Believe it or not, California Screamin', located in Disney's California Adventure, is one of the top ten longest steel roller coasters in the world. Located in the Paradise Pier area of one of Disney's newest theme parks, this Intamin-made steel looping coaster combines speed, thrills, and a great soundtrack to make for a unique and incredible experience.
Guests waiting in line can usually be on the ride before thirty minutes early in the morning, and even during peak times, the wait rarely strays over an hour long. The entire circuit can run up to five trains at a time--an incredible feat made possible by the dual loading stations. Trains arriving back at the station can either go to the right or to the left.
Once passengers hop into the trains, they need only to pull the over-the-shoulder harnesses over their bodies. After the ride operators check the equipment and give the go ahead, the train departs from the station as a happy, carefree carnival melody blasts from the train's speakers. Turning to the left, going under a bridge, the train gradually slows to a stop before the linear induction motors (LIM) launch way. To match the motion of the train, the music also slows, and as the train comes to a complete stops, the music seems to shuffle back and forth, waiting for the next move and hinting at the extreme excitement to come. Slowly building up, hints of electric guitar creep into the tune until suddenly, the LIM's blast the coaster train from zero to 55 miles an hour! LIM's basically work by using magnetic force to propel the trains forward by repelling the steel fins located underneath each car. Used in many coaster nowadays, this technology is a great way to get a long, heavy train moving very fast in a very short amount of time.
As the train zooms up the first hill, the rocking music kicks in full blast screaming away in conjunction with the incredible ride. At the top of the first hill, riders in the back can feel a hint of sweet, sensational airtime. Then, the train pulls the passengers down, tugging the stomachs of those in back up near their lungs. Gradually turning to the right, the coaster flies over another hill before hitting a turnaround, whipping by DCA's S&S space shot ride, Maliboomer. From far away, California Screamin' may appear to be a wooden roller coaster. This is because the STEEL supports are networked in such away that they appear to be wooden supports. Instead of simple steel beams stretching from the track to the ground, the supports are criss-crossed and zig-zagged by each other. The train makes the turnaround and then dives back under the support structure before leaping over a bunny hop and flying up a lift hill.
In the few seconds it takes to go up the lift hill, which is actually controlled by quiet linear induction motors instead of a mechanical lift chain, riders may notice the interesting "tubing" that envelopes some of the hills. They are almost like tunnels, except the side facing the park has had "windows" cut into it, leaving boxes of space. The side facing the neighboring Anaheim neighborhoods, however, is not cut. This is to deflect any noise and screams back into the park. Such a measure allows Disney's California Adventure to be in compliance with local noise ordinates, which prohibit loud noise (screams of excitement and/or terror from roller coasters included) at night.
In the time the train has been creeping up the lift hill, the music has transitioned from the high-energy electric rock to a slow build up mixed with some carnival tunes. The coaster's soundtrack itself is a mix of high-adrenaline electric rock and traditional carnival melody. Upon cresting, though, the guitars kick in again, revving up to follow the train as it drops down to the left and up another turnaround.
After passing some emergency brakes, the train heads into the only inversion found on any ride in the Disneyland Resort (which includes DCA, a Downtown Disney shopping area, a few hotels and Disneyland): a vertical loop set in front of a large Mickey Mouse head silhouette sculpture. This tight inversion actually pulls quite a few G's, and those sitting in the back, can definitely feel the forces. A few more bunny hops ensue before the train makes a final turnaround by Maliboomer. After another set of trim brakes that usually don't do anything, rider receive a chance for some nice airtime as the train trots over some bunny hops located on top of the carnival games located in Paradise Pier. Diving under some more supports, the train makes a final 360 degree helix, turning to the left, passing the on-ride photo camera, before hitting the final sets of brakes and turning back into the station. This has been over two minutes of pure fun and adventure!
On-ride photos can be purchased near the exit of the ride. Guests at Disney's California Adventure will probably want to ride again, since the park itself usually sees light crowds. Furthermore, there isn't exactly an overabundance of attractions to experience, so popular rides can be repeated without fear of missing out on another attraction. For thrill seekers, it is safe to say that California Screamin' is the best ride in the park, but even the more grounded folk should enjoy a wonderful ride by the engineers at the Swiss roller coaster firm of Intamin.
Disney's California Adventure
February 21, 2001
LIM-launched sit-down looper
2 minutes 20 seconds
- 0 to 55 LIM launch
- LIM lift hill
- single vertical loop
- On-ride speakers with music
- Special half-tubing to curb
noise and comply with local
- PHOTOS -
Photos courtesy of America Coasters Network.
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