With the start of the 2010 roller coaster season underway, it’s time for my annual top picks for the best new roller coasters. This year was tougher than usual as there weren’t many new coasters opening in the States. Also, there were a few attractions with very little information for me to go on. After much deliberation and repositioning here’s Part 1 of my Top 10 New Roller Coasters for 2010:
Flying Turns at Knoebels – Elysburg, Pennsylvania
Knoebels to Resurrect an Extinct Type of Wooden Coaster
Ride Experience:A family roller coaster that will deliver that Winter bobsled experience on a unique wooden chute, instead of steel.
Knoebels has been working on Flying Turns for the past few years. According to Wikipedia, Flying Turns was the name of a specific type of wooden roller coaster. They featured a trackless wooden chute that wastwisted 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. Knoebels still has Flying Turns listed as “Coming Soon” on their website, but I’d have to think that they can complete it this year after more than 3 years of construction.
My Take: Flying Turns is an important little roller coaster. It’ll be the only one of its kind (that I know of at least). And, it could help to put the small Central Pennsylvania park on the map again, just as the airtime-packed Phoenix did. Most importantly, Flying Turns matches the homey, old school amusement park feel that makes Knoebels so special.
GT Coaster | Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi
Ferrari-themed Roller Coaster to Take Racing Coasters to New Heights
Ride Experience:A launched racing coaster with duel tracks that will provide a thrilling race to the finish line in Ferrari-themed trains.
Recently, I was sent an image of the new GT Coaster opening this year at Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi. The trains are themed afterFerrari F430 Spiders. Fittingly, the roller coaster will feature a launch to simulate Ferrari’s super fast accelerations. GT Coaster is being built by Maurer Sohne, the same company that built Hollywood: Rip, Ride, Rockit. It will feature two racing tracks that will complete with a finish line. Also, there will be four launch sections on each track with multiple overtaking maneuvers that will push the trains to speeds of 40 mph to 60 mph.
My Take: To my knowledge, the multiple launch sections will make GT Coaster the first racing or dueling coaster that will do this. Multiple launches put an interesting wrinkle in a pretty standard coaster type. I also like that Ferrari World is offering a racing coaster at a theme park based on a sports car. It sounds like a no-brainer, but there are two NASCAR-themed coasters in the States that look great, but don’t mimic a racing experience as well as they could.
F1 Coaster | Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi
A New Speed Champ Will Rocket Riders to 150 mph!
Ride Experience:An extreme launch coaster that will push the limits of roller coaster intensity.
2009′s RingRacer was notable for its location at a popular race track in Germany and for its record-setting speed. Soon after it opened, it closed and is set to re-open this year. Meanwhile, at the new Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi, F1 Coaster will take the speed record to a new level. The Intamin-designed F1 Coaster will be capable of 150 mph although officials from the park have said that they might operate it at lower speeds.
My Take: Long time record holders Kingda Ka & Top Thrill Dragster’s 0 to 130-ish mph launches are widely known to be pretty intense. I can’t imagine what an 150 mph launch will feel like. I’m a little surprised that the park admits that they might operate the coaster at lower speeds. This may mean that we’re at or near the limits of intensity for launched roller coasters. Either way, this is the perfect attraction for a race-themed park. I wonder if the RingRacer operators are investigating ways to increase the speed of their coaster as they repair it for 2010.
The Netherlands will get a twin racing wooden coaster designed by Great Coasters International (GCI) at Efteling. Joris en de Draak is Dutch for “George and the Dragon”. Some are describing it as a dueler, but to me, it looks more like a racer. If the fan-created simulations based on the blueprints are accurate, then Joris en de Draak doesn’t have fly-bys like Busch Gardens Tampa’s Gwazi. Either way, it will be a fun ride. Riders will choose either a “Water” or “Vuur” (Dutch for fire) train.
My Take: Joris en de Draak could be one of Europe’s best woodies and one of the region’s only racing coasters. GCI also built the top ranking El Toro for Germany’s Freizeitpark Plohn in 2008. They seem to be on a bit of a roll internationally in recent years.
Battlestar Galactica | Universal Studios Singapore – Sentosa, Singapore
An InterGalactic Battle Aboard Two Different Trains
Ride Experience: A launched dueling coaster boasting both an inverted (ski-lift style) track and a traditional seated tracks that will perform fly-bys.
Universal Studios Singapore opened recently with a launched dueling coaster in the space-themed BattlestarGalactica. Riders can choose either a traditional sit down style “Human” train or an inverted “Cylon” train. The inverted track offers the more intense path with five loops (cobra roll, corkscrew, vertical loop, & an in-line twist). The seated track is being promoted as more family friendly with small drops, twists, and turns. In an homage to Islands of Adventures’ Incredible Hulk, the ride begins with an inclined launch and turnaround partially over water. The Vekoma-designed Battlestar Galactica will be one of their first roller coasters featuring their new four-across trains. The larger trains should help to increase ride capacity.
My Take: Battlestar Galactica will be a strong addition to a brand new park. The inverted versus sit down trains add a new twist and the inclined launch looks pretty cool too. Like Islands of Adventures’ Dueling Dragons Fire & Ice (now renamed Dragon Challenge to fit the new Harry Potter theme), there will be a more intense track and less intense track. There’s no doubt that the Cylon track will be more attractive to coaster enthusiasts. The Human track looks pretty boring unless there are some good head chopper moments with tracks or the other train passing overhead. While it may seem a bit gimmicky to have the two different ride types it will allow the coaster to appeal to a much wider range of guests.
Check back for Part 2 of my Top 10 New Roller Coasters for 2010 which will include my pick for the best new roller coaster. In 2008, I picked Ravine Flyer II and in 2009 I chose Diamondback. Which roller coaster will it be this year? Stay tuned…