Kemah Boardwalk is an excellent example how friendly, outgoing employees can make a difference in one's experience. After visiting the sister park in Galveston, I arrived hoping to marathon Boardwalk Bullet for an hour before heading to Fiesta Texas. However, it quickly became apparent that marathoning would not be possible.
Welcome to the Kemah Beerwalk.
Like the Galveston Pleasure Pier, Kemah Boardwalk has a spectacular location right on the pier. But unlike the Galveston Pier, Kemah Boardwalk was bursting at the seam with people. Why? Beer. Lots and lots of beer. It was a beer festival so people came out in droves.
I hoped the majority of the people would be enjoying their beverages on the pier instead of riding the attractions. The queue was surprisingly long in terms of footprint, but I was greeted with just a station wait so it seemed the beer was working. However, the one train operations and glacial dispatches ensured a lengthier wait than expected. I chose the front and had just two trains ahead of me, but the wait took 20 minutes.
The loading procedure was incredibly inefficient. The attendant would go one by one down each gate instructing people with glasses and hats to place them in a loose article bin. After the gates opened, they'd walk the train verifying all items were properly stored. Then they redefined what stapling means for me. They would pull the belt tight with all their might and then try to get the lap bar to the lowest possible position. After requesting me to remove my camera and phone, they succeeded in getting that final click.
With no room to breathe I wasn't expecting any air, but Boardwalk Bullet still managed to deliver. The layout is a crazy compact twister and it's impossible to memorize that layout. The first drop is very steep and the rest of the ride is a blitzkrieg of hills, each providing airtime ranging from a small pop to something stronger and more sustained. I particularly enjoyed the two surprisingly tall drops hidden in the middle of the ride that dove below the boardwalk.
I was also particularly impressed by Boardwalk Bullet’s length. There were at least 3 times I thought the coaster was slowing down to enter into the brake run, but everytime it would add another hill or turnaround. I was also amazed how smooth the coaster was. With such an aggressive layout, I expected a rougher ride but a good chunk of the layout was freshly retracked. Outside loading proceedure taking longer than it takes to read War and Peace, Boardwalk Bullet was a very good wooden coaster. 9 out of 10
Even before their Timberliners, Gravity Group could still cram an awesome coaster in a compact space.
It's not quite faster than a speeding bullet, but it does offer plenty of airtime.
And it's right by the water too.
I thought about riding Boardwalk Bullet again (turned out to be a mistake), but wanted to put off that loading procedure for a bit so I explored the rest of the park. Unfortunately the observation tower was closed and the Larson loop had valleyed (I mean why else would it be closed), so the only other ride I had any interest in riding was Drop Zone, one of those terrifyingly awesome Larson towers.
After a 2 cycle wait, I was seated on the side facing Boardwalk Bullet. The view of the twisted wooden layout and ocean was spectacular, but it was difficult to focus on with the impending drop. After the tell, the drop occurred and as expected, we dropped like a rock. I still don't know how these Larson towers provide ejector air the whole way down, but they do and that's why I love them. 10 out of 10
One Larson ride was operational.
Another had valleyed.
I planned to grab another two rides on the Bullet before heading out, but saw people angrily walking away.
That employee wasn't there earlier...
I heard a few mumbling that the ride was closed since the line had gotten too long. When I reached the entrance, I was told the ride would receive a routine maintenance check after the current line had cleared out. Morey’s does the same thing on their major coasters, but they have the times the rides will be down in plain sight by the entrance so you can plan around it. Not here. They just closed their marquee attraction without any warning on a busy Saturday.
At this point, I was a bit frustrated, but fortunately the ride attendants manning the entrance were in bright spirits. One of them was actually a fellow coaster enthusiast so we were chatting about the Bullet, the nearby Galveston park, and RMCs. I think the delay lasted almost 45 minutes, but I was glad I waited it out since a lengthy queue had developed behind me.
Upon the ride's reopening, I grabbed the second from the back and was treated to another awesome ride. Not quite as good as the front, but the first drop and two sub-boardwalk drops provided excellent air. I wanted one last ride in the front, but the queue now filled the whole station and extended down the ramp. With those dispatches, I shuddered to think how long that would take, so I departed for Fiesta Texas.
The coaster crosses over itself more times than I could count. Every time I thought it would end, there was another airtime hill.
Despite how Boardwalk Bullet is operated, I do recommend visiting the park since it is a very good wooden coaster. I know the employees are just following procedure, but it was frustrating. Thankfully the employees are cheerful and really nice, and that combined with my two good rides on the Bullet yielded an overall solid visit.
The Boardwalk Bullet has always been an interesting coaster to me, I love the compact layout and placement on the pier and I've heard reviews of it ranging from top 10 to bottom 5 haha. Always wanted to get down there and ride that thing.
Hilltopper39 wrote:The Boardwalk Bullet has always been an interesting coaster to me, I love the compact layout and placement on the pier and I've heard reviews of it ranging from top 10 to bottom 5 haha. Always wanted to get down there and ride that thing.
Because of its compact nature, the coaster has a very aggressive layout. Without TLC, it has the potential to be a pretty rough ride. Fortunately, I'd say that half the coaster appeared was just retracked so it looks like they're doing their part. Maybe some of those lower reviews was just before a retracking?
I also have a propensity to enjoy coasters others may consider rough like Boulder Dash or Voyage.
I first became aware of this coaster on one of the earlier TPR DVDs and its always stood out as looking incredibly awesome. I just watched a POV after reading this and yep, still looks like a really awesome woodie. Thanks for the report, shame about the operations, and my condolences that you didn't get to ride the parks other roller coaster.
Last edited by boldikus on Wed May 16, 2018 6:49 am.
Yeah I'm sure those "bottom five" rankings were at times when it was really rough and desperately in need of retracking (and honestly I may have partially made up the bottom 5 part but I know I've seen it poorly reviewed). I also tend to not be bothered by rides some people consider rough so as long as this thing thing is reasonably comfortable I'm sure I'd really enjoy it.
boldikus wrote:I first became aware of this coaster on one of the earlier TPR DVDs and its always stood out as looking incredibly awesome. I just watched a POV after reading this and yep, still looks like a really awesome woodie. Thanks for the report, shame about the operations, and my condolences that you didn't get to ride the parks other roller coaster.
Thanks! I'm not sure how many enthusiasts typically make it out to Houston since they've been without a major park for years, but Boardwalk Bullet delivers. It's just a shame I couldn't get more rides on it. Maybe if their other coaster were open, there would have been less people in line.
Hilltopper39 wrote:Yeah I'm sure those "bottom five" rankings were at times when it was really rough and desperately in need of retracking (and honestly I may have partially made up the bottom 5 part but I know I've seen it poorly reviewed). I also tend to not be bothered by rides some people consider rough so as long as this thing thing is reasonably comfortable I'm sure I'd really enjoy it.
Going in, I honestly expected Boardwalk Bullet to be on the rougher side. But nope, it was pretty dang smooth, which is impressive considering the layout and PTC trains.
These pages are in no way affiliated with nor endorsed by SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment, Cedar Fair, Legoland, Merlin Entertainment, Blackstone, Tussaud's Group, Six Flags, Universal Theme Parks, the Walt Disney Company or any other theme park company.
photos and videos on this website were taken with the permission of the park by
a professional ride photographer.
For yours and others safety, please do not attempt to take photos or videos at
parks without proper permission.
You need a sense of humor to view our site,
if you don't have a sense of humor, or are easily offended, please turn back
Most of the content on this forum is suitable for all ages. HOWEVER! There may be some content that would be considered rated "PG-13." Theme Park Review is NOT recommended for ages under 13 years of age.