Hades: A Trip to Hell and Back
In Greek mythology, Hades was the god of the underworld. Hades, the roller coaster, more than lives up to it’s name. It boasts the single most impressive tunnel section I’ve ever experienced. The tunnel’s not only long, it’s a white knuckle journey through a terrifying pitch black abyss.
Mt. Olympus, located in Wisconsin Dells, WI, is a smaller theme park with several go-kart tracks and an array of water slides. In the past decade, the park has expanded and started to add more coasters. Everything is Greek-themed with coasters like Zeus, Cyclops, and even a rare water coaster called Dive to Atlantis. Since it’s a smaller park, I enjoyed discounted admission off of an already reasonable entry price, free parking, and shorter lines. On the other hand, Mt. Olympus won’t be winning any awards for park operations anytime soon.
“They Don’t Pay Me Enough to Smile”
The ‘Hades experience’ starts with a station that you have to climb three stories to reach. After your hike, you’re greeted with a sparse station, just large enough for the queue and the train. There’s no theming and indifferent ride ops that are unfriendly and don’t speak to you. One thing I always look for in a world-class coaster is a raucous station with enthusiastic, efficient ride ops and a D.J. that hypes you up as you leave and greets you upon your return. You won’t find any of that on Hades. Luckily, the ride itself makes up for the operations shortcomings.
One of the Best Openings Around
Thanks to the elevated station your ride starts with a short drop from the very beginning. You better have your hands up or be ready to hold on tight, the opening has a few pops of air, twists and turns, and more speed than you’d expect from such that short drop out of the station. Some fans have called this opening a microcosm of the entire ride and I agree. There’s plenty of action pre-lift hill.Then, you start your 13-story climb. The big drop is fairly steep for a wooden coaster at 65 degrees and all you see is a hole below as the track dives below the parking lot.
The Subterranean Masterpiece
The next thing you know you’re in complete darkness. You can’t even see your hand in front of your face and it’s not like the dark tunnels on The Voyage that are fairly brief, this truly is a journey. As you tear through the dark at 70 mph the train banks and dips as it tries to throw you around like a rag doll. You can’t see a thing, but I could’ve sworn I saw some red eyes down there. It’s insane! Did I mention that this coaster lived up to its name? As you start to see light breaking through at the other end, you realize that the train is not right side up. You climb up the wall and ride along it, but because of the darkness and speed you can’t even tell. Check out this pic from the tunnel with the lights on. You come down from the wall and rise up into the turn around point.
The columns around the turn around section are a great touch. You crest a hill and drop back down near the highway that passes the park, rise up a shorter hill and drop back down into the tunnel. The ride back is less eventful, but still very dark. As you exit two back-to-back airtime hills follow. Next, you reach the finale, which is the weakest part of the ride. I remember a bit more roughness than the rest of the ride. Finally, you reach the brakes. As the train re-enters the sub-par station, the cold ride ops release you and your on your way.
Basically, Hades missed a 10 rating because of the rougher finale, single train operation, the sparse station, and those terribly uninterested ride ops. You’d think Mt. Olympus would have their best people working their main attraction, but I hope that wasn’t the case with Hades. At one point I saw these two foreign-born, (I’m guessing Eastern European) ride ops sitting on the floor of the chatting to one another as the train hurled into the station. I was glad to see that the station’s brakes were automated, but it was just a little unnerving to watch their lack of attentiveness. Aside, from these negatives the actual ride on Hades is top-notch and enough to push it all the way up to number seven on my Top Coasters list. Get to Wisconsin Dells for Hades and Avalanche and you won’t regret it! Final Rating – 9.5 (Excellent-Approaching Superior)
What’s Your Take?
Ever ridden Hades or been to Mt. Olympus? What was your experience like? Leave a comment below.