The Year of 100 Roller Coasters - The Summer Tour Highlights

Tuesday, August 21, 2012 9:19 PM

With the season rapidly drawing to a close, I figured I'd try to give a more complete list of my thoughts and musings from the Year of 100 Roller Coasters.

For those unaware of the goal, it was exactly what the name suggests: a quest to ride 100 different roller coasters in a single operating year. I started in January with a trip to Disneyland and DCA, and I hit #100 on Primeval Whirl during a second WDW visit in mid-September. To be honest, I actually wound up riding 100 in less than 4 months thanks to a visit to SFA that took my count for the year to 106.

I'll throw these in bullet-point form because the narrative would take forever. The condensed version of the last four trips alone took about four pages in MS Word. Anyways, here are the high points (including those from the last few trip reports I posted):

- California Screamin' is a shockingly fun ride. I'd expected it to be lame, but it was actually a great time.

- Disneyland is a great piece of history, but the size differences between it and the Magic Kingdom are staggering to me.

- Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is the stuff of legends. May Disney keep it going strong for years to come.

- SkyRush is an incredible ride, but yeah, the comfort needs to improve. May it never be tamed, though. Intamin really pushed the limits of intensity on this one, and in my opinion, they got a real five-star ride here.

- Storm Runner and Lightning Racer still rock in the fun factor. Gator was definitely right.

- If you put me on Bizarro at SFNE and left me there, you would be a friend of mine for life. What an incredible ride. Still as solid as it was in its SROS incarnation.

- Six B&M speed coasters in one season is pure excellence (Apollo's Chariot, Silver Star, Diamondback, Behemoth, Leviathan, Intimidator).

- Apollo's Chariot wasn't nearly as amazing as I remembered it being.It's still good fun, of course, but it didn't have nearly as much airtime as their newer stuff.

- Verbolten is a satisfactory replacement for Big Bad Wolf.

- Busch Gardens Williamsburg is probably the best all-around amusement park, IMO, even if the ride crews were S-L-O-W.

- Intimidator 305 blows the doors off of just about anything from an intensity perspective.

- Grizzly is a gem, and I applaud KD for not messing too much with its setting.

- Lufthansa's 747-800 is perhaps the finest airplane in the sky.

- Holiday Park is the Knoebel's of Germany, except a little fancier.

- I still can't decide if Germany's best megacoaster is Expedition GeForce or Silver Star. Expedition GeForce was an incredible ride, no doubt, but Silver Star was perhaps the surprise hit of the summer. Oh, and I know blue fire's full name is blue fire Megacoaster, but it is definitely not Germany's best megacoaster. Not even close.

- Europa Park is Epcot's World Showcase on steroids, with theming that, at times, was easily Disney-quality.

- Europa Park is proof of how capacity pays off. That park was swamped, but the longest lines were maybe half an hour (blue fire, Wodan). Silver Star barely stacked, but I think it's because Germany has less...intensive...restraint-checking requirements.

- Jumping back to the above about Lufthansa's 747-800 being the best airplane in the sky, Lufthansa in general is a wonderful airline. I work for an airline and traveled space-available at our company discount, and some challenges with a partner airline's flight resulted in numerous re-routes to my FRA-IAD return flight, but Lufthansa in their infinite hospitality finangled me some accomodations (not first or business class, just to clarify). What an incredible flight crew and what great Customer Service personnel in FRA. I do hope that one Flight Attendant shared that Rittersport, though...

- Diamondback is a great ride, but it suffers from Incredible Hulk syndrome. The second half was seriously lacking. I know that's often the case with a number of rides, but it was VERY noticeable on this one. Silver Star is perhaps one of the few exceptions (the second half has some of the ride's best maneuvers).

- KI's Flight Deck is nuts in the front row. Wow, what a ride. Serious overswing action.

- KI's Rivertown Buffet (or whatever it's called) is actually pretty good value. The breadsticks and marinara sauce were delicious.

- Valleyfair! is the most generic park in existence. It has that second-tier CF park feel to it, but without any compensatory redeeming qualities. The staff were great and everything, and I take nothing away from them, but it was probably the dullest park I've been to in ages. With that said, Wild Thing was surprisingly good, but all in all, meh.

- Behemoth and Leviathan are perhaps the greatest one-two punch in roller coasterdom. Oh my goodness, yes.

- Behemoth doesn't get nearly the recognition it deserves. It is a serious airtime machine.

- I'm convinced that Leviathan runs at ludicrous speed. It has some serious presence, and it is an unbelievable rush.

- Canda's Wonderland needs to learn that quality > quantity. You had the B&M megas, Vortex, and Backlot Stunt Coaster. That's about it.

- Time Warp proved that flying coasters need to be left to B&M and Vekoma.

- Wild Beast has not aged as well as KD's Grizzly.

