Islands of Adventure’s Hulk Coaster is Incredible
Islands of Adventure’s Incredible Hulk is one of the best looking coasters you’ll find anywhere. The twisted mess of bright green track is built partially over the park’s lake. Hulk’s enclosed lift hill and massive cobra roll and vertical loops dominate the skyline at Islands of Adventure. The layout is right on top of the park, but not to its detriment. Hulk is perfectly integrated into the walking paths and spectators are frozen in their tracks as they pass under the marvel.
The experience starts with the pre-ride theming of the queue made to look like a scientific facility straight from the comic book. The station is a futuristic gamma radiation chamber responsible for turning Bruce Banner into the Hulk. Riders climb aboard the suped up, comfortable, four across trains in anticipation of an unforgettable ride.
Hulk has one of the best opening sequences I’ve ever experienced. First, riders are launched 0 to 40 mph (via a tire propelled launch system) up the enclosed lift hill. 40 miles per hour is nothing extreme, but riding through the long tube, up into the light of day only to be spun upside down by a zero-g roll over 100′ in the air is unbelievable. This is easily one of my favorite all-time inversions. It just has to be experienced. After the roll, the train plummets back down towards the lake and then back up into a super-sized cobra roll (seen here) offering two more high altitude inversions. Next, the train enters a massive vertical loop. The trains dives into an underground mist filled tunnel, flies back up and does a sweeping helix around the enclosed lift hill.
From here on, Hulk loses its great pacing. Immediately after the helix the train enters a quick corkscrew, then a smaller tighter vertical loop that wraps around an upcoming brake run. After a few more turns riders are pulled into the brake run as they pass through the previous loop. Then they drop down and into the final inversion, another corkscrew, and after a few more turns you hit the station brakes. While I’m glad that the ride doesn’t just end after the incredible opening sequence, the second half seems crammed and a lot less interesting than the first half. The back half is also uncharacteristically rough for a Bolliger & Mabillard coaster. Even B&M’s loopers are usually very smooth and forgiving. These tighter inversions supply a little head bang. The banging’s not unforgivable, but definitely noticeable. Here’s a view of the crowded back half.
The Hulk is an amazing roller coaster and truly a one-of-a-kind ride. The theming, originality, and overall rideability are top-knotch and I want to give it a 10. But The Hulk falls just short. See my rating scale here. Final Rating – 9.5 (Excellent Approaching Superior)
What’s Your Take?
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