Intimidator vs. Intimidator 305 | Roller Coaster Showdowns
In this edition of Roller Coaster Showdowns the two NASCAR-inspired Intimidator roller coasters do battle. We’ll look at Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA) and Intimidator at Carowinds (Charlotte, NC). Ever since the announcement of the two roller coasters with their similar themes and proximity (it’s about a 5 hour drive between the two parks), the comparisons have been rampant across the Web. And I’ve been asked numerous times which roller coaster I prefer.
Both of the Intimidator roller coasters have the same theme. They both have Chevy Monte Carlo-themed trains, and a Dale Earnhardt tribute plaza. I had hoped that Carowinds’ Intimidator would have a more expansive NASCAR experience as North Carolina is the birthplace of NASCAR. But the themes, signage, etc are basically the same probably to cut down on cost. Edge: Neither (Even)
There was a loud collective groan when it was announced that Intimidator 305 was going to have over-the-shoulder harnesses which are typically reserved for looping coasters. Thankfully, the restraints are just comfy straps and they don’t limit your upper body at all. You can hold your hands up as much as you like. Although, the ride’s intense g-forces make it tough at times. Still, the restraints are more likely limit the airtime that’s present on the drop, second hill, and the smaller camel back humps.
Intimidator at Carowinds is a Bolliger & Mabillard-designed hyper coaster and as such it employs the Mercedes Benz of hyper coaster trains. The ultra comfy bucket seats are elevated allowing your feet to swing freely above the floor of the cars. And the only restraint is a clam shell-shaped lap bar that covers just enough to keep you in the car. Intimidator’s 4-across seating is staggered. There are two middle seats together in the front and the outer seats are spaced behind them. With so much freedom of movement, less impeding your view, and those lap bars, Intimidator’s trains crush Intimidator 305’s. This one’s not even close. Edge: Intimidator
Lift Hill & The View
Intimidator 305 features a cable lift that is uncharacteristically quieter than your traditional chain lift system. They’re also pretty darn fast and unsettlingly steep as you climb 30-stories rather quickly. You seem to almost tear your way up the lift hill and before you know it, Kings Dominion’s other large lift hills look like small mounds below. There’s nothing particularly special about Intimidator’s lift hill other than Charlotte’s skyline (over your left shoulder) in the distance. Edge: Intimidator 305
The Drop After my 5 or so rides on Intimidator 305, I kept remarking how fun the drop was, but it didn’t seem quite as long as as I expected from my experience on Millennium Force. The drops are both 300-feet, but Intimidator’s is actually 5 degrees steeper. So, you’d imagine that it would be more intense. I hate to give credence to the crazed coaster enthusiasts out there that won’t shut up about the trims, but I do wonder if they’re the culprit here.
Meanwhile, Intimidator shorter 211′ drop was pretty darn intense; especially in the back few seats. It feels much larger than it is and as usual you can feel the rest of the train pulling you down that hill. As I said in my review of Intimidator 305, I was surprised to find that I probably prefer Intimidator’s drop. Edge: Intimidator
The Layout & Thrills – Twisties vs. Airtime Hillies
Intimidator boasts a pretty standard hyper coaster layout for much of its ride with beautiful, airtime-packed, parabola-shaped hill after hill. With one notable exception being the second hill and its thrilling high altitude moment of airtime. But, on the other hand, Intimidator 305’s twisted transitions (or twisties as Robb Alvey dubbed them) are incredible! I love airtime as much as the next guy, but I give this one to Intimidator 305 for it’s unique elements. Edge: Intimidator 305
How about a front seat view of both of these thrilling NASCAR-themed roller coasters? Check out these great POV videos of Intimidator at Carowinds and Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion:
Note – These videos were filmed by professionals with permission from the park.
For safety reason, please DO NOT take a camera on a roller coaster.
This is a tough one as Intimidator 305 isn’t really designed for airtime in the traditional since. There are three hills that seem like they were made for airtime, but there are also reports of some riders getting some sudden moments of air during the twisties. Meanwhile, Intimidator’s layout is packed with airtime hills. This might be a somewhat unfair comparison, but I’ll give it to Intimidator. Edge: Intimidator
I’ve devised a scoring system as some of these elements are more important than others. Each element gives the winning roller coaster 1 point except for the Layout/Thrill & Train elements which are most important. For those elements the winning coaster gets 2 points. No points were awarded for Theme as neither won that element. See the scoring table below:
$10 to $15 off
Various theme parks
Wawa Gas Stations
$5 to $20 off
So, Intimidator at Carowinds is the winner! Although, again, I gave them both 9’s and Intimidator 305’s twisties are intense and a lot of fun. They just have to be experienced. But, Intimidator appears to be the better overall roller coaster in my book just as I had figured when the two were announced last Summer.
What’s Your Take? Use the same elements I did and pick winners for each. Which comes out on top for you? Which of these two coasters do you pick? Leave a comment and choose a side in the poll below. Image 3 courtesy of CoasterImage.[poll id=”18″]