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The "Pleasant/Unpleasant Surprise" Thread

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The entirety of Michigan's Adventure was a pleasant surprise for me this year. Everything was way better than I was expecting. The SLC was decent, the wild mouse was fun, Michigan Wolverine wasn't too rough and Shivering Timbers ruled. I was definitely going in with very low expectations, but ended up loving the place.

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Euro-Sat: Not as bad as I expected, but if that thing had OTSRs....

Rolling Thunder: Turnaround didn't kill me, I was scared though.




Blue Streak: Kept slamming my head against the headrests.

Bizarro (SFGADV): That cobra roll and the interlocking corkscrews.

Kingda Ka: This coaster is a mystery. Half the people who ride it say it's fine. The other half end up with a migraine at the end. Can't seem to figure out why.

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Thunderbolt @ Kennywood.

-After hearing all the rave about Jack Rabbit and nothing much about TB, I wasn't expecting much. Next thing I knew I was back in line and this thing was my #1 wood coaster. Those turns are fun, pretty intense (well it was for me) drops, and this thing actually had me scared at a few parts. I love that it has a big drop right out of the station( and the fact that it's situated on a cliff adds to the height factor) and the largest drop is one of the last. Loved EVERY second of this coaster ! Smooth as any steel coaster. Maybe it's just me, but the airtime I felt while hitting the chain lift was KILLER!! Never felt such intense air-time, it's on par with that of Skyrocket's "top hat"(front seat). A very pleasant surprise.




Jack Rabbit @ Kennywood.

-After hearing all the hype about the "double-down" I was expecting great things from this coaster. The ride was the HUGE letdown. The "double-down" had some good air, but NOTHING to rave about. I got better air on Phantom, and the locals don't rave about that . The ride has a VERY mediocre/forgettable layout. How does this coaster have a line? Overall, I'd never spend 15mins waiting for this ride EVER again. Really nothing special.

In short: the best part of the ride is rather forgettable.


*I rode JR before TB*

-I think people confuse JR with TB

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Verbolten at the East Coast bash. Even though I did follow the construction log pretty closely by the time I got to ride it I had completely forgotten about it's secret surprise. So my first ride on it was as close to the "GP" as I could get and I enjoyed it a lot.


Apollo's Chariot is never really discussed when B&M hypers are brought up so my first ride on it really rocked my world, considering my first two B&M hypers were Raging Bull and Silver Star. While those both barely had what I'd even call floater air time, Chariot was verging on the negative Gs on those last few bunny hops.


Unpleasant first experiences:


I'll be the first to say it, Maverick and Intimidator i305. It's not that I think they are bad rides, quite the contrary. It's just they go through their transitions so quickly that I was feeling bruised after my first ride. Because I am over 6ft, the quick right to left twist Intamin is so fond of now days nearly gives me whiplash and I have to be ready for it and brace myself or else the ride can be pretty painful on my back.

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Unpleasant surprise: I should have mentioned Incredible Hulk. also. I rode this early in my enthusiast days and had seen it ranked the #1 coaster on some TV show. While I liked it, I just expected so much more.


It's interesting how those shows can shape the expectations of newcomers or someone who isn't as familiar with the hobby. There are quite a few that I looked forward to trying, and afterwards was left wondering what the hell kind of justification the producers of the tv show had for featuring the ride. It always seemed like it was the same handful of coasters too, with little variation.

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Unpleasant Surprise: I will tell this one first because it will probably come as a shock to some but my unpleasant surprise was Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. I love the theming in the queue line. In fact, I loved all of Harry Potter land. However, I remember after my first ride how I felt getting off the ride and thinking I did not enjoy that as much as I thought I would.


Pleasant Surprise : The most recent pleasant surprise for me was Grizzly at Kings Dominion. I remember it took us a few seconds to find the entrance and I did not have a clue about the rides layout. I remember walking up to the short line in the station and hearing the hilarious ride op on the mic (who alone made for a pleasant surprise). Yes the ride is short, with not much air time, but it was a fun woodie.

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Pleasant Surprise - Space Mountain at DLP. I was braced for an awful and painful ride but I actually really liked it!


Unpleasant Surprise - Mystery Mine at Dollywood. This ride looks cool and for whatever reason, I really wanted to like it, but I just felt like I got beat up on it.

