This is the first in a series of posts that will focus on what it truly means to be considered a “roller coaster”. Over the next several posts, I’ll analyze rides like Zamperla’s Disk-O, Intamin’s Half Pipe, and a few others (such as those powered rides built in-house).
1st stop: Larson Loops. Hang on folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy (and slightly nauseating) ride.
I was recently interviewed by CNN Travel regarding the new attraction at Six Flags Great America, my hometown park.
Indeed, I felt compelled to tell the writer that ‘Mardi Gras Hangover’ is most certainly not a roller coaster. I’ve ridden several identical rides at Six Flags Over Georgia (Joker Chaos Coaster) and dozens of cycles on the Ring of Fire on the carnival circuit at traveling fairs.
I scoffed at Great America’s claim that this is their 16th roller coaster — which is doubly misleading, in that they inexplicably counted the wooden racer American Eagle twice — and went so far as to seek clarification from a woman in their PR department.
Regardless of how they want to promote it, their coaster count remains at 14. Not 15, or 16, but fourteen. This agrees with RCDB’s tally at Chicago’s Six Flags.
Most of the interview questions centered around what makes this ride unique, and I mentioned that there’s faceoff seating, in addition to inverted hang time at the loop’s peak. Other than that, it’s nothing more than a standard flat ride (and an unimaginative one at that).
I felt better knowing that another theme park expert, Arthur Levine of About.com, agrees with me wholeheartedly. Larson Loops are powered by motorized tires, not by gravity. There’s no lift hill and no launch, and the whole ride takes place in a single plane. The only motion is a repeated back-and-forth, not unlike the popular swinging “pirate” ships.
So…….is it a coaster? Share your thoughts in the comments section below, and stay tuned for part 2!