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 Review of El Toro @ Six Flags Great Adventure
4 Rating Posted by: coasterf42 on 4/21/2008 11:01:00 AM
After traveling four hours, and reaching New Jersey for the first time in my life yesterday morning, the site of this cartoonist thrill ride creation was still stunning to me. As a relatively new enthusiast, this is one of the first coasters I have seen come full circle: I remember the roomers, the construction, the announcement, the delays, the early fan-boy hyping, and the brilliant reviews and rankings pored in shortly thereafter. When I actually came face to face with this ride with a walk-on wait for the second train of the day, I was more than hyped for my first thrill ride of 2008.

Wow, did it deliver! The first drop is without a doubt the greatest first drop I have ever experience-stapled or not stapled, from the back seat to the middle of the train (I never got a front of the train ride). It puts Griffon’s mind-blowing first drop to shame. The forthcoming series of insane camelbacks round out the one of the best first halves of any roller coaster I have been on. The 150-decibel zipper-like noise it makes while the train crests these things is unbelievable. Again, stapled or unstapled, the airtime here is just incredible powerful, and lasts for a good long time.

My only real problems with El Toro were the middle and ending sections. Sure all those ridiculously banked turns at high speeds are pretty great considering the supreme smoothness they are executed at. Sure a few of these turns probably represent some of the most intense moments on any wooden roller coaster around. But my only problem is: If the airtime is so great, why stop it? Perhaps it was because of the tight squeeze it was to create this huge ride in a relatively small area. Perhaps it was because a regular human being may not be able to tolerate many more extreme zero-G moments. Whatever the reason, if El Toro would have continued its mindless assault of airtime hills throughout its course and not focused on twister sections, it had the possibility of dethroning Phoenix as my number one ride. With Phoenix the airtime hills seem endless, and you almost think they go on for too long towards the end. El Toro has the three great airtime hills at the beginning, two turnarounds, one more awesome hill, and another twister section. So, by my count it has four great airtime hills. Although the sensation of air may be a bit better on El Toro, I will take Phoenixs aggressive pursuit of ejectorism by a nose over El Toros four-with-more. Another plus to Phoenix is the restraints. Now I know a modern ride from a company with a bit of an accident problem will never have single position lap bars, but that doesnt mean I cant dream! The fact of the matter is I am actually a foot out of my seat on Phoenix and about an inch out of my seat on the Bull.

I also at least want to mention the themeing. So often, Six Flags has been accused of plopping down wonderful thrill rides with no theme in a generic location. The Plaza de Carnaval section of Great Adventure is really fantastic, as is the theme to El Toro itself. I know that a painted fence, sand, some posters, a bull statue, a themed train, and a nice station are not the most difficult or expensive things to pull off, but man does it just top off the experience so well. Not to mention the entire Plaza de Carnaval area looked, smelled and sounded like a Mexican restaurant. El Toro’s position right by the lake and its interaction with Rolling Thunder really make it feel like the ride belongs where it is, even though it has only been operating for less than two years.

One more thing I want to mention is the lift-hill speed. I know that the cable lift moves very fast, and yesterday it was cranking us 18 stories in the air pretty quickly. However, about 20 feet before the top of the lift, the cable would slow down. I believe this started about half way through Toros second year. I would suppose that being thrown down the first drop with a little more speed would certainly improve t

Review Comments

larrygator on 4/24/2008 11:24:28 AM said:
I never noticed a difference after they slowed the chain lift at the end , but others had said the first drop was even slightly better with the faster lifthill. I do like your analysis of the difference in the air between Phoenix and ElToro.
ginzo on 4/24/2008 8:26:50 PM said:
I have El Toro as my #1 and Phoenix as my #2. Youre right that El Toro does lose some steam after the second massive airtime hill. But there is one absurdly forceful moment after the coaster turns to the left away from the lift hill complex. Its the most potent maneuver that I know of on any ride by quite a wide margin. The Bull pulls you down with a ferocity that no traditional woodie could ever pull off. Also, that crazy opening segment is more than enough to make it my #1. Phoenix is great, but it just doesnt have anywhere near the power that El Toro has.
PhantomNik on 4/25/2008 4:22:07 PM said:
I actually have to agree with the reviewers assessment that the airtime is more sustained on Phoenix. Absolutely every hill on Phoenix delivers airtime, with many of them delivering standing air thanks to the less-confining restraints. That claim honestly cant be made by El Toro, as I know of at least one of the smaller hills that really has no airtime. With all that said however, I still rank Toro above Phoenix (El Toro is my #2 wooden coaster, with Phoenix right behind at #3) overall. The reason? Just as ginzo pointed out - the POWER. Where Toro does have air, it is astronomical. Phoenix might have it beat in quantity, but as far as quality, Toro reigns supreme. Its interesting to think of those 2 coasters up against one another though, as you have the old-school classic in one corner and the newest high-tech wooden innovation in the other.
coasterf42 on 4/26/2008 2:06:00 PM said:
I certainly consider Phoenix and El Toro to be the only two world class rides I have been on, so its only natural that I compare them.

The thing is, I think the last part of the ride is the most important: I like rides that save the best for last. It gives the rider something to look forward to, and also makes them feel satisfied after riding. El Toros ending just doesnt do much at all for me, compared to a ride like Phoenix, Phantoms Revenge, Apollos Chariot, or even Nitro. But that first half is just so brilliant.
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