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The Demise of Deja Vu

Talk about anything that has to do with Six Flags Great America and Hurricane Harbor here.
Postby UnclePennybags on April 7th, 2020, 5:46 pm
Besides the maintenance issues surrounding the Deja Vu rollercoasters at Great America, Magic Mountain, and Georgia, does anyone remember anything else that would have driven these coasters out of the parks after only six years of operation?

All of these coasters are still in operation at other parks, so it's not like they were irredeemable. In Great America's case, it's not like the park would have thought that Buccaneer Battle could be a bigger draw than a major rollercoaster, right?

Does anyone remember if Deja Vu was rough or otherwise unrideable for other reasons? It just seems like scrapping a major capital expenditure after only six years would be a big deal if that expenditure was also a major draw at the park.
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Postby JackGlass on April 7th, 2020, 6:37 pm
It should have never been removed.

Mark Shapiro was CEO at the time and he was trying to change the demographics of Six Flags. Alienating teenagers and thrill seekers and attempting to draw in more families with young children. As a result of this idiotic philosophy, we lost Deja Vu and ended up with Buccaneer Battle.

Deja Vu had its problems for the first few years. But by 2007 it was running well. They literally removed it the year all the bugs were finally worked out. smh
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Postby anewman35 on April 7th, 2020, 6:43 pm
UnclePennybags wrote:Besides the maintenance issues surrounding the Deja Vu rollercoasters at Great America, Magic Mountain, and Georgia, does anyone remember anything else that would have driven these coasters out of the parks after only six years of operation?

All of these coasters are still in operation at other parks, so it's not like they were irredeemable. In Great America's case, it's not like the park would have thought that Buccaneer Battle could be a bigger draw than a major rollercoaster, right?

Does anyone remember if Deja Vu was rough or otherwise unrideable for other reasons? It just seems like scrapping a major capital expenditure after only six years would be a big deal if that expenditure was also a major draw at the park.


Does there need to be anything else? Doesn't matter how good a ride is if it's closed all the time. They probably just got sick of having it sit there and wanted to use the space for something they presumably hoped would be more popular, and get some cash back for it while they still could...
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Postby UnclePennybags on April 7th, 2020, 6:58 pm
JackGlass wrote:Deja Vu had its problems for the first few years. But by 2007 it was running well. They literally removed it the year all the bugs were finally worked out. smh

Did you actually ride it? I'm trying to figure out how violent it was, which would be an indicator of how re-rideable it was. For example, on my first ride on Joker, we spun 8 times. Everyone thinks that I was lucky, but it actually hurt...like I was in a dryer on tumble (i.e no heat, because I'm delicate). I've only ridden Joker twice since. On the other end of the spectrum, Raging Bull is smoooooooth. Very re-rideable.

How does Deja Vu compare with other rides at the park? If it were at the park today, do you think it would be a draw like Bull, or would it be more like Demon?
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Postby mugnezz on April 7th, 2020, 6:59 pm
JackGlass wrote:
Mark Shapiro was CEO at the time and he was trying to change the demographics of Six Flags. Alienating teenagers and thrill seekers and attempting to draw in more families with young children. As a result of this idiotic philosophy, we lost Deja Vu and ended up with Buccaneer Battle.


without Shapiro. you probably don't have a park to go to now.
definitely not to name six flags
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Postby JackGlass on April 7th, 2020, 7:21 pm
UnclePennybags wrote:
JackGlass wrote:Deja Vu had its problems for the first few years. But by 2007 it was running well. They literally removed it the year all the bugs were finally worked out. smh

Did you actually ride it? I'm trying to figure out how violent it was, which would be an indicator of how re-rideable it was. For example, on my first ride on Joker, we spun 8 times. Everyone thinks that I was lucky, but it actually hurt...like I was in a dryer on tumble (i.e no heat, because I'm delicate). I've only ridden Joker twice since. On the other end of the spectrum, Raging Bull is smoooooooth. Very re-rideable.

How does Deja Vu compare with other rides at the park? If it were at the park today, do you think it would be a draw like Bull, or would it be more like Demon?


I rode it plenty of times. It wasn't rough at all. In fact, it was very well liked by the general public.

As far as Shapiro goes. Six Flags was bound to go bankrupt no matter who was in charge. There was just no way out of that debt pile in the late 2000's. I would have rather kept Burke in place and gotten better rides and kept Deja Vu before the inevitable bankruptcy occurred.
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Postby mugnezz on April 8th, 2020, 5:17 am
No, you may not understand. With Burke and Anderson, it was noted that their policy was a failure.
Parks do not grow (Magic Mountain is open all year round, always making the same numbers)
cedar fair is the right policy, there is little to object
Attractions that open on the opening day of the park and policies more suitable for families.
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Postby Mr.Maverick on April 8th, 2020, 9:29 am
It was a mix of new management coming in, downtime, and terrible capacity. Shapirio came in late 2005 and didn't really start making his mark until 2007 (Wiggles is the best indication of that). His focus was families (he came from ESPN - owned by Disney) because they had the money and would spend more for a great experience (not wrong). So his vision was to build the parks into more family friendly experiences.

There is no denying that loading and capacity was awful. Lines would often be 2 hours long and would crawl. This point speaks for itself.

The final nail in the coffin - downtime. Yes, in its later years, Vu ran much better than it did in the earlier years. However, it still had a lot of downtime. One of Shapiro's initiatives was to eliminate rides with excessive downtime. That's why Six Flags lost Deja Vu (GAm & OG), The Chiller (GAd) at the end of 2007, many rides at MM in 2008, etc.

As far as riding experience, Deja Vu was my favorite at the park. It wasn't rough and was really thrilling. You knew it was going to be a good day when you walked up to the front gates and saw it running.
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Postby UnclePennybags on April 8th, 2020, 10:33 am
I'm looking at the other parks that now own the Deja Vu coasters and it looks like they've worked out the kinks to improve uptime. Silverwood, the park that bought Deja Vu from Great America, has been running Aftershock continually since 2008, although I hear it doesn't do well in Fright Fest temperatures. The one that was moved from Magic Mountain to Six Flags New England is still operational, but it hasn't been as reliable since its trains were swapped out with ones from Premier (to increase capacity).

I'm seeing online that uptime has improved, but capacity is bad (less than 400 pph). This might explain why these coasters are now operating in smaller parks. However, the general public still seems to love the ride experience. It's too bad this coaster didn't work out at Great America.
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Postby anewman35 on April 9th, 2020, 7:28 am
UnclePennybags wrote:I'm looking at the other parks that now own the Deja Vu coasters and it looks like they've worked out the kinks to improve uptime. Silverwood, the park that bought Deja Vu from Great America, has been running Aftershock continually since 2008, although I hear it doesn't do well in Fright Fest temperatures. The one that was moved from Magic Mountain to Six Flags New England is still operational, but it hasn't been as reliable since its trains were swapped out with ones from Premier (to increase capacity).

I'm seeing online that uptime has improved, but capacity is bad (less than 400 pph). This might explain why these coasters are now operating in smaller parks. However, the general public still seems to love the ride experience. It's too bad this coaster didn't work out at Great America.


I never got to rise Deja Vu here. I went to SFNE last year and was excited to try it there... And it was down. Of course.
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Postby gottastrata33 on April 9th, 2020, 12:32 pm
DéjàVu was & will continue to be my favorite ride at the park. I have never gotten over it's removal. To this day. & I wish vekoma would make us a modern GIB or hell just a giant boomerang. (With vertical spikes of course that was the best part after all) it was old school vekoma with a modern twist. So yes it was "rough" but it was also smooth. What it really was, was incredible.

As someone mentioned, you knew it was gonna be a good day at the park if you saw her running at opening. & wow was she impressive in the skyline. The colors were perfect too. I can still hear the cable lift & everyone screaming when they would be facing the ground, what the entrance looked like. I can hear the woman's voice making the announcements. "Welcome to Déjá Vu". I remember the giant gates in the station & how loud the screams were as the train whipped through the first time. I can hear the rattle of the track when it whipped through the loop the second time after tower two, waiting on the stairs to take you up to the station. Knowing you're almost there. My heart raced when I got to those stairs. I waited through breakdown after breakdown, hour after hour, in the pouring rain, in the sun etc. just to have the chance on Vu. I once got stuck on the first tower. & I once got stuck in the front row on the brakes goin up into the first inversion until we rocked back & forth to a halt. I remember running to make the last ride of the night cause night rides in the very back were my favorite.

When it was being removed, I wore a bright green shirt hat read "RIP DÉJÀ VU, $@&! this, we're heading to Cedar Point" ...ya know teen angst haha. & Hank stopped me right there on the Demon midway & said "Ive heard a lot about these shirts today. You really liked it huh? Well - I guarantee what we put in next year will be an inspiration to burn those tshirts". You bet my ass wore that in 2009 all the way til 2012. I still wonder what the real plans were for that spot. Some say it was gonna be a dive machine. But we will never know. Lol I clearly loved this ride. I really did. & I'm extremely bitter we let her go.
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Postby UnclePennybags on April 9th, 2020, 10:01 pm
I started this thread after studying the 2006 park map. Since I've been going to the park, the Buccaneer Battle (BB) corner has seemed a little lonely. I never really see long lines at BB or at Demon. I typically only see these attractions if I'm passing through. Usually this means I'm making my way to/from Southwest Territory, or I'm going to the Food Court from Hometown Square.

This is what I saw from the 2006 park map:

2006-park_map-600.png

If Great America could have resolved Deja Vu's reliability issues, it would be awesome seeing it pull in crowds at the BB location. It had such a small footprint for a rollercoaster that still has devotees 14 years after its removal. Even with poor capacity, it would have been something worth having.
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Postby gottastrata33 on April 9th, 2020, 11:56 pm
Did you not read my post, how obsessed I am? Lol it was worth having!

When I filmed XF's reverse POV & we talked with B&M, we discussed the rumors of a dive machine supposedly going in Vus spot to which he laughed & replied "we discussed many things - this is new technology & the best option for this space". But apparently that was a discussion, a dive machine connecting vus plot to Splash Water Falls plot. Which would have had the tunnel be under the midway. I'm happy with XF, it's now my fav ride in the park but I wonder if that's ever what hank meant about being an inspo to burn that T-shirt & if it would have been a better choice than XF.
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Postby SFGAM__man on April 10th, 2020, 1:36 am
I have a long history with DejaVu/worked on it and can confirm that Mark Shapiro made the call to have it removed and put up for sale. He was well aware that the ride got tons of complaints about being closed throughout its history (remember SFGAm was actually his home park as he grew up in Glenview so his friends and family i'm sure gave him earfuls about Great America), so when he visited the park in 2007 he saw it was SBNO again [standing but not operating] and got pissed and made the decision. Oddly enough once it actually did open later that summer it was the most reliable it had ever been, but the sad reality with that ride is who knows if it was going to stay that way next spring. That was just the nature of the beast with DejaVu.

Once the kinks got worked out the main issue the Vekoma GIB's continued to have was with weather. I can't really speak for its reliability at Silverwood (although from what I understand it's not open during their halloween event when its colder out), the SFMM ride that was moved to SFNE is definitely NOT reliable.
It was actually very reliable at SFMM post 2003 when they got all the kinks worked out, I have been to Magic Mountain many times and [post 2004 after the kinks were worked out] never even seen it break down once...however when it had overspeeds and stuff like that SFMM's ride ops were allowed to press the OK button to clear the error and keep operating where SFGAm doesn't allow their ops to do that.

I also want to point out that Mark Shapiro had nothing to do with it getting removed from SFMM (although funny enough he did try to sell the whole park but there were no buyers lol), moving DejaVu there was a Jim Reid Anderson thing. I think he figured the maintenance and operations cost of the rides at SFMM had reached a point of diminishing returns and SFNE needed a big new coaster, and since SFMM has so many big coasters and that one was tucked in the back corner of the park and the public still had a sour taste in its mouth because of its history, it would make sense to move.

