N.J.'s Great Adventure opens with new rides, theme areas

JACKSON, N.J. -- The Six Flags Great Adventure theme park here has ushered in the 1999 season with a $42 million expansion project that includes more than 25 new rides and attractions.

The following rides are making their debut this year at the park:

  • Medusa, billed as the world's first "floorless" roller coaster, combines aspects of a traditional roller coaster -- the car rides on top of the tracks -- with a design that has passengers sitting four abreast on open-air, pedestal-like seats with nothing but shoulder harnesses around them.
  • The passengers' feet dangle above the track, giving the sensation of riding in a flying chair. The three-minute ride begins with a climb up a 146-foot hill, followed by a 13-story plunge at 61 mph. Riders then go through a 114-foot vertical loop, a 96-foot dive loop, a zero-gravity roll, two inverted rolls, a 90-degree horizontal loop and two interlocking corkscrew rolls. The new Medusa ride is in the Frontier Adventures section of the park.

  • Looney Tunes Seaport is a new six-acre section with more than 10 rides suited to young children and their parents. The attractions in this area include the Road Runner Railway roller coaster; Sylvester's Pounce and Bounce; Granny and Tweety's House; Elmer Fudd's Weather Balloons; Bugs Bunny Bay, and the Looney Tunes Fun Factory, which is an interactive fun house.
  • On the opposite side of the park, Bugs Bunny Land has introduced Daffy's Duckaneer, a minipendulum ride, and Wile E. Coyote's Speed Trap, a scaled-down speedway for youngsters.

  • Located in Fantasy Forest, another new ride is Houdini's Great Escape, an indoor, rotating house of illusion enclosed in a 1920s Gothic-style mansion. The 10-minute ride begins with a "supernatural" preshow in Houdini's workshop. Visitors then are taken to Houdini's parlor, where the seats move and the walls, floor and ceiling rotate around them.
  • In the Boardwalk area, visitors can come face to face with "dinosaurs" in the theme park's first 3-D motion simulator. Called Escape From Dino Island 3-D, the attraction, which requires the appropriate vision adapters, includes 3-D effects involving lava, trees, falling rocks and, of course, large prehistoric reptiles.
  • In addition to rides, Six Flags Great Adventure is introducing several shows this season, including "Gotham City Carnival of Chaos," a stunt show in which Batman does battle with the Joker. The show premieres May 28 and will run daily through Sept. 6 in Movietown's Batman Stunt Show Arena.

    For children, Bugs Bunny Land features Looney Tunes characters in "What's Up Rock," a 1950s-style musical revue that will run through Oct. 31.

    Other new productions include the Hollywood Animal Action Show, which will be performed at the Bandstand by the Lake through Sept. 26, and the Peking Chinese Acrobats, who will demonstrate their agility and balance at Movietown's Showcase Theater daily through Sept. 20.

    Six Flags Great Adventure is open daily through Sept. 6; Saturdays and Sundays in September plus Monday, Sept. 20, and Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays in October plus Monday, Oct. 11. The park closes for the 1999 season Oct. 31. Admission prices are $35.99 for adults; $18 for children four feet tall and under, and $19.01 for seniors. The prices do not include tax. Six Flags Great Adventure, Phone: (732) 928-1821.

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