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Millennium Force: A Lonely Giant?

Pokemaniac

Mountain monkey
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Bored, so I decided to make a new topic, copying most of another topic of mine.

Cedar Point was the first park to get a coaster more than 300 feet tall. Intamin showed the world that it was possible to make an even bigger coaster than the previous record, that it could fit in a park without ruining the look of it. The Intamin Giga Coaster was born.
Later that year, a Japanese park built what still is the largest coaster in excistence: The Steel Dragon 2000.

However, both these coasters were built to celebrate the new millennium, and new technology was dawning over the coaster world. LIM/LSM launched coasters made it possible to rocket a coaster to speeds you previously only could achieve by building tall. Alton Towers' Rita, for instance, was just over 20 meters tall, but outran the likes of ThunderCoaster and Godurix, both of which are more than 36 meters at their tallest.
When Furius Baco grabbed the European speed record, shattering the one of the 73 meters tall SilverStar* without ever going further off the ground than 46 feet, it was proven that you no longer needed great height to get great speed.

In addition, most parks that could afford one (or get the planning permission) already had a hyper when the gigacoasters were introduced. Despite their majestic look, the gigacoasters became unnessecary. If a park now wanted a tall coaster, they could get one that was launched up a tophat, then going back without concern for what the GP would say. The acceleration was everything the coaster needed to get success. And, it was cheaper.

Also, Millennium Force didn't get too good reviews among the enthusiasts. It was big and tall, but to be visually pleasing, it couldn't have a bunch of the much-loved ejector hills. To avoid the ride getting too long and forceful, they had to put the focus on speed, and instead have speed sections and tunnels that didn't send the passengers' lunch out either way when riding. Thus sacrificing some of the elements that made up a good coaster.

The combination of all these facts make me ask you:
Do you think we will see more traditional coasters over 300 feet?
Discuss.

*Yes, I knew about Stealth having the record when Baco came along, but it wasn't that good to compare it to. Don't get angry with me, I'm starting a discussion!
 

SFMMMan

Member
I wouldn't bet on it. With all the new LIM/LSM and Hydraulic launches these days, that's what most parks what.

I don't really know what else to say, so I'm sure someone else can add to my post.
 

trav

Member
No. We won't. To put it bluntly.

The tallest coasters we will see from now on in my opinion are the B&Ms that are still being built.

For a start off, Intamin, who made Millenium Force, make smaller coasters that do follow the "traditional coaster". Just look at Piraten and Kawasami, they're both reasonably small, but look like they will be/are brilliant coasters.

Also, why would parks want to take up such a large footprint with this, when they can just as easily get the speed and height from an accelerator? Most probably, they can get bigger and more speed from the accelerator than they could from a "traditional coaster".

And like I've already said, they can get the airtime coaster from things like the B&Ms or smaller Intamins which wouldn't cost as much.
 

Hixee

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I would like to see more of these 300+ft coasters.

Even though the same speeds can be achieved by launch coasters I still think the size and overwhelming feel of a huge coaster is lost.

I think there will be one if the park is willing to have one. They are massive, and most parks couldn't fit one in.
 

Snoo

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Doubt it. I can think of 1 reason, more then anything else you described, to as why you won't see one soon.


Cost.


Millennium Force was expensive.. VERY expensive. You won't see one unless a park is willing to pony up the dough. Unless your a amusement park superpower like Cedar Point, the likely hood of you building over 250ft is slim enough already. It just isn't economically feasible.
 

LiveForTheLaunch

Well-Known Member
Also, Millennium Force didn't get too good reviews among the enthusiasts.
Yes it did! Are you kidding me? Why do you think it ranks so highly in Mitch Hawker's poll still? Because enthusiasts once rated it really highly, and can't really let go of the "love" they once had for it if that makes any sense.

Enthusiasts are now getting their heads around the fact that there's not much to it but the drop, but even so, it's still rated higher than what it should be.

