Coaster Con XL – Part I – Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Alexander: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

The dog days of summer are here!

And nothing says “summer” like the annual ACE Coaster Con! It’s a big one this year, too: Coaster Con XL! (Coaster Con 40). Since everything’s bigger in Texas, what better place to play host than one of North America’s most bustling regional entertainment playgrounds: San Antonio!

– Over the years, many of our images have popped up on other sites and forums, awesome that our coverage spreads, not so awesome that not everyone mentioned where they got the images from. We are totally fine with our audience using our images, BUT ONLY IF credit is given to Thank you! –


The bulk of Coaster Con XL festivities took place at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This includes both attraction-related festivities and the more technical aspects of the convention, including business meetings, presentations, and the like.

Water park ERT was one of SFFT’s many festivities (but was not documented with the camera. The camera had locker ERT instead). New at the park this year is a new style of water coaster from ProSlide, featuring water-powered uphill launches and sharp flying saucer drops!

Goliath: a Batman: The Ride clone, and only the 3rd tallest coaster in the park despite sporting Six Flag’s go-to moniker of size. And then they followed up with the only Batman: The Ride attraction in the chain that isn’t a Batman clone! This park is silly.

Hey friend! This is not an approved use of the Iron Rattler test seat!

Speaking of which, I hit up Iron Rattler for a few “insurance rides” before the opening ceremony. We call the “insurance rides” because you never know when a park’s star coaster my crap out on you for the rest of a trip!

Off to Fiesta Bay Boardwalk for dinner!

Poltergiest protests my decision to eat dinner before going for a ride.

A very clever use of space: our opening reception took place on the go-kart track, of all places.

Not a bad place to put 450 people after the sun’s gone down! Also FREE UNLIMITED BOOZE WAS SERVED.

I do like this park a lot. More now than I did on my first visit 7 years ago. It helps when your park president, Jeffrey Siebert, is an ACEr!!!

All the other Six Flags parks have Batman: The Ride B&M invert clones called Batman: The Ride, naturally (except for La Ronde, of course).

And now, all the other parks have S&S 4D Free Spins called Joker, but not Fiesta Texas! The original 4D Free Spin is called Batman: The Ride. Confused yet?

Based on my rides on the Joker coasters at Six Flags Great Adventure and Six Flags Over Texas (more on that later), it’s clear that the Jokers are set to “stun” and Batman: The Ride is set to “kill”.

At one point I thought my eyeballs were going to explode.

Superman Krypton Coaster was running three trains, but they stacked without fail. An E for Effort, Six Flags.

Something that sets Fiesta Texas apart from other Six Flags properties is their dedication to show production. Originally built by the Gaylord Opry Company (of Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and Opryland U.S.A. theme park fame), Fiesta Texas has live entertainment in its bloodline.

Six Flags has miraculously spared most of the Fiesta’s elaborate show venues despite the park’s transition from “a show park with some rides” to “a ride park with some shows.”

“Celebrate” is a surprisingly complex nighttime show that makes great use of Fiesta’s location in an abandoned quarry. Natural rock walls provide the canvas for laser and film projections.

Perched on the cliff is $5000+ worth of pyrotechnics, and in the foreground, dancing water and fire! Pretty solid production value for something not located in Orlando, Southern California, or overseas.

Hustler, a Morgan Manufacturing teacup-style ride themed to billiards is a unique relic from Fiesta Texas’s opening season, and the centerpiece of the park’s “Rockville” area. With the exception of a few kiddie rides and the 50’s-style car ride Motorama (also Morgan Manufacturing; replaced by Batman), Every attraction from the park’s opening season is still here.

Ok! It’s Poltergeist time!

On the edge of Rockville and the park’s Bavarian-themed area, “Spassburg” is one of Premier Ride’s signature “Spaghetti Bowl Catapult” coasters.

Poltergeist runs substantially better than its indoor counterparts at Kings Island and Kings Dominion. It also has a longer train, lacks a midcourse brake run, and has recently had it’s LIM launch replaced. I rode this one well into the night; a great way to start off Con!

The first full day of Con was ushered in with the 2nd Annual Rubber Duckie Regatta!

