Batman & Robin: The Chiller
Fighting Crime Never Felt So good
[Sadly, this attraction was dismantled in 2007. If it ever reappears elsewhere, we'll note it here.]
According to Paul Ruben, noted coaster expert, we have entered the Rollercoaster's
"Second Golden Age," and I don't see why any one among us would
disagree. But for those few doubters out there, Six Flags Great Adventure
(Jackson, NJ) has whipped up a dual-track delight called Batman and Robin:
Based on this Summer's "Batman" flick, the fourth entry in the
blockbuster franchise, these two linear induction coasters are another spectacular
product of Premier Rides, the creators of the Outer Limits: Flight of
Fear rides. As you may recall, the Outer Limits attraction won top honors
in two categories at the November 1995 International Association of Amusement
Parks and Attractions trade show: 1) Major Theme/Amusement Park Ride/Attraction,
and 2) Technology Applied to Amusements. The Outer Limits is a pretty
fine piece of work.
But The Chiller improves upon OL:FOF in three splendid ways: it offers two
different courses, each blessed with uniquely devious pleasures; you travel
through the wild trackwork both forwards and backwards; and, yes,
it is even faster. Heroic in every sense of the word, Batman
and Robin: The Chiller is the next evolutionary step up the linear induction
Pity poor Gotham City(TM): once again, this fine metropolis is in the
grip of a major crime wave, thanks to the sub-zero psychosis of Mr. Freeze(TM),
Batman's latest cinematic nemesis. The Ice Man has set up shop in his elaborate
Freeze Generator and neighboring Observatory, and it's up to us to help
the Caped Crusader enter the hideout and put an end to his wicked deeds.
Up to the challenge? Before you answer, take a good look at what
Stroll over to the Movietown section of the park and, facing the queue,
you can eyeball the entire length of the ride. To your left, the 200-foot-high
incline jutting into the heavens above the Freeze Generator is plenty interesting
to look at. But turn your head to the right, moving your gaze past the incline
heartline inversions, past the horizontal launch rail, past the Observatory,
and you find yourself staring at the Tower. This comic-book-bright blue
and red latticework of steel is enough to leave you slack-jawed with amazement.
The blue Batman Track makes a vertical climb and inverts at the peak of
the tower to dive straight back down towards the ground. The red Robin track
curls up into an inversion, whips around to the right and pours back into
another inversion, also heading back for terra firma. Here's when folks
either mutter a firm "No, thank you" and walk away, or
make a frantic dash for the entrance.
Standing on line, you'll be able to take in a launch or two before you
enter the darkness of the Freeze Generator. First, there are three loud,
industrial blasts from an air horn (kinda like you hear before they set
off dynamite at a construction site). Then, there's a muffled BANG! and
the instant screaming that only a linear induction launch can create. If
you don't blink, you can catch a train rocketing out of the Freeze Generator;
see how every skull is plastered back against the headrests? The
train rips through the Observatory and makes its way up onto the tower.
After completing the multi-directional nastiness there, the cars roar back
behind the Observatory and up onto the incline, twist through the heartline
inversion and climb up to the peak. Just when it looks like gravity will
drag the train to a halt, another string of linear induction motors takes
hold and pulls the train right up to the tippy top of that 200-foot-high
And then the train falls backwards. More screaming.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Before we enter the Freezemeister's frigid den, the line splits in two
and you make your choice. On your right: the Batman track takes you higher
up the tower, and provides that delectable 90-degree plunge. To the left:
the Robin track offers an extra inversion and more disorientation. What's
The two lines snake independently through the brick-walled hallways of the
Freeze Generator and then meet back up on opposite sides of the dimly lit
Launch Room. Inside the confines of this chamber, the full sonic assault
of each launch is enough to cover your flesh with goose pimples. There's
an amplified countdown, the three loud air horn blasts, a low hum as the
linear induction motors juice up and that righteous BANG! as the trains
are released. Oh, and of course, all that wild screaming... Are there any
The low-slung trains are dressed in the same vivid blue and red tones
of the tracks. If you go for the front seat, you'll be pleased to note that
the nose of the forward car is short and unobtrusive; the view down the
straightaway is blissfully unimpeded. The over-the-shoulder harness is snug,
but comfortable. But those earrings... sorry, they've got to go - yer noggin
is in for some serious rocking and rolling.
After the harnesses are locked into position, there's a few final seconds
of preparation, just enough time to squirm around in your seat and share
a panicked giggle with the fellow lunatic sitting next to you. Suddenly,
that air horn signals the imminent launch.
The countdown starts, and everyone whips around to face forward,
the harness with white-knuckled ferocity.
You can feel the tracks coming alive with power,
the electricity flowing
into those humming linear induction motors.
You are still motionless and most of the train
is already screaming.
| I don't care how many times you've done it, each LIM launch is as terrifying
as the last. That explosive acceleration is a horrible treat, your inner
child alternately hollering "God, please make it stop!" and "Faster, faster!" You are outside the Freeze Generator, through the
Observatory and at the base of the tower, traveling at 65 miles per hour,
in just four seconds.
The Robin train immediately soars up and into its first inversion, 105 feet
high. The cars peel up and over, twist to the right, dive down, and then
twist to the right once more, entering the second inversion, again flipping
over 105 feet above the ground. Down you plunge to the base of the tower,
heading back towards the Freeze Generator. Delicious.
