Six Flags debuts Mardi Gras Hangover ride

A new attraction at Six Flags Great America is ab...

Posted: May 25, 2018 1:27 PM
Updated: May 25, 2018 1:27 PM

A new attraction at Six Flags Great America is about to turn life upside down for all who step aboard.

The ride, dubbed Mardi Gras Hangover, opens Memorial Day weekend at the Gurnee, Illinois, theme park near Chicago and sends 32 thrill-seekers up and around the inside of a 100-foot-tall loop at speeds of up to 30 mph (48 kph).

Passengers complete six loops in every 90-second session, and spend a few seconds suspended motionless at the top of the loop each time they go around.

Unlike other thrill rides on which people all face the same way, Mardi Gras Hangover has face-to-face seating like riders would find on a passenger train. This means people get to watch their friends and siblings (or complete strangers, for that matter) contort their expressions as the experience unfolds.

Cars circle the loop forward and backward during each run, so every rider gets to experience both directions. The upside-down view from the top isn't too bad, either, says park spokesperson Tess Claussen.

"If you can manage to look around, the perspective from 100 feet in the air is amazing," she says.

Is it really a roller coaster?

Still, the new ride is not without controversy.

In marketing materials and press interviews, park officials have touted the ride as the park's 15th roller coaster overall, and "the world's largest loop coaster."

This phrasing has rankled members of the theme park community -- many of whom allege the description is both factually inaccurate and intentionally misleading.

Some experts have gone so far as to question designating the ride as a roller coaster in the first place.

Eric Stumpf, a reviewer for the website CoasterCritic, claims that the ride is nothing more than a variation of the "Ring of Fire"-style ride from neighborhood and street festivals around the country.

"Loop ride, yes; roller coaster, no," Stumpf tells CNN Travel.

"It does not have a lift hill or launch (which is required for it to be a roller coaster), and it operates in a single plane. Also, the controlled back-and-forth motion means it does not fall into the classification we all know as a true 'coaster.'"

Super-geeky 'inside baseball'

Arthur Levine, another theme park expert, agrees, adding that because the train is connected to motorized tires that impel it forward and backward, it effectively is disqualified as a coaster completely.

"This is super-geeky, way 'inside baseball' and probably of no interest to the average person going to a park, but roller coasters are generally acknowledged to be trains that, at least at some point during the ride, rely on gravity to coast along tracks," says Levine, a travel writer who specializes in the amusement industry.

"This is really more similar to swinging 'flat rides' such as pirate ships found at parks and carnivals."

Furthermore, the top 10 tallest roller coasters in the world all exceed 300 feet, according to RCDB.com, the online encyclopedia of roller coasters worldwide.

When presented with these criticisms, Six Flags officials doubled down on their claims.

"It may look like a simple ride from afar, but it really packs a punch," Claussen insists. "The fact it has six inversions and [that it] rolls on a track makes it a roller coaster to us."

One outfit that could settle the argument: Larson International, an amusement ride manufacturer in Plainview, Texas, made Mardi Gras Hangover and specializes in a number of these loop-style attractions. (In the theme park world, they're known as "Larson Loops.")

However, Jeff Novotny, the company's president, did not respond to interview requests.

Whatever experts want to call the Mardi Gras Hangover, it's sure to spike your heart rate and make you scream.

Because Six Flags Great America can get crowded in summer, go early to avoid the throngs. It also may be worth considering eating light the day you go -- because the ride goes upside-down so frequently in such a short stretch of time, it's probably unwise to eat before you give it a try.

Six Flags Great America, 542 N. Route 21, Gurnee, IL 60031; +1 (847) 249-1776. Single-day tickets are $74.99 for adults and $54.99 for children. Guests can save up to $20 by booking at sixflags.com.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 49575

Reported Deaths: 2739
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion11812690
Lake5337247
Elkhart343257
Allen2867133
St. Joseph202569
Cass16439
Hamilton1629101
Hendricks1439100
Johnson1306118
Porter78038
Tippecanoe7439
Clark67144
Madison66864
Vanderburgh6296
LaPorte59727
Bartholomew59245
Howard58258
Kosciusko5654
Marshall5217
Noble49128
LaGrange4829
Jackson4773
Delaware46052
Boone45944
Hancock45736
Shelby43425
Floyd39144
Morgan32831
Monroe31528
Grant30226
Montgomery29720
Henry29316
Dubois2906
Clinton2882
White26810
Decatur25532
Lawrence25125
Dearborn24723
Vigo2408
Warrick23229
Harrison21722
Greene19132
Miami1892
Jennings17912
Putnam1708
DeKalb1634
Scott1628
Daviess15017
Wayne1496
Perry1409
Orange13623
Steuben1332
Franklin1278
Jasper1252
Ripley1247
Wabash1152
Carroll1122
Fayette1037
Gibson1032
Newton9910
Whitley995
Starke963
Huntington822
Randolph804
Wells791
Jefferson782
Fulton731
Jay680
Washington671
Pulaski661
Knox650
Clay644
Rush603
Owen511
Adams491
Posey490
Benton480
Spencer461
Sullivan451
Brown421
Blackford392
Fountain332
Crawford320
Tipton311
Switzerland280
Parke240
Martin220
Ohio210
Vermillion170
Warren151
Union130
Pike110
Unassigned0193

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 61331

Reported Deaths: 3006
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin11122439
Cuyahoga8518383
Hamilton6396206
Lucas2859304
Marion273739
Montgomery228335
Summit2269209
Pickaway220641
Mahoning1885239
Butler172147
Columbiana132460
Stark1171114
Lorain107368
Trumbull101474
Warren91825
Clark78410
Delaware64515
Fairfield61417
Tuscarawas59010
Belmont55822
Lake55122
Medina54832
Licking53612
Miami48631
Portage47759
Wood46151
Ashtabula43844
Clermont4367
Geauga41543
Wayne36752
Richland3595
Allen33841
Greene3009
Mercer29410
Erie26022
Darke25326
Holmes2524
Huron2342
Madison2069
Ottawa16124
Sandusky14215
Washington14220
Crawford1375
Ross1363
Putnam13315
Coshocton1323
Hardin12312
Morrow1201
Auglaize1094
Jefferson952
Muskingum921
Union921
Athens911
Monroe8917
Hancock841
Preble811
Hocking798
Lawrence790
Guernsey763
Shelby724
Williams722
Clinton700
Logan661
Fulton650
Ashland621
Wyandot615
Carroll603
Brown591
Scioto560
Defiance543
Knox531
Fayette510
Highland471
Champaign461
Van Wert430
Perry401
Seneca362
Henry320
Jackson270
Paulding270
Pike270
Adams241
Vinton222
Gallia201
Noble130
Harrison121
Meigs120
Morgan110
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Broken Clouds
81° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 84°
Angola
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
75° wxIcon
Hi: 78° Lo: 64°
Feels Like: 75°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
79° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 81°
Breezy, Sunny Saturday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events