Six Flags rides get big ups on TV’s ‘Insane Coaster Wars’

Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination

• 7:30 p.m. Sunday

• Travel Channel

Posted 7:39am on Saturday, Jun. 15, 2013

As if we didn’t know already that the Titan and New Texas Giant are special.

Now these two roller-coaster favorites at Six Flags Over Texas have been singled out as being among the best in the world on Travel Channel’s Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination.

Titan, a steel hypercoaster that features a 255-foot drop and measures 4.5 in G-forces, gets its moment in the Insane Coaster Wars spotlight at 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

New Texas Giant, the tallest steel hybrid coaster in the world at 153 feet, will be showcased two weeks later in the June 30 episode.

Robb Alvey, founder of the Theme Park Review website and one of the roller-coaster experts featured in the series, has only the highest praise for the two thrill rides.

He knows whereof he speaks. Alvey — who lives in Orlando, Fla., “the heart of the theme park world” — has ridden more than 1,500 coasters in his lifetime.

He and his wife have visited the Arlington theme park many times. They’re planning a return trip in August to check out the new Texas SkyScreamer ride.

Again, we know that Titan and Texas Giant are special. But here’s what the expert has to say.

“Texas Giant was completely new technology when it was reborn two years ago,” Alvey says. “It was the first time any company or park has taken a traditional wooden coaster, something dear to people’s hearts, and made it new by replacing the track with steel rails while keeping the classic wood structure.

“The steel rails allowed them to do really steep drops and insane twists and turns. Six Flags created a new breed of roller coaster and it’s absolutely been a huge success.”

As for Titan, Alvey says, “Size alone makes it impressive. When that ride was built, it was one of the tallest roller coasters [245 feet] with the longest drops in the world. On top of that, it covers nearly a mile of track and some of the most extreme G-forces when you’re going through the helixes.”

When pressed to pick a favorite between the two, Alvey sides with the Texas Giant.

“It’s the winner because of the extreme elements of that ride. With the incredibly steep [79 degree] first drop and tall lift hill [153 feet] and the way it twists and turns within itself, it’s one of those coasters that never lets up.

“There is not a time to take a breath within that entire ride, whereas Titan has that one spot in the middle where it stops on a big course brake, which gives you a chance to breathe before it continues.”

Travel Channel went to eight countries (Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan and Spain) to showcase 28 of the world’s best thrill rides in Insane Coaster Wars.

Alvey’s website (, founded in 1996, is the most popular theme park and roller-coaster site in the world, documenting more than 1 million unique visitors every year.

The site already features a rave review for the new Texas SkyScreamer, the tallest swing ride in the world at 400 feet (spinning in a 124-foot circle at speeds of 35 mph).

“One of our local correspondents went out and wrote about it for us,” Alvey says. “Everything we hear is that it is terrifying. A lot of people have said, ‘Absolutely no way am I getting on that thing.’

“When you get a reaction like that, you know the park has done something right, because the key to a great thrill ride is to create a fear that’s sort of fun to get over.”

Alvey is a big fan of the Arlington theme park.

“Six Flags Over Texas has maintained a lot of the theming and a lot of the family values,” he says. “A lot of other parks around the country focus primarily on older kids, meaning you have to be 54 inches tall to ride almost everything.

“But at Six Flags Over Texas, the height restriction on most of the rides, including the Texas Giant, Titan and the SkyScreamer, is 48 inches. That makes it more accessible to the entire family, perfect for the family that likes to scream together.”

One of Alvey’s favorite theme park tips, which could come in handy at Six Flags Over Texas on high attendance days, is a simple one: show up early.

“There is definitely truth to the ‘early bird gets the worm’ saying,” he says. “If you’re among the first people there, you can get three or four rides in a row, practically all to yourself, just like Clark W. Griswold in National Lampoon’s Vacation, before the crowd sort of catches up with you.”

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