Specific Type: Steel, looping, twister
Taste isn’t the only sense that the town of Hershey, Pennsylvania likes to spoil. For the park’s big 100th birthday, Hersheypark treated its guests to acres of liquid to combat even the hottest Pennsylvania day –– no, not in the form of chocolate milk, but in the form of the Boardwalk at Hersheypark. The water-park-within-a-park expansion overtook 4.6 of the park’s 110 acres and $19.7-million of the park’s wallet, providing a premium property for chilling out in the midst of a thrill-ride candy land. Yet, before the 100th birthday even drew to a close, Hershey had announced a belated birthday present that would test thrill-seekers’ thermo receptors after they’ve had a chance to cool off at the Boardwalk.
This present would be big enough to make the Boardwalk expansion look like icing on the HERSHEY'S®-brand chocolate birthday cake –– and hot enough to melt it.
Fahrenheit is Hersheypark’s next huge dive back into the roller coaster race since Storm Runner blasted off in 2004, taking the hydraulic-launch coaster to places it hadn’t explored yet, namely the Spring Creek that runs through the hilly acreage, navigating two inverting elements slightly different from anything seen before. In a lot of respects, Fahrenheit parallels its older brother. Both are Swiss creations from Intamin with the designer and manufacturer’s signature skeletal track, both rely on the vertical angle for much of their hype, and both feature multiple inversions. There, the line is drawn on similarities.
While Storm Runner blasts from the station to climb its vertical hill, Fahrenheit takes the traditional lift hill in the untraditional direction of vertical, hoisting riders 121 feet up before edging over the side of a ninety-seven-degree plunge. That’s seven degrees beyond Storm Runner’s ninety, and the steepest of all non-inverting drops in the world –– a tie with several other coasters. Then comes Fahrenheit’s six inversions, a park record and double the big bro’s three, but at the same time still banking on rarity for thrills in the first 107-foot “inverted loop” or “Norwegian loop,” an inversion only seen on one other coaster: the Norwegian Speed Monster at a theme park named TusenFryd.
Overall, Fahrenheit may be slightly shorter and slower than its big brother, but it delivers in both uniqueness and length, at 1,000 feet longer and one-minute, twenty-five in duration as compared to fifty seconds. Due to fewer design challenges and complex support structures due to location, Fahrenheit also comes in at slightly cheaper than its big brother, a bargain of just $12.1 million instead of $12.5 mil. While Storm Runner has to navigate three-story natural elevation changes and thread between three older rides, the 2008 hottie will have its own plot of land towards the front of the L-shaped amusement property on mostly level ground.
Much like the park removed a few dated flat rides in preparation for the Boardwalk expansion of 2007, Hershey removed the dated quadruple-slide complex known asWestern Chute Out –– the park’s one claim to true waterparkness prior to the Boardwalk section –– in preparation for the coaster’s construction. The removal freed up just enough land between the Boardwalk area and parking lot for 2,700 feet of hot reddish-orange track on cool blue supports weaving past catered picnic pavilions and a long stretch of pathway across from the Tidal Force splashdown ride ideal for picture-snapping and jaw-dropping spectating.
And spectate Hersheypark guests will do. Fahrenheit will fill in the park skyline beautifully, nestled right beside the wooden coasterWildcat at a relatively easy-to-find spot right towards the inside corner of the giant, backwards letter “L” known as Hersheypark. Although 850 riders an hour can strap into the shoulder-harness-equipped trains, far more will be walking past the colorful entrance sign on any hot summer day, making for a decent wait time as future passengers watch train after train taking off over the crest of the exaggerated vertical hill.
By the time they reach the front of the line, riders will be more than eager to load on in two-to-a-row, four-to-a-car, a-dozen-to-a-train fashion. After the all-clear is given in the loading station, the ride begins to heat up with a 135-degree curve to the right, lining the track up perfectly with the daunting ascent straight ahead. After rolling along a straightaway for a few seconds, the double chain lift latches onto the bottom of the train and begins pulling it up the first climb. Horizontal becomes vertical as the riders are tilted onto their backs, climbing straight towards the clouds. Out to the right, Fahrenheit riders can view rides like Storm Runner, Sidewinder, and Roller Soaker from a completely new perspective –– sideways –– before the vertical fun ends at 121 feet.
However, as the train makes that 187-degree transition at the top, it prepares to start with the beyond-vertical fun. The bottom of the drop takes an eternity to come into view as the orange track flies downward, sending the train straight towards the final brakes. Finally, the track bottoms out at last, ushering the train on ahead at fifty-eight miles an hour into the enormous second element: the Norwegian loop. Rising back 100 of those 121 feet into the sky, the coaster begins a left-hand half-flip and already begins diving back towards the ground by the time it’s upside-down. Down and under riders go, all 360 degrees from the top down and back up again, then a flip almost identical to the first finishes off the signature element.
On the way back down, the track veers to the left, narrowly avoiding a picnic pavilion. Heading towards the parking lot, Fahrenheitenters the second of three double-inverting elements: the cobra roll. A half-loop and half-corkscrew sends the train straight towards the wooden structure of the Wildcat before another half-corkscrew followed by a half-loop back to the ground wraps things up with no time to rest. It’s time for the third dynamic duo of inversions: the double corkscrew. Speeding towards the midway diagonally, the reddish-orange rails twist up and around through the middle of the Norwegian loop. For the second corkscrew, the train dodges an overhead support, en route to wind up between the first tower and midway.
With a smooth, steep, and graceful bank to the right, Fahrenheit threads through the blue tower supports, creating a head-chopper effect while curving 235 degrees and diving out of the direction transition. The train coasts over a speed hill maintaining a low profile, then curves in the opposite direction, another 235 degrees. Climbing, climbing, then hopping and angling downward, riders enter the dreaded brakes bringing them to a smooth stop while passing underneath the tower again. A forty-five-degree turn to the left, a 135-degree curve to the right, and they arrive in the unloading station at the end of an unforgettable eighty-five-second experience as hot as they come.
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