ROLLER COASTER REVIEWS

Thursday, November 3, 2016

SIDEWINDER HERSHEYPARK

This Vekoma boomerang has been operating since 1991.  With 7 cars seating 2 across in 2 rows for a total capacity of 28 riders, the train is pulled up a 116-foot catch car lift hill before being released and propelled through the loading station and up into a cobra roll followed up a vertical loop.  It then ascends a second lift hill and goes through the course in reverse.

As all Vekoma boomerangs feature the same three inversions, I can’t say that this one is in any way novel or remarkable.  What I can say is that whereas I would have expected a coaster of this vintage to be rough, the ride was much smoother than anticipated.  Also the soft restraints were welcome although a bit heavy.   And at 5.2 the maximum G-force is pretty good.  Sidewinder offers an enjoyable enough ride.  2 ½ out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Hersheypark, visit www.hersheypark.com


Thursday, October 27, 2016

TEMPESTO

This LSM coaster from Premier Rides necessarily has a one-train operation, as the train is launched backwards and forward from the station.  With a total capacity of 18 riders (3 cars seating 2 across in 3 rows), the train is launched forward at the beginning of the ride and rises just short of the twist at the top.  It then zooms backwards and ascends before being propelled forward and navigating a twist.  This is followed by a heartline roll.  The train banks right and goes through a non-inverting loop before once again racing forward through the loading area and rolling backwards.  It reaches a maximum speed of 62 mph.


I must admit that I didn’t have high expectations of this ride but it certainly exceeded my expectations.  The launch was a blast and the layout of the track resulted in some interesting surprises.  The reversals of direction were somewhat disconcerting in a good way; the heartline roll was fabulous.  Tempesto is a welcome addition to Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  The ride is short but sweet. 4 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at BGW, visit https://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-williamsburg/  Video courtesy of Busch Gardens.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

LOCH NESS MONSTER

This coaster from Arrow Dynamics is the only operating coaster to feature two interlocking vertical loops.  It has a long train although I didn’t count the number of rows and the stats are not available on rcdb.  The restraint consists of an overhead harness.  Upon departing the loading station, the train ascends a 130-foot lift hill, with the chain clanking away, before turning right and dropping 114 feet to Busch Garden’s Rhine River, then rising up into the first of the loops.  It then races into a downward spiraling tunnel, from which it travels up a second lift hill before again turning right and entering the second loop.  The ride comes to an end shortly after the second loop.

Considering the fact that this ride dates back to 1978, it has stood the test of time very well.  I was expecting a headbanger but this is not the case. It’s remarkably smooth and the initial drop is sizeable for the time at which this coaster was built.  Among the highlights of the ride is the tunnel, longer than I had anticipated and a very enjoyable element.  The Loch Ness Monster is a lot of fun.  4 out of 5 stars.  From more information about rides at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, visit https://seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-williamsburg/





Friday, October 14, 2016

JUDGE ROY SCREAM

This wooden coaster from William Cobb & Associates dates back to 1980 and features an out and back layout.  Seating two across in three rows with four cars for a total capacity of 24 riders, the train makes a right turn from the loading station and ascends a 71-foot lift hill.  Once at the top it drops 65 feet and continues its course over several more consecutive drops.  This is followed by a right turn, after which the train traverses a series of dips on its way back to the station.  The maximum speed is 53 mph.
                                                                                                  

The ride is surprisingly smooth for a wooden coaster 36 years old at the time of my writing this.   There was none of the roughness that I had anticipated.  While hardly a high thrill ride, Judge Roy Scream is an enjoyable and fun ride.  3 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags Over Texas, visit www.sixflags.com/overtexas.  


CAROLINA COBRA

Carolina Cobra is a Vekoma boomerang that features the same elements as every other Vekoma boomerang I’ve ridden: cobra roll and vertical loop.  This one, however, has an interesting history, in that it was moved from Geauga Lake (where it was called Mind Eraser) purchased by Cedar Fair and moved to Carowinds.  Seating 2 across in 7 rows with 7 cars for a total capacity of 28 riders, the train is pulled backwards up a 125-foot lift hill before dropping 120 feet through the loading station and ascending into a cobra roll, followed by a 360-degree vertical loop.  It then goes up another 125-foot lift hill and repeats the elements in reverse.                          

