By Michael P Coleman
What could possibly be the payoff for waiting in line for slightly over an hour at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to ride their new THE JOKER roller coaster?
The answer to that question, as I look back to my first ride last weekend, is simple: the two minutes you’ll spend on THE JOKER.
To be fair, a portion of my hour in line was spent waiting for maintenance to be completed on the ride. I’m all for working out ALL of the kinks before I am strapped into anything, so I had no problem with the wait. And was that wait ever worth it!
THE JOKER is Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s second DC-themed ride and is deceptively short, using the former Roar’s 100-feet tall lift hill and a 78 degree drop as its launching pad. It’s a “hybrid” coaster that uses Roar’s old wooden supports to lift 3,200 feet of new, green and purple steel track onto the park’s already impressive roller coaster landscape.
According to Six Flag’s website, THE JOKER reaches a speed of 53 miles an hour, which sounds almost like a breezy afternoon ride.
I have never — EVER — yelled so much on a roller coaster. On most thrill rides, after the first hill and my initial, futile cries to Jesus, I’m fine, and routinely laugh my way to the end of the ride.
Ironically, there’s not much laughing on THE JOKER. It simply never lets up. In fact, there are even a couple of twists right out of the gate and before you get to the initial lift hill that let you know that THE JOKER isn’t the old Roar.
I screamed from beginning to end, and rolled into the ride’s load station having literally lost my voice and with a slightly sore jaw. That’s what happens, I guess, when a human jaw is stretched to the utmost open position for two solid minutes. Who knew?
As our train mercifully came to a halt, the cheers and applause from all 24 riders told the story far better than I ever could. And I was ready to ride it again.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s website describes THE JOKER’s highlights with terms like a “first ever step-up under flip,” a “wild Zero G barrel roll,” a “breaking wave turn,” an “Asian camel hump,” and other phrases that I don’t really understand. I guess if I were a real honest to goodness roller coaster expert, I could tell you what all of those are. I’m just a guy who LOVES a good ride, and I know one when I find one. I found one at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
For information on THE JOKER, other Six Flags Discovery Kingdom attractions, or to purchase tickets to the park, click here.
Michael P Coleman is a Sacramento-based freelance writer. He’s been riding roller coasters since he was eight years old, and if he has to go, he wouldn’t mind going on the way down a tall, steep hill. Connect with him at michaelpcoleman.com or on Twitter: @ColemanMichaelP