California Screamin’ Review – Intamin Launch Coaster at Disney’s California Adventure

Today we’re reviewing California Screamin’, a launch coaster at Disney’s California Adventure.

California Screamin’ was manufactured by Intamin, and was introduced in 2001. The coaster has a height of 108 feet, length of 6,072 feet, and a top speed of 55 mph. It also has one inversion: a vertical loop.

In order to review this coaster, I have created 13 different categories that it will be judged on. Some categories are worth 5 points, while others are worth 10. Each coaster begins with a score of 10 points, and has the opportunity to earn up to 100 points total. Yes, that’s a lot, but don’t worry, I’ll do all the math for you.

Our first category is height. I wouldn’t say Screamin’ is a terribly tall coaster by any means, but I also don’t think it was meant to be. Since it’s a launch coaster, it doesn’t need a super tall first drop to be thrilling. Instead, it reaches a solid height of 108 feet. I’d say that deserves about a 3 out of 5.

Next up is the drop, out of 10 points. As mentioned before, the drop isn’t extremely tall. However, I’m going to give it a higher score of 8, because of how steep it feels. Screamin’ is just one of those coasters that feels tall. The on-board music also builds up the suspense of the drop while you’re going up the lift hill, making it feel like you’re way higher than you really are.

Then we have speed, which is also out of 10. Even though it’s a launch coaster, I’m only going to give it a 9. The reason I’m not giving it a perfect score is because although the launch is smooth and intense, it’s not necessarily all that fast. The ride only reaches 55 mph, which has nothing on some of the faster launch coasters. In other words, it’s great, but could be better.

Next we have the smoothness category, and I think it’s safe to say that this coaster is glossy smooth. Nothing to complain or talk about here, it just gets a perfect 5 out of 5.

For our next category; airtime, California Screamin’ will be receiving a 3. There are a few moments of airtime in this coaster; specifically the first hill after the launch. After that, there’s maybe a few more moments where you’re out of your seat, but nothing crazy. It’s definitely not known for its airtime.

Then we have the intensity category, which is out of 10. I’d consider Screamin’ to be pretty intense. It’s not hammering you with sharp turns and flips, but it does have the decent launch. It also has a simple-but fierce-vertical loop. For that, I think it deserves a 7.

Now for the duration category. California Screamin’ definitely deserves a 5 out of 5 for this one. The ride is 2 and a half minutes long! I believe it holds the record for 6th longest coaster in the world, which is pretty awesome as well.

Next we have theming, out of 10 points. If you’ve read some of my other reviews, you might know that I consider theming to be one of the most important attributes of a coaster. And for a coaster in a Disney park, you’d expect a perfect score!…except…this coaster is themed to, well, an old boardwalk wooden coaster. I mean, the idea of making a steel coaster look like a wood coaster is awesome, but it’s just not on par with the theming of Disney’s other coasters. I think I’m being generous when I give it a 7.

Then we have to talk about the restraints. California Screamin’ has over the shoulder restraints, but they surprisingly aren’t that bad. Most Intamin coasters I’ve ridden don’t have the most comfortable restraints in the world, but Screamin’s were different. I don’t know if Disney did something to make them more comfortable, or if it was just me. That said, I think this coaster would be way better with lap bars. There’s no extremely intense moments that require over the shoulder restraints to hold you in. Maybe they’ll make that change in the future, but for now I’ll give them a 4 out of 5.

Now we have our last major category: the layout. I’ll give Screamin’ an 8 out of 10 for this. It’s a nice, long ride with a good launch, some nice turns, and a very fun loop. That said, I feel this coaster could’ve used some more inversions. I know it’s supposed to look like a wooden coaster, but I still feel like it would’ve benefited from something like a corkscrew or a dive loop. That’s just my opinion though.

After that, we have 3 more quick categories to round things out. First up, the queue. It’s very hard for me to criticize a company I love so much, but come on Disney. I know your California parks are lacking the space to have these amazingly themed queues, but does that really mean you have to stoop as low as Six Flags for the theming of the park’s largest coaster’s queue? Screamin’s line is basically a bunch of switchbacks and metal bars. The only redeeming factor is that it is surrounded by the rest of the boardwalk themed area it is in (and even that doesn’t have outstanding theming). I’m being extremely generous by giving Screamin’ a 2 out of 5 for queue.

Second to last, we have the name category. I have no problem with the name California Screamin’. It’s a nice play on words for “California Dreamin”, and sort of sums of the little bit of California feel that California Adventure was originally supposed to have. If the rumors of a park name change are true, then maybe there’s a possibility Screamin’s name will change with it. For now though, California Screamin gets a 5 out of 5.

Finally, we have to talk about the operations. Now obviously, Disney parks can get extremely crowded. Most rides get waits from 30 minutes to an hour. That said, I’ve never had to wait for Screamin’ for more than 15 minutes. I don’t know if it’s because not as many guests want to ride a more extreme coaster, or if throughput is just really fast, or some other third thing. Whatever the case, the cast members do a really good job of operating the coaster very efficiently. 5 out of 5.

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of our review. I’ve added up the points, and California Screamin’s final score is…an 81! That’s actually a lot better than I thought this coaster would do. As I was tallying up the points, I was expecting a 60 or 70. I’m pleased with this score though, as it is one of my favorite coasters I’ve ridden. It was also the first coaster I had ever ridden with an inversion, so it has a more sentimental feeling to me. I think this ride proves that Disney can make good thrilling coasters, and I hope we get to see more in the future.

Update – New Coaster Grade: 8/10


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