Riding HangTime, the brand-new roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm, might be as close as I will ever get to flying! I LOVE roller coasters, so I am usually the one that is sent out by my radio station, K-Earth 101 in Los Angeles, to jump on new ones. We did a live broadcast on HangTime’s opening day (May 18th) from the boardwalk area at Knott’s Berry Farm, and I rode it twice. I would have gone many more times, but I DID have to do a broadcast and then dash off to take my son, who had broken his arm two days before, to the doctor. (It was quite a week.)
HangTime is California’s first and only dive coaster, but what does that mean? I spoke with Rob Decker , who is Senior Vice President, Planning and Design, for Cedar Fair (the parent company of Knott’s), and he explained it this way: A dive coaster gets you up to a very high height—in this case, 150 feet above the boardwalk area as you are pulled STRAIGHT up and lying flat on your back—and you come up over the top and on the other side there is a drop. But with HangTime, you don’t drop right away; you HANG in the air for a few seconds (HANGTIME). When you’re hanging, you are experiencing the anticipation and anxiety of the drop, and perhaps re-evaluating what is important in your life (maybe that was just me?), which is exactly what Rob was hoping for. He admits that the hang time on HangTime is there to just freak people out a little bit more!
There are also twisting dive tracks (that had the added bonus of giving me perfectly windblown hair), and HangTime is only the SECOND roller coaster in the Western Hemisphere to have a negative g-stall loop, which I believe is a fancy way of saying you kind of float in the air for a moment as you are upside down. And, when you ride at night, there’s colorful track chase lighting, which is really beautiful.
One thing that was a little freaky for me at first was that there is no shoulder harness or anything to hold your upper body in as you are sitting in the car. But…it was also cool because you do feel the freedom that you have on, say, a surfboard or snowboard. Your lower body is secured by a lap belt and then something that I would describe as a little like a clamshell to hold you securely in place. I felt very safe and screamed my head off in delight as the grown men on either side of me just screamed and possibly shed some tears.
And although my grownup friends were crying, there were so many kids having a blast riding with their families! You only have to be 48 inches tall to ride, so your little roller coaster fan might be able to accompany you. Knott’s really is a family park, and they haven’t introduced a new thrill ride in a while, so I’m happy to say that HangTime is a totally rad reason to plan a trip there soon!
Knott’s Berry Farm
8039 Beach Boulevard
Buena Park, CA 90620