Rocket Coaster Trifecta - Storm Runner @ Hershey 6/14

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, June 15, 2004 2:35 AM
Ok, so this is more of a ride report than a trip report, but we've been to Hersheypark a few times and when you're on your 3rd trip in 4 years with two small children you tend to move slow and mill around aimlessly a whole bunch. Not very interesting reading. However, Storm Runner impressed me enough to write something, so you get this tidy little 'ride report' :)

I completed the 'Rocket Coaster Trifecta' (credits on all three installations - Xcelerator, TTD and Storm Runner) on Sunday night, but a few rides today (the 14th) left Storm Runner in my top 10.

I choose to sum it up like this regarding the three rocket coasters currently in existence:

Ohio has the biggest, California has the first, Pensylvania has the best.

The only bad thing about this coaster is the bottleneck it seems to have created on the pathway between it and Sidewinder. Other than that it's top notch beginning to end.

The queue - small. I've seen some fairly large crowds at Hershey, but the queue seems to be set up to hold a 35 or 40 minute line at best. In fact, a sign near the start of the line proclaims a '35 minute wait from this point.'

A dual loading station that works!? It works and it works well. Pretty steady dispatch all around. They send the first train and when it returns they send the other one. There seems to be a slightly longer delay before the first goes again than between the first and second. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be, but if they clipped that dispatch time to the same time between trains 1 and 2 and kept a steady flow, the capacity would be maxed. As it is, it's above good. We never saw more than a 20 or 25 minute wait on both Sunday and Monday.

The trains - nice. The restraints didn't bother me at all. No size issues in our group and we only saw one person turned away on both days and many rides. There is plenty of signage explaining that the restraint must rest on your lap, not your stomach - complete with little photos. The test seat out front is usually ocupied by bored kids, but its fun to make them move - especially when you're scary looking :)

The launch. Right up there with Xcelerator's. Powerful. More powerful than TTD's without question. I'm a 'hands-up on the lauch' bozo - at least I know I have a problem. Storm Runner whipped my arms back in a way that TTD's didn't even come close to. I'd still say that overall Xcelerator has the most kick, but Storm Runner is very comparable.

The Top Hat. My favorite of the three. I really prefer the vertical drop without the twist (both Xcelerator's 'standard' variety and TTD's 270.) It just feels better to me to dive straight down. Maybe I'm just a plain vanilla guy. I don't need the sprinkles or chocolate coating.

The Cobra Loop. Felt somewhere between an Immelman and a Dive Loop. It was good. Ugly as hell. (I liken it to something drawn by a 3 year old) but this proves it doesn't have to look pretty to ride pretty. Smooth and fun.

The Barrel Roll/Snake Dive. Right here is the money on this coaster. The reason I kept going back. After the Cobra Loop you crest a medium sized hill, go directly in the barrel roll and right into the snake dive (it all seems like one element). Your ass will leave the seat at the top of that hill and not touch it again until the bottom of the pretty much vertical exit from the snake dive. If you have any kind of airtime whore in you at all (and hey, who doesn't?) then this is a MUST do experience. If the ride was just this, I'd probably hug and kiss it. It's just that damn fun.

From there - it's a speedy little jaunt up a morbidly, freakishly "S" banked 'double up' (best I can describe it without my photos) into the final brakes.

All in all, it makes for one serious ride. Herhsey has a winner on their hands.

Let me sum that rocket coaster comparison up again just in case you forgot:

Ohio has the biggest, California has the first, but Pennsylvania has the best.

Good stuff, kids :)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 3:15 AM
I agree Storm Runner is an excellent ride. It is in my top 10 somewhere between Nitro & TTD, but then again I don't really have a top 10. ;)

It is so nice to have an Intamin rocket of that caliber, 10 minutes from home. I go there after work(nightshift) on Wednesday or Thursday and it is almost a walk on.

I like TTD's launch a little better just because of the sheer speed, but Storm Runner still packs a decent punch. I have yet to ride Xcelerator, so I can't compare it to that.

Lord Gonchar I really agree with you on the inline twist, snake dive elements. Thats what make Storm Runner unique. Its not just a 1 trick pony. Its maybe a 4 or 5 trick pony. ;)

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 6:43 AM
I've ridden Storm Runner a few weeks ago on my trip through Ohio and Pennsylvania, and i have to say that i didn't like it that much.
The restraints seemed to be comfortable while boarding but gave me bruises on my left shoulder while riding hands up.

I didn't find the launch too impressive after riding TTD a few days before, and i thing i also liked Xcelerators launch a little better two years ago. The inversions were fun, but all in all i have to say that i was awaiting more than i felt after riding it.

Unfortunately i only had the chance to ride it once because it was shut down later in the afternoon. Maybe riding it more often would have changed my mind, you know riding a coaster only once often leaves me with a "huh"-feeling...

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 8:12 AM
Nice TR...er, I guess that would be RR! The more I read about this thing the more I want to get back to Hershey to check it out.

