Back Lot Stunt Coaster
Specific Type: Steel, LIM-Launched
Canada's Wonderland in the township of Vaughan, Ontario in Canada is about to have a robbery of epic proportions pulled off. Not really, but the back of the park boasts an attraction that comes straight out of a movie in which that very scene is depicted. In 2005, a brand new coaster made its way into, then Paramount’s, Canada's Wonderland based on the 2003 motion picture, The Italian Job. The Paramount Park chain is already famous for making their movies into thrill rides, with coasters such as Hurler,Outer Limits Flight of Fear [now simply Flight of Fear], and their many Top Guncoasters. The entire idea for this ride comes from the finale sequence from the movie and was created to give guests the feeling of being a Hollywood stunt driver. The ride comes from the minds at Premier, just one year after the creation of Revenge of the Mummy for Universal Studios. Park guests are treated to a once in a lifetime experience as they race through movie sets created for the Italian Job. The Italian Job Stunt Track will made its debut in the May of 2005 at Canada's Wonderland. A second version of the ride also debuted around the same time in another park in the Paramount family, Kings Island. The ride boasts three launch sections sending riders racing through the twisted turns of its black track.
Future stunt drivers enter the ride crossing over a bridge with a recreation of a Los Angeles aqueduct underneath it. After a few switch backs its time to board the train of three tricked out MINI Coppers. The all-clear signal is given, and then the train of blue, red, and white cars takes off straight ahead from the station. The flat, black track speeds past under the wheels as linear induction motors accelerate riders to forty miles an hour straight into the structure of an incomplete parking garage presumably under construction. The MINI Coopers bank heavily to the right and begin spiraling upward through three levels of the parking garage. Racing around in a clockwise motion, the track gradually rises and tightens the radius of the curve as it helices upwards some 850 degrees. Once the triple helix ends ends, stunt drivers head straight for a diagonal, thirty-one-foot drop back to ground level.
At the bottom of the drop, fugitive riders find a parked row of police cars waiting to put the joyride to an end, but the MINI Cooper convoy meanders to the left, right, and left to dodge the cars in a fast-paced trick track. Then, riders head up through a maneuver no normal MINI Cooper could ever dream of performing: a fan curve banking at some eighty-eight degrees as it curves to the left in a turnaround and then dives down a gravel bank into a deep ravine. Road signs fly past on the right as the track pulls up into the third climb, then a sign suddenly passes by directly over passengers' heads. At the top of the hill, the track curves slightly to the right and downwards, navigating its way under more signage. The track banks to the left to avoid another sign, only to send passengers down a tunneled flight of stairs leading to the subway. At the bottom of the stairs, the track pulls out and ascends through an L-curve to the left.
Breaks are applied bringing the trains to a rather abrupt stop. Some riders may think the ride is done and that this is the unloading station, but they soon realize that this ride is far from over. A helicopter rises up out of nowhere and gunfire erupts. And, of course, there just had to be tanks of explosives surrounding the track and a fire really starts to heat things up. Another set of LIMs power up and the convoy takes off quickly beneath a raging inferno and into a smoke-filled tunnel leading to the unknown. In pitch black conditions, riders find themselves blindly hurling through a sewer tunnel and plunging through the darkness. Another surprise drop, and then it's around a left-hand turnaround and slowing down as the track rises. Then, with one final burst of speed, the track emerges from the darkness, smashing through the middle of the billboard, and then dives into an aqueduct, under the ride's exit path. Trim brakes slow the train as it completes a small hop and then heads up into a final banked, left-hand U-turn. Finally, the MINI Coopers slow to a stop in the last brake run and move back into the station after two minutes on the run.
In 2006, the park changed ownership as purchased the entire chain of Paramount theme parks. Paramount retained the rights to any names associated with the company's productions and so many rides where stripped of their former names. The Italian Job Stunt Track was one such ride and now thrills riders under the name of Back Lot Stunt Coaster. As well as the re-name, all official MINI Cooper branding was removed resulting in comparatively bland looking ride vehicles. Still, this coaster can thrill and continues to test park patrons to see if they have what it takes to make it in the movies as a stunt driver.
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