Coaster review: Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster

AerosmithA coaster this time from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Orlando Florida. Also known as the Rock ‘n’ Roller Roller Coaster featuring Aerosmith.

I first went on this coaster back in 2003, with my eldest last time we were in Florida, and a couple of times again this time in 2009 with my new first-time 8-year-old coaster buddy.

This is a heavily themed ride, featuring a lot of music-related imagery, loud music; Aerosmith of course, and Rock ‘n’ Roll memorabilia all around the ride. Apparently in this attraction, the coaster was built first and then the building was constructed around it.

There’s a fair bit of preamble to this ride, once you get past the main part of the queue of course. You are shepherded into a large room made to look like a resording studio and, playing on a video-wall through a glass wall a short introduction to set up the concept of the ride is played out.

A sound engineer is mixing some Aerosmith music under the watchful eye of Steve Tyler and other members of the band. They, of course, notice the crowd watching them which sparks some interaction with their ‘fans’. Then their manager appears, telling them they are late for the concert and attempts to usher them into a waiting limo. Steve insists that all his ‘fans’ get backstage passes and a lift to the gig, and it’s on to another queue and the ride itself.

The cars for the coaster are made to look like a stretch-limo and the coaster runs almost exclusively in the dark, with the exception of various street-sign simulations giving a little illumination.

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Vital Statistics

  • Type of ride: Steel enclosed ‘launched’ coaster
  • Height: 80 feet
  • First drop: n/a
  • Top speed: 60 mph (in 2.8 seconds)
  • Track length: 3403 feet
  • Riders: 24 (6 cars with 2 pairs of seats each)
  • Ride time: 1:22 minutes
  • Inversions: 3
  • Max G:Force: 4.5
  • Height requirement: 48inches
  • Opened: 29/07/1999
  • Manufacturer: Vekoma International

For the uninitiated, a ‘launched’ coaster uses a catapult or, in this case, a Linear Synchronous Motor (LSM) mechanism which uses electro-magnets to accelerate the cars to the maximum speed, as opposed to ‘traditional’ coasters that start by pulling the cars to the top of a steep climb.

With the coaster being in the dark, its difficult to give an accurate run-through of the ride itself, but suffice to say it’s not the gentlest of coasters. You are generally unaware of what’s coming up, and the loud music and flashing signs go some way to disorient you a bit, meaning you don’t get a chance to brace yourself for the turns, so you do tend to get thrown about a bit. So, follow the guidelines and keep your head back in the seat.

You are accelerated from the zero to nearly 60mph in less than 3 seconds. The g-forces are quite breathtaking, apparently greater than that exerted on astronauts during launch. No sooner have you drawn breath from that and you’re straight into a vertical loop. Then, with the music blaring in your ears from the in-seat speakers you navigate through lots of dips, twists and turns. I recognised a corkscrew roll in there too and there’s apparently a cobra roll in there too making up the third inversion.

Then we’re back, safe and sound to a red carpet exit into the merchandise area where you can spend your hard-earned dollars on Disney and Aerosmith branded goodies.

Highly recommended, for the acceleration alone.

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