August 16, 2017 brought the end to the guessing, the speculation and the rumors swirling about what will be in store for roller coaster lovers in 2018.
California's Great America (GCA), Santa Clara, California, celebrated National Roller Coaster Day with the announcement of RailBlazer, an all-new, steel, Rocky Mountain Construction creation in which the train rides on a single rail.
Riders will be seated single-file on the train, with no one to their right or left. Featuring a single-rail track throughout, RailBlazer will lift riders to a height of 106 feet before plunging them face down at a 90-degree angle. The ride stands 100 feet tall and traverses 1,800 feet of track at up to 52 miles per hour, providing an abundance of airtime and steeply banked turns, including a 180-degree stall and a zero-gravity roll.
CGA offers an animated video of a front seat ride here. The new steel coaster is set to open at the Santa Clara park in spring 2018.
Also in California and about 5.5 hours south in Buena Park, Knott's Berry Farm will welcome HangTime, a brand new steel roller coaster and the only dive coaster on the West Coast.
HangTime will tower 150 feet over the Boardwalk area, sending riders up a vertical lift hill into a raised 96-degree drop. The coaster's train will come to a halt once the highest peak is reached, and will leave riders suspended at the crest for several seconds at a 60-degree angle. The train will suddenly descend in a beyond-vertical drop, through 2,198 feet of track and five gravity-defying inversions, mid-air suspensions and twisting dive tracks. HangTime will be only the second rollercoaster in the Western Hemisphere to feature a negative-G stall loop, which gives riders the sensation of floating.
HangTime is manufactured by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, GmbH, and is the company's next-generation "infinity coaster" model.
Moving eastward, Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri, announced its biggest attraction ever: Time Traveler, the world's fastest, steepest and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster.
As soon as Time Traveler takes off, passengers will immediately drop 100 feet into a 90-degree vertical drop. The coaster will also be the first and only such ride with three inversions: a dive loop, a vertical loop that is 95 feet tall and a zero G roll. The ride will also boast the world's first and only double launch. The first launch is zero to 47 mph in three seconds, and the second is 30 to 45 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Time Traveler is being designed by Mack Rides, a German roller-coaster manufacturer. The ride lasts one minute and 57 seconds, and passengers must be a minimum of 51 inches tall.
You can preview Time Traveler in this animated video. Time Traveler opens in Spring 2018.
In Sandusky, Ohio, a half-days travel east and north of Silver Dollar City, Cedar Point, introduced Steel Vengeance, the tallest, fastest and longest hybrid roller coaster in the world. Rumors were rampant after the closure announcement for the former wooden Mean Streak, that it would undergo "the RMC treatment" (Rocky Mountain Construction) and become a steel hybrid coaster. Sometimes, rumors are correct.
The FrontierTown section of the park will be transformed when Steel Vengeance is completed. The new hybrid design combines a steel running track on a massive wooden structure that provides an extremely smooth and comfortable ride while enabling the coaster's trains to perform maneuvers previously unheard of on a wooden roller coaster.
Riders will board one of three trains and climb 205 feet above FrontierTown. Once they crest the lift hill, they'll be staring straight down a 90-degree initial drop and a 200-foot drop. Multiple airtime hills follow, including the world's fastest airtime hill ever created on a hybrid roller coaster, and a 116-foot-tall outer-banked hill placing riders on an outward tilt while moving forward. The coaster's figure-eight layout will create a fast-paced journey with multiple airtime hills, twists and dives, overbanked turns and surprise maneuvers. The entire ride will last approximately 2 minutes, 30 seconds.
Riders eager to check out Steel Vengeance can view this animated video and with a Spring 2018 debut, actual riding isn't that far off.
Kings Dominion, Doswell, Virginia (an eight-hour drive from Sandusky), will also bring to life an RMC re-created wood-steel hybrid coaster, Twisted Timbers, (replacing the wooden coaster Hurler, which closed in 2015).
Twisted Timbers has been designed to give riders an exhilarating experience with maneuvers previously unimaginable on a traditional wooden coaster. The coaster is designed by RMC of Idaho, a company renowned for reimagining wooden coasters. The 3,351-foot-long coaster will feature a 109-foot-tall barrel roll drop, a top speed of 54 mph, three loops, three overbanked turns and 20 moments of airtime.
Twisted Timbers will be located in the Candy Apple Grove section of the park and is themed to an abandoned apple orchard on the edge of town.
You can check out the animated video until the Spring 2018 debut.