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Have you ever had a changing ride on a coaster you’ve ridden before?

Matt N

Well-Known Member
Hi guys. This hobby can be full of surprises when riding coasters; you can quite often find that when riding a brand new coaster for the first time, it delivers in ways you didn’t expect, and really surprises you.

But I find that some of the most surprising rides of all can sometimes come from rides you’ve ridden before! So my question to you today is; have you ever had a ride on a coaster you’ve ridden before that really altered your opinion on it? Is there a ride that disappointed you the first time around, but impressed you far more upon a reride? Or is there a coaster that you thought you’d grown really familiar with, but it surprised you in ways you never knew it could?

I’ll get the ball rolling with mine.

The first of mine is Stealth. Now, Stealth is not a ride that I’m unfamiliar with by any means; I first rode it in 2014, and have ridden it many more times over the years. It actually had a brief stint as my number 1 coaster when I had a thing for launches early in my coaster enthusiasm (and by a brief stint, I mean a stint of literally a few hours, until I rode Swarm for the first time later in the day!), and it’s always been a ride I’ve really, really liked. However, when doing coaster rankings, it was always a ride I’d overlooked somewhat; it never seemed to make a particularly high spot, because I always used to say to myself “it’s absolutely great, but can I really rank a ride that short highly?”. However, one ride changed my opinion of Stealth completely. Fast forward to July 2020. COVID procedures mean that seats are now assigned on Stealth, and things like the front row queue are no longer used. During the seat assignment, me and my mum got lucky, and scored the front row. I’d never ridden the front row before, and I was thinking to myself “how good can it really be?”. As it turned out; extremely! As soon as those lights turned green, I felt an epic rush quite unlike anything I’ve ever felt before; it literally felt like we were being catapulted at the speed of light, and were never going to stop accelerating! You might think the ride was over after the amazing launch, but it still had one more trick up it’s sleeves; the top hat produced some absolutely superb ejector going both into and out of the element, and I was thrilled! When combined with the fact that all of this greatness happened, and a mere 10 seconds later, I was back on terra firma thinking “what on Earth happened?” made me realise that Stealth really is something quite special, even when not ridden in the front row. Front row is particularly special, however! So in conclusion, that ride on Stealth made me push it way higher up the rankings, and it made me realise; it’s not length that makes a ride, it’s what that length contains that really matters.

The second of mine is Wicker Man. Wicker Man is a really interesting coaster for me in that despite having followed the construction intensely for the entire 2 years, from the first teasers being posted through to the ride opening, it still managed to surprise me hugely when I first rode it. During the construction, I thought it looked like a good, solid family coaster, but nothing that was going to make my top 10, and nothing that would remotely challenge Megafobia at Oakwood for the title of my favourite wooden rollercoaster. I was cautiously optimistic compared to most, but I still wasn’t expecting a serious player on the thrill front. However, on opening weekend in March 2018, I’ll absolutely admit I was caught off guard by Wicker Man, as it was far more thrilling and fun than I’d previously anticipated. It gradually grew on me throughout 2018 to narrowly smoke out Megafobia for the title of my favourite wooden rollercoaster, and sit solidly among my favourite rides at Alton Towers; an outcome I certainly wasn’t expecting at the start of 2018! However, I still had a couple of bugbears with Wicker Man that remained from opening weekend; I felt that the ride lacked airtime in comparison to other wooden coasters I’d ridden, and I also felt that while it was very fun, it still wasn’t quite intense enough to be a true favourite of mine. Fast forward to July 2020; I was unable to get any rides on Wicker Man in 2019, so I hadn’t ridden since September 2018. By this point, I’d had 3 rides on Wicker Man since it opened in 2018, and I thought that it had offered all the surprises it was going to offer by that point, so I was expecting something broadly in line with what I’d experienced in 2018. I was actually quite nervous; was my positive opinion of Wicker Man in 2018 based off of a genuine like of the ride, or was it just the novelty talking? Would I like it as much now that the surprise factor and newness from 2018 had worn off? Well, it would appear that I was caught off guard by Wicker Man once again; quite strongly, in fact! The improvement in ride quality compared to 2018 was profound, and it was a pretty great ride to begin with; a ride that I felt lacked airtime in 2018 had become an absolute airtime machine by 2020, with absolutely tons of brilliantly abrupt ejector pops around every corner, and even though the ride was well-paced and snappy in 2018, it just felt completely relentless and unstoppable in 2020; from the second we left that lift hill, it was just one of the most relentlessly fun roller coasters I’ve ever been on, packing obscene pace, top-quality airtime and transitions, and just the right balance of intensity, fun factor and rerideability! Another ride later in the day backed up my opinions, and after that day, the ride blazed straight into my top 3, mounted serious competition for the title of my favourite UK coaster (it didn’t quite win, as Icon still holds the crown for me, but it certainly gave Icon a tough fight!), and triumphantly reclaimed the title of my favourite wooden rollercoaster from Mine Blower at Fun Spot Kissimmee. I guess Wicker Man just proves; even when you think a ride has given all that it can give, it might still have more up its sleeves! Maybe it has yet more surprises in store for me on future rides?

