Hersheypark's new Wildcat's Revenge vindicates expectations

June 1, 2023, 11:06 PM · Wildcat, Great Coasters International's first coaster, opened at Hersheypark in 2006 and became a popular attraction. As has been the case with innumerable wooden coasters, it became increasingly rough over time, and it went for its last ride in July of last year. [See GCI's first coaster goes for its last ride this weekend.] Coaster enthusiasts were hopeful that Wildcat would receive an RMC (Rocky Mountain Construction) makeover, and four months later their hopes were realized.

In November of 2022, Hersheypark announced the birth of Wildcat’s Revenge, a four-inversion hybrid coaster featuring 3,510 feet of RMC’s iconic I-Box track. On the day before the media preview, I drove around to make certain that I’d be able to locate the employee entrance the next day and discovered that the coaster is adjacent to it. What a gorgeous sight!

Wildcat’s Revenge

More Wildcat’s Revenge

Located in the Midway America section of the park, Wildcat’s Revenge reaches a maximum speed of 62 mph and operates with three trains (only two were running during the media preview), accommodating 24 riders in six cars seating two across in two rows each. The restraint consists of a lap bar with shin guard plus seatbelt. For maximum efficiency there are separate areas for loading and unloading. The only thing which hasn’t changed is the long walk from the entrance to the loading station.

Wildcat’s Revenge station

After dispatch, the train goes over some small dips, which I like to think of as hip hops, on a section of twisty track before ascending a 140- foot chain lift hill and hurtling down an 82-degree drop. It then goes up into what has been billed as the world’s largest underflip, basically a 270-degree roll. This is followed by an airtime hill and left-banked turn, which leads into a straightaway and zero-G stall. Curving right, the train traverses a couple of airtime hills before entering a zero-G roll. The course features nice banking throughout and includes a second zero-G roll. I was struck by the fact that Wildcat’s initial drop was preserved although it comes at a different point in the ride.

Wildcat’s Revenge track

More Wildcat’s Revenge track

So how was the ride? In a word, wild! The intensity was relentless and the pacing was spot on. I enjoyed it from beginning to finish.

The fact that the ascent of the lift hill has a couple of jerky pauses (like Mystic Timbers at Kings Island and Wicker Man at Alton Towers) is a nice touch. I found the zero-G rolls more thrilling than the underflip. As to how Wildcat’s Revenge compares to other RMC makeovers, I would have to say that it’s not on quite the same level as Steel Vengeance or Iron Gwazi, mainly because the raw material simply wasn’t there.

However, it’s still a phenomenally good coaster and a great addition to Hersheypark. The RMC it most closely resembles structurally is Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England, but Wildcat’s Revenge is bigger and better. Darren Torr, CEO of RMC, was on hand and introduced himself to me, saying he’d like to hear what I thought of it, but I hadn’t yet had an opportunity to ride and never caught up with him later.

Kudos to the staff at Hersheypark for making this event possible. Wildcat's Revenge opens to the public on Friday, June 2.

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Replies (10)

June 2, 2023 at 5:58 AM

Great reporting as always, Bobbie! I saw the sign that said to hold on at all times, which as a good Ride Warrior you ignored. I also saw what looked like handles to hold on to, but they looked to be so far forward as to be useless.

June 2, 2023 at 7:58 AM

Thanks, Jim! Yep, I ignored the signs that said to hold on but couldn't ride hands in the air due to a left arm injury. Very observant of you about the handles. They are indeed far forward and holding onto them would necessitate riding in a hunched over position.

June 2, 2023 at 12:25 PM

The reviews have been almost universally positive for this. RMCs have certainly become the darlings of the coaster world, and are pretty much can't miss these days with their new installations and makeovers.

Did you have a chance to ride towards the back? I've read a couple of impressions about riding in the front and middle of the train, but lots of speculation regarding the experience in the back of the train.

Also, did you get a sense of how they will be handling loose articles? Are there free lockers/bins or metal detectors to ensure pockets are empty? I suppose having separate load and unload platforms will help with throughput, but could complicate loose article retrieval until they have pass-through lockers or double sided bins.

With Candymonium and now this (along with their highly diverse collection of other decently rated coasters), Hersheypark is an absolute MUST visit for coaster fans coming to the East Coast.

June 2, 2023 at 11:45 AM

I rode only in the middle and front. Would have attempted the back but time ran out. Weird situation: Hersheypark did not provide a GoPro for reverse POV but riders were permitted to use their own equipment, with the stipulation that they had to be the only person on the train unless they were with a group. And because I wasn't certain that my GoPro was recording properly I ended up doing three solo rides. The way they were handling it was running one train full of riders and the other with one or two riders recording. Not every day that I get to ride a coaster by myself.

