Goliath (Six Flags Great America)

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Goliath (Six Flags Great America) logo.png
Goliath at Six Flags Great America (14696982188).jpg
Goliath's 180 feet (55 m) drop
Six Flags Great America
Park sectionCounty Fair
Coordinates42°21′58″N 87°55′52″W / 42.366111°N 87.931111°W / 42.366111; -87.931111Coordinates: 42°21′58″N 87°55′52″W / 42.366111°N 87.931111°W / 42.366111; -87.931111
Soft opening dateJune 18, 2014 (2014-06-18)[1]
Opening dateJune 19, 2014 (2014-06-19)[2]
ReplacedIron Wolf
General statistics
ManufacturerRocky Mountain Construction
DesignerAlan Schilke
ModelTopper Track – Custom
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Height165 ft (50 m)
Drop180 ft (55 m)
Length3,100 ft (940 m)
Speed72 mph (116 km/h)
Max vertical angle85°
Height restriction48 in (122 cm)
Trains2 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
Platinum Flash Pass only available
Single rider line available
Must transfer from wheelchair
Goliath at RCDB
Pictures of Goliath at RCDB

Goliath is a wooden roller coaster in County Fair at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Illinois. It was manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction and designed by Alan Schilke, and set three world records for wooden roller coasters when it opened to the public on June 19, 2014: the longest drop at 180 feet (55 m), the steepest drop at 85°, and the fastest speed at 72 miles per hour (116 km/h). The ride also features two inversions.

The ride was constructed over a nine-month period beginning in September 2013 on the site previously occupied by Iron Wolf. Following its opening, the ride received favorable reviews from the media and roller coaster enthusiasts.


On August 5, 2011, Six Flags Great America announced on their official Facebook page that the Iron Wolf would be closed on September 5, 2011.[3][4] The ride was subsequently removed and relocated to Six Flags America where it operated as Apocalypse: The Last Stand, before becoming Firebird (roller coaster).At the time, the park did not have any definitive plans for the site.[5]

On August 1, 2013, Six Flags Great America began a teaser campaign entitled "Follow the Journey".[6][7] In mid-August 2013, it was revealed Six Flags Great America would be building a 165-foot-tall (50 m) roller coaster, with plans being lodged with the local zoning committee to exceed the 125-foot (38 m) height limit imposed on the park.[7][8][9][10][11]

On August 29, 2013, it was officially announced that Six Flags Great America would be adding Goliath, a wooden roller coaster by Rocky Mountain Construction, for the 2014 season. As part of the announcement, a concept computer-animated "point-of-view" (POV) and statistics of the ride were released.[12][13][14] Situated on the site of the former Iron Wolf roller coaster, Goliath would utilise the majority of the station and queue line of the former ride, with the station being lengthened to account for twelve rows of seats instead of seven.[15][16]

On February 21, 2014, Six Flags Great America posted a collection of pictures to its official Facebook page, revealing Goliath's final design.[17][18] This updated version includes a steel lift hill structure, rather than the traditional wooden structure. An updated animated POV was also released on the park's official YouTube channel.[19]

Construction for Goliath began in September 2013, with a team of 35 employed by Rocky Mountain Construction to erect the ride. The team worked 11-hour days, six days a week through the winter to early May 2014,[20] amounting to approximately 40,000 man hours.[21] The lift hill was topped off on May 16, 2014,[5] with the first test run taking place two weeks later on May 31, 2014.[22] On June 6, 2014, a small section of the rides station was struck by lightning and caught fire, ride was extinguished without any reported injuries or major damage.[1] Following the ride running hundreds of test runs, it officially opened to the public on June 19, 2014.[2][20]


Goliath's zero gravity stall inversion

Goliath is Rocky Mountain Construction's second wooden roller coaster, following the opening of Silver Dollar City's Outlaw Run in early 2013.[23] Although the ride is located in the County Fair section of Six Flags Great America,[14] the name and theme of the ride was chosen purely on the basis of the ride's size and scale.[15] The 3,100-foot-long (940 m) ride stands 165 feet (50 m) tall; however, the ride drops a total of 180 feet (55 m) at an angle of 85° into an underground tunnel. Goliath features two inversions, two overbanked turns, and a top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h).[13][15] Because Goliath was built in such a small space, the lift hill is abnormally steep at an angle of 45°.[24] The entire track has been filled with grout to allow a quieter and smoother ride experience. The ride was designed by Alan Schilke.[25]

