First of all, I would like to apologize for a lack of updates on the blog and the site. I have a lot going on personally lately, and these unfortunate events have prevented me from working on the site. This has come at the worst time possible too, as Kings Island made their BIG announcement.
Anyways, 2017 seems to be the year of wood for Cedar Fair. Hurler, Mean Streak, and Kings Island have all been rumored to be receiving upgrades to their wooden coaster departments. But Kings Island is getting something exciting and new.
Introducing Mystic Timbers:
Length: 3,265 ft
Height: 109 ft
Speed: 53 mph
Airtime Hills: 16
Of course the name Mystic Timbers is a play on words of another wooden coaster in the chain, Shivering Timbers at Michigan's Adventure. At first, many speculated that the coaster would be named Splintercat, and it received a lot of backlash from the coaster community. Then as the name grew on people, Mystic Timbers was revealed to be the real name. I personally like the name, and the "homage" it sort of pays to another spectacular coaster in the chain.
I myself was never a HUGE fan of GCI's work, as I only enjoyed a few of their layouts in the past, but this seems to be part of the minority here. 16 airtime hills is probably the most airtime we have seen on any GCI coaster. Although the curved first drop is a minus, this coaster offers something different than the other wooden coasters at the park. GCI has really picked up the pace with their layouts over the last few years. Take a look at this, Gold Striker, Wodan, and White Lightning.
With the void of wooden coaster manufacturers, and Gravity Group sliding from the charts, GCI has really taken control along with RMC.
As many have stated, this layout looks a lot like Prowler at World's of Fun. The difference here being that it is much larger, and offers more hills and intensity. Unlike my previous guess, this will not be a hybrid coaster with a steel structure. The whole coaster is wooden, which will work well considering Ohio's climate, and the longest wooden coaster in the world is at the same park.
This coaster has a similar look to Mean Streak, with the crossover around the first hill. But after that, it drops into insanity. Mystic Timbers retains most of its speed through the whole layout, and much like Beast it goes through the backwoods and terrain of the park. The coaster in my opinion is also different enough from the other two big wooden rides at the park. Racer has the dueling element and some more cumbersome hills, perfect for families. Beast has the speed and laterals, but is rougher and all about length. This ride will combine both experiences in a sort of way to make an awesome ride, that may become one of the best at the park.
With the truck themed Millennium Flyer trains, general theming, and interaction of the park, this ride will remain a classic that many people will enjoy over the years. It should remain fairly smooth, and offer some great night rides like the Beast. The 48" height requirement markets it as a thrill ride, but allows more younger visitors to ride unlike the two big B&Ms at the park.
The biggest question that remains is of course, What is in the Shed???
With the ride being able to run three trains, this section of the ride will likely serve as not only a block, but also a unique element so that the trains will not double stack. My gut is telling me that this may be the world's first ever "drop section" on a wood coaster. This would be similar to those offered on Verbolten or Wonder Mountain's Guardian. The train would roll in, go through some kind of cut scene, then drop vertically like a drop tower. This would be an element to prevent two trains from boringly sitting on a brake run if loading takes too long.
But inside the shed could be multiple things. Maybe it's a dark ride segment, or rotating platform, or an inverting element. Without an MCBR or variable speed lift, the shed will provide some kind of unique experience. We probably will not learn more until construction begins, or the ride officially opens.
Reason: Of course fans were hoping for an RMC, or crazy insane layout, but this is a solid addition to the park. For a GCI, it really breaks their standards, and may become the best woodie at the park. It's unique, has loads of airtime, and aesthetically will look great. If you visit Kings Island a lot, you should be excited for this. It's going to fill the void that Son of Beast left, but will last longer and provide a much better ride than it did.
As for Cedar Point; They will be making some sort of announcement tomorrow, and Valleyfair may as well, so stay tuned for possibly another exciting post!
This blog post is going to introduce you to a new segment that I am doing on the blog. It's called "Ask the Engineering Student". The goal of this is so I can answer ANY questions about amusement parks or roller coasters that one might have. You can ask me for opinions, how something works, or I can even explain something technological if you do not understand!
Currently, I am enrolled at University at Buffalo for mechanical engineering, which I hope to get a bachelor's degree in. I graduated from high school majoring in technology and mathematics, so through that and years of experience in the industry, I already have a lot of knowledge under my belt.
If you have any questions please email me at email@example.com or use the "contact" button above. I will try to answer as many questions as possible as long as I have the time and they follow these rules:
1) Please be courteous and kind when asking a question. I am taking time out of my day to do this for all of you!
2) Please check if a question has already been answered. I will not respond to repeats!
