What does the community think of GCII?

Bakeman31092's avatar

I would like to get some thoughts from the CB community on Great Coasters. Unfortunately, I've only ridden one of their rides, Gwazi, and that was before the PTC trains were swapped for Millennium Flyers. In general, I don't see much discussion about GCII around here (less so than the Gravity Group, at least). So, what are some of your opinions?

  • What are the Millennium Flyers like?
  • How well do some of their older rides hold up?
  • Are they as smooth as they're touted to be?

Thanks everyone!

Jeff's avatar

The rides are only as smooth as any other wood coaster, provided that they're well maintained. No one will shed a tear when Gwazi goes away.

I think in the general sense they're like any other rides, in that they design what the parks ask for. The Millennium Flyer trains are cool in part because there's a lot of obvious craftsmanship that goes into building them, and they're very comfortable.

Jeff - Editor - CoasterBuzz.com - My Blog

koolcat1101's avatar

I've been on two GCII coasters Lightning Racer and Wildcat and I think they are fine. I like gravity group better though.

(Insert funny signature here.)

delan's avatar

Back in the late 90's, early 2000's they gave GG (formerly CCI) some good competition. I remember when the Roar twins opened, they were all the rage (even Roar Maryland with its jankity PTC trains). Now it looks like the pendulum has shifted back to TGG. Other than Viper at Wanda City, are there any other GCI's being built this year?

ApolloAndy's avatar

There was a time a few years ago when I had every GCI in the country. Currently I'm missing Apocalypse, Renegade, Prowler, and Gold Striker (which I'll get in May). I like most GCI's but I haven't found any that I absolutely love. Ozark Wildcat and KRumbler were both very good, but I'm just not a big fan of twisters and GCI's also tend to lack big pops of airtime. I don't think I've rated any GCI higher than 4 stars (or at the very highest, a low 5).

Hobbes: "What's the point of attaching a number to everything you do?"
Calvin: "If your numbers go up, it means you're having more fun."

I have a good, well traveled friend who thinks the GCII coasters are forceless, lifeless rides. I'm not exactly in line with that, but I do have a couple of issues with them in general.

I've never stopped to think about how many of them I've ridden. Least see, there's American Thunder/Evel Knievel, Gwazi, Kentucky Rumbler, Ozark Wildcat, Lightning Racer, Wildcat, Roar SFA, Renegade, Thunderhead, and White Lightning. I think the rides I enjoyed the most were the ones at Dollywood, SFStL, and Branson. (especially Branson's, and the fact that it's in SBNO status since 2008 makes me sad.)
And I'm not sure what sets those three apart for me as their rides in general seem to be different but at the same time the same. Hallmarks of their rides include big swoopy drops, banked turns, and laterals. I give then credit for intricate, spaghetti bowl layouts, and truthfully they harken back to some of the golden-age designs that we swoon over when we see photos of parks that once were. Those that lust over Rye Beach's Aeroplane have probably already ridden something similar in a GCII somewhere. There aren't many videos of that ride in action but there are a couple of accurate reproductions out there and I think it looks like it would be a good project for GCII to take on.

What I think their rides lack in general is that good dose of airtime- I usually come away wishing they had just incorporated even one good hill that yanks the train over the edge. Or an out and back section devoted to bunny hops for a finale. White Lightning is an example of a design that is a slight departure from the usual, and that's a good thing. And I think Prowler looks like a good one, and that's one I hope to add to my list one day soon.

For someone who absolutely loves smoothness of B&M recent hypers, gigas, wing and newest invert: Banshee, I've always disliked wooden coasters until I rode Prowler.

It was a revelation. The ride surprised the heck out of me. I also enjoyed American Thunder. Roar? Nope. Too bad because Six Flags America needs a good re-ridable ride. Superman the Ride of Steel was rougher than I expected and with the unnecessary shin bars, it made the ride uncomfortable.

So, I do like GCI coasters -- but apparently the newer ones. I've never ridden TGG... hopefully this summer at Holiday World.


PS: I do like and tolerate The Beast. I usually aim for middle row seats.

rollergator's avatar

Prowler was a real revelation for what GCII could do...White Lightning is a decent miniature version. Up and down hills are also much easier to maintain than ALL the twisting-turning hills and drop.

Al that said, I've had phenomenal rides on Roar East, HP's Wildcat, and Gwazi...none of those rides since the latter two got MF trains though.

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

LostKause's avatar

I find GCI rides to be more exciting than most, because of the detail in the track layouts. They are just more complicated, which can, arguably, translate to being more fun.

