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The "Pleasant/Unpleasant Surprise" Thread

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I've been using the term "pleasant surprise" quite a bit lately, mostly in connection with TPR's China Trip. Yes, amid all the Jungle Mouse coasters and knock-off SLCs, which were pretty much what I expected them to be, were some rides that I was downright dreading but actually enjoyed.


So, here's the idea behind this thread:


1. What ride (or rides) have you absolutely dreaded riding--what you thought would be "one and dones"--that you ended up liking (the "pleasant surprise")?

2. On the flip side, what rides were you looking forward to that turned out to be not only downright disappointing, but also very bad indeed (the "unpleasant surprise")?


You don't have to restrict yourself to coasters here. Any type of ride or attraction is fair game. And, please, post pictures if you can (or link to some in TPR's Park Index). Please provide some reasons, too.


I'll start things off here.


Hidden Anaconda at Happy Valley Wuhan (Skyloops in general): I'd been dreading this thanks to a bad experience on Drayton's GForce, which has an inverted lift, and the problems they had at Magic Springs. But this ride shocked me a bit. It was surprisingly fun (if a bit unnerving). The one at Joyland was good, too.


The Giant Inverted Boomerang at Jin Jiang: I'm not a fan of Vekoma Boomerangs, although I think Invertigos are OK. And, let's face it, GIBs haven't been all that reliable in the U.S. (every time I've had an opportunity to ride one, it's broken down). But my first GIB in China turned out to be a lot of fun--a very solid ride and much better than the standard Boomerangs.


Stingray at Giant Wheel Park: This combination of a Skyloop with a Flying Dutchman is one of those "oh, hell no" designs at first glance. But even though the ride itself is fairly intense, the experience is fun and unique--more interesting than the B&M flyers, for the most part. The new Flying Dutchman trains are better than the original ones, and I'd like to see this ride built at other parks.


Voyage at Holiday World: This one is both a pleasant and an unpleasant surprise in one. In April 2009, during my first visit to Holiday World, I wasn't exactly looking forward to Voyage due to all the conflicting reports about it. But it turned out to be amazingly smooth and airtime filled that day, and made my top ten. Then a year went by. In August 2010, Voyage was a difficult, painful experience, at best--more of an ordeal. I hope that it can be great again, someday.

Edited by cfc
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Stingray at Suzhou Ferris Wheel Park was a pleasant surprise.


I know people are going to fling arrows at me but I also thought the first time I rode Son of Beast with the loop it was a pleasant surprise. Not that it was great, but I had been led to beleive by many that it was the worst coaster ever. I've been on much worse.


Unpleasant surprise - Ghost Rider, back in the days when some people said is was still good, not to me.

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^Now, my experience on Georgia Cyclone was the opposite--sort of. I was advised to sit in the second seat from the very back, and while the ride was very "shuffly" in parts, the airtime was absolutely nuts. Then again, everybody else on that train was complaining about how painful it was.


Yeah, that ride could use some work--but there may be hope for it yet.

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Furius Baco



I'd heard mostly terrible reviews of the ride and I was expecting to be shaken to death and for it to be awful. It turned out to be one of my favourite coasters. The launch was fantastic and there's no other coaster I've been on that can match it for intensity. It just feels so much faster than anything else. I had no issues with roughness at all and I was genuinely shocked at how good it was. I suppose we got lucky getting seats in the front row. I hear it's further back that you get the vibration issues.

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Pleasant Surprise(s):


Mean Streak! Every year I'd been to the Point Mean Streak had been either closed or I just had it at the bottom of my list and never got around to riding it, but in 08 I finally got around to riding it, expecting the worst. But it wasn't that bad, and it was interesting to ride such a long coaster. The first drop was also a lot of fun (I didn't feel a trim). It was definitely nothing special, but it wasn't the disaster everyone made it out to be.


Riddlers Revenge SFMM: Never had been a huge fan of standups but this was a really fantastic ride with a full layout.


Big Thunder Mountain DLC: I'd only been on the Magic Kingdom version up until recently and I wasn't expecting much from it— but boy did I have a blast! What a well rounded ride.



Unpleasant Surprise(s):


Matterhorn Bobsleds: This just hurt. There wasn't a really great moment in the ride, and although its fun to be in the mountain and disney rides are always interesting, it was just an odd experience.


Bizarro SFNE: Don't get me wrong, I do love this ride, but it's definitely not all it's made out to be. After riding millennium force, I didn't really find it that 'amazing' like everyone said. There was a serious rattle in the spaghetti bowl section the first time I rode it, but it's progressively gotten better.

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My pleasant surprise - Demon Drop at Dorney - Half of my group straight up refused to go onto it, but when i rode it, i was surprised at how the freefall was WAY better than the S&S Tower nearby. I was also expecting it to be really uncomfortable, but, it was rather tolerable.


