Great Bear at Hersheypark
I rode the Great Bear for the first time about 4 years ago. I hadn’t been on a a lot of B&M inverted roller coasters and I’m sure I was comparing it to its big brother Alpengeist. I rode it at night and the wait was ridiculously long. For some reason, I didn’t really enjoy it.
Anyway, on a return trip I was excited to give it another go and see if my opinion had changed. First off, the Great Bear feels a lot faster than it looks. It’s a pretty relentless, speedy 58 mph. After the lift hill you enter a unique helix before the first drop. Even though you only do a short drop, the helix has some strong g-forces. Next, you hit the real drop, all 124 feet of it. And man it is steep! After the dive you fly right into a pretty tight vertical loop. Then you scream out of that into a short section of flat track right near the ground on the banks of the stream. This sequence sets you up for my favorite inversion on an inverted coaster, the Immelmann.
After the sweet, smooth Immelmann you go right into a forceful zero-g roll. The roll is followed by Great Bear’s finale is fun and memorable. It starts with a fighter jet-like manuever. There’s a hard swooping turn by the Sooper Dooper Looper that feels like something right out of Top Gun (The Movie). Next, you go through a corkscrew inversion that B&M call a wingover. It flings riders over and again is pretty forceful.
Last, as an added bonus to all of the action, I was lucky enough to pass by a loaded train from the Sooper Dooper Looper flying through its loop. On the Great Bear you end up with a fairly short ride, but every element is strong. The Bear has a chip on its shoulder or something, I got a lot of unexpected intensity, but never roughness. This bear wants blood, not picnic baskets. It’s a great ride, with an interesting layout. I’m glad I re-rode it. Final Rating – 8.0 (Great) What’s Your Take?
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