Apocalypse: Six Flags Magic Mountain renames Terminator wooden coaster

Apocalypse: Six Flags Magic Mountain renames Terminator wooden coaster

After only two summers, Six Flags Magic Mountain will dump the Terminator name from its newest wooden roller coaster as part of a company-wide cost-cutting initiative.

The ride will be renamed Apocalypse beginning Jan. 8, officials said.

The debranding will remove the animated Terminator robots from the queue and force Magic Mountain to reshoot the post-apocalyptic backstory video featuring two stars from "Terminator: Salvation," the critically panned fourth installment of the science-fiction film franchise.

In the Terminator story line, riders waiting in the queue were encouraged with video clips featuring rapper/actor Common and model/actress Moon Bloodgood to "join the resistance" and help fight the Terminator robots. During the "training session," riders were warned that the "machines are coming" and to "go to the safe house" to await further instructions.

The new Apocalypse story line will follow a more traditional good guys-bad guys scenario, with riders implored by fellow survivors to "come with us" into a bunker to prepare for battle. The rechristened ride will retain the existing pyrotechnic and fog effects, but the exit queue store will shift focus from "Terminator" keepsakes to teen and tween items.

Six Flags is undoing several intellectual property licensing agreements established since 2007 for more than 60 amusement park rides and attractions, resulting in an extensive slate of name changes and thematic makeovers.

Debuting in 2009, the $11-million wooden coaster tied to the "Terminator: Salvation" movie was heralded by the amusement park chain as a new push toward more themed rides.

Magic Mountain spent $1 million adding the incongruous Terminator-factory-turned-safe-house theme to the wooden coaster, mostly in the pre-show queue areas. The coaster itself got only a few flourishes: a trio of fog-filled tunnels and fireball-spewing special effects. But by and large, the 55-mph coaster largely dropped the futuristic "Terminator" theme as soon as the train left the station. (On-board audio, a first for a wooden coaster, has long since been removed.)

Regardless of the theme, Terminator/Apocalypse has everything I like in a roller coaster -- a smooth ride, unrelenting speed and plenty of off-your-seat airtime. It perfectly threads the needle as a hybrid family-friendly thrill ride -- providing a healthy dose of terror-tingle for tweens and soccer moms while delivering just enough adrenaline for speed junkies and coaster freaks.

Enthusiasts apparently agreed, placing the ride in the top 25 of an unscientific yet comprehensive annual poll of wooden coasters in 2009.

The tightly twisting and turning Great Coasters International coaster with Millennium Flyer trains replaced Psyclone, a reviled wooden coaster mercifully removed from the Valencia amusement park in 2006.