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Six Flags Great Adventure Celebrates 40th Anniversary, Newest Attraction Potentially Delayed

Six Flags Great Adventure was originally staged to be a 1,500-acre resort to rival that of Walt Disney World. It has since become known for its thrill rides, with Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom's weekend debut hanging in the balance.

El Toro, a wooden coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, has become one of the most popular rides at the park, which began as a burgeoning competitor for Walt Disney World. Photo by rollercoasterphilosophy via Flickr.com.
El Toro, a wooden coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, has become one of the most popular rides at the park, which began as a burgeoning competitor for Walt Disney World. Photo by rollercoasterphilosophy via Flickr.com.
When Warner LeRoy, the visionary behind Six Flags Great Adventure, came upon what would be the grounds of the park, he had only his business savvy, some money to spend and his faithful dogs behind him.

The park, then known only as Great Adventure, opened July 1, 1974 and, in LeRoy's mind, would grow into a 1,500-acre resort able to compete with the likes of Walt Disney World. However, due to funding and the general overzealousness of his aspirations, LeRoy endured some setbacks.

"Projected costs quickly escalated and the plans were dramatically scaled back," said Harry Applegate, a sort of self-appointed historian for the park who runs greatadventurehistory.comtold the Courier Post. "Even so, some of the oversized and over-the-top designs which he envisioned for the entire property did make their way into the park that was built."

While LeRoy's dreams didn't go exactly as planned, the park has evolved significantly from a romantic, partly Western-inspired theme park complete with an old-fashioned ice cream shop, to one of noteworthy economic impact. Once the Six Flags monicker got tacked on four years after its opening, its contributions to the thrill ride circuit grew as well.

“Six Flags has always been about innovation,” Six Flags spokeswoman Kristin Siebeneicher told NJ.com. “It began in the 1960s in Texas with the concept of pay one price for admission and evolved through rides like the log flume (a Six Flags original) and our famous roller coasters, shows and animal attractions. We know that providing a clean, safe, fast and friendly environment with innovative attractions will keep our guests coming back year after year.”

Great Adventure is the largest seasonal employer in New Jersey, and it is set to open up its newest attraction Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom -- eventually.

The 415-foot tall drop coaster will be the tallest and fastest of its kind once it opens. The ride was first set to open Memorial Day weekend and was later pushed to July 4.

The press preview of the coaster was to take place today, but has since been canceled because the park was unable to attain a state permit to operate the ride, NJ.com reported.

The park is attempting to stay true to its Friday debut but conceded that there is no guarantee that the ride will open on time.

"At this point we are unsure if the attraction will be opening to the public this weekend," Siebeneicher told NJ.com. "We have every intention to open the attraction as soon as possible, and we will provide more information as soon as we have it."

Nowadays, the park has become known for its high-intensity rides such as Batman: The Ride, El Toro and Kingda Ka, but guests can still traipse what remains of LeRoy's legacy such as the Big Wheel and the Skyway that takes patrons 104 feet in the air -- overlooking the quaint pond and spiraling coasters -- to the other side of park.

“The park has changed a great deal over the past 40 years, but one thing has remained the same,” Siebeneicher said. “Six Flags Great Adventure is a place to create happy, lasting memories. We are proud to celebrate 40 years of thrills here in New Jersey.”
Linny July 03, 2014 at 09:18 AM
Dont like it at all.. and dont say its clean because the bathrooms are disgusting.. They need a good cleaning to say the least..
Rocky July 03, 2014 at 11:28 AM
Most folks we know have stopped going there after ridiculous parking fee . must be around $25??? Or $35 now?
Thomas A. Mathis July 03, 2014 at 01:27 PM
Great Adventure was a much safer place the first ten to fifteen years.
fed up July 03, 2014 at 10:45 PM
Yeah, until they started packing as many inner city thugs and gang bangers they could into a bus from Camden and Newark. does anyone else see the pattern here?

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