Calico Mine Train Ride @ Knott’s Berry Farm

cali train

The Calico Mine Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm has been a family favorite for over 50 years.  Since 1960, this ride has been taking riders through a deep excavation of the Calico Mine, ending with a view of the Calico Glory Hole.  The ride features an on board tour guide through the mine.  This person plays the dimwitted train conductor who has riders worried for their lives.  The ride dives into the mine, taking riders throughout the mine, featuring dig sites, geysers, and rock formations.  Riders then get a glimpse of the famous Calico Glory Hole, where miners have excavated “gold nuggets, silver nuggets, and and the rarest of them all, chicken nuggets.”  The ride then dives even deeper into an active blasting zone, where the train speeds up and gets out just before the blast.  The ride ends by passing a waterfall coming off the side of the mountain that houses the ride before riders exit.  The ride is a nice long relaxing ride with nice scenery to view and fun for the young ones as well.

calicotrain

Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure

Cars Land is a themed area of Disney’s California Adventure, inspired by the 2006 film, Cars. The 12-acre area, built as part of Disney California Adventure Park’s $1.1 billion expansion project, opened on June 15, 2012, and contains three rides as well as shops and restaurants, all situated in a replica of Radiator Springs, the fictional town in which most of the film’s events take place.  Most of the present-day site of Cars Land had been used as the Timon parking lot since 2001; the lot had been designated as future growth space for Disney California Adventure when it was originally designed in the 1990s, and was partially built over with Tower of Terror and the Flik’s Fun Fair section of A Bug’s Land. A small portion of Cars Land was built over the site of the Bountiful Valley Farm, one of the park’s original attractions.  Designs for a possible “Carland” appeared in the “Dreaming” section of the Walt Disney Company’s 2006 Annual Report, released on December 12, 2006, 6 months after Cars was released in theaters. The concept art depicted a racing simulator ride but provided no specifics; Disney’s CEO stated at the time that the concept art depicted projects at various stages of development, and that some of the projects depicted may not even get built.  The area holds a multitude of new rides, restaurants, and Shops.  They will all be listed with a brief description here.

Shops:

Ramone’s House of Body Art:  A building themed as a car parts and paint shop, that sells mainly clothing and a few Cars themed souvenirs.

Sarge’s Surplus Hut:  A hangar style building that is themed to be owner by the former military vehicle Sarge, that also sells Car’s themed souvenirs.

Radiator Springs Curios:  A large shop in Car’s Land themed similar to an indoor flea market holding all sorts of Cars and Disney souvenirs.

ramones body art

 

Restaurants:

Cozy Cone Motel:  A restaurant inside a giant traffic cone serving all there dishes in traffic cones known as cone-coctions.

Flo’s V8 Cafe:  A 1950’s diner inside an old gas station specializing in rotisserie chicken plates, house made pies, and mouth watering milkshakes.

Fillmore’s Taste In:  An open air fruit stand selling, whole and pre sliced fruits as well as snacks like chips and drinks.

fv8c

Rides:

Radiator Springs Racers:  A half dark half thrill ride, first taking you through the world of Cars, then finishing it off with a race between your vehicle and another, using the same technology as Test Track at EPCOT in Orlando.

Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree:  A combination whip and teacup ride in which riders board wagons that spin while also being pulled and whipped around by baby tractors, all conducted by everyone’s favorite tow truck.

Luigi’s Flying Tires:  An updated version of The Flying Saucer ride in Tomorrowland, this ride has riders board giant tires that float off the ground and try and bump other tires while only steering with their body weight.

rsr

 

Tomorrow Tuesday — Kings Island 2014!

We might be CA Coaster Kings, and we generally only cover CA, we cannot leave Kings Island’s 2014 plans unnoticed. Kings Island will introduce the world’s tallest and longest inverted coaster in 2014! Additionally they will transform their Flight Deck Arrow Suspended Swinging Coaster into BAT! 

 

Banshee will stand a 167 ft tall and feature a first drop of 150 ft. With a length of 4,124.1 ft. the ride will become the world’s longest inverted roller coaster when it opens in 2014. The ride will include seven inversions including two vertical Loops, a Dive Loop, a Zero-G-Roll, a Batwing and a Heartline roll. Riders of Banshee will experience speeds of up to 68 miles per hour on the 2-minute, 40-second ride.

img_gallery_banshee_center(1) Banshee-Kings-Island-Preview-Batwing Banshee-Kings-Island-2014-Roller-Coaster-Full-Layout

After departing from the station, the train will make a left turn towards the 167-ft. lift-hill. Once at the top, the train will drop 150 ft. on a heavily banked right turn. After reaching the bottom of the drop, riders will enter a Dive Loop immediately followed by a vertical Loop around the lift-hill. Continuing down the valley, the train will enter the third inversion, a Zero-G-Roll, where riders experience the feeling of weightlessness. Next, the train will make an upward left hand turn into a Batwing. Upon exiting the Batwing, the train will enter a second vertical Loop before making a right turn into a Heartline roll. Following a downward left helix, the train will make a banked right turn into the final brake run.

