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Best woodie I have ever been on. Very smooth which was surprising!
The current #1 ride on this site has elicited some of the longest, most praise-filled reviews of any coaster Ive come across. Im not sure what I can add to this except to say that El Toro absolutely deserves all of the praise, as well as the top spot. Intamin has now done for wood coasters what theyve been doing for steel coasters for nearly a decade--perfecting them. If this is in fact how the next generation of wooden coasters is going to present itself, I say lets hope for a baby boom, because this was a truly phenomenal experience. I remember looking over at the first drop as the train ascended the lift hill and thinking I just couldnt believe how steep it was. Elated anticipation washed over me, and that anticipation didnt have to wait too long, as the wonderfully modern cable got us up the lift in record speed. Sitting in the back, I got to see the front of the train round the turnaround and plunge into that drop before me, only to be yanked a nanosecond later into it as well. Its really quite impossible to describe how steep, fast, and forceful that drop is, so youll just have to take my word that El Toro delivers one of the best first drops of any coaster in existence today. The ride then follows that up with two more hills that are simply astonishing. The train tears over these hills with such speed and might that the forces want to seriously launch you from the car. These first three drops are a perfect knockout punch. The turnaround is then reached, and while turnarounds are often just uneventful transition zones, this one totally floored me. It is so banked, so angled downward, and still so fast that I just couldnt have been happier. Now, on the way back, there are two or three hills that lose a bit of El Toros luster. Theyre not as steep, fast, or forceful, and I was praying to myself that the ride wouldnt peter out. My prayers were answered as the train sort of jutted up to the left, only to catapult down a completely unexpected, insanely forceful drop. This led directly to the staggeringly swooping back and forth turns that had us tilted on our sides as the trains careened through that portion of the course. A final bunny hop or two completed the ride, before the coaster returned a trainful of awestruck riders to the station. Hmmm, I guess I did have some praise to add! But like I said, El Toro deserves it. This is a wonderful new experience for coaster enthusiasts, and hopefully there will be many more like it to come.
Heres what Ill always remember about El Toro: standing in the queue while consumer goods exploded from the train as it rocketed over the apex of the first speed hill after the initial drop. Two examples, in particular, stand out in my mind. The first was a crumpled ball cap, that, as it was lofted skyward, caught the wind and then drifted lazily to the pond behind the ride. There it briefly clung to the surface until the water saturated its fibers and pulled it into a liquid embrace, never more to grace the head of its stunned owner. This collision of innocence and brute power reminded me of that devastating scene in James Whales 1931 production of "Frankenstein," where the monster fails to differentiate between the buoyancy of little girls and flower petals. My other favorite moment in line occurred when a cell phone, the one item that seemed most to characterize and unite the diverse crowd in ETs queue, was launched from the ride with the velocity of a motar, before detonating into shrapnel upon impact with the ground. The portents were unmistakable: the forces generated by the speed and profiling of this ride would be seismic.
I have to say, however, that given ETs nearly universal acclaim, my first ride, in the very back seat seat, was somewhat of a letdown. Letdown, of course, is a relative term here, as that ride was still better than almost any Ive experienced among the enormous stable of Six Flags roller coasters. It did not, however, leave me instinctively grasping for any solid handhold I could find on the car nor alter my view of the time-space continuum, as did my first ride in the back seat of the Coney Island Cyclone. It was solid but not transformative.
Happily, I devoted another three hours to securing a ride in the very front seat, and suddenly, the source of the hype came more sharply into focus. The opening one-two punch of the first drop and speed hill helped me achieve a life-long dream of understanding what the Road Runner feels like blazing along the undulating byways of the Looney Tunes desert landscape. Then I got to dive past Rolling Thunder like an Imperial Storm Trooper careening through the Endor moons thick forest on a speeder bike. Things got even crazier in the final twister section; keeping my hands in the air suddenly required the conscious application of mind over matter. The experience began to approach the blissful plain of the coaster enthusiasts nerd-vana.
