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The "Pleasant/Unpleasant Surprise" Thread

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Pinfari death machine at the San Mateo County Fair. I always heard Pinfari coasters can be pretty bad. And when you see this, you know you're in for a quality ride.




But in the end we survived and this coaster actually proved to be quite smooth, some pops of air, and just overall a fun little coaster

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Unpleasant- Nitro. I was excited because I heard so much hype about it but it was nothing special to me. Like most B&M's it was smooth and had a tad of floater air time but, in my opinion, it is miles behind Apollo's Chariot in sheer awesomeness.


(I am ready to get attacked like crazy for this)- Millennium Force- Do not get me wrong, it is a great coaster, but was kind of disappointing because of all of the hype (again). Intimidator destroys this.


Pleasant- Maverick- Maverick cured my Millennium Force sadness pretty quick. It is an awesome ride with some of the best turns in the world (the last overbanked turn = ) It has a great layout and keeps up intensity throughout the whole ride.


-Verbolten- After hearing it was a "family ride" I had my doubts . . boy was I wrong. The inside section is awesome and the helix pulls a surprising amount of G's that will shock you every time you ride. It is not a gimmick coaster with the drop section- I think it would still be great without it.

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Huge pleasant surprise when I finally got a chance to get on Green Lantern First Flight, the ZacSpin at SFMM. I've heard all kinds of reviews from "eh its boring it never flips" to "its the most painful coaster ever" and I was shocked to find that I absolutely loved it. The second ride I took was the most intense coaster ride I've ever had and it wasn't at all painful.


Unpleasant surprise at the same park..how ridiculously rough and painful X2 has gotten. Seems the only way to get a decent ride anymore is to ride on the inside and find some poor sap that's heavier than you to take the punishment on the outside. Two rides in two days and my calves hurt for days. Such a shame, that first drop is the best in the business.

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I rode the Corkscrew at Cedar Point, and it wasn't nearly as rough as I remembered it. As long as you concentrate on keeping your head still through the corkscrews, you barely hit your head against the restraints. It does hurt your back, however.

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Phantom's Reveneg at Kennywood. I honestly hadn't heard much regarding this ride, and being the Combination of two less than appealing companies seemed a bit scary, Turned out to be an extremely fun, smooth, and airtime filled ride! Totally took me by surprise in the best way possible.

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^Yeah same for me, Phantom was a huge surprise that made my top 10.


Kennywood was full of Pleasan/Unpleasant surprises..


Pleasant- Jack Rabbit. Such a fun little coaster, I really didn't expect much from it but but was surprised and how much fun it was.


Unpleasant- Thunderbolt. I had heard a lot about this ride from when I first got into coasters about it's history as an older coaster being renovated to include the ravine drops, and how the longest drop isn't until the end of the ride etc., but I found it to be kind of dull. It was smooth and the laterals were kind of fun, but other than that it was kind of meh...

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Luckily I haven't had too many unpleasant surprises, and most of those have been coasters that were way rougher than I thought they would be. These coasters are often ones I have ridden in the past and then come back to ride again years later and I'm shocked by how rough they have become. One is Alpengeist at BGE - I rode it when it was new and it was great, but now I pretty much avoid it (unless I can get a front seat ride) because it so much rougher than when I first rode it.


When I went to CGA many years ago, I was shocked at how rough Vortex was (this was a good 15 years ago or more) and I couldn't believe a B&M could be that bad. I was expecting a smooth ride because it was a B&M (that, and I had been on Riddler's Revenge many times and found it to be smooth) but my expectations weren't met.


I also wasn't impressed with Raging Bull at SF Great America - it was perhaps the roughest B&M hyper I've ever been on and was just lackluster overall.


Then there are just coasters that totally under-whelmed me - two examples are The Dark Knight at SF Great America and SF Great Adventure. Now I had heard that these two indoor mice were lame, but I thought that was simply BECAUSE they were mice. Worse yet, I ended up waiting an hour or more for the one at Great America, and that made the disappointment all the more acute. All I know is that when I got off, I couldn't help but think that the Exterminator at Kennywood was light years better, and that coaster didn't suffer from the over-hype. I was at least expecting some cool theming, or at least that the cars would spin, but no, nothing! Just a plain, garden variety wild mouse in a box.


There's also both Supermen: Ultimate Flights (SFOG and SF Great America) - the only B&M flyers I've ever been on and both were rather boring and save for the one looping element, basically forceless.



On the upside, there have been at least a few coasters that I feared would be rough/painful or lame and were anything but...

