The idea of flying almost 2000 miles to ride a roller coaster struck me as pretty far-fetched but I found Cannibal so intriguing that I decided to do it.  When it comes to coasters, I’m impressed by novelty and extremeness.  Cannibal at Lagoon Amusement Park in Farmington, Utah offers both.  It looks like nothing I’ve ever seen, utilizes a unique (to coasters) lift and features one of the steepest drops of any roller coaster in the world, at 116 degrees – surpassed in steepness only by Crazy Bird at Happy Valley in China (120 degrees), Green Lantern in Australia (also 120 degrees) and Takabisha in Japan (121 degrees).

Cannibal is housed in a massive tower with a somewhat sinister appearance.  As of 2015, the year it opened, it operated with six trains seating four across in three rows for a total capacity of twelve riders.  Park spokesperson Adam Leishman told me that they were going to add a seventh train but I don’t know whether this was done.  In any case, with multiple trains there is double loading and consequent speed of dispatch.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield


In lieu of the customary chain or cable lift (or launch), Cannibal operates with what is essentially a modified ski lift.  When I asked spokesperson Leishman who provided the lift and he said B&M, I thought surely not Bollinger & Mabillard! No, as it turns out, the lift was manufactured by Bartholet Maschinenbau, a German company specializing in ski lifts although they also do amusement park installations.  Once dispatched, the train advances onto a 208-foot elevator lift in the dark.  Different?  Yes, and also somewhat scary.

At the top of the lift the train emerges from the tower onto a short section of track which ends abruptly and gives riders the impression that they are about to plummet forward into nothingness.  To say that this is suspenseful is an understatement.  Riders have a few seconds to ponder their fates before the train drops at a wicked 116-degree angle.  Talk about extreme!  This is by far the most thrilling drop I’ve ever experienced on any coaster.  It’s both awesome and totally insane.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield


From this breathtaking drop the train dives into a tunnel before transitioning into a nice Immelmann followed by a dive loop and overbanked curve before hitting the block brake.  Then comes the so-called “Lagoon Roll,” a double heartline roll in slooow motion with the train rotating in a different direction on each one.  This is pretty intense stuff and could easily be dizzying.  These elements are followed by a 450-degree helix, at the end of which the train enters another tunnel at the edge of a waterfall.

Photo by Bobbie Butterfield


Photo by Bobbie Butterfield

Final Thoughts

Cannibal is, in a word, phenomenal.  The theming (pretty much a jungle theme) is great, the elements are excellent and the ride is well-paced.  This coaster is truly original. It should be noted that it was built in-house, something of a rarity.  Although a number of entities were involved in its creation, it’s primarily the work of Utah contractors and Lagoon.  I may be overly generous but I am giving this a 10 on a scale of one to 10.

Final Rating: 10 out of 10 (Superior)

What’s your take?  Have you ridden Cannibal and if so, what did you think?


About The Author

Hi! I took up roller coasters late in life, 8 years ago at the age of 59 and am trying to make up for lost time. Most of my favorite coasters were made by Intamin and lately, Rocky Mountain Construction. I love Hersheypark not only because it's the sweetest place on earth but because the three major coasters are Intamins. In real life I work in the legal profession.

11 Responses

  1. Joel

    Cannibal sounds very impressive. I haven’t really been blown away by the beyond-90 degree drops that I’ve faced, but this 116 degree drop looks like it packs a punch.

    I guess flying almost 2000 miles was worth it?

    • Bobbie

      Definitely worth flying to Salt Lake City to experience something this far off the wall. None of the hypercoasters or giga coasters I’ve ridden match Cannibal’s first drop for sensationalism.

  2. Jon

    That’s an interesting tidbit you discovered about the manufacturer of the lift, Bobbie. Not only is there another “B&M” manufacturing firm, it’s also just one country away from where the OG one operates out of!

    Cannibal sounds like an insane coaster. I love how something so large and impressive can be built in-house, and that an independently owned park like Lagoon can get such a unique ride.

    • LinaSkye

      I agree. It is always impressive to me when a park thinks outside the box and really innovates. It says to me that, yes they care about revenue, but they also care about their park being unique and something to truly be proud of.

  3. Eric M.B.

    This (and Wicked) is one reason I’m dying to visit Lagoon. That trippy double heartline roll looks a lot like what we’ll see on Steel Vengeance later this year. Cannibal looks like a 9.5 to me!

    • Bobbie

      Double heartline roll is almost as insane as the drop. I thought the heartline rolls on The Smiler and Hydra were pretty intense but put two of them together and you’ve got something pretty special. Wicked is a very cool ride; thought about reviewing it and maybe I will. It just doesn’t have as many elements as Cannibal.

  4. Paul

    I grew up going to Lagoon and as a coaster enthusiast I couldn’t believe what I was seeing as it was being built. Interesting tidbit, Lagoon kept the whole thing hush-hush for as long as possible. They built the tower and much of the landscape before making the coaster announcement (things you can only really do when it’s an in-house job.) And that really enhanced the anticipation for this one-of-a-kind ride. I’m obviously biased since it’s the crown-jewel of my hometown park, but it’s a 10 in my mind and I like to think it would get that rating no matter where it was. Major props to Lagoon for their vision and execution.

  5. Arianna

    As a lifetime Salt Lake City resident, Lagoon is full of coasters that are very, very fun. Honestly, the most intense part of Cannibal is the initial drop. After that, it’s a smooth ride full of interestingly stomach-dropping twists, and overall it’s just… really fun.

  6. Matt

    I live in SLC and have ridden this coaster a number of times. Not only is it the smoothest ride I’ve ever been on, but the unique ways they tied half loops, half corkscrews, and heartline rolls make it a masterpiece. If you are anywhere near this park, it is worth a try, along with several other coasters that deserve recommendations as well.

  7. Brad

    A little tidbit of information. When Arrow Dynamics went out of business Lagoon acquired much of the brain trust from them. From what I have heard the guys now work for Lagoon and thus we have Wicked, Cannibal and a new yet to be named coaster. Arrow Dynamics is the same company, a few iterations later, who brought us Matterhorn at Disneyland, The first corkscrew at Knotts, the Bat at Kins Island, Magnum XL-200, along with many many others around the Country.
    Lagoon was super smart to bring these folks in house.


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