by Danny Miller
As we move closer and closer to summer, the new attractions for 2012 continue to come along at a brisk pace. Perhaps one of the most anticipated ride for this coming season is Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland. The Swiss masters at Bolliger & Mabillard have been a staple in the industry for over twenty years now, and just about every park worth mentioning in conversation has at least one B&M masterpiece.
In 2007, there were a few parks, mainly the parks formerly owned by Paramount that still lacked a B&M coaster to “close out” their lineup in ways. Kings Dominion eventually got Dominator relocated from the now defunct Geauga Lake, and Kings Island installed Diamondback in 2009. Canada’s Wonderland was perhaps the largest park in terms of coasters to not have a true signature ride.
That all changed when B&M installed Behemoth, the tallest and fastest coaster not only in the park, but also in all of Canada. The ride is a great offering at B&M’s hyper coaster, and was my 200th coaster back in September. With the incredible success that Behemoth was, coaster fans were ecstatic when Wonderland announced their plans to shatter their own record, with a 300 foot monster, dubbed Leviathan, which would be B&M’s long awaited first crack at a giga coaster. Ironically, in ancient history, Behemoth was the ruler of land while Leviathan ruled the ocean, making for a nice little connection between the two rides.
The comparisons do not end at the names however. Many people questioned the move, stating that this ride was essentially a bigger Behemoth. To give my two cents, anyone who goes beyond calling the rides “somewhat similar” is sorely mistaken. One look at Behemoth and it is clear that it was built for airtime, with multiple camelback hills. A quick glance at Leviathan, it does actually look similar, but a closer look shows two high speed overbanked turns, two speed hills, a hammerhead turn, and two larger airtime hills. While Behemoth mostly focuses on just airtime, Leviathan offers a very healthy mix of airtime, speed, and intense positive G’s.
Testing has now been underway for about two weeks or so, and already it is noticeable how fast the trains are flying though the course, especially as the wheels start to break in a bit. I have been impressed with some of the videos that have surfaced so far, and I can’t wait to see what this thing can do once it is broken in and the temperature rises. It is my thinking that this could be a memorable B&M coaster not just because it is their first giga, but because it has the potential to be one of their best coasters ever, as long as Wonderland lays off those trim brakes…
All things considered, this coaster means much more than just another coaster. It marks a milestone for B&M as a company, showing that they will indeed continue to build bigger if they are asked to. It also turns Canada Wonderland from what five years ago was just a large park with no signature rides, into another player in the big park market, with no real competition nearby. Lastly, it gives Cedar Fair another park that is now on enthusiasts’ radar, making it a destination to go to as the chain looks to build on their record attendance from 2011. While we have to wait a bit longer to ride Leviathan, at this point I will say to B&M and Canada’s Wonderland, good luck with the final preparations, and hats off to a job well.