TIDAL WAVE - Marriott's Great America

For the scale model I built for Great America, CLICK HERE

A photo taken from the Sky Trek Tower, sometime in the late '80's. Note Z-FORCE in the background which later became Flashback at Magic Mountain. Sorry about the quality......no digital cameras back then!

Standing under the 76' high loop.

The coaster in its last year at Great America.

Here she is again...only themed as VIPER at Six Flags Over Georgia.


Here is the train with its new paint and logo, as well as a view from the front seat just before takeoff.

Ahh, that brief moment of weightlessness at the top of the first incline...


Photo courtesy Roller Coaster Database

This is her sister, the other Tidal Wave at Great America in California. In 1999, it was repainted and re-themed as Greased Lightnin'. For its 25th anniversary on June 8th 2002, I built a 1:160th scale model of it, and presented it to the park. The ride and model were featured on a local television station honoring the ride. You can read more about the model HERE. This west coast version was removed after 2002 and was used for parts for its twin at Kentucky Kingdom until that one was removed before the 2014 season.

Shuttle--Built in 1978 by Anton Schwarzkopf, this was the first new coaster for Great America since the park opened. It was dismantled in 1991 to make way for the world's first inverted coaster, Batman: The Ride. Tidal Wave was moved to Six Flags Over Georgia where it was rethemed in 1995 as VIPER. Dismantled (again!) and reopened in 2003 at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom as Greased Lightnin where it stood until it was demolished in 2014.

Zero to 55 mph in just 5 seconds.....only to be thrown for a loop at close to 5 G's, forwards AND backwards! Before the days of LIM launch technology, Schwarzkopf built two types of shuttles, weight drop and flywheel. This model is the earlier design and features a tower at the head end, with a large weight inside that connects to cables along the launch track. The weight is hoisted by an electric motor, and when released it pulls on a pusher device attached to the launch cable. The pusher shoves the train out of the station, then disappears under the track to begin its journey back to the starting point for the next launch. Tidal Wave featured cool wave chaser lights and nautical theming. On April 22nd 2001, during a trip to Florida, I was fortunate to ride it during its Viper days. I also made trips to Kentucky Kingdom although the ride's theming paled in comparison to its Tidal Wave days.

Visit Adam Sandy's great page on thisHERE. Montezooma's Revenge at Knott's Berry Farm is an example of the second type, which uses a large motor and flywheel in place of the tower.


All images copyright Brad Sherman unless noted otherwise. Logos copyright their respective sources.

Email: bradjsherman@hotmail.com