Mako: Finally a "big" roller coaster in Orlando!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019 10:35 PM

I suppose there's 2 ways to see it. Let's take Gatekeeper for example. The final section after the brake has got to be one of the most uninspired layouts ever. However, the fact that it exists, and as far back in the ride as it does, allows 3 trains to be dispatched one after the other with an efficiency seemingly unmatched by many other coasters.

So I don't know. I like it for efficiency, I mostly hate it because the final section is very poorly engineered and gives me motion sickness. Yes, I'm a wuss, I've admitted this many times.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:39 AM

Tommytheduck said:

I suppose there's 2 ways to see it. Let's take Gatekeeper for example. The final section after the brake has got to be one of the most uninspired layouts ever. However, the fact that it exists, and as far back in the ride as it does, allows 3 trains to be dispatched one after the other with an efficiency seemingly unmatched by many other coasters.


I actually started to type a similar response earlier and walked away.

I think the problem lies in the idea of a MCBR in the first place. B&M especially seems to design with this as more of a "timing brake" used for dispatch/capacity purposes that feels closer to a final brake/holding brake than a Mid-course. They've just extended the run from the final holding brake.

Maybe if you shift your perspective and consider the "MCBR" as the final brake instead and that last bit of track an extra fun run back to the station?

Last edited by Lord Gonchar, Wednesday, January 16, 2019 12:40 AM
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:33 AM

Especially with Gatekeeper, that is always how I have mentally thought about it. The ride is essentially "done" at the block brake and then I get a cool little bonus before hitting the final brakes.

B&M has also evolved, learned, and played around with what works and what doesn't. That's how you then get something like Fury at Carowinds, where the block brake isn't mid course or 3/4 course, but rather an "end of course" block that goes right into the holding area. Absolutely no disruption of ride pacing and it's a capacity monster.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:53 AM

^That's another way to look at it. You could consider GK's a near-end block brake like Magnum's brakes after the last tunnel. The ride is over, but you get a few more seconds of ride-time as you drop down over the midway and exit of ride.

One thing that bugs me about a mid-course brake is when it's not needed. Many coasters have the ability to stack trains at end of ride if the train in station is not dispatched in time. From the time of dispatch to when it gets to top of hill is more than enough time to clear those blocks. As much as I hate MF, I have to give credit where credit is is a great design. The train starts up the lift slowly and then speeds up once those blocks are cleared. So it's proven it can be done in an efficient manner.

Getting back to topic, I haven't ridden Mako yet. Haven't been to Florida in many years and may be a few more before getting back there. Mako does look good and really want to ride it. B&M hypers are hit-and-miss for me. Leviathan and Diamondback left a sour taste in my mouth as they are so overrated. But that's just me. I love loads of airtime over speed. That's why Behemoth is at top of my B&M list along with Goliath at Six Flags LaRonde. Goliath may not be a hyper, but it's nothing but hills. You could say it is B&M's version of Magnum. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 9:54 AM

I was just getting ready to type something similar about Fury. The other cool little tweak on Fury is the little section between the station and the beginning of the lift hill that they can use as a "holding brake".

Fury trains can be dispatched out of the station even when the train ahead of it is still on the lift hill. The just-dispatched train can be held on that holding brake until the train ahead of it is at the far turnaround near the front gate. The train on the holding brake can then go up the lift. The variable speed lift hill can then monitor the position of the train ahead of it and speed up the lift as soon as the train on the course is through the block section at the end of the ride.

B&M is essentially using that holding brake as the means to block trains for capacity purposes as opposed to an MCBR. What that allows is for the ability for a train to be brought into the station more quickly so it can be unloaded and loaded more efficiently. It's really simple yet ingenious, and it works great.

*small edit* Just wanted to add my thoughts about Mako. Mako is fantastic. I've ridden all the B&Ms on the continent except Goliath at La Ronde, and Mako is my second favorite B&M coaster behind Fury.

The first half of Mako is simply sensational. There are six great moments of airtime on the first half of the ride, and that airtime is some of the strongest - if not the strongest - moments of airtime you'll find on a B&M coaster. The portion after the MCBR is just OK, but the first half of the ride is a 10. It's ultra-smooth and immensely re-rideable.

Last edited by Gary Dowdell, Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:08 AM
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 10:09 AM

We've been over this about a thousand times, and there was even some video of John Wardley explaining this somewhere. A mid-course block has to be able to stop a train, and a stopped train must be able to successfully complete the course from that point using only gravity. To that end, the dynamics of the ride from that point must fall within the range of "able to finish" and the specs of desired forces on the rider in the event it's going the nominal speed. Typically to hit that higher range, you have to bleed some amount of speed off of the train, as the difference in dynamics between no-trim and from a dead stop is pretty huge. Furthermore, the timing of that run also factors into it, as the difference between from-a-stop to no-trim could be several seconds difference. (With terrible ride crews, I realize this is not actually a factor, but again, the manufacturer can only deliver to spec, not hire hustling ride ops.)