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When I went to SFOT in 2009, it was a big unexpected surprise park. It was beautiful, the rides were great, and overall it's tied with SFOG for my favorite Six Flags park.

La Vibora - SFOT: Hey, this ride was just damn fun! I never thought a bobsled would be that much fun.

Titan - SFOT: Didn't comprehend intensity until I went through those helices.

Runaway Mountain - SFOT: Damn, an indoor Windstorm model kicks ass!

Shockwave, SFOT - Yeah, the layout doesn't look that intimidating...but then you experience stand up airtime and super intense loops.

Raging Bull - Thought it would be a mediocre ride, but our ERT session during Midwest Bash was incredible.

Thunderhead 2012 - When I rode it before in 2010 and 2006 during the fall/winter, it didn't impress me. This summer...it was running like it was the Voyage. Amazing.

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This is a great thread. Thanks cfc for creating this.


Well, I have a good number of Pleasant/Unpleasant Surprises:


Pleasant Surprises:

GhostRider: I heard reviews that this would be a terrible woodie, but I rode the front and it was fun. The roughness almost went into the untolerable point of roughness, but it continued to be tolerable. I do refuse to sit anywhere else other than the front as I don't want a ride to kill me, I'll just gladly wait a little more for a fun ride.


Revolution & Colossus: Reviews show that these are two mediocre coasters, though I actually enjoyed them a lot. Of the 14 non-kiddie coasters at SFMM, I rank Revolution & Colossus as #7 & #8.


Montezooma's Revenge: For some reason my dad had a bad ride on it many years ago, so he told me it was really rough. I went on 4 rides on Monte in various seats and it gave a really fun and smooth ride. I rank Monte as my 2nd favorite coaster in Knott's after Xcelerator.


Pony Express: I had no expectations for this coaster and I thought it would be painful like Survivor (CGA), but it was a lot of fun and it was surprisingly comfortable.


Kong: I thought Kong would kill me, but I just got some minor headbanging.


Unpleasant Surprises:

Hammerhead (SFDK): All the SFDK locals said that this was the best flat ride at SFDK. I thought it was a very painful ride.


Riddler's Revenge: Many SFMM fanboys claim this to be the best stand-up coaster in the world. I must say that if this is the best stand-up in the world, they are all terrible. Riddler gave me a good amount of headbanging right on my ears and while it isn't as bad as Vortex (CGA), I still avoid Riddler.


Tatsu: Many SFMM fanboys claim this to be the 2nd best coaster in SFMM (after X2), though I really don't like the flying position as it is very uncomfortable especially in the pretzel loop and the brake run (waiting for SFMM's crummy operations). It is a bit fun and it was more forceful than I thought but I usually skip Tatsu if a see a long line which it always has.


Sky Cabin (KBF): I thought Sky Cabin would be a nice ride with a really good view like Star Tower (CGA), but the windows were dirty and the cabin felt really old and not maintained well. I find it funny that the railroad gives a better view of the PP construction site than Sky Cabin.

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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.


Twister seems to be a temperamental ride. The banking hasn't been changed, but you just get much better rides some days than other on that coaster, more so than almost any other wooden coaster I've ridden. I love the ride, but I've had absolutely spectacular rides on it, and some pretty mediocre ones, too.



As for my own...CW takes a lot of spots in this list since it's still fairly fresh in my mind...




Skyrider @ CW: I hate hate HATE Shockwave at King's Dominion, so I was dreading this credit, but it's a whole different coaster than it's near-twin. Much smoother and more comfortable, and genuinely enjoyable. I ended up hitting it three times while I was at the park.


Phoenix @ Knoebels: I'd heard the reviews, I'd been told what to expect, but I could not really believe that that modest looking coaster could possibly be one of the best in the world. Of course, if you're ridden it, then you know perfectly well that yes, it -is-.


Twister @ Knoebels: I'd also been told that compared to Phoenix, Twister wasn't anything special. It was running incredibly well the first year I got to ride it though, and ended up instantly being one one of my favorite wooden coasters, especially after dark. Then, it could also count as an unpleasant surprise when, the next year, it wasn't nearly as good. And after that, it was amazing again, so back to this category.


