In the spirit of the thread "Coasters that suprised you?", I offer this challenge. Is there a coaster, or coasters, that on your first visit to ride it you came away with the impression that the coaster absolutely sucked or didn't live up to the hype, only to ride it on a subsequent visit and find it to be a great ride?
Here are my three examples:
Kumba, BGT: The first time I visited BGT I thought Kumba sucked. I thought it was rough and headbangy and didn't understand what all the hype was about. The next year when I visited BGT, however, I rode it and thought that I had found coaster nirvana. Suddenly I started seeing what people were raving about like the airtime in the zero-G roll and the wonderful layout.
Magnum, CP: First visit to CP, I hated this coaster. Absolutely hated it. I thought it was a rough piece of junk and didn't even bother to give it a second ride. Second visit, I found 1-3 nirvana. I rode the hell out of it in 1-3 and was in airtime heaven. Sure it's painful airtime, but it's airtime nonetheless.
Mean Streak, CP: First visit found it to be rough and uninspired like everyone else has. My last visit to the park I decided to ride it again and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't that rough (I've ridden a lot lot worse wood, see Psyclone) and actually found a little air. I won't say it's a great coaster as it's braked to death and still doesn't live up to how beautiful it looks, but it also isn't as bad as people make it out to me, IMHO.
Most recently, I'd give the honor to Steel Force at Dorney...the first trip I got one ride near the back and it left me highly *anticipointed*.
Going back during the PPP trip with some great friends (and going near the front) made a WORLD of difference.
The other one I'd say that caught me by surprise on my return trip was this year's visit to Miracle Strip. Sure I loved the beachside woodie Starliner the first time around, but I guess the tunnel section hadn't STRUCK me before...this time it DID. Great ride, very much a classic in all respects, and pretty darn exciting...SOMEONE please rescue that thing...thanks! :)
edit: COOL topic Bob! *** Edited 10/19/2004 2:38:59 PM UTC by rollergator***
When I rode two years ago, I thought that it was pretty bad. So bad that I had no desire to ride again. But my friends out in Ohio kept telling me how great the thing has been running lately and assured me that I would be impressed if I gave it another chance. I did this past weekend and they were right- what a ride! Definitely in my Top 20, perhaps even Top 15.
Warm fuzzy topics! Yay! I hate griping. Umm...about fun stuff like coasters and parks anyway. ;)
I find that the Paramount Hurlers are second chance worthy. From the middle to the back,they're completely dreadful, shuffle-y, and rough. But in the first few seats, there's a little bit of air and they're pretty fun. Carowinds' is better than PKD's overall, but, both are likeable.
Son of Beast! I rode it for the first time last year. I hated that ride! The jackhammering was absolutely horrible! I decided to give it another try this year and it seemed much better...from the beginning until right after the loop...then it started the shuffling/jackhammering again. But, what ever they did to the ride this year saved it for me! I'll definately make it a must-ride when I go there. =)
Grizzly is the ultimate here. i've always liked Grizzly, but some people come away disappointed, and i understand why. the ride sucks in or near the front, during the day. you HAVE to ride it in the back, preferably at night. they should just rope off all the rest of the seats, and not open it before 7pm. it's a TOTALLY different ride.
I was trying to think of something to contribute to this, and all I could think of were second chancers that failed worse the second (or more) time than the first: X, anything Schwartzkopf, all wild mice, Beast, Son of Beast, Space Mountain ...
I guess the best I can come up with is Gemini - I'll ride it 3 or 4 trips in a row, then get bored with it and not ride for a year and then come back and wonder why I wasn't riding, then figure it out again 3 or 4 trips later ... so that's more cyclic than second chance, but it's the best I got ;) Guess I'm not very forgiving ....
Tsunami at ClAP. I rode it in the back first and, while it had some solid moments, the helix was jackhammer bad. I rode it again in the front and it wasn't spectacular, but it was a positive experience rather than a negative one. In fact, I found that the front row of each car is significantly better than the back row of each car.
For me two wood coasters immediately come to mind.
The first couple times I rode the Wildcat at Hershey were towards the middle and back and I found them to be extremely rough rides. I finally decided to try it up front and found it to be not only be smoother but also loaded with airtime. It's now one of my favorites there.
The first time I tried the Georgia Cyclone was towards the middle and I thought that it was just an allright ride with a little roughness thrown in. On subsequent visits, I started riding in the very back and things haven't been the same since:)
I can see Hershey's Wildcat coming into this conversation, as I have had a love/hate relationship with this coaster since it opened in '96. One year I'll get horrible rides and the next year it will be phenominal. Seems to be a very tempermental coaster.
It reminds me a lot of BGT's Gwazi in the way that it has a really meandering layout punctuated with sharp pops of airtime and lots of forceful changes in direction. Except I have yet to get a bad ride on Gwazi.
I was just remembering another "second chance" coaster...my first upside-down experience on a coaster was at SFGAdv with Chiller: Batman...I was young (6 years ago) and didn't know to take my glasses off on looping coasters...so when we went upside down in the inverted top hat, my glasses fell off and i was freaking out, screaming and riding the rest of the ride in fear that I had lost them. Fortunately they were in the bottom of the car, just fine, no scratches. From that moment on I learned...
Two weekends ago, I got to ride the Batman side for the first time since that day in 1999...and, glasses off and all, I enjoyed the ride tremendously. So that was my "second chance" ride on it :)
Nightmare at Crack Axle Canyon (Great Escape) is supposed to be a dark ride, but it just isn't dark enough. With eyes open, you can see the entire track, assembled like a cheap carny ride in barn. However, if you blindfold yourself with your hood, close your eyes or wear dark sunglasses, you get a totally different experience. Surprising dips and dives reminded me a lot of Space Mountain. Definitely worth repeating if you can handle the 160 riders-per-hour capacity.
FYI: This coaster has been around the block a few times: Beech Bend as Starchaser, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom as Starchaser, Six Flags Darien Lake as Nightmare At Phantom Cave.
I'm going to agree with Rob on the Geauga Lake Big Dipper. It was a coaster I really wanted to like. There aren't very many John Miller coasters from the 1920s still around. But I got the most gawdawful ride on the thing last year I felt lucky to still have my spine intact.
But wow! Somebody waved a magic wand because it has run great this year! I just hope and pray that Cedar Fair doesn't do anything nasty to those trains.