My unpleasant surprise - Curse of DarKastle - Went on it with my mom the first year it opened, my mom threw up for nearly the entire ride, and i ended up so dizzy that I couldn't walk straight for the rest of the day. Also, we found out that the reason why the seats were wet was that the op's just hosed down the seats after someone throws up...

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Colossus at Thorpe Park. I was looking forward to a smooth, intense ride but instead I got a headache. The heartline rolls were smooth and intense, but the rest of the ride was just hell for me.

Meanwhile, I was expecting Saw the Ride to be a real headbanger, but I really really enjoyed it! Sure, there was some head banging but the intensity and airtime made up for it and made it my favorite coaster at Thorpe Park.


Another ride that surprised me on my UK trip was Revolution at Pleasure Beach Blackpool. I'd heard neutral to negative reviews of this ride and I was expecting an outdated, forceless, rough ride. Instead, I got an exciting, intense, smooth ride with some batcrap INSANE airtime in the back seat!

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Pleasant Surprise: Kingda Ka - I didn't hear that great reviews about this ride and I heard there was a ton of headbanging. There was none at all, so I thoroughly enjoyed it.


Unpleasant Surprise: Skyrush - I heard mixed reviews about this ride, mainly rave reviews on TPR. I was disappointed with this ride. The airtime on this ride jacked my thighs right into the restraint.

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Pleasant Surprises:


Mean Streak - After all I had heard, I assumed it would be the worst thing ever. In reality, it wasn't that bad. It did absolutely nothing, but I didn't find it to be rough at all.


Gwazi - Pretty much the same story as Mean Streak. Didn't have much going for it, but it was much smoother than I expected, and this was with the PTCs.


Mantis - After my experiences with Iron Wolf and things I had read, I was worried that the ride would just be headbanging galore. In reality, it wasn't that bad. A little jerky, but still fun enough to bring us back for a second ride.


Unpleasant Surprise:


Raptor - I was really looking forward to Raptor but it ended up just being a disappointment. Most of it was pretty jerky and their weren't many forces. This was all topped off with a swift punch to the head when it snapped into the brake run.

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My unpleasant surprise is Kraken- by a mile. It's such a well known ride, and generally well-reviewed, so I was pretty excited when the time came to give it a spin. Definitely wasn't expecting the tame mediocrity that I got. It would have been more fitting to theme it after a seahorse than a Kraken.

Didn't think the infamous drop on Cyclops at Mt. O was all that, either.


Powder Keg was a very pleasant surprise for me. Wildfire was the one I was looking forward to at Silver Dollar City. I wasn't too impressed, but didn't get the chance to dwell on that for too long, because Powder Keg made me forget all about it. If I had a list, it would easily be in my top-10.

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Great thread, Chuck!


Pleasant surprise: Space Mountain: Mission 2.


I was expecting it to be brutal, but actually had a very enjoyable ride! I seriously rode it 7 or 8 times when I visited that park.


Unpleasant surprise: Maverick


I was expecting so much from this ride, but ended up just getting beat up too much for my tastes. I hate to be one of those people that fuss over restraints too much, but I honestly feel if CP invested in the soft "I305" style OTSR's the ride would improve drastically.

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Unpleasant Surprise: Incredible Hulk

Don't get me wrong, it's definitely a fun, intense ride. It was just unnecessarily rough. I did ride in the back, but I shouldn't have to ride in the front to get a smooth ride.


Pleasant Surprise: Bizarro (SFGAdv) I had heard mostly mediocre reviews of the ride, but it ended up being one of my favorite rides at the park, just because it was pure fun! I also enjoyed the few little special effects it had, I thought they were a nice touch.

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Awesome thread!!


My pleasant surprises:


Mighty Mouse at Funtown Pier: I didn't expect anything really from this coaster; and it looked and sounded like it was falling apart. However, when my sister and I rode it, we were laughing hysterically the entire ride. It's the thing I'll miss the most from Funtown Pier. I guess you could also include Looping Coaster as a pleasant surprised, only because I was pleasantly surprised that the coaster didn't beat me within an inch of my life.


Steeplechase at Scream Zone: I was surprised at how powerful the launch was for such a small coaster. The rest of the coaster is alright, but it made for an overall fun coaster.


Wooden Warrior at Quassy: I had read the reviews from TPR and watched Robb's video, but part of me couldn't believe that a coaster about the same height as my house could be that good. Well, it lived up to its hype. It was short, but the airtime is wicked, and the line is always at a reasonable length where you can practically jump aboard again. While I'm at it, Quassy was a very charming gem. No white-knuckle thrill rides, but the family friendly environment was really strong.


Indiana Jones Adventure at Disneyland: I hadn't really paid much attention to the reviews given for this ride, and all I knew was that it was a similar ride experience to Dinosaur. It exceeded all my expectations and wound up being my favorite ride of the day.


