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A sneak peek at new Great America roller coaster
By Lee Filas | Daily Herald Staff

Emily Dworkin, 18, and Hope McCartney, 17, both of Libertyville, are two of the first riders to experience the new "Dark Knight" roller coaster at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee. The ride opens to the public on Wednesday.

 

Gilber R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Kids watch a video news program on Tuesday as they wait to enter the new "Dark Knight" ride at Six Flags Great America in Gurnee which opens Wednesday.

 

Gilber R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

Lisa Regnier of Twin Lakes, Wis., holds her 5-year-old daughter, Ryan, right, up to a mirror where a Joker's mask appears on her face. To the left is Meagan Klaw, 10, of Antioch.

 

Gilber R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer

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Published: 5/20/2008 4:00 PM | Updated: 5/20/200 6:58 PM

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The Joker has taken over a subway in Gotham City, and only the Dark Knight can save you now.

Six Flags Great America will open its new $7.5 million roller coaster, "The Dark Knight," to the public today. Officials at the Gurnee theme park held a sneak preview for media and roller coaster aficionados on Tuesday.

The coaster takes people on a subway ride through the fictitious Gotham City as citizens try to escape Batman's longtime nemesis, the Joker. The Joker harasses the riders at every turn, popping up on video screens and in lifelike form in front of them as they wind through the three-minute course.

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The ride itself is housed in a seven-story building and is dark, but not pitch black.

"It's a good, fun family ride," said Ray Pacelli, a member of the American Coaster Enthusiasts who rode the coaster Tuesday. "You won't get a big thrill out of it like from the 'Raging Bull' or anything, but it's a fun ride."

It's the theme of the coaster that really stands out. The line has been designed to give people the feeling of standing inside a subway station before they are ushered into a room to watch a fictitious press conference.

Aaron Eckhart, who plays District Attorney Harvey Dent in the movie "The Dark Knight," appears during the press conference, which is interrupted by the Joker.

Officials at Six Flags on Tuesday held a press conference of their own to open the ride, where they thanked everyone involved in its creation.

This press conference wasn't interrupted by the Joker, however.

Six Flags general manager John Curty said the addition of "The Dark Knight" increases their roller coaster offering for customers.

"Look at the collection of roller coasters we have," he said. "Today, with the opening of this ride, our collection is nearly complete."

Brooke Gabbert, public relations manager for the theme park, said everyone was exceptionally excited to open the ride.

"The ride is an incredible ride that we have all really enjoyed since it was cleared at 10 p.m. (Monday night)," she said. "It's really a lot of fun that we are sure everyone will enjoy."

The indoor roller coaster in Gurnee is the first of its kind, though Six Flags plans to open similar coasters in New England and New Jersey.

"You know, the themeing of the coaster is really good and adds to the whole experience," said Pacelli. "It really is a fun ride."