Canada's Wonderland drops record-setting dive coaster for 2019

August 15, 2018, 7:41 AM · Canada's Wonderland announced its new roller coaster for 2019 today (is National Roller Coaster Day one day earlier in Canada?) — a record-setting Bolliger & Mabillard dive coaster.

Yukon Striker will be the world's tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster when it opens next summer in the Toronto-area park. Featuring the requisite 90-degree drop, the ride will top out at 223 feet, diving 245 feet into an underwater mining shaft, for a twist on what's become a dive coaster-standard element. The ride also will feature four inversions, including a 360-degree loop, and a top speed of 80 mph.

Here's the concept POV:

The new coaster will give the park 17 roller coasters, by RCDB count, tying it with Cedar Point for the most coasters in the Cedar Fair chain. Who imagined that Cedar Point ever would share that coaster crown? Anyway, it appears that that Cedar Fair wants to make sure that the title of "Canada's Roller Coast" actually means something.

Is this one on your to-do list for 2019 or beyond? Tell us in the comments.

Replies (19)

August 15, 2018 at 9:56 AM

This is what a bulk of Valravn SHOULD have been, but instead Cedar Point's coaster doesn't have a single tunnel or even trench element to accentuate the speed of the coaster.

I really like the layout of the first half of this ride, especially how it integrates with Vortex (an old Arrow suspended coaster). The 4 inversions provide good variability, and differ enough in design and pattern to separate this from other B&M Dive Machines. However, the second half of the ride after the MCBR looks like such a waste. The train goes through the brake run and then doesn't even perform a second near-vertical dive (most other B&M dive machines have the drop after the MCBR at between 80-87 degrees). Not only that, the hill after the MCBR looks to be somewhere around 60 degrees, which would be fine as an airtime hill, except the MCBR scrubs all the speed from the train, meaning there's little opportunity to generate the velocity needed to give riders any sort of airtime on that hill. After that, it's just a lame flat turn that doesn't even look like it generates any positive g's (unlike the Carousel Turn on SheiKra). It's a HUGE missed opportunity there after a promising first-half layout.

As far as me getting there next year, it's probably not going to happen. We went to Toronto 4 years ago, and probably aren't due for another trip to Canada until after 2020 (it's a 10-hour drive for us with lots of other places higher priority than a return visit), so I'll just have to enjoy the US dive machines, including Griffon, which is only 2+ hours from my home.

August 15, 2018 at 10:57 AM

The above review is on target. Starts GREAT. Ends with a thud.

August 15, 2018 at 11:58 AM

I miss the days when Canada's Wonderland had stronger theming around their park. There's still the areas, but most of them are shells. They started strong with the Grand World Exposition, Medieval Faire, and Hanna-Barbara/Flintstones land - but they've become barely recognizable, cluttered with so many rides scrambling to find a place to put a support beam.

It was never Disney/Universal level of decoration, but it still had quite a lot of character.

When Paramount took over, the change to a "movie park" started off okay, but it never fully integrated into the place before Cedar Fair took over. Last time I was there, it just felt like a bit of a mish-mash of motifs amongst tracks and poles.

Of course, in exchange for any kind of theming, the number of impressive coasters and rides have gone up fantastically - and this Yukon Striker looks to continue that trend. I just miss some of the quality character the park used to have.

August 15, 2018 at 12:36 PM


August 15, 2018 at 12:55 PM

The mid course brakes are obviously there for the sole purpose of making the ride able to run three trains, same scenario as Gatekeeper where they put it as late in the ride as possible so the ride can maintain its speed and momentum up until the end.

Personally I think the ride looks fine and it will be a very popular addition for CW. When I went there when Behemoth was the new ride it was this huge park with a huge market, but lots and lots of crappy roller coasters. Cedar Fair has definitely been making quality additions with the 3 B&Ms and vastly improved this park.

Though the name is corny as hell, I get they wanted it to reflect Canada but just calling it Stryker or something would have been better for marketing IMO. "Hey guys, lets go ride the Yukon Striker!" lol.

August 15, 2018 at 1:11 PM

Totally agree with Russell - that mid-ride brake run just destroys the second-half of the ride. Dive coasters are fun, but honestly, once you've ridden one, you've ridden them all.

August 15, 2018 at 1:50 PM

I don't think the MCBR will have much impact on the ride experience b/c the ride is mostly over by the time the train reaches that point. Just timed it and it's less than 30 seconds from MCBR to end. The train takes almost an entire minute to reach the top of the lift hill so with a purported ride duration of 3:25 - this according to rcdb - minus the lift minus the time from MCBR to end, that leaves 1.95 during which the most interesting stuff happens. Anyway, there's a nice helix toward the end of the course. Altogether looking pretty good.

