With all of the anticipation leading up to Railblazer opening at California’s Great America (If you want to see how hyped I was just look at all of my construction updates), I was thrilled when the coaster opened for season pass previews last Saturday and opened to the public on Thursday, June 14. I had the pleasure of attending the media day for Railblazer, and that combined with two other sessions riding Railblazer netted about 56 rides (31 on media day alone). In this article, I’ll first show the opening ceremony for Railblazer then go into an in-depth review.
Lift Hill and Drop
The ride starts out with a lift hill to bring you to the high point of the ride at 106 feet. At sunset, this gives off a picturesque view of the valley with the sun in the background.
After cresting the lift hill, you go around the top turnaround. This part of the ride is a little weird with the catwalk on the interior not allowing for views towards the back section of the park, but it is understandable as it was built out of necessity.
The first drop that comes after, however, is one of the best parts of the ride. In the front row, you are allowed to hang for just a few seconds before falling down and experiencing the positive forces that come with it, and in the back you are absolutely thrown out of your seat and into the shoulder harness. Overall, in both the front and the back, the first drop is simply spectacular.
Now for the element I can never remember the name of. The raven turn is another great part of the ride. I love how you get airtime before turning 180 degrees and just get thrown everywhere. The sensation of getting thrown up then straight down is electrifying, and the bottom of the raven turn pulls some nice positive Gs.
Off Axis Airtime Hill
The off axis airtime hill is another one of many elements of Railblazer that love to just throw you around three different directions. This hill provides the most sustained airtime anywhere on Railblazer while still throwing you straight up into the vest restraint.
Turnaround and Second Drop
Now for by far the most surprising part of Railblazer: the turnaround and the drop following it. The turnaround provides some nice positive Gs, but it is the drop after that steals the show. In the front row, this drop provides some nice airtime, but in the back row you are thrown incredibly hard into the lap bar and vest restraint. This element is my personal favorite, as the small break before just absolutely being destroyed by the drop off is absolutely amazing.
Following that absolutely spectacular drop is the weakest point of the ride in my opinion: the cutback. The cutback accomplishes its goal of reversing riders fine, but the shaping in this element is just a little off. I would personally prefer to have a wave turn here, but the cutback is still a fine element.
The corkscrew on Railblazer does a marvelous job of providing airtime, and also serves to break up the pacing of the ride. It is also very interesting how the headchopper tunnel over the end of the first drop also serves as a headchopper for the end of the corkscrew, as in both elements you feel like your hands could be chopped off.
After that is a final turn and the brakes, ending a short action packed 30 seconds on Railblazer.
Railblazer is a phenomenal ride that surprised a lot of people, including myself, with just how impressive some of the airtime moments were. Overall, Railblazer’s airtime is the best I have experienced anywhere. Additionally, Railblazer is the most unsafe I have felt on a coaster outside of X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain, which is why I have to give that the nod of my number one spot. Railblazer comes in behind that at number two, with Gold Striker at California’s Great America, The Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and The Incredible Hulk Coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure rounding out my top five.
Thank you for checking out this article, and make sure to go ride Railblazer at California’s Great America!