50 years of coasters – 1993
1993 looks just like 1992, but without the legends and lack of luck. In other words, lots of not much, then a couple of bangers to finish. Oh well, we’re committed now, and at least we can say B&M are finally on the upwards helix.
We begin again with something really exotic, another Vekoma Boomerang, in cheery Cleethorpes. This park sadly met its demise at the end of the 2016, the only real losses being in their dark ride game. The coaster itself got sold on, finding a new home in Bali, Indonesia, where it now sits proudly on a roof, so that’s nice.
For 2 years in a row a Tivoli Medium makes the cut and that’s more a comment on their quantity rather than their quality. This park needs a lot of support right now, or they’ll go the same way as Pleasure Island above. Save the Ultimate! Plus, you can still ride this one.
Two entries! Obviously this park also opened as a whole in 1993, with a handful of fresh coasters alongside Alton Tower’s relocated 4 Man Bob which has almost visited more parks across the UK than I have. Mini Mine Train was a Vekoma Junior, the 207m model to be specific, and one of the earliest installations of yet another of the manufacturer’s worldwide hits. There’s now 28 of this length alone out there! This particular piece of hardware also lives on in Central Java, Indonesia (same buyer), though it only resides inside of a building as opposed to on top.
If it’s good enough for Cleethorpes, it’s good enough for Disneyland. Four more of an identical layout were sold the very same year and this one of course ended up as the most intricately decorated of the bunch. I understand that Disney just want some reasonably priced hardware to turn into a family friendly experience of their own quality, but it’s a little disenchanting to me knowing it’s just not that special. Don’t let that sentiment rub off on yourself though.
To the same end, the follow up coaster for Paris left a little to be desired in the hardware department. It was a bewildering setup, paying a high end manufacturer (Intamin) to build a low end layout (Pinfari TL-59) ((guess what!? Pleasure Island also had one of these!)) and then chucking it in a temple. The theming obviously glams it up a lot and the attraction even had the extra appeal of operating backwards for a while, but there’s little that can be done to disguise the sub-par ride experience, particularly when compared to the park’s winning entry of the previous year.
And so, just for that transgression, I’m going to put the adorable Sphinx above anything Disney accomplished this year. Sometimes you just don’t have to try so hard and it all comes together in a far more pleasing manner. The train, the tunnel, the station, the terrain – it has more than I could ever need from a coaster.
Himeji Central Park
#4 Labyrinth – Himeji Central Park (Japan)
Elsewhere in Japan, a certain zoo was embarking on expanding their ride lineup in a big way. They’d served almost ten years with just the above pictured Jet Coaster before decided to go for a Meisho Mini Coaster, a wonderful wild mouse style coaster that leans heavily on the wild half of the name. I only wish I was more thorough with this photo-documenting business.
Top three and we’re still on Vekoma Juniors – oops. 13 years prior in these lists we saw my winner of 1980’s coaster of the year, Nessie. It got bonus points for interacting with a nearby family coaster and that was cheating, because Nessie’s best buddy Rasender Roland didn’t open until 1993. Bonus points are going to be handed out again today as I just love this moment of interaction between the two rides, having experienced it on both sides in spectacular fashion – they actually go out of their way to achieve it too. Roland also has an entirely custom design layout to suit, Disney.
1992 was the year of the first B&M Invert ‘Batman Clone’ at Six Flags Great America, but my earliest ridden version so far is this one at fellow park Six Flags Great Adventure. Subtle differences. The chain loved them so much that they ended up buying another 8 of them over a 16 year period and distributing them across most of North America (just the 1 for Europe) and it’s easy to see why. The layout is both compact and highly thrilling as well as being a real gamechanger of its era. It seemed like the stand ups weren’t doing very well, but ‘danglefoots‘ were becoming the new big thing and every major thrill park would race to get one to compliment their lineup over the next decade or so.
But the actual sequel to OG Batman was this bad boy. Another custom layout that was just as viciously intense in its own way. It began life themed to Top Gun, eventually abandoning the franchise and now looking as crude as anything, except it doesn’t matter. Flight Deck features some wicked elements including a strangely positioned upwards helix out of the initial loop and a masterfully positioned (over water) upwards helix out of the snappy final corkscrew.
Onwards and upwards!
So, possible contenders for the 1993 top spot:
Sticking with B&M first, they were simultaneously expanding their portfolio of intense looping coasters with a more traditional ‘sit down’ model this year, beginning with a certain iconic coaster by the name of Kumba. I’m still yet to try the legend for myself and I’d guess that it probably has the best chance of any.
Top Gun fever hit the whole of the states as there was an also an Arrow Suspended by the same name that opened over at Kings Island. Again it ended up being renamed to Flight Deck, although these days it goes by just Bat. I still haven’t ridden enough of these (and the options are running dry) to really get a feel for what they can do, so they continue to intrigue me (and make these lists).
CCI were going bigger and more ambitious after their 1992 debut, I’ve had mixed results with the now devolved manufacturer so far, but Outlaw could yet surprise me.
Was this yet another good year for Arrow? Canyon Blaster looks like a blast if only for the unique indoor setting, Thunderation seems to be regarded as their Mine Train A-game and this ridiculous looking thing decided not to open for us back in 2018 because of a spot of rain… almost had it.
Another revenge quest for me would be getting Surf Coaster Leviathan which again, closed, rain, same trip. I do love a bit of Togo, a bit of Jet Coaster and bit of a unique location – maybe I’ll come back with an important update one day.
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