Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, Illinois, USA
Some friends and I had planned a trip to Six Flags in Chicago for two weeks after Coastermania, and as luck would have it, Goliath opened the day before we went to the park, and I was able to ride it on its opening weekend. I'll give you a few thoughts that I have about the ride.
Goliath is a very solid ride. The ride is extremely smooth, and the drop is solid ejector air, especially in the back row. There are a couple pops of air as you hit the over-banked turns. The first inversion (twist and dive? or whatever they call it) gives a moment of hang time before you loop out. The highlight of the ride is undoubtedly the inverted zero-g stall. You hang in that thing with solid air time for what almost feels like an eternity.
As good as the ride is, it feels a bit short. It seems to be about 40 seconds from dropping off the lift to the brake runs, whereas most coasters have about 60 seconds from the lift to brake run. Even though it is short, I don't really know what they could add to the ride that would make it better. They were also stapling people into the ride. I'm sure a lot of this is due to the incident on New Texas Giant, and to be honest, with the hang time in the two inversions, I don't know that it is possible for that ride to be safe without having people plastered into their seats. It's definitely a top 10 ride, but I just can't rank it above the Voyage, and I'm contemplating where it fits amongst the rest of my top 10 rides. As great as it is, I like a ride that I can lift off the seat a little bit, and that just will never happen on this ride.
Now, I also want to mention that the loading procedure on this ride is INCREDIBLY slow. They wait for everyone to check their bags in the bin before staring to check the seats. Two people start at the front of the train, one on each side, and check the seat belts. Only once they have finished checking the seat belts, two different operators start at the front of the train, and push down and check the restraints. In doing so, it takes almost three minutes to clear a 24 passenger train, and that makes the line move very very slowly. Compare that to Millennium Force which can ideally clear a 36 passenger train in just about 100 seconds.
Sounds great (except the loading part) I was wondering about the inverted bunny hill. I wasn't sure if it was designed to hold you in your seat with positive G's (albeit upside down) or to allow you to hang out of your seat while inverted. Sounds like it's the latter.
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