Review: The Swarm at Thorpe Park

Overview The Swarm at Thorpe Park in Surrey was the first – and only – wing coaster to be built in the UK.  It was the second wing coaster to be built by B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard), which thus far is the only company to manufacture wing riders; the first was Raptor at Gardaland in Italy. As of 2018 there are nine wing coasters in operation and six more under construction. Layout and ...[Read More]

Review: Wicker Man at Alton Towers

Overview Opened in March of 2018, Wicker Man is the first wooden coaster to be built in the UK in 21 years and the first ever wooden coaster to be built at Alton Towers.  When SW8 (projects at Alton Towers are given codenames, SW standing for Secret Weapon) was announced, it ignited considerable curiosity, especially when it became known that this coaster would incorporate the element of fire. The...[Read More]

Review: Banshee at Kings Island

Overview The longest inverted coaster in existence and the last one to be built in the USA, Banshee at Kings Island in Mason, OH opened in 2014 to critical acclaim.  Built by B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard), it boasts 4,124 feet of track, operating with three trains seating four across in 8 rows for a total capacity of 32 riders.  The restraint is an over- the- shoulder harness. Layout, Theme a...[Read More]

Review: Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City

Overview Advertised as “a revolutionary coaster ahead of our time,” Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO is indeed a groundbreaking/trailblazing phenomenon.  The new coaster from Germany’s Mack Rides represents a $26,000,000 investment and forward-thinking technology which certainly puts a new spin on things.  I wanted to resist using the phrase “a new spin” but in this case it’s so ...[Read More]

Review: Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point

It has been exciting watching the construction of Steel Vengeance as it transformed. From a lame-duck, once record-breaking wooden roller coaster, the former Mean Streak has come out of it’s wooden and steel cocoon to be reborn as a stunning and acrobatic-looking predator. Certainly no butterfly, Steel Vengeance appears to have been fed off of the intense energy and longing of the enthusiast...[Read More]

Review: Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion

Overview Twisted Timbers at Kings Dominion in Doswell, VA is the reincarnation of The Hurler, a lumbering wooden coaster well past its prime.  It’s the latest RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) makeover to open – to critical acclaim.  Featuring RMC’s signature I-Box track – 3,351 feet of it – it’s taller, longer, faster and smoother than its predecessor.  It’s also a lot more exciting.  Talk ...[Read More]

Review: Viper at Six Flags Great America

For as many trips as I’ve logged on this roller coaster, I feel like it’s time someone paid kudos to this unassuming, often overlooked ride. It’s 1 of 4 wooden coasters at Chicago’s Six Flags. Viper debuted in 1995 as part of Great America’s expansion into a new themed land and was later officially added to Southwest Territory in 1996. It’s the only coaster ever built directly by the Six Flags cor...[Read More]

Review: Hydra the Revenge at Dorney Park

In May of 2016 I visited New York with my parents for the purposes of seeing the Yankees take on my Chicago White Sox in the Bronx. I insisted that on this visit, we make the 2-hour drive west to Allentown, Pennsylvania and log some coaster credits at Dorney, another Cedar Fair property. Though it was a wet and rainy morning, by afternoon the skies cleared and I was able to nab multiple rides on a...[Read More]

Review: Wicked at Lagoon

Overview Wicked is a Zierer LSM launched steel coaster at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah.  Opened in 2007, it operates with six trains consisting of two rows seating four across for a total capacity of eight riders.  The restraint is a lap bar. The fact that the trains are only two rows long forces Lagoon to deviate from its standard policy.  Lagoon has a rather unusual policy in that s...[Read More]

Review: Lightning Racer at Hersheypark

When the new millennium rolled around, it seemed everyone was trying to capitalize on the big event. Hersheypark joined the fray by opening Lightning Racer. It’s no Millennium Force, but this wooden dueling and racing coaster is still pretty fun. The second Great Coasters International woodie at the park, it is much better than the first, Wildcat. That one is more on the rough side, as Joel ...[Read More]

Review: Vortex at Carowinds

Vortex represents an era of roller coaster history. The Bolliger & Mabillard-designed ride opened in 1992 back when the novelty of riding a roller coaster while standing was still relatively new. Today, the number of surviving stand-up roller coasters is shrinking as many of them have been removed, converted to sit-down rides, and as parks have preferred to build other types of rides. Today, V...[Read More]

Review: sooperdooperLooper at Hersheypark

Back in 1977, the first looping roller coaster on the East Coast was about to open at Hersheypark. However, it lacked one key ingredient: a name. Bruce McKinney, the park’s General Manager at the time, had narrowed it down to two final candidates — his personal favorite, Merry Derry Dips, and the second option, sooperdooperLooper. He went to his family for advice, and they fatefully told him...[Read More]

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