A ride on Volcano begins with a left turn out of the loading station into a tunnel and onto the first launch track. Then boom! The train accelerates to 70 mph before making a 200-degree turn behind the mountain and entering the second launch tunnel. The second launch comes literally out of the blue, totally unanticipated, and that’s what makes it so good. Riders are blasted upward out of the volcano into a rollout during which the train is completely inverted. And I must say that finding myself flat on my back 155 feet in the air, looking up at the sky, was one of the more memorable and unique coaster experiences I’ve had. The rollout at that height was in fact the tallest inversion on any coaster until the record was broken by Gatekeeper in 2013. The remainder of the course consists of three heartline rolls high above the ground interspersed with more wide turns. An 80-foot drop into the brake run brings the ride to a conclusion.
A ride on Maverick begins with a dispatch onto the first launch track. The train takes off and upon reaching the top of the launch hill drops 100 feet at a daunting 95-degree angle, reaching a maximum speed of 57 mph. It then makes several turns – right, left, right – before traversing an airtime hill. Another turn leads into the twisted horseshoe roll. This is a wonderful element, nothing short of awesome. The twisted horseshoe is followed by a turn into a tunnel containing the second launch track. The difference between Maverick and Volcano here is that Volcano’s trains are launched simultaneously upon entrance into the second tunnel whereas Maverick’s enter the launch tunnel prior to being launched so that the launch is fully anticipated. At any rate, the train is launched to 70 mph and after exiting the tunnel, ascends a hill, then negotiates an overbanked turn. This is followed by a further turn which leads into a canyon – a nice, scenic touch – with an S-curve. Before the train enters the canyon, plumes of water shoot up alongside the track. The remainder of the course consists of two additional overbanked turns and an airtime hill. It should be noted that a ride on Maverick is a bit on the rough side; the same is true of Volcano.
And the winner is…Maverick. If one were to judge by the theme and thrill elements Volcano would come out ahead but in terms of the overall ride experience Maverick prevails. Volcano is a blast, both literally and figuratively, whereas Maverick is off-the-wall wild. Maverick’s tagline is “The Old West Was Never This Wild” and that about sums it up. It has more zip than Volcano and the pacing is spot on.
What’s your take? Have you ridden Volcano and Maverick and if so, how do you think they match up?