66 days later coaster enthusiasts got their Christmas in July.
In a massive culmination of the 66DaysAtSea teaser campaign Holiday World and Splashin Safari unveiled the biggest, most expensive, and most ambitious new attraction ever built in the park. Thunderbird will be a $22 million B&M wing coaster with a 60 mph launch, four inversions and “keyhole” elements similar to Gatekeeper and X-Flight.
TRACK LENGTH: 3,035 feet
RIDE HEIGHT: 140 feet at Immelmann loop’s peak
From start to finish:
- Launch, using LSM technology
- Immelmann loop
- Elevated Spiral
- Zero-G roll
- S curve
- 2 “headchopper” keyholes
- 360 in-line twist (barrel roll)
- 2 Crossovers with The Voyage
SPEED: Thunderbird’s top speed is 60 miles per hour
RIDE TIME: 1 minute, 18 seconds (station to station)
TRAINS: Two trains, each with five four-person coaches
CAPACITY: 1,140 Guests per hour
HEIGHT LIMIT: Riders must be at least 52 inches tall
INVESTMENT: $22 million
RIDE DESIGNER: Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M), Switzerland
In 1620, as the Mayflower neared the end of its 66 days at sea, a mighty storm nearly capsized the ship, taking it hundreds of miles off course. As passengers and crew feared all was lost, an immense bird appeared in the sky. The thunderbird, whose wings created the thunder and eyes flashed the lightning of the powerful storm, rescued the ship by launching it through the sky to the New World.
This move is not just unprecedented for the park, but for the entire amusement industry, as Thunderbird is the first launch coaster ever built by industry heavyweight Bolliger and Mabillard, (and you all know that Hulk doesn’t count.)
Personally, I was a doubter from the start and was convinced that it would be anything but a B&M, but boy am I glad to have been proven wrong! Thunderbird has emerged as a true instant classic and a must-ride for the 2015 season. The elements or the layout look so unbelievably fun, and combined with the launch and keyhole elements, we may ver well be looking at the best wing coaster ever built!