Yet I must admit, when all was said and done, I had not quite achieved this transcendent state in my all-too-brief encounter with El Toro. I thought about this for quite some time and wondered what I could possible ask from a ride that ET did not deliver. The answer, for me, was that last measure of insanity that Ive found in a handful of life-altering roller coasters. The sort of insanity Im talking about occurs in the first drop and last quarter of the Cyclone, the tunnel of Hades, the section of Voyage that follows the break run, the descent into the trench on Cyclops, and the portion of Phantoms Revenge that begins with the dive into the valley. I attribute this primarily to the design of ETs rolling stock and restraints. Theyre simply too restrictive to impart the ultimate roller coater experience. Ive previously commented that the wood in El Toro is like the chicken in McNuggets, and when you start to mess with Mother Nature to that extent, youre eventually going to run into problems. Victor Frankenstein created a monster that was more human than human, and the creature thus lost all trace of humanity. Likewise, the uber-chickeness of McNuggets requires chicken flavoring to be added back to what was once, but is no more, recognizable as chicken meat. El Toro takes the essence of the classic wooden roller coaster experience -- steep drops, sharp turns, ferocious speed, big air -- and punches it up so far beyond anything that weve come to know and love that Intamin had no c
I just wanted to share my experience of riding this beast as a rollercoaster noob. To start, Im to a rollercoaster enthusiast as to what a person who goes to the movies a couple times a year is to a professional critic. I go to amusement parks once in awhile (mostly in the NJ area)and try to ride as many coasters as possible before the park closes. However, this may have changed my life.
To use another movie analogy, ever go into a movie theater and pick a random movie on a whim, without knowing ANYTHING about it? Then it turns out you just watched the Godfather, Citizen Kane, etc? That is the experience I had with El Toro on Oct 1.
It was actually my first trip to a coaster park since before Nitro opened. I had forgotten about Nitro completely, and knew a bit about Kingda Ka, but heard NOTHING about El Toro. We just happened to spy a beautiful looking and rather large wooden coaster and decided to get into queue. It was still early, so the wait was only about 45 minutes (getting to about 2 hours later in the day.) Examining the monstrosity, I really only got vague hints as to what was coming. I did notice that the first drop was not only incredibly steep, but TOWERED over Rolling Thunder. Then I noticed that the cars were rocketing over the hills at insane speeds. I grew up in Pittsburgh, so most of my experiences with wooden coasters were with the likes of the Thunderbolt and the Jackrabbit. In comparison, it made them look as if they were sitting still. I had a stronger inkling that I was in for a different experience.
But, of course, nothing could prepare me for the real thing. Unfortunately, I dont remember where we sat the first time, but the next two times were in the next to last car. To tell you the truth, I think we grabbed the front. Why dont I remember? More on that later. The excitement started to build as we moved up the first hill at a very fast clip. I wasnt prepared for that, but now things were starting to click. Go around the bend, throw my hands up and then everything is a blur. Just pure adrenaline. The only thing I can remember about that first ride were the negative Gs. Ive been on coasters that float you before, but NOTHING was even remotely like this. Despite being securely stapled, I was being FORCED out of my seat for many long wonderful seconds. Interesting note. Of the 3 times I rode, once I was the only person who had his hands in the error, and at least one other time, I was one of only a couple. This thing had people holding on for dear life (every other ride I was on had the majority of people with hands in the air.) After it was over, it took a minute before we could speak again. When we looked at our pictures, my face was of the purest joy one could imagine (while my girlfriends face was of utter terror.) It was MUCH more intense than I could possibly imagine, which is why I cannot remember where I sat next time. On my next trip, Im making sure I check out the very front and back seats though. Up until that point, I thought it was all about speed and inversions. Now I know that the Gs are what are truly fun for me.
Except for Nitro (which I also thoroughly enjoyed, especially because of the single t-bar that (sort of) holds you in), every other ride was anti-climatic after that, which may be the only negative I can think of.
Now, the next day, even the thought of it puts a smile on my face. Im seriously thinking of making trips out to visit other famous rides next year, like Voyage. This ride may have changed my life.
I must admit, the main purpose of my recent trip to Great Adventure was to conquer Kingda Ka, so most of my research into the park before arriving seemed to focus on this ride in particular. Little did I know what a fantastic ride was in store for me - from El Toro.
Knowing little more about El Toro than it being a wooden coaster record holder for speed and steepest drop, I boarded the coaster not knowing what was in store. I dont think my expectations were even very high intially either, because my previous experiences with wooden coasters up to this point were not good ones either. Lets face it, riding the Predator at Six Flags Darien Lake, is hardly a comparision!
I think I knew almost immediately however, this one would be unique, when the cable lift hill began to brisk me away up the hill very quickly. Once at the top you will experience something you will likely never forget until the day you die, that quick, smooth U-turn at a height of 188 feet, and then a pulse pounding, extremely steep drop at 70 mph. Honestly, that drop was so intense it was mostly a blurr for me! The head chopper at the bottom of the drop was fantastically done, as are many others throughout the ride, that are so convincing I wouldnt dare put my hands up. In fact, the wooden beams that you travel under at the end of the first drop actually caused me to duck down! That turned out to be a funny circumstance, because the G-forces on the way back up the next hill were so strong, I had a lot of trouble straightening my head and back! My head actually ended up being forced down for a few seconds, until the first air time opportunity presented itself, which allowed me to float back into position. Yes, its really that intense!
