Hershey’s Launch Coaster, Short but Memorable
As a big steel coaster fan, I was curious to see how good Storm Runner really was. Since it wasn’t there the last time I went to the park I figured a 2 hour trip to re-visit Hersheypark wouldn’t be a bad idea.
On this Intamin Accelerator Coaster, riders are launched from 0 to 72 mph in 2 seconds. The launch has a great viewing area where onlookers can wave at their friends and families aboard the ride. Launch coasters have been a great addition to the theme park landscape. They really bring some wonder and amazement to your average park goers. Immediately after the launch the train is shot up a 150′ (15 stories) hill. It’s shaped like an upside-down “u” and is known as a top hat. It’s purpose is to give riders a brief pop of airtime as they crest the hill.
The launch was fun, but not as amazing as advertised by others in the coaster enthusiasts community. I’ve probably been talking to too many Pennsylvanians. I prefer Volcano’s launch as it seems so raw and powerful. And I didn’t get any air in the back of the train on the top hat hill, but it was cool having a few seconds to look around. The steep drop on the other side was great. Thanks to a ravine below you drop down 180′ feet and then you enter the first of the three inversions (loops).
The first is a large looping maneuver known as an Immelmann. I like these inversions on B&M coasters, but this one was just so-so. Storm Runner really redeems itself with the next few elements. After the Immelmann the train climbs back up to about 100′ in the air where you perform an awesome zero-g roll. Aside from a brief feeling of weightlessness, you can see how high you are as the ground is far below. The roll is followed immediately by Storm Runner’s coup de grace. A unique inversion Intamin has dubbed the flying snake dive. It’s tough to describe and the feeling it gives is pretty disorienting. In a good way. It’s easily the highlight of the ride.
After it, you fly over a stream, go through a funky banked section and then hit the station brakes. So you’ve got a coaster with an exciting if not spectacular launch, a great drop, so-so inversion, great barrel roll, and a sick new inversion. I know Hershey is strapped for space, but at least a nice long helix or some bunny hills towards then end would really help balance out the ride. Lastly, it’s a great coaster for photo ops and has a unique layout. It’s not a bad ride by any means, but for me it’s not quite in the upper echelon. If I right away think of what could have made it better, I can’t give it a 9 or 10. Final Rating – 8.5 (Great-Approaching Excellent)
Check out this video of Hersheypark’s Storm Runner:
What’s Your Take?
What do you think of Storm Runner? Leave a comment below.