Small flat rides have long been a staple of major theme parks offering guests thrilling experiences not found on many of the major rides and roller coasters. Even though these rides are more plentiful and often found at carnivals and traveling fairs, they help supplement the overall theme park experience while also providing needed extra ride capacity.
|When Great Adventure
opened its gates for the first time on July 1st, 1974, a Super Round Up
ride was part of the starting lineup of exciting attractions awaiting
guests. As a workhorse of the park's arsenal, the original ride
put in six seasons of faithful service before being retired and replaced
with a newer model (Super Round Up II) introduced in the spring of 1980.
The new Super Round Up (II) flew into the park under the radar. While the Buccaneer was promoted as the big new attraction for 1980, the Super Round Up (and a new Swiss Bob) was added to the park as an update to its predecessor. The newer model was nearly identical mechanically however it featured locking slider doors which provided a safer ride experience.
|The new Super Round
Up offered the same capacity as the older model accommodating 42 riders
per cycle. The new ride originally sported a yellowish gold cage
and lift mechanism with a gold and blue swirl pattern on the sixteen
aluminum panels which filled in the infield of the ride's cage. In
the late '80s the gold color was replaced by white and the walls of the
cage were repainted blue.
The central pillar at the ride's hub was topped off with a circular globe of miniature lights and fluorescent tube lights encased in blue plastic sleeves lined the spokes of the circular cage. Smaller vertical fluorescent tube lights were mounted on the central pillar and provided more than enough light to see the faces of other riders across the Super Round Up during nighttime rides.
|The Super Round Up (II) initially
occupied the same exact location as the previous model it replaced.
As a small easily portable ride it wasn't difficult for the park to cart
away the old model and drop the new version into place.
The curving set of queue bars from the original model as well as the perimeter fencing stayed in place and remained at the park through the end of the 1992 season. By then the barriers had seen better days and began looking less than attractive. In March of 1993, the queue line received an overhaul with new concrete and curbing being poured to support the newly aligned queue. Decorative pennant flags and new landscaping were also added to dress up the appearance of the ride.
|Park guests were
treated to what looked like a totally new ride in the spring of 1993.
Not only was the queue updated but the entire ride was repainted.
Gone was the color blue having been replaced with a new maroon shade to
go along with white. Even the fluorescent tube lights were updated
with new maroon sleeves that gave off a bright pinkish glow.
Gone from the ride was the manufacturer provided illuminated sign box which for years advertised the ride's Super Round Up name. In its place was installed a simple white lattice screen to cover some of the mechanical features the ride sign once masked.
A new sign mounted over the queue entrance proclaimed the Super Round Up's new moniker, the Fantasy Fling. This new name better aligned the ride with the newly named section of the park in which it resided, Fantasy Forest. The new ride and section name were part of a park-ride retheming initiated in the early 1990's by Time Warner.
While the name remained the same for years to come, the ride's sign went through several updates in a relatively short period of time. Three variations of the Fantasy Fling ride sign were used during 1993 alone.
|In 1999, Six Flags
Great Adventure saw the biggest collection of new attractions ever added
to the park at one time as part of a War On Lines. With more than
25 new rides being added to the park, Fantasy Fling's prime site was
needed for a much larger attraction known as the Evolution.
Rather than simply remove the Fantasy Fling, it was relocated to a vacant lot next to the lift hill of Batman The Ride, queue line, ride sign, and all. The Fantasy Fling operated on this site during the 1999 and 2000 seasons until site preparation work began for the construction of Nitro which premiered in 2001.
For the first time, the ride would operate without the aluminum panels which covered the center of the ride and gone were the fluorescent tube lights having been replaced by miniature bulbs. Also, while the ride would still feature its original metal ramp to enter, a new wooden exit ramp was constructed which took guests from the doors of the ride's cage directly to curbside exit of the ride area.
|The 2001 season
opener found the Fantasy Fling relocated once again, this time to the
former site of the Spinnaker ride which was added as part of the War On
Lines collection but removed shortly thereafter due to operating
Although not yet assembled, the lift mechanism base and the curved cage side sections were placed on the site of the ride's future home. One obvious difference was going to be the ride's new aqua blue color scheme. The base of the ride would be repainted on site taking it from white to a dark blue.
Because of the limited configuration of the new ride site, it wasn't possible to have an exit ramp directly across from the entrance ramp. Although not ideal from a capacity standpoint, at the new location the entrance ramp also served as the exit ramp. This meant that the entire ride needed to be vacated before new riders could enter. Previously it was more of a flow-through process.
|From 2001 until 2010,
the ride operated at its new site as the Fantasy Fling although a sign
for the ride wasn't added until 2005. The ride routinely received
updates to its lighting and fresh coats of aqua blue paint..
In March of 2011, the Fantasy Fling was renamed The Tornado. For the first time the ride had a sponsor, Tornado frozen snack foods, and with this new tie-in came a new vibrant red and yellow color scheme and a new ride sign.
The new refreshed ride livened up the surrounding area even though the name didn't quite fit in with the Lakefront section in which it was located. Oddly, the snack stand that offered Tornado products was located far away from the ride on the opposite side of the Big Wheel.
sponsorship was short-lived and only lasted for one season. In
2011, the Super Round Up was renamed the Swashbuckler which was more
appropriate for the Lakefront theme. Once again, the ride went
without a sign for several years until the Swashbuckler name was added
Recent upgrades to the ride's power management systems and lighting package including new LED fixtures help to keep the attraction efficiently performing. In 2018, the ride was repainted yet again assuring that it looked appealing to guests.
|A Super Round Up ride has been a part of Great Adventure's lineup since day one in 1974. Even though the ride found at the park today is not the original model which greeted guests during season one, every management team since the park opened has found it worthwhile to have a Super Round Up ride as part of their attraction lineup. Hopefully, this ride will continue to delight guests far into the future.
|Original Spotlight: June 11, 2007, Updated: October 12, 2010, January 24, 2019. GAH Reference #: RIDE-1980-003