I think the best part about El Toro is that it has really got me excited about what types of coasters are possible now, and what we are likely to see in the future! I am hoping we will see more of these new prefabricated wooden roller coasters to come, but for now, El Toro is more than enough to hold us over!!
Ladies and gentlemen, the future is here! Riding El Toro is something any coaster enthusiast, heck, any person with a pulse should do. Especially if you think you know what wooden coasters have to offer. El Toro is going to turn your world upside down. The El Carnival section is appropriately themed with a Spanish flare. The look and feel is definitely a step above cheesy or contrived. Right down to the sandy desert-like landscaping with chill pepper plants. Even the smell of the food reminded me more of restaurants in Mexico than Taco Bell. The Vipers old southwestern station fit into the area perfectly. The trains are themed somewhat like mine train cars and have a very comfortable, next generation look and feel. Loading the trains is a bit slow, but the trains are longer than normal holding 36 riders compared to 24 on Thunderhead and 28 on The Voyage.
The ride starts with a quick climb up a relatively quiet lift hill. Already the ride has been uncharacteristically wooden. As I crested the top I looked over and down at Medusa. The height of El Toro gets forgotten, just because its not a record breaker. You quickly turn around and drop down the 176 feet of steep track at 76 degrees. This is easily the best first drop of any wooden coaster Ive ridden, it provides some air and you really feel the steepness. You cross under some track and rise into the first airtime hill. Youre ejected north to the sky, even though youve been stapled in by the ride ops. The next hill offers more of the same blissful airtime. The swooping banked turn is next. Its great especially if youre seated on the right side of the train. The ride has been glass smooth so far and its even more apparent during the swooping turn. If you closed your eyes youd think you were on a B&M hyper or some other type of steel coaster. After the turn, theres another fun drop and a smaller, shorter drop that offers the least air on the ride.
Next the track quickly banks to the left which sets up coaster AIRTIME BLISS. The track finishes the turn then rises up and you drop straight into the twisted finale. This innocent looking hill has the sickest airtime on the planet! Its so forceful that you feel if the restraints failed youd end up being flung into the tiger exhibit over in the Golden Kingdom. After that El Toro finishes strong with a twisting section close to the ground reminiscent of another bull, Raging Bull at Six Flags Great America. This twisting section is much more satisfying. You finish the twisted finale and eventually reach the breaks. All the riders I rode with returned with the euphoric feeling of heroine. People arent used to riding something so thrilling and comfortable. I had 3 rides on El Toro, but I couldve re-rode 10 or 20 times if I couldve. Youre not shaken, slammed, bruised, beat up, beat down, jolted, or smacked around the entire ride. Yet its thrilling from the beginning to the end.
Theres nothing that I would particularly change with El Toro (hence the perfect score). But I wouldve like to have seen a tunnel or two. It would only add to the ride. Im a sucker for tunnels, terrain coasters, and the like. But let me be clear in saying that El Toro is missing nothing! It doesnt unseat S:ROS at SFNE as the best coaster on the planet or Kumba as my personal favorite, but it comes pretty darn close. And it easily crushes Hades, Thunderhead, and The Voyage. This is why I try to save 10s for rides that really deserve them. El Toro deserves one of my few 10s and then some. Im sure GCI and Gravity Group are doing push-ups if theyve ridden this coaster. Intamins on its way to world domination. Final Rating - 10.0 (Transcendental)</scrip
OMG!!!! First of all the lift hill even went a bit too fast. I couldnt believe how steep that drop was! Then there was the humongous air and the intense SPEED!!! THE BEST COASTER EVER BUILT!!!! MASTERPIECE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
This summer I decided that it was finally time to take a trip out to New Jersey and visit a park I had always wanted to check out, Six Flags Great Adventure. To be perfectly honest, although I don’t like to hype up rides or coasters (being that it can lead to disappointment), El Toro was the driving force that sent me East. When I saw the specifics released for this coaster, I simply decided that this was a MUST-RIDE!! I pondered to myself if it would live up to what I was expecting, and then as my trip approached, it became apparent that it might not matter what I expected, as Toro sat idly by unopened. Folks, it was approaching mid-June, and this beast was still sitting in the garage! I have my opinions on that matter, but those are park-related and not for a ride review.
