After the success of the first Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Great America in 1992 as the first inverted coaster from Bolliger & Mabillard, Six Flags began to roll out the coaster into its parks from coast to coast, with Great Adventure receiving the second of an eventual nine installations of the same design.   After more than fifteen seasons, Batman: The Ride is still one of the most popular coasters ever built and keeps thrilling riders at parks across America. 
 

     
     
  During the middle of the 1992 season, the announcement was made that Batman: The Ride was coming to the park for 1993.   The small Bandstand located next to the Batman site was converted into a preview booth with video of the ride, and a Batmobile and large sign were placed in the Outer Mall area.

The twin Lightnin' Loops coasters were removed before the season was over, and sold to other parks.   Ironically the buyers of the Lightnin' Loops coasters were Premier Parks, who in the following years would purchase the entire Six Flags chain from Time Warner.  
 
   
     
     


In the spring of 1993 construction of Batman: The Ride and the surrounding Movietown area were in full swing.   The park's brochure used a photo of the coaster and its surrounding scenery at Six Flags Great America.  

On opening day of the season the coaster was already a full circuit, and construction of the elaborate station building was underway.    The queue area was still nothing but dirt and survey markers waiting for the theme elements and landscaping yet to come.



     
     
     
The plaza in front of the ride entrance was created with elaborately designed pavers to highlight the Batmobile, and an elaborate fence was added around the car to keep guests off of it.


The ride's queue was designed to look like Gotham City Park, complete with winding paths through the landscaping, a fountain and a monument.   Paving stone walkways took shape in front of the industrial looking station building.
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     



     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     




     



The landscaping and theme elements came together over the course of the month of April as the station building was completed.   The landscaping and sod completed the park like look of the queue area.   
   
     
     
     
     
     
     



A big part of the look of Batman: The Ride's theme was a run down and aged look which was given to the new buildings, making them look like they had been there for years.    The scenery for the ride featured trash and graffiti which led into the "storm drain", like you've wandered onto "the wrong side of the tracks". 



     
     
     
The junk in the yard under the ride came from all over the park and the boneyard.   Some of the pieces included the old control panels from the Monster Spin and Matterhorn rides.

With all of the building complete and the landscaping in place, Batman: The Ride began testing in preparation for its opening day.  Crowds gathered in the plaza in front of the ride to watch as the trains ran through the course.  The wide trains running below the rails were something few people had seen before.

In this series of pictures, you can see the empty trains negotiating the elements without the plastic hoods covering the wheel assemblies as the ride is being fine tuned and monitored.   The wheel covers would add the final theme element and more substance to the look of the trains when they were in place.

Guests watched longingly as the ride tested just beyond the fences of Gotham City Park until it was ready to open on May 1st. 


   
     




     


     
Press Kit From the Batman The Ride Opening
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
Map rendering and guidebook page from 1993
   
     
     
     
     
     
Batman: The Ride was a huge step forward for Six Flags in terms of bringing theme elements to thrill rides.    The ride was an immersive experience from the entrance to the the queue right through the exit.

As guests passed through the gates of Gotham City Park, they walked past the art deco style twin statues and onto a winding pathway.    The park included a fountain and monument dedicating the park to the citizens of Gotham City through the generosity of Bruce Wayne.

While walking through the park, the elaborate landscaping was further enhanced with the sounds of birds chirping and children playing coming from speakers hidden in the shrubs.

After winding through the pathways, guests approached a construction fence with the slogan "Gotham City- Building Toward a Better Tomorrow" and a stylized Gotham City Public Works logo.   Guests pass through a hole in the construction fence going from the tranquil park into the seedy underworld of Gotham.

Once into the dark side of Gotham, the sounds of gangs and police chases came from multiple speakers, creating an elaborate soundscape to fit the scene of a police car crashed into a hydrant spouting water and riddled with bullet holes.    Overhead was the structure of a half-destroyed overpass, with the coaster roaring above that.   

Guests then entered the storm drain access tunnel, filled with fog and the sounds of dripping water all around.   This access tunnel leads into the Batcave which was full of stalactites and steel walls.   Theatrical lighting in changing colors illuminated the station along with a large Bat symbol on the ceiling.    Batman's suit was locked in a case to one side of the cave, ready for Bruce Wayne to get the Batsignal. 

The voice of Batman's faithful butler Alfred comes over the speakers and explains that it appears we have made our way into the Batcave through a secret access, and that trouble is following close behind.   The only means of escape is using one of Batman's vehicles which will carry everyone to safety.

The guests boarded the trains, and with a puff of smoke the floor lowered and another group soars to safety high above Gotham City.

As the train returned to the station, guests exited the train and left the Batcave through an overpass, and down past graffiti covered walls outside the Gotham Arms Apartments, and out to the plaza in front of Gotham City Park.

Lines for the ride were long, and the ride was very popular.   The coaster itself was reliable, with little downtime for the first season or the seasons since it opened.
   
   
   
   


   
   

     




Over the seasons, minor changes occurred area surrounding the ride.   Some of the theme elements were removed or modified over time.  One of the first of these things to disappear was the butler uniforms worn by ride attendants, which were replaced by generic ride uniforms in following seasons.

The biggest changes occurred in the plaza outside the ride, first with the removal of the Batmobile leaving the plaza empty for a time as the car was needed at another Six Flags park which had opened its own Batman: The Ride.  

The plaza would become a commercial display and later a test your strength game, until the Batmobile was finally returned to its rightful place.

Other changes around Batman: The Ride included the additions of the neighboring Chiller and Nitro coasters which overshadowed it in stature, but lacked the immersive environment that made Batman: The Ride more than just a run of the mill roller coaster.
   
     




     


     
     
     
As time wore on, Batman: The Ride started showing its age, and was in need of a fresh coat of paint.   The ride was touched up several times with white primer and black paint, but really needed a complete re-paint.   Test patches of purple appeared in several places on the track during the 2003 season.

For the 2004 season, Batman: The Ride received a makeover with a new bright yellow track color and contrasting dark blue supports.   The new look highlighted the twists and turns in the track and made it stand out against the gray station building.

At the same time, many of the theme elements like the police car and the junk pieces around the queue were removed, and were not put back into place.  
   
     
     
     
     
     
Technical Information
       
  Manufacturer: Bolliger & Mabillard- Monthey, Switzerland  
  Theme Design: ITEC Productions- Orlando, Florida  
       
  Type: Inverted Track Coaster  
  Ride Model: Six Flags Custom Design  
       
  Opening Date: May 1, 1993  
       
  Height: 105 feet  
  Track Length: 2,693 feet  
  Number of Lifts: 1  
  Tallest Loop: 77 feet  
       
  Number of Inversions: 5  
   - Vertical Loops 2  
   - Outside Helices 2  
   - Zero Gravity Roll 1  
       
  Maximum Speed: 50 mph  
  Approximate Cycle Time: 2 minutes  
       
  Capacity: Approx.1280 guests per hour  
       
  Number of Trains: 2  
  Riders Per Train: 32 people per train  
  Cars Per Train: 8  
  Riders Per Car: 4  
  Restraints: Shoulder harness with belt attachments  
       
  Colors: 1993-2003 Black track and supports  
    2004-Present Yellow track and black supports  
       
 
     
     
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