Photo TR: Hangtime
I spent most of today at Knott's and got in a few rides on Hangtime during the passholder preview. This was my first Gerstlauer ever, so this was a totally new experience for me. Ho-ly cow, what a fantastic ride. It rode much like I expected it to by watching it test, but it offered a few surprises, which I'll get into later.
Without further ado, let's dive into the pictures.
I arrived at the park at 10:00 AM and made a beeline for Hangtime. The park was relatively uncrowded at that point, so despite getting stuck behind a train, I made good time.
The wait during the 10:00 hour varied between 30-45 minutes, which gave plenty of time to snap some pics of the queue. The park did an excellent job of theming this queue, though it was a little unrealistic. The surfboards, sand, rocks, rope fences, etc. were in much better shape than what you'd find at a typical California beach.
Now, the ride itself...
The vertical lift hill was a first for me, but what I didn't realize at first was that the seats are slightly reclined - thus giving the sensation of being dumped out of your seat as you ascend the lift hill.
SoCal already has its share of looping coasters, but this is one of the few that only utilizes seat belts and lap bars. Having ridden YOLOcoaster countless times, I'm used to being gut-punched by lap bars when coming to a sudden stop at a steep angle. Hangtime doesn't do that. (Be like Hangtime.)
The lap bars are clam-shell-shaped, similar to B&M hypers, and sit further down your legs than most lap bars.
Because of the large crowds and low capacity of this coaster, seats were being assigned. Being a single rider today, I was able to try a different row on each of my three rides. Here's what I noticed:
Front row - obviously - is the most suspenseful on the holding brake. Other than that, the only major highlight of this row was the pop of airtime right above the ride entrance. It rattled a bit when entering the cobra roll, but otherwise was a very smooth ride.
3rd row is the best place for hang time. With this row being closer to the center of mass than the front row, it passes through the tops of the inversions more slowly than the front row. You'll want to keep your hands up the whole time to take advantage of the hang time it delivers. The 2nd row is probably a similar experience.
Last row gives the most snap on the first drop. You also get some hang time on this row, but not as much as the middle rows.
While some are calling Hangtime the best coaster in the park, I still place it behind Xcelerator and Ghostrider. Xcelerator has my favorite launch, and it's hard to beat the airtime buffet that is Ghostrider (which was closed today, unfortunately). That being said, Hangtime will definitely be a must-ride every time I visit this park. I really enjoyed this coaster, and I highly recommend you make a trip to Knott's to try it out for yourself.