Hydra @ Dorney - One of the smallest floorless coasters, yes, but such a unique layout compared to the others I've been on, easily beating out much bigger cousins.


Non-coaster pleasant surprise - Shockwave @ CW. It wasn't one of the top rides I was waiting to get on, but it ended up being my favorite flat at the park, and better than most of the coasters. So wild and disorienting.



Unpleasant - Wild Beast @ CW. I love Grizzy at King's Dominion, and they look almost identical, so they must ride similarly, right? Uh...no. Ouch.


Racer @ Kennywood - Supposedly such a legendary ride. Why? It feels so slow, it just drags...always feels like it's struggling to even make it around the track.


Hercules @ Dorney - Good riddance. And it looked so impressive, too...

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Unpleasant surprise: I should have mentioned Incredible Hulk. also. I rode this early in my enthusiast days and had seen it ranked the #1 coaster on some TV show. While I liked it, I just expected so much more.


It's interesting how those shows can shape the expectations of newcomers or someone who isn't as familiar with the hobby. There are quite a few that I looked forward to trying, and afterwards was left wondering what the hell kind of justification the producers of the tv show had for featuring the ride. It always seemed like it was the same handful of coasters too, with little variation.



And along the same lines Megaphobia was the same way, unpleasant surprise after being hyped up on a TV show. While woodies do have their off days, I'm convinced the producers only picked Megaphobia because of the wackiness of sheep roaming underneath which looked good on TV.

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Twister @ Gröna Lund. I knew it was going to be fun, but I had no idea such a small coaster could pack such a wild and intense ride.

Looping Star @ Vidampark (now operating as Gwazi @ Lion Park Resort). Super smooth, fun, intense and the last turn into the brake run gives a good surprise.

Megablitz @ Wiener Prater. Who would have thought that a Vekoma from 94 would be butter smooth?? And those helixes are pulling some serious G-forces!

Polar X-plorer @ Legoland Billund. This ride is surprisingly forcefull up to the the drop-section. The drop-section was surprising the first time, but I cant help but think that if they had not used it and made the ride longer instead it would have been a really good ride.



Bizarro @ SFNE (rode it as SROS). A great ride, but did not live up to the hype.

Piraten @ Djurs Sommarland: Having heard nothing but great reviews of this ride from the enthusiast community, I came to this ride with high expectations. Unfortunately I had to agree with my non-coaster enthusiast friend who had ridden it before me who said that it was a fun ride, but he could not understand how it could be a top-10 coaster.

Colossus @ Thorpe Park. Rode it once in 2005, no ride has ever given me such a bad headache.


In case I sound like an Intaminhater, let me just point out that El Toro @ SFGADV is my favorite coaster ever!!!

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Pleasant Surprises-

Dare Devil Dive SFOG- wasn't really expecting much out of this little coaster but it ended up being a lot of fun, one of the highlights of that trip


Zeus at Mt. Olympus- I had huge expectations for Hades and Cyclops but had never really heard anything good or bad about Zeus but it turned out to be a surprisingly good ride that trip. Not a Top 10 by any means but a lot better than I expected.


Maverick at Cedar Point- I had heard it was good but I didn't expect it to be my new #1. That thing was just an awesome ride from start to finish, and had everything I love in a coaster.


Unpleasant Surprise-

Cheetah Hunt at Busch Gardens Tampa- Just kind of a boring ride, fun, but not a thrilling or memorable as I would have liked


Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit- Same thing as above, although it has started to grow on me now the first couple of rides I had on it we very underwhelming considering how much I was looking forward to it.


Gwazi with the Millenium Flyer trains at BGT- I LOVED Gwazi when it opened but it obviously hadn't aged as well as some other coasters and I was hoping that the new trains would really improve the experience. However I found the rides with the new trains to be not much different than with the old ones.

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Pleasant Surprise:


Rebel Yell & Thunder Road: I thought both of these would be boring and rough, but the only bad ride I had was Thunder Road in a wheel seat. While not an amazing ride, they were both fun and the racing on Thunder Road added to it (unfortunately, Rebel Yell wasn't racing).


Mighty Canadian Minebuster: This ride was a lot more fun than I was expecting. Not really rough at all, just uneventful. Still, I ended up riding twice on my visit to the park.