Millennium Flyer trains are beautiful, ride comfortably, and can traverse track layout very well.

Not to say that a few of their coasters are without problems. A few of their rides are pretty terrible, like Hersheypark's Wildcat and BGT's Gwazi. I often wonder why Wildcat seems to be so neglected while the nearby Lightning Racers still rides so well.

I forgot to mention the Millennium Flyer trains, which I happen to dig. And I may be in the minority here, but aside from the classic coaster train look I think they're roomy and comfortable. The lap bar hits me just right and I don't feel stapled. Plus, the trains look so snakey when you watch them traverse a curvy layout.
Since PTC lost the single, buzz bar restraints and adopted those orange individual bars I'm a lot less comfortable. The crooked vertical support bar that blocks the door hits me right in the leg every time, and I feel twisted in my seat in an attempt to avoid that. I guess the point is to make restraints safer and more secure, but I hate em otherwise.

Last edited by RCMAC,

Having only ridden 3, Thunderhead, Prowler, and American Thunder, I really like them. MF trains are very roomy and comfortable.

I've been on three: roar Vallejo, apocalypse, and gold striker. I had some great rides on roar in the early 2000's but I've heard it hasn't aged too well. I think apocalypse is underrated and I've really enjoyed the few rides I had on it. Gold striker is excellent. Great forces and pacing throughout, and some really decent pops of air in a lot of the transitions. I agree that their rides aren't airtime machines but the snappy intricate layouts are pretty fun.

I agree that the layouts on GCIs are very fun. You often don't know where you're going, and while you're not flying out of your seat on every hill, their pacing is pretty relentless. It DOES seem like they are a brand of wooden coaster that needs constant, significant maintenance to keep the level of smoothness at its maximum, or they can be particularly painful. Gwazi is a great example of this, and weirdly, Wildcat at Hershey is sometimes great and sometimes godawful. Roar East is significantly better with the track work done. Lightning Racer still runs like a champ, but I think Hershey might have a phenomenal team maintaining that particular coaster.

Millennium Flyer trains almost feel like cheating they're so comfy.

"Look at us spinning out in the madness of a roller coaster" - Dave Matthews Band

janfrederick's avatar

I've only been on Apocalypse, and I have a small track record, but I must say it is my favorite coaster. And I agree with most here that the MF trains are great. Gold Striker is on my list.

"I go out at 3 o' clock for a quart of milk and come home to my son treating his body like an amusement park!" - Estelle Costanza
rollergator's avatar

The "top side" of MFlyers is indeed pretty awesome. The retro look, the comfy seat, I get what people love.

Now for the opposing viewpoint: I'm not too thrilled that during the ride the lapbars just KEEP. COMING. DOWN. I'm fairly average (for an American) at 5'10 and a shade under 200 lbs. Sometimes the mid-ride stapling becomes absurd. Also, new rides built and equipped with MFlyers are pretty much perfectly smooth (Roar West is the exception) - I'll never forget my first rides on Thunderhead. But installing the trains on a ride that previously ran PTCs is *not* an improvement at all in my experience. My rides on HP's Wildcat and Gwazi certainly deteriorated over time with the PTC trains....but never got near as bad as either of them ran after the retrofits. Anyhow, that's my take, and I realize I'm probably in the minority on that...

You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

Bobbie1951's avatar

Thunderhead, Roar SFA and Lightning Racer are among the best wooden coasters I've ridden although my preference is for CCI after riding Boulder Dash and Shivering Timbers. It's true what Bunky says about Hershey maintaining LR well. My tattoo artist's dad is heavily involved with the maintenance and construction of coasters at Hershey and from what she tells me they really knock themselves out.


Vater's avatar

If I separate the 43 wooden coasters I've ridden into thirds, all 5 GCI coasters I've ridden fall precisely within middle third. For reference, those 5 are Gwazi (Tiger), Lightning Racer (Lightning & Thunder), Roar @ SFA and Wildcat, in that order.

Bakeman31092's avatar

So which coaster did you chop into thirds to make that division? Hopefully it was SoB. 😉

Vater's avatar

Of course. And as I mentioned...GCI's fall into the middle third:

rollergator's avatar

Vater said:

If I separate the 43 wooden coasters I've ridden into thirds, all 5 GCI coasters I've ridden fall precisely within middle third. For reference, those 5 are Gwazi (Tiger), Lightning Racer (Lightning & Thunder), Roar @ SFA and Wildcat, in that order.

Had to chuckle about this since I saw a Moosh reference earlier today....he'd have said you have 3.5 GCI credits there....

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