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Monday, May 23, 2011

Mr. X's Roller Coaster Road Trip Part 3

The last part. Yay, I'm finally done! Of course, it's not like anybody actually gives a shit or even read it but oh well.

Part 3 photos here

Part 3 glossary follows...

The Who and the What Now? - Cedar Fair
Cedar Fair is a company that owns many different amusement parks around the country including Cedar Point and ValleyFair! (the two parks that make up its name), Knott's Berry Farm in California, Carowinds on the North and South Carolina border, Kings Dominion in Virginia, and much much more. They are most known for adding major coasters to a few of their parks and snubbing the rest, filling their parks with trash cans, and not too bad operations and staff.

The Who and the What Now? - Premier Rides Spaghetti Bowl with an LIM launch? What?
Premier Rides specializes in roller coasters with LIM launches. LIMs are magnets that propel the train forward with a fairly great amount of acceleration. This ride launches riders into a very compact layout full of twists and turns that resembles a bowl of spaghetti, hence spaghetti bowl coaster.

Ride Review - Flight of Fear
Flight of Fear is a great ride with lots of intensity. However, it has one big flaw: The ride slams on the brakes halfway through. Normally, these brakes are only supposed to slightly affect the ride during normal operation and only slam on the brakes and stop the ride in case of emergency. However, they slam on the brakes all of the time here, which leads me to believe it's the park's fault. 8/10

The Who and the What Now? - Arg, the Flying Dutchman and the curse of Vekoma!
A flying dutchman is a roller coaster model made by Vekoma. Riders are lowered into a laying position before being sent out of the station. It's called a lay-down roller coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2. This absolutely sucks because it forces all blood to rush to your head. The company that makes it, Vekoma, is notorious for really rough roller coasters as a later ride in the trip will reaffirm.

Coaster Review - Firehawk
The actual ride is fine, but the extended amounts of time spent in the laying position in the station and after the brake run really cause blood to rush to your head. It's just really really uncomfortable. 6/10.

The Who and the What Now? Arrow Dynamics
Arrow Dynamics is an ex-roller coaster company that is known for being the pioneers of the modern steel coaster. They teamed up with Disney to make the first tubular railed steel coaster, the Matterhorn, in Disneyland which instantly became the industry standard for steel coasters. During the 90s, up and coming companies took steel coasters to the next level, and Arrow could never quite catch up with the youngsters. They were bought out by S&S Power in the early 2000s.

The Who and the What Now? - Grayout
Graying out is an early form of blackout and comes from either exposure to really intense g-forces or prolonged exposure to mildly intense g-forces. Blood begins rushing from your head, causing your vision to become distorted. In my case, my vision began to lose color and I saw black spots for about half a second. After the event, I was perfectly fine.

Coaster Review - Backlot Stunt Coaster
Backlot Stunt Coaster (formerly known as The Italian Job Stunt Track) is a great family coaster with surprising intensity in the first helix/spiral. There's some fun special effects and a quick pop of airtime at the end. 8/10.

Coaster Review - The Beast
My official review is summed up by my brother's quote: "It's long and in the woods." The first two thirds are just fast and in the woods. While this is nice, I wish it did a bit more as it just gets boring after a while. Luckily, the ride ends with a helix that is probably as intense as a wooden coaster can get. It's a decent ride with several rough patches. 7/10.

Coaster Review - Diamondback
Diamondback is a B&M Hyper coaster. There's a lot of hills filled with airtime which automatically makes the ride great. However, the layout leaves much to be desired. It's pretty much a bunch of hills, a turn, a bunch more hills, a turn, more hills, the ride's over. It gets really repetitive, especially since the turns have almost no positive g-forces like they should. The ride also vibrates horribly at the bottom of each hill, which is not supposed to happen. 9/10 but barely.

The Who and the What Now? - B&M Hyper whata?
B&M is short for Bolliger and Mabillard, which is pretty much like the Cadillac of roller coasters: you are almost guaranteed a great ride, although they play it safe so they are rarely exceptional. A coaster is a hyper coaster if it is between 200 and 299 feet. It's giga if it's between 300 and 399 feet and it's strata if it's above 400 feet (nothing has surpassed 500 feet...yet).

The Who and the What Now - Suspended Coasters and the Irony of Flight Deck
A suspended coaster is a coaster in which riders ride in a ride vehicle that is suspended below a track. The ride vehicle is free to swing from side to side throughout the ride. The first prototype suspended coaster was the Bat, which opened in...Kings Island. However, due to many many many maintenance problems, the ride was removed after just three years. As a "sorry for the **** up", Arrow basically gave Kings Island Vortex. Many years later, Kings Island built Top Gun, which was the last suspended coaster Arrow ever made. That means Kings Island was home to both the first and last suspended coasters.

Coaster Review - Flight Deck
Flight Deck has a surprising amount of intensity, especially since suspended coasters are known for mostly being pieces of crap. There's lots of optical illusions where it looks like you're going to hit stuff. I really like it. 8/10.

Coaster Review - Adventure Express
What could be a decent family ride is ruined by jerky transitions and a laughably bad ending. 5/10.

Coaster Review - Vortex
Vortex has really jerky transitions and is just mediocre overall. 5/10.

Coaster Review - Flying Ace Aerial Chase
It exists. It's surprisingly rough for a kiddy coaster. 5/10.

