The Joker Ain’t A Joke

1172804On National Roller Coaster Day (August 16th) 2015, the iconic Roar Wooden Roller Coaster closed at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Roar was the very first wooden coaster to utilize GCI’s Millennium Flyer trains. These trains allowed for tighter curves, quicker drops, and a twistier layout. After this revolutionary wooden coaster’s 16 years at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, it’s now closed for good. On September 3rd of 2015, a few days back, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom announced that Roar would be turned into the newest Rocky Mountain Construction Iron Horse Treatment Hybrid Coaster named: The Joker. – We all saw this Rocky Mountain Construction enhancement coming, and we’ve published a few articles about it before. – The Joker is a very interesting RMC Iron Horse since it’s the first ‘modern’ wooden coaster to receive this transformation. And just like the park it belongs in, it looks like it’ll be very unique.

This crazy new RMC Iron Horse coaster will feature a 78’ degree 100 foot tall twisting drop. In addition, the press release (which we published before) released that the ride will reach speeds of 53 MPH. Though it may seem hard to imagine without having seen the renderings, the Joker will feature three inversions, including the world’s first Step-Up Under Flip, a 180’ degree Zero-G Stall, and a Zero-G Roll. The ride’s funky layout utilizes the original layout quite a bit, and riders will experience 15 ‘extreme’ airtime moments on the Joker. In addition, the ride will feature a unique element: the West Coast’s first Breaking Wave Turn. The transformation of the originally 3,291 feet long ride will create an almost equally long experience: The Joker will have 3,200 feet of track, making for what is sure to be a breathtaking layout. The rails will be painted purple on the left and green on the right as part of the theme to the Clown Prince of Crime, which seem to contrast chaotically against the naturally colored wood. This chaotic, yet incredible looking ride is slated to open in the Spring of 2016.1172804

The Joker looks like it’ll be an amazing and world-class coaster that will hopefully bring some deserved attention to a world-class, hidden-gem, park. We do though, have certain reservations about how well it will blend with the rest of the park in certain regards. One of said concerns is the most obvious, Discovery Kingdom no longer has a wooden roller coaster. Having variety in a collection of coasters is always important, and although an RMC is always a fantastic addition, we can’t help but think that the wood coaster will be missed. That being said, Six Flags Fiesta Texas has made this work wonderfully with their RMC transformation of the Rattler (their only woodie), so it can be done well. Another concern is the inversions featured on this ride. Don’t misunderstand, they look amazing and as if they will flow very well in the layout. The problem lies in that The Kingdom’s largest coaster not to feature an inversion will be Cobra, a Zierer family coaster. Though the park’s line-up is stronger than ever with the addition of the Joker, there are no middle-ground coasters left at the park. You will jump from Cobra to Boomerang Coast to Coaster.

Finally, although we love the Joker as a character, and the rails look absolutely magnificent, the theme is a bit out of nowhere. As the park’s second DC Comics themed attraction just across from the first Superman: Ultimate Flight, The Joker now divides this area of the park into a mish mash of DC Comics properties and others. There will not be a DC Universe retheme or even an attraction themed to Batman, so The Joker seems a little out of place. With these track colors Lex Luthor would have better complimented the Superman theme. Now it’s important for you to understand that the name is fitting for the layout, just like the DC Comics character, the ride looks chaotic and out of control. In addition, the name Joker hasn’t been used in this state before, while we do have a Lex Luthor related ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Last but not least, related to the ride’s name, the Joker is a character that the audience is likely more familiar with. Overall, it was a bit of a shock to see the unique Discovery Kingdom introduce another DC comics related ride, after they’ve always set themselves apart with ride names and themes relating to the original wildlife theme of the park. The Joker will set the park apart, nothing even similar can be experienced in Northern California, and Six Flags is bringing some more needed airtime to this rather airtime-less state. This addition has already received more attention than anything the park has built for a while, even more than Superman Ultimate Flight did when it was announced in 2011. The ride will sure stand out, and we’re confident that this new, colorful, ride will bring much needed attention to this wonderful park. Come out and ride it next year. ALL OF YOU.1172671 (Large)

