West Coast Racers. New for 2019 or new for 2020? On one hand, it technically did open at the very end of 2019...for members only. On the other hand, it didn't open to everyone until 2020.
There's no right answer. It's like asking yourself if Nick Cage is a good or bad actor.
But most people who ride West Coast Racers are in agreement that this is an incredibly fun coaster. Me included.
2020 was already one of the best years for new coasters. Magic Mountain went above and beyond our wildest expectations make this a new-for-2020 coaster.
West Coast Racers is part of a whole new area called the Underground. The back section by Apocalypse was always one of the park's ugliest and most lifeless areas, but now it has a vibrant atmosphere. The freshly painted buildings and kinetic energy of West Coast Racers revitalized the back corner of the park.
This is also among the better themed rides Six Flags has ever created. It's not Disney level, but the queue line is on the level with Six Flags Mexico, the chain's undisputed king of well-themed queue lines. You pass through an auto shop with a beautiful model car and panels showing the mechanics at work.
Six Flags has evolved. This isn't a parking lot coaster. This is a street coaster.
In terms of seats, I tried West Coast Racers in both the front and back. When I visited, they were assigning seats, but they were granting requests so long as the queue for an individual row wasn't too backed up. But it didn't matter too much in my opinion since it rode pretty similarly in every row.
I also thought both halves rode pretty similarly. All 4 launches lacked a good initial kick, but each one had a decent punch by the end. All 4 inversions were of the floaty variety with some great hangtime. The helices on both sides both had spots where they piled on the GS. And there were also several pops of airtime scattered throughout. In general, the airtime was fairly weak except for one shining moment- the high five.
This element is incredible. It's as wild as the best RMC wave turn. You get some powerful sideways ejector airtime. And the best part is that you get to experience this element twice!
The last thing I want to touch on was the controversial pit stop. Unlike Twisted Colossus where your duel is at the mercy of the operators, West Coast Racers forces a duel. As a themed element, the pit stop is just ok. But I am 100% in favor of its inclusion. If the alternative is plowing through the whole layout and then stacking on the final brake run, I'll happily wait an extra minute to get a duel. Because it's what makes West Coast Racers special.
West Coast Racers isn't the world's most intense coaster, but I enjoyed it more than I expected. It's an incredibly fun ride thanks to the interactive dueling. Plus it's a long ride with a diverse mix of elements. It's probably my fourth favorite ride at Magic Mountain after Twisted Colossus, X2, and Tatsu. 8.5 out of 10
This is what happens if you have a pit stop.
No pit stop.
Give me the pit stop.
Rumor has it, Universal has a heart attack if you show them this photo.
And one of the more underrated things about the Underground area was that Apocalypse was retracked. It was running just as smoothly as my December visit, but the airtime didn't feel as strong. The usual quick ejector pops characteristic of a GCI were replaced by milder floater airtime. 7 out of 10
This ride's theme sure is fitting in light of current world events.
Every time I visit Magic Mountain, Twisted Colossus is running less and less trains.
Needless to say, I didn't exactly get a duel on this visit.
And in case you were wondering, the second lift still crawls even if Twisted Colossus is running one train. The lift is programmed to wait for the other train under all circumstances it seems. It just put salt in the wound and killed the throughput. Thankfully the park was dead so it never built up a sizable wait.
The dueling doesn't make or break Twisted Colossus for me; it's just gravy. This is one of my favorite RMCs. It may be fair to call Twisted Colossus two coasters spliced together, but I don't care one bit since both halves have some powerful ejector airtime, a great inversion, and no dead spots. 10 out of 10
Duel or no duel, Twisted Colossus is an incredible coaster. One of RMC's best!
At this rate, Twisted Colossus will be running 0 trains on my next visit.
The park was so dead that even YOLOcoaster was almost a walk-on. That never happens! As a result, I got a few rides on the park's original Premier coaster. I know it's easy to mock YOLOcoaster for its premature ending, but I love the elements it includes.
The launches are solid; the vertical loop has some terrifying hangtime; the dive loop going forwards is whippy; the dive loop backwards stall has some great hangtime; and the airtime over the top hat is fantastic in any row. In the grand scheme of things, isn't that more elements than a lot of launch coasters? 8 out of 10
You know what would make this loop better? An interlocking Larson Loop.
The longest wait by far was for Tatsu. It was a perfect storm at Tatsu- one train ops, slow dispatches, and a passenger had a nosebleed. Magic Mountain didn't immediately take Tatsu down. Instead, they just ran the ride at even further reduced capacity and blocked off the two blood-splattered rows.
