A new roller coaster that briefly leaves riders hanging 150 feet above the ground will pack a lot of thrills into a small space when it debuts next summer at Knott’s Berry Farm.
The HangTime dive coaster coming to Knott’s will feature a vertical lift hill, a beyond-vertical first drop and five inversions.
Coaster enthusiasts have been waiting more than a decade for a major new coaster at Knott’s. HangTime looks like the answer to those thrill-ride prayers. Blueprints for the new German-made Gerstlauer Infinity coaster depict an impressive and intense twisting steel coaster built on a compact footprint in the Boardwalk area of the Buena Park theme park.
“We haven’t done any really high-thrill coasters in quite some time,” Knott’s vice president of maintenance and construction Jeff Gahagan said during an interview with The Times. “We said, ‘Let’s get something in here that has a lot of thrill.’ ”
The beach-themed ride will feature 16-seat trains with T-bar lap restraints and surfboard-style headrests. Knott’s plans to run two trains at a time with a third car held in reserve. At night, LED lights will appear to chase the HangTime train along the track.
“The whole ride structure will be lit up,” Gahagan said. “It’s actually a light show at the same time. The lighting package can be programmed different throughout the whole year.”
The new Knott’s ride is expected to be similar to the $9-million Monster coaster that opened in 2016 at Iowa’s Adventureland. The 133-foot-tall, 2,500-foot-long Monster is currently the only Gerstlauer Infinity coaster in the United States, according to Roller Coaster Database.
HangTime marks the first Gerstlauer coaster installed by Cedar Fair, which operates 11 amusement parks, including Knott’s, California’s Great America and Cedar Point. The new partnership with the ride maker is a major departure for Cedar Fair, which has a long-standing relationship with Switzerland-based Bolliger & Mabillard. Since the debut of Silver Bullet at Knott’s in 2004, Cedar Fair has made the installation of a new B&M coaster at one of its parks a near-annual event, with the new ride typically marking the chain’s largest investment of the year.
Ride enthusiasts have long lobbied for a big, new Knott’s coaster to rival the $16-million Silver Bullet, only to be disappointed year after year. Plans for a major coaster running throughout Ghost Town were scrapped in the early 2010s, Gahagan said.
The budget for the big new Knott’s coaster that never happened was used to revitalize the Calico Mine Train, Timber Mountain Log Ride, Boardwalk themed land and Camp Snoopy kiddie area, Gahagan said. The coaster planned for Knott’s eventually materialized as the $25-million GateKeeper at Ohio’s Cedar Point.
Now, after more than a decade, a major new coaster is heading to Buena Park. If HangTime is anything like Monster or Smiler, Knott’s new coaster will have been worth the wait.