of my favorites and the nonstop thrills it contains are still effective even if you’ve been on the ride a hundred times. Even at almost 20 years old, this old bat still kicks. Of course, I should watch my words because I said that about The Great American Scream Machine and the Green Lantern Coaster replaced it.
Since it felt like there was a constant flurry of Batman stuff happening previously, 1993 felt like a fairly thin year for Batman events. Although, in hindsight, two Batman related events were better than none. At least for the Jersey folks we had the debut of Batman: The Ride at Great Adventure and the release of Batman Mask of the Phantasm later in the year.
Six Flags tried to make lightning strike several times with more Batman related rides, but we’ll get to them in the coming days here at The Sexy Armpit. Do you have fond memories of Batman: The Ride? Do you still enjoy the ride? Let us know in the comments!