A List of the World’s Best New Roller Coasters Opening in 2009
With the arrival of Spring and theme parks around the country opening for the season, it’s time to look at the new roller coasters opening in 2009. With the recession and the decrease in major new roller coasters, I wasn’t able to pull together a strong Top 10 list. So this year, a Top 9 will have to do. From state-of-the-art world record breakers to nostalgic reboots from long ago, let’s take a look at the new roller coasters opening in 2009.
9 Carolina Cobra | Carowinds – Charlotte, North Carolina
Head Spin Gets New Life as a Carolina Cobra
The roller coaster, formerly known as Head Spin at Geauga Lake, will get a second life as the Carolina Cobra. For a theme park dead center in the middle of the Carolinas, it’s not a bad name. The Carolina Cobra will be a Vekoma Boomerang that flips riders upside-down three times forwards and then three more times backwards. These days, shuttle coasters are a dime a dozen, but the Cobra will have unique trains. The new trains will have a more open over-the-shoulder restraint system which should raise the fun and comfortability factors. Learn more about Carolina Cobra.
8 Flying Turns | Knoebels – Elysburg, PA
Knoebels to Resurrect an Extinct Type of Wooden Coaster
Keeping with Knoebels’ tradition of classic wooden coasters, the park has been working on Flying Turns for the past few years. Hopefully, the ride will finally make its debut in 2009. According to Wikipedia, Flying Turns was the name of a specific type of wooden roller coaster. They featured a trackless wooden chute that was twisted like a bobsled course and had toboggan-like cars. There hasn’t been one in operation in over 30 years, so it seems like a great move by Knoebels to resurrect this type of coaster. Flying Turns will help to put the small park on the map, just as the airtime-packed Phoenix has, while still keeping in step with the homey old school amusement park feel. For more on Flying Turns check out Knoebels.com. and these exclusive Flying Turns construction photos.
7 Saw – The Ride | Thorpe Park – Surrey, United Kingdom
Brits to Brave a Saw Roller Coaster
Across the pond, Thorpe Park will be opening a new roller coaster themed after the popular Saw horror movie series. Billed as the first ever horror movie roller coaster, Saw – The Ride will feature a 100′ climb and an ultra-steep, well beyond vertical, drop of 100 degrees. Saw will be a Gerstlauer Eurofighter which some may recognize from Dollywood’s Mystery Mine. These steel loopers use single car trains and feature inversions like dive loops and heartline rolls. Due to the ride’s horror theming, Thorpe Park has recommendation that children over 12 enter the ride. Hopefully, riders won’t be faced with any torturous situations like the characters in the movies. Check out the Saw – The Ride official site and this BBC video about its opening.
6 Prowler | Worlds of Fun – Kansas City, Missouri
New GCI Woodie Will Prowl the Back Woods of Missouri
This year, Worlds of Fun will unleash Prowler, a wooden terrain roller coaster. Prowler will kick off with an 85-foot drop into a ravine. The rest of the ride will closely hug the terrain as it reaches speeds in excess of 50 mph. Terrain coasters like Prowler can be a lot less predictable as riders won’t be able to see much beyond the next turn or hill. Speeding through the Missouri wilderness should be a lot of fun, especially at night. Read more about Worlds of Fun’s new Prowler coaster.
5 Ring°Racer | Nürburgring Race Track – Nürburg, Germany
Ring°Racer to Be World’s Fastest Roller Coaster
The Ring°Racer at Nurburgring will claim the title of the world’s fastest roller coaster when it opens in 2009. The current record holder, Six Flags Great Adventure’s Kingda Ka, tops out at a blistering 128 mph. Ring°Racer will push the envelope even further with a top speed of 134 mph or 217 km/h. Like the former top speed champ, the ride is short-lived, but still looks to be quite exhilarating. Thanks to the compressed air launch Ring°Racer will launch riders at an inconceivable rate of 0 to 134 mph in 2.5 seconds. Ring°Racer will be appropriately located next to the world famous Nürburgring race track in Germany. More on Ring°Racer.
