Six Flags Magic Mountain to add insane Drop of Doom ride in 2012

Six Flags Magic Mountain recently announced an unexpected and exciting addition for 2012. The park was already able to boast the most roller coasters of any theme park in the World this year and now it looks to claim another record next year. Magic Mountain has unveiled plans for LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom. At over 400 feet (40 stories) tall it will be the World’s tallest drop ride.

The park’s Superman: Escape from Krypton roller coaster features two twin 415-foot tall towers. Roller coaster cars are launched from zero to 100 mph down the twin tracks and then up these two spires. Those two skyscraping towers are going to be used as the structure for the LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom where riders will drop 400 feet at an unreal 85 mph. After falling for five seconds, which will probably feel like an eterntity, the riders will come to a halt just a few feet from the ground.

To put this insane drop in context, the tallest drop rides in the United States are around 300 feet tall. The view from 400-feet up should be beyond breath-taking. I have to imagine that the wait will be ridiculously long with only two eight-person wide gondolas, but I’m betting that many will gladly wait hours for such an experience. Read more about this new ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain’s LEX LUTHOR: Drop of Doom page and watch the preview video below.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg announces Verbolten for 2012

Last weekend, Busch Gardens Williamsburg confirmed their new 2012 roller coaster Verbolten. The multi-launch steel roller coaster will be built on the former site of the Big Bad Wolf. And, like that classic coaster, Verbolten will use the park’s beautiful and hilly terrain. During its 2,835-foot course, the ride will dive to the Rhine River. The Zierer-designed roller coaster will include two launches, lap bars instead of over-the-shoulder restraints, and a top speed of 53 mph.

In a departure from fabled creatures from European folklore like the Loch Ness Monster and Griffon, Verbolten’s theme will be more modern. The ride will feature what look to be trains themed as sports cars. Based on what little is known about the ride, we do know that it will include an exciting car ride through Germany’s Black Forest that goes wrong. It’s an appropriate theme considering it’ll be in the park’s recently revitalized Oktoberfest area in the Germany section. The most intriguing part of Verbolten may occur inside a building during the indoor portion of its layout. This indoor section is said to hold some surprises as it will incorporate darkness and changes in weather. Aside from these details, not much else is known as the park did not release a full animated POV or off-ride videos like parks do with most new ride announcements.

In what appears to be a new trend, Verbolten will be another launch coaster from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment that’s more along the lines of a family-friendly joy ride than a white knuckle, g-force intensive thrill ride. Reviews of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Cheetah Hunt reflected its somewhat less than intense ride and the park chain announced another somewhat similar launch coaster (Manta at SeaWorld San Diego) earlier this year.

I’m looking forward to Verbolten, even though it may not be create an insane adrenaline rush. I’m confident that it’ll be impressive from a theming and overall quality stand point like almost all of this park’s roller coasters have been in the past. Here’s a teaser video for Verbolten at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.

Canada’s Wonderland gets a giga roller coaster for 2012 in Leviathan

Since Canada’s Wonderland opened hyper coaster Behemoth in 2008, it has boasted the country’s largest roller coaster. Next year, the Toronto area park will also be able to boast one of the tallest roller coasters in the World in the $28 milllion Leviathan. The massive steel roller coaster will be a lofty 30-stories (306 feet) tall. After what’s likely to be an impressive view on the lift hill, riders will be treated to an enormous drop at 80 degrees. The plunge will push Leviathan’s 32 person trains to an intense 90 mph. The ride’s 5,400-foot layout includes a number of high speed, heavily banked turns. Leviathan will also have a few camel back-shaped hills aimed at providing airtime moments when riders will be lifted gently out of their seats.

Roller coaster fans are especially interested in Leviathan as the coaster’s size puts it in a small group of 300-foot tall rides known as giga coasters. Coaster enthusiasts are also excited because it will be leading coaster designers, Bolliger & Mabillard’s, tallest roller coaster and the company’s first foray into this coaster genre. They have a track record of innovative designs including floorless coasters, dive coasters, and inverted coasters. It will be interesting to see what they can offer to this category of high altitude and high speed roller coasters. Canada’s Wonderland has moved to the top of my list of theme parks that I need to visit in 2012. Learn more about Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland.

Six Flags Great America announces X-Flight for 2012

Earlier this year rumors surfaced that Chicago area theme park, Six Flags Great America, was going to remove their stand up roller coaster Iron Wolf. Some fans were sad to see the long running coaster go as the ride has been a fixture at the park for more than two decades. Iron Wolf was also the first roller coaster from World renowned roller coaster designers, Bolliger & Mabillard. Thankfully, the park has planned an exciting new ride to take its place in 2012.

Last week, Six Flags Great America unveiled details for X-Flight. The 3,000 foot long steel roller coaster will boast a new seating configuration where guests will be seated completely outside of the track rather than above or below it. If riding completely exposed wasn’t enough, riders will face five loops that mimic fighter plane maneuvers including a barrel roll, zero-g roll, and an Immelmann loop. X-Flight’s most thrilling element will likely be when the roller coaster threads the needle as it narrowly passes through a themed air traffic control tower. The ride will begin with a 12-story drop generating a top speed of 55 mph. X-Flight is scheduled to open in the Spring of 2012.

Hersheypark to add new roller coaster, Skyrush for 2012

After months of releasing coded clues and hints via a fictitious engineering website reminiscent of the Dharma Initiative from ABC’s Lost, Hersheypark unveiled its highly anticipated 2012 roller coaster. Dubbed Skyrush, the steel roller coaster will dominate the park’s skyline with a 200-foot tall peak. The ride will begin with an unusually speedy ascent to the top of the lift hill. Then, riders will be treated to a layout indicative of hyper coasters: high speeds, banked turns, and airtime hills. Loved by coaster fans, the airtime hills are designed to provide a weightless sensation at the crests.

Skyrush’s most intriguing feature may be its floorless seats. Each wing-shaped row of four seats will have two floored seats in the middle and two floorless seats on the edges. I’d imagine thrill junkies like myself will be scrambling for those outer seats. Roller coasters with this kind of layout and these stats aren’t rare, but the swift climb up the lift hill and the ride’s first-of-its-kind trains do make Skyrush look interesting.

Here’s an animated video that gives us a preview of what Hersheypark’s Skyrush will look like.