Led Zeppelin – The Ride Review @ Hard Rock Park

Hard Rock Park’s Headliner Doesn’t Disappoint
Led Zeppelin - The RideLed Zeppelin: The Ride is the headliner in Hard Rock Park’s ride lineup. Creating a great new rock-themed park is a draw, but nothing catches the eye of would-be visitors like a flashy new looping roller coaster. To that end, Led Zeppelin delivers a thrilling roller coaster that does an excellent job incorporating the music of a legendary rock band.

As you approach the ride, you notice the huge steel zeppelin-shaped station with the band member’s respective symbols on the side. In the queue, there are large mural sized representations of their album covers and flat panel T.V.s featuring concert footage. At the end of the queue there’s a room with five doors.

The Pre-Ride Experience
According to the Chief Creative Officer, Jon Binkowski, it took years to convince Led Zeppelin to lend their name and music to the ride. A condition of theLed Zeppelin - The Ride agreement was that their entire song had to be played from start to finish. Zeppelin’s catalog is filled with some pretty long songs. A coaster would have a ride time as long as Kings Island’s Beast and obviously Hard Rock Park didn’t have that kind of space.

So a pre-ride experience was created to solve the issue. In the station there are five small dark multimedia rooms like standing theaters. Inside, riders are treated to a video that includes a short interview and a live performance of the band’s hit ‘Whole Lotta Love’. Click here to watch the video. The performance pauses about midway through and the doors in front of you swing open. The station ride ops cheer as they direct you to the empty train that’s waiting for your group. The enthusiastic ride ops do a great job of keeping the excitement going as you board.

The Rockin’ Ride
The train dispatches from the station and immediately begins its ascent over the pond. Hard Rock Park - Led Zeppelin The RideCloser to the 15-story crest, ‘Whole Lotta Love’ picks back up in via the onboard speakers. And then it really kicks in as the train plummets to the pond below. Next, the train travels directly into a large 120′ tall vertical loop with some great g-forces. Then the train maneuvers through a cobra roll with two quick inversions. The rock really adds to the ride as the train traverses the highlight. The signature B&M zero-g roll over the pond is excellent. (Pictured left)

Another smaller vertical loop follows and then the trains takes a large swooping turn and does a flyby near the station. Next, the train passes through a short brake run and then drops into a corkscrew. (Pictured below) Your ride finishes strong with an upward helix and then the final station brakes.

Led Zeppelin Coaster- Hard Rock Park
The first five inversions are pretty much back-to-back. While the rapid fire layout keeps the thrills going, I would have preferred a more open layout. That said, Hard Rock Park really did the best with the space that they had. This is a rather large roller coaster and its location on the pond is picturesque. It was common to see crowds on the bridge between the British Rock Invasion and Rock and Roll Heaven areas stopping for photo ops. At times the ride was a bit shaky for a B&M, but It seemed smoother on later rides with a near full train. So the shakiness may have been a result of the lack of weight on the train.

As a total experience, Led Zepellin The Ride is a great attraction. The roller coaster truly delivers and ‘Whole Lotta Love’ blasting away as you perform these acrobatic maneuvers is a pretty memorable experience. While the lengthy pre-ride experience may deter some coaster Led Zeppelin Corkscrewenthusiasts who are likely to want several re-rides, it does add authenticity and theming. Plus, as the C.C.O. shared with me, most guests will only ride Led Zepellin once. So, for the general public Led Zepellin will satisfy with a thrilling and somewhat unique experience. Final Rating – 8.5 (Great Approaching Excellent)

Want to know how good an 8.5 is? Check out my rating scale.

Thrilling Roller Coasters - For Brave RidersThis coaster is rated ‘TH’ for Thrilling. It’s a 3 out of 5 on my Thrill Scale because it includes several loops. If you fear going upside-down, then you may want to skip Led Zeppelin.

What’s Your Take
Have you ridden Led Zepellin – The Ride? What did you think? Leave a comment below.