4 Terminator Salvation: The Coaster | Six Flags Magic Mountain – Valencia, California
A Good-Old Fashioned Woodie Meets New Media Technology
Six Flags Magic Mountain is back with its 16th roller coaster in Terminator Salvation: The Coaster. The Great Coasters International wooden coaster will have a twister layout jam-packed with banked turns and speed. At first, the idea of a wooden coaster themed after the new Christian Bale movie about deadly robots from the future seemed a little odd. But the state-of-the-art sound package and on-board entertainment mentioned in the official press release may help connect the dark apocalyptic theme to the tried and true wooden roller coaster format. Look for the highlight of the ride to be the station fly-through similar to the one found on the acclaimed Thunderhead at Dollywood. Terminator Salvation will be an important roller coaster for the West coast where wooden roller coasters are scarce. And good wooden roller coasters are even more scarce. The new ride will be located in the place where the much maligned Psyclone once stood. Psyclone had the distinction of placing nearly dead last in an Internet Coaster Poll a few years back. I wonder if Governor Schwarzenegger will ever give it a spin. Read more about Terminator Salvation: The Coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
3 Hollywood - Rip Ride Rockit | Universal Studios Florida – Orlando, Florida
Roller Coasters Meet Web 2.0
Universal Studios Florida will be adding the ultra-interactive Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit. This new high-tech signature coaster will feature a unique, multi-media experience. Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit’s main distinction will be the on-board cameras that will allow riders to download a video of their ride and post it on the Web. This is supposed to represent the ‘Rip’ part of the coaster’s name. The ‘Rockit’ part refers to the ability of users to choose what song they want to listen to while they ride and it appears you can also add that song to your personal music video of the ride. While the name’s a mouthful, at least it has a pretty cool meaning. Thanks to Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit, on-ride photos may someday soon go the way of the dinosaur. For a great overview and construction photos, read my exclusive Rip Ride Rockit interview with the ride’s designer. Also, check out all my Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit news.
2 Manta | SeaWorld Orlando - Orlando, Florida
An Immersive Flying Experience of Land, Sky, & Water
Imagine flying face down like a bird, or manta ray in this case, over the ocean. SeaWorld Orlando’s Manta will put riders about as close to that experience as possible. Manta will be a flying roller coaster reaching heights of 140′ and speeds up to 60 mph. Flying coasters feature trains where riders are secured in a face down flying position with the track overhead. Manta adds a new wrinkle to the flying coaster concept.
Where Six Flags Magic Mountain’s enormous Tatsu flies riders high above the park, Manta will be lower in altitude allowing the trains to fly right over water. Manta will likely be the best-themed flying coaster with an immersive pre-ride exhibit featuring 300 rays viewed through floor-to-ceiling windows. The winged, Manta-themed trains and blue track also add to the ride’s theme. Now, not only will SeaWorld have the only flying coaster in Florida, but the park will also boast a truly unique attraction that will be well-themed and immersive. See all of my Manta posts. UPDATE – Check out my full Manta review including photos and videos.
1 Diamondback | Kings Island – Kings Mill, Ohio
A Mile-Long Adventure in the Wilderness
One of the most talked about new coasters for 2009 has been Kings Island’s new hyper coaster, Diamondback. Like Kings Island’s legendary Beast, Diamondback will send riders on a journey into the Ohio wilderness behind Kings Island. The ride will likely be packed with tons of airtime as the layout boasts 10 drop with a towering first drop of 215′. On the Diamondback’s massive 5,280 foot long adventure, riders will be treated to unobstructed views thanks to the open stadium-like seating. The ride will finish with a splash down section where the train will dive into a pool generating waves of water. Read more about Diamondback.
The Best of the Rest
Both Six Flags New England’s Superman Ride of Steel and Six Flags Great Adventure’s Medusa are getting Bizarro make-overs that include on-board audio, new paint, and new trains. Mumbo Jumbo at Flamingo Land Theme Park improves on last year’s Steel Hawg by setting a new angle of descent record with a 110 degree drop. Gravity Group designed Fireball will be China’s first wooden roller coaster. Ghost Town in the Sky looks to finally reopen their Cliffhanger looping coaster with new lap bar trains. And Six Flags will show their Mexico City park some love with a Dark Knight coaster clone similar to the installations that popped up at three U.S. parks last year.
What’s Your Take?
What’s your favorite roller coaster opening this year? Which coasters do you plan on riding this year? Leave a comment below.