And I'm willing to bet the pretzel loop was the culprit. That inversion is downright insane. It's arguably the most intense inversion in the world. The pretzel loops on the Superman clones already feel like an endurance test and the one on Tatsu is twice as large. Tatsu's pretzel loop does some unnatural things to your body. It feels like your head will explode, your chest will cave in, and your pants will be ripped off. But I love its primal intensity.
The rest of the ride is graceful, but that isn't a bad thing. Tatsu's setting atop the hill allows for some memorable barrel rolls and overbanks. That's especially true since you can admire Magic Mountain's impressive skyline from many unique vantage points. 9 out of 10
Tatsu's pretzel loop turns men into boys. And boys into dust. Thanos would be proud.
Since Emily wasn't with me on this trip, I felt no guilt marathoning X2. If you remember my last trip report, Emily said that was her least favorite coaster of all time. She literally thought she was going to slip out of the harness and die.
As for me, I love the sheer insanity of X2. Yes it's a bit bouncy, but in a way it feeds into the ridiculousness of the ride. You have a Falcon's Fury-esque dive towards the ground with a flip mixed with one demented flip after another. The final raven turn and inline twist in particular standout because of their compactness and snappiness.
The biggest flaw for me is that far turnaround that does absolutely nothing and the fact that I know Eejanaika exists and corrected that flaw. 9.5 out of 10
Alan Schilke- I want a vertical drop. Arrow Engineers- We've never done that before. Alan Schilke- Oh ok. Let's have the seats flip too then.
Eejanaika translates to "What the Hell"? That's an apt description for any 4D coaster. Including the recently removed Green Lantern. Except it isn't a term of endearment there...
I also made sure to pay my respects to the park's older Arrows. These rides may not have the best transitions, but Viper packs in positive Gs during the first half and awkward hangtime in the second half (6 out of 10). Meanwhile, Gold Rusher (5 out of 10) and Ninja (6 out of 10) use the park's mountain terrain to perfection.
Only five flags? Six Flags is slacking.
I never noticed before this visit that Ninja's queue stands atop an old turntable. Samurai Summit is just littered with remnants of deceased attractions.
As for the park's older B&Ms, I only rode Riddler's Revenge. Batman is a fantastic ride, but I tend to skip it at Magic Mountain since I ride the crap out of Great Adventure's during Holiday in the Park. As for Scream, I choose not to ride it since Great Adventure has the superior Bizarro...which I rarely ride since I can't pull myself off El Toro.
Riddler's Revenge is the king of stand-up coasters. As long as you get your head above the restraint and that bike seat below your loins, you're in for a treat. Riddler's Revenge pulls some serious Gs and just keeps going on and on. I think that last point may be why Riddler's is a love it-hate it ride. If you ride it wrong, you're in for a bad time. 8 out of 10
This view may look different next year with the rumored Raptor slapped in front of it.
Meanwhile, Goliath is the weenie of hyper coasters. While that drop looks impressive off-ride, it's a ride of wasted potential. I wish that speed was used for airtime as opposed to gargantuan, positive G heavy helices. 6 out of 10
Arguably the best thing about Goliath is that iconic sign.
It was also a nice surprise to see Superman running. Most of my visits seem to take place during Holiday in the Park when the Man of Steel is down. For that reason, I snagged a few rides on the last remaining reverse freefall coaster. And this launch was better than I remembered. It has a decent initial kick and you just keep getting faster and faster. And that view atop the tower is breathtaking. Superman may be a one-trick pony, but I like its trick. 7 out of 10
I was also able to get back on Lex Luthor, which is always temperamental for me. I've come to realize the drop on Lex Luthor isn't as intense as other drop towers, but the sheer height and threat of Superman swaying the tower makes this one of the scariest rides in the world. 9 out of 10
Six Flags Magic Mountain is one of the jewels of the Six Flags chain. That coaster lineup carries the park, but they have incrementally been improving each section of the park as they add a new coaster.
My past few visits to Knott's Berry Farm have been abridged. I'd shoehorn in an hour or two after touching down at LAX or stop en route to LAX. And that's not fair to Knott's, as it's one of Cedar Fair's strongest parks.
This visit coincided with the final weekend of the Peanuts Celebration, a winter festival with special food, photo ops, and ride overlays.
Most statues of people are commemorated in bronze or gold. Birds are commemorated in berries. Where's the equality?