The 3,100 feet (940 m) of track is made of six layers of laminated wood, with a steel square tube acting as the topmost layer of track.[21] The steel square tube is known as Topper Track and is found on many roller coasters that Rocky Mountain Construction has renovated, as well as Outlaw Run.[26][27] This track style is designed to reduce the maintenance typically required for a wooden roller coaster and to provide a smoother ride experience.[21] Rocky Mountain Construction spent four years developing technology to allow them to twist beams of wood, that make up the lower layers of the track.[28] This track configuration allows for more dynamic roller coaster elements to be performed on a wooden roller coaster.[21]

Goliath operates with two trains manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction. Each train is made up of six cars, with riders being arranged in two rows of two for a total of 24 riders per train.[15] This configuration caters for approximately 800 riders per hour. The trains feature polyurethane wheels, allowing for a quieter ride. Riders are restrained through the use of an individual lap bar, shinbar, and a seatbelt.[13][29]

Ride experience[edit]

A train going through an overbanked turn on Goliath

The ride begins with a left turn out of the station before ascending the 165-foot-tall (50 m) chain lift hill at a 45° angle. From the highest point, trains drop 180 feet (55 m) at an angle of 85°, 15 feet (4.6 m) below ground level, reaching their top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h). After this, cars ascend to a height of 125 feet (38 m) for an overbanked turnaround, followed by a descent back to the ground and a small air-time hill. A dive loop is next, where riders are inverted before descending a half loop. The track then enters the second inversion, a zero gravity stall, where the train is suspended upside-down as it crests over a hill underneath the lift hill. This element is followed by a second overbanked turnaround, leading to the brake run and a short path back to the station.[30][31] One cycle of the ride takes approximately 105 seconds to complete.[15]


Goliath claims three Guinness World Records. The ride's 180-foot-tall (55 m) drop at 85° is both the steepest and longest in the world for wooden roller coasters. Goliath was also the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, with a top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h).[13][14] This record was surpassed by Lightning Rod at Dollywood by a single mile per hour at 73 mph in Spring 2016.[32] The addition of Goliath allowed Six Flags Great America to claim having the most wooden roller coaster track of any amusement park in the world.[33] However, this record was later surpassed by Kings Island with the opening of Mystic Timbers in 2017.[34]


The opening of Goliath was widely reported across the world,[35][36][37] with those experiencing the ride giving positive reviews. Jessica D'Onofrio of ABC7 Chicago stated Goliath was the smoothest roller coaster she had ever been on, describing it as "a great adrenaline rush".[2] Marcus Leshock of WGN-TV commended the uniqueness of the zero-g stall element, stating "it's something I've never really felt on a coaster before". He describes hanging upside down as a "really nice, fun, exhilarating feeling" without feeling disorientated.[5] Reviewing the ride for Shaw Media, Taylor Trimby of American Coaster Enthusiasts described Goliath as a wonderful ride, stating "You don't have time to prepare for anything. ... You're twisting and turning. ... It's great".[38] Anthony Murphy of Theme Park Insider praised the ride for being "one of the most intense roller coasters" he has ever ridden.[29]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Ranking 23[39] 14[40] 13[41] 13[42] 19[43]


