Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Great Escape's New Coaster Ties Into Roots

(Queensbury, NY) Six Flags today announced a major new coaster to be constructed at The Great Escape theme park in the Adirondack hamlet of Queensbury. The coaster, to be named "StoryTown - The Awakening," takes its theme and location from the remaining original artifacts of the park's first incarnation as "StoryTown USA."

"We have been wanting to do something to both increase the visibility of our historic sections and offer an exciting new thrill ride to our patrons, especially since that Alpine Bobsled ride is down 90% of the time," said park spokesperson Jack Horner. "The new coaster, by Intamin, features three inversions, a high speed helix, and runs smack
through the middle of both the Wild West Village and the Story Town section -- you know, that part of the park that looks like Candy Land come to life? We've taken many of the Story Town houses and figures and used them as ride supports and elements."

Riders will board the coaster at The Crooked Man's crooked house, which is designed to disorient the rider. The coaster cars were formerly used as the Storytown train, guaranteeing the riders a "rickety wood coaster feel from a steel coaster track." says Horner. The cars proceed up the lift hill and descend 87 feet through the Old Woman in a Shoe's doorway ("better duck!") at a maximum speed of 55 miles per hour before entering a high-speed helix around the antique carousel. "We were hoping to have
a brass ring for the riders to grab, but when one of technicians tried it out we thought better of it," said Horner, who added that the technician was expected to make a full recovery from arm reattachment surgery.

The coaster then rambles through StoryTown proper, with various storybook characters on either side of the track that you can reach out and clop in the head, then on into the Wild West Shootout section of the park. Here, riders will thrill to an Immelman over the Dry Gulch Saloon, where former Marine spud-peeler and U.S. Congressman Jerry
Solomon's widow fires ("Don't worry, they're only blanks!" said Horner with a wink) at the coaster car with an Uzi while a taped voice of the Congressman bellows "because she has a right to defend herself and don't you forget it!" Survivors then will go through a double loop before cruising back into Storytown, where the train passes around Cinderella's horse-drawn carriage ride ("We're still working on the horses getting spooked," chuckles Horner) and into the brake run.

The coaster is scheduled to open on July 4th, unless the lawsuit settlements fall through. The park's former target audience of small children will be welcomed at a 100-square-foot section called "KidArea," featuring a trampoline and a three-hole miniature golf course.


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