Specific Type: Wooden
Darien Lake Themepark Resort, back in the days when the park was known simply as Darien Lake, was looking for another big thrill ride aside from its star attraction, the classic 1982 looping coaster called Viper. After years of expansion in the late 1980’s including Adventureland for kids, landscaping throughout the park, and Grizzly Run Rapids, it was time for another roller coaster. It was 1990 and aside from a new water park called Barracuda Bay, a twisted wooden coaster would rise as well. During the late 1980’s, the wooden coaster was not that popular; the only company that made wooden coasters at the time was the famed Dinn Corporation. The company's head designer was Curtis D. Summers, and it was known for designing wooden coasters such as Mean Streak at Cedar Point; Texas Giant at Six Flags over Texas; and the classic Kings Island coaster, the Beast. The location, a calm lakeside setting, was the former site of a Huss Troika ride called Thrillbilly.
The story of this twisted wooden creation takes place deep inside the woods. A sudden storm came without any warning and the wooden swamp of darkness was charged with a sudden blast of energy; energy so explosive that a creature was created. The creature embodied all the reckless unpredictability and furious speed of the attacking storm itself. It was an insatiable creature nourished by sheer terror. Some say it stopped its fierce stalking only when there was nothing left to conquer... until now; because the sense of its lurking presence can be felt on this wild ride. This wild ride would be called the Predator, and soon enough on the shores of Darien Lake rose a ninety-five-foot-tall twisted wooden coaster that took a course out and back twice with speeds rushing over fifty miles per hour and over 3,400 feet of track packed into a two-minute-long ride. With those stats, Predator became New York state’s largest wooden coaster and still holds that title today.
Soon-to-be prey run through the park toward the wooden structure and enter under the ride’s sign. Boarding two-across, twelve-rowed Dinn trains that hold twenty-four people total, riders pull down their lap bars and prepare to go on the wild ride of this uncontrollable creature. Dipping out of the station and turning around into the lift, the chain pulls riders slowly to a height of ninety-five feet in the air before dipping into a left turn separating the train from the lift. Following the turn, riders then go down the first drop and, following that, a camelback hill. On the way down from the first hill, riders smile for the camera and then head back up again and turn around. Dipping down again, passengers then encounter another airtime hill, back down again into another hill before going into a twisted turnaround drop. After the second high-speed turnaround, riders then head up two more airtime hills before entering the third turnaround. Twisting inside the wooden structure, Predator turns riders around back toward the station. After the third and last turnaround, riders go through more airtime as three more airtime hills come before a right turn into the brake run. Passengers finally exit the coaster after surviving the forest creature’s intense ride.
By today standards, the Predator holds an intense ride, but is generally considered pale in comparison to the nearby Superman: Ride of Steel. On that serene lakeside location lies one wild and twisted wooden creation that should never be underestimated. Go from absolute cool to the height of terror; take a ride on the Predator, Six Flags Darien Lake’s only wooden coaster and New York’s largest wooden roller coaster. It’s been waiting for its prey… you…
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