El Toro (Six Flags Great Adventure)

El Toro (Spanish for The Bull) is a wooden roller coaster located at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township, New Jersey. Designed by Werner Stengel and manufactured by Intamin, the ride opened to the public on June 11, 2006. Intamin subcontracted Rocky Mountain Construction to build the ride, and the coaster's track was prefabricated, allowing for quicker installation and lower construction costs.[2] El Toro is the main attraction of the Mexican-themed section of the park, Plaza Del Carnaval. It replaced another roller coaster, Viper, which closed following the 2004 season.

El Toro
Out and back layout of El Toro (2007)
Six Flags Great Adventure
LocationSix Flags Great Adventure
Park sectionPlaza del Carnaval
Coordinates40°8′19.90″N 74°26′4.67″W / 40.1388611°N 74.4346306°W / 40.1388611; -74.4346306
StatusOperating
Soft opening dateJune 11, 2006 (2006-06-11)
Opening dateJune 12, 2006 (2006-06-12)
ReplacedViper
General statistics
TypeWood
ManufacturerIntamin
DesignerWerner Stengel
ModelWooden Coaster (Prefabricated Track)
Track layoutOut and Back
Lift/launch systemCable lift hill
Height181 ft (55 m)
Drop176 ft (54 m)
Length4,400 ft (1,300 m)
Speed70 mph (110 km/h)
Inversions0
Duration1:42
Max vertical angle76°
Capacity1400[1] riders per hour
Height restriction48–77 in (122–196 cm)
Trains2 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 3 rows for a total of 36 riders per train.
Flash Pass available
El Toro at RCDB

When it opened, El Toro had the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the world at 76 degrees, a record that was later broken by T Express at Everland in 2008. Among wooden coasters, its height of 181 feet (55 m) ranks fourth, its drop height of 176 feet (54 m) ranks second, and its maximum speed of 70 mph (110 km/h) ranks third. The coaster has been well-received, and with the exception of its first two years of operation, has consistently ranked in the top three of the annual Golden Ticket Awards publication from Amusement Today.

History edit

El Toro sits on the former site of Viper, which closed in 2004.[3] All components of Viper were removed in early 2005, except for the station.[4] El Toro was announced on September 28, 2005, along with Bugs Bunny National Park, a new themed area for children. It was also announced El Toro would be part of a new themed area known as Plaza del Carnaval, which would also include the adjacent wooden racing coaster, Rolling Thunder.[5][6] Al Rubano, the director of Six Flags Great Adventure's construction committee, oversaw the ride's construction.[7] The lift hill was topped out on December 20, 2005,[6][8] at a height of 188 feet (57 m).[6][7] The ride started testing on Memorial Day weekend in 2006.[9] The ride had a surprise opening on June 11, then held its grand opening on June 12.[10][11]

El Toro uses the same station as Viper, the coaster that formerly stood on the site.[4] El Toro also sits partially on land once shared by Great Adventure's first wooden coaster, Rolling Thunder.[12]

Description edit

El Toro carries a Mexican theme, and its name translates to "The bull" in Spanish. The ride's queue is surrounded by Southwestern-style buildings of Plaza del Carnaval, and it features abandoned "wagon wheels" and Spanish posters along a wall separating the queue from the ride.[13]

Ride layout edit

 
Train A on the second hill

After departing from the station, the train makes a turn to the left, passing through the ride's structure. It then begins to climb the 181-foot (55 m) tall cable lift hill. Once the entire train is on the lift the cable increases its speed to around 13 mph. Once at the top of the lift the speed of the cable gently slows down, but it is barely noticeable on the ride. After cresting the top of the lift, the train briefly travels forward and makes a 180 degree turn to the left. It then drops 176 feet (54 m) at a 76 degree angle, reaching a top speed of 70 miles per hour (110 km/h). As the train reaches the bottom of the drop, it comes close to the track above, creating a headchopper effect. It then travels up a 112-foot (34 m) camelback hill followed by a second camelback hill at 100 feet (30 m). It then rises and then travels through a 180 degree downward-banked turn to the right, and up another banked turn to the left. The train goes through a small second hill that speeds past the station and the lakeside. The train then makes another turn and up a smaller hill where riders experience -2 g forces on an ejector airtime hill,[4][13][14] crossing over the former Rolling Thunder track.[15] After coming down the drop, the train snakes through twists and turns. After coming out of the twister section, the train slows down as it moves through small "S" curve camelback hills and into the brake run.[4][13][14]

Trains edit

 
Train B maneuvering through the camelback hill finale

El Toro operates two trains, labeled A and B, each with six cars per train. Riders are arranged two across in three rows for a total of 36 riders per train. It has a theoretical capacity of 1,200 guests per hour.[13] Both trains contain a cosmetic bull head mounted on the front car.[16] The trains have padded "wings" at shoulder level to prevent riders from being injured during moments of strong lateral forces.[17]

Track edit

 
Train A in the station

The wooden track is approximately 4,400 feet (1,300 m) in length, and the height of the lift is approximately 181 feet (55 m).[13] El Toro is very different from a traditional wooden roller coaster because it uses prefabricated wooden track. It was built and designed by Intamin, who also worked with employees of Rocky Mountain Construction to build the ride.[18][19] Instead of carpenters cutting, shaping, and laying down the track on site by hand, the track is laser cut in a factory. This means that the track is manufactured to a higher degree of precision than could be achieved by hand.[20] The "Plug and Play" aspect of the coaster speeds its construction, since track does not have to be completely manufactured on site. In addition, because of the speed of construction, the costs of building the coaster are lowered due to fewer man-hours spent on its construction. The riders are subject to a coaster whose track is as smooth as steel. El Toro is the first Intamin "Plug and Play" (Pre-Fab) wooden roller coaster in the United States and one of four in the world. The other three are Colossos at Heide Park in Germany, Balder at Liseberg in Sweden, and T Express at Everland in South Korea.[21]