- The WindSeekers are genuinely terrifying. I rode the KI, Canadian, and Carowinds examples (I was too wimpy to ride the first one I encountered, which was at KD). I very much enjoy them, but they are some of the few rides that truly scare me. Not enough to keep me from a 3-lap marathon on the Carolina installation, mind you.

- Batman - The Ride may be my absolute favorite roller coaster. It's just crazy good. The blistering intensity of it is almost unparalleled.

- Superman Ultimate Flight (the B&M flyer edition) is still such an incredibly fun ride. I know it's basic, but I think that's part of what I like about it so much.

- Carowinds allowed re-rides. Heck yes. Bless them for bucking the trend.

- I finally got a lap on Nighthawk to complete the Vekoma flyer trilogy. The corkscrews were pretty cool, but I like the expanded layouts of the other two more.

- Several years ago, I rode Joker's Jinx 30 times in a row without getting off due to light crowds and SROS being closed. That made for 120 inversions in 2 hours. I broke my inversion record, if not my duration record, with 21 laps on Afterburn without getting off for 126 inversions in a row. I'd have kept going, but it was the evening and I wanted more WindSeeker and Intimidator laps.

- Intimidator may not be the most intense hypercoaster in the world, but it's just plain fun. Of the CF B&M hypers in the 200 to 300-foot range, it's #1. I love the turnaround at the ride's far end, among all the other good stuff about it.

- Manta was great as always and definitely the best of the B&M flyers, but Kraken, SWO's best coaster, was down for maintenance, so I'm still depressed. It was supposed to be my hundredth on the year (go out in style, ya know?), but as I mentioned earlier, Primeval Whirl, which I'd skipped in February, got the honor.

- In case I didn't make it properly clear earlier, Rock 'n' Roller Coaster is FAAAAAAANTASTIC!!!

- I LOVE what SFA did with Apocalypse. The theme work seemed uncharacteristically good. Also, I found by sticking my head forward, I was able to actually really enjoy the ride. It's actually pretty good, and I like how its corkscrew had the same snap as the inverted coaster corkscrews. I rode it as Iron Wolf, but I didn't remember much about it except major headbanging (I hadn't developed my trick at that time).

- Holy smokes, Superman - Ride of Steel is excellent. I rode up front, and my goodness, for being my lowest-ranked Intamin mega, it's still WAY up on my list of amazing rides. Intamin went hardcore right from the start on their megas, and for having a pretty basic layout, SROS is great. What an awesome coaster. I could spend a day just riding this ride over and over.

Last edited by sirloindude, Monday, July 8, 2013 11:30 AM
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Thursday, August 23, 2012 1:27 AM

I am really jealous...this has been a more coaster-free season than I've had in...well, this century. Notes:

Vekoma flyers are credit-lap rides. Not that other flyers are any too comfy, but the Hannibal Lecter cages are a bit confining, and there's no correct height where my legs are comfy unless my throat gets shoved against the choker piece.

ValleyFair! - the classic piece is the sign out front, and the Carousel. I'm still on the lookout for the promise of a trimless High Roller ride... ;~P

KD's Grizzly indeed kicks butt...the tunnel is superb.

Lightning Racer....can't say it enough. :~)

Jill was also highly impressed with Storm Runner....I loved the ride from the moment I saw that crazy snake diving thingy....

Europa and Tivoli.....and apparently Holiday Park...some day.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:41 AM

- I'm convinced that Leviathan runs at ludicrous speed. It has some serious presence, and it is an unbelievable rush.

Watching the short trains fly through the course is an awesome sight. Outstanding ride.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012 4:36 PM

It really is. I imagine the train length does have something to do with the sense of speed you get just watching it, but man, does that thing seem to fly through that course. I think one of the highlight moments is that low level speed hill off of the first overbank. Watching POVs, I thought speed would be all you'd feel, but that was some ridiculous airtime.

Gator, I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised by Holiday Park. I should clarify that it reminded me of Knoebel's from a scenery perspective (sans mountains), but it was a bit more developed in terms of midways and such, especially in the front of the park. All in all, though, it was a very pretty park.

Also, as for the jealousy, believe me, I'll kind of be glad when it's all over. The biggest problem is that the flights are all space-available, and because of that, some trips were planned just hours in advance (Germany was only a week). There was a lot of on-the-fly (no pun intended) adjustments that led to the final schedule.

Ultimately, though, I've had a great time, and I'm glad that the last few trips won't be taken by myself. I just think that if I were ever to repeat it, I need to make the decision earlier than July, lol.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012 8:03 PM

I am anxious to get back to Germany. It has been 10 yrs since my last visit. My favorite was Expedition GeForce. My favorite Intamin. I fell in love with Europa Park. Absolutely gorgeous! Silverstar was meh for me. But it was new. Would like to see how it is now. Plus really want to ride Wodan!

