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Roller Coasters 2005: The Thrills are Back

Record-breaking and innovative coasters on tap this season

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SheiKra video Busch Gardens Tampa

SheiKra will feature two breathless 90-degree diving drops.

Busch Gardens 2004.
For more info about the parks listed below, you can search for theme parks by state, or search for U.S. theme parks by the name of the park.

Turbulence

  • Hersheypark, Hershey, PA
  • Tower Coaster
The self-described "Sweetest Place on Earth," will have a decidedly sweet attraction awaiting thrill ride fans when Turbulence, the world's first freefall tower/coaster hybrid debuts. Rising 150 feet, four-passenger pivoting vehicles will "freefall" 20 feet a total of five times as the cars navigate along a track that curves back and forth. It's not exactly a roller coaster, nor is it quite a freefall tower ride. Whatever it is, it sounds wild. Originally planned for this season, the ride may be delayed until 2006.

Silver Bullet

Technically, Silver Bullet debuted in 2004, but it was late December, so the coaster straddles two seasons. The inverted sit-down coaster rises 146 ft., has a first drop of 109 ft, and features a 105-foot vertical loop. Other elements include an outside loop, a cobra roll, a zero-G roll, and a double spiral. As an inverted coaster, Silver Bullet's train hangs suspended beneath the track, and riders sit in ski-lift style seats with their feet dangling. The $16-million ride comes from coaster masters Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M). Want to see the new coaster gun down the track? Check out the Silver Bullet coaster video.

The Bat

  • Lagoon, Farmington, UT
  • Steel Inverted Family Sit-Down Coaster
Like Silver Bullet, Lagoon's new inverted coaster will feature trains that will hang suspended beneath the track, and riders will sit in ski-lift style seats with their feet dangling. Unlike Knott's thrill ride, however, The Bat will be a "family" coaster, so its height, speed, acceleration, and features will all be toned down.

Hades

  • Mt. Olympus Theme Park, Wisconsin Dells, WI
  • Wood
The only wood coaster debuting this season in North America, Hades will be a devil of a ride. Befitting its name, the coaster will have the distinction of the world's longest underground tunnel. Hades will climb 136 feet, then drop 154 feet at a 65-degree angle into a tunnel under the parking lot. The wild coaster will even feature a 90-degree banked turn underground in complete darkness. Check out the Hades photo gallery.

Hydra the Revenge

  • Dorney Park, Allentown, PA
  • Floorless Coaster
Floorless coasters have no floors (duh). But they also don't have any sides. They're essentially flying seats in which riders legs dangle as the barebones train navigates the track. Hydra will start out with a barrel roll before it even hits the lift hill. It will have a have a first drop of 105 feet and feature a total of seven inversions. To get a better sense of floorless coasters, check out my Scream review.

Space Mountain

  • Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
  • Indoor Sit-Down Coaster
The seminal indoor roller coaster already had one makeover a few years back that included the addition of onboard audio. Instead of the Dick Dale surf music that had been part of the attraction, the reconfigured coaster will introduce a new "edgy" soundtrack. Disney hasn't been particularly forthcoming about additional updates, but the E-ticket attraction will reportedly include new rocket coaster cars (which will likely deliver smoother rides), a modified finale with a longer reentry tunnel (I hope they don't tinker too much with that, it's one of Space Mountain's most endearing features), and a bunch of new special effects, including a near-encounter with massive meteorite. For more Disneyland attractions debuting this season, see my Happiest Celebration on Earth overview.

Galaxy Spin

The born-again park, famous for its beautiful gardens and water ski shows, now features rides as well. The fourth roller coaster at the park will be a spinning coaster, scheduled to open in May.

Crazy Mouse

  • Martin's Fantasy Island, Grand Island, NY
  • Spinning Wild Mouse Coaster
Another spinning coaster will be headed to Martin's Fantasy Island.

Unkonwn name

  • Beech Bend Park, Bowling Green, KY
  • Spinning Wild Mouse Coaster
Another spinning coaster will be headed to Beech Bend Park

Unknown name

  • VisionLand, Bessemer, AL
  • Sit Down Boomerang
This relocated coaster (from Australia), a typical Boomerang shuttle coaster, will navigate its course in both forward and reverse directions.

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