To answer your question, I'm sure we'll see some of these a long way down the road, but I'm talking many, many years. They take up WAY too much space, and cost far too much. We'll be seeing more coasters along the "smaller can be better" lines.
 

madhjsp

Active Member
I'm like Hixee in that I would like to see another gigacoaster built, because you see, I actually LOVE Millennium Force. To me, there's more to it than the first drop. One thing it has is sustained speed. Due to its height and the lack of mid-course brakes, that thing just flies around the track from the instant it leaves the lift cable. Another thing is the sensation of flight...riding in front row with my hands out in front of me, I feel like Superman or something when I soar around the overbanked curves (which are awesome, without question). Obviously, this effect is amplified by the sustained speed.
One last thing that it delivers is a good sense of height. When you ride Top Thrill, you are up at 420 ft for such a short period of time you can't appreciate it. Millennium Force takes you way up, way down, then up and down again a few more times, enough for you to appreciate how high up you are. I guess this really happens mostly on the lift, though. Personally, I think height is very thrilling. It's the scariest thing about roller coasters, anyway.

Accelerators deliver on speed and height, but for such a short amount of time. The only aspect over which they reign absolutely supreme is the initial acceleration, the g-forces that stretch out your insides. But if I had to take one ride on either Top Thrill or Millennium Force, I'll take the Force any day. It's a much more complete ride, IMO.

Alas, I know another giga probably won't happen as long as we have innovative rides like Maverick that provide all the thrills of a huge coaster for a fraction of the footprint and cost.


Oh, and the other thing about these massive coasters, accelerators included, is that NONE of them are cheap. Anyone that thinks that building a ride as huge as Ka or TTD costs less than MF is naive. Dick Kinzel said that TTD was his worst business decision ever. That has to be because, although TTD and MF cost about the same, give or take 1 or 2 million, to build, TTD is ultimately much more costly because it is a maintenance nightmare by comparison, it has a much lower capacity, and it can't operate in the same weather conditions that MF can.

That said, I doubt very much if we'll even see a ride taller than Ka at any point in the near future, or even for a much longer length of time than that.
 

valleyfair!

Active Member
SnooSnoo said:
Doubt it. I can think of 1 reason, more then anything else you described, to as why you won't see one soon.


Cost.


Millennium Force was expensive.. VERY expensive. You won't see one unless a park is willing to pony up the dough. Unless your a amusement park superpower like Cedar Point, the likely hood of you building over 250ft is slim enough already. It just isn't economically feasible.
Exactly what I thought right when I saw his question. There is no way most parks could go out and build 300ft coasters with the money most parks are bringing in. I'm sure parks would love it though and would make space for one but just couldn't afford it. Plus location can play a big role in size of a ride as well, use Valleyfair for example. They have a airport nearby and nothing can be over 250ft roughly.
 
First of all, if you don't like a ride as much as the majority, shouldn't you be making those comments on the "Most overrated / overappreciated coasters" forum ?
Ok, on to the point. As far as I know (from rcdb.com) there are only two "traditional" coasters over 300 feet tall. Both are eight years old. Doesn't that answer your question. The reason behind this seems to be the size of land involved. I don't think money has that much to do with it because Maverick, MF, and TTD all cost about the same. I'm sure that Behemoth, Fahrenheit, and Maximum RPM will not be cheap either. Everest even cost more. The only other factor I see in this could be maintance. There are many other rides that have been more of a headache for their park than MF. But for Steel Dragon 2000, the nightmares don't get much worse than that. It was even sbno between '03 and '06.
I would love to see more 300ft. "traditional" giants but I don't think we will. They take up too much space. :(
 

Snoo

The Legend
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Rock said:
I don't think money has that much to do with it because Maverick, MF, and TTD all cost about the same.
All built at the same park, which happens to be one of the most popular traditional amusement parks in the world.. not exactly the best example.. ;)

Behemoth cost 20 million.. in Canadian, but its at a park which gets nearly the same attendance as Cedar Point.. the investment was due. I'm pretty sure Fahrenheit and Max RPM aren't over $15 Million.

