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Launched Coaster, Knott's Berry Farm, California

About.com Rating 3.5 Star Rating
User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Xcelerator Knott's Berry Farm picture

Xcelerator tops out on its top hat tower.

Arthur Levine 2004, licensed to About.com
Like the rest of Knott's, Xcelerator is a curious blend of old and new. While the overall park melds its Old-West ghost town with high-tech rides, the thrill machine blends a 1950s motif with a new-age coaster experience. Using a sophisticated hydraulic launch, the train positively screams out of the station; if your hair wasn't slicked back into a Fonz do before you boarded the coaster, it will be about 2.3 seconds after the ride begins and you're Xcelorating 82 mph towards a 205-foot tower.

Xcelerator up-front Info

  • Thrill Scale (0=Wimpy!, 10=Yikes!): 9
  • Incredible launch, acceleration, speed and height, plus a 90-degree descent
  • Coaster type: Hydraulic launch
  • Top speed: 82 mph
  • Height restriction: 52 inches
  • Height: 205 feet
  • Drop: 205 feet
  • Ride time: 1 minute, 2 seconds

As with most launched coasters, Xcelerator is all about the launch--and what a launch! With trains tricked out like '57 Chevys, this baby peels rubber and accelerates on a straight section of track from O to 82 mph in 2.3 seconds. Nothing can quite prepare you for the extreme launch (although the ominous "PLACE YOUR HEAD AGAINST HEADREST" sign in the station does hint at the mayhem that's about to ensue).

Before you have a chance to catch your breath, you're soaring straight up a 205-foot "top hat" tower. There is some airtime as the coaster nears the top of the tower. The train takes a barely-there respite at it rounds the apex and then it's straight down--and I mean, literally, 90-degrees straight down--205 feet for a wild adrenaline rush.

Up to this point, and we're talking a matter of seconds, Xcelerator is a coaster for the ages. But, after the thrilling launch and top hat cruising, the ride is kind of nondescript. It includes a couple of highly overbanked turns (but no actual inversions). Despite the incredible pent-up energy, the coaster doesn't incorporate any bunny hills or other elements to deliver any significant airtime. 62 seconds after you blasted out of the station, you're in the brake run and wondering what the heck just happened. It's a short, but, yes, sweet ride.

Xcelerator, manufactured by Intamin AG of Switzerland, was the first coaster to use the innovative hydraulic launch system. Since its debut, Cedar Point's similar Top Thrill Dragster has eclipsed the Knott's coaster in speed and height. After scaling a 420-foot top hat tower, the Ohio park's ride sends its passengers careening down a 90-degree drop filled with corkscrews.

User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 5 out of 5
Perfect ride, Member republicans

I liked your review until you started talking about the bank turns. It is the one of its kind that actually has turns like that. Kingda Ka has that ""little big"" hill and Top Thrill Dragster hasz basically nothing. This ride is amazingly goo and the turns help with that.

8 out of 11 people found this helpful.

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