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VALLEJO — It all starts innocently enough.

After waiting in line, the gate finally opens and suddenly you’re strapped into a car and listening to the click-click-click. When the clicking stops, you can see practically the whole theme park ... but just for a second.

What happens next is why you’re here.

Your car plunges down the track and everyone screams — even you — their hands reaching toward the sky. You feel your hair fly up over your head as your car twists and turns upside down at speeds up to 53 mph.

You’re on Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s new roller coaster – The Joker.

“It’s been the most anticipated ride in over 10 years,” said Don McCoy, park president. The ride officially opens to the public on Sunday, but if you’re a season pass holder, you can ride it as soon as Friday when the park opens daily for the season. Members of the media, including bloggers, were invited to experience the ride on Wednesday.

Bloggers Maverick Muir, 16, and Edgardo Rivas, 19, of Valencia have ridden a lot of roller coasters. “This is my 96th,” Muir said.

“Everything about it was just amazing,” Muir said while waiting in line to ride it a second time. “It’s as much as I expected and more.”

The Joker has a great mix of “airtime” and “hangtime,” meaning that there are plenty of times on the ride when you’re flying out of your seat as well as time spent hanging upside down, Muir said.

The Joker is similar to Twisted Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Los Angeles, which debuted last year, but “this one’s a little more intense,” he said. “It blew my mind.”

“It’s probably the best in California,” said Rivas, who has been on 77 roller coasters. “I really like this one – I would put it in my top 10.”

McCoy said that the ride delivers on its name and description with “non-stop thrills.”

The Joker, which sits beside the Superman Ultimate Flight roller coaster and The Penguin Ride, features 3,200 feet of dual-colored purple and green steel track atop a wooden base. It was designed using portions of the park’s wooden roller coaster, Roar, which closed last August.

The renovated ride, built by Rocky Mountain Construction, boasts the “first ever step-up under-flip, inverted roll” as well as a breaking wave turn, barrel roll, three inversions and 15 moments of airtime. It also has a 78-degree drop, is 100-feet tall and lasts nearly two minutes.

For more information, visit sixflags.com/discoverykingdom.

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Maria Sestito is the former Napa Valley Register public safety reporter. She now writes for the Register as a freelancer.