Lets not even touch Disney, as 1) They aren't into huge rides such as MF, and 2) The money supply they have is from another world.. no regular amusement park is even close.

Other then that, aside from a few bigger B&M's and experimental rides, you typically don't see coasters over $15 Million USD built anymore. All of the major parks which have the ability to get one of these mega giant expensive coasters have done so.. so investing in another.. as essentially the Coaster Wars are over.. would be a mistake, as you see with Cedar Point's investment into Maverick.

Size and speed are really a thing of the past in the Amusement Industry IMO.. which is evident in the recent investments within the industry. If you see anything over 275ft or $20 Million in the next 10 years, I'd be incredibly surprised.
 

trav

Member
SnooSnoo said:
Other then that, aside from a few bigger B&M's and experimental rides, you typically don't see coasters over $15 Million USD built anymore. All of the major parks which have the ability to get one of these mega giant expensive coasters have done so.. so investing in another.. as essentially the Coaster Wars are over.. would be a mistake, as you see with Cedar Point's investment into Maverick.
Um...Maverick cost $21.000.000, only $4.000.000 less than MF, which, when you consider what MF does, I'd say that MF is quite a bargain. Also, both TTD and KK cost at least $25.000.000, which is the same as MF. Again, when you consider how much more track and steel MF has, it's quite a bargain in my opinion.

Stealth, at Thorpe Park, the 205ft KK. That cost £12,000,000 to plan and construct, which is roughly around $24.000.000. Yes, I know, it costs more to get planning permissions in the UK and stuff, but what I'm trying to show there is that parks definatly have the money to spend, it's just they don't see the need to.
 

10ryansmith

New Member
I love to see a "traditional coaster" that goes over 300ft going up somewhere. I beleive that MF is a lonely giant and it takes up a lot of land. So what? X/X2 takes up a lot of land and it is highly praised, now at least. I would rather have a coaster like MF that has a long, enjoyful ride than something like TTD or Ka because of the time element. TTD has an average time of 30 SECONDS, with Ka not to different. I would rather wait in a 4 hour line for MF than TTD because you wait for that long for a 30 second ride. You waste your time. I really only ride TTD if the line is really only 45 - 1 hour long because of what I said earlier. Also, on another point, I love the cable lift system because it gives you the view, but on the other had, it's not a lift that you say "When is this going to be over" because of the speed of the lift. With the accel coasters, there is what, maybe 5 -6 seconds to see the view. I beleive that MF is a great coaster because of the length, the speed, the air time, and the height. The only things that are going for TTD is the speed and height.

On another not, I would love to see a conination of the two coasters (Strata and Giga). I KNOW that this is a few years away or that his is far fetched, but I think that this would be a great coaster. The launch of TTD and the length/air time on MF would be the best coaster in the world, for me.

I also know that the cost would be astrenomical, but be honest. MF had the usual opening problemed year that Cedar Point has, of late, with coasters, but the point is that MF was up in a year and is running great as opposed to TTD that took 3 years to iron out the problems. I think that what happened to Ka is more than likely going to happen to TTD sooner or later.

To me, MF paid for itself in the first couple of years as TTD has slowly paid for itself over these last years. TTD was closed for several problems in the openning years, as opposed to the succes of MF the second year that it was running.
 

Pokemaniac

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Yes, the reliability of the Gigas are a chapter of its own. You only need one bell of a motor to pull the cable, and a number of sturdy brakes, the rest is steel.
Also, the looks of the coaster has some affection of most people's opinions. While the towering spikes of Ka and TTD surely are impressive, nothing beats a huge lift hill followed by another hill. Followed by a third. And a fourth. And so on. Add overbanks and turns where appropriate. Not just a launch track, a tophat and brakes (alway thought that that would be better for transport attractions, imagine a launch leading directly in to a set of brakes, turn, station, repeat. Traverse the park in 10 seconds).

