Specific Type: Steel, Mega-Coaster
Residing at Buffalo Bill's Resort and Casino of Primm, Nevada, Desperado rises 21 stories above the dry landscape to form a skyline of yellow track. When Buffalo Bill's asked Arrow Dynamics to create a record-breaking ride for 1994, they didn't fool around. Desperado opened as the world's tallest, fastest and longest steel coaster, also tying Kennywood Park's Steel Phantom hyper-coaster [now known as Phantom's Revenge] for drop length at 225 feet. With nearly 6,000 feet of tubular steel track twisting, climbing and dropping riders along for nearly three minutes of hypercoaster extremity, Desperado is also one of the longest coasters in the world. When it opened, there was a lot of talk about whether or not it was taller than Pepsi Max Big One atBlackpool Pleasure Beach in England. Big One opened the same year, with a height of 235’. Many though that this number was based off of sea level, which was 34’ lower than the base of Big One. Measurements later showed an official height of 213’ high for the Big One.
The ride was featured in a magic trick by Lance Burton in 1999, when he accomplished an escape from being tied to the coasters track, and also breaking out of his handcuffs. He made it out with less than a second left before the train would have hit him. Afterword, he contemplated whether or not to put it into his show, “Top Secret,” saying that it would “scare little children.” The shot eventually got into the show.
Passengers board the coaster's train inside of Buffalo Bill's Hotel and Casino building, then dip out into the Nevada air and engage on the two-hundred-and-nine-foot chain lift. Before long, the 225 foot drop has begun and the ride wastes no time in fitting to its name, traveling at 80 miles per hour and diving through in a pitch black 16-foot deep subterranean tunnel. Heading back up into the sky, a twisted hill sends the train up and reversing, then around a banked curve, getting back up to speed again. Back around, the coaster twists up over another hill, then follows a second airtime maneuver into the mid-course block brakes. Riders leave their seats for several seconds as the airtime lifts them airborne over a hump. The grand finale is up next, which takes the track into the beginning of a cavern tunneling around a helix, then the brakes end of the Desperado and lead riders back into the building.
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