As boomerangs go, this one is pretty good.  I’ve been on some that were real headbangers and that is not the case here.  The ride was comfortable and enjoyable.  Also, at 5.2, the G-force is very good.  3 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit www.carowinds.com.

ROADRUNNER EXPRESS

The last mine train to be built by Arrow Dynamics at a Six Flags park, Roadrunner Express is an intermediate coaster with appeal to a wide demographic.  It’s situated next to Iron Rattler and in fact passes under Iron Rattler; this undoubtedly adds to its appeal.  Featuring two trains with six cars seating two across in three rows for a total capacity of 36 riders, it goes directly from the loading station up a 73-foot lift hill before dropping 45 feet, veering to the right twice and to the left twice.  It then ascends a second, 38-foot lift hill before dropping again and swerving right, right, left and left.  The turns are sharp enough to add an edge to the ride and it feels as if the rider is entering a small helix.


While the height and other stats are hardly impressive, Roadrunner Express does manage to pack a punch.  Hardly an extreme thrill ride, it’s nevertheless quite enjoyable.  I rode this coaster a couple of times between rides on Iron Rattler and got a kick out of it.  3 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, visit www. sixflags.com/fiestatexas

TITAN

This hypercoaster from Giovanola is the tallest and fastest coaster at Six Flags Over Texas.  It boasts a height of 245 feet and top speed of 85 mph.  The restraint consists of a lap bar and seat belt. Seating two across with five cars in rows of three for a total capacity of 30 riders, the train makes a U-turn from the loading station before ascending a 245-foot chain lift hill.  It then drops a whopping 255 feet at a 65-degree angle into a tunnel before rising into a turnaround which resembles a shortened version of the hammerhead turns for which B&M coasters are famous.  From that point it goes into a camelback followed by a 540-degree helix.  This comes just before the mid-course brake run, after which riders negotiate an overbanked left turn and enter a second helix.  More overbanked turns follow as the train runs its course through a layout somewhat atypical in that it’s a combination out and back/twister.  There’s a lot of lateral motion before the train hits the final brake run.


I expected to like this coaster a lot more than I did. (I didn’t dislike it; it just failed to wow me.) The first drop was pretty astonishing and the ride has some nice elements but there were a few things that I felt detracted from the overall ride experience.   First of all, the location of the mid-course brake run struck me as odd, as it isn’t on a straight section of track but rather on the approach to an overbanked turn.  Secondly, the two helices struck me as overkill.  Thirdly and finally, the sensation of going around in circles was somewhat dizzying.  However, I suspect that most riders will enjoy this ride more than I did.  Titan offers a comparatively long ride replete with thrills and intensity. 4 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags Over Texas, visit www.sixflags.com/overtexas


MR. FREEZE REVERSE BLAST - SIX FLAGS OVER TEXAS

A launched LIM shuttle coaster from Premier Rides, Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast is aptly named.   Seating two across with five cars for a total capacity of 20 riders, the train is shuffled sideways from the loading platform to the point of dispatch before the ride begins.   The riders, restrained by only a lap bar with a short seat belt that hooks onto the side, are launched out of the station backward, through a tunnel, at 70 mph. Catapulted through an inverted top hat, riders go through an overbanked turn before being sent backward up a 218-foot vertical spike.  (The train does not go all the way to the top of the spike but does take riders to a considerable height.)  After being held briefly on the spike at a 90-degree angle, riders plummet down and finish the course facing forward.   Although there is only one inversion, riders go through it twice.


The ride is nicely themed to resemble an abandoned snow cone factory.  As to the ride experience, being launched through the tunnel backward was indeed a blast.  The reversals of direction made it difficult to keep track of which end was up and this served to enhance the ride experience.  The scariest part was being suspended on the steep vertical spike.  Mr. Freeze Reverse Blast is a very short ride but an unusual and fun one.  4 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags Over Texas, visit www.sixflags.com/overtexas


SHOCK WAVE

Opened in 1978, this double-looping coaster from Schwartzkopf remains one of the premier attractions at Six Flags Over Texas.  It travels at a maximum speed of 60 mph and features some nice elements.  Seating two across in two rows with 7 cars for a total capacity of 28 riders, the train goes straight from the loading station up a 116-foot chain lift hill.  Once at the top, it makes a U-turn and traverses a small incline while approaching the first drop.  It then drops 105 feet at a 46-degree angle.  This is followed by two consecutive vertical loops, small hill and mid-course brake run.  From that point it makes a right turn, drops and veers left before dropping again.  The ride finishes with an additional hill leading into a helix. 