It sounds like you were able to ride several times -- where did you sit? Any preference as far as front, middle, or back?

Aaron

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 8:59 AM

Lord Gonchar said:
Maybe I'm just a plain vanilla guy.

Words I never thought I'd see in a Gonchar post... ;)

I'm supposed to hit Hershey in August with a bunch of friends, but if I keep reading reports this positive I might have to make a trip myself earlier.

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 9:22 AM
You're right, Storm Runner rocks. Definately my favorite roller coaster. It also seems to me atleast that the park's best rides are there storm ones, Lightning Racer and Storm Runner. Anyways, it's a kick*butt* ride ;)
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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 10:04 AM
ColumbusCoaster I prefer the back the most. You get get a pop of air coming over the tophat, and don't come back down in your seat until you are at the bottom of the drop. Of course the front is nice as well for the visuals. I always ride in the front or back(mostly,) and have yet to ride in a middle seat. I have ridden 19 times so far this season. 1st coaster that I have been keeping a tally of. ;)
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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 11:40 AM
Put me in the catagory (perhaps the first) that puts Storm Runner last of the 3 rockets.

It's fun, but I predict that MAYBE as early as next year that it will have some pretty good headbanging going on in the back. Also, it has the most lackluster launches, IMO. But, I'm in the boat that says the straight drop off the tophat is the best.

That said, I still really enjoyed it very much. It's a solid addition to an already wonderful park. I just hated that it went down at 10:30 on Wednesday of last week and stayed down all day. :(

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 12:59 PM
Nice report...I love the ride as well, though I have no basis of comparison when it comes to the other rocket launchers.

I just wanted to add a side note. On opening day, the sign at the front of the queue claimed an hour wait from that point. I think after opening day, they realized that wasn't the case. On day 2, it said 35 minute wait.

I guess when they constructed the queue, they anticipated that it would hold an hour wait.

With their last two installations, HP has misjudged the necessary queue. LR has way too much and SR doesn't have enough...LOL

Sean

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 1:45 PM
^
Roller Soaker came in between.
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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 9:38 PM
ColumbusCoaster - got a few rides, none far enough up or back to call it a "front" or "back" ride. I was strictly middle on this trip. :)

After loving the straight drop I was looking forward to Hypersonic today. I never got my chance. They were running 1 car and dispatching every 4 minutes. Do the math. 15 cars an hour x 8 riders = 120pph :(

Screw that line! The park was dead and later in the day it seemed like they got 2 cars going, but we never got back to that area of the park. Even if they doubled up with the second car that would only be 240pph. Horrible! Everything else (except Volcano) was a walk-on or 1 train wait.

I didn't really feel like I missed much, iHypersonic was very underwhelming in person.

Maybe some other time...

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Tuesday, June 15, 2004 10:08 PM
I have yet been able to ride Hypersonic myself. On my 3 visits there since it opened it was either down or running very limited. Maybe sometime I'll get the chance. From what I have heard the launch is much more intense then the rocket coasters, but I'd like to judge that for myself.
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Wednesday, June 16, 2004 10:01 AM
I've been to King's Dominion 6 times since Hypersonic opened, and I've ridden it on exactly one of those visits. And that was the ride's Media Day.
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Monday, June 21, 2004 12:20 PM
This ride would be in my top ten if the restraints were different. I experienced neck banging and had to really restrain myself on the inversions to avoid this. They allow me to slam into them whenever there is airtime and small children can duck underneath them. The ride itself is awesome and I was happy to see that it didn't have the downtime that TTD does. The inversions were a blast!
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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:03 PM
Heh, I never visited CP when TTD was down for 11.25hrs of the day...I did visit HP when Storm Runner was though! :)

Joe "nah, I won't let it go lol" C.

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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:09 PM
You went on that trip Joe? Weird, I didn't notice a comment from you on my TR.

Brian, who says you didn't like Storm Runner as much as you like the Teealun!

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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:17 PM

Legendary said:
Heh, I never visited CP when TTD was down for 11.25hrs of the day...I did visit HP when Storm Runner was though!

Crap luck sucks!

I've been to KBF once since Xcelerator. CP 4 times since TTD and Hershey twice since SR - All the rocket coasters were running on every visit at each park.

Call me Gonchar Luckypants :)

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Monday, June 21, 2004 3:30 PM
Don't confuse bad luck with Intamin built rides. :)

Homey, I responded to your damn TR! >:O

JC

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Monday, June 21, 2004 5:16 PM

GregLeg said:
I've been to King's Dominion 6 times since Hypersonic opened, and I've ridden it on exactly one of those visits. And that was the ride's Media Day.

Oh that's a lie! You rode it again a few days after Media Day on PKD's opening day that year. I know 'cause I was there :)

lata, jeremy

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Monday, June 21, 2004 11:04 PM
Some have compared Hypersonic to getting kicked by a mule while TTD is compared to getting sat upon by an elephant. I'm inclined to agree. Hypersonic's launch is still my fav. over TTD and Xcel. (and most likely SR, once I ride it).
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