Upon ariving at the gate after a 25 minute ride, we found a band playing music and DJ's from local radio stations getting the crowd excited. When the gates opened, everyone headed towards Storm Runner. The menace is visible from nearly everywhere in the park. While walking past the Claw, a test run resulted in a roll back. But within a few minutes it cleared the top hat. It barely made it over, and looked a little slow. Never-the-less, I was still excited.
We waited 20 minutes outside the entrance while those who won a contest were able to take the first public train. Any doubts of it being slow were quickly erased - with people in it, it easily went over the tophat. Finally, the entrance opened and we snaked through the queue (which is nicely shaded around the Trailblazer) and made it to the station. I decided to take a back seat.
After a two train wait, I quickly pulled the OSTR. There's plenty of room and they're very comfortable and don't obstruct from the view at all. The station is set up in the same way Lightning Racer is, and the track switches on each side so that they can enter the station and keep the line moving, very cool.
Finally, we dispatched and made our way onto the launch. After waiting for what seemed like an eternity, there was a soft hiss and over the loudspeaker you heard, "Get ready to launch!" (or something like that) and within a second (well actually, two), you're traveling at 72 mph and heading straight for the tophat.
I've only ridden 3 coastes with launches (Volanco: The Blast Coaster, Batman and Robin: The Chiller, and Flight of Fear) but this launch out-does any of them. The forces on your body are incredible. The train is silent, until you reach the top of the top hat.
You creep over, and the screams of "Oh my God" come out. In the back, you don't recieve too much air. However, you get a brief look at Comet Hollow and before you know it, you're heading straight down. Incredible air in the back, and the OSTR's don't take away from it (unless you've been severely stapled in). Amazing! But it's not done yet - the next inversion is incredibly disorientating when you begin to come out of it and see Pioneer Frontier. There's a moment of hangtime and a fair amount of positive g's at the bottom. Within a flash, you're shot upward into the spiral. But, before that, there's a large doss of air. Then, it encounters the spiral which is also incredibly disorientating and has a huge amount of hangtime.
The flying snake dive is next, and it's unexpected. It happens so fast, it's hard to put it into words. Soon, you're twisting to the right sharply before going straight and recieving another doss of air before the brakes.
Storm Runner is in a class of it's own. It's intense, but not too intense, and has some serious moments of airtime and hangtime. I went on it two more times that day, each wait being about an hour (it was consistintly like that throughout the day) and you recieve even more airtime, except on the vertical drop in the front. This is a must-ride coaster, you're given so much in such a short time. Definately not a dissapointment! It ran very, very smoothly with no breakdowns. Another winner for Hershey.
The park overall was running extremely well. There were mechanics all over Storm Runner in the morning, and secruity to make sure no one was jipping (and they caught a few people). There was only one train on each side of Lightning Racer and the ops were fairly slow, but there wasn't too much of a line. The ride was the same as always: smooth, bits of floater air, and a unique dueling aspect. A fun ride.
The cat is back - last year, the Wildcat seemed to be running horribly slow and well, smooth. One of the reason I loved it was because it tossed you around. I didn't get that, but this year I did! It was incredibly rough, in a good way. The laterals were insane and the airtime was upundant. I love the ending, being close to the ground and going at what seems lighting speeds.
Great Bear was the same as always, a fairly intense ride with great inversions. I love how it feels like you're flying over Comet Hollow. The zero-g roll is my favorite on an invert. It feels like you're going to crash into the creek. The SooperDooperLooper recieved some more blue paint (replacing the green in most areas) and still has that classic, intense loop and helix.
The Comet is always a great ride, and there was even a bit of floater air on the returning bunny hops! I love the beginning though - the air on the drops is insane. Still worthy of taking on the newer woodies. The Trailblazer had no line (for once, it always had long lines during the summer) and is a great starting coaster. Some nice views of Storm Runner too. ;)
Those were the main attractions we went on. We went on several flats and other rides like the Fender Bender, Monorail, and Whip, and visited Zoo America (actually, we spent most of the afternoon tehre). It's worth a visit, at least once and it's a nice break from the park.
Overall, I had a blast. I'm not too big a fan of Hershey, but this visit was by far the best. There was plenty of secruity and the staff were extremely nice and seemed to work their butts off, especially on Storm Runner. They were also prepared for the crowds that it brought, and made sure it ran efficiently.
I'll post some pictures either tomorrow or later tonight. Hope you enjoyed. :)
Edit: Yes I know, I spelled "Runner" wrong.
*** Edited 5/9/2004 4:39:34 AM UTC by 3r1c***
So which is it? Air in the back, or not?
SFGAdv lover said:
So which is it? Air in the back, or not?
There is some, but not a huge amount. However, in the front it's a totally different story. There's a enormous amount there. :)
*** Edited 5/9/2004 1:11:58 AM UTC by 3r1c***
An overview of Storm Runner. Sorry about the quality, I took it from the Kissing Tower. The black in the right hand corner is from a fire.
The station and the crowds watching the trains launch.
The tophat taken from near Subway.
Another picture of the tophat, displaying it's height.
A train going through the first inversion.
From the Monotrails exit, another picture of the first inversion with a train going through.
A picture of both the tophat and the first inversion.
Looking up at the spiral and flying snake dive.
Overview of the spiral and flying snake dive.
A train going through the spiral.
A good view of the flying snake dive.
The final twist before entering the brakes.
*** Edited 5/9/2004 5:05:40 PM UTC by 3r1c***
Haha no I'm not giving Patrick the finger
That works until the hourly bandwidth limit is hit.
how did you think the pacing of it was? i dont mean speed but more of tempo. its *looks* inconsistant. was it?
BTW, I switched the host of the pictures so they should be available now.
And I agree. I can't wait to ride it. Maybe I'll go in a month or two. It looks very unique and definitely adds in perfectly to HP's skyline.
WOO HOO! I can't even begin to wonder how HP would top this in the future.
Thanks for the pics, 3r1c
*** Edited 5/10/2004 12:18:15 AM UTC by dexter***
That band you said at the beginning--that was probably my school!
It was a three man band, one of Hersheypark's I would assume. There was a big school band compitition going on at the stadium though.
The second set of trains was added to LR at around 1:30...you must have got on before that. Plus the ops weren't really that slow..it just seemed like it because there was only 1 op for each train to check all lapbars. I thought they did a pretty good job.
If you want more good pics of SR, take some from the Giant Wheel. I got some great shots from there.
Can't wait to ride this baby.
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