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Six Flags plans looping roller coaster

Published: Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012 1:15 a.m. CDT

Escalating the amusement park arms race, Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif., said it would open the world’s tallest and fastest looping roller coaster next spring.

The debut of Full Throttle will bring the number of coasters at the park to 18, widening Magic Mountain’s lead over its longtime rival Cedar Point. The Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park has 15 coasters.

For years, Cedar Point and Six Flags Magic Mountain have battled for the title of “roller coaster capital of the world” by adding and operating the most coasters of any amusement park.

Magic Mountain took the lead in that battle when Cedar Point removed two coasters recently to make room for a stage show and the addition of what Cedar Point is calling the world’s longest “winged” coaster, set to open in May. (A winged coaster straps passengers to seats that hang over the side of the rails so that their feet dangle over the ground.)

Magic Mountain plans to counter with Full Throttle, which will launch passengers up to 70 mph over a loop that towers 160 feet in the air and through a “special effects tunnel.”

“Six Flags is known worldwide as the industry leader in next-generation thrills,” said Bonnie Rabjohn, president of the park.

This summer, Magic Mountain unveiled a 400-foot drop-tower ride dubbed Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, advertised as the tallest drop-tower ride in the world.

Six Flags Entertainment Corp., Magic Mountain’s parent company, announced a “record” revenue of $375 million for the April-through-June quarter, up 11 percent from a year earlier. The company said attendance at its 19 parks in North America increased by 1 million, or 12 percent.

Cedar Point officials concede that their Ohio park has fallen behind Magic Mountain on the quantity of roller coasters but, they say, not on quality. The new coaster set to open in May, dubbed GateKeeper, will carry riders to the top of a 170-foot peak and turn them upside down before racing them toward the ground at up to 67 mph.

“We are very excited to add this new coaster,” said Cedar Point spokeswoman Annie Zelm.

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