Desperado Testing Update

“If the 225 foot drop down a 55 degree descent doesn’t terrify you, maybe knowing that the Desperado is one of the tallest roller coasters in the country will.” Was seen captioned on “Vegas.com”. Let’s take a closer look at Nevada’s wildest roller coaster that hasn’t been seen in years! 


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Seeing the massive yellow roller coaster, tge Arrow Dynamics-built Desperado on your drive to and from Las Vegas in Nevada has been pulling roller coaster enthusiasts in since its debut in 1994. Being the World’s tallest roller coaster at the time has spread word all over the country – it’s no doubt that roller coaster enthusiasts and thrill seekers alike have taken a dive into what it takes to get a ride on Desperado!

Every time I drive to and from Las Vegas I keep my eyes peeled for any signs of movement or life from the beautiful hunk of steel. Back in July I even stopped just to take some pictures of the track and get a closer look at the hotel, Buffalo Bills Hotel and Casino, which, to my surprise, was a complete ghost town. The parking lot was completely empty and even barriered with a sign saying ‘CLOSED’.

My most recent visit to Vegas was just like all the other times: no sign of life from Desperado. Sigh. But that doesn’t keep me from staring at it for the whole 3 – 5 minute drive by on my way into Sin City. I even drive slower in hopes that I might see it start to climb that insanely tall lift hill. It wasn’t until my way back to California that I’d be in complete awe!

As I start to make my way back to the state borderline and eventually, California, I start to see Desperado way in the distance as usual. I never get tired of seeing the huge structure on the side of the 15 freeway! I am probably a mile or 2 away from the Buffalo Bills Hotel and I notice a tiny dark spec moving along the faint yellow track. I start freaking out thinking it’s open or at least testing and I’m on no schedule so there’s no doubt I’m stopping to witness this massive coaster in action! 

I pull into an empty parking lot right next to the hotel and can’t believe my eyes. Immediately I grab my camera and start walking the surrounding streets to try and get some good angled shots of this coaster that’s been dormant for so long! It looks fast, it definitely looks rough but in the best way! The trains are shaped like a bullet and colored sky blue with yellow lighting strikes going through the front and sides of them. The trains look as if they’ve been refurbished or just really well taken care of. I’ve watched it make about 6 or 7 test runs and was hoping I’d see a human sitting in one of the trains next time around but sadly no luck. 

Noticing that it hadn’t made another round in almost 15 minutes I decided to try and drive around the back to see if I could see or even talk to someone who would know further information on the coaster’s status. I noticed a man who had walked out of the back of the building who looked like he knew a thing or two about Desperado. I stop and try to make conversation. I don’t remember exactly what I asked but I definitely remember him saying he’s the one behind the operation of desperado I just witnessed. He actually told me that he worked in maintenance and that they do monthly testing. 

It was amazing news and gave me some assurance that this beautiful beast of a coaster may be opening in the future! There is no information on when but the fact that it’s being operated and maintained is a definite sign. I hope that one day Desperado will be open to the public again as well as the hotel and casino it resides in. There’s no doubt that getting a ride on this record breaking ride will give you a taste of what was experienced in its early age! 

Written by Brenden, Long Beach CA

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