We’re taking a look at V2: Vertical Velocity at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom! This coaster is a rather unique variation on the Intamin manufactured inverted shuttle coaster, the Impulse Coaster. It had quite a history, and it’s also quite amazing!
When it opened in 2001, it existed as the “classic” impulse design at a height of about 186 feet and a u shaped layout, with one end being a vertical spike, and the other having a 360 degree vertical twist. However, due to local height restrictions, the ride was closed in June of 2001 to be retrofitted in order to comply with the imposed 150 foot height limit. The park was aware of this height limit, and though it was obviously taller than the 150 ft tall Medusa, the park still advertised it to be a 150ft tall, though all other Six Flags parks with the same model, used the accurate stats, 186 ft. The city noticed, and Six Flags Marine World, its name at the time, was to remove V2 or comply with the city limit. When it reopened around a year later, it had a new twist. The vertical spike had been reduced to 150 feet and the twist on the other end was changed to a 45 degree angle, qualifying it as an inversion, this ride exists as one-of-a-kind ride, due to these changes and we sure love it!
When approaching the entrance to the park, riders pass under V2’s unique inversion and can’t help but stare. It creates a Gatekeeper-esque effect in the way you are sized up by the coaster before you even enter the park. Once riders actually reach the rides entrance (It’s a bit of a walk from the entrance to the park), they are greeted by a V2 logo, and then with a huge set of switchbacks. It’s almost like Vortex’s line, as these switchbacks never really fill up, even if the park’s very crowded.
After likely bypassing most of the switchbacks and entering the station, riders will first have to pass under a 6’3 bar, to make sure they do not exceed the height limit. They’ll then choose their row and board Intamin inverted trains. Once the restraints are locked and the seat belt is buckled to the appropriate buckle (there are 2 buckles on the side of the seat, the one that fits best is to be used), you are clear and ready for launch!
The first launch may not reach top speed, but the linear induction motors provide some good acceleration that can be very surprising if you’re caught of guard! The launch mechanism makes a lot of noise, sounding like screams. We’ve heard several guest actually say that those were screams from riders. In fact that’s not the case. The train will then rise up to the 45 degree inclined tower, and this ride uniqueness becomes apparent. The train will begin to spiral through the inversion before it loses momentum. Riders in the front will complete almost the entire inversion, riders in the middle will be suspended upside down for a second or two for some sweet hang time, and riders in the back will be suspended on their sides. The train then slowly unwinds backwards and falls into the launch where even more crazy speed is picked up via a second launch, backwards. It then enters the vertical spike. Unfortunately, this is where the height restrictions have taken their toll. The front of the train barely reaches the vertical section, whereas the back of the train experiences minimal airtime if any. The holding brake can help, however it’s not activated anymore. Returning from the vertical spike, riders will once again be launched through the station and launch-track, this time with ample speed to complete the entire inversion and proceed to coast along a straight section of track before they are rewinding through the inversion. The sensation this provides is an intensely disorienting one, with some good forces in the mix to help out. The train then descends back into the station and launches backwards again into the vertical spike with the same effect. It launches once more forwards falling of short of completing the inversion, similar to the first time, before unwinding and being halted back in the station.
As a whole, V2 is one of a kind for sure. The disorienting inversions (six maximum, two minimum, dependent on seating) create some awesome sensations including some great hang time. The vertical spike is a bit disappointing, but the intensity elsewhere in the ride makes up for it. Lines are generally pretty short even on crowded days, so a mini marathon is not out of the question, although V2’s intense nature may have you needing a break. All in all, V2 is a powerful and to-the-point ride with some good forces and speed. We guarantee that it will leave you breathless and it should not be missed when visiting the park. And, last but not least, V2 does not require a locker rental for your items, like most other Six Flags Discovery Kingdom rides!
So which do you prefer, the traditional impulse, or this variation? Comment below, let us know!