Coasting The Strip
Some of you may recall that I am somewhat of an adrenaline junkie. As if the thrill of the casino was not enough, I always look for a little more excitement when I get to town. In the past I have tried indoor skydiving at Flyaway, racing virtual Indy cars at Speedworld and last year I rode and rated all the motion rides on The Strip.
With the addition of Speed, the newest coaster at the Sahara, I figured it was time to rate all the roller coasters on the Strip. I rode a few of these in the past but figured it would be best to revisit them all to do a better comparison.
I started at New York NY where I waited about thirty minutes to climb aboard the Manhattan Express. This is the biggest coaster on The Strip. The track is a little shy of a mile at 4,777 ft. The maximum height is 203 ft at the apex just before you plunge 145 ft to start your journey through loops and corkscrews at the incredible speed 67 miles per hour. The ride lasts two minutes 45 seconds and is a thrill every second of the way. This ride is not for the faint of heart. The ride is open 10am - 10pm daily and until 12 on Fri and Sat. The price is $10, which works out to about six cents per second. This is a must ride for any true coaster aficionado.
I jumped to the Sahara to ride Speed, the much-talked about new ride on The Strip. The ride is unique because it does not have a circular track. I sat in the front car and stared down the tunnel toward the opening in the side of the building. As I watched the circle of light at the end of the tunnel I had a sense of what the Human Cannonball at the circus must feel like. The ride operator warns all to keep their heads back as he hits the trigger to shoot the cars on their way. The ride accelerates from zero to 70mph in four seconds as it shoots you out of the side of the building where you go through a small tunnel before the big loop. After quick upside down thrill you are propelled up a 224-foot high tower. Reaching the top of the tower you experience a second of weightlessness as the coaster starts it decent for the backward journey back to the starting point. The ride is 1,365 feet long and the whole ordeal is only 45 seconds. The ride is open 10am - 10pm daily and until 12 on Fri and Sat. The price is $8 for non-residents, which works out to about seventeen cents per second. Residents can ride for $6 and there is a re-buy ticket for $4. I found a discount coupon good for two dollars off in several freebie magazines and according to the Las Vegas Advisor, the Sahara slot club members can get a funbook at the slot club booth with a 2-for-1 coupon for the Speed roller coaster. There is also a multi-attraction pass for $19.95, which includes unlimited rides and admission to the virtual racecars and motion rides. If you plan to spend some time there this is the best bargain.
I then headed over to the Circus Circus Adventuredome to ride the Canyon Blaster, the only indoor loop coaster that I have ever seen. This ride is thrilling with it's double loop and corkscrew. It is a little slower than the previous coasters with a top speed of 55mph over a track that is 2,000 feet long. The maximum height is 90 feet just before the 90-foot drop at the beginning of the ride. The ride is one minute forty five seconds. A single ride is Five dollars, which is less than five cents a second. The Adventuredome is open from 10am until midnight daily. An all day pass can be purchased for $16.95 and you will find many four-dollar off coupons in the freebie magazines. I would recommend the all day pass, which would allow you to ride "Jimmy's Clown Chaos" the best motion simulator on The Strip. The really daring can also ride The Inverter, which flips and flops you upside down in a fashion I have never seen before. Although not a coaster, I give the Inverter a high rating on the "Thrill-o-meter."
Finally sitting atop the Stratosphere Tower at the north end of The Strip is the "High Roller" coaster. If this ride were not sitting 900 feet above the ground it would probably belong in kiddy land. It is very tame with a maximum speed of 30mph with a thirty-foot drop. However the height adds a little thrill factor. If you are a true coaster buff you will want to ride just because it's there. I recommend going at night to get a nice view of the lights on The Strip. The ride is open 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily, 10 a.m. to 2 a.m., Fridays, Saturdays and holidays. The price of the two-minute ride is $5 but you also must purchase a $6 ticket get to the top of the tower. You can buy a combination ticket for nine dollars. This equates to eleven cents a second.
The Desperado is not in Las Vegas but it is only about a 40-minute ride away. It is located at Buffalo Bills in Primm. Any true coaster fan should take the time to journey out to the state line for a ride. The Desperado is over a mile long with a 5,843-foot track. The maximum height is 225 feet that starts you down the first drop at a 55-degree angle. The coaster reaches a top speed of 80 mph. The first time I saw the Desperado I actually questioned my sanity for wanting to ride it and for a fleeting moment had second thoughts about climbing on board. But riding the Desperado is like a right of passage for any true coaster aficionado wishing to leave the ranks of mere coaster riders to join the legions of full-blown coaster connoisseurs. The ride last two minutes twenty five seconds. The six-dollar price equates to about three and a half cents per second. The ride is open 10am - 10pm daily and until 12 on Fri and Sat. There is a shuttle available to Buffalo Bills from New Your New York. It is free for casino guests and $10 for non-guests. Reservations are needed.
** All the coasters with the exception of the Canyon Blaster are subject to weather conditions. They can't operate in high winds. You might want to place a quick call to make sure the ride is operating before making a special trip just for the ride.
There is a look at the roller coaster scene in Las Vegas. Thrill seekers will not be disappointed. If your still looking for excitement at the end of the day after "Coasting The Strip," you can always try the casino games.
Enjoy the Ride!!!!
Photographs by Bill Burton, copyright 2000, licensed toAbout.com, Inc.