ROLLING THUNDER BITES THE DUST

Although there has been no official confirmation and it’s difficult to determine whether the below image is a filtered photograph or artist’s rendering, there are numerous reports to the effect that Rolling Thunder was demolished during the first week of November.  The rationale behind the decision to get rid of Rolling Thunder is ostensibly to make room for Zumanjaro, the record-breaking drop tower which will open at Six Flags Great Adventure in 2014.  However, because the drop tower will be connected to Kingda Ka, it’s questionable as to whether the new ride would have had to impinge on Rolling Thunder – which gives rise to the suspicion that the fate of Rolling Thunder was primarily the result of an economic decision.  This coaster was showing its age and needed rehabbing; maintaining a drop tower is clearly cheaper than maintaining a wooden coaster, without figuring in the cost of building the tower in the first place.  The only obvious advantage to be gained from the removal of Rolling Thunder is that park guests will now be able to get from Kingda Ka to El Toro via a path in the area where the defunct coaster stood, instead of having to walk all the way back to the entrance of Golden Kingdom and over the boardwalk.   Rolling Thunder was something of a classic, a landmark, and it’s sad to see it go.  In its absence, the park will no longer have an intermediate wooden coaster suitable for families or those who can’t ride El Toro due to height restrictions, fear or other reasons.  Photo from Theme Park Review.