I just discovered a roller coaster named Taron that resides in a German amusement park (Phantasialand). And it. Looks. Awesome:
Why so awesome? It’s a launched coaster, yes (double launched, in fact!). It looks quick and twisty and the track is a magnificent pretzel of pretzelness all over itself. But above, and 1000% beyond that, is the themeing, and moreover, the glorious way the train interacts with this themeing. The twisting around, through, over, and behind all the buildings, cliffs, and water features, with near misses and inches away and hovering overs. It’s inseparable.
When I was envisioning my replacement for Canada’s Wonderland’s (that’s… awkward to type) Dragon Fyre, this is pretty much EXACTLY the kind of thing I was thinking of.* Throw on some inversions, and stretch the track out longer (I hadn’t envisioned it quite so pretzel-y, but having some good pretzel areas would let it be longer!), end it with the waterfall trick, and you have just what I wanted. A launched coaster that interacts with its fabulously themed environment.
Phantasialand overall is a spectacularly themed park. It seems nearly all of their rides are not just simple isolated affairs, they’re all deliciously integrated into themed areas, be they indoors, through terrain, or some combination therein. Case in point, their inverted coaster is a perfect example of how to make an inverted coaster extra amazing, with a great lift hill and all these near misses and knee/head/arm/etc scraping moments along the way:
Their flume ride, their mountain train ride, their drop rides, their river rides, all crazily well themed. Heck, one of their tamer coasters even has you going over some convincing rope bridges!
Such a delight to see a park (beyond Disney) taking themeing so seriously and making it such an integral part of their park, and using that themeing to take their rides into extra levels of excitement and wickednes. I so want to go visit now!
* Well, I had indicated it to be hydraulically launched, but LSMs have come a long way and it’s a much better launch tech now. Plus, as with Taron, you can get a second boost to make the latter half of the ride even more exhilarating than the first!