Boardwalk roller coasters, such as Thunderbolt at Luna Park, can be a treat and GaleForce is no exception. Located at Playland’s Castaway Cove in Ocean City, NJ, it’s a multiple launch steel coaster from S&S. It opened in 2017 although the track was replaced during the off-season due to defects which reportedly resulted in a somewhat shaky ride.
LAYOUT, ELEMENTS AND THEMING
Standing 125 feet tall and themed after a whirlwind (there’s actually a spinning coaster named Whirlwind a short distance away), GaleForce features a double out and back layout with 1,269 feet of track. The elements include a multi-pass LSM launch, top hat, near-vertical drop and kickflip. The train consists of three rows seating four across for a total of 12 riders. Riders are restrained by over-the-shoulder harnesses. The Wild Waves steel family coaster runs right alongside GaleForce, which makes for an interesting configuration. This is visible in the photos.
In the loading station, riders are required to empty their pockets and place all articles in bins. They are then wanded to verify that no loose articles are on their persons before being permitted to board the train. Once the all-clear is given, the gates open and the train is launched partway up the top hat then launched backwards up a section of track which curves at the top. This reminded me a lot of the Premier Rides Skyrocket II model. The train is again launched forward up and over the top hat, reaching a maximum speed of 64 mph, before plunging at a beyond 90-degree angle. This is an awesome drop! From that point it ascends and goes through the kickflip before dropping again. The remainder of the course consists of a series of drops and tight curves. One curve, immediately preceding a drop, is particularly abrupt. And there’s one section of track which resembles a zero-g roll although it’s non-inverting. After finishing the course, the train goes through the entire circuit a second time. This struck me as a very good use of the limited space occupied by this coaster.
FINAL THOUGHTS AND RATING
GaleForce is a kick- ass ride in the best sense of the term. To say that it’s forceful is an understatement. A true whirlwind of a ride. I loved the intensity and in fact liked this coaster enough to ride it three times although consecutive riding is not permitted; there’s a warning sign about the ride being unsuitable for those with motion sickness and a ride op told me that I had to exit and come back in through the entrance so that they’d know I was in stable condition to ride again. Final rating: 8 out of 10. Video courtesy of Playland’s Castaway Cove.
Photo by Bobbie Butterfield