Random Ephemera

Where Are AstroWorld's Roller Coasters Now?

Last week I ran across a seller on eBay hawking some of the larger and more memorable aspects of the long-lost but not forgotten AstroWorld. In the course of researching that article I found that many of the coasters we loved so much are still in active service across the globe. So if you want to go on the ultimate AstroWorld nostalgia tour here's a guide.

Batman the Escape After the Alpine Sleigh Ride was discontinued we had a mountain and nothing to do with it at AstroWorld. In 1993 it got new life as the Batcave when we took Shockwave from Six Flags Magic Mountain and rechristened the revolutionary stand-up coaster as Batman The Escape to tie in with Batman Returns. It remains one of the greatest lines in the park's history. As of now it remains in storage at Darien Lake with its future unknown.

The Viper and The Serpent The two snake-themed coasters did not survive the fall of AstroWorld. The long-running kiddie coaster was scrapped as well as its big brother. Just a bit of personal sadness, The Viper was the first big boy coaster I rode by myself. Yeah, it wasn't anything special, but you always remember your first.

Taz's Texas Tornado Probably no coaster has moved around like the Texas Tornado. It was built in Germany where its original name was Thriller. Six Flags brought it to us as the Texas Tornado. Unfortunately the coaster was not built to handle Texas summers and was often out of order. Discovery Kingdom was its next home under the name Zonga until it moved to Marine World. Since then it's been Tsunami at Isla San Marcos. A fan Facebook for the coaster reported this month that it will reopen later this year.

Serial Thriller In 1997 there was a fatal accident on the Excalibur coaster when a maintenance man was struck on the track after seeing a false all clear signal. The next year the Serial Thriller took its spot and held the place until closure. It would spend the next four years at Six Flags Great Escape until being moved to La Ronde in Montreal. There it was renamed Ednör - L'Attaque, and given a sea monster theme.

Ultra Twister Though it was always a bumpy ride and hard to love it was still a one of a kind coaster that you had to ride at least once. After closure it was sent into storage. It's unlikely it will ever see the light of day again as an attempted sale of it in 2009 reported it was damaged beyond repair.

Greezed Lightnin' My personal favorite coaster and a mainstay ride from 1978 until the 2005 closing. It moved to Joyland Park and then Cliff's Amusement Park afterwards, but was never reassembled at either park. There was a rumor that the soon to be open at the Grand Texas Theme Park, but the park confirms it will not do so. It remains dismantled, but hope springs eternal.

X-LR8 X-LR8 wasn't the first suspended steel roller coaster but it was the first one to really get the concept right. It was the first suspended coaster to ever try reversing some of the cars so that riders could experience the thrills backwards, though it sadly only did so for the last three years of the park's life. The frame itself was scrapped, but if you happen to ride the Ninja at Six Flags Magic Mountain you'll likely find yourself sitting in the same cars that once soared above Houston.

Mayan Mindbender Never the most exciting coaster, but the indoor coaster still had a lot of charm. It's also one of the few AstroWorld coasters still working full-time. Wonderland Park in Amarillo, Texas has operated it as the Hornet since 2009.

Texas Cyclone Originally AstroWorld had wanted to buy the famous Coney Island Cyclone, which was falling apart in New York and scheduled for demolition. After looking at how much it would cost to move the big wooden coaster William Cobb was hired to create a bigger and better version for Houston. Sadly, when the park closed our Cyclone fared no better. It was demolished when the park closed down and no longer exists save in memories.

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Jef Rouner is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner