The 5 Best Pre-lifts in California

DSC_0134.JPG (Large)Pre-lifts. That small hint of what’s next to come. That exciting rush before you even reach the lift-hill. Pre-lifts come in many different forms, from well-themed indoor ones, to speedy drops out of the station, to funky little twists and turns. In a state full of coasters, there are quite a few pre-lifts, but which ones stand out the most? Here are California’s 5 BEST pre-lifts! 


5. GhostRider

GhostRider is certainly known for its crazy lateral forces, and the pre-lift is a great representation thereof. The train takes a long, yet shallow, dip out of the station that builds up some good speed into some good landscaping for the un-banked 180 degree turn that follows. Riders will be thrown to the left side of the train by the sharp yet sustained period of lateral force. The ride then climbs the lift hill, riders have been teased of the madness that is to ensue… Forceful and painful, that’s GhostRider.ghostrider1 (Large)

4. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad also has a rather simple pre-lift, but the combination of excellent theming and fun turns make it a must have on this list. It really helps immerse riders in the environment by surrounding them with excellent desert theming and landscapes. The train takes a small turn into a dark tunnel, after which it snakes through the ‘caves’ in the dark. Eventually reaching one of the ride’s three incredibly well themed lift-hills. The dark section of the pre-lift is a nice little maneuver that gives a slight thrill before it climbs up into the first lift hill. Overall, it is important to the rides theme and the riders overall ride experience. 20140603_093420 (Large)

3. Roar

Roar, that crazy long wooden coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. It’s closing on August 16th, to VERY likely 😉 become an RMC creation for the 2016 season. But for now, we’re taking a look at this woodie while it’s still an operating woodie. Roar is a slightly twistier creation of its counterpart at Six Flags America, that’s because Roar at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was the first wooden coaster to use Millennium Flyer trains, found on all GCI coasters ever since. This allowed for sharp and quick turns, and that’s literally what the pre-lift on Roar is. Once riders exit the station, they make a quick turn to the left, which is followed by a few quick sharp turns to the right and to the left. The little turns are slightly banked and slightly elevated, and are very clearly made to show off what a modern twister wooden coaster can do. The pre-lift is quick, fun, and very different from other coasters. Twisted Colossus is probably the most similar! Having said that, I can’t wait to see what RMC is going to do with that pre-lift. 😉20140620_130010 (Large)

2. Giant Dipper

The first time I rode Giant Dipper as a kid, I had no prior knowledge about the ride, and when the train suddenly dropped into a pitch black tunnel after being dispatched I was shocked. Many first time riders have the same experience, and it really is a memorable one. Inside the tunnel the train twists around through some drops and turns that provide those sharp laterals that can be found elsewhere on the coaster. Even for those who have ridden it, that pre lift is always a good thrill, and is the perfect start to this classic woodie. DSC_0134.JPG (Large)

1. Twisted Colossus

Well oh well, Twisted Colossus! The ride’s first lift-hill is nowhere near the station, and in order for the train to get to the lift-hill, it has to flow over its pre-lift. The park named this section of the ride “Twisted Hops”, and they weren’t joking. Once riders leave the station, they’ll be turning under the exit-bridge and will pass a set of drive-wheels, these will accelerate the train to get it through the pre-lift. It actually reaches a nice speed, the pre-lift hops and twists are smooth and the train sort of just flows through it. The pre-lift is a different experience in each car of the train. Some hops will give the front car a little airtime, and some will give the back car some air. Overall, it’s an alternative, pretty extensive, and fun ‘twisty’ pre-lift. And if you ask us, it’s the best pre-lift in the state!20141125_161710 (Large)


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5 Replies to “The 5 Best Pre-lifts in California”

  1. I’ve ridden all five on the list and I think I’ll give it to the Giant Dipper. Twisted Colossus is good, but dropping into a pitch black tunnel and not knowing where you’re going can be kind of creepy—but a fun creepy.

  2. Great list. I have to say Giant Dipper is a personal favourite of mine and I was glad to see it. It really makes a lasting impression if you don’t know what’s coming. Keep up the good work!

  3. Big fan of this list, the only disagreement I had was ghost rider, but your explanation was very convincing. I do believe demon and gold striker deserve to be on this list, but I just don’t know where, wish there could be like a top 7:p

  4. Must say, it’s hard for me to really pick my favorites. In general, this is a great list! Always liked Demon’s little pre-lift too.

  5. Good list, I think I’d put Big Thunder a bit higher on this list, but really no surprise that Twisted Colossus made the list.

    I’d actually replace Ghostrider with a surprise candidate … X2. Sure it’s just a turn, but the almost upside down element just before you reach the lift is actually kind of awesome.

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