The level of theming in a theme park often varies from area to area and from ride to ride.  Many times parks decide to go light on themed elements and focus instead on the ride's hardware.  Under Time Warner, Six Flags Great Adventure was fortunate to receive some impressive hardware and some extensive theming when Batman: The Ride was added for 1993.

In the summer of 1992, guests were presented with a surprise announcement of what would await them in 1993.  Before construction even began a preview center was setup for Batman: The Ride - the northeast's first inverted looping roller coaster. The Enchanted Bandstand, a long standing music spot originally added
 in the former Fun Fair area was re-purposed for the job. The stage was removed and walls were added to create a dark interior space where a video preview was played showing the first Batman: The Ride in action at Six Flags Great America.  This same thrill machine would soon be constructed just steps away at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Click HERE to watch the preview video.
The site for Batman: The Ride was the former home to Lightnin' Loops, a coaster that was a signature attraction for Great Adventure for many years. Closing shortly after Labor Day in 1992, the interlocking loops were carefully disassembled with the idea that they would find new homes. Initial plans called for one of the loops to be moved across the park to the Ultra Twister's former location, but instead both were sold to other parks which would eventually be owned by Six Flags.
Once Lightnin' Loops was removed the land was leveled including bringing in soil to fill the pit in which the loops were positioned. Besides clearing the majority of trees that surrounded the Lightnin' Loops site, a restroom facility was also leveled.  This site would become part of the themed foreground of the Batman: The Ride site roughly were Batman's Batmobile would be added.

Over the winter of 1992-93 the exciting new coaster came together, piece by piece. This was the first major ride addition to Great Adventure in a "new" era of Six Flags where the park was owned by the Time Warner media giant. The focus of all their parks nationwide was to bring in more theming using Time Warner's intellectual properties.  Batman: The Ride was constructed next to 1992's addition which was the first Batman Stunt Show which was rolled out to parks throughout the chain. Six Flags Great America got the first Batman: The Ride for 1992 and it served as the model for many more Batman: The Rides at Six Flags parks throughout the United States.

Construction of Batman: The Ride started with the erection of the station, followed by the lift, first curving drop, and the first vertical loop.  Construction of the coaster continued following the path of the ride with the upright supports being placed just a few pieces ahead of the track.
While the coaster itself was impressive, what really made it unique at the time was the theme elements that were installed as part of the ride. This was really the first ride at Great Adventure to feature a story based on a major movie (1989's Batman) which would immerse the guests in Batman's Gotham City.

Installation of all the themed elements was carried out by ITEC Productions of Orlando, Florida.  The queue area was themed as Gotham City park, with fountains, grass, and winding pathways serving as the line for the ride- but Gotham City also had a dark side.
The pathway that served as the ride queue wound through an opening in a construction fence which led to the dark and gritty side of Gotham. The industrial setting featured a Gotham City Police car which appeared to have crashed into a leaking fire hydrant.  The police car once served the city of Orlando, Florida.  Further on, the queue led into a storm drain tunnel which served as a secret entrance into the Bat Cave.  The pathway was totally immersive including bird sounds in the park, traffic and city sounds in the seedy area behind the construction wall, and the sounds of dripping water and squeaky mice in the storm drains.
The construction crew finished assembling Batman: The Ride's track with the final piece being signed by the workers before it was lowered into place on March 19, 1993.  The last section of track was the piece that transitions out of the final helix and into the station brakes. The crew took a moment to pose and celebrate a job well done as they completed assembly of the first of Great Adventure's B&M manufactured roller coasters.
While the coaster was completed, there was still much work to do making Gotham City park and the elaborate theming of the ride come to life. The high level of detail was really a first for Great Adventure. Time Warner had high expectations for Six Flags and they were looking at parks like Universal Studios Orlando and Disney's Hollywood Studios as models for the future of their parks. 
The theme park opened to guests on March 27, 1993 and Batman: The Ride was far from ready to open with so many the theme elements still coming together.  The new coaster would be a part of a newly rethemed area of park called Movie Town where Hollywood was being reconstructed in New Jersey!
The ride queue was quite elaborate with sculpted figures flanking the entrance gate, and a substantial Batman logo carved into the neighboring stone wall. All of the theme elements were built with expensive, quality materials which could withstand the elements and add authenticity to the Gotham City Park setting.  The entire ride site was encircled by black wrought iron fencing and gray paving stones.

The look fit with the idea of a park which was financed by millionaire Bruce Wayne. Along the back edge of the park was a "construction wall" with the logo of Gotham City Public Works logos separating the park area of the queue from the industrial area beneath the ride itself.
The ride's station building and maintenance and storage bays were some of the final pieces of the construction site to come together. The loading and unloading area was the first coaster station at Great Adventure to have air conditioning since it was completely indoors. The station was designed to be dark so theatrical lighting could set the mood and create the Batcave atmosphere. The corrugated steel station structure fit with the industrial grittiness of Gotham City's "darker" side.
The station structure was more complex than most coasters, with the walls being more substantial with sound dampening material to make the soundtrack and announcements easier to hear and cut the echo inside.  Further down the track behind the station, the ride's entire brake run, transfer track, and maintenance areas were also enclosed. 

As May approached, the finishing touches for Batman: The Ride were coming together. While electrical work continued on the coaster's control systems, themed lighting and a state-of-the-art sound system were also being installed to keep waiting guests entertained.  
An extensive array of landscaping
was added to the site including:

42,000 square feet of sod

43 trees

917 shrubs

300 tons of decorative stone

Layer after layer of theming continued to be added to the ride.  The park area was very formal, while the industrial area was highly detailed in its seediness. A world-renowned graffiti artist was brought in to spray paint the backside of the construction wall and an urban wasteland of junk was added around the queue. The "junk" was an assortment of objects from the park's bone yard including an old control panel from a retired flat ride.

On May 1, 1993, all the elements came together to create something that went beyond an everyday roller coaster and created an experience that took guests into the world of Batman.  "The Ride" still delights guests today, 30+ years after its introduction.
The brand new Gotham City Park was a great backdrop for an interview with Bob Pitman, the man at the helm of Six Flags under Time Warner. His vision for the company transformed the park dramatically in a very short period of time and drove attendance and upped the value of the company while creating synergy with Time Warner.
Original Spotlight:  March 28, 2023.  GAH Reference #:  RIDE-1993-001C.