Friends here in Charlotte marvel at the height (325 feet) and steepness (81 degrees) of Fury 325. While it is something to behold, I don’t share their fear of the ride. When you’ve been around the block more than a few times, you’ve seen it all. There’s not much that really scares you. I’m channeling Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China, if you couldn’t tell.
As I’ve told many, the best roller coasters give an out of control feeling and awesome sense of perceived danger. Emphasis on the perceived. Between you and me, there have been a few moments when I was actually scared. Here they are in order of terrifying.
The Vertical Lift on Toboggan at Trimper’s Rides
Riding this compact roller coaster was quite a challenge as a kid. I was far from a thrill seeker and I still remember how scary this ride seemed at the time. After boarding the small golf cart-like cars, you climb up the ride’s vertical lift, which is enclosed in a tunnel. Vertical lift hills shift all of your weight on you. Your mind wonders if it’s possible for the train to fall back down the lift (which it isn’t).
The Drop on X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain
There was just the tiniest bit of big boy fear on that ride. There’s just nothing like that. In the ride’s trains, you’re so exposed with nothing around you. Then you’re tossed over a 200-foot tall cliff head first.
Here’s a bit of my review of X2:
We were reclined back in our seats looking out onto the park as we climbed the lift. At the top, we dropped a little and then we rotated over and flew down the 215′ drop face-down. After that insane experience, X2 rotated us every which way though the train actually only inverted twice. At times your facing the front of the train with the track above the center of the train and at times you’re facing the backwards with the train over the track. While you’re facing backwards, the new fire effect cooks you as you pass by the flames.
The woman next to me looked like she’d just been held at gunpoint. She told me in all seriousness that she had just seen her entire life pass before her eyes on the first drop. She yelled back to a girl (I’m assuming was her daughter) for dragging her on the ride. She swore off X2 as the worst coaster (maybe even experience) of her life.
Unreal Floater Airtime of Phoenix at Knoebels
While X2’s drop was crazy, The Phoenix at Knoebels was packed with the kind of strong, consistent airtime that I had never experienced. To the uninitiated there’s floater airtime where you momentarily float out of your seat and there’s “ejector airtime” where your forcefully lifted out of your seat, hence the name. No one is actually ejected, but it’s a way of describing the intensity.
In most cases I can re-assure myself that what I’m experiencing, thousands (if not millions) have already experienced many times before. It didn’t matter on Phoenix, the airtime was consistent, hill after hill and was amplified by the old-school lap bars that were miles above my lap. On my second ride, the airtime was less shocking as I expected it. Overall, Phoenix is an excellent ride worthy of its legendary status in coaster enthusiast circles. Just be prepared for serious airtime. Read my full review of Phoenix at Knoebels.
What’s Your Take?
Let us know what your scariest roller coaster moment was. Leave a comment below.