The original Roar layout, as mentioned before, was quite a twisty one. It’s great to finally see RMC tackle a ride like this. Before, all RMC Iron Horse transformations were done on large, ‘simple’ layout, wooden coasters. This time, the manufacturer had to work with a totally different structure, and a lengthy, rather complicated layout. And from the renderings, they did a spectacular job. The best way to walk through this, is to start at the beginning of the ride. The original layout started off with a funky little pre-lift that showed off the capabilities of the Millennium Flyers. RMC has taken some of the original ideas, and threw in some new ones. The new pre-lift will have a lovely turn out of the station followed by a quick hop. Similar to that on Twisted Colossus’ pre-lift. It’ll then have three non-banked, non-elevated turns, to the right-left-right, after which it’ll have one more hop leading into the lift hill. The original lift hill structure was 95 feet tall, and had a rather simplistic curved 85 foot drop. RMC is adding height to the structure, and since they are able to use more space from the curved drop, they are adding enough height for the new structure to be a 100 feet tall.joker03_-_78_degree_drop-1024x663 Due to the 78’ degree drop, they are adding a quick ejector twist to it which will then lead into the Step-Up Under Flip. The Step-Up Under Flip will use the old twisty first turn-around, and will approach it with an inverting hill that rolls opposite the direction of the turn around for 270 degrees. Look at it as Medusa Steel Coaster’s drop in reverse. It will then instantly be banked the right way for a snappy downward curved drop into the next big element of the ride. The Zero-G Stall will be one like never before. Due to the original GCI structure, it will be head-chopper filled. In addition, this will be the second tallest point on the ride, and remember you’re hanging there, inverted. joker04_-_inversion-1024x663The ride then twists out of the element into the next very unique element. The Breaking Wave Turn will use the original second ‘turn around’ and will turn it into a twisty airtime filled element. The element consists of a Double-Up like movement (banked OUTWARD) followed by a constant-banked turn, into a Double-Down like movement. After this, the train will enter a quick hop, similar to the ones following the TC main-drops, and will provide riders with a quick ‘pop’ of air. joker05_-_breaking_wave_turn-1024x663Riders won’t be in their seats for long as a hill follows, which looks like it will be some pure sustained ejector. Right thereafter, the train will hit an elevated banked high-speed turn that hasn’t been seen on any other RMC Iron Horse so far. It seems as if a whole lot of chaotic elements have already been thrown at riders at this point. But that’s far from all… The ride will then enter a real Camelback-like element which is rumored to be called an ‘Asian Camelback’. The element exists of a big hill up, a small dip, a small hill up, and a decent sized drop after that. joker02-1024x663Ready for another turn? Well the Joker will throw guests into a higher over-banked turn which makes a perfect dive down into the last inversion of the ride. The Zero-G Roll. The train will continuously roll into this element, likely creating a smooth, all-twisting, experience. The Zero-G Roll is small, quick, and low to the ground. In fact, it’s positioned under the Camel Back. The train will then roll out of the last inversion for two quick last airtime hills before hitting the brake-run. For any of you who’ve been saying it’s not a good layout, or that it’s nowhere near the best RMC Iron Horse yet… give it another look. Look at the original, and the masterpiece that’s being created out of it. You may just totally fall in love with it, like we did.joker06_-_zero_g_barrel_roll-1024x663

Looking at this layout, it’s clearly jam packed with insane elements from start to finish. We didn’t expect to see everything that made it into to the final renderings and design. However, some things were likely going to be included. Let’s first discuss what we did expect to see: The Zero-G Stall (and a variety thereof) has been featured on several RMC designs to date, and the first large hill in Roar’s original layout was an obvious spot to put a large inversion such as this stall, so yes we saw that coming. The same goes for the Zero-G Roll, although the location of it was a big surprise, every RMC Hybrid since Iron Rattler has featured one, so it’s really no surprise. We were also pleasantly UNsurprised to see RMC try and maintain much of the banking and twistedness of this former GCI. This definitely doesn’t mean that it lacks in the airtime department, as the crazy ejector hills throughout are something that just seems like a standard RMC feature these days.joker01-1024x663

As far as things we didn’t see coming: When early on the RMC rumors started, and we took a critical look at the layout, we actually imagined something like the Step-Up Under Flip to fully and uniquely use the first turn-around of the original layout. But we must say, we weren’t quite expecting it to ACTUALLY happen! As a world’s first, people have never seen anything like it, and by all accounts it looks delightfully disorienting. The placement of this element is equally ridiculous, as rising into a turn hardly seems the standard place for an inversion. The Breaking Wave Turn is also a nice surprise, as it will will hopefully help accentuate the laterally forced focus of this ride and give riders laterals like they’ve never experienced. Finally, the drop. Now anyone who has ridden Expedition Ge-Force at Plopsa’s Holiday Park will tell you about the perfect harmony of insane lateral and negative G forces that are found on that drop. To see The Joker’s drop have almost identical shaping should be a dream come true for any coaster enthusiast. We were really puzzled as to what RMC would do with a basic curved drop, and boy they did not disappoint. Overall, this layout is really all we could ask for, from beloved RMC tropes to crazy new elements, our expectations were truly exceeded. GCI magic, combined with RMC magic. The Joker may just be the best Rocky Mountain Construction Hybrid Coaster yet. Congratulations Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, your newest ride is sure to kick some ass.1172801-final (1) (Large)

As a whole, despite whatever reservations you may have about The Joker in regards to layout or theme, there is no denying that it looks absolutely incredible. It has the potential to be one of the world’s greatest roller coasters, and hopefully the coaster and its respective park will help each other get a little more love from the coaster enthusiast community. Discovery Kingdom may not have a wooden coaster anymore, they may not have a large non-inverting coaster, they may not have a mid-level coaster, but they do have The Joker. They do have coaster everyone will want to ride. They will have an incredible new experience that will not only be something unique for locals, but will attract people from far… Let us tell you…The Joker Ain’t A Joke.

To see The Joker in Action, we’ve got an off-ride, and on-ride POV animation for you:

We’d appreciate to learn what you think of this new addition to the Six Flags Discovery Kingdom lineup! Make sure to leave us a comment below!

To read the official press release from the park, we published that right when it was announced, here!

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4 Replies to “The Joker Ain’t A Joke”

  1. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, but now, I LOVE it and can’t wait for it. Just a question of curiosity, what causes the Joker’s wave turn to classify as a breaking wave turn and not twisted colossus’?

  2. I cant wait ride the joker in spring 2015 I also think its a little higher than 100 feet I think its 105 because I compare at new and old ride first drop but I cant wait till it opens.

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