Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure

Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dollywood's All-New Record-breaking 'Lightning Rod' Debuts

After a few glitches along the way, Dollywood's new Lightning Rod finally opened this week down in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  The new coaster gives fans yet another great reason to visit the beautiful space that boasts other great coasters like Firechaser Express, Mystery Mine, Tennessee Tornado, Thunderhead and Wild Eagle.  This record breaking, first of its kind launched wooden coaster, glides along 3,800 feet of track at 73 miles per hour and looks like a lot of fun.  Here's what the parkk has to say about Lightning Rod:

Themed after a tricked out 1950's-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.

Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, Lightning Rod rockets riders around its massive wooden structure on an adrenaline-charged lap through the trees in the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. During the ride, guests experience nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

I visited Dollywood a couple of years ago and simply loved almost everything about the place, and with the addition of this new one, another trip may soon be in store.  So click play below and have a virtual ride...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sea World Orlando's New 'Mako' Hypercoaster

Another cool addition in the world of roller coasters just happened in an unlikely place.  When Sea World, in Orlando, Florida, first opened more than 40 years ago, it was merely an amusement park-sized aquarium, with plenty of sea animal exhibits set in extraordinarily cool settings.  Over the past 20 years or so, the park has been adding more and more amusement rides, such as Shamu Express, Journey to Atlantis, and even coasters like the floorless Kraken and the flying Manta.  Well, now the park has added its third roller coaster, Mako, making it a bona fide destination for coaster enthusiasts who visit the Orlando area.

Now hypercoasters are among my favorite types of rides.  These types of rides offer heights in excess of 200 feet and are built for speed and airtime, a favorite element of virtually any coaster lover. Sea World's newest measures exactly 200 feet on its first drop before careening into twists, turns, a unique 'Hammerhead' u-turn, and plenty of hills and airtime.  Mako reaches top speeds of about 73 mph as it traverses 4,700-plus feet of track in just under three minutes.  

The ride, with lead cars bearing the face of the well-known, fast-swimming shark that gave it its name, is located in the parks Shark Wreck Reef area and sits next to Kraken, the two coasters straddling a lake towards the back of the park.  The coaster debuted today and I am sure riders enjoyed the newest, tallest and fastest coaster in all of Orlando.  Here's your turn...  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Adventureland's New 'Monster'

Looks like Des Moines, Iowa will be another hot destination for roller coaster enthusiasts this year. I'm speaking specifically of Adventureland Amusement Park in Altoona and their new Monster roller coaster.  I am loving the fact that these non big-name parks are whipping up some major thrills (see Lagoon's Cannibal).  When I first checked out a video of this one, which opened to the public this past Saturday, I salivated with excitement at that first, 101 degree drop.

Monster is the park's 4th roller coaster and by far the most fearsome.  Starting with that drop from a height of about 133 feet, this coaster whips through five different types of inversions at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour.  This new coaster won't warrant a specific trip to Des Moines, but if I am ever within 100 miles of it, I am going!  Check it out...