Blog: Six Flags Great Adventure Closes The Joker During Media Day Event

Posted by  r0llerc0ast3r / 26 May : 14:35

Today Six Flags Great Adventure was finally ready to unveil the newest addition to the park to the coaster world. The weather has been more on the dry side, the sun was beaming and the temps were finally reaching what we see along The Jersey Shore this time of the year. It was a perfect day for a Media Preview Event minus the chronic sweating, that I could have done without. Kristin Siebeneicher, John Fitzgerald and Joe Piscopo were on site to ring in the new coaster for a day full of flips, spins, rotations... whatever you wanna call it! Select members of The Boys & Girls Club of New Jersey were present and taking part in the first official rides of The Joker. Soon after the inaugural rides, working media, coaster sites and enthusiasts were welcome to give The Joker a try.

Upon arriving to the newly renovated area I was in shock at how fast they got it done from just three weeks ago. I have to say I am quite impressed with what Six Flags Great Adventure has accomplished despite the recent string of weather. The entire area was clean and ready to go for the event! The main entrance to the queue house or should I say Carnival of Criminals is great!

As for the ride itself, it looks rather intimidating watching it from ground level. Your eyes fixate on the rotating seats as they sway back and fourth completing anywhere from four to sometimes six rotations, no single ride is the same.

After taking it in, it was time for Joe and I to get our Joker fix. So we got in the very short line, made our way up the "B" side or better known as purple and took our seats. As our car began its ascent up the 120 foot lift hill, the seats begin to move freely, tipping forwards and then backwards. As you crest the lift and begin your first drop of many, your entire car begins to rotate on its own. With the mixture of bunny hills and the weight of the vehicle your car begins an onslaught of flips. Now as mentioned above, your ride should consist of anywhere from four to six individual flips. However, during our ride I am pretty sure we did nine full rotations. It was insane! Your body is thrown forwards, backwards and jolted as the cars momentum can take you either way in a second. The best thing you can do is just to relax your body and allow the car do the work. There was no chance to rock this car as your body couldn't predict which way you would flip next.

As our car came to a stop, something odd happened... Joe and I went head over heels one last time but instead of completing a full rotation our bodies stopped upside down. At first I thought that the car would fix itself, but after a minute of sitting there, I realized the coaster had just malfunctioned. Without hesitation, maintenance crews and personnel were onsite attending to us, making sure we were alright and comfortable. Of course the coaster enthusiast in each of us was delighted we were the first official riders stuck on The Joker. But we were in no danger, we were safe and sound just had some blood rushing to our heads but we didn't mind. The guys working to fix the situation were professional and really had our safety in mind the entire time. Considering both Joe and I have worked these massive pieces of machinery we knew that nothing could go wrong that would put our lives in danger.

Just for the record, neither Joe nor myself were attempting to rock the car on purpose. The Joker vehicles weigh so much and add that to the force of the rotations taking place, there is no way anyone could alter the way the car moves. It's just impossible. We were told by park officials that the "dampeners" which are the breaks for the "free spinning" feature needed to be tightened. However, later to our surprise we heard that certain people were blaming us for the break down as we were "attempting to flip it."

Uh I would love to take the credit for closing down a ride, but I am not that special or strong. It just can't happen! Once you get to ride it, you will see what I mean.

Anyway, I would like to thank and applaud the crews at Six Flags Great Adventure for handling this as smoothly as they did. We have all been seeing media outlets, mainly mainstream news paint terrifying pictures with headlines and words when crews perform simple and required procedures when coasters malfunction. I am glad that this happened to us, rather than a pair of riders from the general public. For some reason I feel it would have been blown up into something much bigger.

After a two hours of testing and safety checks, Six Flags Great Adventure reluctantly opted to keep The Joker closed until further notice. With new rides there is always a chance of a malfunction. Again the personnel had everyones safety in mind. For those waiting, the park handed out Exit Ride Passes to come by on another day to ride The Joker. The park will be making their decision tonight if the new coaster will open this weekend.