Agree entirely with Behemoth. What a ride! I am an air-time whore and will take it over Leviathan any day. Not saying it's a bad ride. Going back next month hoping it's warmer than it was in spring when we were there.

Going to be good year for us. Taking my wife to a lot of parks she has never been to. She will have added over a 100 coaster credits by season's end. My best has been 89 in 1 season.

Glad you have had great year! It feels great to get away from the norm and experience other parks.

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Saturday, August 25, 2012 8:58 PM

rollergator said:

Vekoma flyers are credit-lap rides. Not that other flyers are any too comfy, but the Hannibal Lecter cages are a bit confining, and there's no correct height where my legs are comfy unless my throat gets shoved against the choker piece.

Do you mean Zamperla?

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Sunday, August 26, 2012 4:06 PM

^Yes. ;~)

The Vekomas are actually pretty sweet, layout-wise and whatnot. Horrible capacity, but the restraints are no worse than B&Ms. The flying *position* is the problem...not sure why anyone thought that was an advancement in coaster tech...

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Sunday, August 26, 2012 4:07 PM

rollergator said:

Europa and Tivoli.....and apparently Holiday Park...some day.

Someone slap me upside the head and say "Liseberg!"...thanks! :~)

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Sunday, August 26, 2012 6:02 PM

Flyers. Ugh. Sometimes I wish I wasn't a credit whore, just so I'd never have to ride one again...

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Sunday, August 26, 2012 8:18 PM

I love the flyers in general (I didn't even think the Zamperlas were that bad). S:UF's have kind of a boring layout but Manta and the Vekomas are all fantastic in my book.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012 9:19 PM

Sucks.

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Sunday, August 26, 2012 11:22 PM

Oddly enough, I really very much enjoy the Superman Ultimate Flight flyers. I know they're a bit generic and unremarkable, but I definitely have a whole lot of fun on them. Manta and Tatsu are definitely in a league of their own in my book, but if the SUFs became as common as the B-TRs, I'd be rather pleased.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 12:33 AM

Honestly, of the three I've ridden (two Vekomas and a Superman Ultimate Flight), S:UF is the more enjoyable one, and not because it's particularly enjoyable. The second half gives probably the best "Superman" type flying sensation of any of them. It's too bad the pretzel loop is so damn uncomfortable that you spend the second half waiting for your eyeballs to return to their sockets from deep within your skull.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 1:23 AM

I've had that same experience. It was horrible:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpUVPvsIF5w

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Monday, August 27, 2012 1:46 AM

Vekoma flyers scare me to death. That is hard for a coaster to do. I usually ride them for the credit and then forget that they are even in the park anymore. ;)

The only B&M flyer I have rode is Superman at SFGAdv. While it was more enjoyable as far as scaring me to death is concerned, the opposite of a loop thing made me not able to breath for a few seconds. The feeling of drowning is not a good special feature to offer on an amusement ride, in my opinion.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 7:11 AM

You're sure not kidding about the forgetting-they're-there part...

;)

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Monday, August 27, 2012 7:35 AM

I've ridden one of each kind. I legit enjoyed XFlight at Geauga Lake. Thought Superman at Great Adventure was meh, and just absolutely hated the Volare at Elitch.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 3:16 PM

I was not a fan of X-Flight, but found a more comfortable way to ride it as Firehawk. My first time on Superman at SFGAd was even worse, but the next two times (there and at SFGAm), again I found a better way to position myself -- and I think I even somewhat enjoyed it the last time. I forget.

Then I rode the Volare at Coney Island this past weekend. For one thing, I was just slightly too tall for the step I had to use, so even before I was strapped in, it was uncomfortable. The tops of my shoulders were pressed firmly against the top (front?) of the restraints. As we exited the station, I already knew I was in for a painful ride. And by golly I was right! ...to the point that I literally had a bruise on my left shoulder from where it was forced against the restraint repeatedly.

If I ever make it to Canada's Wonderland, I'm going to have to seriously reconsider my credit-whoreness...

Last edited by birdhombre, Monday, August 27, 2012 3:19 PM
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Monday, August 27, 2012 3:32 PM

^^Soaring Eagle was the only new-to-me coaster I've been on the last several years where I literally wanted it to end. I knew I was in for a bad time the moment it moved. Rye Playland has this type of coaster, too...I dunno offhand if it's a Volare, but it wasn't nearly as nasty as SE or Time Warp.

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Monday, August 27, 2012 3:53 PM

^Yes, Super Flight (Rye) is the same as Scream Zone's Soarin' Eagle (which WAS Elich's Flying Coaster) is the same as Canada's Wonderland's Time Warp. Turns out even N. Korea has one....

http://www.rcdb.com/r.htm?ot=2&mo=8263

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