Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Announces RMC Hybrid, The Joker

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has announced what we all expected, that the recently closed Roar (check out our post on our visit to Roar’s final day) is being converted to a hybrid coaster by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) called “The Joker”.  RMC is the company famous for their conversions of wooden coasters, like last year’s Twisted Colossus and Wicked Cyclone, and their rides have received rave reviews, making The Joker one of the most anticipated new coasters this coming year.  Acording to park president Don McCoy, “The Joker will be the most talked about new coaster in 2016.  We are excited to introduce this innovative technology that marries the best of both classic and modern coaster designs to offer our guests an unparalleled and unique experience.”

The Joker coming to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom!

The Joker coming to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom!

The new hybrid will feature a bunch of exciting elements, including three new inversions.  The inversions coming to the hybrid are a zero-G roll, a 180-degree stall, and what the park is calling the first “Step-Up Under Flip”.  The ride will feautre a 100-foot drop and a max speed of 53mph, both pretty similar to the original Roar specs, but the first drop will now be a noticeably steeper 78 degrees.  The ride will feature 15 air time moments, something RMC is particularly known for.  It will also feature what the park calls “the ultimate ‘fake-out’…a unique breaking wave turn, the first of it’s kind on the West Coast.”

The "breaking wave" turn, I think.

The “breaking wave” turn, I think.


So yeah, it inverts.

So yeah, it inverts.

The layout pictured below is pretty similar to the original Roar, although the ride is actually slightly shorter, at 3,200 feet versus the 3,468 feet of the original (according to the Great Coasters International site).  It appears, based on comparing the new images to the google map of the old Roar, that the “tunnel” section and a couple of cross overs of the former ride are going to be removed, making the new iteration shorter.

Image of the layout for the Joker. Very similar to Roar's.

Image of the layout for the Joker. Very similar to Roar’s.

The ride will be the second at Discovery Kingdom to have a DC comics theme, after the neighboring Superman, which opened in 2012.  I’m personally a little sad that they didn’t keep the ride name and theme tied into the animal attractions at the park, but it makes sense for the park to concentrate a DC theme in that corner of the park, and the green and purple joker theme does look pretty good (in CGI at least).

The steep initial drop, still with some of the classic GCI “twisting drop” look and feel.

This is the first time Rocky Mountain Construction has converted a wooden coaster that was originally built by Great Coasters International.  GCI rides are well known for their twisting drops, and tight twisted layouts that give a feeling of high speeds, so it should be interesting to see how RMC maintains those features.  This is also an interesting case, because I thought Roar was a pretty solid ride, so I’m very curious to see how much the RMC conversion changes and improves the experience.

The park now has only inverting full size coasters. Great for coaster lovers, not as great for kids or less adventurous guests.

Another interesting note, Discovery Kingdom now has no full size coasters that are non-inverting.  The only coasters without inversions are small Zamperla and Zierer kiddie coasters.  It’ll be interesting to see if in the near future the park feels a need to add in a new “moderate” level roller coaster to bridge the small coasters and the full size inverting rides.

The Joker is schedule to open sometime in Spring of 2016.  For reference, Twsited Colossus at Southern California’s Magic Mountain closed the same date last year as Roar did, and was open on Memorial Day weekend, so that’s a good guess for a tentative opening date at this point.  In the mean time, check out the animated PoV for The Joker below, and let us know in the comments if you have any thoughts on the new coaster!