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Six Flags Continues 30 Year Relationship with Bolliger & Mabillard through Dr. Diabolical Coaster
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Six Flags has always had a special relationship with ride creator Bolliger & Mabillard. The manufacturer's stand-up coasters and inverted coaster types were first purchased by Six Flags, which led to almost 30 years of ride collaboration.

The partnership between the theme park company and the ride creator brought park attendees the first hyper twister and first floorless coasters along with many different fan-favorite rides.

And now, the partnership is back for more. In the first collaboration between Bolliger & Mabillard and Six Flags since 2012, Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger is coming to Six Flags Fiesta Texas.

According to Six Flags Fiesta Texas president Jeffery Siebert, “The designing of the ride was a very fun and engaging process.  It was fun to hear everyone's collective ideas contributing to the final ride design…”

Among the contributors were park chief engineer Larry Chickola as well as Sophie Bolliger and her group at Bolliger & Mabillard. Even coaster fans weighed in, all with a goal Siebert describes as making “the ride feel different and perform differently than other dive coasters that are out there.” 

With that in mind, the park and the ride developers focused not on ride length or height, but rather on g-force and other thrill boundaries riders would feel after climbing aboard. Siebert is a major coaster enthusiast and said he “geeked out” taking his first ride.

The Dr. Diabolical ride is located in a new plaza area in what's called the Crackaxle Canyon Screampunk District in the park, which Siebert describes as being a “hopping place” since the park renovated it's iconic Iron Rattler ride in 2013,  also located in that area.

As for the new thriller ride, he says “We wanted a new iconic and signature attraction to welcome guests, knowing we needed additional ride capacity in that area. We also wanted to create something really cool and a different entrance experience to Dr. Diabolical's Cliffhanger.” 

Because of that new entrance, the area around the ride was also changed, just in time to celebrate the park's 30th anniversary. In fact, commemorating that occasion, fans could purchase anniversary bricks that are positioned prominently in the new plaza. Additional shade and seating were added, and two dining opportunities significantly placed: Dr. Butterscotch's beer truck and a Canyon Smokehouse that specializes in turkey legs. 

To ride Dr. Diabolical, park guests follow a themed queue that first allows riders to get a good look at the attraction's two very steep drops from the outside portion of the queue. The coaster has gold supports with accents that create steampunk vibes. 

Next, moving indoors, the line offers an unfolding of Dr. Diabolical's story told in five air-conditioned rooms, created by repurposing a former theater backstage area into the evil doctor's laboratory and experiments. 

The story telling is a part of what Siebert says makes the ride unique. “…we want the ride to be a fun physical experience, but we wanted a story to enhance it…Dr. Diabolical is her own character, and adding her personality to this fun, multi-room themed experience really sets up the story.” 

The story includes five animatronics with three different characters created by LifeFormations. The tale unfolds with the knowledge that despite Dr. Diabolical claiming to provide an elixir that offers eternal life, her real plans are to use riders' fears to create monsters and let these creatures loose in the world. In order to achieve her creation, her backstory relates that she's built a way to capture human fear and adrenaline – through the riders waiting to board Cliffhanger, of course. 

During the course of the ride, Dr. Diabolical's audio continues, telling passengers what her plans are as riders' cars climb to 150 feet, and then experience a hold break. After a U-turn, passengers are poised to scream before rocketing down the steeply vertical drop. After this moment, two inversions flip Dr. Diabolical's riders upside down. They're suspended above the vertical drop face-first before release into the 60-miles-per-hour enormous drop, experiencing a circuit around an Immelmann inversion, withstanding a 270-degree Zero-G roll, then finally swooping down the near vertical drop with a banked turn, into extreme airtime, and finishing off with the “wow” moment of a high-speed spiral.

What Siebert refers to as the “cliffhanger hold” creates a visual scene in which riders cannot even view the track, adding to the thrill. The drop itself that follows is the steepest ever from Bolliger & Mabillard with ride height reaching up 15 stories over  2,501 feet of track. Each train row holds seven passengers, and there are three passenger rows on a train, which can each carry 21 riders. 

The ride was put in place by Northwest Coasters. According to the Kevin Messick, the company's president, the ride is located in “a tight, tight location in the middle of the park.” During set up, he said guests were accepting, with no complaints, about the massive project. Project manager Allen Messick says the biggest challenges were “Figuring out crane placement for 65,000-pound and 85,000-pound picks over 100 feet in the air while simultaneously transporting pieces on site and still keeping the site moving forward…” 

The ride held previews in late July and opened to the public officially July 30; riders must be 52” in order to enjoy the excitement of the only dive coaster in Texas.
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