4D coasters are nothing new. X2 from Arrow Dynamics opened at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2002 and operates with a controlled spin. Then came Intamin’s ZacSpin, on which the seats spin freely. This was improved upon when S&S Worldwide, the successor to Arrow, developed a free spin coaster which has been installed at five Six Flags parks. It’s known as The Joker at Six Flags Great Adventure, Six Flags Great America, Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags New England. At Six Flags Fiesta Texas it’s known as Batman: the Ride. (Don’t ask! It seems that every Six Flags park must have a coaster named Batman.)
I haven’t ridden X2 or any of the ZacSpins but I’ve ridden The Joker at Six Flags Great Adventure (pictured) and Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. This is undoubtedly one of the craziest coasters I’ve ever ridden; it’s totally chaotic. Because the seats spin freely, no two rides are exactly the same so that the ride experience is unpredictable. Riders will find themselves head over heels repeatedly and there’s even some nice hang time. One of the variables that figure into the ride is weight distribution. When I rode the installation at Fiesta Texas I thought omigod, this is insanely intense, more so than the installation at Great Adventure. Then I realized that it wasn’t the coaster; it was the weight distribution. On The Joker I’d always ridden four to a vehicle whereas on Batman there were two other riders facing me while the seat next to me was empty. The two riders across from me were literally throwing their weight around; their combined weight was enough to flip me over in ways I’d never imagined. The novelty was remarkable.
What’s your take? Have you ever ridden an S&S 4D free fly coaster and if so, what did you think of it?