Rock n Roller 17: Discovery Kingdom

In early May I started the third annual Rock n Roller Coaster Tour Across America on my own with a trip to California to take a swift water rescue course for my studies at UAA. Being a coaster geek, I thought I could get in a theme park or two or three while I was on this trip. My first stop would be Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, a short drive from Sacramento.

In the next week or so I would be attending the American Coaster Enthusiasts Preservation Conference on the East Coast and one of the parks would be Six Flags Over Georgia so it was a no-brainer to buy an annual pass to the Six Flags family.

I arrived at Discovery Kingdom early on a Friday and the parking lot was already full with buses full of school kids and tour groups. It was also hot! Coming from Alaska, winter was just ending and we were still in the 40s and 50s. Here it was almost 80 degrees.

I checked in and got my season pass and worked my way into the park. This was a rather small park compared to the big boys like Busch Gardens and Kings Island. It was right next to the fairgrounds and looked more like a regional park rather than a big chain. Discovery Kingdom used to be Marine Land and a lot of the theming was still there. They have dolphin shows and seals exhibits but the DC Comics characters are in full force. All of the rides have some sort of the superhero theme like The Joker, and a Superman coaster.

I made my way to the back of the park and jumped on the only woodie-style coaster much is more steel than wood now, one of the Rocky Mountain Construction coasters called The Joker. I love the RMC coasters and the ultra-smooth rides. The Joker was a welcomed first coaster of the 2017 season!

Next up was Superman Ultimate Flight and I jumped on rather quickly but the lines were getting long as more and more people arrived in the park. I headed across the park to ride Boomerang which is the same coaster that is at many other parks across the country and nothing remarkable. The big red and yellow-orange behemoth, Kong was closed but they were making test runs so I hoped it would be open before I left so I jumped in line for Medusa.

I need up waiting in line for an hour and a half. Imagine that, standing in line for something that only lasts a couple minutes. Only true-coaster diehards understand. Medusa did not disappoint and it was my favorite coaster at the park.

From the Discovery Kingdom website:

Conquer the Monster by Facing Your Fear.

In Greek mythology, the dreaded monster Medusa was half woman and half serpent. Even the bravest warriors were no match for her. It is said that she was so nasty that just one look at her and her hair full of deadly snakes would turn any mortal into stone. With seven relentless inversions looping like snakes made of steel, let’s see if you can face up to this legendary beast.

At 3,937 feet, Medusa is the longest and highest coaster in Northern California. Dangle your feet in the air because you’ll be taking this one floorless.

Medusa is not one for small talk — she cuts right to the chase. Battle a 150-foot hill and a 150-foot drop. Then brace yourself because you’re in for one of the tallest vertical loops in the world – a whopping 128 feet. This is followed immediately by a dreaded dive loop and a zero G roll. At 65 miles per hour and taking as much as 4.5 G’s, Medusa won’t be the only one with her hair standing on end.

Get ready for the dreaded “sea serpent” roll. This is a super rare variety of a cobra loop, and Medusa is the first ride to ever attempt it. This double-inversion uncoils halfway between the first and second loop and spits you back out even faster in the same direction you started.

Curling so smoothly, like a giant living snake, Medusa slithers through seamless transitions from one mindblowing setup to the next, in a white-knuckle flow that will make your hair stand on end — literally. Add two flatspins and an insane finish with a hellacious helix and sick s-shaped turn and you’ll be staring Medusa right in the face, and living to tell the tale.

By the time my wait and ride was over on Medusa, Kong had just opened and I jumped on without more than a five minute wait. It was a fun one but is showing its age. As newer and newer coasters are introduced in parks around the country, the older technology becomes more apparent. Kong is one of these. It is a much rougher ride, the brakes are a little more forceful and the seats are a little less comfortable. But it was a good coaster to end the day.

I was out of the park by two which is about right if I ride four or five coasters at the park. I was missing my coaster riding buddy, my wife Michele who couldn’t come on this trip and was still back home in Alaska.

On the way out of town I had to stop for lunch at In&Out. I had to see what all of the fuss was about. As I waited in line posted on Facebook what should I order. Everyone quickly said, “double double with fries, animal style!” I took their advice. It was very good and I could see why there is a cult following for this burger chain. Will one ever come to Alaska? No, way. We get excited for an Olive Garden…

Up next: The Santa Cruz Boardwalk

Coasters to date on the tour: 5

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