Records edit

When El Toro debuted, it broke records as the second-tallest and fastest with the second-longest drop of a wooden roller coaster in the United States. As of October 2023, El Toro is the third fastest wooden roller coaster in the world with a maximum speed of 70 mph (110 km/h). It is also the third-tallest with the second-longest drop among wooden coasters.[22][23][24]

Incidents edit

After suffering a malfunctioning lift motor,l in early August 2013, El Toro was closed for several weeks. The motor was sent to Intamin's American headquarters in Maryland for repairs.[25]

On June 29, 2021, a train partially derailed after the rear car's up-stop wheels—which sit underneath the train and below the track—moved out-of-place to the top of the track.[26] The cause of the incident was not released publicly (as the information was considered "proprietary"), but all riders were able to safely exit the ride.[27] El Toro was closed for most of Six Flags Great Adventure's 2021 operating season,[28] pending the outcome of an investigation from Intamin.[26][27] Although the park was not fined for the accident itself, the park was fined $5k for failing to immediately notify the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs post-incident.[29] In early 2022, it was announced that El Toro would reopen on April 2, 2022.[30][31]

On August 25, 2022, a malfunction occurred near the end of the ride, causing minor injuries to 14 riders, with five taken to a nearby hospital.[32] The park closed the ride indefinitely, pending an investigation into the incident.[32][33] An anonymous ride operator alleged that issues from previous incidents had not been fixed, saying in an interview with WCBS-TV: "The employees keep telling them that there is an issue with the pothole and maintenance has done nothing about it."[28] Six Flags officials reported on August 30, 2022, that El Toro's safety systems were working properly and that the ride would reopen after it had been repaired.[34] In September 2022, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) said El Toro was "structurally compromised", which would force El Toro to remain closed indefinitely.[35][36] The DCA said it would also conduct an engineering review of El Toro and consult with Intamin.[36] Six Flags officials said they expected to reopen the ride for the 2023 season,[37][38] and it reopened on June 17, 2023.[39][40]

Awards and rankings edit

When the ride debuted, it ranked 3rd for "Best New Ride of 2006" in the Golden Ticket Awards.[41]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2021 2022 2023
Ranking 13[41] 9[42] 4[43] 3[44] 2[45] 3[46] 1[47] 2[48] 2[49] 2[50] 3[51] 1[52] 2[53] 3[54] 3[55] 3[56] 3[57]

References edit

  1. ^ "El Toro". Intamin. November 6, 2019. Archived from the original on August 8, 2021. Retrieved August 8, 2021.
  2. ^ "Rocky Mountain Construction". Coasterforce. October 22, 2016. Archived from the original on December 1, 2018. Retrieved November 30, 2018.
  3. ^ Marden, Duane. "Viper  (Six Flags Great Adventure)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  4. ^ a b c d "El Toro at Coaster-Net". Coaster-Net. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  5. ^ Six Flags (September 28, 2005). "Six Flags Great Adventure Will Debut Monstrous Wooden Roller Coaster in Newly-Themed Area and New Looney Tunes Kids' Section In 2006" (Press release). PR Newswire. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 20, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c Amsel, Michael (December 21, 2005). "El Toro Takes Shape". Asbury Park Press. p. 23. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  7. ^ a b Porio, Matt (November 15, 2005). "Ocean County Native Makes Waves". Asbury Park Press. p. 22. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
  8. ^ "Six Flags Great Adventure Tops Off New Roller Coaster". Ultimate Roller Coaster. December 20, 2005. Archived from the original on November 6, 2012. Retrieved January 15, 2013.
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  10. ^ "The gate is open for a new coaster!". Coaster-Net. June 12, 2006. Archived from the original on December 19, 2011. Retrieved January 21, 2013.
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  12. ^ Oglesby, Amanda (September 5, 2013). "Rolling Thunder coaster to roar no more". Asbury Park Press. pp. A7. Retrieved September 7, 2022.
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  14. ^ a b "El Toro POV". YouTube. Archived from the original on July 21, 2012. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
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  16. ^ "El Toro - Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, New Jersey, United States)". rcdb.com. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  17. ^ Saypol, Zach. "Kia Train with Side Pads".
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  24. ^ Marden, Duane. "Record Holders  (Statistic: Drop, Type: Wood)". Roller Coaster DataBase.
  25. ^ "El Toro may be down for the season | Roller Coasters, Theme Parks & Attractions Forum". Archived from the original on August 28, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Serrano, Ken (June 30, 2021). "New Jersey shuts down El Toro roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure after derailment". Asbury Park Press. Archived from the original on November 5, 2021. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  27. ^ a b Wall, Karen (June 30, 2021). "Six Flags' El Toro Coaster Shut Down After Incident: Report". Patch. Archived from the original on June 30, 2021. Retrieved July 1, 2021.
  28. ^ a b Westbrook, Elijah (August 26, 2022). "13 hurt on El Toro roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure after ride hit "pothole" on track, park worker tells CBS2". CBS News. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
  29. ^ Rodas, Steven (February 10, 2022). "Six Flags fined after roller coaster El Toro partially derailed, ride required repairs". NJ Advance Media. NJ.com. Archived from the original on February 12, 2022. Retrieved February 14, 2022.
  30. ^ Veness, Simon (March 30, 2022). "Six Flags Great Adventure opening dates announced for the 2022 season". Attractions Magazine. Retrieved September 5, 2022.
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  36. ^ a b "Six Flags Coaster in Frightening NJ Accident to Stay Shut Down Over Safety Concerns". NBC New York. September 21, 2022. Retrieved September 22, 2022.
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External links edit