Ghoster Coaster(s): They may be small, but they're better than 1/3 to 1/2 of the full size woodies I've been on.


Space Mountain: Mission 2: Based on everything I'd heard about this ride, I thought it would be extremely rough and not very good. However, I really enjoyed it, and ended up riding three times during my day at Disneyland Paris this past summer. While it is a bit rough, I've certainly been on worse.


Dragon Fire: Simple ride, just didn't beat me up nearly as bad as some others with the same (or a very similar) layout.


Carolina Goldrusher: Currently my favorite Arrow Mine Train, this ride has good pacing and enough elements to keep it interesting without dull spots. It also isn't as rough as some of the others.


SkyRider: This is the one Togo I've been on that I'd consider a good ride. I was expecting a rough and painful ride like Shockwave, but this coaster was so much better that I rode it twice on my visit even though the ride doesn't have Fast Lane.


Unpleasant Surprise:


Raven: From everything I'd heard about this ride, I expected it to be outstanding, but it disappointed and ended up being my least favorite of Holiday World's three wooden coasters (although it was the least rough of the three).


Wooden Warrior: This ride was just a total letdown for me. Sure, it was fun, but based on what I'd been hearing before my visit it sounded like a top 25 woodie. Personally, I don't even think it belongs in the top 50. This is one ride where I'm guessing my opinion is in the vast minority, but even after four rides in four different seats (including the front and back), I'd still consider it "just okay." Maybe riding it early in the morning (just after park opening) had something to do with that.


American Thunder: Still a great ride, but didn't enjoy this as much as most other GCIs I've been on.


Yankee Cannonball: Another coaster that I thought would be better than it was, although I only rode during a morning ERT session so my experience may be affected by that.


GhostRider: When the ride's running well, I really like it. However, it seems to vary between an acceptable level of roughness and rough enough to give a pleasant ride. Since you can never predict this, it sometimes counts as an unpleasant experience.


Intimidator 305: I'm not a huge fan of coasters with high positive gs or really quick directional changes, so this ride didn't rank too highly on my list.


Dark Knight: I expected it to be bad, but it was worse than I thought it would be. Shame DC Comics is owned by Six Flags, because I think almost any other company could do this ride better.


Canyon Blaster (Great Escape): Worst Mine Train I've been on anywhere. Rough, boring, and a very anticlimactic ending.

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Pleasant Surprises:


Backlot Stunt Coaster (KD): I mean, I really wish the special effects would work, (at least SOME of them) but the ride itself was quite a bit of fun. The layout incorporated some of the terrain in the area and so the elements all made sense. I re-rode this one later in the day.


Mystery Mine (Dollywood): I really didn't have great expectations for this ride. It killed the other eurofighter on New Hotness (Dare Devil Dive). Though the steepness of Mystery Mine's drops was less than DDD, they felt a lot more dramatic. Also, the dark ride section in the beginning with the funky little turns was a nice touch. The ride really blew me out of the water.


Tennessee Tornado (Dollywood): Again, just incredible and I didn't expect it to be. Easily the best Arrow out there. The course is pretty short, but the inversions are very dynamic and fluent. I loved this park so, so much. Not a bad coaster in the park.


Steeplechase (Scream Zone): Someone else mentioned this, but I thought very little of this ride going in. The launch really surprised me. I think it is only 0-40, but it felt really solid. I would've loved to ride this again. But I wasn't paying 7 more dollars.


Leap the Dips (Lakemont Park): Honestly, I knew I was going to have fun on this ride for the sheer nostalgia but it was actually a really fun little ride.


Unpleasant Surprises:


Ravine Flyer II (Waldameer): Don't get me wrong, this coaster still kicks butt. I rode it in 2010 and again this year... and the difference is immense. I don't know what happened between then and now. We convinced my mom to ride telling her it was really smooth, (because it WAS) and she came off beaten up.


Expedition Everest (Animal Kingdom); I won't say this ride isn't neat or well done. It is. And my surprise by this is not that it was rough or anything. But the backward portion makes me sick every time. The first hill you go up backward feels like an inversion and both my father and I have gotten sick riding it. On the plus side, the queen for the ride is simply incredible.


