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Worlds of Fun debuts its new GCI roller coaster, Prowler

By James Rao
Published: May 1, 2009 at 10:46 PM
Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Missouri, opened the gates on their newest coaster, a Great Coasters International, Inc., wooden beast called Prowler. The event was a Season Passholder preview, scheduled on Friday, May 1, 2009, from 3 PM to 8 PM CDT.

I had heard rumors about a savage beast in the area and headed out to investigate. I arrived at site of the beast's last known location, a sense of trepidation heavy in my soul. I gathered a safari together and we headed out into the wild to brave the beast known only as Prowler.

My nervousness grew as I realized the military was also on hand guarding the local population against the beast.

We saw one of the Prowler's first victims limping into view, the military closing in, trying to provide assistance.

Despite our fear, we pushed onward, a soldier moving in to warn us of our impending doom.

However, it was too late for us; our safari was already leaving the station. I assumed my position in the back of the convoy.

The Prowler slowly drew us in, toying with us, as it lifted us 100 feet into the air.

The Prowler tossed us around and we spiraled down attaining speeds of over 50 miles per hour.

The savagery of the beast was unexpected as we crossed over its trail and fled into the heart of darkness.

I started to black out at this point, and the next two minutes of my life were a blur as the Prowler nimbly chased us, hugging the terrain, banking ever so quickly from the left to the right, swerving effortlessly, leaping up, and pouncing down with a grace and savagery previously unseen in these parts.

Toward the end of our flight, a ray of hope broke through my despair and it seemed we just might escape with our lives intact. One quick banking curve to the right, and we could see the safety of base camp ahead.

Some of us cheered as we returned to safety, others bowed their heads and offered thanks to whatever deity had protected them this day.

Those who survived the excursion were better for it, and joined together around a campfire, eating and drinking with gusto and verve. We had lived to fight another day.

But our celebration was tainted, as we all knew that somewhere, out there in the wild, a beast was still waiting... lurking... ready to strike at a moment's notice.

The Prowler is on the loose!

I had a great time at the Season Passholder preview, and a great time riding Prowler. The coaster is smooth as silk, and fast as lightning. It hugs the terrain and turns on a dime, sweeping through the course effortlessly. While Prowler is not the longest, fastest, or best wooden coaster I have ever ridden (The Voyage at Holiday World still holds that honor), it is an excellent ride and further evidence that Great Coasters International, Inc., is simply the best wooden coaster maker in the world. Kudos to Worlds of Fun for their latest addition to the park!

Readers' Opinions

From James Rao on May 2, 2009 at 4:29 AM
Thanks, Robert, for posting my report, and indulging my theme park geekiness! ;) I may not be traveling to Orlando or Ohio this year, but at least there is something fresh, exciting, and fun to hang my hat on right here in my hometown. I am looking forward to some nice, warm, summer nights riding Prowler!
From 72.241.15.234 on May 2, 2009 at 4:46 AM
Looks like a great coaster and fun ride!
From Jeff Carroll on May 2, 2009 at 5:33 AM
James, Great seeing you and your family at the event. I share your enthusiasm for this great coaster and I look forward to many years of fun on the hunt for Prowler.

I was able to ride Prowler three times, back, middle and front. In my opinion the front offered the most intense ride action. The speed going into the bumps and turns seems to slightly more pronounced in the front seat. I counted 15 times where I came out of my seat. In some cases just slightly lifting off the cushion, but in several cases I achieved full air extending through several bumps and turns.

I have posted pictures here

From Jeff Carroll on May 2, 2009 at 6:03 AM
A couple of other thoughts about Prowler. I love the way WOF used the terrain and location in the park to make the experience interesting and somewhat immersive, at least by WOF standards. They clearly put effort into this.

First, to get to Prowler you cross under the railroad bridge on a trail through a wooded area. It feels like you are removed from the rest of the park. They also cleaned up the entire area with new paint, sineage, fencing and pathways. It all feels new and fresh.

Second, they at least attempted to carry out an African theme. While it felt like the designers did not actually travel to Africa for inspiration, they at least took a taxi across town to visit the African section of the zoo. The mural on the photo booth wall, the music, and the landscaping were all nicely done. They still have a little work to do on the north side of the ride que which still looks like a construction site. Hopefully they will finish it.

Third, I liked the way the train wraps around the ride. It should offer some interest both to the Prowler and the train ride. The site selection could not have been better.

In my opinion the African section of WOF has not been this good since they closed Zambezi Zinger.

From Robert Miller on May 2, 2009 at 7:44 AM
James, great report and photos. Proud to say that Great Coasters International is about 20 miles from my home. Fantastic company and crew? Have been on several of their coasters, and have enjoyed them very much. But will have to wait to ride The Prowler on that final trip west. :)
From 68.93.194.117 on May 2, 2009 at 11:07 AM
The Prowler is insane!!!!Its awsome!!!Make sure you you ride THE PROWLER.
From Eli Katzman on May 2, 2009 at 12:28 PM
Very creative!
From Robert Niles on May 2, 2009 at 5:47 PM
Thanks to James and everyone else for commenting. It's great to get such solid coverage from readers, when I can't get around the country to cover openings. We're all loving the reports. Thanks again.
From Joshua Counsil on May 2, 2009 at 6:36 PM
Great pictures. Looks very fun.
From James Rao on May 2, 2009 at 8:30 PM
Good stuff, Jeff. Thanks for going into the details of the ride and theme. I agree with you wholeheartedly, Worlds of Fun did about as good a job with this attraction as I could have hoped. I know we will never get Disney-style immersion and theming at Worlds of Fun, but as long as they put as much care and attention into their future attractions as they have with Prowler, I for one will be very satisfied.

To everyone else, thanks for the feedback, and for humoring me my lengthy posts over the last few weeks. I have about spent myself, and will be moving back into the background of TPI where I belong.

I look forward to all the other trip reports and ride opening reviews in the coming weeks (especially Manta & RRR!). Keep them coming gang... I expect to be reading about a lot of fun times at parks across the nation!

From Todd Houts on May 4, 2009 at 6:35 AM
James,

Thanks for the report. I wasn't able to make the four hour (round trip) journey to WOF this weekend, but I really appreciate the virtual trip you've provided me. And considering I'm using the brief good weather Missouri offers in the spring to do some major lawn projects, probably won't make it until daily operations begin.

Off the subject: thanks for the great Silver Dollar City report too. Makes me long for a trip down there again.

From Eli Katzman on May 4, 2009 at 12:25 PM
Robert, I will snap IF SFA ever has another coaster... I'll have it covered by the night of opening day for it... but I have NO clue when that will be.
From Brian Emery on May 5, 2009 at 6:15 AM
I Love a good Woody!!!
hahahahaha
Interpretation is in the eyes of the reader…
From 97.116.164.188 on May 6, 2009 at 11:40 AM
Not as good as Renegade
From 204.77.41.76 on May 7, 2009 at 12:33 PM
Renegade is better and longer

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