- Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 8.5
No inversions, but soaring height, wild speed, and extreme G-forces.
- Coaster type: Hybrid "plug-and-play" wood out-and-back
- Top speed: 70 mph
- Height restriction to ride: 48 inches
- Height of lift hill: 188 feet
- First drop: 176 feet
- First drop angle of descent: 76 degrees
- Ride time: 1 minute, 42 seconds
- El Toro and other Six Flags Great Adventure Rides Photo Gallery
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If the sight of El Toro's massive track wasn't enough of a clue, the actions of the ride operators in the loading station should have tipped me off about the ride's ensuing magnificent madness. They "stapled" (a wonderful term coaster freaks use to describe the overzealous tightening of safety restraints) me and my fellow riders to within an inch of cutting off our respiratory and circulatory functions. I think the extra precautions may have been due more to the new ride's balky sensor (which I'm sure the park will tweak), than sadistic ride ops. But I didn't have much time to fret over my labored breathing, as the train departed the station, rounded a bend, latched onto the lift mechanism, and cruised up the 188-foot lift hill at a surprisingly fast clip.
At 176 feet, El Toro's first drop is among the longest for a wood coaster in the U.S. (and the world, for that matter). Its 70-mph top speed makes it among the fastest wood coasters anywhere as well. At the time of its debut in 2006, its 76-degree angle of descent was the steepest for any wood coaster. Hence, the screams.
The first drop is immediately followed by three substantial hills of 112 feet, 100 feet, and 84 feet. This generated wild, prolonged, floater airtime (that giddy butterflies-in-your-stomach sensation that coaster fans crave). Even with my lap bar cinched tightly, the airtime was glorious.
I knew the stats. I even knew about the ride's unique prefabricated wood track. I was prepared for the height and speed, and anticipated some decent airtime. I was not, however, expecting El Toro's silky smoothness. It was unlike any wood coaster I've ridden. Rather than the rickety rough-and-tumble woodie sensation epitomized by the classic Cyclone at Coney Island (and bastardized by el crap-o coasters like Rolling Thunder), El Toro was as rock-solid as Great Adventure's wonderful Nitro or other stellar examples of steel coaster engineering. Not that I'd recommend it, but I think a surgeon could safely perform a circumcision while riding El Toro.
On Track for Coaster Stardom
By dialing down the characteristic rickety rumblings, El Toro is able to focus on its considerable strengths of speed and wigged-out airtime. The hybrid ride ranks up there--way up there--with any coaster, wood or steel, and that's no bull.