When I heard about Verbolten I thought it would be something on the order of Jaguar! at KBF but partially indoors - just a plain old family coaster with a gimmicky trick. But actually I liked Verbolten a lot - while it isn't an I-305, it's got some pretty good forces, cool theming and I love the drop track (was thinking I might not like that part because I don't care for drop towers; that and it might be rough).


Then there are other coasters that aren't quite what they seem - coasters that just don't look like much but blew me away.


One is the Voyage (remember this was a year after it opened, I haven't ridden it since 08' or '09, and back then it wasn't that rough) - I was thinking this would be just another woodie. Even the name "Voyage" didn't bring to mind anything earth-shattering, in fact it sounded a bit pedestrian to me. But as soon as I was heading up the lift hill I thought to myself that there must be a reason for the steel rather than wood framing structure and boy was I right! I couldn't believe that there was a coaster out there where I had to hold on the full length of the ride (well, everything after the first couple of drops anyway)! Who would have figured a little family park would harbor such an intense woodie? As said, I don't know what the Voyage is like now; it may be too rough for me to want to ride more than once in the front seat, but that was my impression of it back then.


Then there's El Toro - again, I figured that the idea of Intamin making a woodie was lame, that is, until I rode it. Also was afraid of roughness and thankfully that was totally unfounded. (I have good reason to fear roughness - I have a bad back and I have to be very careful of what I ride and where I ride) I never experienced continuous airtime like that on a woodie (well, at least not for the entire ride) before.


Then, finally, there's Skyrush. Like most of the other coasters, I had read a lot about it, and therefore my expectations were a bit prejudiced. Most of all I feared that it would be painfully rough, that and the "thigh-crush" moniker the ride had taken on since its opening year had given me serious reservations about riding it.

There was also the "ejector airtime" - I had seen plenty of on-ride POV's, and still photos of Skyrush and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why this apparently un-remarkable non-inverting steel coaster would garner such reviews. It was about the same height as SROS at SFA, just another non-inverted steelie (or so I thought). Surely the airtime couldn't have been much more than something like SROS....Skyrush just looked so ordinary and run of the mill to me, and no one would figure a nice family park like HP would build some kind of a mind-blowing monster coaster. There is really nothing about Skyrush, IMO, from the name, to the 19th century station theming, the track colors (colors you'd find in a little boy's bedroom) that would indicate the true nature of the ride.

I spent the whole day at HP futzing around riding everything else I wanted to ride, and I saved Skyrush for after sundown because I was truly expecting a serious and painful beat-down on this ride. That way, if I got the expected beat-down, I would be ready to go home anyway. Then there was my friend who had ridden just before I did, and she said her thighs were killing her and she had been robbed of her flip-flops, even though she had been sitting on them!

Well, with less than an hour left, I finally decided to ride, taking the safest option by sitting in one of the middle front seats. Well, the scary-fast lift hill (I didn't even notice or know that it had been slowed a bit at the top) took me by surprise - no time at all to contemplate the ride to the top, as is the case on every other elevator lift hill coaster I've been on. The drop wasn't too out of the ordinary (save for the speed at which you crest the hill) for a good 200 ft steelie, but then came the rest of the ride. This was rather like the Voyage in that I didn't feel as though I wanted to let go, and my brain was racing to try and anticipate the twists and turns of the track before the train crossed those elements. It was at night and of course harder to see, but it still felt like everything was coming at me so fast I could barely react or breathe. I prefer to liken it to being like a rat seized in the jaws of a terrier (a toothless one for sure) that's running really fast, zigging and zagging and shaking its head around! And thankfully, the forces of the ride itself didn't cause me any pain, and the infamous "thigh-crush" was no where near as bad as I had heard (including someone who had ridden before me who said he thought his legs were going to turn purple!). I would characterize the lap restraint as "uncomfortable" but certainly not painful. But considering the potential options, I'd much rather have what feels like a couple hundred pounds of rock on my lap for the duration of a coaster rather than having my head, neck and ears battered about like a punching bag by an OTSR. Of course I'd rather have B&M type hyper restraints, but in this case that isn't an option, and therefore I'll take the first choice hands-down.

So in a nutshell, Skyrush totally blew my mind - the bad parts I feared (well, I did take a ride in a front wing seat, and honestly my back won't be able to take much of any of those seats, so I will end up being a middle-seat rider on this one for the most part) didn't materialize and it was so much more awesome than I could have imagined.

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My most recent pleasant surprise was Blue Streak at Cedar Point: an old-school woodie that moves at a pretty good clip and delivers some nice airtime, yet doesn't readjust your spine in the process.