      This coaster has stood the test of time well.  It’s not at all rough and with a maximum G-force of         5.9, it’s a force to be reckoned with.  Although I wouldn’t rate it extremely high on the thrill               scale, it does offer a lively ride with some very nice pops of airtime.  Shock Wave is easily re-             rideable and a lot of fun.  3 ½ out of 5 stars. For more information about rides at Six Flags Over        Texas, visit www.sixflags.com/overtexas




NEW TEXAS GIANT

What do you get when you take a lumbering wooden coaster, replace the track with steel and make numerous other modifications?  In this case you get the New Texas Giant, a Rocky Mountain Construction makeover featuring that company’s famed I-Box track.  You also get a ride that’s as smooth as it is exhilarating.

With six cars seating two across for a total capacity of 24 riders, the train makes a right turn out of the loading station and ascends a 153-foot chain lift hill before dropping 147 feet at a wicked 79-degree angle.  This is followed by a double up into a 90-degree overbanked turn, drop and ascent into another overbanked turn, then guess what? - drop with ascension into a 115-degree overbanked turn.   This leads into a small hill before the mid-course brake run.  From that point the train drops sharply to the left, traverses a series of hills, speeds around turns and races through three tunnels – all of this at a maximum speed of 65 mph which feels faster - before hitting the final brake run.

From start to finish the ride is absolutely amazing.  The restraints – which consist of a lap bar and seat belt – are supremely comfortable although there’s nothing to hold onto, baby!  As if the initial drop weren’t awesome enough, the overbanked turns make for a thrilling ride.  The ride features numerous airtime hills and the airtime is glorious!  One memorable moment occurred while going into a left turn during the latter part of the ride.  I found myself fairly bouncing out of my seat.   The tunnels near the end of the ride are a blast, with small dips affording more airtime.  The New Texas Giant gives about as good a ride as I’ve had on any coaster.  5 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags Over Texas, visit www.sixflags.com/overtexas





IRON RATTLER

Considering the fabulous job that Rocky Mountain Construction did with New Texas Giant – see my review - I was eager to experience Iron Rattler.  Featuring RMC’s signature I-Box track and outstanding topography (it was built over a limestone quarry), this coaster is a marvel of engineering.  It operates with two Gerstlauer trains of six cars seating two across in two rows for a total capacity of 24 riders.   The restraint consists of a lap bar (with almost nothing to hold onto) and seat belt.  Upon dispatch, the train makes a right turn out of the loading station and picks up speed, almost as a tease, before slowing down and ascending the 179-foot chain lift hill.  For those riding in the front, it  seems to stop dead in its tracks at the crest of the hill, hanging over the drop; for those riding in the back, it likewise comes to a near standstill - and on one of my rides it almost felt as if the train was going to roll backwards.  After several seconds of suspense, the train plummets 171 feet slightly to the left at an 81-degree angle.  What a drop! 

From the initial drop the train ascends and takes the riders through a rollicking, wild ride as it navigates a 110-degree overbanked turn to the right followed by a 95-degree overbanked turn.  It veers slightly left and goes into a barrel roll.  This is followed by a 98-degree overbanked turn and 93-degree overbanked turn.  During the latter part of the course the train swerves to the right and zooms into a tunnel before hitting the brake run and returning to the station.

