Heads back and hold on! That’s good advice from the ride ops as you leave the station on Six Flags Great America’s newest addition, Maxx Force. This pneumatically launched coaster packs a punch and claims the record for fastest acceleration on a launch coaster in North America. It reaches a speed of 78 MPH in only 1.8 seconds and is punctuated by a loud bang as the waste gate of this powerful launch motor expels all of that pressure. The sensation of speed is impressive on this race themed coaster, as it holds the world record for fastest inversion, too.
So what should you expect if you head out to Six Flags Great America to experience this new for 2019 coaster? First of all, as of the second weekend of operation, the queue area is not complete. Not all of the switchbacks are complete, so the line will often spill outside the normal queue. I would estimate only about a third is being used, so the line may not be as bad as it seems. Unfortunately the queue area is also not shaded. I hope that will be added in because this is sure to be a popular ride in the park. It is not uncommon for brand new rides that you cannot choose your seat, and this ride has this policy. Staff was very efficient at sending every train out full, and dispatches were brisk. I know many people were curious about how the train would track and if it would be comfortable. I was happy to find that S&S has a very comfortable seat and restraint system. The ride was smooth, and the ride experience is great.
I really love hydraulically launched coasters, so Maxx Force was on my radar last year, specifically because of the launch. I like to try new rides with an open mind, but it was hard for me to not immediately think of Storm Runner at Hershypark when I saw the rendering for Maxx Force. Both rides feature powerful launches and unique inversions. They each deliver in both regards; the layout of of Maxx Force is very well done and gives a unique experience - not an inch of the track is wasted as it delivers big thrills in a small footprint. The inversions are great and offer a wild experience despite its short duration. The two double inversions give an unexpected experience as direction changes are both sudden and fresh. I actually don't know what to call them. However, the transitions are smooth and look similar to stalls, but the added speed adds centripetal force to offer a different sensation.
Maxx Force has a lot of pluses for the park. It gives the park a new signature steel coaster. It adds a launch coaster that features inversions. It also has the powerful launch that goes unanswered across the continent. The ride does have a few quirks that go with it. In an effort to minimize space, the brake run starts on your final descent on the last inversion. It is a bit jarring in the back as you decelerate when you are steeply angled down. If they could get a dispatch every minute, it would only have approximately half the capacity as Raging Bull. However, the ride crews I observed at Maxx Force were dispatching trains at the most ideal pace. Before you say low capacity rides are just an attempt to push guests into buying flash pass, the policy currently in place is that only platinum level can use the flash pass line and they only get a single reservation. I felt that was a fair policy for the opening season that gave a perk for flash pass buyers and prioritized the majority of guests. Right now, out of the two new launch coasters I prefer Maxx Force to Copperhead Strike, so West Coast Racers… the ball is in your court.