August 15, 2018 at 2:08 PM

I'm not disputing the need for an MCBR (clearly needed to increase the number of trains on the track at any given time to increase ride capacity). My issue is that the post-MBCR portion of the ride looks incredibly boring. At least all the other B&M Dive Machines have a near vertical drop and some other feature (inversion or splashdown) after the MCBR. This one has a nowhere near vertical drop (looks to be no steeper than 60-70 degrees), small airtime hill, and a 270-degree turn (I don't consider anything that doesn't make a full 360-degree rotation a "helix", sorry Bobby). It's a very mediocre ending compared to what appears to be a very solid first 2/3 of a ride. If B&M/CW couldn't come up with something interesting for the coaster to do after the MCBR, they should have just ended it there and added an extra block before the station so they can just stack extra trains (they're going to stack anyway just like Valravn does).

August 15, 2018 at 2:46 PM

Let's be honest here .... once you've been on one dive coaster, you've been on them all. Once you've sat in the front seat on one dive coaster, and dangled a few seconds over the edge .... you've sat in the front seat on them all. AT got it right first time with Oblivion ... dive down into a dark steaming pit, and then a quick 1/2 circle back to the station. If you've been on Valraven and/or Sheikra, then you've already been on Yukon Striker.

August 15, 2018 at 8:41 PM

I disagree, the MCBR isn't needed for a three train operation anymore for B&M coasters, look at Banshee. There are censors along the main chain lift to increase the speed (of train 2) once the previous train (train 1) is close to the first set of brakes at the end of the ride while the 3rd train is in the main station. Your clear to dispatch once the train mak3s it through the first inversion. Nevertheless, I look forward to riding YS next year.

August 15, 2018 at 9:37 PM

This looks like a good ride. It does not, however, look like a must hit ride for the well-traveled enthusiast. Sure, it has more to it than other dive coasters, but nothing the ride does is particularly is more or less a dive coaster drop and immelmann followed by a sequence of elements more typical of a regular B&M (which fits well at Canada's Wonderland since they lack a modern looping coaster). The ride is certainly good enough for me to make a return trip to Canada's Wonderland next time I'm in the region, but not good enough for me to plan a trip just for it (the Mack Launch at Carowinds, however, could wind up being a different story).

Also, for those complaining about a lackluster second half, keep in mind that dive coaster trains have a lot more drag than normal B&M trains and will probably burn most of their speed in the first half, so I doubt there's much more that could be done. Hopefully the extra length will allow them to run three trains efficiently (Cedar Point double-stacks Valravn more often than not).

August 16, 2018 at 9:33 AM

"Also, for those complaining about a lackluster second half, keep in mind that dive coaster trains have a lot more drag than normal B&M trains and will probably burn most of their speed in the first half, so I doubt there's much more that could be done."

Drag or not, it shouldn't significantly change the profile of the post-MCBR drop. Every other B&M Dive Machine (except for Oblivion) has a near vertical drop after the MCBR. Here, it doesn't look to be more than 70 degrees. What good is it to slow the train almost to a complete stop at the MCBR if you're just going to go down a "normal" hill? The whole appeal of Dive Machines (and their 2 or 3-row trains) is that slow teetering over the edge, obviously accentuated on the main drops with the chain drive. ShieKra (the second Dive Machine in the world after Oblivion) took the concept a step further by adding the near-vertical second drop (through a tower). Yukon Striker's second drop is less steep than the initial drops on Behemoth and Leviathan, and then what follows adds nothing to the ride experience. They could have at least done a slow roll or inline twist, or at the very least make that second drop near-vertical (or how about this, add a reverse chain drive after the MCBR so you get the teetering over the edge like what you get on the first drop). B&M really dropped the ball with this coaster's design post MCBR.

August 16, 2018 at 10:15 AM

The problem as I see it, is no one is prepared to make a new dive machine that isn't completely removed from what we already have. The now 8 across 3 row train (Oblivion is 8 x 2) is so set in stone, the dynamics of the ride are partially set by that. How about a 4x4 with a steep dive into a dark and winding cave-like area structure with the added twists and turns as you go thru. Yes, sure will be expensive, but as the stand-up coaster has ran it's course, then the dive machine will surely follow unless they start to do some serious out-of-box thinking. I was going to visit Canada's Wonderland in 2020 when I make my next trip to CP, but I can't see me doing more than a couple of rides on the striker. The longevity factor of any type of ride is down to what the re-ride value of it is, and so far as I can tell there aren't many dive machines out there that have people touting 1000's of rides on like a lot of the other more 'standard' coasters.

