The Texas Giant…Before and After

ntg_dropcomparison texas giant

photo credit: guidetosfot.com

IMG_1658

Photo: Ultimate Roller Coaster

Hey there Coaster fans. Jeremy here talking about everything Giant! As we are trying to feature a wooden coaster for every Wednesday, I have decided to talk about The Texas Giant. I have a ton of memories with this coaster, as it was my first big one to ever get on. Today we are going to look at the before and after of this giant coaster of twisted wood.

The The Texas Texas Giant is located at Six Flags Over Texas, in Arlington TX. The Giant officially opened on March 17th, 1990. This beast was manufactured by the Dinn Cooperation, and designed by Curtis D. Summers. Although we had seen quite a few changes to the trains through the years, the original trains were designed and produced by  Philadelphia Toboggan  coasters. The coaster was made up of 900,000 board ft of wood, and was the worlds tallest roller coaster at the time of it’s opening, which was 143ft high with a drop of 137ft.  The top speed was 63 miles per hour, and the max vertical drop was a mere 53 degrees. The trains were originally three trains of seven four seater cars, but after the first few seasons, the trains went down to six four seater cars. The structure itself had over 10 tons of nails, and over 81,000 screwed in bolts, and over 1,000 concrete piers to keep this beast up. The estimated total cost to build this monster was $5.5 million! Since the debut, The Texas Giant has won a multitude of awards, including the Golden Ticket of best wooden coaster continues years in a row, and was rated the number one coaster of its time in 1996 by The National Amusement Park and Historical Association, and by the readers of Inside Track. The layout was much different from your typical out and back  coaster, as this coaster snaked around itself twice, and went in and out of its structure so many times that you often got confused as to what direction you were actually going. This coaster sure did give you some breathtaking air time, as well as a sense of being totally out of control. As coasters of this size age, parks, like Six Flags had to put in tons of maintenance during the off season to try and make it smoother, since many people complained of how much this coaster would beat them up. You could defiently tell the difference in the ride experience and smoothness from the first day of the season compared to the final day of the season. So let’s get into the ride experience.

photo credit: coastergallery.com

photo credit: coastergallery.com

 

Once you are the lift hill you realize how massive this piece of wood really is. You slowly climb 14 stories into the air, and all you can see is wood all around you. Once you approach the top of the life, you see a sign with Wilie Coyote clutching the sign reading, “Wait! Let’s Discuss This! (Which is still on the coaster today.) As you drop down the staggering 143ft, you then make your way up the almost sideways swooping turn to the left. You continue to do a few more out of your seat drops, while also making you way around back parallel to the first drop. You once again drop right beside the first drop and make another almost sideways swooping turn into the mid course break run. back in the day the mid course break run was just a mild slow down, but as the coaster got older it turned into a complete stop. You then do an amazing dive into the middle of the structure. This gives you a great head chopping effect. If you are sitting in the back, this dive gives you some totally awesome airtime. You then go up and out of the structure, which gives the front riders an amazing feeling of airtime.

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photo credit: ultimatecoater.com

As you come of that airtime package i just mentioned. you then snake around the the lift hill twice while undergoing a few bunny hills and turns. As i said earlier, this coaster goes and and out of itself so much that you do not always know where you are going. As you circle around the coaster for the second time, the train then dives into the bottom of the structure, or as enthusiasts called, “The Magic Carpet Ride.” The reason it was deemed that nickname is because it is as if you are dodging in and out of the wood, twisting and turning, and up and down on many bunny hills and dips. The end is by far the best part of the ride. It felt much faster than it really was as you went through a series of very sharp turns and bunny hills. The finale kept you out of your seat the whole time, and also had most coaster riders putting their hands down, as it looked like they would have been chopped off. Some enthusiasts even compared the ending to Ghostrider at Knott’s Berry Farm.

As they say though, all good things must come to an end. The Texas Giant closed its restraints and rested its wheels on on November 1st, 2009. Many of us in the coaster world were very sad to see it go, but many cheered as it was a rough one. I still to this day miss this beast of a coaster. I have still yet to ride another woodie that compares to this one, but the sadness quickly went away as something new took over the park, and is now slowly taking over the theme park industry as we speak.

photo credit. nbc-dfw.com

photo credit. nbc-dfw.com

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you The New Texas Giant!!!!

 

As the giant had been down the whole whole entire 2010 season, we all watched in anticipation,  as this structure got the face lift of a lifetime. Rocky Mountain Construction Company came into the coaster scene for this huge renovation, and they have now been the cool kids on the block ever since. The world was not expecting what we were about to experience!

photo credit: rockymountainconstuctioncomapany.com

photo credit: rockymountainconstuctioncomapany.com

As you can see in this picture RMC used steel to replace the old track. Most of the structure stayed in tacked, but RMC revolutionized the coaster industry as we know it by introducing their patented I box steel track. Unlike most steel tracks that are tubular, this track is flat and boxy, and makes the over all experience smoother and more intense than anything i could have ever imagined. By using this track, RMC was able to go steeper, faster, and have many crazy elements that no one knew was possible. As a lover of  the old Giant, I was a little sad that I was not going to ever feel that out of control wood feeling again, but I kept thinking positive on what was about to come, and believe me, I was blown away! So let’s get into the new stats!

photo Credit: Flikr.com

photo Credit: Flikr.com

The New Texas Giant opened its gates on April 22nd, 2011 as the first hybrid coaster in the world. The manufacturer for the coaster was Rocky Mountain Construction Company, and the designer was Alan Schilke. RMC first raised the lift to 153ft and made the first drop to a staggering 79 degrees. It now has a top speed of 65mph, and has more airtime than anything I had seen before. The duration of the ride is an amazing 3:25. Talk about a long time to be up and down out of your seat! It also has a max g force of 4.2g’s. The 3 trains were made by Gerstlaur, and were themed to the 1961 Cadillac Deville. They even have longhorns of the front of the train. The whole station was renovated to look like an old car repair garage.  As I said earlier, RMC was able to use most of the old structure. The design gave RMC the perfect canvas to start building a masterpiece that will go down in the history books!

photo credit: Gary Lewis

photo credit: Gary Lewis

As you can see in this picture, the drop is intense. The ride itself is full of turns and twist that are out of this world. This truly is an airtime machine.  The swooping turns I had talked about earlier in the old section of the Giant have now turned into two 90 degree turns, and a 110 degree turn. RMC is starting to put there mark in most major parks in the world. This is becoming a trend to replace old wood coasters with the new style track. As we know, RMC did not put any inversions or g stalls in the giant, as it was the first one, and they had not developed inversions. That being said, this is still a masterpiece of airtime, speed, and length. RMC did a truly amazing job at remaking the famous TEXAS GIANT! The New Texas Giant definitely started a huge craze in the amusement park industry. Fans are constantly wanting RMC to come into their local park and redo their wooden coaster. The General Public definitely enjoys the ride experience. Since RMCs are so cheap, parks are asking them to redo or build rides from the ground with their patented topper track technology, giving the park something that will make guests flock to the park.

I am going to leave you all with a few more pictures and comparison POVS of The Texas Giant. I hope Y’all enjoyed Giant as much as I do!

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

 

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

Photo Credit: Gary Lewis

ntg_dropcomparison texas giant

Photo: Guide to SFOT

Video Credit: Coasternick3137

Video Credit: coasterforce.com

Thanks for reading everyone, and be sure and watch out for coverage of 4 media days tomorrow!

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