Rubber Duckie Regatta is exactly what it sounds like. Rubber ducks (wearing cowboy outfits this year) are purchased by ACE members to raise money for the ACE Preservation Fund.

On the day of the regatta, the ducks are dumped into the host park’s lazy river. They each make a lap around the river, and the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ducks win various prizes.

This year’s winning duck (pictured here making a clean break for the finish line) was duck #300!

Next on the agenda: an exclusive walk-back tour!

Walking tours of backstage areas are one of my favorite things about Coaster Con.

It’s an amazing opportunity to take some great photos of coasters from otherwise unaccessible areas.

Fiesta Texas has a particularly appealing tour for us: the perimeter of the quarry wall!

As you might imagine, the way Fiesta Texas is situated makes for some killer views from the cliffs’ edges.

Sometimes taking pictures of ACErs taking pictures of roller coasters is just as much fun as photographing the coasters themselves. :}

Fiesta Texas doesn’t get a ton of rain, but when it does, this concrete creek becomes a raging river!

I’m obsessed with the views of Roadrunner Express from here. It’s Arrow Dynamics’ last mine train; the final installment in radiant pedigree of American classics. Its design is more modern than its counterparts — particularly in the area of track style and superstructure execution — but it’s a real deal mine train through and through.

I think the reason most people are making this hike in the 100º+ heat is for views of Iron Rattler.

When considered together with other Rocky Mountain Coaster Iron Horse coasters, I’d say Iron Rattler is at least in the top half of the spectrum; it’s not as bombastic as Wicked Cyclone and Twisted Colossus, but to me it has more to offer than Medusa Steel CoasterStorm Chaser, and New Texas Giant.

And for many, Iron Rattler‘s unbeatable terrain game gives it the edge over its contemporaries.

I spy some ACErs in the front seat!

Iron Rattler is really all about the first drop. The rest of the ride is excellent (if incredibly short), but this will likely remain RMC’s crowning achievement in the first drop department for the foreseeable future.

The tour continued past Rattler and toward the center of the park.

The clouds above us were greatly appreciated in this sweltering Texas heat, but the blue skies in the distance sure helped with the photos.

I spy two trains!

From this angle you can really appreciate Iron Rattler’s tremendous first drop.

RMC did a really excellent job of recreating the drop that Rattler first opened with; a swift, trick-tracky dive with remarkable steepness and a sharp pull-out.

Everyone gets to take selfies with Rattler. 

Continuing with the tour, we come around to the area where the fireworks are launched for the nighttime show.

This brings us face to face with the Man of Steel himself!

Superman Krypton Coaster really has one of the best B&M floorless designs out there — or at least it does on paper. As much as I love the look of the ride, it just doesn’t blow me away like I think it should. It doesn’t feel as forceful or as well-paced to me as other floorlesses.

Peek-A-boo! I see a horrible SkyScreamer ride!

Time to head alllll the way back down to Roadrunner Express‘s station and re-enter the park. I’m ready for some refreshment!

An original 1992 attraction, Gully Washer is a great rapids ride that isn’t afraid to get Texans totally drenched.

There’s some good views from its exit as well.

Not quite satisfied with my level of wetness, Power Surge was called in to finish the job. It’s the most resolutely-soaking Spillwater ride I’ve ever ridden.

While the least wet of the park’s water rides, Bugs Bunny’s White Water Rapids is an excellent Hopkins SuperFlume that features a cleverly arranged layout and can almost pass for a roller coaster (see the coaster track in the upper left corner?).

Nighttime ERT of Day 2 featured a Coaster Con first: mini Fright Fest!

In addition to Iron Rattler and Roadrunner Express, ACErs were treated to a fully-fleshed rendition of Fiesta’s Fright Fest, complete with fog, live scare actors, and both of Crackaxle Canyon’s haunted walk-thrus. A very cool treat for those who love this sort of thing (Read: not me).

And so concludes the Six Flags Fiesta Texas portion of Con (for the most part).

Come back soon for Part II of Coaster Con XL featuring Texas’s biggest little amusement park, ZDT’s!

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