Friday, May 6, 2011

Ride Report! - May 6th, 2011

Today I was honored with an early ride of the new Zippin Pippin Roller Coaster at Bay Beach Amusement park before it's official public opening in about two weeks, actually, to be more accurate, 6 rides. I have a new POV video from one of the rides, see the link below. Here is a hill by hill turn by turn description of the ride. I also got some pictures of the latest finishing touches of the construction going on around the coaster and grounds. I'll write a separate post in a few days to review those details.

The back six seats were open for riders during these tests so all of these impressions and the video is from the perspective of riding in the last car of the train. The front 24 seats were weighted down with sand bags. The trains sit two across, there is a small panel separating the two seats. They are a bit tight with two full grown adults, but squeeze in it's worth the effort! Each seat has it's own seat belt and padded lap bar.

After the brakes release you head immediately down a small incline and into turn 1 which is inside of the structure for turn 3, you quickly head around this turn and after 180 degrees you start up the lift hill. The trip up the lift hill is very quick, be sure to look over you right shoulder as you near the top for a beautiful view of the Bay. At the top of the lift hill there is a quick 180 degree turn as you line up for the first drop.

In the back car the front of the train starts accelerating down the hill while you are still completing turn 2 so you get a good burst of speed as you are coming out of the turn and are then quickly pulled down the first drop. The first drop is nice and smooth and quickly bottoms out and heads uphill into turn 3. Turn 3 is another 180 degree turn and the train carries plenty of momentum around this turn and you are again pulled around the last bit of the turn as the first cars of the train start down the second drop before you complete the turn, this is a great crack the whip sensation. When I have the chance I'll ride the first car of the train but all things considered I think the best ride on this coaster is going to be in the back.

At this point you are travelling alongside the lift hill and quickly complete the drop, head up another hill and move through part of the lift hill structure. Just as you crest the next hill there are a couple of structural beams that seem very close to your reach (assuming your hands are up), it's a great illusion but I'm 6'3" tall and reached as high as I could and wasn't in any danger of coming into contact with these beams.

After this hill you are heading into the out and back with two quick bunny hills that both have some good airtime. One more uphill and you are into the turn around. Coming out of the turn around you head into another uphill with a nice little banked turn to the left.

On the last bunny hill before you head uphill and into the station there is a great little surprise, at this point the train still has a lot of momentum and this last small hill has some great abrupt airtime. If you watch the video you can see how quickly the cars in front are snapped downward at this point. This tends to launch the riders against their seat belt and lap bar when they least expect it. It's a great surprise and everyone I rode with on the rides I took really liked that last little surprise. Then it's up one small hill and the brakes catch and the ride is over. Trains were completing the circuit in a pretty consistent 1 minute 30 seconds.

All things considered I have to say the ride exceeded my expectations. It's pretty incredible to think this coaster was designed in 1912. John Miller designed a great ride that holds up very well nearly a century later. The ride is a perfect fit for Bay Beach. It's a fun thrilling ride but not to large and intimidating so really just about anybody over 48" can ride it, young and old alike. I can definitely see Grandparents taking their Grandchildren on the ride once they are tall enough. It will be interesting to see what kind of reviews it gets from the people of Green Bay after it's grand opening on May 21st.