ThrillRide is now on Twitter







97 degrees is feverishly badass.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Note: This Ride Review is a companion piece to the Hersheypark 2011 trip report.

Straight up: this is one kickin' little ride. Okay, "little" isn't really fair; there's plenty of "big" about Fahrenheit. A vertical lift 121 feet tall? An "Inverted" or "Norwegian" loop 107 feet tall? A 97-degree drop? Those are pretty big numbers.

But with its three-car train and relatively compact footprint, Fahrenheit looks to me like a traveling carnival coaster pumped full of black-market growth hormone. Which is not to say that it looks bad - on the contrary, it's luscious, a come-hither tangle of complimentary orange and blue track and supports. (Click to enlarge the image above.)

I must admit to a preconception about vertical lift coasters - they seemed a bit gimmicky to me. Like, do we really need a multi-million dollar version of a Chance "Toboggan?" Gerstlauer Eurofighters cut a nice profile, but does the element add much to the experience? I still haven't sampled a Eurofighter yet (need one on the West Coast, Six Flags! or Knott's Berry Farm!), but Fahrenheit has made me a believer; vertical lifts are pretty cool. And in Fahrenheit's case, most everything that follows is way cooler.

(Hey, Marco and Shannon! Looking good!) As we'll be doing a truckload of head-over-heels acrobatics for the next minute and a half, OTS restraints are a must. I'd definitely prefer the soft-pad harnesses that Intimidator 305 now rocks, but these standard hard-molded body clamps are just fine here. I didn't once experience any cranial discomfort.

The stubby train rolls out of the station into a hard right and we're primed to start climbing. A pair of tires pushes us forward and the heavy lifting begins.

(Love the dual, side-by-side chains. Very aggro.) And up we go, laying back, just blue skies ahead. With all your weight sinking deep into the car, the change in altitude feels that much more dramatic. We're only rising 121 feet, but when you can't see anything but sun and track off the bow...

The top of the tower disappears behind the nose of the lead car and as we curl over the tight-radius pinnacle, the horizon rises back up... and keeps rising. And then things heat up damn fast.

From straight up to beyond straight down takes merely a couple of seconds. And that big sinewy plunge is over in a heartbeat.

Does the additional 7 degrees make a huge difference, compared to a purely vertical drop? Not to my mind. But there is an extra jolt of intensity, as if gravity were pulling a wee bit harder. Subtle, yet definitely appreciated.

The fun really revs up as we soar right back up to whip through America's first "Norwegian Loop," so named because this element had its debut as part of Norway's Speed Monster coaster at TusenFryd park. (BTW, "Speed Monster?" Freakin' sweet name for a coaster. Or a Muppet character. Seriously, Jim Henson Company, get to work on this.)

Starts off like a regular hill, but as we near the top, the rails dip a bit to the right and then torque to the left, until we're just about completely inverted, charging down the far side of this messed-up curlicue. (It's such a small detail, but that slight feint in the opposite direction before we plummet is what separates a great coaster from a good one. Fluid brilliance.)

We hit the hard deck and then rocket back up until we're nearly butts to the heavens again, only to twist wildly and regain vertical normalcy at the apex once more.

Verdict? The Weeg rules.

More sublime awesomeness from our friends at Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH.

Coming off the top of the Weeg, we burn through a delightful Cobra Roll, adding two more inversions to the total (that's four, so far). Cobra Rolls are fairly commonplace these days, but still so beautiful to look at and ride through.

Dashing away from the Cobra Roll, we toss through one corkscrew - Wheeee! -

...And another - Wheeee! - lickety-split, and spin around a 180-degree turn.

And then, there it is, tucked away in the middle of this chaos, an inconspicuous hill that sneaks up and gives us a nice, big, negative-G wallop. Did NOT see that coming. It may be the only real airtime on this bad boy, but what a way to bring things to a close. Nicely done!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

First Storm Runner, then Fahrenheit... and then, something else for 2012. Something called "SkyRush?" That may be Hershey's first hypercoaster? Intamin's batting .1000 at this joint and I'd wager that next summer is going to be a very good one in Pennsylvania...

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


  • TRACK LENGTH: 2,700 feet
  • TOP SPEED: 58 Miles Per Hour
  • MAX. HEIGHT: 121 feet
  • MAX. DESCENT ANGLE: 97 Degrees
  • RIDE DURATION: 1:25 minutes
  • CARS: Three trains with three cars per train.




© Robert Coker.
All Rights Reserved
home   random notes   ride reviews   special features   photo shoppe   privacy policy