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Roller Coaster Ride Guide 2013

You'll Flip over New Wooden Rides

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There will be plenty of new ways to get hearts racing on the midways at U.S. amusement parks in 2013 as roller coasters of all types debut. Continuing the trend started by last year's batch of "wing" coasters, such as X-Flight at Six Flags Great America, Cedar Point will take wing with its front-of-the-park GateKeeper. Six Flags Magic Mountain will welcome a highly unique launched looping coaster. And California's Great America hopes to strike gold with its old-school woodie, Gold Striker.

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

Knotts, 2012. Used with permission.
Location: Buena Park (near Anaheim)

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:

California: Full Throttle at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Six Flags, 2012. Used with permission.
Location: Valencia

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

Cedar Fair. Used with permission.
Location: Santa Clara (near San Jose and San Francisco)

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.

California: Undertow at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Location: Santa Cruz

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

Fun Spot, 2012.
Location: Orlando, Florida

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 Village

Location: 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

Six Flags.
Location: Eureka (near St. Louis -- duh!)

The relocated coaster coming to Six Flags St. Louis is a boomerang-style shuttle coaster that was formerly known as Flashback at Six Flags Over Texas.

Missouri: Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City.
Location: Branson

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-down moments. it will also drop a nerve-rattling 162 feet at a woozy 81 degrees and reach a top speed of 68 mph. Whew!

Nevada: TBD at Akita Plaza

Theme Park Review. Used with permission.
Location: Las Vegas

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 Funplex

Location: Mt. Laurel, New Jersey

The family entertainment center will be opening a small Wild Mouse-style coaster.

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