Hersheypark25th July 2012
We'd originally hoped to visit Hersheypark yesterday using the discounted ticket for evening admission, but the bad weather in Pittsburgh forced a last minute rethink. As we had other plans for the balance of the day we were only able to spend a few hours at the park. Ridiculous crowds meant that that was only just about long enough for one lap on Lightning Racer and one lap on the brand new coaster.
Skyrush (#1788) is coaster number twelve for Hersheypark, and I'm thrilled to report that it is easily their best yet. Built by Intamin, this ride is the first to use a new four-abreast train design, with two regular seats and two floorless seats in each row. Riders are restrained with a new design of lap bar, a major improvement over the awful overhead restraint that has appeared on so many Intamin rides in recent years. As regular readers will know, I've been on the vast majority of the roller coasters in the United States, and I can say with conviction that none of the others I've been on come close to being as aggressive as this ride. The two hundred foot lift hill is crested in around ten seconds, and the course from that point on is filled with extreme airtime that leaves lap-bar shaped imprints in riders thighs.
This intensity has led to some people branding the new ride as thigh-crush, but these people are missing the point. Skyrush is an aggressive thrill ride; those after a gentle coaster can go ride their nearest Wacky Worm. It'll be interesting to see what happens with enthusiast polls this year; I'd be quite surprised if Skyrush didn't make a prominent appearance.
Six Flags America25th July 2012
It took just over two hours to drive to Six Flags America, which this year became the new home for the very first B&M coaster. The ride once known as Iron Wolf has been renamed and redecorated as Apocalypse, and if I was reviewing on appearance alone I'd have to give full marks. The team responsible for installing the ride have done a superb job, with a new grey and orange paint job that makes a twenty-two year old coaster look brand new. Suitably moody music and a fire effect add the icing to the cake. It's a pity that the ride hardware hasn't aged well; severe head-banging meant that one lap was enough.
The park wasn't particularly busy, but only one train was being used even on the larger rides. Superman was dispatching every seven minutes on average, and while the ride was just as good as I'd remembered it would have been nice to ride more than once in a full hour!
Central Park Fun-Land25th July 2012
We had one final stop planned for the day on the drive to our overnight hotel. Central Park in Virginia is a large retail estate filled with warehouse sized department stores, restaurants, and a small family entertainment centre. Fun-Land has a few outdoor rides attached to a large building with arcade games, a children's play area, a full size spinning ride, and a small roller coaster. The Jett Star (#1789) originally operated at Magic Valley, a similar FEC, but was moved here in 2009. It is not a ride I'd advocate making a detour for, but it works quite well as a rest stop!