Location: Knott’s Berry Farm, CA
Opening Year: 2002
Built By: Intamin A.G.
Top Speed: 82 MPH
Height: 205 feet
Xcelerator, built by Intamin A.G. of Switzerland, is our first Roller Coaster of the Day.
Intamin has been a powerhouse in the roller coaster industry for decades. They were the first to harness the power of magnets to launch roller coaster trains; with their LSM technology (Linear Synchronous Motors), they developed the first roller coaster to break the 100 MPH speed barrier.
They were also behind the development of the “river rapids”-style attraction, where guests board circular rafts that are allowed to drift freely along a channel, encountering rapids and obstacles along the way.
In 2002, Intamin debuted their next-generation launch technology that used hydraulic power to launch roller coaster trains. It was more efficient than using magnets, and provided a faster rate of acceleration. The coasters that used this hydraulic launch system were dubbed “Accelerator” coasters.
Xcelerator was the prototype.
Put simply, Xcelerator is one hell of a ride.
The trains – magnificent 20-seater replicas of Chevrolet Bel-Airs – are beautiful, and they negotiate the twisted coral-pink track as if it were doing a ballet. As you sit down in one of the comfy seats and lower your lap bar, your attention couldn’t help but be drawn to a racetrack-style Christmas light countdown gauge. Red, yellow, then…
See that, ladies and gentlemen?
That little thing is 205 feet high. Whoo-ee. Over 200 feet straight up, 200 feet straight down. The “airtime” – enthusiast jargon for when your sweet little behind is lifted up out of your seat by what can only be called angels’ little hands – at the top of the “top hat” (another enthusiast jargon for this kind of element) is surreal, heavenly, and downright orgasmic. And on windy days, you can even see it swaying a little!
As a prototype, of course, its design had to be limited. After the top hat element, Xcelerator has precious little else to offer. A couple of swooping overbanks, then the train hits the brakes.
The entire experience is a little less than 20 seconds long.
But, good lord, what an experience it is.