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 a 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