August 16, 2018 at 11:18 AM

"The problem as I see it, is no one is prepared to make a new dive machine that isn't completely removed from what we already have."

I don't think that's true, it's just that B&M is pretty set in their ways, and rightly so given their status within the industry as the pinnacle of reliability and design. They also have certain patents that limit what other coaster designers can do to emulate the Dive Machine experience. However, Gerstauler opened Hangtime this year, which is not formally called a "dive machine" but is most certainly a "dive coaster" with 4-across seating (in 4 rows). They have opened other similar diving coasters with different seating arrangements and designs, most notably Mystery Mine at Dollywood, which is part dark ride, part dive coaster.

I also think Sea World has played a part in this in signing their initial exclusivity agreement with B&M when they built SheiKra. No other park chain could build a B&M Dive Machine in North America for 5 years, and their 2 Busch Gardens parks benefited. Now as that exclusivity deal has expired, Cedar Fair probably signed a multi-coaster deal with B&M to catch up. However, it doesn't excuse the lazy design employed in the second half of Yukon Striker (or that awful name for that matter).

I agree that if you've been on one B&M Dive Machine, you've been on them all - the gimmick is that first drop, and everything that happens after that is lost in a blur of adrenaline. However, I do think B&M at least made an attempt to differentiate the Canada's Wonderland creation with some cool and unique elements through the first 2/3 of the course. They just didn't follow through with that creativity all the way to the end.

FWIW Makorider, Griffon is actually 10-across, and was the first floorless design, which was actually an afterthought after BGW asked for a higher capacity train than SheiKra. B&M was unable to delver the higher capacity without trimming some weight from the trains (thus eliminating the floor). B&M eventually adopted the floorless design across the board (and even retro-fitted ShieKra with floorless trains, which is why the station platform is a little different than other Dive Machines) because of the success of Griffon.

August 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM

I tend to agree that once you've been on a B&M dive coaster you've pretty much been on all of them, which is why I don't get too excited about them. Rode Valravn last month during a trip whose primary purpose was to experience Steel Vengeance mainly b/c it was there and meant a coaster credit. As to what Makorider said about Oblivion, I find it interesting that at 4.5, Oblivion has the highest G-force of any I've ridden. Sheikra, Griffon and Valravn are at 4.

August 16, 2018 at 1:21 PM

BGW is on my list for next year, so I'll see how Griffon pans out. I really liked Oblivion, and considering the number of people who were lining up to ride it, I wasn't alone in that thought. AT really shaped the roller coaster landscape in many, and beneficial, ways. Russell ... great information as always. How about this for an idea .... a dive coaster at Star Wars land in DHS ... replicating the attack on the death star at the end of the original Star Wars ... imagine twisting and turning, maybe at 90deg thru narrow openings (a la gatekeeper keyholes ?) then diving-in to make that final shot .. Fun coaster :)

August 16, 2018 at 2:04 PM

The day Disney installs a B&M Dive Machine is the day I call Disney Springs a theme park.

August 16, 2018 at 11:35 PM

Russell, the extra drag through such a long track length results in less energy by the time the ride reaches the MCBR, which means the height is a lot shorter. Based on the animation, I would estimate the height of the MCBR on this ride to be only 70-80 ft tall, while the other dive coasters have room for a 130+ ft drop off their MCBR (which, if I remember correctly, B&M said is the shortest they can do for a true vertical drop). The curvature at the top of the drop is just as sharp as on the others, hence the need for an extreme slowdown, but there simply isn't enough height for the drop to be any steeper given the minimum curvature the trains can navigate. Is it the best way to finish the ride? Maybe, maybe not, but I'm sure a vast majority of riders will be completely okay with it.

August 17, 2018 at 8:22 AM

I see where you're coming from AJ. That certainly makes reasonable sense. If that was the main design consideration then (can't create a near-vertical drop because of the max curve radius of the train carriages and lower MCBR height), then they probably should have just gotten rid of the MCBR altogether. Leviathan is one of the best giga-coasters on the planet and doesn't have an MCBR. The park is able to run 3 trains on that with minimal stacking.

I agree that most people won't care, but from a coaster fan's perspective, the MCBR and design following it here really drags this down.

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