Powder Keg: A Blast In The Winderness. This ride needs a tagline along the lines of "it'll knock your socks off", because Powder Keg is a seriously awesome coaster. How come this is not talked about more often? Even more puzzling is the fact that all of the "most under-rated coasters" threads on the net aren't dominated with people praising Powder Keg. In case you haven't figured it out yet, I was really impressed with this little launched bundle of craziness!
Powder Keg is nothing but fun, Fun, FUN! Every aspect of this ride, from queue to brakes, is impeccably well themed, extremely well thought out, and just laugh-out-loud fun. The coaster itself has amazing air, great forces, an insane layout, and typically had me giggling like a 4th grader! I've ridden coasters almost three times the height of this one, that don't even come close to delivering the thrills, fun, or forces that Powder Keg does.
As with Wildfire, guests are lead over to Powder Keg under an innocent looking sign set deep in the woods.
As an example of how complete the theming is, I present you here with a photo of some track that is present only to stop a roll-back. This track will probably never even be used, but SDC has incorporated it very well. If you look carefully you can easily see the transition from real to fake track, but most people see the whole thing and think it's all part of the ride.
The roof of the queue house is dotted with debris from all of the near-by explosions.
The setting is that of a black powder warehouse, and the queue makes it genuinely feel like you're actually there. Of course it still all fits in to the 19th century setting of whole park.
Where most parks would simply say "food and drink prohibited", SDC decides to take it a step further. Like I said above, this place is themed as well as the best Disney parks.
Inside the station .. look for all of the TNT barrels.
Out of the station, the train rolls onto this transfer track. The whole thing slides up and lines up to the launch track. All around the track are more TNT barrels, and buildings. You're basically surrounded by black powder, and a recording warns you not to get too close...!
This is how it all looks from outside the ride. The train is in the launch position, and is launched to about 50 MPH in just 2 or 3 seconds. It's a fun launch, accompanied by blasts of fire.
The observation area is right by the launch track. This is brilliant because kids and parents get to wave to each other. There were many non-riding parents there with video cameras, who were filming their kids on the ride. It's a nice touch.
The launch shoots out over this crazy air-filled hill, and the action doesn't stop until you hit the lift-hill which is about two-thirds of the way into the ride. The lift actually comes as a bit of a relief, because the ride is just i-n-s-a-n-e up to that point.
One of the huge over-banked turns, as viewed from the train.
The final set of pics for Part 2 is for the wonderful Barn Swing. This is another S&S giant swing, but it is exceptionally well done at SDC. Now I will be honest and admit that I have a fear of heights, and I find these things quite scary; however they're so awesome that I can't not ride. As the name suggests, SDC has themed their swing around a barn in a farm ... fun to say, and fun to ride!
On Sunday they were running both sides, and we waited little more than about 15 minutes. We rode many times, and in the end I was actually able to keep my arms up the whole time ... it wasn't easy, but I could do it. Actually given the fact that there's nothing to hang on to, I find the ride less scary when I relax and keep my hands up. Just go with the forces...
Now I really like S&S .. The Double-shots, Avalanche and Poweder Keg are tremendous fun; and the swings are one of my favorite non-coaster rides. However S&S contraptions tend to be .. well .. visually challenged. I was curious to see how SDC was going to dress-up their swing, and I was surprised to see what a great job they had done.
Part 3 (the Marvel Cave) will follow tonight or tomorrow .. Enjoy!
The swing is in a new area called "Wilson's Farms". Along with the swing, is a collection of those lift-yourself-up drop rides for little kids, some food, and a milk-the-cow game. Obvious the swing is the main draw here.
The queue runs through a very convincing looking barn, which is dotted with these fun signs. I can't help but laugh at such cute signs for such an intimidating ride.
The attention to detail is amazingly good. Of course every barn needs a weather-cock, so naturally it is included on this barn at SDC. Rather than just have something painted on like you'd find at some parks, this is actually real and functional.
This ride is quite a beast, sucking up 32 people per cycle with both sides running. The seats are comfortable and the restraints minimal. You feel very exposed when this thing gets going, and nothing to hold on to really adds to the thrill.
You only get a few glimpses of this ride from inside the park, and this is typically the first thing people when when they board.
These swings are as ugly as they are thrilling, and SDC has done a seriously amazing job of keeping it hidden. From inside the park you can hear all the screaming and noise, but can only see the higher parts of the swing. It all adds to the intimidation factor.
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