A few years ago I ventured out to Chicago for a Six Flags Great America-Wisconsin Dells trip. The main attraction of the Great America visit was the B&M hyper coaster Raging Bull. But, it was almost overshadowed by my surprisingly fun rides on Demon. Riding decades-old Arrow loopers is generally an unenjoyable, ho-hum kind of experience where you’re happy to come away with a ride credit. But, Demon completely caught me by surprise on my visit to Great America.
Demon opened as Turn of the Century in 1976. It was one of the first roller coasters to feature two corkscrews. Then in 1980, it underwent a redesign where two hills were replaced with two more loops. Aside from the new, wildly popular vertical loops, the ride was re-themed with a new name and rock formations, tunnels, and a water fall of red blood was added.
As I entered the queue I was greeted by the Demon theme song. It was a cheesy, dated song, but for some reason I loved it. So many rides at Six Flags have sparse theming, so even really old theming was a welcomed change. After climbing the modest 102′ foot lift hill the train dropped and sped into two back-to-back vertical loops. The second loop has a cool rock formation through it which can be seen while riding if you look up. The next element deserves its own post in my memorable moments category.
After a short break, the train dove into a tunnel lined with red and white lights. The lighting system was probably pretty sophisticated in 1980, but now it just seems so Disco and so 70′s that it’s not even funny. I felt like I was in a pinball machine as the lights followed the train as we zoomed through and flew out the other end of the tunnel. Just as you exit the tunnel you pass by that red waterfall and right into the first of the two corkscrews. The first one passes over the park’s train track. Demon finishes with a short turn and then you return to the station.
I’m so glad that Great America never updated this ride. For some reason, the dated, corny theming is endearing. For a thirty year old Arrow coaster, Demon was surprisingly smooth. And, I found this bit of information from Dave Althoff, Jr. who wrote a review for the Roller Coaster Database that might explain why Demon was so smooth:
I noticed something interesting as I exited. It appears that each axle on the Demon has been modified with the addition of a single shock-absorber, connected to the back right-hand end of the axle and to the car spine. It’s a bit like the shock Chance-Morgan uses on their Runaway Train copy, but it’s the first time I’ve seen this on an Arrow coaster. -RCDB
Overall, this is a very fun ride regardless of it’s pedestrian stats by today’s standards. I’d take Demon over pretty much any Arrow looper besides the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens. I implore Six Flags and Cedar Fair to re-theme and rehab their other old loopers in the same way. Final Rating – 7.0 (Good)
Check out this commercial advertising the newly remodeled Demon at Great America for the 1980 season. Note that the park was called Marriot’s Great America, in the pre-Six Flags days.
Demon is rated ‘TH’ for Thrilling. It’s a 3 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale because it includes four loops. If you fear going upside-down, then you may want to skip Demon.
What’s Your Take?
Have you ridden Demon at Six Flags Great America? What’d you think? Leave a comment below. Images courtesy of CoasterImage.