But considering the fact that the GP wants speed and the neighbours want sky, most parks today would have put up a Maverick instead of a Giga. It looks for now as the Age of Records is over, and wwe are entering the Age of Quality.

Also, Intamin makes some fantastic Megas, so I really hope for more of them, even though they are smaller than gigas. For now, I can control my feelings about the Mega-Lites.
 

LiveForTheLaunch

Well-Known Member
For people who are saying "blah blah Dragster and Ka were the same amount of money as Millennium Force", they also take up a hell of a lot less space. Does anyone know if they factor land clearing cost into the overall cost for the coaster? Because I'm willing to bet that a lot of the alterations of the park and the land cost a lot for Millennium Force due to the size of it.

Behemoth cost 20 million.. in Canadian, but its at a park which gets nearly the same attendance as Cedar Point.. the investment was due. I'm pretty sure Fahrenheit and Max RPM aren't over $15 Million.
Behemoth was long overdue. Their last two additions were two small scale rides, and even so, Italian Job was built in 2005; three years ago. So yeah, they were definitely due for a large scale attraction since the biggest they have is like, a Vekoma SLC.
 

Hixee

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^I forgot the point about the skyline. Even a 200ft coaster can really make the skyline look great.

I've only seen pictures of 300ft coasters, but they certainly make the skyline stunning.
 

Hyde

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Millennium Force (and it's Superman Mega Coaster counterparts) were simply the last of a whole generation of traditional styled layouts, especially as far as Intamin coasters are concerned.

With the introduction of the Intamin Accelerator in 2003, an absolute new era of roller coasters entered the industry.

Though the concept of a launch coaster has been around ever since the mid 90s with the early likes of Space Mountain and Flight of Fear, Flywheel and Magnetic propulsion systems where hardly considered comparable to that of a standard out and back roller coaster.

The hydaulic system was the first launch system to offer a layout which stood in competition to a traditional roller coaster, not to mention a much smaller foot print and great popularity with the GP.

Millennium Force simply fell victim to new technology which many parks find a more practical solution to their new, massive roller coaster needs.

Though we have seen the return of traditional style coasters from Intamin, that being their new Mega-Lite models, they have taken a definite back seat to the Accelerator roller coaster.
 

madhjsp

Active Member
The tone that this discussion is starting to take is kind of a "traditional coasters are slowly being replaced with launched coasters." That's not what's happening.

Accelerators may be Intamin's best seller, but they certainly aren't the only things they're going to build from now on. There will always be a demand for mega/hyper type coasters, and it would just be bad business to let B&M be the only one out there building those rides.
 
A

Anonymous

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Hyde244 said:
Though we have seen the return of traditional style coasters from Intamin, that being their new Mega-Lite models, they have taken a definite back seat to the Accelerator roller coaster.
Interesting since there is 3-4 Mega-Lites that have just opened/set to open and no accelerator that I'm aware off.

Not to mention the rumors about an Intamin Giga coaster for Heide Park in the near future.

There is also some wild rumors about a new Morgan coaster that is supposed to be larger then SD2K and is supposed to be a part of a new park under construction in South America.
 

Snoo

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Also.. loefet.. did you hear of the Strata coming to BPB? Supposed to be hardcore. They have RCT3 videos and everything.. ;)
 

Error

Well-Known Member
My view on this is simply this:

Cedar Point has all the money to dish out million dollar rides that most other parks could only dream about. And, being that it's far away from Sandusky, has more space to work with then smaller parks like Knotts Berry Farm or Hersheypark.

I also wrote an article in the CF articles section (go figure) about how running an amusement park is being more and more costy, making investing in a $25 million ride worthless. Where as you could possibly get a bigger boast with something that it slightly cheaper.

So, I highly doubt we'll see anything break 250 feet any time soon.
 
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