Brand New Roller Coasters


Sandusky Ohio has some bad news for coaster aficionados. The opening of Maverick, Cedar Point's 17th roller coaster, scheduled for Thursday May 9, was delayed because there was too much stress on three sections of track following testing this week. The rails are set to be replaced and the general manager of the park is hoping for a June launch. This is extremely upsetting news to hardcore fans that have been waiting to experience the 95-degree angle drop. That's right, you read that correctly, Maverick has a 95-degree angle drop. I'll just wait while you draw a picture of that, faint and recover.

Feeling better? Well not for long because Maverick also has something called a 360-degree heart-line roll. Isn't that what you see on House when they get the crash carts and resuscitate the patient? Oh, that's a flat line, silly me. Anyway, you get to go 57 mph on the first drop and 70 on the second launch. There's also a 400 ft long dark tunnel and eight separate times when you're going to get that delightful/awful feeling of weightlessness. Did I mention heights? The first hill is 105 feet tall. I do believe that's as tall as two and a half King Kongs standing on each other's shoulders*. The cars will drop to a ridiculously low five feet from the ground. And what cars these are, modeled after steam era coaster trains they're guaranteed to make even the most hardened steampunk fan swoon with delight. And get this, they have tiered seating so you can see a little too well. Kind of like stadium seating at the Multiplex but probably not with the popcorn stuck in the seats. The ride is designed to process 1200 passengers per hour. I'll be curious to see how well this works out because I'm betting this is going to be an extremely popular ride with people coming from all over the world to give it a whirl.

Mystery Mine

Despite the Scooby-Dooish sounding name, Mystery Mine, Dollywood's latest coaster, is another ride that just may give you heart failure. Featuring another heart-line roll and a rollover loop this coaster also drops at a mind-croggling 95-degree angle for 85 feet. (That's two King Kongs for those of you keeping track.) The ride also contains an Immelmann maneuver (named after German World War I pilot Max Immelmann.) I can't adequately describe the thing so I'm afraid I'm going to have quote from one of Dollywood's press releases. It "begins much like the first half of a traditional vertical loop. As the coaster car approaches the loop's apex, it is inverted and travels back in the direction in which the car first entered the loop. Rather than completing the loop, the coaster car rolls on its axis, becoming right-side-up while simultaneously turning away from the loop. The coaster car exits the Immelmann maneuver almost in the same direction in which it initially approached the loop." Got that? Me neither.

Mystery Mine has more to offer than just jawdropping angles and heartstopping loops and hills, it's very much a theme ride complete with special effects and animation. There is a story about missing miners, boots and birds available at the website, complete with videos. (Warning, the acting in the videos is abysmal.) You can also listen to a sample of the type of music you'll hear while waiting in line. Accordion music, could it get any scarier? The ride opened in April of this year and I hear the very first riders paid hundreds of dollars for the opportunity to be the first. But all you have to do is travel to Pigeon Forge, TN and pay the regular admission, saving tons of money.

"First, from excessively fearful place"

For a look at a very different type of coaster try this page, thoughtfully and poorly (I hope) translated by Google. It's a description, and many photos, of a Japanese "sky cycle," a human powered roller coaster. Thrill to the 3rd corner of fear! Gasp at the sheer flimsiness of the little pedal cars that look an awful lot like bicycles! Take comfort in the caption "Because such, it probably won't come off truly?" I freely admit I'm far too much of a coward to take a ride on this contraption. The photo of the tracks with the greenery growing through is more than enough to discourage me. But if you find yourself in Japan and give the thing a try do let me know how it was.

One-Paragraph Review

This week's one-paragraph review is from Gilbert, who has this to say about Red Steel for the Wii, "It's terrible. Not a good fit for the ultra sensitive controller. Try the golf instead." Have you got a one-paragraph (or smaller) review you'd like to share? Send it in to me and I'll run the most interesting ones. You can reach me at

*There is some discrepancy regarding King Kong's height. Some say he is 25 feet tall and some say he's 50 feet tall, while once he was a puny ten feet tall. I'm splitting the difference and pretending he's forty feet tall, the perfect size for a giant ape.