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Denied a shot at Salvation

Posted: May 21, 2009 8:34 p.m.
Updated: May 22, 2009 4:55 a.m.

I was so close to salvation.

Thursday morning found me at Six Flags Magic Mountain for the media preview of the park’s newest roller coaster, Terminator: Salvation, a tie-in with the latest film in the apocalyptic/action franchise.

Riders’ screams and cheers filled the air as we made our way up to the loading area. The energy level was dialed up to 11.

As we crossed a small bridge, a coaster car full of thrill-seekers thundered underneath us.

This new coaster attraction plays up the theme of the “Terminator” movies. For instance, as the riders scream around a curve, flames explode from a bombed-out truck that’s part of the set scenery.

Loud, mechanical grindings and boomings piped in through speakers fill the air as riders wait to board the train.

Inside the loading area, I found an open seat — which seemed abnormally cramped — and hopped in, tucking my press pass inside my shirt.

The first-rider thrills promised by this $10 million giant were just moments away.

I pulled the seat belt across my lap and laid my hands on the safety bar, pulling it towards me.

Anyone who’s ridden a coaster knows to pull back on the bar until it clicks into place.

It wouldn’t click.

I started to go into panic mode, looking around to see if anyone had noticed the paunchy reporter in the fifth row wrestling with the safety bar.

A park employee noticed my struggle and tried to assist me.

“Sit up straight,” she said, “No, as straight as possible. It has to click at least once.”

It wouldn’t click. Believe me, I tried. Maybe I’d picked a bad seat. Maybe I just need to cut back on the morning pastries.

Either way, my ride was terminated before it began.

So I climbed out and headed back into the sun, and watched — with more than a little jealousy — as car after car of grinning, screaming, cheering riders roared past me.

The word from two slimmer Signal employees who did indeed get their safety bars to click was that it was a great, fast ride.

One Canyon Country man agreed.

“It was great,” self-described coaster fan Tevita Taufanema said after his third ride. “I could go on it again.”

Construction of the wooden coaster started last year, and it is Magic Mountain’s 16th.

Magic Mountain is the only Southern California theme park introducing a new ride this summer, park spokeswoman Sue Carpenter said May 8.

The Terminator ride was built by Great Coasters International, Inc. The Pennsylvania-based company specializes in “twister-type” wooden roller coasters.

Terminator:Salvation opens to park-goers Saturday.

Look for a full review of Magic Mountain’s newest ride in the May 29 edition of The Signal’s Escape entertainment section.



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