Officials at the hotly-anticipated Grand Texas Theme Park have some good news and some bad news . . .
The original AstroWorld roller coaster Greezed Lightnin' currently featured on Grand Texas maps will not be reborn at the new park after all. But in its place, the new park's owners promise an even more exciting ride sure to spark up nostalgia for Houston's long-lost Six Flags.
First opened in 1978, the fast-paced Greezed Lightnin' graced the hallowed grounds of AstroWorld for nearly three decades.
One of only a dozen so-called "shuttle loop" coasters ever built, the ride captured the imagination of thrill-seekers with its surprising simplicity — a short 850-foot track with a single eight-story loop. Shuttles cars blasted passengers across the iron tracks at 60 miles an hour, first forward and then backward, for a experience lasting a mere 33 seconds.
"We know this decision will initially disappoint many fans of the ride as it did our team."
After the AstroWorld's demise in 2005, Greezed Lightnin' was relocated to Joyland Park in Lubbock and later to Cliff's Amusement Park in New Mexico. But to the chagrin of roller coaster aficionados, neither park ever reassembled the vintage ride.
Grand Texas developer Monty Galland tells CultureMap that he and his team truly hoped to do right by the 36-year-old coaster, carving out a dedicated space for it on the western edge of the new theme park that's scheduled to open in New Caney in 2015. Unfortunately, due to installation costs and a careful consideration of ride variety, officials are looking to an alternate coaster-like ride that offers more than a trip down memory lane.
"We know this decision will initially disappoint many fans of the ride as it did our team," he emailed CultureMap, "but we believe guests will find the new ride quite a bit more thrilling."
Aside from calling it a "taller, faster but similar ride," Galland remains tight-lipped about the Greezed Lightnin’ replacement. He does add, however, that the new installation will honor both the classic coaster and the AstroWorld experience in a number of ways.