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: Steel Vengeance

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: 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]

Review: Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Overview Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg is by no means unique.  It’s the second installation of the Premier Rides Skyrocket II coaster.  The same model operates at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom as Superman Ultimate Flight, at Lake Compounce as Phobia Phear and will open in 2018 as Electric Eel at Sea World San Diego.  Don’t like clones?  That could open up a whole new debate.  I have no obje...[Read More]

Review: Jet Star 2 at Lagoon

Overview Jet Star 2 is a steel family coaster located at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah.  One of two Schwarzkopf coasters in the park (the other is Colossus The Fire Dragon), it initially operated at the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, WA before being relocated to Lagoon. Layout and Elements Jet Star 2 features an electric spiral lift and compact, multi-tiered track with a series of drops...[Read More]

Review: Carolina Goldrusher at Carowinds

Located in the Carolina Boardwalk area, Carolina Goldrusher is a steel mine train roller coaster that debuted during the park’s opening year in 1973. As you’d find on any mine train coaster, it features locomotive-themed trains that ride steel rails on a wooden support structure. It’s a family-friendly coaster that has no loops, relatively low speeds, and modest heights. Gold Min...[Read More]

Review: American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis

American Thunder at Six Flags St. Louis is a Great Coasters International woodie that I feel flies under the radar for many enthusiasts. Originally, it opened back in 2008 as “Evel Knievel” after the American daredevil of old. In 2011, however, a then recently-bankrupt Six Flags dumped the branding in a cost-cutting move, giving the ride its more generic and patriotic moniker of today....[Read More]

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