Ozark Wildcat, one of the best?

Sunday, May 11, 2003 6:11 PM
Hey Guys, I just got back a few minutes ago from Celebration City, Branson, MO's newest theme park.
I also got back from one of the best coaster experiences I have EVER had. One of my best rides of all time came on an ultra-compact, twisting wooden coaster that drops eight stories and has a one of a kind 310-degree double-down first drop, a high speed swooping turn a rabbit-hop mid way and a screaming finale to the great ride. Let me tell you, this wooden coaster is much more smooth that a LOT of steel coaster's I have even rode. Plus there are only 2 straight parts of this coaster, the Lift and the brake run. Once the train goes down the very unique first drop, the fun NEVER stops.

All of these feature make me honestly believe it could compete with Beast or with Legend or Raven EASILY. But I believe that because of the park's location in Branson, Missouri, it is not going to get the respect this great coaster deserves.

I talked to Steve Honeycutt, inventer and GM of CC, today when walking around the park, and I told him how much I truly enjoyed this GCI ultra-compact coaster. He said that when they were talking with GCI about a coaster in Celebration City, he stated that, "We we not trying to build the tallest or fastest ride in the world. We wanted to focus on the ride experience and a ride that will keep you either glued to your seat or flying off your seat every minute of the ride." And I could not agree with the man any more than that.

I hope every one of you get's a chance to ride this ride some time in your life, you will not be dissapointed.

For Celebration City photos, go to Midwest Info Guide as always care of Dustijn Hollon.


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Si
midwestinfoguide.com

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Sunday, May 11, 2003 7:25 PM
Is there anyone who isn't a local (or semi-local) to this park and can give an opinion of the ride?

I'd love to hear what some out of towners have to say as well. Looks like a fun time!

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Top Thrill Dragster -- The most intense, unbelievable, and spectacular fifteen seconds on any coaster, anywhere, ever.

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Sunday, May 11, 2003 10:24 PM
Well It officaly became my favorite wooden coaster on May 1st. As I have heard from certain people including a few who claim to work for Amusement Today. They say that the location of the rides is a big reason why these rides around Branson are so Underrated. IF yo ever were to come out to SDC/CC yuo would be able to notice the large amount of guests that are dressed up in their Wildfire T-Shirts. Just by seeing this you know that Wildfire is alot of peoples favorite coaster around.

IF you guys never visited Branson, MO to do these parks. You should start planing one now. They got a fairly nice B&M Coaster, and a quite Awesome GCI woodie. They also have a unqiue Mine Train Coaster where you can go forwards of backwards on, they also have one of the few Water Flume Roller Coaster Combinations around.

I keep on wondering why quite a few coaster fans tend to over look SDC.

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Chris Knight
Be sure to download my latest NL Wooden Looping Coaster creation Dream Blast. Updated for NL 1.3!

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Sunday, May 11, 2003 11:09 PM
Okay, you can't really claim that rides in remote areas are automatically "underrated" when most of the highly-rated wooden coasters fit that description. Do you really think Raven, Legend, Phoenix, Shivering Timbers, Tremors, Timber Terror, etc are way up on the polls because they're in popular vacation destinations? How many people have ever heard of Santa Claus, Elysburg, Muskegon, or Athol???

-Nate

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Monday, May 12, 2003 8:02 AM
Nate those parks are in prime roller coaster territory so more coaster fans goes to those parks anyway. Branson is not in that area.

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Chris Knight
The best thing to do around Kansas City is to go to Branson, MO and ride the Ozark Wildcat.

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Monday, May 12, 2003 10:47 AM
Nate, with the exception Tremors and Timber Terror - all of the ones you mentioned are close to Ohio & Penn - two of the largest "coaster riding" states.

Also Chris, there are a lot of Wildcat shirts floating around now too. I think this park is going to be a hit, it just needs some more things to do (like shows).

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SW:):)SH
midwestinfoguide.com

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Monday, May 12, 2003 12:28 PM
Sorry, no go.

If you've ever been to Knoebel's or Holiday World or even MIA, you should know those parks are in the middle of *nowhere.* Knoebel's is really nowhere near anything. Holiday World, while an hour from SFKK, is still three hours from Ohio (Cincinatti). MIA isn't close to any park either. Those parks have highly-rated rides for two (maybe three) reasons. One is that many coaster enthusiasts visit (we'll look at why in a second). Two is that they actually do have good, solid rides.

So how do these parks get to be "coaster Meccas?" It's not like enthusiasts have been traveling to Muskegon or Elysburg or Santa Claus for years and then one day a giant wooden coaster showed up, so it was automatically rated #1. Enthusiasts visit in huge numbers because the parks built up a good reputation simply due to the awesome rides they have. Enthusiast events don't hurt, butI don't believe Silverwood has one (until this year anyway).

My point is this: if you have a really good wooden coaster and take care of it, chances are it will get the recognition it deserves. It may take a year or two, but it will happen. None of the parks I mentioned has more coasters than the Branson area, so it's not like people are traveling there for numbers. In fact, I'd say the Branson area has *more* drawing potential than any of those parks, and I think you'll see it happen over the next couple of years.