But have you ever had a changing ride (or rides) on a coaster you’ve ridden before?
 
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Hixee

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The only one that truly moved a lot for me (that I can recall) was Hulk.

I first rode Hulk in 2006 and at the time I really enjoyed it. Rode it again in 2019 (post retrack too) and it was turd. It's rough, has slightly weird pacing, rattles weirdly, has some pumping in some of the corners - it's just all round a bit pants.

Admittedly - I've changed a lot over the 13 years. In 2006 Hulk was my 25th cred and in 2019 the retracked version was my 657th, so maybe I was just young and naive at the time, or perhaps it's just aging poorly, or perhaps I've grown to be more harsh on coasters, or perhaps something else.

Either way, it really wasn't that great. :p
 

Youngster Joey

Well-Known Member
Voyage during the day and then Voyage at night. The latter is LEAGUES better than the former. My first experience with voyage was not great. It was rough and I mean rough. That said I could see the why it was beloved. Flash forward a few hours and the sun going down during a new moon and what an incredible difference it made. Don't get me wrong it was still rough, but just the sheer wildness of that ride was one that I'll never forget.
 
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Matt N

Well-Known Member
The only one that truly moved a lot for me (that I can recall) was Hulk.

I first rode Hulk in 2006 and at the time I really enjoyed it. Rode it again in 2019 (post retrack too) and it was turd. It's rough, has slightly weird pacing, rattles weirdly, has some pumping in some of the corners - it's just all round a bit pants.

Admittedly - I've changed a lot over the 13 years. In 2006 Hulk was my 25th cred and in 2019 the retracked version was my 657th, so maybe I was just young and naive at the time, or perhaps it's just aging poorly, or perhaps I've grown to be more harsh on coasters, or perhaps something else.

Either way, it really wasn't that great. :p
If we’re going the opposite way (liked on the first ride, didn’t on the second), then I could also nominate Speed at Oakwood. On the first ride in 2016, I absolutely loved it; it wasn’t far behind Megafobia within the park for me, possibly even on par.

Fast forward to a revisit to Oakwood in May 2019, and it just didn’t deliver in the way I’d remembered, unfortunately. The ride seemed far rougher, and while the airtime hill was still amazing and the forces were decent, it just didn’t do it for me in the way that it had done 3 years prior.
 

Howie

Active Member
An interesting question and one that I really had to think about. Almost gave up to be honest but then I thought of something. Hooray!
It's an old one, and it happened very gradually over a couple of decades, but here goes: Corkscrew, Alton Towers. Think it was about 1984 when I first rode it. Of course, back then it was the height of technology and it was scary as hell, but everybody knows that it gradually got rougher and more cumbersome over the years, no biggie, coasters do that, right?
Then one day, about 2008, I think, I rode the Corkscrew at Flamingoland and wow, what a difference. Compared to the one back at Alton, smooth as glass I tell ya. I quite literally had a mid ride flashback to my early rides at Alton - 'Oh my God, this what The Corkscrew used to feel like!'
A final lap on the Alton one before it closed only served to remind me how crap it had become.
That's the best I could come up with for this topic. Soz. 😐
 
The Grand National stands out to me, but it might be my age (and its age tbh). When I was younger I remember finding the racing element so exciting and I loved reriding it, was easily my favourite coaster at BPB - when I returned as an adult I absolutely couldn't stand it. It's so rough, the course layout isn't very interesting and it does nothing other coasters don't do better.

For one that's gone the other way, probably Space Mountain at WDW. I think the first time I went on it my expectations were too high and I was let down by an aged little indoor coaster. Going back with lower expectations I had an absolute blast on it, it's so much fun and it's easy to get wrapped up in the kitsch sci-fi theming. Loved it.
 