The most notable overlay was the Grand Sierra Railroad being converted into Beagle Bonanza. Snoopy and his siblings decided to throw a fair called (you guessed it) the Beagle Bonanza. The ride has some cute cardboard cutouts along the course and special audio narration. My only gripe was that every car had the same narration and it was only truly synched with the caboose.
I'm sad to report, the Beagle Bonanza had no coaster credits.
But there was a fun house.
In my last visit, I noted that Knott's had a crappy rain policy. Basically the whole park shut down except for the water rides. And there was a half hour stretch where it sprinkled in the evening. But one coaster ran in the rain. Can you guess which one?
If you said Xcelerator, you'd be correct.
I thought the accelerator coasters were automatic closures in rain to prevent rollbacks and rider discomfort, but Xcelerator was rocketing down the track. It appeared Knott's was content running the ride in a light drizzle to empty out the station, but they weren't allowing new riders into the queue.
But i didn't mind because this emptied out the dreaded front row queue. Once Xcelerator reopened, the front was a walk-on for the remainder of the day. That never happens. And I love feeling the full force of the launch up there.
Plus, I think Xcelerator has the best top hat of the accelerator coasters because of the strong ejector you get cresting it due to the speed. Top Thrill Dragster always seems to teeter on the edge of a rollback, but Xcelerator seems to have plenty of speed to spare. 8 out of 10
Dear rain, thank you for gracing SoCal with your rare presence to clear out this queue.
I remember when Xcelerator was red instead of Pepto Bismol colored.
For the past few visits, I've found HangTime to be my second favorite coaster in the park. But now I'm not so sure. I might prefer Xcelerator now. As for HangTime, it still has an epic drop and some other decent elements. But it has developed a very noticeable shuffle in the corkscrew. 8 out of 10
One other note about HangTime is that it received new seatbelts sometime between my last ride on it in December 2018 and my visit earlier this year. The old seat-belts were counter-intuitive and required you to push them inwards before they'd release. It felt like skilled labor to get those things to unlock! But now HangTime has standard seat-belts.
Is this a dive coaster? Is Orion a giga? Enthusiasts will always debate.
I don't care what you call it, HangTime is great!
Only low point was this corkscrew being quite rattly.
Another highlight for me was finally being able to reride my white whale...er brown pony- the Pony Express. For one reason or another (rehab, technical issues, rain), this ride is never open for me. But I finally rerode the ponies.
And now I understand why people mock this ride. I get Knott's didn't have much space, but this coaster has a high height restriction compared to its intensity level. The launch is fun, but the rest of the layout doesn't really do anything. 3 out of 10
After years of failure, I finally rerode my white whale.
Back to the good steel coasters, I took several laps on Silver Bullet. I know a lot of people call this the worst B&M invert, but in general it's an enjoyable ride. It has some solid inversions and that helix finale is among the most forceful elements out there. It's up there with the intensity of a Batman the Ride.
The only thing Silver Bullet can (and should) be mocked for is that embarrassment of a first drop. Calling it a drop is offensive to the other drops out there. I'd refer to it as an ADA-compliant ramp. 8 out of 10
You'd think a coaster called Silver Bullet would actually have some silver on it, but it surprisingly doesn't.
But the trains are rainbow colored. I never noticed that until this visit.
I know Silver Bullet gets a lot of flack, but I enjoy it outside of that embarrassment of a first drop.
And it's incredibly photogenic.
But the highlight for me was of course GhostRider, one of my favorite wooden coasters. On this visit, I found a newfound appreciation for the front row. I still prefer the back, namely for the drop into the second half, but only by a slim margin.
The front had ejector pops on a few of the other bunny hills while the back only has floater airtime on the bunny hills. But wherever you sit, you're going to get some insane laterals and this is one of the best paced coasters out there. 9 out of 10
GhostRider is easier to photograph from outside the park, but I was up for a challenge.
GhostRider has great pacing, strong laterals, and some good airtime too.
GhostRider at night is legendary...unlike the Nick Cage movie.
I also took quick laps on Sierra Sidewinder and Montezooma's Revenge. Sierra Sidewinder is a very underrated spinning coaster with some good Gs (7.5 out of 10) and Montezooma's Revenge is fun, but I don't appreciate it as much as I should since I can walk another few minutes up the midway and ride Xcelerator. 6 out of 10
Mack spinners are the best spinners.
Still one of my favorite coaster names.
Oh and I rerode Timberline Twister. I wasn't credit whoring; I actually had this credit from a past visit. I just had delusions this coaster was something it wasn't. For some reason I remember getting some great airtime on this when I rode it years ago.