My unpleasant surprises:


Fly the Great Nor'Easter at Morey's Piers: I had ridden this coaster twice before with the old restraints and never had a problem with them, I had considered the ride to be an above average SLC. I then rode the coaster with the new trains in '09, while I found the trains to be comfortable, it felt like the ride was punching my back. I rode it again two years later, and the experience was vicious.


Stitch's Great Escape at Magic Kingdom: Like Indiana Jones, I really hadn't read up on what people thought of it and didn't know what to expect. Great concept, poor execution. When he burped, that pretty much sealed it for me how disappointed I was (and no, I've never experienced it when it was Alien).

Edited by VinTheAttendant
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These reasons would be longer but i lost my entire post from before after trying to add pictures. first 8 rides are pleasant and last 5 are unpleasant surprises.


Maverick- never thought a 110 foot roller coaster would end up being the most wild ride i've ever been on


Magnum XL 200- i never really thought about this ride being awesome because it hides under the shadow of millennium force


Blue Streak- for a 64 foot roller coaster, this ride has some nice ejector airtime


Revenge of the Mummy- turned out to be my favorite indoor roller coaster. very nice surprises

harry potter and the forbidden journey.bmp

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey- best theming on a ride ever. tremendous job


Great Bear- this is the only inverted i like in this style. i dont know why this is, but it's the only 1


Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit- it's amazing how much better music can make a roller coaster


Great American Scream Machine- i'm the only person that didn't find this ride bumpy. i wish i could've rode it more than once =(

mil force.bmp

Millennium Force- the most anticipated ride i ever had turned out to be the most overrated. barely any airtime and too windy for me


Mean Streak- i thought with the layout there would be no way it would be as bad as reviews. i was wrong lol


Raptor- not sure why this gets so much more praise than batman. wasn't really much better for me


Dragon Challenge- not much better than batman either. the dueling race on this type of ride really didn't excite me much


Green Lantern- newest great adventure coaster that i thought would be good since i never rode stand-up. turned out to be very painful and uncomftorable

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Cyclone @ SFNE. I knew it recently received topper track, but I still expected an uncomfortable, boring ride crippled by reprofiling. It was fast, smooth, had some great laterals, and felt like a true throwback to an era of woodies manufacturers try to distance themselves from these days.


Comet @ Hersheypark. Anticipated a long, slow, trim braked cousin to the Phoenix. While there was no airtime to speak of, the layout was fun with interesting pacing and good visuals throughout. Still hard to believe two Herb Schmeck coasters from the same era are so far apart in intensity, but exceeded my expectations nonetheless. Actually preferred this to Wildcat.


Zoomerang @ Lake Compounce. Easily the best Vekoma boomerang I've ridden. Smooth with nice forces in the loop and cobra roll.





Bizarro @ SFNE. I actually really liked this ride, but I didn't think it was anywhere near the #1 ranked coaster I've heard so much about. Felt slow in parts, almost like there was extra resistance or friction of some kind. Airtime on every hill, but actually felt weaker than Nitro which I rode the following day.


Twister @ Knoebels. Again, I still liked this, but the helix certainly didn't feel like the "lateral buffet" from Robb's POV video I was anticipating. Much less out of control than I had hoped. Can anyone tell me if the helix was retracked and the banking increased at some point? Even Phoenix had stronger lats on one of the turnarounds.

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Pleasant Surprise: Predator at Darien Lake. A trimless ride after a rainstorm features ejector air, and pain can't be associated with the ride experience.


Unpleasant Surprise: Nitro was extremely lackluster for a hypercoaster. I don't know it if was because it was on the cooler side in the 60s early in the season or not, but every seat that I heard of in recommendations on coaster sites just didn't have that elite coaster experience I was expecting. Nitro is good, but nowhere near great.

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Pleasant surprise for me: Hollywood rip ride rockit. Wasn't expecting anything out of it except a new credit and instead got a pleasant but short ride and the music really added something for me.


Unpleasant surprise: New sleds matterhorn. This is one disney attraction that is now dead to me and I will never ride it again until they get rid of those horrible new sleds.

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SkyRider at Canada's Wonderland: I expected this ride to be hell, but other than the last turn, it was relatively smooth and forceful, and those final bunny hops give for the most interesting airtime I've ever experienced.


Knott's Berry Farm: Maybe it's just because I've never seen the original Knott's, but I thought it was absolutely great for a Cedar Fair park! The staff were incredibly enthusiastic and friendly, Xcelerator was amazing, the operations were relatively quick (albeit the park was rather empty) and the Ghost Town section had a really great atmosphere!




Nitro: Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad ride, it's just as comfortable and smooth as you would expect a B&M to be, but after all the hype around it, I couldn't help feel that the newer hypers like Behemoth had just as much if not more airtime and forces. Although, maybe it just seemed tame after riding the beast that is El Toro.

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