Hersheypark. In that context, this coaster is of some historical significance.GCI (Great Coasters International) has produced some remarkable coasters over the years. Several which immediately come to mind – thinking of those I’ve actually ridden – are Mystic Timbers at Kings Island, Thunderhead at Dollywood, and Wicker Man at Alton Towers. The very first GCI coaster to open in the USA, however, is none other than Wildcat at
Wildcat opened in May of 1996 in the Midway America section of the park. It’s a massive structure whose modest stats belie its appearance. Standing 106 feet tall and featuring an 85.2 foot drop, it boasts 3,183 feet of track. It originally operated with PTC (Philadelphia Toboggan Company) trains which were later replaced with GCI’s Millennium Flyer trains. I never rode it in its heyday so have no basis for comparison but by all accounts it was well past its prime.
Wildcat is going for its last ride on Sunday, July 31. It’s always sad to see a coaster reach the end of its lifespan, and as an aficionado of wooden coasters, I felt compelled to go for one last spin.
So how was the ride? I wish that I could say fine and dandy but in actuality my reaction can best be summed up as yikes, this is rough! Mercifully, it doesn’t throw you around; it’s more a case of shake, rattle and roll. You can feel each and every vibration as the train clatters around the track. And you thought that Mean Streak was bad?
So once last rites are administered, what will the park do with Wildcat? Scrap it or bring in RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) to do what they did with the original Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (another GCI coaster)? It will be interesting to see what happens. If ever there was a candidate for the RMC treatment, Wildcat is it.
And BTW, Hersheypark has one other GCI coaster, Lightning Racer, which works like a charm.
Let's go for a final ride on Wildcat:
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