Today marked Season Passholder Preview day at Canada’s Wonderland, an annual right of passage that marks the official start of summer for theme park fanatics in Canada. Thousands of season passholders braved the chilly temperatures to brave the newest attraction for the 2012 season, Leviathan. Reaching a terror inducing 306 feet high, with over 5,400 feet of track and a top speed of 148km/h, Leviathan is B&M’s first coaster to reach over 300 feet high. It’s the third tallest traditional lift-style coaster in the world, after Steel Dragon in Japan and Millennium Force at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.
We have been counting down the days for the Sneak Preview, and finally got to ride this monster. We weren’t disappointed. Here’s our review of the ride, along with some pictures of the new merchandise offerings and general areas of the park:
When we got to Canada’s Wonderland at around 6:45 pm, we expected super long lines. After parking, we headed over to process our seasons passes. Leviathan stretches across the far right of the park all the way to the front island of trees and back. Sadly, what was once a quiet place to take a nice stroll has been taken over by the coaster. No word on whether you’ll be able to walk through this area again. Oh well, it’s worth losing that to gain a great ride.
We walked right in to the season pass centre, got our photos taken by a few cheery Wonderland employees and headed to the front gate. They added a new sign this year, and it looks fantastic. After going through the metal detectors (which in my opinion sets the wrong tone for a family park) we headed over to Leviathan. It was quite chilly, so maybe people didn’t want to brave the cold?
The park was dead. I expected it to be packed full of eager people excited to take part in the first day of operation. At the entrance of the ride, they’ve built a great fountain with a fantastic Leviathan sign that has mist coming out its mouth and eyes that light up at night. It serves a dual purpose as seating for non riders, and is a fantastic addition to the park. Great job with that!
As for the station, it’s a very sparse coaster station. It blends well with the surrounding buildings, but the transfer station is what stuck out like a sore thumb to me. It’s literally a metal shack painted the same aqua green as the track. Maybe I’m too picky, after all I’m a big fan of parks in Orlando.
We got into the line for Leviathan and waited maybe 20 minutes. It was fantastic! I noticed the line doesn’t seem to have a huge capacity at all. Maybe they have a hidden queue somewhere else, but as far as I could see there wasn’t. Lines may stretch out of the main entrance into temporary queues for a while. They were about halfway through installing the sun shades, which will help once it actually gets warm.
After going through the line, Lisa decided not to ride so she hopped over and out of the station while I got into the train. I must say, the seats fit like a glove. Super comfortable, with enough cushioning to feel like the seat was made just for me. The restraints are the super comfortable B&M hyper coaster cars (the same as on Behemoth), with just enough support to feel safe, yet open enough that you feel a bit of danger!
Ride capacity is impressive, the coaster has 3 trains with 32 seats each. That’s a lot of people per hour. It helps that they someone positioned to point people where to sit, making it much easier than the usual pick your own line. Everyone was super cheery, and there was a LOT of staff working. Many people we’re in training, but the load times were impressive and they worked like a well oiled machine.
One thing I truly appreciated was the guest interaction: they kept asking people to scream if they were excited about riding, and upon returning to the station asked how the ride was. It’s the little things like this that make the big difference.
So let’s get to the meat here: Upon departure from the station, excitement builds as you hit the lift. As you’re being lifted to the heavens, you wonder when you’ll reach the top. Now I’m a big coaster fanatic, but I was getting weak in the stomach as we went up the hill. I thought we we’re at the top about 2/3 of the way up, but we kept going. Finally reaching the top. looking to my right I could see all the way to the C.N. Tower and beyond. It’s that high!
As you plummet back to earth, you pass right through the area of the future tunnel that was announced last week. It’s still under construction as of today.
Here’s a very detailed description of the ride elements from Wikipedia:
“After departing from the station, the train makes a 180 degree turn to the right, then begins to climb the chain lift hill. Once the train reaches the top of the 306-foot (93 m) lift, the train drops back down to the ground on a 80 degree angle reaching speeds of up to 92 miles per hour (148 km/h). Following the first drop, the track curves upwards into a 164-foot (50 m)-tall overbanked banked turn to the right before dropping again and racing through a sweeping high-speed turn to the left at approximately 76 miles per hour (122 km/h). The exit of the first high speed turn leads directly into a 183-foot (56 m)-tall camelback, followed by a 147-foot (45 m)-tall, 115 degree hammerhead turn. Both of these elements exist above the guest parking lot and in front of the main entrance of the park. After exiting the hammerhead turn, the train entera a second high-speed curve this time at a speed of approximately 60 miles per hour (97 km/h). Then, the train traverses a smaller, 124-foot (38 m)-tall camelback leading towards the final element of the ride, a third high-speed turn. The turn bends to the left and leads directly into the brake run and into the station.“
The ride is amazing, fantastic and breathtaking. It’s an incredible addition to a great park. Each year since Cedar Fair bought Canada’s Wonderland, they have improved the park time and time again. Leviathan is the big brother to Behemoth, and it’s just the latest in world-class attractions that keeps this park fresh and exciting. It’s definitely worth a trip to ride this monster!
After riding Leviathan, we took a stroll around the park to check out everything else. It was very quiet, with many of the rides simply operating completely empty.
We peeked over the walls at Dinosaurs Alive!, which wasn’t open yet. That will be a topic we cover in a future blog. For $5, it looks like a great addition to the park, and for an additional $1 you can see the new Dinosaurs: Giants of the Patagonia 3D movie in the old Action FX theatre. Not a big fan of up-charge attractions, but this looks pretty decent.
We also rode the Ghoster Coaster, a must do attraction that’s hidden in the back of the park in the former Hannah Barbara Land, now called Planet Snoopy. We happened to bump into some Peanuts friends on the way.
I then hopped on Behemoth, which was great at night despite the very frosty temperatures. Lastly I went over to Leviathan for a “goodnight kiss” ride before we headed off.
Overall it was a fantastic evening, and I look forward to seeing all the new attractions and shows that we didn’t get to see tonight.
One new addition this year that I’m not a fan of is Fast Lane, essentially a paid version of the Disney Fastpass system. Allowing people to buy a ticket (in addition to the price of their admission) to skip the line at certain attractions. While Disney has this down to a science, it’s pretty new to Cedar Fair parks. It essentially makes the already long waits in the summer, longer for the “regular” people. It will be interesting to see the ratio of people they let in from the Fast Lane line, versus the regular line. They’ve already installed extra queue splitters to differentiate the lines.
That about wraps it up. Look for more coverage of Canada’s Wonderland real soon! We’ll be showcasing more park history, the brand new shows and a few other surprises along the way.
Let us know what you thought of our review by leaving a comment below!
BONUS: Check out some of the merchandise for Leviathan, plus a few other random items: