VALENCIA (CBSLA.com) — Thrill seekers flocked to Magic Mountain in Valencia Saturday to get one of the last-ever rides on the wooden roller coaster, The Colossus.
CBS2’s Greg Mills, in fact, found a family who was willing to drive a long distance to ride the 36-year-old wooden coaster. (Incidentally, this is National Roller Coaster Day.)
“We drove over from Phoenix today. We left at 4 in morning,” said Mike McNeal. He and his wife Debbie — and their son Brady — drove more than six hours for the two-minute ride.
“This was my first big roller coaster,” Debbie recalls.
She grew up in Granada Hills and told Mills she wanted the chance to share the experience of her first roller coaster with her husband and son.
“I love it,” she said, “And I’m really sad that its going.”
Mills noticed McNeal getting choked up and asked if she was going to cry.
“Yeah,” she replied.
The Colossus cannot compare to the rides being built today — they are all taller, sleeker, faster. But there was a time this ride was the main draw at Six Flags.
In 1978, when Colossus made it’s debut, it was the world’s tallest and fastest coaster. Mills went on to report that “it’s still a fun ride.” Before the coaster reaches the top of its first hill, there is a slight pause — to build suspense — before the car drops 125 feet.
News of the ride closing brought many fans.
“I actually came cause I heard on the news it was closing. I wanted to get on it one more time. It was worth it,” said James Powell of Los Angeles.
The McNeals didn’t even have the distinction of being from the farthest distance. Of course, some of the visitors might have planned their trips long before they knew Colossus was going away but Mills also encountered folks from New York, Europe, and from all over California.
“I love wooden roller coasters, said Aeriel Parrish from Sacramento, “They’re more fun. It makes a lot of noise which some of the newer ones don’t.”
There was a line to ride Colossus — as long as two hours. But people didn’t seem to mind.
Yvette Gallegos was 11 years old the first time she road the coaster. She waited in line Saturday to get a front row seat.
She was one of many people who got choked up that the ride will soon be no more.
“Yes. I want to cry. I’m really sad,” Gallegos said.