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Fear and Loving It: New roller coasters coming


If you're among those who like to be rolled slowly to the top of a narrow track and then hurled screaming into a sudden high-speed drop, screaming with terror and then begging for more when the ride's year may be your year.

August 16 was National Roller Coaster Day, and amusement parks around the country used the occasion to, promise stunning new rides for next year, each claiming to be the highest, or fastest, or scariest, or best in some way. Here's a roundup, as reported by USA Today.

  • Cedar Point in Ohio is converting a wooden coaster known as Mean Streak into a wood/steel hybrid called Steel Vengeance. Just the names give you the picture. it includes a 90° 200' drop at 74 mph. It will also turn passengers upside down during the one-mile ride, one of the longest coasters.
  • At Knotts Berry Farm, HangTime, with a surfing theme, will actually pause and teeter a bit on top of a 150' tower, and then take a 96° drop. Because it's more than 90° passengers won't actually see any track ahead of them, adding to the anxiety. Riders will be turned over 5 times, including a "negative-G stall loop" which will give the feeling of floating in the sky while turning over. You could really lose your berries on that one!
  • RailBlazer, at California's Great America, uses a single track, which allows it to turn and twist more abruptly, which is apparently an advantage for those who like these things. It's theme is off-road driving, including a dive into a tunnel.
  • Another old wooden roller coaster, the Hurler at Kings Dominion in Virginia is being turned into a single-track hybrid, named Twisted Timbers. Of the five coasters announced on Coaster Day, it's the only one without at least a 90° drop. Instead, it does a barrel roll at the top, and includes 20 negative-G moments.
  • Another unique idea highlights Time Traveler at Silver Dollar City in Branson, Missouri. Instead of climbing a long hill before plunging over the edge, the ride starts with a 100' plunge the moment it leaves the station. It also has two 'mid-course magnetic launches' and three inversions, all in cars that can spin 360° on the track.

An exciting year ahead for coaster freaks...and for the rest of us, we'll meet you by the popcorn stand when you lurch off the ride and try to resume walking.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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