Alexander: Everyone that knows us knows we live for a good Arrow coaster – especially their loopers. We love nothing more than getting rattled around on some of Arrow’s rowdier concoctions, which brings us to this fairly-exhaustive list of our favorites (though we’re still missing some cool ones, like Fantasia Special and HotWheels Sidewinder).
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This is meant to be a list of coasters that can still be enjoyed by our readers today (Coronavirus notwithstanding). This article would’ve happened sooner if we weren’t so heartbroken by the retirement of our beloved Kings Island Vortex, but life goes on. Here’s our Top 5 (operating) Custom Arrow Loopers:
5. Anaconda – Kings Dominion (Doswell, Virginia, United States)
With Vortex opening up a spot on our list of operating Arrow loopers, it feels almost poetic to say that next-in-line for a slot was kindred KECO custom looper, Anaconda. While not as universally loved as its loop-ier Ohio sibling, Anaconda demonstrated a notable shift in custom looper execution: forgoing the inversion record race (8 loops would have been necessary to take the record from the Six Flags mega loopers and Vekoma’s Goudurix) in favor of some notable non-inversion elements, including the polarizing, post-midcourse brake “butterfly” and the thematically-conscientious underwater tunnel.
4. Tennessee Tornado – Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, United States)
Pleasing crowds and enthusiasts for over 20 years now, there’s no doubt that this late-era looper deserves a spot on everyone’s Top Arrow lists. The only standard looper designed by Alan Schilke, Tennessee Tornado’s articulated inversions and fluid transitions render the ride largely dissimilar from the firm’s work before it, but classic mega looper rolling stock and the familiar cadence of the chain lift’s acoustics are quick to remind seasoned enthusiasts that Tornado is unmistakably Arrow.
3. Dragon Mountain – Marineland Canada (Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada)
As far as overall park experiences go, Marineland is pretty much at the bottom of our list – there’s an endless rap sheet of negative qualities for this pulsating ethics violation of a park, so we ask that you to take anything resembling endorsement with a grain of salt. With that said, Dragon Mountain is about as good as the rest of the park is bad – beautiful scenery, remarkable pacing, and lots of surprises await guests on this mile-long Arrow masterpiece. Too bad the park is crummy enough to give anyone buyer’s remorse for their ticket.
2. Viper – Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, California, United States)
As the indisputable mascot of the California Coaster Kings brand, the only surprise about Viper’s presence on this list is that it didn’t claim the top spot (we’re just as surprised as you are, really). While the ride’s status was originally was pigeonholed as “yet another Arrow Mega Looper,” the departures of Shock Wave, Great American Scream Machine, and now Vortex, have steadily elevated Viper’s market value to utter pricelessness.
1. Dragon – Ocean Park (Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong)
An unlikely superpower in the Arrow lexicon hides like a reclusive giant on the jagged terrain of Hong Kong: the 1984 Arrow-Huss Dragon had nothing to prove, but rather a purpose of highlighting an enchanting view of the South China Sea. From memorable quirks like a mine train-like double lift configuration and wrap-around lift crest, to the ingenious panoramic U-turn sandwiched between two vertical loops (the first-of-its-kind sidewinder is no slouch either), Dragon’s highlights harmonize for an experience that we’re nothing if not blessed to still have in our midst.
And so concludes our Arrow Looper Top 5. Do you agree with our analysis? Be sure to weigh in on our social media platforms and check our some of our other recent articles: