But the new rides generating the most interest for 2013 are a trio of wooden (or more accurately, wooden hybrid) coasters that will include inversions. While steel coasters routinely send passengers head over heels, modern-age woodies keep riders right-side-up (with the glaring exception of Son of Beast at Kings Island which had its much-heralded and trouble-prone loop removed soon after it debuted in 2000 and was demolished altogether in 2012). Will Hades 360 at Mt. Olympus Water and Theme Park, Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City, and Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas suffer similar fates? It's unlikely, but the newfangled woodies could throw passengers for a loop, so to speak.
New coasters in the Ride Guide are arranged alphabetically by U.S. state.
California: Coast Rider at Knott's Berry Farm
The Boardwalk section of Knott's Berry Farm, which lost its Perilous Plunge shoot-the-chutes boat ride, will see a Wild Mouse style coaster take its place. The fairly tame ride will climb 52 feet and will navigate hairpin turns that are characteristic of Wild Mouses.
Other Knott's Berry Farm coasters:
The 18th(!) coaster at the mega Six Flags Magic Mountain will incorporate three magnetic launches, the world's tallest loop, and a wacky top-hat element on the outside of the loop. Sounds crazy, no?
California: Gold Striker at California's Great America
A plain and simple wooden coaster is coming to California's Great America, but it looks like it will deliver a great ride. Stats include a 103-foot drop, a top speed of 54 mph, and a (satisfyingly long) ride time of 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
- Read more about the woodie in my preview of Gold Striker.
California: Undertow at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
A spinning coaster, Undertow will provide a disorienting ride as the cars randomly turn through elements such as an 80-degree banked turn, a 360-degree carousel spin, and a first drop that will reach 40 mph.
Florida: Freedom Fighter and White Lightning at Fun Spot America
The small amusement park located near Universal Orlando will be getting two new coasters for 2013. Freedom Fighter will be an inverted coaster that will rise 64 feet and reach a family-friendly top speed of 34 mph. White Lightning, on the other hand, will be a fairly aggressive wooden coaster from Great Coasters International that will reach a height of 75 feet and a top speed of 48 mph.
Illinois: TBD at AZoosment Park at Santa's VillageLocation: East Dundee (near Chicago), Illinois
An unnamed (at the time this was written) coaster, most likely a junior ride, is on its way to the amusement park/zoo.
Missouri: Boomerang at Six Flags St. Louis
Missouri: Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City
One of the trio of inverting wooden coasters, the Silver Dollar City thrill machine will use steel "topper" track to help it deliver three upside-dwon moments. it will also drop a nerve-rattling 162 feet at a woozy 81 degrees and reach a top speed of 68 mph. Whew!
Life in Virginia Beach.
Nevada: TBD at Akita Plaza
The new Akita Plaza will be best known for the 500-foot-tall observation wheel it is building on the Strip. But it will also resurrect the launched coaster that was known as Speed - The Ride when it operated at the now-defunct Sahara Hotel and Casino. The relocated ride will reach 70 mph, deliver 3.5 Gs, and shuttle up and down a 90-degree section of track.
New Jersey: FunCoaster at FunplexLocation: Mt. Laurel, New Jersey
The family entertainment center will be opening a small Wild Mouse-style coaster.
Ohio: GateKeeper at Cedar Point
An especially wacky winged coaster, GateKeeper will send riders hurtling headlong into two keyhole towers, one after the other, for a couple of apparent near-misses.
- Read more about the distinctive coaster in my preview of GateKeeper.
OK, this is getting silly now. It's been under construction for years, and for years, the park has been saying that its debut is imminent. Children who were born when Flying Turns was first supposed to open are now tall enough to ride it -- but it still hasn't opened. The retro, wooden-tubed, bobsled-style coaster should be a great ride when (and if?) it opens. Maybe 2013 will finally be the year.
Texas: Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas
The former woodie is being transformed into a hybrid steel/wooden coaster with the addition of an all-steel "Iron Horse" track. It will include an inversion, drop a rattling 171 feet and reach a dizzying top speed of 70 mph. Is it steel or is it wooden? Who cares? It sounds like it will be a great ride, and that's all that really matters.
Wisconsin: Hades 360 at Mount Olympus
Hades has been burning up the rails and generating lots of buzz as a great coaster since it debuted at Mount Olympus Theme Park in 2005. In 2013, it will reemerge as Hades 360 and will add an upside-down barrel roll as well as a 110-degree over-banked turn. Instead of modifying the track, as with Iron Rattler and Outlaw Run, the Wisconsin woodie will introduce new Timberliner trains. The sleek trains will allow Hades 360 to include inversions while maintaining its traditional all-wood track. You can read more about (the wonderful) Timberliner trains in my review of Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement Park.