Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
Happy Monday, folks! We're going to kick off the week with an earlier-than-expected look at one of the anticipated local theme park additions--HangTime at Knott's Berry Farm! Over the weekend, Knott's season passholders had the opportunity to take a spin on the new roller coaster before it opens to the public. The soft open basically provided passholders with a nice perk and ride ops with live training. So it was a win-win... unless you were at the park as a regular guests. Then you were totally denied. Fortunately, I have a season pass, so I stopped by to take a couple of rides and grab some photos to boot.
What's the verdict on HangTime? Read on to find out!
Before we proceed to the newest addition to The Boardwalk, a couple housekeeping notes on things being built at the park...
Boardwalk Surf Shop
Though HangTime is not formally open, its gift shop certainly is! The Boardwalk Surf Shop anchors the exit of HangTime and the corner of Charleston Square formerly occupied by RipTide. The souvenir shop offers a variety of HangTime memorabilia, plus general snacks and beverages. The store is nothing fancy--just nicely and cleanly done, similar to Knott's other recent architectural additions (but probably with a little more flair here). But it does fit in with a mid-century surf shack theme, so kudos for that.
HangTime in Action
Of course, you're mainly here to check out roller coaster photos and read about the thrill ride itself. Well, in a word, HangTime is: fun. Really, fun actually. Though the ride is hardly over a minute long, it packs a pretty good amount of features in said minutes. Going up the vertical lift hill is definitely a little bit unnerving for many riders, since the 16-person single-car trains (4x4 rows) are very open, with only a lap bar for restraints (no over-the-shoulder harnesses, thank goodness!). The car pauses for about 10 seconds after cresting the hill, creating quite the bit of tension (especially folks in the exposed front row!) before plummeting into its cache of twists, turns, and inversions.
The track itself is pretty smooth--a welcome relief from HangTime's head-banging predecessor, Boomerang. There is a bit of a lurch over the stalling corkscrew--something I was too excited to note my first time through but definitely noticed on my second ride. But otherwise, the circuit is pretty comfortable. I especially enjoyed the relatively slow speed the coaster navigated its loops. It created a bit of an inverted airtime as a result. If actual airtime is what you're looking for, there's a great pop of near-ejector air on the double down after the overbanked turn, heading into the boomerang element at the end of the ride.
For those who are wondering, the on-ride camera is to the left, right after the final inversion and just before the car hits the final brake run. It's unexpected if you're fresh to the ride. And there's a good amount of speed by remaining by the time HangTime hits its finale.
The ride was running three cars during the preview, but honestly, two is sufficient. Three cars/train operation guarantees stacking. Even two would probably run into stacking most of the time, because the ride runs through its course so quickly. But it's a very enjoyable roller coaster that packs a good amount of punch into its compact layout. This may be California's first dive coaster, but it's tame enough for thrill seekers in training to use as a stepping stone to more intense coasters like Ghostrider and Xcelerator.
That wraps up a straightforward update from Knott's Berry Farm. HangTime officially opens to everyone this Friday, May 18th, and it will undoubtedly have some pretty lengthy lines this summer as the public flocks to the park's latest roller coaster. HangTime is undeniably a superior replacement for Boomerang, and Knott's has done a great job reconfiguring the Boardwalk to accommodate the ride!
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