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.
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.
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.
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?