CrashCoaster

Well-Known Member
One that comes to mind for me is Furius Baco. When I first rode it (probably around 2010? Pretty much whenever I reached the height requirement), I liked it. When I rode it in 2015 I ****ing hated the rough bastard. Then in 2019 I rode it again and I like it once more, I just make sure to ride it in the right inner seats. So I guess that's about as changing as you can get.

Honourable mention to Wicker Man also. Was blown away by it the first time I rode it (that doesn't happen to me very often) but honestly, I think it's kind of overrated these days, even if it does still make my top 10.
 
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JJLehto

Active Member
Hmmmmm...... interesting
Had to really think, Im trying to exclude ones that just dont hold up as newer better rides come out/Ive gained more experience.

Well my first ride on Boulder Dash, in 2013, I really enjoyed. Was a tad let down bc I expected like #1 contender caliber but still very fun, top 5 woodie prob top 25 overall. And note that was a cloudy fairly cool day. Went last year, hot sunny August day. Thought it kinda sucked. Was much slower/sluggish than last time, much less air, less wild. Really was quite lackluster and ya know should be nice and fast on a day like that. Perhaps it runs hot/cold and I caught an off day but was my experience. Pretty meh.

The other way is even tougher. Only I got is Fahrenheit at Hershey. I used to find it very meh. Forceless, kinda slow, just drifting through its elements but yeah no feel to it. Few years ago line was short so I figured eh why not. Ended up doing 3 in a row. Not a great ride, BUT I quite enjoyed it. Had a little more oomph to it. I know meh to solid is not a huge story but best I can think of lol
 

Heth

Member
Journey to Atlantis at SWO is probably the biggest one for me. I adored this ride during my 2009 Florida trip, but by 2014 it was not good. The music was switched off the whole ride, as were the effects. Those little things going really altered my view of the whole ride in a negative way.

A positive one from me is Nemesis Inferno. I never disliked it, and it was actually my first coaster with inversions in 2004. In 2012 I rode Alton's Nemesis and loved it, and I think that kind of put me in this mindset that Nemesis Inferno was somehow that much more inferior to the original. I didn't visit Thorpe for mamy years after riding Nemesis in 2012, and in my head I retained this perception (fueled partially by forums and other enthusiasts) that Inferno was that much worse than Nemesis.

I began visiting Thorpe yearly from 2016, and my view has completely changed. Inferno gets a bad reputation for being a bit of a "colour by numbers" B&M invert, but riding it more regularly made me realise that actually it is still a fantastic coaster in it's own right. In 2018 I had my first time of visiting both Alton and Thorpe in the same year. On reflection I really don't think that the difference in quality is that big! I'd even argue I have some rides on Inferno I prefer to Nemesis, as it is noticeably smoother!
 
Hyperion. The first time I rode it, I just happened to drive past Energylandia and arrived about 20 minutes before park closing. I immediately ran up to Hyperion, ran through the stupidly long line (that was a serious workout), then jumped on a backrow seat because most hypers I have ridden are backrow rides. I was so hyper to finally be able to ride Hyperion after following the construction. The backrow was very underwhelming and rough and I had a pretty bad ride. EL always close their rides a couple of minutes before they close the park so I didn't have time for a reride. I left the park that night feeling incredibly underwhelmed.

I came back to Energylandia a couple of months later and rode Hyperion again and after a front row middle seat ride I was amazed. The ride is truly incredible but getting the right seat is so important. Anything towards the back is pretty bad, middle is ok, the side seats are also just ok but the front row middle seats are absolutely incredible.
 

sonhan

New Member
Hyperion. The first time I rode it, I just happened to drive past Energylandia and arrived about 20 minutes before park closing. I immediately ran up to Hyperion, ran through the stupidly long line (that was a serious workout), then jumped on a backrow seat because most hypers I have ridden are backrow rides. I was so hyper to finally be able to ride Hyperion after following the construction. The backrow was very underwhelming and rough and I had a pretty bad ride. EL always close their rides a couple of minutes before they close the park so I didn't have time for a reride. I left the park that night feeling incredibly underwhelmed.

I came back to Energylandia a couple of months later and rode Hyperion again and after a front row middle seat ride I was amazed. The ride is truly incredible but getting the right seat is so important. Anything towards the back is pretty bad, middle is ok, the side seats are also just ok but the front row middle seats are absolutely incredible.
I think Hyperion is a very moody ride, been there 3 and half days this summer, the weekend the ride was butter smooth at every seat after Monday it was awfully rattling. Maybe they switched wheels and equipped the ride with the new ones for the busy days as Monday and Tuesday park was quite empty?

