The Problem with Six Flags Quiddya

By Gary Chapman

gchapman@lc.edu

In 2018, Six Flags announced that a new park would be opened in Saudi Arabia, in the Quiddiya entertainment district in Riyadh. The park dropped an announcement video in 2019, with the current estimate for opening being for 2023. The park’s star attraction is the new Intamin coaster, “Falcon’s Flight”. In this article, I am going to be explaining what the problem with the parks are. 

The first problem is the location. The park is going to be located in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is located in the middle of the desert, which is not exactly the best place to build a theme park. One of the (not really) nearby parks is Ferrari World, located in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The park is home to the current fastest coaster in the world “Formula Rossa”, which goes at ~150 MPH. Due to the sand, people who ride have to wear goggles to prevent sand from hitting their eyes at high speeds. Also, you might be prone to heat exhaustion in the Arabian heat.

Another problem has to do with the lead ride, “Falcon’s Flight”. The ride, which a video shows the layout for, is physically impossible.

  1. The video shows the ride going up a cliff which is taller than the lift hill; this is impossible unless there is a launch mechanism, which is unseen.
  2. The layout looks like it was designed by the Crown Prince’s son on Roller Coaster Tycoon 3– the ride does not bank during the last part, and the airtime hills look like it will launch the person out.
  3. If people were to ride it, it would most likely maim or injure the riders.
  4. Also, Intimin is known for reliability issues.

The last major problem goes to the location, but from a geopolitical standpoint. Quiddiya is run by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which is run by Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, while it is getting better, is still a theological government, which has a bad reputation about the treatment of LGBTQIA+ individuals. One person who pointed this out is Theme Park Enthusiast, Theme Park Crazy. 

He stated in a Youtube community post that “The Saudi Arabian government has a horrible human rights record against its own people, as well as women and LGBTQ individuals, and they are directly involved with this park’s development. I get why western nations see Saudi Arabian business relations as necessary (too complex and off-topic to go into), but I’m not going to promote it here. I prefer theme parks where everyone is included. The ride could be 800 feet tall and have 100 airtime moments, and I still wouldn’t go to this park.”

The problems are there from a fundamental standpoint. While the park might be successful, I am not sure that the “Falcon’s Flight” will exist in the current rendition.

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