Gold Striker at California's Great America (ACTUAL RIDING REVIEW)

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 1:13 AM
krowberry's avatar

"Wow."

That's the word most people were saying after they got off Gold Striker this evening. While not open to the public yet, the park invited people to come out and participate in a promo shoot for commercials and still advertising.

Folks, this ride is the REAL DEAL and is setting up to be a real "sleeper hit" across the country. Most people know Great America as a park that seems to enjoy removing rides rather than building them. Gold Striker might just make you forgive them (maybe).

The fun starts before you get to the lift hill (that's right, BEFORE you get to the lift hill!) Folks in the rear seats will appreciate the incredible whip of the turnaround out of the station, which could be the tightest I've ever seen taken at speed before on a woodie) and those in the front seat will appreciate the airtime (yes, I said AIRTIME) on the bunny hill before the lift.

After ascending the lift, riders enter the "initial descent tunnel" and that's where all hell breaks loose. The ride is fast, noisy and the effect of blasting out fo the tunnel is impossible to describe.

From there the ride does a VERY close flyby of the station stairs, giving wonderful photo / video opportunities. A floater hill and a few head choppers later, the ride finds it's speed...and keeps it until the brake run.

I don't want to completely ruin the ride for you, but know that there are many "pops" of air on this ride, usually to set you up for another element. Call it a "tag team coaster" because they work perfectly together.

Coming into the final turn, you hit the magnetic (it's Silicon Valley, gotta have some technology) and then back to the station. Pictorium fans will be saddened to learn that two of the entrances have been demolished, but the building itself still stands.

To quote my ride mate for this marathon session, "Airtime is back with GCI."

We squeezed in nine (9) rides before the park shut down the line. Average wait times were 15 minutes, shrinking as more and more of the general public left. This ride is NOT EASY to marathon, but for all the RIGHT reasons. It is INTENSE, BREAKNECK PACED and to be quite honest, many of us in attendance were pinching ourselves, wondering how we got this ride to come here in the first place.

So, in conclusion...

This is a winner all-around for a park more recently known for REMOVING rides than ADDING them. Be prepared for sharp transitions, "set up" surprises and well-timed elements. The ride is smooth with little attitude. This is not an, "airtime machine" but it has well over 8-10 (I kept losing count) pop airtimes. There are moments when you're riding only on up-stops.

Now, you can take your kids on Grizzly as a warm up and test their (and your) mettle on Gold Striker.

In my opinion, this coaster could EASILY take on El Toro in national polls and in many cases it should WIN.

Get your butts to California's Great America and take a ride on Gold Striker - truly a brilliant wooden coaster.

Coaster Con IS coming out to the West Coast next year... :)


Best,

Kris Rowberry

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Friday, May 3, 2013 10:19 AM

Is it THAT good? It can't be in the same catergory as a Voyage or a Toro. Really? It doesn't appear THAT good.

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Friday, May 3, 2013 11:35 AM
Tekwardo's avatar

krowberry said:

The ride is smooth with little attitude. This is not an, "airtime machine" but it has well over 8-10 (I kept losing count) pop airtimes. There are moments when you're riding only on up-stops.

See, this /\ is why I have a hard time believing this\/.

In my opinion, this coaster could EASILY take on El Toro in national polls and in many cases it should WIN.

Most enthusiasts tend to like airtime machines with strong airtime like El Toro.

I think Gold Striker looks good, Hope it's at least as good as Thunderhead or American Thunder. Sounds like California has a decent collection of GCI coasters, and that's a good thing.


***I Woke Up Like Dis...

Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.

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Friday, May 3, 2013 12:08 PM
rollergator's avatar

I would say CA has a mixed bag of GCI coasters. SFMM has a really good one, and SFDK has a fairly-awful mess of a GCI. Not as rough as Gwazi, but that's mostly due to the slow speeds...

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Friday, May 3, 2013 3:58 PM

This ride is on par with Thunderhead, with a few moments of pretty strong speed and forces. VERY fun ride.

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Friday, May 3, 2013 9:49 PM

I thought it was a really fun and unique layout. The speed the ride holds through the whole layout is killer, and I actually loved the first drop followed by speed turns. It's definitely a top tier coaster, but I wouldn't say it's quite up there with a well maintained Voyage, Tremors, or even the first five years of GhostRider. Really fun, well paced, and enjoyable without killing you with intensity.


Parker

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Saturday, May 4, 2013 12:39 PM
LostKause's avatar

Does anyone find it strange that the opening post is worded as if it were written by the parks marketing guy, and that he only has two posts talking specifically about how great the coaster at Great America are?

I'm not saying it's true at all. I just find it to be strange. Maybe he is a very enthusiastic fan of the park, for all I know.


-Travis

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Saturday, May 4, 2013 4:37 PM

^I think it's cool and enthusiastic.

The ride looks (and sounds) great. Seems they went for the more Voyage-inspired layout similar to Prowler. Less large hills and more FAST. Inspired by Voyage meaning all-out speed, but I don't think Cedar Fair would build something near the intensity of Voyage (does I-305 count?)

Last edited by GayCoasterGuy, Saturday, May 4, 2013 4:41 PM
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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 9:20 PM
Timber-Rider's avatar

I was thinking the same thing as you LostKause. Sounds like a PR speech to me. I'm the opposite, I would be a horrible PR guy, because I try to tell it like it is, and people hate me for it.


I didn't do it! I swear!!

+0
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 10:15 PM
Jeff's avatar

No, your issue is that you tell it like you imagine it.


Jeff - Webmaster/Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog - Twitter - Video

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:01 PM
blasterboy6500's avatar

I want to +1 that, but I didn't really get the joke. :(

Anyways, I think Gold Striker isn't being spoken of as much just because Iron Rattler, Outlaw Rn, and Gatekeeper will all come out by the end of the year.


You don't need a parachute to jump out of an airplane. You need one to do it again.
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Monday, May 27, 2013 11:56 PM
krowberry's avatar

LostKause said:

Does anyone find it strange that the opening post is worded as if it were written by the parks marketing guy, and that he only has two posts talking specifically about how great the coaster at Great America are?

I'm not saying it's true at all. I just find it to be strange. Maybe he is a very enthusiastic fan of the park, for all I know.

Lol, I can assure you all - I'm not the park spokesperson, or affiliated with the park in any way. I was trained in AP style and press releases in school, hence the way it's written. I can assure you, I'm not the marketing guy for the park, lol.

And, it's actually my second post - first one was on Grizzly being smooth! :)


Best,

Kris Rowberry

+1Loading
Tuesday, May 28, 2013 1:56 AM
sirloindude's avatar

I have to say, regarding Grizzly, it was far from the worst wooden coaster that years of reviews have made it out to be. Not overly interesting, but it rode well, at least up front where I was.


I like wooden coasters. Or steel coasters. Or Maverick.

Fury 325: it will change your life.

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