LivingTravelHow does the legendary Magnum XL-200 roller coaster compare...

How does the legendary Magnum XL-200 roller coaster compare today?

This is the roller coaster that started the modern coaster wars. When it debuted in 1989, the Magnum XL-200 broke the once-inconceivable 200-foot height barrier for roller coasters. In a class of its own at the time, Cedar Point coined the term “hypercoaster” for its new ride. Today hypercoasters generically refer to trips that, like Magnums, exceed 200 feet and are designed for height, speed, acceleration, and a lot of airtime, but not reversals.

Magnum XL-200 Front information

  • Excitement scale (0 = Wimpy!, 10 = Yikes!): 7
    • Extreme height and speed, long air time
  • Mountain type: round-trip steel hypercoaster
  • Top speed: 72 mph
  • Height restriction: 48 inches
  • Height: 205 feet
  • First drop: 195 feet
  • Travel time: 2:00 minutes.

No longer the epitome of a thrilling roller coaster

When I was assigning the “excitement scale” for Magnum, it occurred to me how strange it is that the legendary roller coaster “only” deserves 7 out of 10 possible points. When he first climbed its massive 205-foot elevation hill, it was the epitome of a thrilling white-knuckle ride and had adrenaline junkies salivating for a hypercoaster fix.

While it still offers incredible thrills, it has been overshadowed many times (including Cedar Point itself with the 310-foot Millennium Force and the 420-foot Dragster Top Thrill) and is no longer as bold as it used to be. When Magnum crashed into the 200-foot threshold, it increased the thrill threshold of roller coaster fans. By today’s standards, it could almost be considered quaint.

The journey is quite simple. Climb 205 feet, drop a creepy 195 feet, and deliver a punch of airtime as you climb and then drop down a second massive hill. At the bottom of the second hill, he rises into a covered tunnel, takes a radical turn, and navigates a series of bunnies that provide constant bursts of airtime to the station.

Its location along the shores of Lake Erie adds to the drama. With the blue water of the lake sparkling, the view as Magnum climbs his elevation hill, falls and falls in his change is breathtaking. And a couple of other covered sections of the track, including one near the end of the ride, keep the suspense going.

Magnum earns its stars

But Magnum has lost more than his cache of emotion. It hasn’t aged gracefully and can be rough in places, especially compared to some of the newer super smooth coasters like Cedar Point’s own Maverick. Depending on the time of day and other conditions, a ride on the steel Magnum can almost look like a richer wooden coaster. Your train roars over a hill knocking its passengers from side to side, rises into the air and hits when the top wheels engage, and then, kerplunk! – crashes when positive G forces come into play.

Due to its comparative ruggedness, the Magnum really can’t compare to some of the more refined hypercoasters that followed, like the Apollo car at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and the Mako at SeaWorld Orlando. But it cannot be denied that it occupies an important place in the history of the roller coaster. There would be no silky smooth hypercoasters if it weren’t for the pioneering Magnum.

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