The terrain is spectacular and the elements are wonderful.  Highlights would undoubtedly be the steep drop, barrel roll and tunnel.  Riding this coaster at night proved to be a pretty amazing experience, as the track is not illuminated and the tunnel was pitch black.  (Although at one point the tunnel featured special effects, this was not the case when I rode; because of the total darkness, going through the tunnel was both eerie and electrifying.)  Iron Rattler is an extreme thrill ride which is also nicely themed, with a rattlesnake head at the front of the trains and a sign saying “World’s Longest Rattlesnake” in the winding queue leading to the loading station (Indeed, it features 3,266 feet of track.)  Totally awesome!  5 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags Fiesta Texas, visit www.sixflags.com/fiestatexas





Thursday, October 22, 2015

HURLER - CAROWINDS

This triple out and back woodie from International Coasters, Inc. is situated a short distance from the daunting Fury 325.  Seating two across in 14 rows for a total ride capacity of 28, the train makes a slight right turn from the loading station, ascends an 83-foot lift hill, makes a wider right turn and drops 80 feet.  This is followed by two consecutive drops, another right banked turn, two more drops, yet another right turn, drop and right turn.  It features a suberabundance of right turns.

The ride experience is essentially as could be anticipated from a coaster of this design.  There are some decent pops of airtime and although the maximum speed is only 50mph, it feels as if it’s going along at a pretty good clip.  And yes, it’s a bit rough in spots.  However, interestingly enough, it is not as rough as Hurler at Kings Dominion despite the fact that both coasters are identical in layout and manufacture.


Hurler is an OK intermediate coaster for those who would prefer not to take on the challenge of aggressive thrill rides such as Fury 325 and Intimidator.  2 ½ out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit https://www.carowinds.com/

THUNDERBOLT - LUNA PARK

Opened in 2014, this coaster from Zamperla changed the landscape of Luna Park by being the tallest and most state-of-the art ride at Coney Island.  Seating three across in three rows for a total capacity of nine riders – with three trains operating – it features a vertical chain lift hill and four inversions.  The restraint consists of an over-the-shoulder harness and heavy lap bar.

Upon dispatch, the train makes a left turn out of the loading station, travels a short distance and pauses briefly before proceeding up the 114.8-foot vertical lift hill.  Vertical lift hills can be somewhat unnerving – this was my third such experience – but the train made it to the top fairly quickly. Once there, it plummeted at a 90-degree angle and then ascended into a 98.4-foot vertical loop.  The next element was a zero-g roll, followed by an overbanked turn, dive loop and corkscrew.  On the way back to the station the train navigated a couple of bunny hills.

The initial drop, essentially a freefall, was thrilling and the loop did not disappoint.  Neither did the zero-g roll.  However, as the ride progressed the inversions became progressively rough and the lap bar became punishing.  This restraint exerted extreme pressure on the legs, to the extent of being painful.  The force of the lap bar was particularly noticeable on the bunny hills at the end of the ride.

Thunderbolt is essentially a very solid, exciting coaster but would be better if the inversions were less rough and the lap bar were less forceful.  3 ½ out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Luna Park, visit lunaparknyc.com




Wednesday, October 21, 2015

CAROLINA CYCLONE

This Arrow Dynamics steel looping coaster has been operating since 1980 and I would be tempted to say that it’s showing its age were it not for the fact that I didn’t ride it 35 years ago and therefore have no basis for comparison.

Seating two across in 14 rows for a total capacity of 28 riders, the train turns left from the loading station and ascends a 95-foot lift hill before making another left turn and descending 65 feet.   It then travels through two consecutive vertical loops, traverses a small hill, turns and sends the riders through two consecutive corkscrews.   This is followed by a short helix and brake run.  And that’s all she wrote.

The layout of the track is actually pretty good.  I liked the fact that the two loops came up one right after the other, with no break in the action, as did the corkscrews.  What I didn’t like was the roughness of the ride.  The loops were fine but the corkscrews were another story altogether.  I found myself getting banged up – on the elbows - during these two elements.  At least it’s not a headbanger.

Carolina Cyclone can be appreciated for what it is:  a mostly enjoyable coaster offering moderate thrills.  2 ½ out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit https://www.carowinds.com/


AFTERBURN

An inverted B&M coaster at Carowinds, Afterburn is classified by RCDB (Roller Coaster Database) as extreme.  Considering the six inversions, I would have to agree that this is an accurate assessment.

Featuring two trains with 8 rows seating 4 across for a total capacity of 32 riders and an over-the shoulder harness with attached seat belt as a restraint, the ride begins with an ascent up a 113-foot lift hill.   Dropping to the right, the train soars into a vertical loop, dips deliciously close to the ground and goes up into an Immelmann loop, once again dropping before propelling riders into a zero-g roll.  This is followed by a Batwing element and corkscrew. 

Highlights of the ride include the Batwing and passage through a concrete tunnel.  The elements flow very smoothly and take the riders on a journey which is as startling as it is intense.  I found this coaster to be a blast from beginning to end and ended up riding it twice in succession.  The pace was such that the ride seemed almost too short and I could hardly believe that we were already back at the station.

Afterburn is, in a word, awesome.  It’s one of those coasters on which you are likely to feel that you didn’t get enough and will be screaming for more.  5 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit https://www.carowinds.com/




INTIMIDATOR

This B&M hypercoaster at Carowinds has been consistently ranked among the top steel coasters in the USA and deservedly so.  Themed after NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt, it has a total capacity of 32 riders arranged in 8 rows seating 4 across, with staggered seating.  The restraints consist of a lap bar and seat belt. 

From the loading station the train ascends a 232-foot chain lift hill and drops 211 feet at a 74-degree angle.  It then navigates a 178-foot camelback hill and turns right before traveling over a second camelback hill of 151 feet.  This is followed by a U-turn and two more hills – 105 and 90 feet, respectively – before the brake run.  From there it’s another camelback hill, right turn into a diving spiral and two more, smaller camelback hills. 

The initial drop is blissfully breathtaking and the remainder of the ride does not disappoint.   The sharp turns offer ejector airtime and the numerous hills offer good floater airtime.  There is never a dull moment.  And as would be expected from this design, the ride is exceptionally smooth.


Intimidator is a world-class coaster certain to thrill anyone who rides it.  5 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit https://www.carowinds.com/


NIGHTHAWK

One of only three Vekoma Flying Dutchman coasters in existence, Nighthawk at Carowinds offers an experience that will be novel to anyone who has never ridden a coaster of this design.
                         
After riders are heavily restrained and the train is tilted backwards, the ride is dispatched and the train makes a left turn out of the loading station before ascending a 115-foot lift hill with the riders flat on their backs.  At the top is a twist which rotates the riders from a “Lie to Fly” position to a “Fly to Lie” position so that they are prone.  The train drops 103 feet and sends riders through a horseshoe curve.  Back in the “Fly to Lie” position, riders are propelled through a 66-foot vertical loop and flipped over into the “Lie to Fly”position before being catapulted through two corkscrews.  From there it’s back to the “Fly to Lie” position and riders return to the loading station the same way they left it, in a supine position.

I found this ride immensely entertaining at the same time that I found the headrests to be uncomfortable.  Other than that there was no discomfort except for what the ride is designed to make you feel – i.e., vulnerable when in the flying position because you feel as if you’re going to pitch forward.  The vertical loop and corkscrews were clearly the highlights of the ride.  And I personally find it highly enjoyable to go up the lift hill on my back.


Nighthawk is an unusual and exciting ride.  4 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit https://www.carowinds.com/


FURY 325

What’s in a number?   In this case, a lot.  325 feet is the height of this colossal B&M giga coaster which towers over Carowinds, opened in 2015 and as I write is the premier attraction.   The name Fury came about because the ride is themed to resemble the chase of a hornet.

Fury 325 operates with three trains seating four across in eight rows for a total capacity of  32 riders.  The restraints consist of a lap bar and seat belt.  From the loading station the train goes directly up the chain lift hill and the ascent is surprisingly quick.  As the train nears the top of the hill it accelerates, then decelerates before hanging over the drop and plunging 320 feet at a wicked 81-degree angle.   And what a drop!  This is floater airtime at its best.

From the initial drop the train veers slightly left and then goes up into a 190-foot right-angled barrel turn.  This is followed by a high speed S curve, overbanked curve and horseshoe turn.  The train drops into a tunnel (one of the highlights of the ride), rises into a banked curve, navigates a camelback hill, enters a helix and traverses two more camelback hills.

The speed at which Fury travels – 95mph – and the intensity of the ride is astonishing.  This coaster offers both floater and ejector airtime, the latter due to the sharp angles.  The numerous elements and relentless pace result in a thrilling ride experience.  A camelback hill near the end of the ride offers exquisite floater airtime.  It doesn’t get much better than this.

Fury 325 is, in a word, furious.  In addition, it’s a marvel of engineering which more than lives up to its advance publicity.  5 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Carowinds, visit https://www.carowinds.com/





COLOSSUS THE FIRE DRAGON

A looping coaster operating since 1983, Colossus The Fire Dragon has three trains with seven cars arranged in two rows seating two across for a total capacity of 28 riders.  From the loading station the train goes straight up the 85-foot lift hill, turns and drops 81 feet to the right.  The initial drop is followed by two consecutive vertical loops, after which the train travels upward to the left and downward to the right before going into a right-angled upward and downward helix.


While hardly exceptional, this coaster offers a fun ride with some nice pops of airtime.  The helix is somewhat distinctive for being multi-leveled and the maximum G-force is a more than respectable 4.9.  3 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Lagoon, visit www.lagoonpark.com/

JET STAR 2

This steel coaster first operated at the 1974 World Fair in Spokane and was relocated to Lagoon in 1976.  Seating six riders inline, Jet Star 2’s configuration is much like that of a bobsled coaster in that the two riders in each row sit one in front of the other.  Because the restraint – a seat belt – is designed to secure two riders, Lagoon’s policy prohibits single riders from riding.

Upon leaving the loading station, the train ascends to the top of the structure via an electric spiral lift.  This involves a number of right turns and gives the impression of going around in circles.  Once at the top, the train veers right and drops, banking steeply at the bottom of the drop, before turning left and going up another hill.   From there it traverses a number of drops and turns before reaching the brake run. 

The drops and turns are very nicely banked, affording some good airtime.  Jet Star 2 offers a pretty entertaining ride.  3 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Lagoon, visit www.lagoonpark.com

ROLLER COASTER

One of the ten oldest operating wooden roller coasters in the USA (opened in 1921 and partially rebuilt – station and lift hill - after fire damage in 1953), Roller Coaster at Lagoon is a true classic.   And while the stats are hardly impressive by today’s standards, the fact that it’s still running is indeed impressive.
                           
With four cars seating two across in rows of three for a total capacity of 24 riders, the train makes a right turn out of the loading station and ascends a 62-foot lift hill.  It then descends into the first of two consecutive drops before turning left and navigating two more drops.  This is followed by another left turn leading up to two drops and yet another left turn leading into several smaller drops before the train returns to the station.

What’s remarkable about this coaster is that for a wooden coaster of such vintage, it is not at all rough.  Older wooden coasters can be punishing but this one is most decidedly not.   It’s a fun ride with some really good pops of airtime.  3 out of 5 stars.   For more information about rides at Lagoon, visit www.lagoonpark.com/


WICKED

An LSM launch coaster manufactured by Zierer, Wicked operates with six trains seating four across in two rows for a total capacity of eight riders.   Upon dispatch the train makes a left turn out of the loading station and enters a tunnel through which the riders experience first a horizontal launch and then a vertical launch up 110 feet followed by a 90-degree free fall.   The train ascends into an overbanked turn and goes into a zero-g roll, navigates a wicked curve and reaches the block brake.  From there the train floats downhill before going up into two back-to-back half-pipe elements (90-degree turns).  It enters a helix, descends into another tunnel and hits the brake run before returning to the station.
                                                                                        

Highlights of the ride include the vertical launch, free fall and zero-g roll.  The airtime is excellent and while the ride is short, it’s short and sweet.  Wicked will not disappoint those looking for a coaster that falls into the category of extreme.  4 out of 5 stars.   For more information about rides at Lagoon, visit www.lagoonpark.com/



CANNIBAL

Opened in July of 2015, Cannibal is remarkable not only for being the first coaster in the USA to feature a beyond-vertical drop but for being built in-house.  Although its creation was a collaborative endeavor involving various individuals and entities, the finished product is overwhelmingly the work of Utah contractors and Lagoon.

