Sierra Sidewinder @ Knott’s Berry Farm

This Ride Review is ‘reviewing’ the, currently, only Spinning Coaster in CA! (Undertow hasn’t opened yet, and Pandemonium closed in 2011)

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Sierra Sidewinder opened in 2007 pretty unique, since there are only 3 Mack Spinning Coasters, and the other two are located in Europe! The ride is located in Camp Snoopy, right of the entrance plaza and is a nice family coaster that is super re-ridable, and you want to ride it over and over again since not a single ride is the same!

Sierra Sidewinder

Riders will approach the ride’s line after entering Camp Snoopy, the family/kids area of the park. The line exists out of 2 sets of switchbacks surrounded by wooden fences. The line is located right under the roller-coaster, so guests will see spinning coaster-cars fly by ever 2 minutes or so! Once guests have walked past, or through, the switchbacks, they will take the stairs up to the station, where they can choose a row to sit in. They will eventually board the relatively small trains, fasten their seat belts, lock their restraints and off they’ll go!

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The ride’s vehicles are locked (so they don’t spin) for the pre-lift and lift-hill section of the ride. Once the train reaches the top of the 62.3 ft lift-hill, the train’s cars will unlock their awesome spinning feature, and there is no stopping to ’till the end. The ride doesn’t have a large drop. The drop is only 39 ft, and goes right into a set of banked turns, the 3rd one being 90′ degrees tilted! After this the train will make a quick, sudden, transition into a double downwards helix, where the train will come very close to the ground. The train will then also reach it’s maximum speed of 37 MPH. Riders will then be thrown into a waving transition, in which the train will quickly bank about 45 degrees either way twice in a row. This movement is followed by two banked turns that run into the brake run. The train’s cars will then be rotated back to the original starting position for it to re-enter it’s station.

Perfectly aligned vehicles, since the cars don't start spinning 'til the first drop!
Perfectly aligned vehicles, since the cars don’t start spinning ’til the first drop!

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This ride may be a little short, but it really offers a unique ride that is different and exciting every time you ride, due to the spinning. The ride is nicely located, and circles some smaller rides that are located in the kids area. The ride’s lines tend to be short throughout the day, and even when the switchbacks are both full, the line will only be about 30 mins. So you can never go wrong with Sierra Sidewinder! Check it out next time you’re at Knott’s Berry Farm!

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