Admittedly I made a boo boo with this one. With the ominous weather forecast for Saturday, I rearranged my travel plans like the rest of Canada. Those brave enough to stick it out at Canada’s Wonderland like Bill and Brit were rewarded with empty stations. Sunday was a madhouse.
We arrived just after opening and it was clear, FastLane was a must. We purchased them at guest relations and were in for a treat; FastLane even lets you skip the line to enter the park. I’ve never seen that before! If only FastLane worked on the food lines…
Most of the crowd flocked towards Yukon Striker or Leviathan. A few others zombie-walked over to Tim Horton’s for their morning fix. We had a different plan, we want to knock out Guardian since it wasn’t on FastLane, but we were too late.
The hybrid shooter/coaster’s line was already backed up onto the midway. The attendant estimated that the queue was at least 1-1.5 hours in length. Now I like Guardian, but not enough to wait that long. It was an unfortunate casualty for us.
So instead we entered the park’s Canadian area. I guess planting the country flag and lining International Street with Pizza Pizza and Tim Horton’s wasn’t enough, so they made a land themed to lumberjacks, Mounties, and every other stereotype that us Americans have about Canada.
Enthusiasts are cruel bullies towards dive coasters. I guess we’re too cool for a 200 foot vertical drop into a wee little tunnel. But they’re absolute crowd magnets. Yukon Striker’s entire queue was filled and the line stretched back to the gift shop. I’d say Canada’s Wonderland made a good investment.
FastLane had us boarding the back row in less than 5 minutes. Like Valravn two days prior, this was the lone coaster at Canada’s Wonderland that didn’t allow choice seating. I guess it’s a dive coaster thing. But it was no bother, the drop was still incredible.
I know it’s the largest dive coaster anyway, but it feels way taller than Valravn. Maybe it’s the tunnel. Maybe it’s the fact you dwarf Wonder Mountain. Either way, that drop was pure bliss. It was long and loaded with floater the whole way down. The vests were a complete non-issue for me.
The following Immelmann was ho-hum, but the zero-G winder was incredible. One second you get nice hangtime and the next you dive towards the ground. You then haul through a forceful vertical loop and charge into another Immelmann. I never thought a dive coaster could be paced so relentlessly.
The finale lets up, but it’s still enjoyable. The drop off the MCBR has some floater air and the final bunny hill does give a hint of air. Plus that final helix is an excellent photo opportunity.
I can confidently say Yukon Striker is the best dive coaster I’ve ridden. The drop alone makes it a winner, but it does some things so uncharacteristic for a dive coaster and I love it. I’ll take the park’s other two B&Ms, but this is an excellent third option. 8.5 out of 10
As for the bin system, it’s mesmerizing. My girlfriend loved it too…until someone forgot to empty their soda. As we sat idle in the station, my girlfriend got a sugary shower as the bin passed overhead.
Up next was Behemoth. For a few years, this was my uncontested number one coaster. It was everything I could want- tall, smooth, comfortable, and loaded with airtime. After my coaster count increased eight fold, Behemoth fell down my ranks, but it’s still one of the best B&M hypers.
The ridiculously long train gives a violent yank and some awesome air on the first drop. Every other hill offers great floater air, particularly the series of large camelbacks over the water. I did find the valleys rattled a bit, but the airtime was so good that I’m willing to look past that. 9 out of 10
We then passed by Time Warp, Flight Deck, and Dragon Fyre. My girlfriend still has PTSD from our 2016 visit, so we made a healthy decision to bypass them en route to Leviathan. And we rode Leviathan a lot.
B&M giga drops are heavenly. I’m torn whether I’ll take those drops over the insane yonk of Iron Rattler or Expedition GeForce. Either way, we’re talking about one of the world’s best drops. You get a solid 3-4 seconds of uninterrupted airtime as you plummet towards the ground.
While most B&M hypers feel formulaic, Leviathan hauls. The first turn had me seeing grey; the speed hill is a delightful mix of airtime and laterals; and the big camelback on the outward leg has some Mako-level airtime. Even the far turnaround has some strong whip to it.