And that ladies and gentlemen is why its good to have meetings with your maintenance and operations teams before making major decisions...or if you do have meetings with them to listen to them...or if you are a maintenance or operations person speak up...either they didn't realize the climate was going to be an issue or they thought they had it fixed and wouldn't be an issue anymore.
...regardless now, once again, the ride is almost almost closed and has a very bad reputation at SFNE. Wouldn't surprise me to see it removed soon.

So basically when it was moved to a climate that has highly fluctuating temperatures it became unreliable again. Like all coasters the train goes faster when its hot out and slower when its cold out which messes up the timing of the catch cars and then it would miscatch. I remember sometimes during the summer at SFGAm the maintenance guys would tell us to run with empty rows on purpose to make the ride go slower so it wouldn't miscatch. Then during the fall I remember once we were so desperate to get weight on the train that we raided the employee cafeteria for people on break (aka test dummies) just to make the train go faster while doing the AM checklist cycles so it wouldn't miscatch. Funny enough from the time we finished the AM checklist, to the time we actually got guests onto the ride, the train had been sitting in the station for long enough to the point where the wheels got cold and the first cycle after we opened the ride miscaught haha. God that thing so ghetto but so much fun...can't blame them for taking it out :P

Sadly i've heard that the new train on the SFNE version has made the ride unbearably rough. I've ridden all the GIBs except for Russia/China and they were all smooth so that is disappointing. To me it still feels like there is a huge hole right in the middle of SFGAm now without it there - like gotta-stratta-man said it dominated the skyline. It was a bad-ass looking coaster and when it cycled everyone would stop to look at it because it was fun to watch.

Something I want to add was that from the time it opened through 2004 it never, and I mean NEVER actually opened on time with the park. Going off straight up memory here but I this ride was so memorable I actually remember it pretty well:

2001 - Didn't open until October...and by "open" I mean it would open in the afternoon, run a cycle or two, break down, run another cylce or two, break down...etc.

2002 - Ride actually opened on time with the park on opening day, but vallied that same afternoon and was closed for months after that lol (that's when the wooden deck was built...it vallied right at that spot). It re-opened later that summer but was still extremely unreliable, often opening at 4-5pm.

2003 - Didn't open until summer, then they made the decision to open it at 11am every day but that was more like a goal. Sometimes it opened at 11 and sometimes not (though I think this had more to do with not having enough money for maintenance people than anything else, and since they figured it would probably break while doing morning stuff they may as well do it last and not get caught up there and not be able to do anything else before the park opened).

2004 - The ride did open in the afternoon on opening day and only had a brief period of being SBNO that year if I remember correctly.

2005 - Ran fine in the spring up until mid summer then started breaking down like crazy and was a crap shoot after that, then was SBNO all of Fright Fest.

2006 - SBNO up until memorial-weekend then was on and off. It did seem to do OK later in the year but had a major problem with misparking. I remember this was the year the maintenance guys would stand up at the control panel and wait for the train to come back and park, then they would shut the ride off, unlock the catch car, push the train into the position it was supposed to be parked at, lock the catch car, turn the ride back into ops mode, and keep operating.

2007 - SBNO the first half of the season, opened in the summer, seemed to run fine after that. Then it was removed.

Another stupid ridiculous thing was that Vekoma didn't paint the ride properly at the factory so by the time 2002 rolled around the supports looked like crap, there were splatches of light blue all over them. All of the supports were actually re-painted in 2005 even though it was a new ride lol (I know they had that problem with a few coasters they made at that time, Batwing at SFA had a similar issue). It looked totally ridiculous and was all over the whole ride.
https://www.americacoasters.com/Photos/?level=picture&id=1670#

