ByJeremy Howard, writer at
More of my stories at THEME PARKS, MOVIES and TV, SPACE EXPLORATION, and more!
Jeremy Howard

When we look ahead to the next few years, all the attention for Southern California’s theme parks is going to be commandeered by Disney and Universal.

Universal Studios Hollywood will be the first out of the gate, introducing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to the West Coast.

Disneyland will follow, with an unprecedented 14-acre expansion that will be home to the new Star Wars Land.

Both of these represent the next generation evolution of the “land expansion” concept within a theme park. Rather than a stand-alone ride, these become fully immersive worlds, with an emphasis on state-of-the-art attractions, rich theming, and true story-driven character interaction. The budgets that bring these concepts to life are astronomical.

How could a park like Six Flags Magic Mountain even attempt to compete with these two juggernauts? It doesn’t have nearly the funds, the technology, and the resources. But Six Flags is still a nationwide corporation trying to compete for tourist dollars. Is there a concept that can maximize the strengths of what this roller coaster-emphasized company does best, do it with minimal budget and risk, and be just epic enough to be mentioned in the same conversation as Disney and Universal?

Try this "mock" press release on for size…

MAD MAX: WASTELAND coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain

VALENICA, Calif., Oct. 7, 2015 — Today, Six Flags CEO, James W.P. Reid-Anderson announced that Mad Max themed lands will be coming to Six Flags Magic Mountain, followed by additional Six Flags parks throughout the U.S.

Ambitious plans to bring Mad Max to life include the largest land expansion ever for the Valencia park at 15 acres, transporting guests to a ruthless trading village in a post-apocalyptic desert setting. In a first for a Six Flags park, guests will interact with story-driven characters that populate this dangerous world. Visitors may want to steer clear of Immortan Joe and his gang of warlords as they wreck havoc throughout the village. Step into Toecutter’s Pub for a pint of Radioactive Ale. Barter with cash money or trade goods for replica props, weaponry, and clothing as seen in the acclaimed feature film, Mad Max: Fury Road.

Mad Max: Wasteland will have a signature attraction, featuring another first for Six Flags.

Immortan Joe has taken over the village, but Max Rockatansky and Imperator Furiosa have “souped up” and “tricked out” your means of escape to help you get out before the warlords capture you.

War Rig Escape, a first ever hybrid wooden-steel coaster powered by the latest in Linear Induction Motors (LIM) technology, will perform death-defying aerial elements, including loops, corkscrews, and barrel rolls, all frighteningly low to the ground.

The coaster trains are themed to resemble the actual War Rig from Mad Max: Fury Road, and as they careen around the tight course, guests will fly past special effects elements, from water, smoke and sparks to balls of flames and barrels exploding around them. It’s thrills and immersion in a way you’ve never before experienced on a roller coaster.

Sound fun at all?

A Mad Max: Wasteland concept would work perfectly in a Six Flags park for a variety of reasons:

• The concept is more “R-rated,” catering to the park’s core teenage demographic. You can see the marketing – head to Disney or Universal for a tame experience, but if you’re looking for hardcore bad-assery, Magic Mountain is where it’s at.

• Warner Bros. and Six Flags are already family members of sorts, with a D.C. Comics influence at Six Flags throughout the country, making licensing rights, etc. perhaps more easily attainable.

• The desert wasteland theme means they can get away with a relatively minimal construction budget. The village is basically a shanty town, depicting makeshift structures made out of twisted metal, wreckage, junkyard garbage. No need for the towering rockwork of a Cars Land, or the forced perspective recreation of a Hogwart’s Castle. Here, it’s basically desert flatland and wreckage.

• The inhabitants of the world are wearing tattered rags, leather, Some might be in makeup, others, masks. Costuming, therefore, doesn’t have to be fabricated from scratch and can easily be found in our world.

• A terrain coaster with emphasis on practical effects means they don’t have to try to make this the “biggest” coaster on the planet. Similar to how Space Mountain feels so much faster with the special effects and darkness added to it, here, the thrills can come out of the effects, keeping the budget down.

What do you think? Would you check out Six Flags Magic Mountain with a Mad Max: Wasteland concept? Could this be as much of a game changer as Potter was with Universal and as surely as Star Wars will be with Disneyland?

For me, the idea of racing on the War Rig past explosions in a themed environment sounds completely awesome.

For Six Flags to attempt something like this, they’d have to be pretty courageous. In fact, they’d have to be downright mad.

And I will be first in line, rocketing through loops with my hands in the air, yelling, “What a day! What a lovely day!!!”


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