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This apparently antiquated wooden monster is actually a modern steel coaster, and at 6,072 feet, it’s the third longest steel coaster in the United States. California Screamin’ gets off to a 0-to-55-mph start by launching you up the first hill like a jet fighter plane off the deck of a carrier (albeit with different technology). From here you will experience tight turns followed by a second launch that sends you over the crest of a 110-foot hill with a 107-foot drop on the far side. Next, you bank and complete an elliptical loop. A diving turn followed by a series of camelbacks brings you back to the station. Speakers play a synchronized sound track complete with recorded canned screaming and a carnival barker cameo by actor Neil Patrick Harris.
We were impressed by the length of the course and the smoothness of the ride. From beginning to end, the ride is about 2½ minutes, with 2 minutes of actual ride time. En route the coaster slows enough on curves and on transition hills to let you take in the nice view. On the scary-o-meter, Screamin’ is certainly worse than Space Mountain but doesn’t really compare with some of the steel coasters at nearby Magic Mountain. What Screamin’ loses in fright potential, however, it makes up for in variety. Along its course, Disney has placed every known curve, hill, dip, and loop in roller coaster design.
A Carlsbad, California, woman found the roller coaster to be a smooth operator:
California Screamin' was WONDERFUL, and I am a 57-year-old mom, not an adrenaline-crazed young adult! It was my first ever upside-down ride, but it was so smooth and quick [that] I only felt a gentle pressure pushing me into the seat. It was so fun [that] I went again! Don't miss this one, at any age!
A Texas woman agrees, writing:
I hate roller coasters, and I love California Screamin’. Very smooth.
Engineered to run several trains at once, California Screamin’ does a better job than any roller coaster we’ve seen at handling crowds, at least when the attraction is running at full capacity. The coaster is sometimes shut down two or more times a day for technical problems. Early in the morning, however, it’s usually easy to get two or three rides under your belt in about 15 minutes. Ride in the first hour the park is open or use FastPass or the single-rider line (enter up the ramp to the left of the queue).
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