The year 2000 was marked by the repeated ascent in new roller coaster heights. In an interesting and unparalleled turn of events, four different roller coasters held the title for world's tallest roller coaster. Among them was Millennium Force, the first roller coaster ever to break the 300-foot barrier. Debuting a few months after Goliath, at Six Flags Magic Mountain, had broken the record, Millennium Force took roller coasters to brand new heights, fittingly making its history at Cedar Point, home to Magnum XL-200, the first roller coaster to have broken the 200-foot mark over a decade before. Though Japan's Nagashima Spaland seized the crown away a few months later with Steel Dragon 2000, Millennium Force remains a thrilling attraction.
Passengers board the Force inside a rather simple station (in terms of architectural design). With techno music blaring and laser lights blazing, passengers are assigned a seat on one of the nine cars per train. Thrill seekers might not like the idea of not being to select where they sit, but on a roller coaster behemoth such as this, it really doesn't matter. EVERY seat offers an incredible experience.
Simple lap bars will be the only devices to keep riders from flying out of the train. The back seats of each car are raised slightly higher than the front seats, heightening the sense of peril and improving the view. As soon as the ride attendants check the safety restraints and give the OK, the train starts with a light jolt, quickly exiting the station and immediately beginning its quick 45-degree climb up Millennium Force's massive lift hill.
Unlike the traditional roller coaster, which features a chain lift hill that clickety-clacks, the Force utilizes a brand-new elevator lift system. Essentially, a pulley attaches to the bottom of the train and a long cable swiftly pulls the train up the hill, making for a very smooth and silent ascent. Guests will only have a little over twenty seconds to enjoy the view around the peninsula before they reach the top. Perched atop the tallest continuous-circuit roller coaster in America, with the icy Lake Erie winds briskly blowing by, the train wastes no time in plunging down its massive, 300-foot, 85-degree first drop.
This first plummet sucks riders' stomachs up to their throats. An unimaginable, mind-breaking dive takes riders hurtling towards the ground, leveling out just in the nick of time. Hitting the huge speed of 93 miles per hour, the train quickly rises up into the coaster's first turnaround, a huge overbanked curve. Soaring past 90-degrees to the horizontal, high off the ground, riders scream with the giddiness of having survived the incredible first drop as they rip through the course.
Ducking under the first of two tunnels, the train makes a hard but smooth left, rocketing up a 169 foot second hill, lifting riders well up off their seats. Only the nicely padded lap bars prevent passengers from taking flight. Yanked back down, riders make a sudden slant to the left before gliding through a nice rising curve. Dropping back down, the Force takes riders for a quick change of direction, lunging to the left before flaming through the second overbanked turn. With plenty of speed left, the train ducks under its own track before hopping up over the third hill, a 182-foot beast that provides some very nice floaters. Back down through the second tunnel, the train makes a left before hitting the final hill, a short bunny hop that slams riders up against the safety restraints. Turning a bit to the left, the train zooms through its final element--the third overbanked hill--before easing into the magnetic brakes, which smoothly bring the train to a gentle stop.
Riders share a certain sense of accomplishment as they roll back into the station. They have conquered a true American giant. Truly, Millennium Force is an amazing, one-of-a-kind thrill ride.
May 13, 2000
2 minutes 45 seconds
- world's tallest coaster when
- elevated seats on trains
- 45-degree elevator cable
- 85-degree first drop
- 3 overbanked turns
- magnetic braking
- PHOTOS -
Photos courtesy of Westcoaster.
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