I had the chance to ride Pipeline tonight.
The queue is pretty much what you would expect from 2020's era Sea World/Busch Gardens. There is some light theming (like sand around parts of the queue) and there is beachy music playing but not much other than that. It is presentable certainly nothing to complain about.
One thing I found funny is the rides exit store is called "High Surf" which was supposed to be the name of the ride, but the day before the planned announcement they ended up having to announce the park was closing for Hurricane Ian so they delayed the ride announcement. Then when Orlando flooded for over a week they decided High Surf was not appropriate and changed the name to Pipeline.
Anyway they were having major problems with the restraints which made dispatch times atrocious. The train would come in and it seemed like at least every other train someone would get stuck, they kept having to lock/unlock/push down/pull up and they just kept doing it over and over until eventually it worked and the person could get off. This took several minutes each time and it kept happening over and over. Then after the gates opened and everyone loaded on they kept having to recheck a bunch of seats. The operator would call out which seats needed to be rechecked and they would go do that, then another one would have to be rechecked, and it kept happening over and over. I know rechecking seats is common with B&M flyers as sometimes the pins aren't all the way in, but that wasn't what was going on here, this was really bizarre and it slowed down dispatches a lot. The employees weren't even moving slow they were just having a lot of problems with the restraints. Obviously the ride is brand new so I hope this is having to work the bugs out and they are able to fix it.
Also restraints have RFID scanners on the side of them that the employee has to scan with their key card every time they check a restraint. I have never seen this on any coaster.
Regarding the restraints, they are by far the worst thing about this ride. I'm 5'10 with broad shoulders and when I pulled down the restraints just a little the vest was already pressing down on my shoulders. Obviously I can't ride like that so I when I pulled the restraint down all the way the vest crushed my shoulders and it was very uncomfortable. The good thing is the vest doesn't lock like the flyers, but it was still pinning me down on my shoulders the whole ride and was painful. This is definitely not a coaster you want to be stacked on, not only because of the Florida sun (brake run is not covered) but also because the restraint is pinning your shoulders down the whole time. I have ridden Banshee and don't remember that being a major issue (though that was years ago so maybe I just don't remember).
The ride itself was more intense than I was expecting. The launch was pretty slow but the inversion was good and the helixes were actually very forceful, even though it looks slow it did feel more like an old school B&M with rapid-fire elements and intensity which was a huge surprise. However, there is definitely already a rattle (I rode in the middle of the train), and although I wouldn't say it took much away from the ride now, if it gets worse it definitely will.
Regarding the bouncing seats they did definitely make the standing element more enjoyable. I think if you become an experienced rider you can get some decent airtime if you know when to take your feet off the ground, I only rode once and got a pop or two of air. However, like I said i'm 5'10, and the seats only bounce up so high. So I remember one distinct point during the ride where the seat bounced up as high as it could go and I hit the top of my shoulders because it couldn't go up any more and it was pretty jarring (it wasn't terrible, but obviously not preferable).
So is Pipeline a good addition to Sea World? Ehh...probably not. The good news is that the ride is an intense old school B&M with good positive G's and some decent pops of airtime because of the bouncing seat thing. The bad news is the restraints are awful (a huge L for the surf coaster model) and it ruins the ride for tall people. I think its better than the old standups like Iron Wolf and Vortex but if I had to pick my favorite standup it would probably still be Riddler's Revenge (though I will admit, I like many of the old B&M inverts more than Banshee).
IMO its unquestionably the 4th best coaster in the park.
EDIT: I know people are going to say the 4th best coaster at SWO still makes it a good coaster and therefore it is a good addition, however I would say for the amount of prime real estate this ride takes up in such a landlocked destination cash cow park, and the fact that it is featured prominently at the parks entrance, taking all this into consideration is why I don't think its worth it. The space could have been used on something that would be more marketable and a bigger draw.Tweet
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