Do parks and control programmers take that too far? I think it depends on what the spec is that the park asked for. If the park asks for some arbitrary tolerances of "x" G's, and that feels kind of boring, I guess it's possible. Raptor was finely tuned in terms of its trimming, many years into its operation, so that it can hustle in the second half despite a very centrally located mid-course block. I've been on it from a mid-course stop, and it's painfully slow, but it works as designed. Gatekeeper, by contrast, hits the mid-course in the last few hundred feet of the ride, and it's a relatively minor trim that frankly I don't think affects the helix and final hop in any impactful way.

I still think it's mostly psychological and in the minds of enthusiasts. Most people don't know or care. Unless it's Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. That ride is terrible just for having a bunch of high flat sections, trimmed or not.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:48 PM

I think Mack is the company that consistently gets the blocking thing right. The mid-course block is at the beginning, and/or controlled by the lift. For some reason enthusiasts abhor the “stack” even more, so why not put that delay at the beginning? Mystic Timbers attempted to give riders something to do by installing the awful “What’s in the shed?” moment (or minute, sometimes) as a way to keep riders entertained by giving them a little end-of-the-ride show to compensate for station delays during three-train operation. Mack’s Copperhead Strike will thoughtfully put that delay at the beginning. After a fun jo-jo the train will head to the shed for a show while waiting for the all-clear to launch. And presto! The perceived boredom of the dreaded stack turns into anticipation at the beginning of the ride. Blue Fire is an already successful example of what I’m talking about.

So many riders cheer for speedy operations at Europapark, but my observation after many rides there was that the throughput was probably about the same. The Mack rides there just handle the blocking in a different and ultimately more satisfying way.

Last edited by RCMAC, Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:51 PM
Thursday, January 17, 2019 3:00 PM

I'm not a fan of many of B&M's more recent post-MCBR layouts, and it's hard for me to think of them as "final brakes" with a little extra before you actually hit the brakes that lead into the station. The reason is that you have rides like Fury, Leviathan, and Banshee that really just extend those final brakes to obscene lengths, and then you have many of B&Ms designs from their first decade+ that had some killer post-MCBR layouts. Sticking to hypers alone, pretty much all the early ones had some stellar post-MCBR layouts. Nitro has the great airtime fest, Silver Star has a killer helix with a powerful airtime hop out of it, Apollo's Chariot has the long run back with that drop into the ditch, etc.

I just think that there isn't much justification for weak post-MCBR layouts because they aren't universal problems. B&M got it right in the early days. I don't see why they can't do it again.

Thursday, January 17, 2019 5:07 PM

Because as they have evolved in layouts and designs, it has become a sort of "why put a flat section of track smack dab in the middle of the ride if you don't have to?"

Yes, many B&M rides have a great "second half" after the block brake. Raptor comes to mind. And yes, Gatekeeper essentially "ends" at the block brake, save for the helix that does sometimes make me a little queasy. But you can't tell me a balls to the wall design like Fury suffers because there is a larger section of flat track after the ride is over than other rides have.

Thursday, January 17, 2019 6:11 PM

Voyage and Goliath/Titan both have very high MCBR's and have a lot of punch left after them. I personally don't care for the helices on Goliath/Titan, but there's definitely enough potential energy to put some standout elements in there. I don't know why B&M doesn't follow that lead.

Edit: Well actually I do know why. It's because nobody outside of a super small sliver of the internet cares, but...

Last edited by ApolloAndy, Thursday, January 17, 2019 6:12 PM
Saturday, January 19, 2019 1:17 PM

Fury doesn’t have an MCBR. They use a pre-lift brake and a fairly long but not terribly bad end brake and kills it with three trains constantly.

Monday, January 21, 2019 10:24 PM

I kinda wished they did Mako like that...but I understand since there are space constraints. Still would have been nice.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019 1:16 PM

As far as Mako and Gatekeeper go, Gatekeeper only has a small section after the mcbr which isn't exciting though I do LOVE the rest of the ride. I imagine the little airtime hill would have gone lower if it weren't for the driveway underneath it. The mcbr on GK barely touches the trains, but the flat section does kill the flow of the elements that GK has. Mako, on the other hand, is hit hard by the mcbr while there is still a lot of track after it and with several elements which look like might have been more fun and intense if it weren't slowed as much. The turns before and after the water just feel awkward rather than intense or insane. Maybe it's because it was only in the 60's while I was there and runs too fast when it's in the 90's.

As far as other mcbr's on other B&M's, I really have no problem. I love Raging Bull, Nitro, Diamondback and even Behemoth. None of those have mad me ever want to post a gripe about them. Mako's mcbr, on the other hand, has a more negative impact on the rest of the ride than any other B&M coaster or any other brand of coaster I've ever ridden.

I just hope Hersheypark's new coaster isn't like Mako.

Last edited by zoug68, Tuesday, January 22, 2019 1:23 PM
Friday, January 25, 2019 3:28 PM

I've spent a lot of time in Orlando lately (my Sea World season pass has been one of my wisest investment thus far) and have spent a lot of time on Mako. It's a fantastic ride but will agree the section after the mid-course brake doesn't match the intensity of the first half. If you're in the last row on the left side of the train, skimming the water is fun, but that's about it. A helix would have greatly improved this portion of the ride.

It certainly doesn't affect my overall feelings for the coaster, but by comparison, Manta's second half is just as good as the first, in entirely different ways. That ride has a real first act and second act. Mako can't make that claim.


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