The world’s first launched wing coaster, Thunderbird, will open to the public on April 25. The media got a preview on April 23 and reviews were highly favourable. Launching from zero to 60mph in 3.5 seconds, it rockets riders into a 140-foot Immelmann loop and features a zero-g roll, in-line twist and 125-foot vertical loop. It also features the keyhole elements, creating the illusion of near misses, notable on other wing coasters such as X-Flight. At a cost of $22,000,000, this B&M coaster is Holiday World’s largest investment to date. It looks pretty exciting. Check out this POV video of the left side, courtesy of Holiday World
Six Flags Great Adventure announced today that Batman:The Ride will run backwards from the July 4 weekend to the Labor Day weekend. The ride is already extremely intense running forward. Running it backwards will undoubtedly make it even more disorienting. Are you up for this? Image courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure.
It’s now official! We knew that something was going on at Busch Gardens Williamsburg but exactly what had been kept under wraps. The park has now announced the opening of Tempesto, a sky rocket coaster featuring three launches and a 154-foot high-speed inversion. The new ride is scheduled to open in April. Image courtesy of Busch Gardens.
Fury 325, the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster, is on track to begin operation at the media event scheduled for Wednesday, March 25. Carowinds is offering the opportunity to be one of the first riders. The theme park is auctioning off seats on the first three trains. Bidding will end on Sunday, March 15 at 11:59pm EST. Proceeds will be donated to the Cam Newton Foundation. The first test run of this record-breaking coaster was successfully completed on March 4 and judging by the footage, this ride will be pretty exciting! Video courtesy of Carowinds.
Sections of the track for Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Fiesta Texas are reportedly on the way to the park. The 4D wing coaster featuring five cars that seat eight riders is being touted for its novelty and interactive ride experience. From the vertical lift hill to the multiple flips, this is looking like a winner. Video courtesy of Six Flags Fiesta Texas.
Previously announced as “Looping Dragon,” to be located in the Wild Kingdom area of Six Flags Great Adventure, the new attraction has been renamed “El Diablo” and moved to the Plaza del Carnaval section, home of El Toro. El Diablo is scheduled to open this spring. Video courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure.
Construction of the new, unannounced and unconfirmed coaster – which is why it remains a mystery – continues at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Rumored to be called Tempesto, although even that is highly uncertain, the Premier Rides installation is beginning to take shape. In a way the lack of hoopla at this point is somewhat refreshing. The coaster will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to this beautiful park. Video courtesy of Coaster Studios.
There were several obvious contenders for this honor and my own choice actually surprised me. I had expected my best ride experience of the year to be on Goliath at Six Flags Great America but despite the record-breaking speed, height and angle of descent, I actually got more of a kick out of X-Flight. However, neither coaster provided my best ride experience of the year. The winner is – suspense – Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland! There is absolutely nothing about this coaster that I didn’t love. Let’s start with the restraints. Unlike those on some other B&M coasters I’ve ridden – most notably Nitro at Six Flags Great Adventure, on which I find myself sliding forward under the lap bar on the two left-banked turns – the lap bars on Leviathan are nice and snug and as a result I felt completely comfortable with them. I don’t always ride hands in the air when riding a coaster for the first time but on this one I knew that it would be OK, and man, was it ever! Because this coaster uses a chain lift in lieu of the elevator cable used on the two other “giga” coasters I’ve ridden (both Intamin models), I was afraid that the ascent to the top of the 306-foot lift hill would be agonizingly slow but in fact it proved to be impressively quick. The precipitous 306-foot drop into a tunnel at an 80-degree angle was breathtaking and the remainder of the ride did not disappoint. The left turn after the second hill came as a surprise and provided some good ejector airtime.
I was struck by the number of elements contained in this ride, including hammerhead turn, camelback and multiple hills with good floater airtime. I found it to be exceptionally smooth, fast (92mph) and just plain fun. I also found it interesting that unlike other B&M coasters I’ve ridden, this one has no brake run until the conclusion of the ride. As one with a preference for Intamin – and lately RMC – rides, I have to hand it to B&M for what they did with this behemoth (pun intended). It even looks beautiful, especially with the netting on the sides of the lift hill. Leviathan is a real winner.
Here's what other bloggers had to say about their best ride experiences of 2014:
Brian of DoD3: http://www.domainofdeath3.com/best-ride-experience-2014/
What was your best ride experience of the year?
The 77th and final piece of Thunderbird's track is now in place, signed by members of the construction crew. Of course a lot of work still has to be done but it looks as if Holiday World is right on schedule. The only question is whether the world's first launched wing coaster will actually be up and running when the park opens on April 25, 2015. Photo courtesy of Holiday World.
