As of 2018 there are only six giga coasters (height between 300 and 399 feet) in operation: Millennium Force at Cedar Point, Steel Dragon at Nagashima Spa Land, Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion, Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland, Fury 325 at Carowinds and Red Force at PortAventura. (Red Force qualifies only because of its height; otherwise it’s divergent from the others in this group because of its launch and top hat.) Intamin had produced two of these (Millennium Force in 2000 and Intimidator 305 in 2010) before B&M (Bolliger & Mabillard) got into the act with Leviathan in 2012. Having ridden the two Intamin models, I was intrigued by the prospect of a riding a B&M giga, both for the thrill and the purpose of comparison. It would be a novel experience because 1) the Intamin gigas use a cable lift while the B&M gigas use a chain lift; and 2) the restraints on Intamin coasters are markedly different from those on B&M coasters.
Layout, Elements and Theming
Themed after the mythological sea monster, Leviathan features an out and back layout, behemothic (sorry, couldn’t resist) drop and multiple airtime hills. The 5,486-foot greenish blue track is one of the first things you see when entering Canada’s Wonderland. It’s beautiful to behold. The coaster operates with three trains consisting of eight cars seating four across in single rows for a total capacity of 32 riders; the restraints consist of lap bars and seat belts. When I rode Leviathan the restraint was only a lap bar. Seat belts were added subsequently, somewhat unfortunately in my opinion, as the lap bar was exquisitely comfortable and felt secure. In fact I’ve rarely felt as secure on a roller coaster as I did on Leviathan. It reaches a blistering speed of 92 mph, great for speed junkies like me. (One of my favorite preludes to a ride is “Gentlemen, start your engines!” on the Nascar-themed Intimidator 305.)
A ride on Leviathan begins with a right turn from the loading station and ascent of a 306-foot lift hill. Accustomed to cable lifts on gigas, I was afraid that the journey to the top would be agonizingly slow with a chain lift. However, much to my surprise and delight, the chain lift proved to be remarkably quick. So this was it, the moment for which I’d been waiting. From the top of the hill the train plummets 306 feet at an 80-degree angle into a tunnel. The drop is awesome! Ascending into an overbanked right turn, the train drops again (the second drop is the location of the on-ride camera) before making a high- speed left turn. This is unquestionably one of the highlights of the ride. The turn is sharp and totally unanticipated, resulting in good ejector airtime. Cruising right along, the train goes over a small drop, twisting left, and up into a camelback, crossing under the track above. (At one point it crosses over the track.) Next is one of B&M’s signature elements, a hammerhead turn. This is followed by another high- speed turn (to the right), camelback and third high-speed turn (to the left). After that the train approaches the brake run and heads back to the station. I like the fact that there is no mid course brake run; it just keeps going and going.
Final Thoughts and Rating
Leviathan provides a ride which is smooth, fast and absolutely astonishing. As to how it compares with the Intamin gigas, the seats and restraints are more comfortable but I found all of the gigas to be almost equally good. As to how it compares with Fury 325, the other B&M giga, Fury is faster and more intense – possibly somewhat too intense, as every time I ride it I feel as if I’m caught in a tornado. Leviathan has exactly the right amount of intensity. With non-stop thrills and multiple airtime moments – both floater and ejector – it delivers on all fronts.
Final Rating – 10 out of 10 (Superior)
What’s your take? Have you ridden Leviathan and if so, what did you think of it?
(Video courtesy of Canada’s Wonderland)
This was a part of our 12 Days of Coasters special! Every day from Christmas until January 5th, we gave away a roller coaster review for you to enjoy. You can check them all out here. We thank you for reading, hope you’ve had a merry holidays, and wish you a happy New Year!