The 5 Best Launches in California

20140620_122128 (Large)In this awesome state with a huge variety of different parks and coasters, we’re very fortunate to have a bunch of different launches. Whether it’s hydraulic, LIM, LSM, or Fly-Wheel, we’ve got it all in this state! Where as some states lack launches, we’ve got some that launch you up in the sky, into pitch black Egyptian tombs, or backwards through rare elements. In fact, there are a total of 10 Launch Coasters in California, with a total of 17 launches! Let’s check out the 5 Best Launches in California!


5. Superman: Escape From Krypton

A launch that’s backwards and goes 0-100 miles per hour in 6.5 seconds? Yes, that will be making this list of 5. Although many people’s reservations about this launch lie in its relative lack of accelerating force (the reason it’s not higher on this), numbers don’t lie. Launches are largely dependent on the speed they produce, and as the third fastest coaster in the country, Superman fairs well in that department. Now we have a launch with that kind of speed … backwards! In addition, this coaster was the first to exceed the 100 MPH mark! Combine this all and note that you’re being launched backwards… Superman: Escape from Krypton is our #5 pick.20150307_134416 (Large)

4. Superman Ultimate Flight – Backwards Launch

Being the first of the currently super-cloned popular Premier Rides Sky Rocket 2, Superman Ultimate Flight was clearly a hit. Although the ride starts with a somewhat tame forwards launch up a vertical spike, as riders descend back into the station, the linear induction motors suddenly propel the train backwards at a greater speed. Riders are thrown forward into their restraints with what is a surprisingly forceful launch. The combination of the surprise and force that come wit this backwards launch makes this one of the best launches in the state, securing itself a spot at #4.

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3. Full Throttle – First Launch

Looking down the rather short stretch of track before the World’s tallest loop, you may be wondering how exactly the necessary speed will be reached to traverse such a massive element. The answer is: a pure, fast, and powerful LSM launch. Reaching 70 miles per hour in about 3 seconds leaves you pinned to the back of your seat with the wind in your face as you struggle to take a breath. This launch is great in the way that it is nothing more than what it is. A forceful, fast, forwards launch, and sometimes that’s just what you need.20150402_190804 (Large)

2. Manta – First Launch

Now, you probably didn’t expect Manta to pop-up in our list after rides like Superman Ultimate Flight and Full Throttle. But Manta at SeaWorld San Diego features a very special launch. Besides the initial launch being a LSM launch that only speeds up to about 43 MPH, it’s actually the best themed and most immersive launch in the state. And perhaps… the world. The super comfortable MACK trains will roll into what seems to be an underwater cave, which is actually a giant 360′ degrees multimedia screen tunnel. The train will be rolled forward and backwards for a several times, to create a feeling of rocking with the currents below the water’s surface. Then Bat Rays (Mantas) start rapidly swerving around on the screen, the train pulls back, and the incredible SeaWorld-esque soundtrack becomes louder… After which the train speeds out at with a snappy 43MPH launch. Though the ride is long, and has a surprising mix of forces, we’re solely looking at the launch experience here. And that first launch is so well-themed, fun, immersive, and snappy. We here at California Coaster Kings thought it was definitely deserving of this spot on the list. Sometimes it’s not just about the acceleration. 20150709_143148 (Large)

1. Xcelerator

We are not expecting that any of you are surprised by our #1 in this list of 5. Xcelerator opened in 2002 as Intamin’s first Accelerator coaster, and features a hydraulic launch. This then-new technology allows for the 50’s Chevy-themed trains to reach speeds of 82 MPH in 2.3 seconds. Which to date, is still in the top 10 of quickest accelerating coaster-launches. Thus the name Xcelerator is quite fitting for this 205 feet tall monster. The ride itself (in addition to the launch) features an unsupported Top Hat, 2 over-banked turns and an intense break-run, to be more interesting than some of the taller and faster Accelerator coasters that followed. The ride launches out of the station right into that wonderful Top Hat. It’s the best launch in the state, if not the country. And we’re confident you agree!20141109_140714 (Large)


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6 Replies to “The 5 Best Launches in California”

  1. I’ve spoken to people who have ridden Top Thrill Dragster and Kingda Ka—which are much faster rides than Xcelerator—and they’ve said that Xcelerator’s launch is more intense despite its slower overall speed.

    1. while it’s an awesome launch, it doesn’t come close to the face smashing g’s TTD pulls, imo. but i’m glad xcelerator is 4 miles from my house and open year round. 🙂

  2. That’s a pretty cool list. I always liked the classic Anton launch on Montezooma, but I can see how it didn’t make this list. I do agree that the overall experience on Manta is great, and it’s good to see a mix of launches with Manta getting some attention.

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