During our first day at the park, El Toro sat closed, with an opening slated for the following week. My thoughts upon learning this were made famous by a Six Flags character – Yosemite Sam: "Razza, frazza, riggle, diggle, fraggle...." LOL Oh well, I guess pictures were the best I was gonna do. I was not the happiest of park-goers initially, but I made the best of it and enjoyed the other rides and coasters. Then, while in line for Kingda Ka, I saw it – the bull was out of his pen!!! A train full of riders hurtled down the first drop! Could it be?? Then the DJ announced the surprise – today was a soft opening! I bolted there as soon as I exited Kingda Ka, only to discover an estimated 4 HOUR wait!! (Thanks in large part to slow dispatches and single train operation) No thanks, I figured I’d roll the dice that El Toro would be open for day 2 at the park.
I got in line outside the actual queue entrance the next day for the slated opening of 1:30. It must be said here that the physical look of El Toro is stunning! This is one of the most magnificent looking coasters I have ever seen in person. While in line, I examined that first drop and it just towered into the air with that ridiculously steep angle! Ole!! I was READY! The train would fly by every few minutes and I started to realize that this coaster hauls some serious tail!! As a side note, I must comment that the coaster’s queue and general theming, I thought, was very well done. Nothing overkill, but just a perfect complementing Spanish flavor to the surrounding area. Frankly, overwhelming theme is not necessary on this, because this bull makes all the statement it needs to all by himself!!
And now, on to the ride itself. I’ve read the other El Toro reviews and I thought to myself, how can I say what I need to in my review without being overly redundant? It’s difficult, thanks to the many magnificent reviews that sit below mine here! Nice reviews, everyone!! Well kids, have you ever wondered what it’s like to be in a rodeo? You know, the kind with the maniacal bull that you’d swear is on speed because he has one sole purpose and it is to launch the bull-rider into orbit! I will tell you what – one of those bulls now sits in a pen in New Jersey, and every several minutes he saddles up 36 bull-riders with the same purpose – to hurtle every one of those lucky souls into outer space!! For my lone ride on this magnificent creation, I sat in the next to last row of the train. The ops certainly staple you into your seat, but believe me, this is absolutely necessary!!
The lift hill is amazingly quick (and quiet!), and before you know it, your turning around towards that sadistically wonderful first drop. I was apparently unaware of the apparent red cape that gets flashed in front of this bull, because once you drop, all you-know-what breaks loose!! The first drop is absolute world-class and feels almost straight down! The airtime going down the drop is SEISMIC!!! Even with the stapling, I was thrown from my seat before even starting down the drop and remained there throughout the ENTIRE plummet! Add the beautifully placed headchopper at the bottom, and folks, you’ve got a first drop to re
Line ups were a killer on the day that I was at the park. In 7 hrs my final ride count would only be 5. At the end of the day for ride 5, I had to choose between Kingda Ka and El Toro. Since I have ridden Top Thrill Dragster, I decided to ride El Toro.
Spending 2 hrs in the line up gives you an appreciation of this coasters physical attributes. Every couple of minutes you hear the train rumbling by. It sounds like a low flying jet fighter as it goes down the steep and huge first drop. However, this cannot prepare you for the ride experience itself. Day turned to night as I waited in line.
Finally, I make it to the ride and decide to ride the second last car to avoid some waiting time. The train practically jumps up to the peak of the first lift hill, its just that fast. Then you drop into one of the smoothest, fastest, airtime filled experiences that a wooden coaster has ever offered. Awesome ride at night. I need to get back next summer and get more rides on this coaster.
What can possibly be said about el toro that has not already? The relentless pacing, the otherworldy airtime, the lift with a speed of light velocity, the perilously steep drop, the dangerously close headchoppers that encourage even the most seasoned of thrill seekers to pull their hands down and ask, "Are those safe?", the crossover into rolling thunder (hidden air), the gs pulled during the final 1/3 of the ride (I actually felt the lower section of my vertebral column compress while sitting in the very last seat). Its all true and then some! I think the most unique feature of the ride is the way in which you are absolutely ripped over the crests and torn down the hills resulting in a complete ejection from your seat. How the train stays on its track is beyond my understanding of the physical world.
The most unfortunate aspect of el toro, (yes there is a downside) and this actually has nothing to do with the ride itself at the present time, is the fact that it was born to such an incapable parent as six flags. I am quite confident when I say this bull will not age with any king of dignity. I suspect future (3-5 years) rerides to drop current ratings by a minimum of 37.2%, but I am here to celebrate the present rather than to dismay the future, El Toro presently earns a 10 from me, but be forewarned.
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