Bat03 flight_deck_slide_21

The BAT has a long background story, but in a few words;. Kings Island opened the first ever Suspended Swinging coaster from Arrow, with the name BAT, in 1981. Due to technical problems this ride closed pretty quick after it opened, in 1983. Kings Island then opened a 2nd generation Suspended Swinging Coaster from Arrow 10 years later in 1993. This ride opened as Top Gun, and was changed to Flight Deck due to license rights in 2007. To honor the old BAT that closed 30 years ago, Kings Island is re-theming Flight Deck to become BAT. This also has to do with the fact that Flight Deck/BAT’s entrance is ;located next to Banshee.

batheader

 

 

Riddler’s Revenge Ride Review

In this Ride Review we’re looking at the King of all Stand-Up Coasters, the almighty record breaker. Riddler’s Revenge is the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest Stand-Up Coaster, it also features the most inversions on any Stand-Up coaster in the world. In conclusion, a beast! 

20130901_200733

Let’s get right into it! Riders will approach the ride when they enter the Movie District, and walk on the Riddler’s Revenge Plaza. You can’t miss the ride since it is both huge, and loud. The roar of the trains rolling over the B&M track is to be heard from everywhere in the park! Anyways, once riders have entered the plaza their is a (grey by day, green by night) sign saying “?The Riddler’s Revenge”, of course this is where the line starts, and riders will enter here.20131103_151058

 

The line exists out of some straight pathways that are covered with sun-screens and over a back-stage view of the Batman Theater. Once the line forms to become a downwards slope, riders will see the last inversion, a corkscrew, over their heads. They will get to the only switchbacks in line, where a Flash-pass employee will send you up to the station in small parties. Once riders are send up, they will walk up a set of stairs, with question-marks everywhere. They will then walk into one of the weirdest stations around. The station is diagonal, in comparison with the train. So their will be a long switchback-like line for the front row, but 4 people hardly fit in the line for last row! The station used to have question-mark lasers go through the station, with some awesome music, the music played in the loading station is “Ecuador – Bruce Wayne Edit” by Sash. Sadly, the lasers don’t work any longer, and sometimes one of the many is turned on.

20131103_150256

 

Riders will board the Stand-Up trains, and once the seats lock and the ‘clear-go’ signal has been given, the train leaves the station. The train will make a slight turn to the right before approaching the lift-hill. Once the train has passed through the Loop up the 156 ft lift-hill, it will start it’s way down. It will descent down a 146 ft. drop with an approximate 230′ degree turn before it shoots into the giant 124 ft. tall loop that wraps around the lift-hill. The train will now make one of the, arguably, coolest movements in the world. It will fly up to the left into a Dive Loop/Reversed Immelman, once it’s back down it will immediately do the same thing again, but this time to the right. If you thought that was crazy enough, the train will speed up and spiral into a left Inclined Loop! The train will then make a sudden 90′ turn to the right before spiraling up to the mid-course brake-run.

20131103_150858

 

The brake-run barely slows the train down so it will keep its speed. The train will then dive down, and will then shoot into the first corkscrew on the ride. This corkscrew has an alternative ending, in which the train will continue to go down before it makes a quick turn. The quick turn passes by a set of scenery buildings. The train will then fly over an ‘air-time’ hill. Which feels amazing by the way, being in a stand-up position causes all forces to feel stronger than they would be if it were to be a sit-down, making an ‘air-time’ hill a nice feature for a non-hyper B&M coaster! The ride will then spiral through a helix before descending down once again. Before you know it, the train will dive into, perhaps, the most forceful element of ’em all. The train will dive into the last corkscrew, quickly inverting over the line. After that it will turn a 180′ degrees to the ride, and the train will hit the final brake-run.

20131103_151222

 

Once you’ve reached the station, the seats will unlock, jumping up. The riders will then exit the train and station on the left side. They will take the stairs down, and walk the best exit path in the world. (Maybe not the best, but a really good one for coaster-enthusiasts). The riders will pass under the entire ride as the walk the long exit path catching many more glimpses before reaching the plaza once again!

20131103_151403

The line for Riddler’s Revenge can get really long in the summer, and also in the winter since they mostly operated only one train in the winter the last couple of year. Luckily the 3rd train has returned from Six Flags Great Adventure, so Riddler’s can run 2 trains this winter! Anyways, the lines won’t start to form ’til about noon, since it is the ride that’s the least easily accessible from the front side of the park. Later on in the day the lines can get to be an hour, depending on how crowded the park is. The line moves pretty quick and Riddler’s has a nice capacity so don’t let the line scare you away.

20131103_151127

So next time you’re at Six Flags Magic Mountain, ride the world’s tallest, fastest, longest and most inversional (we know that’s not a word) Stand-Up Coaster! And if you want to see Riddler’s Revenge in full action, watch our Riddler’s Revenge Off-Ride video below!

A Slice of the Big Apple in Sin City…In Coaster Form of Course

nynyWith all of the gambling and designer hotels in Vegas, it would be hard to believe that there was anything Big Apple themed there, let alone a roller coaster, but that is very inaccurate.  The Manhattan Express, located on the outside of the second floor of the New York New York hotel opened in 1997, themed to be a ride through the New York skyline in taxi themed ride trains.  The ride begins with a 180-foot lift and a 76-foot drop, followed by another hill and a 144-foot drop. The train then travels through two inversions, a standard vertical loop and a dive loop, where the train performs a 180 degree spiral and then performs a half-loop maneuver. The rest of the ride is executed on the roof of the casino, and features small hills and a helix.

nyny dive

The ride’s station is themed to a New York subway station. It was built by TOGO, and, like most TOGO coasters, had a reputation in the past for being a rough, even painful roller coaster. Some riders have gotten bruised on the shoulders from the old trains due to the roughness of the ride and negative G-force.  In 2004 Premier Rides installed magnetic brakes on the ride. In August 2006, Premier also installed new trains to replace the original and somewhat painful, TOGO trains. Since the Premier train installation, the ride has been noticeably smoother, as opposed to when the TOGO trains were in use.  Although this ride isn’t a massive or record breaking coaster, it is a great way to pass time in Vegas in a more “family friendly” way.

nyny loop

Throwback Thursday–Sky Whirl and Triple Play

Sky Whirl was a triple ferris wheel that operated at California’s Great America in Santa Clara from 1976 until 1997.  It was a Tree Triple Wheel model, supplied by Intamin and manufacture by Waagner-Biro.  Sky Whirl resembled a huge tree with three arms, with each arm supporting a giant wheel. Two wheels were spinning while the third was on the ground loading.  Sky Whirl was featured in the movie Beverly Hills Cop III, which was filmed in 1994, but closed 3 years later in 1997, to make room for Invertigo, which now resides in Dorney Park as Stinger.

sky whirl

Triple Play was a HUSS manufactured Troika model. The Troika is a ride, designed and manufactured by HUSS in the mid-1970s.  Triple Play opened at Great America in 1976 and closed in 2004.  Triple play consisted of three arms radiating from a center column. At the end of each arm is a star shaped structure holding seven gondolas, each of which seats 2 people side by side.  When the ride was activated, the central column rotated clockwise, while the Star at the end of each arm rotated counterclockwise. Hydraulic cylinders then raised the arms to an angle of 40°. The gondolas did have some capacity to rock from side to side. At the end of the ride cycle, the arms were lowered, and the rotation stopped.  This ride was located next to the entrance of Vortex, and was considered the perfect ride for intermediate thrill seekers, who were ready to graduate from Kidzville, but not yet ready for the larger flat rides like Orbit.

triple play

 

Tower of Tower @ Disney’s California Adventure

totThe Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is an accelerated drop ride featured at Disney Parks in Florida, California, Paris and Tokyo. All but the Tokyo version are based upon the television show The Twilight Zone, and take place in the fictional Hollywood Tower Hotel. The Tokyo version, which features an original story line not derived froThe Twilight Zone, due to the tv show being not very popular in Japan, takes place in the fictional Hotel High-tower. The three Twilight Zone-based versions and the unique Tokyo version all place riders in a vehicle themed to an old hotel service elevator, and present riders with a fictional back story in which people mysteriously disappeared from a hotel elevator under the influence of some supernatural element many years earlier.  The original version of the attraction opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in July 1994, and was the basis of the 1997 made-for-television movie Tower of Terror. Several years later, Disney began plans Continue reading “Tower of Tower @ Disney’s California Adventure”

Drop Tower @ California’s Great America

This will be a rather short Ride Review of Drop Tower at California’s Great America, which is an Intamin ‘Giant Drop’ drop tower with 6 cars going up the tower individually (each carrying 4 riders)

20130817_140329

Riders will approach the 224 ft tall drop tower as they walk towards the back of the park. You can’t miss the tallest structure in the park! A huge sign saying; ‘Drop Tower’ will indicate that the adventure is about to start! Riders will approach the beginning of the line and will basically enter a huge set of switchbacks under an old sun-cover that is tearing apart slowly. Yes, indeed, they still need to fix this area of the park. Continue reading “Drop Tower @ California’s Great America”