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.
Hersheypark has announced that Laff Trakk, an indoor spinning glow-coaster, will open in May of 2015. The ride will feature fun house elements, high-banked curves and an Immelmann loop. Because it’s a spinning coaster, no two rides will be identical. The park’s 13th coaster, Laff Trakk is a Maurer Sohne creation. Video courtesy of Hersheypark.
Riders on Joker’s Jinx at Six Flags America survived a gruelling four-hour ordeal when a malfunction of the ride resulted in their being stranded on the train 75 feet in the air, in the sun and heat. Evacuation was a slow and arduous process but everyone got off safely. The park issued a statement to the effect that "While we are not yet sure what caused the stoppage, the ride performed as it is designed to." Joker’s Jinx will remain closed pending further investigation. This is the second roller coaster incident at a Six Flags park in a little over a month. Video courtesy of ABC7 WJLA.
Another legendary wooden coaster bites the dust. Colossus will go for its last ride on August 16, 2014. Radio station ALT 98.7 threw a farewell party for Colossus on Saturday, July 26 from 11pm to 3am. Operating since 1978, this coaster was hailed as the tallest and fastest in the world when it opened and was featured in both films and TV shows. Of course, that record was subsequently broken many times over and Colossus is well past its glory days. Still, it’s sad to see it go. Video courtesy of CoasterForce.
The suspense is finally over. Holiday World has announced that the new attraction for 2015 will be Thunderbird, the first launched wing coaster in the USA. The coaster will launch from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and feature a 14-storey Immelmann loop, zero-g roll, barrel roll and 125-foot loop. It will also create the illusion of near misses with keyhole elements (presumably similar to the one on X-Flight at Six Flags Great America) At $22 million, Thunderbird will be the largest investment in the park’s history. Video courtesy of Holiday World.
The Cyclone roller coaster at Six Flags New England, operating since 1983, went for its last ride on July 20. While it’s always rather sad to see an ageing wooden coaster bite the dust, I think that in this case the park made the right decision. (Unlike Six Flags Great Adventure’s decision to demolish Rolling Thunder.) This coaster had so little going for it that I could easily have slept through the ride. The park’s Thunderbolt, even older – built in 1941 – offers a better ride experience.