Needless to say, it didn't have that airtime. I guess I misremembered it?
This time I was stunned just how difficult it was to fit in the dang vehicle. For reference, I'm right at the maximum height and I completely understand why that's in place. I was almost walk-of-shamed! 2 out of 10
Snoopy keeps an eye on credit whores.
One of the areas where Knott's really shines compared to the other Cedar Fair parks is in the non-coaster lineup. The star is of course the Timber Mountain Log Ride, one of the best themed log flumes in the world. While the drops are just ok, the theming on this ride is enough to carry it. 9.5 out of 10
My favorite part of this ride is that it inspired Splash Mountain.
I also gained a greater appreciation for the Calico River Rapids. When I rode it last year, I had set my expectations too high. I guess I was expecting a dark ride similar to what Movie Park Germany did with their Excalibur river rapids.
With tempered expectations, I realized the animatronics and sound effects along the route were nice pluses. And while no one element will soak you, there are about a dozen or so that will get you quite wet including a generally turbulent river. 8 out of 10
What's scarier? The bear?
Or the geysers?
Voyage to the Iron Reef was closed for its upgrade to Knott's Beary Tales, but I was able to ride the Calico Mine Ride. This ride has grand setpieces, a few in which you pass multiple points at different vantage points. It has a different feel than a lot of other dark rides, but I sort of like its uniqueness. 7 out of 10
It's not a mirage. It's an actual dark ride at a Cedar Fair park not called Boo Blasters.
This is one of the park's boulder attractions.
Last but not least, I hit some of the park's most thrilling flats. The one I was most excited to ride was Sol Spin, the park's top scan. I keep wishing I can find one stateside that runs as well as the one I rode at Oktoberfest, but I need to just accept the fact it's a pipe dream. Sol Spin only inverted 2 or 3 times, but it had plenty of violent rocks. 7 out of 10
I know it's called Sol Spin, but it looks way better at night.
I also got a nice long cycle on La Revolucion (7 out of 10) and enjoyed the sheer size of Supreme Scream, even if the latter isn't as forceful as some of the other drop towers out there. 7 out of 10
Fun fact, this was once the world's tallest drop tower beating Pitt Fall by 1 foot.
Even funner fact, the record was broken a few months later by Dreamworld's Giant Drop, which was over 120 feet taller.
And no visit to Knott's would be complete without that famous fried chicken. I didn't allocate time to dine in, but I made sure to grab some chicken to go and I wolfed that down like a ravaged animal.
KFC has nothing on Knott's.
By giving myself another full day at Knott's, I realized just how well-rounded and unique this park is. While I do still prefer Disneyland and Six Flags Magic Mountain, Knott's isn't a park that should be forgotten on a SoCal trip.
I agree, you need more than a couple hours to enjoy Knott's, but if all you have is a couple hours, then a couple hours at Knott's is better than a couple hours not at Knott's! Glad you got enough time for a good visit this time though.
CenturyFlyer wrote:Cool stuff! I can't wait to ride GhostRider and Montezooma (never been on a Schwarzkopf shuttle before) when I eventually get out there. And I've subscribed to your YouTube channel!
Thanks! I'm glad I've gotten a chance to ride a few shuttle loops since they're a fun, but dying breed.
ytterbiumanalyst wrote:I agree, you need more than a couple hours to enjoy Knott's, but if all you have is a couple hours, then a couple hours at Knott's is better than a couple hours not at Knott's! Glad you got enough time for a good visit this time though.
What can I say, Mickey and his friends have me on a leash when I'm in SoCal.
Absolutely LOVE this park! We went for Christmas this year and I was able to do 2 nights of Knott's Scary Farm. Cannot WAIT for all of this quarantine to be over so I can go back and have some of that awesome fried chicken! Thanks for the TR and pics!
Canobie Coaster wrote:Knott's Berry Farm Last but not least, I hit some of the park's most thrilling flats. The one I was most excited to ride was Sol Spin, the park's top scan. I keep wishing I can find one stateside that runs as well as the one I rode at Oktoberfest, but I need to just accept the fact it's a pipe dream. Sol Spin only inverted 2 or 3 times, but it had plenty of violent rocks. 7 out of 10
I'd recommend trying Samurai at Lagoon, I was excited to try Sol Spin when I attend WCB and walked away disappointed because it only rotates in one direction. Samurai rotates forwards and backwards and if you get the right arm you get a super wild ride. There have been plenty of moments where I felt like I was going to be flung from my seat.
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