People ride coasters all over the country. I don't think you can simply claim rides are rated high because they're built in Ohio or PA.

-Nate

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Monday, May 12, 2003 12:45 PM
Sorry Guys, I was to hooked on the ride to realize how crazy I was getting :) Hopefully I did not offend anyone.

I agree with you nate, It is a great ride, maybe not top 5 (wood) maybe not top 15, but it could climp up there sometime soon.

All you need to do is ride it and you will love your ride.

And I have ridden plenty a wooden roller coaster. Just cause I'm from Mighty Missoura, dont mean i aint been on dem high tech fangeled contraptions called wooden coasters. Haha.
*** This post was edited by CoasterBill 5/12/2003 8:40:19 PM ***

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Monday, May 12, 2003 2:11 PM
I think that it would be better to ask this question at the end of the year (or at least towards the end) to get a better response. I doubt that many people have taken a ride yet.
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Monday, May 12, 2003 2:32 PM
Simma dahn nah CoasterBill. I completely agree with Nate. As of now, the only people who have ridden Wildcat (well, basically the only people...at least only those who have posted) have been a select few locals to the park who really don't have all that much riding experience other than the few parks near there (SFStL, SDC, WoF). Also, this ride was built (basically) in their backyard. This is the first wooden coaster down in that area, at a completely new park, and everyone down there is just jazzed as hell about it. And rightly so! You should be, new parks with new rides are damn fun to visit and be a part of as they open and grow.

Anyway, my point is, I'm *not* in anyway saying it's not a good coaster or top five or whatever. All I'm saying is that I'd love to hear from people who are not locals to SDC/Branson, and who have ridden a variety of other wooden coasters (CCI's, Dinn's, Intamins, other GCI's, etc) to chime in with their review. Usually, when a new ride opens, the locals go ape poopy over it so I tend to not judge my go/no-go choice by a handful of locals. Call me what you will, but that's how I am.

And that's all I'm saying, Wildcat looks like a really fun ride, but top 5 in the world? I need to hear some more reviews from other people is all.

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Top Thrill Dragster -- The most intense, unbelievable, and spectacular fifteen seconds on any coaster, anywhere, ever.

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Monday, May 12, 2003 4:11 PM
Okay, I'll bite. While some might consider me a "near-local," SDC/CC is a good 3 1/2 - 4 hour jaunt. Heck, Holiday World is closer for me. That being said, here's what I posted earlier to RRC:

"To add my two cents from my first visit on 5/10:

Looks are, as usual with every other GCI - stunning. Absolutely gorgeous to look at. Perfect spot in the park too, as it should attract a ton of attention - you cannot miss it.

Random ride comments:

Before I begin, let me just say that I'm not normally a big fan of GCI product. So far I've ridden the HP Wildcat, Lightning Racer, ROAR East and Gwazi - yellow (is that Lion? Blue was down) With the exception of a few good front seat rides on HP Wildcat and a couple of promising rides on Gwazi they've all left me flat. The worst offender
of this was Lightning Racer. On my visit during the ACE Con a couple years back, the ERT crowd was cheering like mad and I kept wondering what coaster they were riding? <sigh> Anyway...

First drop - interesting, sorta twisted double-down thingy.
Unfortunately not the backseat butt-launcher that I love, but a strange, yet cool lateral shove to the left, all the way down to the bottom. Hill to follow, first nice pop in the front, then twisted GCI drop down to the second good frontseat pop. What follows is a confusing short series of drops/twists that set the ride up for the piece de resistance - the ending series. The ending track footage is a nice drop followed by a couple of *good* bunny hops, a swoop then a *nice* pop onto the brakes.

I only got approximately 6 rides in, due to weather and I gather sensor issues that had the ride down late in the day, but it shows real promise. While the backseat (which I normally prefer) has a couple of good moments, it is most definitely a front seat ride. If the normal "break-in rule" applies, then things should get even more interesting. While watching them cycle the train in the dark, I was dissapointed to not get a night ride in but it looked to be hauling a$$. The trains are the comfy GCI Millenium Flyers (duh!) but there's been no real improvement to the lap bars, however I felt the front seat air forcebly.

Overall verdict:

Short, good ride, verging on very good. Not really top ten, but miles ahead of most (if not all?) of the current GCI product, IMHO. Maybe. Too early to tell at this point, but after 6 rides - color me impressed."

As stated above, I don't agree with the "Top Five" comment, but we all have our opinion. After six rides, I'd probably put it at or near 25 or so on my list but again it's way to early to tell. FYI, Ozark Wildcat was my 277th coaster and it's most likely obvious that I prefer CCI type rides. FWIW, my favorite woodie is "Legend" at Holiday World, if that tells you anything about my personal tastes.

Jeff

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Monday, May 12, 2003 4:18 PM
Sounds like all GCI's to me. Good ride but not a great ride. They are however very fun rides, LR possibly being the most fun coaster I have ever rode.

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God bless Intamin, Company that I love. Stand beside her, and ride her, from the opening to the closing of the day.

