jzarley Posted May 21 Share Posted May 21 In full disclosure, I worked for SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment previously, but this is from the standpoint of a coaster/park lover—so, no bias as a former employee intended. First off, let me also say that my least favorite coaster type is without a doubt the B&M standup. I think I’ve given the model a fair shake, and rode different ones whenever I had the chance-thinking maybe some day I’d actually like one. But after Mantis, Iron Wolf, Chang, Vortex (Carowinds) and probably a few I’ve forgotten about, no such luck—I hated every single one of them. Years ago, I actually liked King Cobra at KI, so have pretty fond memories of the Togo standup. (Although, I wonder if I’d still hold that opinion if I could ride one today…) So, I was less than enthused when I found out SeaWorld Orlando’s new coaster was going to be a new model of B&M standup. But, I’m pleased (and a little surprised to say) that this new breed of B&M standup is a pretty good coaster! Visuals & Layout: Pipeline is built at the very edge of the park alongside the parking lot—just feet from the fence. It encompasses the front of the park space from the front gate thru the old festival area heading toward Ports of Call. The placement is pretty good, because the coaster action is clearly viewable as you’re entering the park and from the parking lot. I had heard rumors that the original plan was for a longer coaster that would extend over the entrance, with a new gate being built to accommodate it (ala GateKeeper at CP) but that plan died in budget cuts (and, knowing how this capital spending funding works—doesn’t surprise me a bit!). It’s an attractive coaster, and it’s placement is good for building excitement as guests enter the park. The Trains & “Seating”: Of course, there’s not really “seating” since it’s a standing coaster, but obviously you are secured into the train. The “saddle” (I guess that’s the best term) looks pretty similar to the other B&M stand ups, kind of like a bicycle seat with about the same level of comfort (so, not terribly comfortable, but ok). The main thing I hated about the other stand-ups was the head banging from the OTSRs. Pipeline has resolved this by having a hard plastic vest (kind of similar to Banshee or GateKeeper, except it drops over your head instead of connecting two sides in front). There’s still OTS bars to hold onto, but they’re so far from your head there’s no danger of banging against it. The vest was a little tight, especially around the collarbone. I’m not a particularly large person (5’8” and 160lbs or so), so don’t know how the vests would feel on larger body types. The trains are unique because they’re perfectly flat with no edges—I was surprised at what a visual difference that would make in the ride experience. The really unique difference in these trains compared to the old standup models, is the vertical movement of the seats. Once you’re locked in, your seat has an up and down range of motion of about 4” or so—that movement plays a big role in the ride experience later on. Ride Experience: Short answer-it’s fun! I’ve complained recently that it seems like every new coaster is launched and the traditional lift hill was disappearing. But, despite my Gex X old guy complaints, a launch works really well in a stand up! The launch is fast and occurs before you’re expecting it. After the launch you hit a “bunny dip” before ascending the first hill. The dip really gives you a preview of the airtime to expect for the rest of the ride-and there’s a lot of it. I never thought “airtime” and “stand-up” would be terms used in the same description, but the airtime is what really makes this coaster stand out. At least four times during the ride course, my feet completely left the floor—that’s a really cool feeling on a coaster. The pacing of the ride is good—quick and disorienting with equal mixes of positive and negative Gs. I’ve read some complaints about people saying the ride is too short. It is short, but I didn’t think it felt overly so (no more than pretty much any other coaster). Misc. Operations & Stuff: Pipeline only runs a two train operation, and there was almost always one stacked or in the station. It *felt* like a really slow loader, but I timed several dispatches and it was consistently 01:30-01:50 dispatch times—so not horrible. But, it just felt really slow. I think operationally, it would have improved throughput a lot if there there would have been a separate unloading station, instead of unloading/loading in the same spot. Of course, that would have increased the staffing needed—and, again understanding the thought that goes into labor costs & planning at SEAS, it’s not a big surprise it wasn’t done this way. The ride theming was pretty much non-existent, which is sad because the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens parks used to do a pretty admirable job with this. But, after Ice Breaker and Pipeline, I’d say that Cedar Point actually puts more effort into ride theming than SWF does now (and that’s a sad thing to say about a theme park in Orlando!). All-in-all, I definitely rank Pipeline as my #2 favorite coaster at SWF now (after Mako—which IMHO is an under-appreciated masterpiece!). If you’ve always despised stand-up coasters like me and find yourself in Orlando, give Pipeline a chance. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised! 6 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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