A wooden duelling coaster about to be dismantled, Rolling Thunder opened in 1979 and closed in September of 2013. With two tracks accessed by separate entrances, it did not always operate as a racing coaster; on many of my visits to the park, the trains on only one track were up and running. The two tracks featured different layouts, the one common element being an initial drop of 85 feet. Each track featured a number of hills and turns. When the ride first opened, the restraints were buzz bars; seat dividers and seat belts were added later.
This coaster has been much maligned and while I would have to say that it was showing its age, it wasn’t nearly as bad as some would have you believe. True, it felt somewhat rickety, but was still rideable and from the back it offered some nice pops of airtime. It wasn’t as rough as some other old or aging wooden coasters I’ve ridden – most notably the Coney Island Cyclone, Mean Streak at Cedar Point and Grizzly at Kings Dominion. It was a good coaster for those who could or would not ride El Toro. My last ride on Rolling Thunder was with a 72-year-old woman who had no inclination whatsoever to ride El Toro. So with Rolling Thunder about to become history, the park will no longer have an intermediate wooden coaster.
In a way it’s sad to see this coaster go. And it was a lot of fun to cross over its tracks while on El Toro. Rolling Thunder may not have been any great shakes but it was an integral part of the park and served a purpose. 2 ½ out of 5 stars.