In my case goliath at WH used to pleased me a lot but one day I had the most insane airtime moment I ever felt on a ride. I was so shocked i couldn't believe it, i rode it again many times after that day but it wasn't kicking as much. Weird uh?
 

Inthi

New Member
it’s not length that makes a ride, it’s what that length contains that really matters
obligatory ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

Keeping to this thread though, my first time on Stealth front row is something else. You don't realise how different it is compared to even the 2nd row when you can see the heat of the launch track shimmering in front of you and, during the launch, the wind in your face.
 

Tonkso

Member
Taron at the front and Nemesis at night just further reinforced how great those rides are in my opinion, rather than changed per say.

My second time at Phantasialand did something for me though. On my first visit I didn't really rate Black Mamba, but my second visit I think it was just running faster or something because it was like a whole different ride.
 

Fleetwood_Mack

New Member
I once had a very surprising ride on Dragons Fury during a heatwave. It was running so fast that the camera was missing the trains going by. That thing is INTENSE on a really hot day. Ridden it probably hundreds of times before that since it opened and never was I ever thrown around to that extent. I loved it. Absolutely violent but in a good way. It was an off-peak day also so the park was dead and we got tons of rides in!

Nemesis: Inferno is also surprisingly intense in the heat. My last visit was summer '15 and I remember experiencing a light-headed-ness sat on the brake run that in over a decade of riding the thing I'd never felt before! To that extent anyway. I always thought it was a slightly underrated coaster tbh. For its size it really does pack a punch.
 

Hyde

I Lied About My Age!
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At the time Steel Vengeance opened, I recall so many folks really requiring a number of laps to soak in the layout and appreciate all the forces, dives, and turns packed in. Those first three rides on Steel Vengeance were pretty fun for that moment of "studying" the ride.

In that spirit, Now a few years later, I've had chance to ride Steel Vengeance across a lot of weather types - it is fascinating how different a ride it gives in cold vs. hot weather. Definitely one of the more temperamental coasters out there, as you have a noticeable difference in speed and forces.

There are a number of coasters that have slid down in rankings over the years, especially those which I would have ridden earlier on in life, and reriding realize my perception has changed. The one that stands out more for me is probably Ravine Flyer II - it is a great ride still, but doesn't have the same wow factor as when I first rode.

For those coasters with a positive upswing, Silver Bullet was quite impressive when I had the chance to get back on it in 2019 (first time riding would have been 2005); it may have been that I purposely rode in the backseat, but gave such a better ride than I recall!
 
I think Hyperion is a very moody ride, been there 3 and half days this summer, the weekend the ride was butter smooth at every seat after Monday it was awfully rattling. Maybe they switched wheels and equipped the ride with the new ones for the busy days as Monday and Tuesday park was quite empty?

It is really moody. Have also had ok smooth rides in the back but somehow it is just always underwhelming, even if it doesn't rattle you. Though, I have never had a bad ride in the front and the front has some serious airtime. Another pretty similar Intamin is Flying Aces and I have never had a bad ride in any seat. Something must have gone wrong with Hyperion. Wonder what? Some people have been talking about bad workers and cheap steel but no other EL coaster is that moody, neither is any intamin I have ridden.
 
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Probably Nemesis.
I never hated it but thought it was a bit underwhelming. Not until I rode Inferno and (what I think is a superior B&M invert) Black Mamba I really started to appreciate all three and like them all. Wish BPB had the money to replace the SLC with a B&M invert (or dive coaster).
I was shocked when I found out a few years ago that Fantasy Island paid £28 million for an SLC when that would have paid for a B&M invert at the time.

My opinion now is that every park should have one.
 

MestnyiGeroi

Active Member
On my very first ride on El Toro, I was stapled more badly than at any other time ever on anything. I didn’t enjoy the ride in the slightest because every ounce of my strength and concentration was devoted to bracing myself and holding the restraint to avoid — not discomfort, not pain — but to avoid what seemed like imminent *injury*.

That turned out to be my only ride that day.

A year later I was able to return to the park on an ACE day and marathon Toro for over an hour. It was one of the two most enjoyable experiences I have ever had on a coaster, and Toro is probably my number one now.
 
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