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]

Review: Hurler at Carowinds & Kings Dominion

In 1994, the Paramount-owned Kings Dominion and Carowinds opened two wooden roller coasters dubbed, Hurler. The ride’s original theme was connected to the 1992 movie and Saturday Night Live skit, Wayne’s World. Back when it opened the sparse warehouse-like station had a few exterior touches to make it look more like a Hollywood studio building. The most overt tie-in was the video of Wa...[Read More]

Review: Wooden Warrior at Quassy

In 2011, Quassy Amusement Park in Middlebury, Connecticut added Wooden Warrior: a small, family-friendly coaster made by The Gravity Group. This addition was perfect for Quassy. The park already had a real “local park” kinda charm to it, and now it has a fantastic little wooden coaster to capture the attention of enthusiasts. Wooden Warrior is not only worth attention — it exceeds expectations and...[Read More]

Review: Carolina Cyclone at Carowinds

Carolina Cyclone opened in 1980. I’m not sure if it opened with a lot of fanfare, but it deserved it. It was a real record-setter as the World’s first roller coaster to feature four inversions, surpassing Cedar Point’s Corkscrew which had three. It’s located in the Carolina Boardwalk section of Carowinds not far from Ricochet and Hurler. Expect Turbulence Ahead Carolina Cyc...[Read More]

Review: Cannibal at Lagoon

Overview The idea of flying almost 2000 miles to ride a roller coaster struck me as pretty far-fetched but I found Cannibal so intriguing that I decided to do it.  When it comes to coasters, I’m impressed by novelty and extremeness.  Cannibal at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah offers both.  It looks like nothing I’ve ever seen, utilizes a unique (to coasters) lift and features one of the...[Read More]

Review: Lightning Rod at Dollywood

Lightning Rod is a wooden roller coaster which was slated to open for the 2016 season at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Due to complications with its prototype launch system, it failed to open as scheduled and struggled to remain open consistently that whole year. In 2017, and hopefully beyond, it seems to have turned the corner. An Unfulfilled Trip It was a crisp morning in late June when ...[Read More]

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