[I posted this to CoasterBuzz Thursday... sorry for the late copy.]
Against my better judgment after checking the weather, I decided to make the trip to PKI for the media event. They sent me a remote control Mini, so it was the least I could do!
As is becoming habit for movie-themed rides, the park was shipping guests from the gate to the ride via limo. No, the bars weren't stocked. Approaching the ride, I was actually surprised at how much bigger it looks in real life. I honestly didn't have any expectations one way or another, so I was anxious to see what the ride was like.
There were three skydivers to begin the festivities. Two of the stunt drivers from the movie were there. There were some explosions from the new hydro seeded area, Jeff Siebert crawled out of a Mini, and finally people queued.
I sat in the second row. The launch is a very short stretch of track, and it accelerates much as you would expect a real car too, so it's not too intense. The helix into the parking garage was, however, more intense than I expected, and it's weird how it doesn't really feel like it slows down until the last 180 degrees or so.
The dive into the L.A. drainage system with the police cars is neat, but you go through it so quickly. The quick turn and the series of drops are neat, surprisingly with little pops of air all over the place. The drop through the subway stairs I don't quite get, because it's not entirely enclosed, and the stair step effect isn't there either.
Then it's up to the helicopter scene (with another pop of air). It's a neat break in the action. The sound here is not adequate. I'm not sure if it was supposed to be coming from the car or the scenery, but it needs to be louder.
The tunnel is cool, and I'm not entirely sure where it went. Sitting in the first car, I saw the reflection of the other two cars' headlights in the rear-view mirror. That was neat.
Finally there's the burst out of the billboard and into the water, and the sprayers were active. Good times.
When pulling back into the station, it was the first time I heard anything from the onboard speakers. The quality was terrible and if there was anything during the rest of the ride, I never heard it. I think that's something that really needs to be tweaked.
My overall impression? I love the ride. It's one of the only rides I can think of that I suspect will appeal to a huge range of people, from young kids to senior citizens. This is the perfect ride for a park looking to attract a diverse demographic. Well done.
A very nice catered lunch was served, and that's when the sky opened up with fury I've yet to see this year. A guy with radar on his phone showed it wasn't going to end any time soon, so I decided to buy a T-shirt and split.
On my way out, there was a track set up in the parking lot, where some serious drivers were time trialing in real Mini's. Wow. Those things corner on a dime at high speed even in the rain! I was in awe. I want one.
Anyway, great ride, and I'm excited for BeastBuzz. What a good time, and all smiles coming off the ride!