For the first of many In-Depth Coaster reviews, we have Knott’s Berry Farm’s Xcelerator!
Statistics-According to RCDB
Length: 2,202 ft
Height: 205 ft
Speed: 82 mph
Max Vertical Angle: 90°
Max Acceleration: 0 – 82 mph in 2.3s
Elements: Hydraulic Launch
Top Hat – Outside
Capacity: 1,330 riders per hour
First Impressions are very important to get people wanting to use their time for this certain attraction. The first thing you see is the giant Top Hat reaching 205′ into the air. It appears much taller in person and looks quite intimidating for many first timers. I remember being ten and having a season pass. I would pass up riding it for a good portion of that year. Finally got the courage to ride it later in that season.
Second thing you’ll see (and hear) is Xcelerator blasting out of the station at 82 MPH. Watching it launch is much worse than seeing how high the top hat is.
The ride is themed to 50’s/early 60’s Hot Rods. The has no real theming other than the trains which are really well done! They resemble old Chevy’s.
The entrance is located in a weird location. The first thing you’ll see is the station which has an entrance looking sing infront. You’d thing that’s the entrance, but nope! It’s all the way on the other side hidden between a bathroom and gift shop under the top hat. The sign itself is pretty cool, but nothing super fancy.
The queue is not special in many aspects. You do get amazing views of the coaster from it though.
The station has a very cool retro look but is a bland. Also each row fits 4 even though it’s 2 people per row. This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen. So if you wait for the front your odds are 50/50 that you’ll get the front. Good chance you get left with row 2.
Seats, Trains, and Restraints
The seats are quite open with a very tall headrest. The trains are very well themed! But restraints could be better. They are standard Intamin T-bars which aren’t bad by any means, but they do limit your leg room and you kinda need to spread your legs out.
The operations on Xcelerator are terrible. Usually one train with very slow employees.
This coaster uses a hydraulic launch system. Pressure is build up by fluid in accumulators. Once ready to launch the pressure is released and the cable winch at the end of the launch way spins at high velocity. Three cables are attached to the winch. Two are for pulling it forwards and the third is for pulling it backwards back into launch position.
At the end of the launch, magnetic brakes help stop the catch car. It’s pretty much the brakes that stop the ride itself. Speaking of those, the launch way has two rows of magnetic brakes. They are lowered seconds before launch and then activate after the train has passed the brakes.
The actual launch itself is quite strong. Currently the strongest launch I’ve experienced. Hopefully soon to be Dodonpa in 2017 for me. It’s just almost full speed before even leaving the station. If not prepared, it WILL take your breath away!
The next part of the ride is the Top Hat which you probably hit about 3 seconds into the ride. It takes till half way up the Top Hat to realize what is actually happening. The launch is so intense that you kinda blank out in those 3 secs. It’s hard to decipher what is going one till half way up the top hat. When you hit the 90° vertical twist, the lateral G’s push you to your left. Than you’ll have to quickly brace for a good 4-5 secs of sustained ejector airtime. Granted, this airtime isn’t extremely strong such as rides like Maverick at Cedar Point, but it gets the job done. Then you come down the top hat with another vertical twist. That drop is awesome in the back!
Coming out of the top hat, you go into a high G Overbank which has made me black out numerous times. I do though have low blood pressure, so I’m prone to blacking out easier, so most may not black out. Just saying I do though since this is all based after my experiences.
Coming out of the first Overbank, you kind just cruise straight for a good deal of time. This kinda bugs me, because the first 3 parts of the ride are extremely intense, then to just go into a bland and almost complete straight away!?!? You go from insane G-Force to forceless real quick.
I’m a fan of the final overbank. I found this one to be pretty forceless as well. Pretty lame ending if you ask me. I mean Intamin is known for great ending to rides! Look at Millennium Force, Maverick, and even Green Lantern: First Flight! Xcelerator does not hold up!
Nothing too special about this brake run. Just standard magnetic fins. The stop is a tad too hard, but not bad by any means.
Xcelerator isn’t incredibly smooth believe it or not. It’s glass smooth for like a week after a train got refurbished, but they they get pretty rough, really quickly. I can compare the feeling of it to be like Apocalypse at Magic Mountain.
With the many times I’ve ridden this coaster, I can say for sure that it’s currently the best at Knott’s and is currently my #10 coaster. The launch is very intense, the top hat provides good airtime, and the first overbank is very forceful. The ride has some low points, but overall not complaining too much. The brakes are a bit hard, but still not really complaining. Overall it’s a must ride if you’re in Cali and I’m glad to have it only 50 mins away me!
Overall Score: 8.5/10*