*Another random fun fact but when DejaVu was built at Silverwood it was actually built by RMC, it was one of their first construction projects as a company. Their cocky management team always likes to tout around the industry that the ride is more reliable now because "this time it was built right" lol
Last edited by SFGAM__man on April 10th, 2020, 2:53 am, edited 12 times in total.
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Postby SFGAM__man on April 10th, 2020, 2:03 am
Went digging through my vault and actually found a picture I took of their IAAPA booth in 2010 haha

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Postby CoasterNick3157 on April 10th, 2020, 6:02 pm
Heres the fresh paint

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Postby CoasterNick3157 on April 10th, 2020, 6:07 pm
Heres the ugly paint

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Postby Dan The Coaster Man on April 12th, 2020, 9:01 pm
I didn't ride it at SFGAm, but I rode Aftershock at Silverwood in 2017. It's in my top 25 coasters, I absolutely loved it. It's not butter smooth, but it's not nearly as violent as a typical boomerang. If anything, I thought it had a heavy vibration. Not rough "ow" moments. I had so much fun on it. Considering I've never been on BB despite going to the park regularly for eight seasons, I would much rather have Deja Vu on that spot. I wasn't around when the coaster was actually here, so I can't say why it was removed.

I went to SFNE for two back to back days in 2016. Goliath was closed both days and I didn't even see it test either day. If I remember correctly, I think it was closed for an extended time at the time. I think it was waiting for a part or something.

Can the new trains be solely blamed for the rides awful reputation for operating? To be, I would think something more has to be going on... the trains can't be that bad, can they?
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Postby UnclePennybags on April 12th, 2020, 9:49 pm
Dan The Coaster Man wrote:Can the new trains be solely blamed for the rides awful reputation for operating? To be, I would think something more has to be going on... the trains can't be that bad, can they?

Last week, I read that the Premier trains had made Goliath less reliable, but posts in this thread have made me think that its reliability issues may have something to do with climate. I had read that Aftershock wasn't a great coaster to run during Idaho's fall season, but I didn't make the connection with Goliath's move from California to Massachusetts. Maybe the Deja Vu coasters just don't do well in cold weather or weather that can fluctuate as much as you'd see in the northern states.
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Postby gottastrata33 on April 13th, 2020, 1:17 am
That was also stated. They do NOT run well in cold weather. Which is why it was not only hilarious with It almost not opening in 2001 but in October of 2001 of all times.
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Postby UnclePennybags on April 13th, 2020, 4:41 am
Did Deja Vu make two cycles or one, with each cycle being measured from upright #1 to upright #2, then back to upright #1? Two cycles would be double that.
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Postby coasterkidd100 on April 13th, 2020, 10:07 am
^Deja Vu only made one cycle every time the train was dispatched from the station.
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Postby CoasterRiderSC on April 14th, 2020, 9:24 am
^ SFGAM__man - Thanks for your super detailed post on Deja Vu! I never got to ride this coaster. I wasn't going to the park as frequently then as I do now, and the few times I went it was down.

Stupid question: I'm assuming the ride went forwards and backwards. Which direction did you leave the station and was it already on the catch car? Was the ride similar to Mr. Freeze where you go through it one direction (forward or backward) and then the opposite direction on return trip?
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Postby coasterkidd100 on April 14th, 2020, 10:45 am
When the train left the station it was dragged up the first tower backwards out of the station so that the riders would be facing straight down towards the ground. From my understanding about the ride the train was already connected to the catch car while being loaded in the station.

The train would first go through the ride course forwards, then be caught by the catch car on the second tower. The train was dragged up the second tower with the riders facing straight up towards the sky before releasing the train. The train then did the same course it just did but backwards.

After going through the station backwards, the first tower's catch car would grab the train again, slowly drag it partly up the first tower, and slowly lower the train back into the station to unload guests from the ride.

Pretty much it was like Mr. Freeze when the trains would launch out of the station forwards and then go back through the course backwards on its return trip. Deja Vu just used a vertical lift cable system instead of the launch system that you see on Mr. Freeze.
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Postby CoasterNick3157 on April 14th, 2020, 10:18 pm
There was many many many miscatches on the second tower casuing a 30 min delay everytime
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