Cannibal looks frankly terrifying.  Housed in a massive tower from which the trains emerge before making a precipitous plunge, it features an Immelmann loop, dive loop, overbanked curve and two consecutive heartline rolls, the latter of which have been designated by the park as the “Lagoon Roll.” Cannibal operates with six trains seating four across in three rows for a total capacity of twelve riders.  The restraint is a lapbar.  One thing that impressed me immediately was the double loading – something I’d never seen at any park – and consequent speed of dispatch.   Upon dispatch the train moves forward onto an elevator lift which takes the riders up 208 feet, mostly in the dark.  At the top the train exits the tower onto a short section of track that appears to end abruptly, creating the impression that the riders are about to go off the end of a cliff.

The train comes to a standstill at the edge of the drop, adding to the considerable suspense, and without any warning plummets at a 116-degree angle during what is unquestionably the most hair-raising drop I have ever experienced on any roller coaster.  It is also the most exhilarating.  At the bottom of the drop the train dives into a tunnel and  then ascends into an Immelmann loop, followed by a dive loop and overbanked curve before it reaches the block brake.  This comes just before the Lagoon Roll, a slow-motion test of fortitude.  The double heartline roll, with the train rotating in a different direction on each one, is murderously intense.  This is followed by a 450-degree helix that ends with the train passing through another tunnel by the side of a waterfall before returning to the station.  What a ride! 

Cannibal lives up to its publicity and is well worth the trip to Utah.  It’s thrilling, unique and exceptionally smooth.   It’s also exceptionally well-themed.  Extreme?  Certainly.  Terrifying?  Possibly.  It is, in a word, AWESOME!  5 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Lagoon, visit www.lagoonpark.com/




Monday, October 27, 2014

WILD ONE - SIX FLAGS AMERICA

Wild One, made by Dinn Corporation, is the older of the two wooden coasters at Six Flags America and has an interesting history.  Dating back to 1917, it has been through several incarnations.   Partially destroyed by fire not once by twice, it was finally restored to its original condition and acquired by Six Flags America.   Seating two across in rows of two with six cars for a total capacity of 24 riders, the train makes a left turn from the loading station and ascends a 98-foot lift hill before plunging 88 feet slightly to the right but mostly straight, reaching a maximum speed of 53mph.   This is followed by a couple of consecutive drops and right-banked turn.  The remainder of the ride is much of the same, the highlight being a series of bunny hills during which the train is really hopping!  These afford good airtime and have the riders fairly bouncing out of their seats. 
                                       

Because this coaster is a true classic, I wish that I had liked it more but found it a bit too rough for comfort.  To be fair, I would have to say that Wild One has stood the test of time and will no doubt appeal to many who enjoy a brisk, rollicking ride. 2 ½ out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags America, visit www.sixflags.com/america


ROAR - SIX FLAGS AMERICA

Built by Great Coasters International, Roar is one of two wooden roller coasters at Six Flags America.  With six cars seating two across in rows of two for a total capacity of 24 riders, the train makes a right turn from the loading station and ascends a 94.6-foot lift hill before plummeting 85 feet at a wicked right angle.   It then climbs, banks left and drops left.  From that point it’s a series of banked turns and angled drops on a 3,468-foot track that includes a 200-foot roofed tunnel.
                                                        

With a maximum speed of 50.5 mph and G-force of 3.5, this coaster is not exactly a blockbuster but because of the angles and relentless motion it is by no means lacking in thrills.  The airtime is excellent and the ride is nowhere near as rough as one would expect from a wooden coaster that’s been operating since 1998.  Roar is a gem.  4 out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags America, visit www.sixflags.com/america

JOKER'S JINX - SIX FLAGS AMERICA

Joker’s Jinx is a Premier Rides launched coaster featuring a “spaghetti bowl” track.    With six cars seating two across in rows of two for a total capacity of 24 riders, the train launches to 60 mph out of the loading station and into a tunnel.   It proceeds into a cobra roll and goes through a series of twists and turns, sidewinder and corkscrew.   Without a mid-course brake run, it passes through a series of rings which resembles a giant slinky toy.
                                      
The 2,705-foot track is contained within a remarkably compact area.   Of the four inversions, the corkscrew at the end – IMHO - is the best.  It seemed to go fast and there was perceptible airtime.  As to the launch, in the dark this is a blast!


While not exceptional, Joker’s Jinx provides a ride that is seamless, smooth and highly entertaining.  3 ½ out of 5 stars.  For more information about rides at Six Flags America, visit www.sixflags.com/america