Gurnee, Illinois

When Marriott’s Great America opens for its sixth exciting season in May, 1981, thrill-seekers will have their white-knuckled hands full with four of the best roller coasters in the Midwest.

Beginning next season, coaster lovers can soar to new heights of adventure aboard Great America’s newest scream machine, THE AMERICAN EAGLE. It will be a race to the finish as the twin trains of the giant wooden roller coaster begin their flight with a precipitous climb to a 127-foot-high peak, plunge 147 feet at speeds up to 66 miles per hour and race over more than 9,000 total feet of track. The American Eagle is the ultimate adventure for coaster lovers of all ages.

Then, adventure seekers can come face-to-face with THE DEMON, a spine-tingling roller coaster experience that takes riders from an initial vertical drop of 100 feet into two vertical loops, 70 and 55 feet high, into a mysterious tunnel, and spinning through two corkscrew loops. Unearthly landscaping, eerie lighting, and fog-filled tunnels enhance an exciting encounter with The Demon.

Another coaster to conquer at Marriott’s Great America is the TIDAL WAVE. After shooting out of the station at a top speed of 55 miles per hour, riders spin through a 76-foot-tall vertical loop, and shoot up a steeply-banked 142-foot incline. To complete the ride, passengers must then survive a return trip — backwards — through the loop and up another incline before returning to the station.

Winding up the Great America coaster adventure, white-knuckle fans can take a hair-raising trip on WILLARD’S WHIZZER. The Whizzer operates on a revolutionary G-force concept that sends the coaster train on a seven-story free fall down the spiraling track, reaching speeds of up to 42 miles per hour on turns banked as much as 70 degrees.

Guests can experience the ultimate in roller coaster thrills at Marriott’s Great America when the park opens for its sixth season of family entertainment on Saturday, May 2.


Return to 1981 press releases, Marriott’s Great America