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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
San Francisco/Sacramento, California
 
 

5 Surprising Facts About Medusa

What you don't know about your favorite ride

The first roller coaster to go upside-down in modern times debuted in California in 1975. One year later, Magic Mountain re-introduced the vertical loop during the bicentennial with the opening of Revolution. Following that, a coaster wars race began and the looping coaster evolved quickly. The 1975 original soon became outdated as taller, longer, and more looped rides surfaced seemingly overnight. Our very own Medusa falls into that category.

Once boarded in the station, thrill-seekers watch the floor disappear below their feet. Once the train is set free, feet dangle just above the track or over the sides, enhancing the excitement of this style of ride with 3,937 feet of track.

Did you know?:

  • Medusa is one of only 13 floorless coasters on Earth (eight in the United States).
  • The floor is made up of sections called “combs.” For everyone’s safety, the combs cannot drop away until a light curtain on each side of the train confirms that the loading area is free of any blockage.
  • This steel coaster was designed and manufactured in Switzerland.
  • The layout has an enhanced “cool factor” by being the only coaster on planet Earth that has what is termed a “Sea Serpent” element. The twisted inversions flip riders for the fourth and fifth time (out of seven) in a one-of-a-kind rollover element suspended between two large half loops.
  • A Medusa train weighs approximately 25,000 pounds!

A History of Looping Coasters
Traveling back in time, the original looping roller coasters were built more than a century ago. America’s first known looping coaster dates back to 1895 and was known as The Flip Flap Railway. Loop-the-Loop appeared at Coney Island a few years later. However, such type rides were short lived. Back then, the loops were more circular and caused discomfort due to high G forces. The single cars also had such low capacity in comparison to other roller coasters that sported full trains. The fascination with looping coasters soon faded away.

Things changed in the 1970s and major improvements were made. Over time, innovations allowed steel coasters to take more dramatic directions.

 

*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.

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