Knott's Berry Farm, Buena Park, CA
Happy Monday, everyone! We hope you had a good weekend, and perhaps some of you even spent part of it experiencing what we're going to cover today--the official debut of Knott's Berry Farm's newest roller coaster and the only dive coaster in California (and the West Coast, I think). HangTime is the 2018 new hotness for Knott's. Sitting on the site of the old Boomerang roller coaster, HangTime takes riders up 150 feet, through 5 inversions, running at speeds of up to 57mph. It's a wonderfully fun ride, and it's sure to thrill children and adults.
Last Thursday served as a combination media night and Knott's friends and family preview night for the new attraction, and Westcoaster was present for yet another debut of a Knott's major attraction. We've been attending these coaster premieres for a long time, and as usual, Knott's did a fantastic job with the hospitality, food, and exclusive ride time experiences. Here's a recap of the evening!
Exclusive Boardwalk Time
The activities began at 7pm, as we were granted access to the park after hours. For attendees, however, the Boardwalk had remained open for exclusive ride time and to serve as the backdrop for the evening ceremonies. Xcelerator, Supreme Scream, Coast Rider, Pacific Scrambler, the Surfside Gliders, and the Sky Cabin were open for business, providing the special guests with a rare opportunity to take a spin with minimal waits. And since the skies had been dreary the previous weekend during the Season Passholder preview, this also allowed me to snap a few shots of the new roller coaster in the evening golden hour light.
Media Night Festivities
As usual, Knott's was very gracious in their hospitality, with food and drink stations in four areas around Charleston Circle, Johnny Rockets, Coasters Diner, and the Boardwalk BBQ. The evening was also a chance to hang out with friends from fellow media outlets and enjoy the ambiance and the rides. A surf band--Ride the Tide--was on hand to provide musical entertainment, and the general vibe was relaxed, fun, and kind of like a big reunion--exactly the atmosphere befitting of a new attraction on the Boardwalk.
After a little over an hour to graze on food and booze and take a few spins on the Boardwalk attractions, the HangTime Opening Moment occurred shortly after 8:15. First came a preview snippet from the new Knott's summer show to be featured at the Charles M. Schulz theater, Beach Blanket Beagle. Next, Knott's Vice President and GM Jon Storbeck provided a few words highlighting the ride, thanking everyone involved in the production of HangTime, and touting Knott's upcoming summer season offerings.
Then, with some fanfare, a musical overlay, and plenty of fireworks, HangTime took its first official runs, accented by the special lighting programmed for the new roller coaster and debuted for the first time ever. It was quite a sight, with different splashes of luminous color cast onto the ride and the chaser lights creating some cool patterns and sequences with the ride. Though the light chasing wasn't as overt along the coaster train as, say, what one might see with string lights pursuing a classic roller coaster, the effect was still pretty neat. And the animations of light when the ride wasn't running were almost even more impressive.
HangTime at Night
The ride is pretty beautiful at night, and it's great to see Boardwalk just about 100% back in working order. The aqua color of the track really brings a fresh, friendly feel to the area, and the cool, shifting colors are soothing and very pleasant. They really highlight this top notch attraction, and I had a chance to snap plenty of pictures in between rides on both HangTime and other attractions.
HangTime is not the most intense ride in the park. I'd say that Xcelerator, Ghostrider, and even Silver Bullet provide more of a "big boy" ride experience than Knott's newest feature. But it is very fun, largely smooth, and certainly with its share of intimidating moments (going up the vertical lift and pausing before dropping are the two big ones). The seat belts are a little finnicky, which might impede the ride capacity a little bit as riders struggle to unbuckle themselves after the ride. But that's really about the only complain I can make. It's just a really solid, very enjoyable experience, with plenty of hangtime (often inverted) and a pop of air at the drop and double down right before the last two loops.
HangTime is open now, so make sure you stop by when you visit Knott's. Lines are sure to be long initially, so arrive early or bring patience. But bring an appetite for thrills, because HangTime will most certainly satisfy that!
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