Vortex @ California’s Great America

In this Ride Review, we’re taking a look at the 2nd B&M ever made. VORTEX at California’s Great America that is. 

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Vortex is located behind the big carousel, and is hard to miss since it is the only roller coaster before heading past the food locations to the back and middle of the park. Riders will approach the line where a wooden sign indicates that they’re about to board Vortex. The lines is simply all switchbacks that seriously never fill up. Riders will then approach the stairs that lead to the station. The station is out door, and there will be a canopy for the operator that will assign you a row. Continue reading “Vortex @ California’s Great America”

Xcelerator @ Knott’s Berry Farm

This Ride Review is reviewing the first ever Intamin Accelerator Coaster, XCELERATOR at Knott’s Berry Farm. Xcelerator opened in 2002 and replaced Windjammer Surf Racers.

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Riders will approach the ride as they made their way around the park to the fifties themed area next to the boardwalk. Excelerator stands out with it’s 205 ft. hill. Once you think you’re there, you are not yet, as the ride entrance is located under the hill, on the other side of the themed area. There will be a large sign indicating that the Xcelerator entrance is to be found over there. Once you’re about to enter the line there is a test seat for larger guests to see if they fit in. We advise tall, and guests of an larger body sizes to sit in the test seat to make sure they can ride. Once you decided to enter the line, you’ll pass under the track, pass by lots of (never filled) switchbacks to a little path that will turn in to a ramp to the station. Once in the station you get to choose your row, and you’re ready to board!

The station
The station

Riders board the train, painted and modeled after a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air’s with flames painted on the hood, buckle their lap belt, and pull down the lap t bar.  After a series of red and yellow traffic lights, the bottom light flashes green, the train is pulled back by a catch car and the ride launches riders to 82 mph in 2.3 seconds. After only 157 ft of straight track, the ride heads up a 90 degree, 205 ft tall hill.  At the top of the hill, the ride switches from the side of the track to the top due to a twist in the track.  At the top, it slows enough to see the surrounding Orange County, then plunges back down the other side of the 90 degree, 205 ft hill while twisting back to its original position.  Once down, the track hits two over banked turns that make a figure eight.  The over banked turns are 110 ft and 95 ft tall respectively, and slow the vehicle down to 67 mph before being stopped by the brake run.  The ride only lasts about thirty seconds, but it is sure to leave all riders breathless.

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Once the train has returned to the station, riders will pick up their belongings, and leave the station to go see their on-ride photos. The photo-booth is located next to the launch track, and riders will have a sense of the speed as the launched trains fly by!

Figure eight!
Figure eight!

The lines for Xcelerator tend to be short ’til about noon, but can get pretty long from that point on, especially if they only operate 1 of the 2 trains. This can form a line that may seem short, but takes a while before you get to the actual boarding platform. After 6/7 PM the lines will lessen again, and because of Xcelerator’s popularity at night, it might have short periods of extended waits after that. If the lines are backed up somewhere in the area of the switchbacks, we advise you to come back later in the day, as the lines will most likely be shorter!

The exit of Xcelerator!
The exit of Xcelerator!

Xcelerator is definitely a must-do at the park, and is, together with Silver Bullet, the most popular ride there. Without a wait this is an amazing ride, but with wait it might disappoint, therefore try avoiding lines and have a blast!

2014 CA Season Pass prices.

For today’s Tomorrow Tuesday we are looking ahead, and we are showing you all the Season Pass prices for the major CA Theme Parks. Please note that these are the regular passes! For more detailed info go to our Quick Links page, or our Current Ticket Prices page, or click on the name of the park below.

GhostRider Ride Review

For this ride review, we’re looking at the longest woodie in CA, and one of the longest woodies in the world. GHOSTRIDER

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When riders approach GhostRider, they will enter an engraved rock, saying ‘Ghostrider’, and will walk through a small ‘mine’. Riders will then walk up to the station, and will pass by the beginning of the ride. Right before entering the station riders will pass by a medium set of switchbacks. This is very most likely not used too often, because when you enter the building there is another big set of switchbacks, which hardly ever gets touched too. Riders will go up the stairs, and figure out why these first two switchbacks weren’t filled. There is an enormous set of switchbacks on the top level/ station as well. This might get filled up entirely at times, but the other 2 switchbacks + line are a little too much. X2’s 3-4 hour line will hardly fill up those switchbacks! 

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Once you are up in the station and you’ve waited through the switchbacks, you’ll get split up in 3; the front cars, middle cars, and back cars. We advise you to ride in the middle for the most comfortable ride. Once you’ve buckled your seat-belt and closed your restraint the ride ops will do a safety check and the train leaves the station.

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The train with riders will have a ‘drop’ ride out of the station and will turn to approach the lift-hill. The lift-hill is 118 ft tall, and is followed by a covered drop of 108 ft. From this point on the ride is pretty much non-stop racing over the 4,533 ft track. There is a little brake halfway through the ride that is followed by another drop that offers some nice airtime and has a nice speed all the way back to the station. The ride offers lots of airtime, and different mixes of G’s but it is no longer smooth. It opened as a smooth, ‘must-do’, but the ride leaves riders soar nowadays. It’s still a nice and lengthy ride, which is really nice, but we’d understand that people wouldn’t wait long for it.