The Batman train starts heading skyward and keeps on going, straight up, 139 feet. Up and over, the train makes a vertical U-turn, and now you're
poised to drop back down, facing a nice, long 90-degree fall. Sitting
in the front seat, this moment is a rare thrill, indeed. That rush as you
plummet straight down like dive bomber... there are few pleasures experienced
while fully clothed that are finer that this, friends.
Once through the maelstrom of the tower's trackwork, both courses run parallel
up the incline. You hurtle past the Observatory and into a 45-degree-angled
heartline inversion. Then the trains continue up the long ramp, gradually
slowing. But before you begin to slide backwards, you can feel the electromagnetic
pull of another array of linear induction motors and the trains climb even
higher, nearly to the peak of the 200-foot high structure.
While you're at this vantage point, scope out the rest of the park in the
distance; there's the Parachute Drop, the Great American Scream Machine,
the Batman inverted coaster, all looking much smaller from this perspective.
Then the motors let go, and you slide back down the incline.
If you think the journey facing forward is unnerving, I think you can imagine
what it's like doing it all over again, backwards. And it's worse than you imagine... When you step away from the train back in the station,
feel no shame if you need help walking down the exit corridor. Weak-kneed
and dizzy are just the way you should feel. It's awesome.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ThrillRide! had a chance to talk briefly with Jim Seay, President of
Phoenix Rides, developers of The Chiller:
TR: First, has your company's name changed from Premier Rides
to Phoenix Rides?
JS: No, we didn't change our name; we are made up of three different
companies: Phoenix Rides is the company that focuses on very high-tech attractions;
Premier Rides focuses on other types of issues as well, such as consulting
services; they're involved in a lot of the development of theme parks over
in China. And then there is Premier Parts and Services.
TR: When did Six Flags first come to Phoenix Rides to get involved
in this project?
JS: Approximately a year ago. It took a tremendous amount of
cooperation between the two companies and it was a great example of a co-development
of a project, where we had the tremendous talent of the Six Flags engineers
working with our engineers to come up with a unique, one-of-a-kind attraction.
TR: Was Werner Stengel, a designer of the Outer Limits attraction,
involved with The Chiller?
JS: Yes, he's our exclusive track designer; he does the structural
analysis portion of the ride. When you look at a project like this, everything
from the queue gates to the exit, there are a lot of people involved in
the ride. On this type of attraction, we've tried to have all the top experts
in the world working on it. And Werner is the expert; he's the number one
guy in terms of structural analysis, and he was a critical part of the team.
TR: Force Engineering was the company you co-developed the
Linear Induction technology with?
JS: Correct, Force Engineering is under an exclusive contract
with us. They developed linear induction motors to be used in the transportation
field and what you're seeing here is an example of taking a technology used
in another industry and applying it to something truly unique, a much-higher
TR: The Chiller has been described as "twice as powerful"
as the Outer Limits coasters; how so?
JS: From the standpoint of the amount of energy being put into
the vehicles, there's twice as much energy at work here. We actually designed
the system to go from zero to seventy miles per hour in right around four
seconds. The Chiller's launch speed is 65 miles per hour. The Outer Limits
attraction has a launch speed around 51 to 54 miles per hour. Each year
the rides just get a little more sophisticated.
TR: There are the two other linear induction "Batman"-themed
coasters [the "Mr. Freeze" single-track coasters] opening
at Six Flags parks this summer-
JS: That's correct, Six Flags St. Louis, and Six Flags Over Texas.
TR: Do you think any of the remaining Six Flags parks might get
installations of this kind?
JS: I hope so. I would think they would.
TR: Are any parks lined up for some of your other
attractions, such as your "Hell Diver" freefall tower, or the
"Pendulum of Terror" swinging attraction?
JS: Prototypes of those rides are being built at this time. And
based on the performance of those prototypes, once we get the technology
to where we feel they're ready to go to market, we'll actively sell them.
It's the same situation with the Chiller; we built a prototype of one of
these attractions first; we do a lot of prototype modeling.
TR: And is there any progress on your [super high-speed] Bullet
JS: The Bullet Coaster is a highly secretive project; I should
probably say I don't know anything about it... Paul Ruben put it well when
he said that this is the "second golden era of rollercoasters."
If you just look at the general climate we're living in now, everything's
"extreme." You turn the TV on; what do you watch? You watch "extreme"
sports. How are new products marketed? They're "extreme" products.
And Six Flags has been able to deliver the extreme attractions people are
looking for. The Chiller is the best example of how they've come
up with the most extreme attractions available in the country today.
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SIX FLAGS and all related indicia are trademarks of Six Flags Theme Park
Inc. TM & © 1997 .
- TRACK LENGTHS: "Batman": 1,137 feet - "Robin": 1,229
- TOP SPEED: 65 Miles Per Hour
- MAX. HEIGHT: Approx. 200 feet
- CARS: Two trains seating 20 riders each.
- CAPACITY: 1,600 guests per hour
- MANUFACTURER: Phoenix Rides
BATMAN, ROBIN, MR. FREEZE, GOTHAM CITY and all related characters, names
and indicia are trademarks of DC Comics © 1997 .