6 Surprising Facts You Didn’t Know About BIZARRO
The first roller coaster to go upside-down in modern times debuted in California in 1975. Over time, innovations allowed steel coasters to take more dramatic directions. The 1975 original soon became outdated as taller, longer, and loopier rides surfaced seemingly overnight. Our very own BIZARRO falls into that category.
Riders may be frightfully aware of the 3,985 feet of track. Once boarded in the station, thrill-seekers watch the floor disappear below their feet. Once the train is set free, feet dangle just above the track or over the sides, enhancing the excitement of this style of ride. When it opened, it was huge news for coaster enthusiasts around the world as it was the very first of its kind. Until they actually saw how the floor was taken away, fanatics couldn’t wrap their heads around this new wild concept.
In addition to the unique floorless position, did you know?:
- BIZARRO is one of only 12 floorless coasters on earth (eight in the United States).
- The floor is made up of sections called “combs.” For everyone’s safety, the combs cannot drop away until a light curtain on each side of the train confirms that the loading area is free of any blockage.
- The steel coaster was designed and manufactured in Switzerland.
- The layout has seven inversions. No other floorless coaster has more.
- A BIZARRO train weighs approximately 25,000 pounds!
- When it opened, the ride was called Medusa and operated under that name through 2008.
A History of Looping Coasters
Traveling back in time, the original looping roller coasters were built more than a century ago. America’s first known looping coaster dates back to 1895 and was known as The Flip Flap Railway. Loop-the-Loop appeared at Coney Island a few years later. However, such type rides were short lived. Back then, the loops were more circular and caused discomfort due to high G forces. The single cars also had such low capacity in comparison to other roller coasters that sported full trains. The fascination with looping coasters soon faded away.
Things changed in the 1970s when major improvements were made. After the first upside-down roller coaster debuted in 1975, a coaster wars race began and the looping coaster evolved quickly.
*Tim Baldwin – editor of RollerCoaster! Magazine, staff writer at Amusement Today and Communications Director for American Coaster Enthusiasts – contributed to this article.