Darien Lake & Predator offer that New York charm
On a trip to my wife’s home park in Western NY, I got to experience what Darien Lake had to offer. The Predator was definitely a memorable ride. It’s a wooden coaster located in the back of the park near one of the lakes and Superman: Ride of Steel. The layout looks interesting at first glance, so at first I was pretty excited.

While in line, I found a monument to park vandalism. “The Great Gum Shrine of Darien Lake” Pretty gross. Even if it is kind of funny it shows the staff’s disregard for keeping their park clean.

On to the ride, about three-quarters of the way up the 95′ lift hill the train came to an abrupt stop. Most of the riders immediately freaked out. Having been in this situation before I wasKISS at Darien Lake calm and figured the coaster would move in a few moments. It didn’t. KISS happened to be performing at the park that day. It made for some interesting people watching as I sat on the lift hill for almost 15 minutes. Especially the eight year old walking around with KISS face paint.

Finally, the Predator cranked back up and we were on our way. The result was a bumpy, sluggish, painful, terribly-paced ride. Maybe one day in the past this was a great ride, but this ride has aged terribly. The Predator has earned my “coveted” wrecking ball award as it has absolutely nothing positive to offer.

I take that back. It looks like fun, but it’s way too painful and just un-enjoyable. Here’s hoping Darien Lake re-tracks, renovates, or wrecks this coaster. Final Rating – 2.0 (Horrible)

What’s Your Take?
Have your ridden Predator at Darien Lake? What’d you think? Leave a comment below.

Predator Roller Coaster at Darien Lake
Experience Factors & Final Rating
My Take
The Predator was a bumpy, sluggish, painful, terribly-paced ride. Maybe one day in the past this was a great ride, but this ride has aged terribly.
Reader Rating0 Votes
It's a good looking roller coaster
Provides a bumpy and really rough ride

About The Author

Founder of CoasterCritic.com. My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

12 Responses

  1. Chris Bishop

    I don't think I've ever been on this one and I've been to D.L. many times…

  2. T.

    I was on this yesterday, its amazing how this ride has changed. I remember it being a great ride that really gave you a work-over (in a good way). Like an old fashioned wooden coaster should.But yesterday? I thought I broke a rib, punctured a lung, or worse… It was so painful that I didn't even get to enjoy the ride. I put my hands up for the first drop; realized how painful it was, and then decided it would be best to use my arms and hands to shield the impacts.Six Flags sold Darien Lake to PARC, and they've really made the park fun again, hopefully they'll revamp the predator, so it lives a little bit less upto its name.

  3. bunky666

    I visited Darien Lake when Predator was fairly new (before Six Flags owned DL), and Predator was indeed a memorable, fun, traditional woodie. In fact, it WAAAAY outranked any other woodie I had been on. It dismays me to hear what it has been reduced to in the coaster world.

  4. Ryan

    I was up at Darien Lake yesterday for the Phish show, and after tailgating for a few hours, I decided to go into the park, as the cost was only $12 if you had a concert ticket. Anyway, my first ride was the Predator, as I had read about it here, and wanted to get it out of the way.

    After riding it, I think what it suffers from most is simply mediocrity. I sat in the back, knowing full well that it would be rougher back there, but hoping for some floater air on the hills. While it was rough, it certainly wasn't painful; in fact, it seemed to send a weird vibration through me that was….well, weird. When I got off the ride, I didn't feel beaten up as I would on Mean Streak or Son of Beast, so I've definitely been on more painful rides.

    My main criticism is that the ride just doesn't deliver thrills. As you crest some of the hills, you know that they were intended to deliver airtime, but it just doesn't happen. Since the ride doesn't really offer anything else, the lack of this, along with the lack of any solid drops, keeps you wondering just what the designers intended.

    In short, it wasn't a painful ride for me, just painfully ho-hum. I didn't have time to ride it again, but if I were at the park all day, I'd probably take a second ride, as the line was pretty short.

    *As a side note, I found the ride operators at Darien Lake to be very slow in getting trains out. No ride was running more than two trains, but the amount of stacking on the brake lines was pretty unacceptable in almost every instance.

  5. The Coaster Critic

    Nice review Ryan. I definitely remember the vibration you mentioned. Hopefully, Predator will undergo some rehab. I'd love to have ridden it when it was brand new.

    Thanks for reading.

  6. Zorblaz

    I will have to agree with everyone on this page. This coaster is simply terrible, but before Six Flags had taken over D.L. it was one of the best woodies I had been on. In the past few years, it seems as if there has been a change in what a woodie is supposed to be- not a coaster with personality (as even Son of Beast was in its first season) but a coaster where you have to walk off with at least three bruises and a pounding headache. I keep thinking it is my age creeping up on me, but I have to dismiss that as people younger than I will have the same complaints.

    And yes. that gum is disgusting. It has always been a problem at that park since the 1980's in every ride queue.

    Darien Lake needs to do three things to earn back fans-

    1.deal with the way they load trains to make it faster

    2. Fix Predator- definitely never knock it down

    3. Build the stand up coaster that Six Flags left to rust in their lot (according to RCDB and some others it still sits there)

  7. Peter O'Brien

    I live in Batavia, NY so I have ridden the Predator many times. For me, the shaking and ricketyness of it are what I love. Its the one coaster at the park that I make sure I hit everytime. There are only two woodys I have been on that I rank higher. Beast and El Toro. The Jack Rabbit is a close 4th.

  8. The Moogle

    I went on the predator yesterday with my family for the first time since Six Flags sold the park. I swear the ride was more violent then when I totaled my car in a accident a few years ago. I was sitting in the middle of the train thinking this would be the least violent section. At one point at the top of the second hill it felt like the train jumped the track and was derailed for a second. The slam was so hard I feel like I have whip lash. I looked back and my cousin was holding his chest and his face was pale white. When we stopped at the breaks before the station he looked worse like he couldn't breath. When we got to the station I noticed 1/2 the screws on the car in front of me were all loose and I could pull them out by hand. I flagged the operators and they shut the ride down for the rest of the day. My cousin needed help to get out of his seat as the ride knocked the wind out of him so badly and he couldn't breath. I was going to take photos of the loose screws with my cell phone but the ride was so violent that my phone wasn't working right.

  9. Sara

    Is this a ride or a punishment? You see the classiness of Darien Lake while youre waiting in line with the "Gum shrine" thats mentioned. I accidently touched it once but that wasn't even the worse part of this experience. Does anyone ever come off this ride happy? Theres nothing enjoyable about it. The best part is going up the chain lift. After that its all downhill. I guess the feeling after riding it, thinking "Hey, if I survived this, maybe I could survive anything" is pretty nice too though.

  10. John

    I remember going to Darien Lake when I was growing up….I remember when they built the Predator. It was a really fun, fast, comfortable ride, full of everything you would want from a wild wooden coaster. It sat in the park closed for between 3-5 years, and they just recently opened it. I went on it again…..yeah…..2 is pretty much what I’d give it too. It’s a great coaster, just like a 1957 Chevy Bel Air was a great car. Let it fall apart and it’s going to be a real rough ride. I hope that Darien Lake fixes things…even the Ride of Steel is rough, and that’s a steel coaster going 70mph!!!!

  11. Alex

    The Predator seems to be a decent wooden coaster, but Silver Comet at Martin’s Fantasy Island and Blue Streak at Cedar Point are better than this!


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