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I recently went to PNE Playland for the first time to meet up with a friend. I had heard numerous reports that Coaster was one of the most underrated wooden coasters in the world, although pictures of the ride seemed to imply that it was just your run-of-the-mill classic coaster. Wow! Did this ride blow me away! Not only was I shocked at how smooth it was for its age, but the airtime on that ride is absolutely insane. I love wooden coasters that throw me around, and Coaster threw me in just about every direction possible. The lack of seat belts helped a lot (and reduced dispatch time to practically ten seconds or less). My dad, who is more of a casual coaster rider, is usually very stoic on coasters, even the ones he particularly enjoys. He was laughing in a way I had never heard him laugh before on Coaster.


Coaster was everything I wanted it to be and so much more. Definitely a pleasant surprise, and definitely an underrated coaster.

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Colossus @ SFMM. Maybe I had heard too many bad things but found it to be pretty fun and moderately smooth

Full Throttle @ SFMM. Expected a very mediocre short ride and got a ride with possibly the best camel back hill ever designed

Predator @ DL. Again, Maybe I had heard too many bad things but found the ride to be OK, Not perfect or glass smooth but OK




Scream @ SFMM. I expect that rattle from a 20 year old B&M, Not a 10 Year Old B&M

Green Lantern @ SFMM. If this was tame, Thank God cause I felt like vomiting after getting off

Log Flume @ Knott's. I guess when the ride was built, It was more about theming than getting people wet. I got wetter on the Calico Mine Ride

Ignite @ SFGAm. If this is the biggest event in Park History, That should show that Bigger doesn't mean Better. Give Me Glow In the Park Parade Anyday of the Week

Screams & Dreams Pt. 3 @ SFGAm. Because 1 and 2 were done so well, 3 Felt like an Obligation almost. Also they excluded Wiggles World and didn't even include some commercials from 2000 to 2012. It was almost bare-bones generic and uncreatively streamlined. And no modern Fright Fest, No shows. I barely remember it.

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Every flying coaster that I have been on that isn't named Air I have been really excited for, and thought they all sucked bad. Superman is dreadfully dull, Tatsu is the same, and I couldn't imagine FireHawk at King's Island being as bad as it is (and the lift dog sounds, holy hell). They all made me feel like I was being hung like a piece of meat, not flying.

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Some more recent ones:



- Hydra The Revenge - very smooth and maintains momentum throughout

- Thunderhawk - one of the better Cedar Fair woodies I've been on

- Steel Dragon (Waldameer) - every spinning car coaster should be like this one!



- Ravine Flyer II - I expected this to be at the top of my list, but fell a bit short

- Skyrush - same as above

- Black Diamond - this reminded me more of a dark ride than a roller coaster

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canobie lake cannoball -- didn't expect much, had a great time on it

SFNe Superman - went in with high expectations -- it exceeded them

millennium force - recent trip this summer - got some great air and really enjoyed the ride for the first time

top thrill dragster/ kingda ka -- always thought these rides were a waste of money and space because of the ride time -- but now i get them




Grizzly at great america - terrible in every sense. no air, short, tracks badly, etc.

Mean Streak - a bigger version of the Grizzly, in some ways

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Unpleasant: Cheetah Hunt


WAIT! Before I am crucified for saying that, I would like to point out my expectations for it. I was NOT anticipating that it would be the "Next Maverick." However, I am a huge fan of Verbolten, and I love SWSD's Manta almost as much. So, I am a huge fan of these family launch coasters, and I thought Cheetah Hunt would live up to the standards of these rides, except be slightly more thrilling. Actually, I thought it was significantly less thrilling. I had heard that there was plenty of airtime, but, on my first ride, which was in the back seat, I did not experience much airtime or any sort of force. I only received three moments of gentle floater air, and no ejector air. However, I did ride again toward the end of the day in the front, and it was better. I got some very nice airtime on the first hill, followed by an extra bit of floater air on the hill over the Skyride (I received none when I rode in the back). However, I thought the ending was still unnecessarily lame, and that Verbolten and Manta, the coasters that were supposed to be less thrilling, were more exciting. Although I do believe that an "extreme family coaster" was exactly what the park needed, I did see several ways the layout could be more fun without being overly thrilling. I actually thought Cheetah Hunt was overall inferior to California Screamin, despite several reports claiming that Cheetah Hunt was more intense.


Pleasant: Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit


I was expecting a rough, unexciting experience. Although HRRR is rough in certain seats, the layout turned out to be a lot more fun than I was expecting. Although the layout does drag on in parts, I experienced plenty of airtime and unique elements, and the views are absolutely fantastic at night. In fact, I even thought the airtime on HRRR was better than most of the B&M hypers I have ridden. I found the experience to be very enjoyable, and it was a very cool addition to the park. Sadly, it is unlikely that another coaster will be built like this again, considering the excessive cost and construction problems.

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