Skyrush (Hershey Park): I don't know what it was, honestly. It wasn't necessarily the restraints that bothered me. All I know is, the next morning at King's Dominion, I had to leave ERT early to get some ice for my neck which hurt every time I turned it. I can place the blame on Skyrush because it was the only coaster that day that I really didn't look forward to re-riding after my initial three rides. The ride has a solid layout, and the airtime is just insane. But it isn't running like a brand new coaster should run. That's all.

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Pleasant Surprises:

Little Amerricka: I went to the park expecting a rundown park that I'd want to leave as soon as getting the credits. What I found was a pleasant park, with a friendly staff, and an amazing and unique train ride. Sure the coasters were pretty craptacular and tried to kill me(although Comet was fun), but it was a nice little local park.


Bay Beach: I had no expectations going into the park, an in the end, it was a great park. Zippin Pippin was great, and it is a shame there are not more parks like this across the country.


Waldameer: Just like Bay Beach, I had no expectations with the exception of Ravine Flyer. Ravine Flyer kicked ass, and I was surprised at how nice and how much fun the park was. Just like Bay Beach, it's a shame more parks like this don't exist across the country.


T2*: This was my first SLC, and I wa surprised how smooth and how much fun it was the first time I rode it. When I went back a few years later though, this ride lived up to its reputation and gave me a really bad headache.


Shivering Timbers: Again, I had no expectations going before I rode, and ended up with a new #1 coaster.


Wolverine Wildcat: I was expecting a horrible ride, especially after riding Predator two years before. What I got was a smooth fairly fun ride, although after riding Shivering Timbers, it seemed pretty tame by comparison.


Unpleasant Surprise:


All the wooden coasters at Holiday World: I can see the potential of the rides, but they ran rough and sluggish when I went in 2010. Granted it was like 95* with a heat index well over 100 when I went, so that also probably played a role, but I did not enjoy my time on the coasters. I still want to go again though, but I'll make sure to do it on a cooler day (and also once the Timberliners are added).


Thunderhead: See issues with Holiday World coasters(I rode Thunderhead on same trip as Holiday World visit). Although, unlike the Holiday World coasters, I still had fun on Thunderhead, it just wasn't the OMG ride I was expecting.

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New Texas Giant SFOT: I rode it 2 weeks after it opened and didn't expect much, boy was I suprised by the airtime this ride had.


Apocolypse SFMM: I was suprised by the speed/airtime combo.


Viper SFMM: From what I had heard my brains were going to be goo at the end of the ride but they weren't, and it ended up being my number 4 ride at the park.


Schlitterbahn New Braunfels: I'm not a waterpark guy but this place impressed me and is still the only waterpark I classify as 'Great".





Superman Escape From Krypton SFMM: I thought "100mph, 400ft., this has to be amazing.", while it was good it wasn't anything special.

Edited by BigBomer
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Pleasant Surprises:


- Mighty Canadian Minebuster - Canada's Wonderland: I went into this coaster expecting nothing and at the end it became one of my fave woodies


- Silver Comet - Martin's Fantasy Island: I honestly was not expecting this coaster to be any good at all after walking through the park and seeing they mainly only have carnival style rides, once on it I really enjoyed it and wish we would have had more time there to get multiple rides on it.


- Skyrush - Hersheypark: I went into it not expecting anything because it does not look as high as they say it is. After the first time I rode it in a front winged seat it instantly became my favorite steel coaster.


- Tennessee Tornado - Dollywood: I read online how short this coaster is and I hate when coasters are really short especially if you have to wait a long time in line. I regret thinking that. This is one of the best steel coasters I have ever ridden. I am a die hard Arrow fan boy and this coaster did NOT disappoint.


- Vortex - Kings Island: From just looking at it, it looked painful. I rode it because its a Arrow and I instantly fell in love. It was not rough at all to me and I could not stay off of it when I was there for 2 days.


- Sledgehammer - Canada's Wonderland: I had such a awesome time on this ride. I know this was a prototype and prone to problems but it ran all day when I was there and I would love to see more built.



Unpleasant Surprises:


- Wild Beast - Canada's Wonderland: I thought this was a terrible coaster all around


- Leviathan - Canada's Wonderland: I was super excited for this coaster with it being the focal point of the Leviathan tour this past summer but I just did not see the hype over it. After the first drop it was quite boring in my opinion.


