Thursday, April 30, 2015

New North American Roller Coasters For 2015

Starting out with an honorable mention for one of our local parks.  Their new ride isn't a roller coaster (but some people - and other park chains - get confused and think it is)…

It’s a looping ride like you see at fairs, but this one is 7 stories tall.  It’ll be a similar ride to Ranger (not too far from it either).  Look for it where the UFO used to be.  If I can pull myself away from Silver Bullet & Hornet's Nest, I'll give it a try opening weekend (opening day is May 9th).

Now for the new 2015 roller coasters, starting with my most anticipated coaster this year…

There’s a bunch of Batman rides at Six Flags parks and not all of them are the same kind of ride.  This one is completely different from the others.

It’s a 4D Free Fly Coaster.  There’s a similar one at Six Flags Magic Mountain near Los Angeles that’s my #1 favorite roller coaster.  It’s total confusion.  The seats flip randomly while you’re going through the course, so you never really know where you are.  Super intense and every time you ride it’s different.

This one is made by a different company though and is the first of its kind in the world.  I'm thinking they've improved on the design - I gotta try it!

Only negative for this one – it’s in Texas and that’s kind of far and pricey to get to.  We need one of these here.

Last year, Six Flags New England closed their giant wooden roller coaster Riverside Cyclone and converted it into a wood / steel hybrid.  It’s guaranteed to be a smoother ride and from what I’ve seen, crazier.

Wood roller coasters are awesome, but this one was changed for the worse a few times over the years, so its loss isn’t too tragic.  Based on online excitement, this seems to be one of the most anticipated coasters of 2015.  Hope it can live up to the hype – we’ll see soon…

I'm now really wishing Texas was closer - first the 4D Batman and now this!  It'll be a one of a kind wood coaster that's not a continuous circuit.  It sends you through the layout, makes it partway up a hill at the furthest point, then goes backwards through the course (avoiding the first hill) and returning you to the start.

This is the first I've heard of this park - what a great way to get publicity.

Mouse coasters can be fun.  But usually if you've been on one, you've been on them all.  A rare exception is Hershey's Wild Mouse, one of the fastest and craziest mouse coasters I've ever been on.

Their new coaster a step up from a mouse.  It'll be similar to Whirlwind at SeaBreeze in Rochester or Steel Dragon at Waldameer in Erie, but indoors.  Think a glow-light funhouse combined with a spinning roller coaster.  This will be a fun ride.

It's a launch coaster with a weird layout.  I'm really wanting to ride it - just a little worried about the lines.  This park gets so crazy crowded, they have to shut the gates at times.  Only being able to run one train at a time on this, it could become a considerable chunk of your day waiting to get on.  Get to the park early and head right for this.  Then go eat some cone food (pizza, etc in an ice cream cone) - yum!

Just like SFNE's Riverside Cyclone, Magic Mountain has turned their racing coaster Colossus into a wood / steel hybrid.  (You probably know the original Colossus from the Vacation movie or the intro to the 90's TV show Step By Step.)

Same as Riverside Cyclone - it was neutered to such a tame level, it didn't matter that it went away.  I'll miss the original though as it was right next to where I used to work in the park.  On my break, I'd walk over and take the final ride of the night before putting the park's deposit together.  But I'm looking forward to the newer & faster version of it too.

LAGOON (Farmington, UT): Cannibal

90-degree drops are crazy steep.  This coaster will have a 116-degree drop!  And it’s not built by a roller coaster company, but by the park.  It looks pretty amazing.  But its location puts it totally out of my plans for this year (or decade).

If the only thing a coaster has going for it is speed, I’m not interested.  Fast coasters rarely equal good in my mind.  Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion & Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland all boring examples of that (Canada's Wonderland makes up for Leviathan with coaster perfection Behemoth & Kings Dominion has Grizzly to balance things out).

Fury 325 is all about speed.  It’s hyped as the world’s tallest and fastest giga coaster.  It’s 325-feet and goes 95 miles an hour.

If you just like going fast around a coaster circuit, maybe you’ll like this.  That’s not my thing.  Normally, I'd just avoid something like this and never ride it.  But I've got a friend who’s opinion I trust on coasters.  He says I'd probably like the hills on the last part of the coaster.  So I’ll give this a ride at one point based on that.

I have to mention that nearby in the park is Harmony Hall with the most amazing pulled pork & mac-n-cheese.  And they've got a bunch of other great rides including an awesome Yo Yo, Woodstock Gliders & Thunder Road racing wood coaster.

Got a chance to ride this one already.  Of all the new coasters, this was the one I was least looking forward to – and it lived up to that expectation.

The park itself is a MUST.  They’ve got the best wooden coaster anywhere (Phoenix), best bumper cars & best carousel (where you can grab for the brass ring).  Their Haunted Mansion dark ride, Flyers ride, and train rides are also top notch.  And they’ve got a bobsled / luge-like roller coaster (Flying Turns) that’s one of a kind in the world!  Parking & admission is free, the food is spectacular (deep fried cream corn is there), the prices are reasonable for everything, and there’s tons to do throughout the park for the entire family.

Had to say all those nice things about the park because I really like Knoebels.  But the new coaster, not so much (not at all actually).  Every ride can't be awesome, otherwise nothing would stand out.

I call this "Meh The Ride".  A review from my coaster expert buddy:  "It’s a coaster" (the nicest thing he could say about it).  It looks nice, but isn't that exciting.  I rode it once during an opening day event, then bailed on the rest of the after-hours ride time to stay on the Bumper Cars (thankfully also open then).

Don’t judge the park by the new ride if you go.

There's also Thunderbird (a wing coaster) at Holiday World in Santa Claus, IN and Rougarou (Mantis turned into a floorless coaster) at Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH.  A mention is all I feel those warrant.

Many of my favorite parks (Kings Dominion, Dollywood, Canada's Wonderland, FunSpot, etc) didn't make the list as they don't have a new coaster this year.  But sometimes it's not a coaster, it's the little things that make a park special.  Like last year's return of the Singing Mushrooms at Kings Dominion...

Here's hoping for next year at those parks.  Even better, I'm crossing my fingers for new spin rides all over the place.

If I missed a new coaster, you think I'm way off base on any of these, or you just want to talk about amazing deep fried foods - comment below...