I love thrill rides, and Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita, Ca., is the Thrill Capital of the World. Roller Coaster testers — yes, there are lucky people who actually get to ride roller coasters for a living — will tell you that different seats on the same ride provide a toadally different ride experience. I just spent a day hopping on and off some of the many roller coasters in the park. I have my favorite seats for each ride, and I will share them with you so that you know how to get the best seat on each roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain. You can even apply this knowledge to choosing the best seat on other roller coasters at other theme parks!
Magic Mountain holds the world record for having the most roller coasters in an amusement park — with a whopping 20 coasters! A few of them are Lily’s speed or beginner coasters, but I consider 14 of them to be pretty great thrill rides. I like to get the maximum thrill and effect from each ride, so I usually pick my favorite seats … and that varies greatly based on the roller coaster. In general, the front seat offers some great visual effects while the back seat offers the wildest and fastest ride. That is why those seats tend to have the longest waits.
I consider the middle to be the most ho-hum area of the coaster, but on certain coasters I actually choose the middle seats. If you are a beginner thrill seeker or are nervous about riding and want a milder ride with less scary scenery, then that is a perfectly enjoyable place to be. Some coasters are so crazy that it just does not matter! Here is my take on my most favorite thrill rides at Magic Mountain.
How to Get the Best Seat on a Roller Coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain
Does it matter where you sit on a roller coaster? Sometimes it does. You might want an unobstructed view of the track. Or you might not. You might want to get whipped around turns or pulled rapidly over hills in the back. And you might want to avoid that. Here's a ride-by ride look at how to get the best seat on a roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Tatsu is the most amazing roller coaster. I could ride this smooth coaster all day long if the line weren’t so long. And the funny thing about Tatsu — the roller coaster I care the most about — is that I do not care where I sit. Well, lie really, because on this roller coaster you are suspended from above and lying on your stomach. Say whaaaat??? It is super high and loops around, soaring up in the sky like a flying dragon. You see ground far far below and you see sky, but you don’t really see the people ahead of you. All that comes between your thumping chest and the ground way below is your chest harness that you are sure is going to fail and drop you to your death.
You get the best view of the park from up there — so try to keep those eyes open to take it all in. The front may be slightly better without having to glimpse anyone’s shoes ahead of you as you climb up the hill, and the back might be a little faster. But generally, here is a ride where you can take the shorter wait by choosing the middle and you will not lose any thrills—but you might lose your lunch. Just kidding.
The seats on X2 are located on the sides of the track, face backwards and spin 360 degrees (forwards or back). There is rock music blaring, voices coming from the speakers, fire shooting at you, and you have absolutely no idea where you are coming or going on this most extreme roller coaster. Really, it's the craziest coaster I have ever been on. All you can do is scream and laugh hysterically as you plunge at the ground stomach first and then loop around in the opposite way you expect to move.
I do enjoy sitting in the very last seat, because it provides the most extreme and fastest thrill. You also get the visual effect of being in the "front" because you are in the last car going backward. You don’t see anyone else and you get a great view of the park as you climb backward up the initial hill. But the line is already long enough for this unique coaster. That's why I am happy choosing a middle seat if it has a slightly shorter wait. The thrills are already extreme. Once you are off the initial hill climb, all you see is an alternating view of sky and earth with nobody blocking your view. It’s hilarious and extremely confusing fun.
Colossus was the classic famous wooden roller coaster used in "Walley World," the fictional theme park in the original "National Lampoon’s Vacation" movie. The double racing roller coaster was reinvented in 2015 to combine steel and wood—creating a smoother ride that adds twists and turns and a zero gravity loop. The best surprise was finding out that one car now follows both tracks, extending the fun.
You want the front seat for sure. The visual effect of looking straight down the hill is worth waiting for an extra car or two to sit in the front. If you head there first thing after park opening, there will be no wait. Try the first car and then try the last car to get the best of both worlds. But you are going to have a good time and catch air no matter where you sit.
After going on Twisted Colossus, do not miss this next-door blue, looping coaster almost hidden in the corner. I Scream, You Scream, We all scream for the very front row on this looping, feet dangling roller coaster. If you sit anywhere but the front row, all you will see is the tall seat back in front of you. Yawn. But the front seat has a great visual effect. I like the front seat on the right side (when facing forward) because at one point it really looks like you are going to slam into the pavement below. I lift my frog feet just in case every time — just can’t help it.