3) Only questions about coasters or parks will be answered. The rest will be addressed personally or at a later time.
4) If your question is good enough, it may be featured on a future podcast.
Today I will focus on a question that I received a few days ago:
What specifically is wrong with Lightning Rod that it cannot open fully? Will these issues be able to be corrected in the future?- Dave from Missouri
That's a tough, but good question Dave! Thanks for reading the site.
Lightning Rod has had a range of issues that have hampered it from operating full-time yet. Some have been publicly expressed by the park, and some have not. Many people have argued that it's because Lightning Rod is a wooden coaster, mixed with new launch technology, but that is only semi-true.
While it is "technically" a wooden coaster, Topper Track helps the ride operate more like a smooth steel coaster. Plus, the launch system is an LSM launch, which has been done successfully for years on coasters. From what I've heard though, the launch system has a NEW form of power distribution from a company who has never built a launch before.
For most parks, flywheels are used to preserve power for an LSM launch. Without saving up the power, the launch would pull too much power off the grid causing a "brown out" for other businesses and homes. These large, steel spinning wheels slowly build up energy and release it when the LSMs need it. Here is a picture of Thunderbird at Holiday World's flywheel:
However, Lightning Rod does not use a flywheel. It uses a series of capacitors to save up the energy, almost like a battery, then releases it to launch a train. The launch system was built by Velocity Magnets, who already builds magnetic brakes for the RMCs and many other coasters. Because it is their first launch, and a new power system never tried before, that could be causing many issues.
Here is the patent: http://www.freshpatents.com/-dt20150402ptan20150091478.php
I am no electronics expert, but basically, the power is built up, saved in the capacitors, and then released. This allows parks on a small power grid to create launches without affecting the system. Electronics generally give off a lot of heat, but this system still needs some tinkering and has even caused one of the lift motors on the ride to start smoking.
The issues related to this new launch system, controls not agreeing, and a recall on restraint cylinders have all contributed the ride to be closed.
Today, Kings Island has announced their 2017 reveal date, which will be Thursday, July 28 at 10 pm. Much like the Banshee announcement two years ago, it will be a live event at night, which is very exciting news for the media and many enthusiasts.
Now, it should be no surprise that this addition will be a wooden coaster, and likely built by GCI. Nothing is confirmed of course, but with the relationship that Cedar Fair has with the company, and the drawings we have seen, this is pretty much a lock. Unless they really throw us a curve ball, even the latest of teasers have a profound display of wood:
Now two questions still remain:
1) What will the ride be named/themed?
2) Who will be the builder, more specifically what elements will the ride contain?
No new trademarks have been filed by Cedar Fair this year, leaving this ride down to either Centurion, or something we have not heard of. I highly doubt that Centurion will be used for a wooden coaster. It seems as though the park is running on the theme of nature with this appearing on their website:
This is really fitting for what seems to be a terrain woodie. Some people have suggested another theme related to The Beast. But you cannot really call it Son of Beast II, and Grandson of the Beast is kind of corny. I think that they are going in a completely different route. A name like Renegade or Prowler could even be reused from other parks.
As for builder and elements, this is the biggest and most intriguing mystery of the ride. There are only a few options for wooden coasters currently. Of course the big two are RMC and GCI. Martin and Vleminckx as well as the Gravity Group are out there too, but Cedar Fair does not have a track record with them. Gravity Group could have been a huge success, seeing what the Voyage has done for Holiday World. But, look how rough it has become recently. I feel as though if the problems are not fixed, the coaster's ranking could start to slip.
GCI seems like the best fit here. People everywhere, myself included, of course would love to see a Topper Track RMC through the backwoods, but it seems like Cedar Fair is saving that treatment for Cedar Point and Mean Streak. GCI can build a traditional wooden coaster that will last and serve a wide range of guests.
What will the coaster consist of? Will it be tall, fast, and mean as a tribute to Son of Beast? Or will it be a tweener ride that is quick and nimble, but is more of a family coaster compared to others at the park? Either way, this fills a wooden void that Son of Beast left, and it should be a pretty intense ride. Expect a lot of laterals and pops of air here, maybe even a layout that even breaks GCI's traditional track. There has even been talk in the past of GCI wanting to do an inversion, so we may see a twist or barrel roll sneak into the coaster. This could happen if the Millennium Flyer trains, track, and restraints could hold up.
Whatever this ends up being, I myself am pretty excited. I hope to see something unique, intense, and a good replacement for SoB. This may end up leaning towards families and smaller height requirements, like InvadR will at Busch Gardens, but if it does so, hopefully it's in a fun-for-all manner.