Six Flags Over Texas and Gerstlauer, manufacturer of the trains on New Texas Giant, have reached a settlement for an undisclosed amount with the family of Rosa Esparza, the woman who fell to her death from the coaster last year. Further details can be found at the Star-Telegram: http://www.star-telegram.com/2014/11/18/6299314/six-flags-settles-lawsuit-over.html?rh=1
A video animation of the Skyscraper coaster – over 500 feet tall - at Skyplex in Orlando, provisionally scheduled to open in 2016, has now gone live. This ride looks pretty amazing! Featuring inversions at an almost unthinkable altitude and steep drops, it will obviously not be a ride for the faint of heart.
Holiday World has topped off the highest point of Thunderbird, a 140-foot Immelmann loop, with a 165-foot tall crane. Bolliger and Mabillard’s first launched wing coaster and Holiday World’s first adult steel coaster, Thunderbird is on track to open for the 2015 season, with 21 of the 77 track pieces now in place. Photograph courtesy of Holiday World.
Cedar Point’s standup coaster will go for its last ride on Sunday, October 19. This long-standing coaster, featuring three loops and a corkscrew, will be “squashed” and converted to a floorless coaster, Rougarou, for the 2015 season. Rougarou will operate on the Mantis track but will offer a totally new ride experience with special effects. It’s about time Cedar Point got a floorless coaster. Video courtesy of Cedar Point.
During work on the recently closed Colossus, a work in progress – to be reincarnated as Twisted Colossus for the 2015 season – the top of the lift hill caught fire, resulting in a total collapse of the lift hill. The cause remains under investigation although is rumoured to involve welding. No injuries were reported and no delay is expected in transforming this coaster into a hybrid. Video courtesy of Theme Park Review.
After an extended delay due to “manufacturing issues,” Falcon’s Fury officially opened on September 2. At 335 feet, this is the tallest free-standing drop tower in the world. What makes this ride even more unique is that it pivots riders 90 degrees so that they are plunging to the ground head first like a diving falcon. Awesome! Video courtesy of Busch Gardens Tampa.
Six Flags New England has announced that Wicked Cyclone, a hybrid coaster, will open in 2015. This is yet another coaster being revamped by the awesome Rocky Mountain Construction. And again, there’s a new twist. Wicked Cyclone will feature a 200-degree stall, 14 negative-g hills and not one but two zero-g rolls. At 10 storeys tall, it will not be a massive coaster but judging by the video animation, it will be a good one. Video from SFNE website.
The recently closed iconic coaster Colossus will undergo the Iron Horse treatment by the amazing Rocky Mountain Construction and reopen as Twisted Colossus in 2015. The world’s longest hybrid coaster, this one will be another record breaker. The ride will feature two lift hills, a “top gun stall” (an inversion in which the train slows while the riders are upside down), “high five” (overbanked turn through which two trains pass close enough that riders feel as if they could high five one another), zero-g roll and 18 (???) airtime hills. This should be something to see - and ride, ride ride! Video courtesy of Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas has announced that Batman: The Ride (couldn’t they have come up with another name?), a 4D wing coaster, will open in 2015. According to the park’s press release, this coaster will be one of a kind. The ride will feature a vertical 120-foot elevator cable lift hill, a “free-fly” position in which riders are face to face, two “beyond-vertical” free fall drops and six head over heels flips. This looks pretty exciting. Video courtesy of Coaster Studios.
Six Flags Great Adventure has announced its thirteenth coaster, Looping Dragon, scheduled to open in 2015. According to the park’s press release, “Twenty-four riders sitting in “face-off” seats rocket forward and backward pendulum style until the train gains enough momentum to complete a full revolution seven stories in the air. The coaster then kicks into high gear, completing full revolutions until it stops momentarily with riders suspended upside down, and then reverses direction for even more thrills.” Looping Dragon will be located in the Golden Kingdom, habitat of Kingda Ka and the recently opened Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom. This would appear to be a moderate to high thrill ride – as opposed to an aggressive thrill ride – which will appeal to a wide range of park guests. Video courtesy of Six Flags Great Adventure.
Carowinds has announced that the new attraction for 2015 will be Fury 325, a B&M giga coaster. Appropriately enough, the coaster will be 325 feet tall, making it the tallest – and at 95 mph, fastest - giga coaster in existence. Intended to simulate the flight of a “furious hornet,” the coaster will drop riders at an 81-degree angle and feature 6,602 feet of track with a 190-foot barrel turn, high-banked curve, dive under a pedestrian bridge and double helix among other elements. The ride duration will be nearly three and a half minutes, making this one of the longest rides at any park. In fact the only one with a longer ride time that immediately comes to mind is The Beast at Kings Island. Video courtesy of Attractions Magazine.