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Monday, May 12, 2003 4:43 PM
Mr. Honeycutt was saying that CCI, GCI, and one other company were carrying very strong bids to build the ride. They were going to go CCI, but then CCI went under. So then he said that he had great experiences with GCI down in Tampa, and that ultimately won GCI the bid.

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Do you bleed Blue?

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Monday, May 12, 2003 5:00 PM
Well, the *particular* GCI in Tampa didn't really DO all that for me....until recently. But I really have FUN on the other GCIs I've ridden - all but Roar West (not as intense as the CCIs for the most part, but visually stunning and more *family-oriented*). I think it was a fabulous choice of designer for the park in question...what a suck-up...;)

Thanks to Jeff for posting, I think he mostly lurks here but we'll try our best to be *inviting* so maybe he'll visit more often...:). Sounds like we have another fine GCI product, and certainly something the park will be VERY happy with. Given proper maintenance, I'm sure it will age as well as the other GCIs have, and CC will find the coaster an exceptional draw....(I know it drew ME to Branson....it's not like the MUSIC was gonna get me to go to Branson, LOL....we'll take CDs with us).

As far as where it *ranks* in polls and such....that stuff is overrated IMO, but when Mitch's poll DOES arrive, I'll give it the same fair unbiased assessment I give to ANY ride, no matter the location....if anything, rides I get to ride FREQUENTLY get *punished* when I do my rankings...I always end up rating them against the BEST rides I got on them...not exactly FAIR I guess....but the distant coasters don't get a lot of opportunities to impress either, so there ya have it....sorry Timbers...;)

bill, the anti-homer
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"Like most problems in life, it's nothing that can't be solved with a little bending"...Bender, Futurama

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Monday, May 12, 2003 5:57 PM
Great Post, Great Post

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Do you bleed Blue?

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Monday, May 12, 2003 6:23 PM
Eh...Wildcat is so-so...I've seen better. Besides, I hear the VP of the company is terrified of mosquitos...screams like a little girl every time.

;) Andrea

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Monday, May 12, 2003 6:32 PM
Lightning Racer at Hershey Park you didn't see why everyone was cheering!?

Were you you riding the same coaster i rode, because that ride is simply amazing.

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Your Park only has 1 good coaster! That's too bad!

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Monday, May 12, 2003 7:54 PM

Legendary said:
As of now, the only people who have ridden Wildcat (well, basically the only people...at least only those who have posted) have been a select few locals to the park who really don't have all that much riding experience other than the few parks near there (SFStL, SDC, WoF). Also, this ride was built (basically) in their backyard.

Well I am a local to the state, but definitely not to the Branson area. I live 5 hours away and WoF/SFStL/Adventureland are my homeparks. With that being said, I have ridden over 250 different coasters (I think I am almost at 277 too Jeff ;) ) and several of those have been the "major must ride" woodies. While Wildcat is a great ride, it ranks maybe 12th in my woodie poll. Raven is still number one followed by Ghostrider and the Beast, and so on. My biggest complaint is the lack of air time that it has. It's a very short intense ride (and I disagree Jeff, the back was a lot more fun), that doesn't let up. I'm an AP holder so we'll see how this thing breaks in as the season progresses.

Hey Andrea was your husband at the park Wednesday (5/7)? The reason I asked, was I ran into a guy with a GCII shirt on near Celebration Street and I could have sworn it was Jeff - I was too shy to ask what his name was.

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SW:):)SH
midwestinfoguide.com

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Monday, May 12, 2003 7:55 PM

darienlakefan said:
Lightning Racer at Hershey Park you didn't see why everyone was cheering!?

Were you you riding the same coaster i rode, because that ride is simply amazing.

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Like I stated above, everyone has their own opinion. I'm thrilled that you as well as obviously *many* others love it - it simply did nothing for me. Yes, it's a beautiful ride and I really dig the concept, but the actual ride itself - to me - left me wanting much, much more.

Jeff


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Monday, May 12, 2003 7:57 PM
Jeff King, thank you *very* much for your post. I have extremely similar tastes in wooden coasters as you do it seems (Legend is also my #1 wood and I like, not love the GCI's I've ridden -- I've done 'em all and think Gwazi is the best, with ROAR West coming in at #2, but all are much, much lower than the CCI's I've ridden) and your review was very valuable to me!

I think at this point I'm going to save the 8hr plus drive and $60 admission (If we were going to CCity, we HAVE to go to SDC, too, even though I've already been, but ya know, Keith hasn't :)) and set this trip up next year. Who knows, maybe there will be another goodie to ride, too?

Joe, who thinks Jack Rabbit at CCity looks damn amazing

EDIT: Jeff, I felt the exact same way about LR, too...great ride to look at, kinda on the tame side though. I rode in May 2000 so I realize it wasn't broken it yet, but that was my reaction...

Swoosh, thanks for your review as well. You've definitely been on some good coasters to compare it to, so I value your opinion, too. Sounds like Wildcat is about what I was expecting!

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Top Thrill Dragster -- The most intense, unbelievable, and spectacular fifteen seconds on any coaster, anywhere, ever.
*** This post was edited by Legendary 5/13/2003 12:00:27 AM ***

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