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Therefore the lines are never too long anymore, and the first and second switchbacks aren’t needed The lines get about 20 minutes long, and maybe more or less depending on what time of the day you decide to ride. Lines are hard to estimate for Ghost Rider, since it is close to the entrance, doesn’t have many other rides close to it, and is very popular at night, because all the handrails are lit up gold.

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It is definitely a ride that you’d want to have ridden, but when lines are long, consider coming back later on in the day. The ride is good because it’s so lengthy, reaches speeds of 56 MPH, and has a maximum drop-angle of 51′ degrees. The entire ride takes about 2 minutes and 40 seconds!

Flight Deck Ride Review (CGA)

For this Ride Review we’re taking a look at Flight Deck from California’s Great America!

Flight Deck is a custom B&M Inverted coaster, and is relatively small, but packs a lot. It is most definitely the ride at CGA that has the most theming to it. The ride opened as Top Gun, when the park was still owned by Paramount, and still has all the scenery that came with it. The only difference is the lack of music and branding the ride has, it seems kind of alternative, and could use a little help finding a unique identity once again. Other than that, Flight Deck is among the best rides in the park, battling with the all new Gold Striker.

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Once riders have made their way to the entrance of the ride, they are welcomed by the ‘Flight Deck’ sign that stands under the ride. The line is pretty short, moves really fast, and has lots of scenery. The line will pass by a huge screen with an aircraft carrier on it, and will ultimately pass under the huge ‘Flight Deck’ sign. From this point you’ll enter the more ‘themed’ line where you walk through a small, we guess, flight deck :D. Once you’ve had enough time to enjoy the scenery you’ll get to the stairs that lead up to the station. The ironic thing about CGA is that most rides have half covered waiting lines, but stations out in the sun. We’re not a fan of that, we advise them to just place some covers over the stations, which will hardly cost them any money and will make guests a whole lot more satisfied. Anyways, you will be assigned rows, and you’ll wait in the sun a bit before you board the trains, that have way shorter seat-belts than any other B&M we’ve ever been on… Continue reading “Flight Deck Ride Review (CGA)”

Throwback Thursday- Tidal Wave (CGA)

For this Throwback Thursday we’re looking at a popular ride that was very similar to Montezooma’s Revenge. Since MR seemed rather popular when we asked on FB and IG, we decided to go ahead and post this for Throwback Thursday!

Tidal Wave, later Greased Lightnin’, was a Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop with a Weight-Drop launch system. A number of the early installations had a Weight Drop launch system. This system involved a catch car attaching itself to the train, which was attached to the weight via a cable. When the launch was triggered, the 40-ton weight was dropped down a shaft pulling the cable and catch car which in turn pushed the train down the launch track. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday- Tidal Wave (CGA)”

WindSeeker… Steel Hawk

WindSeeker will be leaving Knott’s Berry Farm, and will become Steel Hawk ar Worlds of Fun for the 2014 season! For more info on the (pretty obvious) reasons why the WindSeeker from Knott’s will be leaving, click on the BLUE WindSeeker link!

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Gold Striker at California’s Great America

The new woodie at CGA is definitely the best wooden coaster in California. Gold Striker came to the park after a long time without any new rides, the ride that they chose to create is definitely worth the long lines.

Gold Striker is conveniently located at the front of the park, next to the Star Tower, and the Carousel. The ride is filled with tunnels, and thanks to it’s millennium flyer trains, is also incredibly smooth. It’s longer than the rival park’s woodie, and is the longest woodie in northern CA, with a track-length of 3,197 ft. Gold Striker is 108.2 ft tall, and reaches thrilling speeds of 53.7 mph. Gold Striker is a GCI woodie, and has 2 trains with 12 cars per train. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 24 riders per train. Continue reading “Gold Striker at California’s Great America”

WindSeeker-ness

With the closure of WindSeeker at Knott’s Berry Farm, and the possible removal of it, we are looking into the design of the WindSeekers. 

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WindSeeker is a 301-foot-tall (92 m) swing ride at several Cedar Fair parks. The rides are Wind Seeker models manufactured by Mondial. They opened for the 2011 season at Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, and Knott’s Berry Farm in California. Carowinds in North Carolina and Kings Dominion in Virginia opened their WindSeekers in 2012. The first four each cost US$5,000,000, and the next two each cost $6,500,000.

The three-minute ride features 32 suspended twin seats spinning around a central tower. A lighting package was installed on all WindSeekers, consisting of strips of LED lights mounted on the arms that support the swings and (except at Knott’s Berry Farm) colored floodlights to illuminate WindSeeker’s tower from above. Knott’s also has a different color scheme that, together with the customized sign, fits the Mexican theme that the area it resides in has.

Continue reading “WindSeeker-ness”

Stealth

On July 22, 1999, Paramounts Great America announced they would open a roller coaster made by Vekoma named Stealth. CGA called it the first ever Flying Coaster. The construction of the ride forced the reconstruction of the lower half of the parks Arrow Dynamics log flume ride (loggers Run). Stealth opened on April 1st, 2000, and was painted gray red and white.
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The Boardwalk

The Boardwalk area of Knott’s Berry Farm used to house Perilous Plunge, which closed on September 3, 2012. On October 22, 2012 Cedar Fair Entertainment Company filed a trademark for Coast Rider . Knott’s Berry Farm officially announced Coast Rider and two other rides on November 1, 2012. These 2 other rides together with the Mack Wild Mouse were to open in the Spring of 2013.

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The ride opened up along with the rest of the brand new boardwalk on May 25, 2013 Continue reading “The Boardwalk”