- Griffon - Busch Gardens Williamsburg: I just do not like this coaster. I just simply find it boring.


- The Beast - Kings Island: There is A LOT of hype over this coaster and I went into this with these high hopes - I even made it my 150th coaster. By the end I was bored and did not want to ride it again. I am not into long straight aways and that is what this coaster has. The big helix's did nothing for me at all. I like quick/sudden turns, high banked turns, and LOTS of drops - probably why I prefer the twister woodies over out and back ones.


- Predator - Darien Lake: I waited 30 minutes for this coaster because it broke down and then they decided to put the other train on the tracks. I wish I would not have waited for this coaster. I like rough coasters but this one was even too rough for me.

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^Tennessee Tornado was a very pleasant surprise for me, as well. I remember getting a look at the layout as the train was pulled up the lift hill and thinking that this can't possibly be any good. But I came off the ride thinking that this was the best thing Arrow had ever done--smooth, crazy, and a lot of fun (if brief).

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Pleasant Suprises:


Big Thunder Mountain CA: I had my first ride on this infamous Disney coaster last year. I wasn't really expecting much but it was a very suprising ride. I found a lot of airtime on this ride. Especially on the drop righty before the third lift hill. That drop caught me by suprise.


California Screamin': When i was 8 I thought i was gonna die on this ride. I was crying in the line because i was really scared since this was my first looper. But i really enjoyed it. The entire ride had nice moments of air but not as intense for all the young ones.


Tower of Terror: My first drop tower ride. I was 8 as well so this ride scared the S H I T out of me. But it was way more fun than i thought it was gonna be.


Steel Lasso in Frontier City: Since this was a Suspended Vekoma I thought this was going to hurt. But the new restraint system and the redesigned track mad this ride smooth and enjoyable.


WildCat in Frontier City: This ride hasn't gotten any attention so I had no idea what to expect while i was on it. It was a fun little woodie that had some moments of airtime. And it wasn't very rough at all.


Transformers the Ride: I was expecting to be underwhelmed by the ride since it was a 3d kind of ride. But the 3d worked for the ride very well. Probably the best simulator ride i've ever been on. And that moment when the missile is going straight at you and there is a heater right above your head to make you feel like there is an actual missile being shot at you. Best part.


Supreme Scream: I forced my self on this ride just to see if i would ever go on a drop tower again. This ride made me love drop towers. You get a rush of airtime as you are launched down from 255 feet (I think) and a good amount of positive G's at the bottom. Fun ride.


Rock N' Roller Coaster in Disney's Hollywood Studios: One of the (If not the) best Vekoma rides ever made. Suprisingly smooth and forceful launch. Plus the Aerosmith soundtracks make this ride awesome.


Unpleasant rides:


Ghostrider: This ride was rough as hell. I got jostled around the entire ride and it left me with a headache for the rest of the day. There wasn't even any airtime besides the first drop. This ride needs Timberliners badly.


Revenge of the Mummy CA: I really enjoy this ride and it even had good moments of airtime. But the little amount of space and lack of good theming and fire made this ride kind of underwhelming. The treasure room is so small and looks really plastic. The wallpaper on the walls looks ridiculously cheap. The grand gallery right before the launch seems pointless. Like seriously. That room makes me so angry. That room should depict a grand gallery that is supposed to be collapsing and falling apart. This room should be redesigned to have fire at the roof, some of the pillars breaking, and have stone doors closing behind the car and infront of the car. And the roller coaster part could have somemore theming as well. Maybe have some screens along the side of the car that show mummy warriors chasing after the car. Also, they should have the scarab scene like they have in Singapore. This ride really needs an update.


Diamond Back in Frontier City: Even though this ride has a crapload of airtime, its really uncomfortable and bashes you head against the headrest and restraint.


Boomerang at Knott's: Curse the person who decided to put that ride there. One of the WORST RIDES EVER.


Psyclone at Six Flags Magic Mountain: I don't need to explain why.


Scandia Screamer: Rough ride. And the 2 last turns throw you around so much you nearly get whiplash. Feels like the ride is going to collapse.

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