  1. ^ a b "Minor Fire Reported Near New Six Flags Great America Roller Coaster". NBC. June 6, 2014. Retrieved June 7, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Figalora, Sarah (June 19, 2014). "Six Flags Opens Goliath, a Record-Breaking New Roller Coaster". Good Morning America. ABC News. Retrieved June 19, 2014.
  3. ^ Six Flags Great America (August 5, 2011). "After a long 21..." Facebook. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  4. ^ Coasterholic14 (August 6, 2011). "Six Flags Great America Losing Long-time Stand-Up Coaster". COASTER-Net. Archived from the original on September 28, 2011. Retrieved August 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Koss, Nick (August 15, 2014). "Goliath: Documenting a Giant Six Flags Great America 2014". YouTube. Cutback Productions. Retrieved August 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Six Flags Great America Follow the Journey 2014". Six Flags Great America. YouTube. August 1, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Casas, Gloria (August 19, 2013). "Great America Planning to Add New Coaster in 2014". Patch Media. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  8. ^ "Agenda of the Regular Meeting of the Gurnee Planning and Zoning Board – August 21, 2013". The Village of Gurnee. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  9. ^ Susnjara, Bob (August 18, 2013). "Great America to pitch new wooden coaster to Gurnee". Daily Herald. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  10. ^ Moran, Dan (August 18, 2013). "Proposal for new roller coaster at Great America is on the table". Lake County News-Sun. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  11. ^ "Great America gets OK on 150-ft.-high coaster". Chicago Sun-Times. Wrapports LLC. June 12, 2010. Archived from the original on June 15, 2010. Retrieved September 16, 2010.
  12. ^ "Goliath | New for 2014 at Six Flags Great America". August 29, 2013. Archived from the original on September 1, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
  13. ^ a b c d McCoppin, Robert (August 29, 2013). "Six Flags boasts latest ride will be world's fastest wooden rollercoaster". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  14. ^ a b c "New Great America roller coaster Goliath due in 2014". WLS-TV. American Broadcasting Company. August 29, 2013. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  15. ^ a b c d e Salemi, Hank (August 29, 2013). "Goliath – Media Event – Q & A". YouTube. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  16. ^ Marden, Duane. "Iron Wolf  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  17. ^ "Drum roll please... Six Flags Great America unveils final design artwork for Goliath, The World's Fastest Wooden Roller Coaster with Tallest and Steepest Drop!". February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  18. ^ "Updated Artwork for Goliath". February 21, 2014. Archived from the original on April 27, 2015. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  19. ^ "Goliath New for 2014 | - Virtual Ride". Six Flags Great America. YouTube. February 21, 2014. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  20. ^ a b McCoppin, Robert (May 6, 2014). "Goliath rises in Great America skyline". MSN News. Retrieved May 11, 2014.
  21. ^ a b c d Snyder, Elizabeth (June 26, 2014). "Go Goliath: Record-setting wooden coaster opens at Six Flags". Kenosha News. United Communications Corporation. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  22. ^ "Goliath – Six Flags Great America FIRST TEST RUN". YouTube. May 31, 2014. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  23. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Search Results  (Rocky Mountain Construction)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  24. ^ Schilke, Alan (June 25, 2014). "Alan & Scott Ride Goliath". NewsPlusNotes (Interview). Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  25. ^ Schilke, Alan (20 November 2013). "Alan Schilke Interview". NewsPlusNotes (Interview). Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  26. ^ Baldwin, Tim (April 2013). "Outlaw Run charges into Silver Dollar City" (PDF). Amusement Today. 17 (1): 1, 4. Retrieved 5 December 2013.
  27. ^ "Georgia Cyclone: A Classic "Woodie"". Six Flags. Archived from the original on 6 November 2013. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  28. ^ Leshock, Marcus (15 March 2013). "Outlaw Run: Record breaking wooden roller coaster opens at Branson's Silver Dollar City". WGN-TV. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved 17 May 2013.
  29. ^ a b Murphy, Anthony (June 21, 2014). "New record-setting wooden coaster, Goliath, opens at Six Flags Great America". Theme Park Insider. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  30. ^ Marden, Duane. "Goliath  (Six Flags Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  31. ^ Leshock, Marcus (August 22, 2013). "Record-breaking wooden roller coaster coming to Six Flags Great America: How big will it be?". WGN-TV. Retrieved August 30, 2013.
  32. ^ "Dollywood announces Lightning Rod for 2016 with record breaking coaster!". Behind The Thrills. Behind The Thrills. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  33. ^ "Medusa & Goliath: Rocky Mountain screams into Six Flags". Park World Magazine: 38, 39. July 2014.
  34. ^ Carol Motsinger (July 29, 2016). "Kings Island reveals new ride: Mystic Timbers". Cincinnati.com. Gannett Newspapers. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  35. ^ "Video: Take a virtual ride on the new world record-breaking roller-coaster Goliath". The Australian. News Corporation. June 20, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  36. ^ Jerreat, Jessica (June 20, 2014). "Are you brave enough to take on Goliath? Six Flags open world's tallest, steepest and fastest wooden roller coaster". Daily Mail. DMG Media. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  37. ^ "New rollercoaster breaks three records". MSN New Zealand. Microsoft. June 21, 2014. Retrieved June 28, 2014.
  38. ^ Bustos, Joseph (26 June 2014). "Six Flags unveils Goliath wooden roller coaster". Kane County Chronicle. Shaw Media. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  39. ^ "2014 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 38–39. September 2014. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  40. ^ "2015 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 45–46. September 2015. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  41. ^ "2016 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 20 (6.2): 46. September 2016. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  42. ^ "2017 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 21 (6.2): 50. September 2017. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
  43. ^ "2018 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 22 (6.2): 48. September 2018. Retrieved September 13, 2016.

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