You want the front row, outside seat in this suspended, looping roller coaster. Otherwise, like Scream, all you see is the back of the seat in front of you. If you ride this really fun coaster within the first hour of park opening, you might not only get your first pick of seat but also get the entire ride to yourself. Don’t let the lack of others make you think that this ride is not worth it. It’s super fun and so smooth. The line will climb later in the day. Because it is located at the back of the park it takes other guests while to make their way there. Outsmart them by hitting the back of the park first.
Wonder Woman Flight of Courage
The 20th coaster at Magic Mountain is the tallest and longest single-rail coaster on the planet. You don't have a lot of choice in seating for this coaster as it continuously moves at a slow speed during loading. You ride single file and will hop in the first available seat as the 12-passenger train pulls into the station. The front seat does give you the best visual of that lasso-thin rope of track to blow your mind. You can brave this coaster and everything it has to offer all alone, and with nothing in your way, just like Wonder Woman. There's nobody next to you so look to the sides and take in the views from your 131 feet of elevation!
Riddle me this: Do you want to stand in a significantly longer line for this stand-up coaster? Answer: Because you choose your location on the ride earlier in the line, that can mean a really long wait for the front but a much shorter line toward the back. We say go for the time savings and hop in the shortest line for this one.
This steel mega coaster provides thrills including a 255-foot drop. No escaping the thrills here. Better view up front, a rougher and faster ride in back or big thrill in the middle. You cannot escape the disorienting excitement here.
Superman: Escape from Krypton
If the wait is super long, you might pass on this super short thrill. It shoots you backward straight up a 41-story tower at 100 mph and then drops you back down again. But if you must experience it, the back seat will take you higher when riding backwards (the right track). The front seat takes you higher when facing forwards (the left track).
This classic post-apocalyptic wooden roller coaster goes wicked fast. I hop in back because the back car gets whipped over the hills and around the turns.
Near Apocaplyse in The Underground is one of the newer coasters in the park — West Coast Racers. You are going to want to call "shotgun" and sit in the front for this one. You'll want to see the track ahead of you as you launch, race and loop around the competition. This coaster has four magnetic launches, four total inversions (including zero G rolls and a zero G stall) and banked turns with speeds of up to 55 mph. If the line for row one is too long, opt for row four. it is the first row of the second car to get a little visual space.
You can go all-out on the world’s tallest looping coaster. It almost feels like you are moving in slow motion when you circle such a large loop. Keep your eyes open for the tall upside-down view of the park. The coaster is a little too short and sweet — we’d like more please! We like the back seat because at one point it takes you higher, but we don’t want to spoil the surprise on why. If you arrive at park opening this makes a good first coaster before the line builds because it is not an efficient loading system.
This coaster brags of seven inversions. The back is the fastest and roughest (as in head-banging rough). You might find a smoother ride in the middle and toward the front. This mega coaster has a significantly shorter wait than the other extreme coasters surrounding it, so it makes a great stop when you want a short wait. Brace your head and neck though.
This single looping coaster is also one of the oldest coasters in the park. The white coaster was also featured in "National Lampoon's Vacation," back when Revolution and Colossus were the only real coasters in the park. It is fun to see how much the park has risen up around them.
This is a good choice for people trying their first looping coaster. It's one of the more tame coasters in the park. Go for the front for the visual effects or the back for a little more speed on hills.
There are several smaller and gentler coasters in the park. The same rules generally apply. The front offers a better view or visual effect but can be the slower and gentler ride. The back seat gets pulled more quickly over the hills and around turns from the momentum of the other cars. If you are taking froglets on their first roller coaster rides, start them out gently in the middle and over time work your way to the front and back, especially if they love it and yell, “Again! Again!” Give them the love of roller coasters and they may become like me, an aspiring roller coaster tester!
Do you have any tips to get the best coaster seat at Six Flags Magic Mountain? Share it in the comments below.
Related: Not-to-Miss Six Flags Magic Mountain Attractions for Thrill Seekers