Hang on to your PB&J, there’s a new thrill ride in town. HangTime, a recently launched “infinity coaster” at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, features not only the steepest drop down in California, it is also the first dive coaster in the state.
The HangTime “beyond-vertical” drop will undoubtedly get riders' heart’s racing. A serene pastel-colored tower during the day, in the evening the ride features electric blue lights. The death-defying 96-degree drop is accentuated by a series of twists and loops that will have park-goers straining to catch their breath. It is a worthy companion to Knott’s Berry Farm’s terror-inducing Xcelerator the Ride.
"The whole ride structure will be lit up," said Knott's VP of maintenance and construction Jeff Gahagan. "It's actually a light show at the same time. The lighting package can be programmed different throughout the whole year."
Featuring a 150-foot arch, HangTime is singular in a state filled with thrill rides. Carlyle Wisel, a writer for Travel and Leisure magazine who tested the ride says, “I approached the record-setting ride shakily from apprehension or evening chill, possibly both. I’ve been on coasters with similar vertical lifts, but something about this towering within the Berry Farm’s laid-back beach boardwalk renders it impossible.”
The steel roller structure was manufactured by Gerstlauer and the ride debuted on May 18. The ride features three trains with four cars per train, while riders are seated four across in a single row with a total of 16 riders per train. The ride replaces the Boomerang coaster, which debuted in 1990, and the Riptide, which was unveiled in 2004. The Boomerang was sold to a Danish ride refurbisher and reseller, while Minnesota's Valleyfair amusement park has inherited the Riptide passenger gondola.
The seating adds to the impact. The ride only features a lap bar, and no shoulder restraints or calf guards. Though safe, the seats will have riders wondering. Passengers are required to remove their shoes and glasses before getting on, which will have those with vision impairment doubting they’ll see another day.
After the ascent, riders will have to wait 150 feet in the air for six or seven seconds before the inevitable breathtaking free fall. On their way down, riders will endure five inversions and negative-g forces, which will feel like being suspended in mid-air, until they gratefully touch the ground.
The new Knott’s Berry Farm’s coaster seems to stretch out the uncertainty, or as Wisel says, “Whether you’re floating through the air, soaring straight upwards or surveying the vast surroundings, the cascade of effects packed into Hang Time will give you the most multi-faceted thrills California has to offer — if you’re brave enough to take it on, that is.”