By comparison, the return leg is a bit more relaxed. You’re still moving at a solid clip, but the second speed hill is a dud and the next hill is your typical B&M camelback. After one last turn, you rocket into one of the world’s tallest brake runs, but not before one last pop of air.
I know a lot of Kings Island locals are whining about their giga
. Some have even called it Leviathan 2.0. Well news flash, that isn’t a bad thing! Leviathan is a seriously awesome coaster. Yes it’s over pretty quickly, but it’s a speed demon, inherently reridable, and a capacity monster. 9.5 out of 10
In a park with all sorts of screwed up flats, it feels sacrilegious to say Drop Tower is my favorite, but Drop Tower is my favorite. I don’t care if it’s your tried and true Intamin drop tower, but they’re a rush. There’s no warning before the drop and they consistently leave my stomach at the top. 8 out of 10
I’m also a big fan of Shockwave. The world needs more top scans. Now I know US parks won’t run these things with the bat-out-of-hell program of Oktoberfest, but this one was in Canada. And this one probably falls in between the disappointment of Lagoon’s and the crazy one in Germany.
Top scans are one of the most disorienting and forceful flats out there, particularly if you’re lucky enough to score an outside seat. After missing the ones at Knott’s and Carowinds, I was happy to get back on Shockwave. 9 out of 10
Soaring Timbers was a royal pain to ride. The first time I passed it, the ride was down. The second time, I boarded the ride and then it broke down. The third time was the charm for this one-of-a-kind flat. I got excited when the restraints actually lowered for my third ride, but boy did they suck.
The tight restraints and super narrow seats jam you in tighter than a can of sardines. You can only move the front half of your arms like a t-rex. This makes it nearly impossible to buckle and unbuckle your seatbelt unless you’re a contortionist. I didn’t think I was claustrophobic until I rode this.
The ride itself looked way better than it actually was. In many ways, it was like a next-generation Chance Inverter. You had slow inversions (albeit with good hangtime) and crappy restraints. 6 out of 10
Due to time constraints, I regrettably had to omit some of the park’s other flats like Windseeker, Skyhawk, and Sledge Hammer. The latter was particularly hard to skip. While I’ve had amazing luck with the ride on my visits, it sounds like the ride only runs once in a blue moon.
I only visited Canada’s Wonderland after Behemoth was added, but it must have been dark days back when Vortex was the park’s star coaster. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy Vortex. It’s arguably the best suspended, but it’s scary that it was the best ride at a major park.
Vortex’s strength is how well it sustains its speed. This leads to swinging that gets wilder as the ride progresses. And now, the added interaction with Yukon Striker is just gravy. I just hope Vortex doesn’t go the way of the dinosaurs like many suspended coasters have. 7 out of 10
My girlfriend was starving, so she decided to queue up for a beaver tail. Meanwhile, she encouraged me to ride Wilde Beast and Mighty Canadian Minebuster. She would love nothing more than to see both rides burn to the ground, but I find them ok…if you ride in the very front.
Remember how I said the park was crowded? There was no better proof than the lines for Wilde Beast and Mighty Canadian Minebuster. Both coasters are considered garbage by most. But on this day, both coasters had full queues spilling onto the midway.
Of the two, I prefer Wilde Beast since the airtime is a bit better. But both coasters get quite bumpy any time they try changing direction. As is, they’re ridable in the front row. Long term, I’d love to see these sacrificed to Alan Schilke. 5 out of 10
I returned to the beaver tails stand expecting my girlfriend to be enjoying her sweet, Canadian treat. Keep in mind, I just rode two coasters on opposite sides of the park. Admittedly I had Fast Lane, but this still took at least a half hour. But she was only through half the queue!
Scary thing is that this wasn’t even the longest wait of the day for food, but more on that in the next installment…
We then made an executive decision to get some last rerides on Leviathan and head back towards Niagara. I personally have no problem with the food offerings at Wonderland, but the queue for beaver tails was the norm, not the exception.
Ultimately I really like Canada’s Wonderland. The park has an excellent top three coasters, arguably the best flat ride collection in North America, and like all Cedar Fair parks, it’s clean and well-run. I’ll just try to visit on a day when the park isn’t as slammed next time.