Thunderation

Fact Sheet
Ride Type: Steel-tracked “Mine Train” Sit-down Roller Coaster
Year: 1993
Manufacturer: Arrow Dynamics
Height: 81′
Speed: 48 mph
Length:
 3022′
Height Requirement:
42 inches

 

ThuNderaTion is a classic Arrow “Mine Train” style roller coaster. Unlike Arrow’s previous mine train style coasters which feature mainly small hills and slight inclines, ThuNderaTion packs some serious speed a few sizable drops. As SDC’s first large coaster, ThuNderaTion is not only an old favorite but is also often a ride of choice for introducing riders to faster paced roller coasters.

ThuNderAtion has two trains: Beat up ole’ #7, and shiny new #13. Two of the cars on each train were switched around backwards for many years in order to add variety and choice to the experience, but were returned to the original design in 2011.  All cars now face forward.

 

Ride Experience:

The ride starts off with the train rolling out of the station into a downwards 180 degree turnaround. The train proceeds down a straight piece of track angled slightly downwards until it hits another turnaround which sends the train up another straight piece of track, this time angled upwards. From there riders are treated to a highlight of the ride: a massive helix. The train goes in an intense spiral, before shooting through a tunnel at the bottom. Riders emerge out of the tunnel on the other side of the hill, where the track dips and curves down a valley, speeding through the woods until the track circles around and comes into a small break run (brace yourself, the turn here’s a doosey). After the jarring turn, the track dips down into a small shack, from which the lift comes out the other side.

The lift seems to be purposefully slow in order to build up suspense over a large unseen drop. Indeed there is one, but not just yet. After cresting the lift, riders brace themselves for the assumed plunge, but after a short dip, are relieved to find only a turn and another straight piece of track. The relief doesn’t last long though, riders who have let their guard down are in for a surprise, as the train careens through a somewhat hidden sudden twisted dive. The train then coasts up and into the mechanical building, and then into the station again.

For an older Arrow coaster, this ride has held up pretty well, although there will often be some amount of roughness. The park’s continual work on re-tracking and adding new supports have helped the ride a lot, especially the final drop and afterwards.