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Coaster Wednesday!

July 29, 2015

So, this happened:

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Or, more accurately, a lot of those things happened!

Yes indeed, just over a week ago I satisfied my itch for awesome roller coaster action by hitting up Six Flags Magic Mountain for 10 hours of nearly non-stop coaster riding action. Longish lines meant that those 10 hours resulted in “only” 19 coaster rides – and yet what glorious rides those were.

Ready? Secure yourself in and DO NOT STAND UP!

Ever since I rediscovered my love of the coaster, SFMM immediately climbed to the top of my list of parks to visit. With 19 coasters, it’s one of the great coaster meccas of the world, and it’s also host to one of the only four remaining suspended coasters in North America. With my trip to VidCon already leading me down to Southern California, there was just no way I was not going to spend an entire day in the park and ride all those great rides. Beyond the usual excitement there was also plenty of new coaster types for me to experience, and… apparently I’ve got a lot to say about it all, so here’s part one…

My SFMM coaster extravaganza experience.

Twisted Colossus

The new. The Old. The reborn. Colossus was one of the oldest coasters at the park, an old-school, fast, dueling-track woodie. In a way I’m sad I never got to ride it as it was, for I do love me that rough-and-tumble experience of a good old woodie that leaves you with a spinal adjustment just for riding. But I never will, for it was revamped and reopened this year as a hybrid: a (mostly) wooden structure with a steel track. What’s it like? Well, forget the fact it’s a hybrid – there’s no feel at all to this ride of a woodie at all, it is all smooth as silk, one hundred percent. No spinal adjustments here, it’s steel sailing.

But what glorious steel it is!

It may be silky smooth, but the style and layout remain do remain old-school at heart. This is a ride of banks, hops, airtime, and a crazy 80 degree opening drop. Double opening drop, really, for you do one go around, then come back and ride up the lift hill a second time (on a separate track) for a second go through. Ostensibly, then, it remains a dueling coaster, albeit to time loading the cars in the station and getting them out so that the two trains are actually going up the lift hills at the same time rarely happens (I saw it only once during the day, and not during one of my two rides).

The overall ride experience is quite glorious. Its fast, it does weird things like the high-five zone and the outward-banked turns, and there is never a dull moment. But the pièce de résistance is a delicious zero-g inversion on the second track that miraculously hangs you upside down floating just off your seat for what feels like many, many seconds. That was worth the price of admission alone.

Goliath

Titled a “mega-coaster” due to its 200′ + drop, there’s something just fun of climbing up that lift hill… and keep climbing… and climbing… and climbing… and then from that height dropping until this sucker hits around 90mph. It’s a biggie. My overall impression, however, is a bit underwhelming: it’s got speed for sure, but doesn’t do much with it. I found it generated surprisingly little airtime despite its speed and the mid-course deceleration braking is a rather odd. That said, the final descending helix is killer for its monstrous G-forces: during my second ride I even began to experience greyout(!). The perils of being a bit dehydrated, I guess, but I loved it, and found the effect deliciously fascinating. (Yep, even while blasting around on a coaster my curiosity is never slaked) Closest I’ve been to experiencing a “fighter pilot” effect!

Apocalypse: The Ride

Other than the odd branding with the “the Ride” moniker, this is a nice new-school woodie. Much like Gold Striker at California’s Great America, it lacks the roughness (that I so love!) of the old-school woodies, but is nice and tight and quick and twisty and aggressive, and features an upper-level blast through the loading station. I wouldn’t say it quite approached the calibre of Gold Striker, but I enjoyed it and would’ve taken a second run on it had the line not grown to an hour wait (they were single-training the ride that day).

 

That’s three of the twelve (!) – Part 2 coming soon.

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