The Who and the What Now? - The coaster that doesn't exist
The large roller coaster that doesn't exist isn't just any roller coaster: it's the tallest wooden coaster in the world. Son of Beast opened as the tallest and fastest wooden coaster in the world and the only wooden coaster with a loop. However, after two accidents involving structural problems, the ride's loop was removed and the trains were switched out for lighter ones. However, that didn't stop the ride's reputation for being both one of the most boring and roughest roller coasters out there. It was so rough that it spawned several injuries that led to lawsuits. Midway through the 2009 season after yet another lawsuit, the ride closed and has been standing but not operating ever since. This year, Kings Island's map was redrawn and any traces of Son of Beast have been removed, hence the ride that doesn't exist.

Coaster Review - Woodstock Express
It's a faster than expected kiddy coaster. Nothing special. 5/10.

Coaster Review - The Racer
The Racer is a decent coaster that would have a quite a bit of airtime had we sat in the back. It's really smooth despite its age. In fact, it's the smoothest wooden coaster in the park. 7/10.

Coaster Review - Invertigo
Invertigo sucks. It left my collar bone, shoulders, and feet hurting for an hour afterwards. My brother's back hurt for a few days afterwards. Do not ride. 3/10. Sadly, there are two rides I've been on that are worse than it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mr. X's Roller Coaster Road Trip Part 2

Seeing as how the Rapture wasn't today, looks like I get to continue my trip report! Huzzah! I recommend having this open in one tab and my photos open in another tab. Again, my photos have descriptions on photobucket while this post will have a glossary of terms and reviews (although not nearly as much as last post).

Part 2 can be found here

The Who and the What Now? - Water coasters...not to be confused with water coasters
Water coasters such as Wildebeest at Splashin' Safari are waterslides that propel riders in intertubes uphill using magnets, water, or conveyor belts. This is not to be confused with a water coaster (That makes sense, give two things the same name), which is a boat ride that periodically attaches to roller coaster track for a roller coaster section (see water coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2).

Coaster Review - The Howler
It's a kids coaster with one notable feature: It slams on the brakes so hard at the end it's painful. 4/10 (yeah, there's much much worse things in this world)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mr. X's Roller Coaster Road Trip Part 1

If you're reading this, odds are you care enough about me to already know where I've been for the better half of this week. If you don't know, then I was on a 4-day 2-park roller coaster road trip to ride roller coasters at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana and Kings Island at Kings Mills/Mason, Ohio. If you don't know, I am a roller coaster enthusiast (although not an official member of American Coaster Enthusiasts). I enjoy riding coasters and have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of coasters. This will be my photo trip report of my adventures. However, don't worry if you aren't familiar with coaster terminology. I am writing this to be as descriptive as possible and help possibly teach you a few things about roller coasters and history. Alright, let's begin.

...Actually, let's not. Seeing as how this site sucks, I'm going to use photobucket to post my photos. In the descriptions, I will have the original captions I planned to use here. Alright? Got it? Good.

...Actually, not good. Turns out photobucket sucks too. Therefore, I will have a sort of glossary here for reference. I may use some coaster geek terms in the photos and will describe that here in a segment called "The Who and the what now?". I'll also have "Coaster Reviews" for those who don't want to actually look at the photos just to know how I liked the rides.

The Who and the What Now? - Who is CCI?
CCI, or Custom Coasters International, was a wooden coaster manufacturer that was founded in the early 90s and went bankrupt in 2002. They have both some of the best wooden coasters out there...or so I'm told. Until this trip, the only one I had ridden was The Boss at Six Flags St. Louis and it sucked. Some people from CCI split off in the 90s to form their own firm, GCI or Great Coasters International which specializes in twisted Wooden coasters (see Wooden Twister Coaster in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2) and still operates to this day. The remaining members of CCI founded The Gravity Group in 2002, which has made some of the best wooden coasters to date including The Voyage, also in Holiday World.

The Who and the What Now? - What is airtime and how can it be "ejector"?
Airtime is the result of negative g-forces at the top of a hill on a coaster. Negative g-forces are difficult to explain, so I'll do my best. Say you have a ball. You toss it up in the air and it goes 10 feet into the air. Now, you put the same ball on a tether that's 7 feet long. You throw the ball in the air with the same force, but the tether pulls the ball back down before it reaches 10 feet. Now pretend you are the ball and the coaster train is the tether. Your body wants to go farther into the air, but the train prevents that. The result is your butt lifting out of the seat: a sensation known as airtime. Floater airtime is when your butt leaves the seat but only just a bit. Ejector airtime is when the force is so strong, you almost feel like you're standing and you can feel the restraint straining (ok, it's not really straining, but it feels like it) to keep you in the train. That is the sensation most coaster enthusiasts (myself included) count as the best to experience on a coaster.

Coaster Review - The Raven
The Raven is constantly near the top of coaster fans' wooden coaster lists...and I really don't know why. It was fun, yes, but nothing special. There was only a little airtime and the ride was over faster than you can blink. Overall, I'd give it about a 7/10.

Coaster Review - The Voyage
Wow. Holy shit, this ride is awesome! Crazy amounts of ejector airtime mixed with sections of twisting track made this ride my instant favorite coaster of all time! However, it did have one rough patch near the end of the ride, but overall it was spectacular! Of course, the trip was still young and there were many coasters to go, so just because it was number 1 now doesn't mean it would stay that way. Still, 10/10

Coaster Review - The Legend
The Legend is a unique coaster in that it's more about lateral g-forces (being forced to the side) than airtime or vertical g-forces (being forced into your seat, the opposite of airtime). I don't care much for lateral g-forces but it was at least different than usual coasters. 7/10 but slightly worse than The Raven. Slightly.

Part 1 can be found here