They say that there are days when all of Chocolatetown (Hershey, Pennsylvania) smells like chocolate. Most of the time though that isn't the case and the chocolate theme is mostly absent at the attractions of Hersheypark, anyway. Sweet things happen at Chocolate World in the neighbourhood of the park but at Hersheypark itself the focus lies on thrill rides with non-chocolate themes. The now eleventh roller coaster of the park follows that tradition with its rather unusual name Fahrenheit. If the ride itself will be either hot or cool is difficult to say judging from the name alone. But the tagline helps to see things a bit more clearly: "97° and Falling Fast!" From the first look at the ride however we realize that we won't get away with a simple temperature drop alone.
Fahrenheit was being placed on the boundaries of the Pioneer Frontier area. Looking from the direct path from the parks' entrance to the new ride of 2008 almost the whole roller coaster is hiding behind the oversized station building, only the vertical lift hill is visible between the trees on the side. If you stroll down the small hill from the wooden roller coaster Wildcat however you have an unblocked view of the whole track layout. The manufacturer of this new ride is again the roller coaster company Intamin from Liechtenstein which already built the Strom Runner for Hersheypark in 2004. The colour scheme of the two rides is strikingly similar as are the manufacturer-related similar track and train designs.
The queue area leads past one side of the station towards the vertical lift hill. From here we have a quite good view on the whole ride and can watch the short trains on their way through the steel maze during longer waiting times. A staircase leads up into the station and the boarding area. The station itself has a rather simplistic design approach with a wide wooden roof and large openings to all sides. The trains are held in a plain silver look with dark blue seats and orange-coloured over-the-shoulder harnesses, an almost noble design. Now all we have to do is to choose the seat position we want to ride in the train. Better taking the front seat for an unrestricted view during the ride or rather in the back on the hunt for as much airtime as possible? As usual with this type of roller coaster trains there is the proven Stadium Seating concept on the trains of Fahrenheit, meaning that the second row of each car is slightly elevated to the first row for a better view. After we have made a decision about where to sit in the train and closed our safety harnesses we are ready to ride. Just waiting for the final mandatory "clear" and thumbs up from all ride personnel and our train rolls out of the station.
After a right turn the lift tower rises vertically into the air straight in front of us. We slow down and our train takes its position just before the ascend. The two lift chains now begin to move asynchronous until each reaches the necessary position. Now both of them move synchronic and quickly take the train up the 37 meter high lift tower. This type of vertical lift hill was previously only known from other manufacturers though the riding experience of it feels very similar. We don't have a chance to get one final glimpse of the track in this position and can't estimate what will be waiting for us after a few seconds as we are facing straight up and looking into the clear blue sky. Once arrived on the top the first car is slowly being pushed over the edge and we have a clear view to the front with the track disappearing into the more-than-vertical drop. With a maximum gradient of 97° it holds the record for the steepest drop in the USA. While the first rows get the sensation of a free fall the last rows are being literary sucked down the drop with a very good amount of airtime waiting for the riders. Soon after we rush through the first valley with speeds of over 90 km/h where the beloved airtime has to make place for the earth's gravitational force times 4 ½. Just afterwards we speed upwards again. The cars rock slightly to the right and the weightlessness is back again. In this moment we twist 180 degrees to the left and dive head first into the Norwegian Loop. This element was named after its first installation into the "Speed Monster" roller coaster at the Norwegian amusement park Tusenfryd. We escape from the Norwegian Loop in the opposite manner than we came in: First we head a sort-of half looping upwards until we nearly are upside down, then we twist 180 degrees to the right with weightlessness again. It goes down again and the train gains speed for the now following Cobra Roll. We ride through this element very slowly what makes the ride very comfortable though. Our ride goes on with more speed through the following two corkscrews which both are twisted to the right side. The first one even goes through the Norwegian Loop, but we barely notice the intersection during the ride. A heavily banked right turn presses us into our seats and soon after we speed over a bunny hill which still gives all riders lots of airtime. The following left turn then takes us way too soon into the final brakes of this short but fun and action-packed ride.
|Manufacturer:||Intamin Transportation Ltd.|
|Opening:||May 24th 2008|
|Special:||Vertical Lift Hill, Norwegian Loop,|
97° First Drop
|Cost:||12 million USD|
Even though Fahrenheit seems to have many similarities to the four years older Storm Runner judging from an outside look, the two neighbours really can't be compared to each other. Fahrenheit is mainly a ride designed to have fun in. Even though you should not underestimate its intensity the speed and G-forces remain in a very comfortable area. Also the whole ride is designed very harmonically. An especially good element is the Norwegian Loop with its unusual changes between negative and positive G-Forces. This element is also very unique-looking and together with the vertical lift hill forms a great eye catcher for the park guests watching the ride. Although Fahrenheit does provide an unusual high amount of airtime for a multilooper coaster you are still left with the desire for more after the final hill. You will only get it by getting back in line for the ride once more however until it is again "time to heat up!"