Last year the amusement industry was buzzing about Holiday World’s Voyage and Animal Kingdom’s Expedition Everest. More than 80 new roller coasters will open this year. With the 2007 season underway, it’s time to preview the most anticipated roller coasters that will debut this year.
Maverick: The Coaster Capital Strikes Again
Cedar Point, the self-proclaimed roller coaster capital of the world will debut its 17th roller coaster this season. The park has a track record of offering the most coasters of any park and also setting new world records for height and speed. Maverick will have a wider appeal than the skyscrapers Cedar Point has been installing. It looks to be more fun than extreme and will appeal to families, enthusiasts, and teens. Sure Maverick has two launches and a couple of inversions (loops), but it’s less likely to scare off Mom and Dad while still impressing the hardcore enthusiasts. This kind of family thrill ride is definitely a smart move. Cedar Point looks to have a winner with Maverick as they steer away from their record-breaking addiction for something more family-friendly. Maverick gets my vote for the most anticipated roller coaster of the year. I’m happy to say that for once the Cedar Point hype is deserved
Griffon: Acclaimed Designers and Acclaimed Park Team Up Once Again
Busch Gardens Europe will unleash Griffon on its visitors in late Spring. It will feature an intimidating 205′ (twenty-story) drop at 90 degrees. That’s straight down by the way. If that wasn’t enough, brakes will hold riders at the crest of the drop for a few seconds so they can stare down at the ground far below. In addition, Griffon was designed by the acclaimed designers who have created some of the best steel masterpieces of the past 15 years. Busch Gardens has a history of having fewer, but more highly rated attractions. It has been rated “America’s Most Beautiful Park” for the last 16 years in a row. Busch also does a great job of integrating their rides into the rolling green terrain of the park and their rides are always themed better than your average seasonal park. Test footage of Griffon has already surfaced on YouTube.
Boardwalk Bullet: The Dark Horse of 2007
The Gravity Group will be bringing their magic to the Kemah Boardwalk with the Boardwalk Bullet. It will be one of the few wooden coasters joining the Class of 2007. There’s a good chance it will be overlooked as it is being built at a small amusement park southeast of Houston, Texas. While this will only be the Gravity Group’s third roller coaster their first two, Hades and Voyage, have made quite an impact in the industry. They both placed in the top-five wooden coasters of the 2006 Golden Ticket Awards. They also placed in the top-10 wooden coasters in the Internet Roller Coaster Poll, with Voyage taking the top spot. It’s safe to say Gravity Group is off to an amazing start. After the loss of Six Flags AstoWorld in 2005, this is great news for coaster enthusiasts in the Lone Star State. If Gravity Group’s former success is any indication of what we can expect from the Boardwalk Bullet, Texans should be in for quite a treat. Will lightning strike three times?
Mystery Mine: Dolly’s Little Park, No Longer Little
Dollywood made a big splash in the Amusement Industry in 2004 with Thunderhead. It quickly became a favorite by enthusiasts and average park-goers alike. After two back-to-back Golden Ticket Award titles, it has given people a reason to take the trip to Eastern Tennessee. Dolly hopes to give people another reason as her park just opened Mystery Mine last week on Friday the 13th. Seats on the initial running of the Mystery Mine were auctioned for charity on eBay. It’s great that Dollywood gets theming as there’s an eerie back story and a haunted-looking, dilapidated building involved in the ride. Mystery Mine features three loops and a short, but ultra steep 95-degree drop. With a $17.5 million dollar price tag, it looks like Dolly’s ready to play with the big boys.
Best of the Rest
Knoebels, located in Elysburg, PA will resurrect the extinct wooden bobsled coaster with Flying Turns. The wooden roller coaster Renegade will open at Valleyfair! in Minnesota. Wicked, a steel looping coaster, will open at Lagoon near Salt Lake City, Utah. Sierra Sidewinder will spin its way into Knott’s Berry Farms in Buena Park, CA. Six Flags is opening two Tony Hawk’s Big Spin family roller coasters. One will open at Six Flags St. Louis and the other will open at Six Flags Fiesta near San Antonio. Lastly, a flying coaster has been moved from Geauga Lake to Kings Island (near Cincinnati). It will be reborn as Firehawk and is set to open on Labor Day.