There are lockers close to the steps leading up to the loading area; not sure whether they're free but I suspect that they are. (I didn't see any metal detectors.) I would imagine that truly loose articles would have to be stored in a locker but I and others at the event had stuff in secure pockets so could ride without stashing anything elsewhere. They knew I had a phone in my pocket because I took it out to film the loading station; this did not present a problem. The park's policy seems to be that items not attached to the rider must be stored. After Wildcat's Revenge I rode Storm Runner, which has cubbies for loose articles but my GoPro was chest-mounted and I didn't want to take it off and risk having it stolen so kept it on. I was wondering whether the ride ops would say anything but they didn't so I rode while still wearing it but didn't record the ride.

June 2, 2023 at 3:24 PM

A B&M hyper (Candymonium), an intamin hyper (Skyrush), an underrated B&M invert (Great Bear), an underrated launch coaster (Storm Runner), a classic woodie (Comet), a racer woodie (Lightning Racer) and now..a solid RMC.

Hersheypark has quietly assembled the best collection of roller coasters in America.

June 3, 2023 at 9:59 AM

The thing I love most about Hershey's coaster lineup is that all the major coasters are unique and not clones. There is the awful Boomerang (that ironically is sponsored by the local hospital) but outside of that and Farenheit (which is popular but not my kind of ride) all their coasters are highly re-rideable.

Comet and Lightning Racer are both outstanding woodies and riding Comet at dusk/nighttime with the chaser lights is a really enjoyable nostalgic experience. Skyrush and Storm Runner provide that intense Intamin kick. I don't know what it is about Great Bear, probably the fact that its such a different layout from what you're used to with B&M inverts, but I think its a great invert. You have the necessary indoor family coaster that can stay open in weather with Laff Track, and a classic family coaster with Superdooperlooper. I have not ridden the B&M hyper yet but to me it looks like it was built more for marketing reasons so they can market their entrance in brochures and stuff...but either way a B&M hyper is a B&M hyper. They have to be the only park with an Intamin hyper and B&M hyper. Now with the RMC I think you can look at their lineup and say there are no holes and its an elite status lineup.

I think they have a bit of Six Flags Great America syndrome where they have a great collection with lots of above average coasters but don't have that one that stands out as the best in its class. But I don't think that's really a problem, both are great parks.

June 3, 2023 at 11:04 AM

If Skyrush were actually good I would definitely agree that Hershey has the best lineup in America at this point. The restraints absolutely ruin it, unfortunately, and what should be the most extreme ride in the park is instead a painful mess. Hershey badly needs to invest in the modern Intamin trains like those used on Velocicoaster (or, for an example of them on a hyper, Kondaa at Walibi Belgium).

I have been bullish on Wildcat's Revenge since the layout was released and I'm very excited to try it out for myself next month. Media reviews are always going to be glowing but they're confirming my expectations, which is nice to see.

June 3, 2023 at 11:24 AM

@the_man2 Good point about the lack of clones at Hersheypark. The boomerang could be worse; the one at SFFT is the pits. I happen to like Fahrenheit a lot, as it has an interesting layout including a Norwegian loop, which is uncommon, but often have to skip it due to 12 rider capacity and consequent long waits. Storm Runner was definitely my favorite but now that I've ridden Wildcat's Revenge I'm not so sure. Great Bear features the same basic elements as Talon at Dorney but in different order and I find Talon to be far superior. Lightning Racer was running a bit rough the other day. Candy Monium is more than fine but as you say, after a while all the B&M hypers tend to blend into each other, with the exception of Raging Bull, whose layout is drastically different. Funny that you mention Six Flags Great America. I have long been of the opinion that it has an unusually good collection of coasters with a lot of variety.

June 3, 2023 at 4:53 PM

I'll be at HersheyPark to ride Wildcat's Revenge in a couple weeks. I think one's opinion on whether the coaster collection at Hershey is elite largely depends on how they feel about Skyrush. My daughter and I love the restraints on Skyrush and feel no discomfort whatsoever (even on a wing seat). There are certain body types that find it painful, but I can't quite figure out what it is exactly. I'm well over 200 pounds, so it's probably not weight.

June 4, 2023 at 12:35 AM

I never doubted it being a great ride, but it sounds like Wildcat's Revenge may be even better than expected. With the addition of an RMC, Hersheypark now legitimately has one of the top five coaster lineups in the US, and could probably be argued as the best outside of Cedar Point. I've got tentative plans to return to the park next year (pending new ride announcements), so if that happens I'll look forward to trying this one out for myself.

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