Xcelerator Review – Intamin Accelerator Coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm

Here’s my full review of Xcelerator, a launch coaster located at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California.

Xcelerator was manufactured by Intamin in 2002. The coaster has a height of 205 feet, a 90 degree drop, and an extremely intense launch acceleration of 0 – 82 mph in 2.3 seconds.

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.

First up is the height category. I think it’s safe to say that Xcelerator gets a 5 out of 5 for this. It’s basically a miniature stratacoaster. I only wish that you could sit up at the top of the top hat a little bit longer to soak in the fantastic view, but hey, that’s what re-rides are for.

Next we have the drop category, in which Xcelerator will also be receiving a perfect 10 out of 10. Even though it happens really quickly, the 90 degree vertical drop on this coaster is amazing! The force you get while being pulled over the top hat is insane, and the ejector on the drop completely throws you out of your seat! It seriously might be my favorite drop on any coaster I’ve ridden.

Going 3 for 3, Xcelerator will also receive a perfect score in the speed category. Not only does this coaster have one of my favorite drops, but it also has my favorite launch. It’s extremely fast and intense, and catches me off guard every time. Xcelerator definitely excels at accelerating (say that 5 times fast).

In the smoothness category, Xcelerator gets a 4 out of 5. It’s a pretty smooth coaster, but it’s not perfect. I did only ride this in the back though, so maybe it’s glossy smooth in the front. Even if it’s not, I still thought it was arguably the smoothest Intamin I’ve been on.

Next up is airtime, in which Xcelerator will be receiving a 3 out of 5. Because of this rides arguably short duration, there aren’t very many moments for airtime. Luckily, Xcelerator packs in one ginormous punch of airtime while you are going over the top hat at the beginning. It’s one of the strongest moments of airtime on any coaster I’ve ridden, so it’s quite a shame that they couldn’t add more.

In the intensity category, Xcelerator will once again be receiving a perfect 10 out of 10. As I’ve already explained, the launch on this coaster is the most powerful and intense launch I’ve experienced. It’s not a bad intense either, like something you might find on a B&M flyer (*cough* pretzel loops suck *cough*). Instead, it’s a sudden jolt of intensity that sticks with you for the entirety of the ride, until you hit the break run.

Xcelerator will only be getting a 2 out of 5 in duration, though. Sadly, this ride is pretty short. It’s only about a minute long, Luckily, Xcelerator packs a punch from beginning to end, and is very re-rideable. The queue was always very short while I was there, and even though I only got 2 rides on it, I’m sure I could’ve easily gotten 10 more within an hour if I wanted to. At the end of the day, the duration doesn’t really hurt this ride.

For the theming category, Xcelerator gets a 4 out of 10. Unfortunately, this seemed like the least themed coaster in the park. Knott’s is known for its outstanding, Disney-level theming, but it kind of falls short with Xcelerator. That entire section of the park is pretty lame, to be honest. It’s almost like the park ran out of budget for the corner that Xcelerator is tucked away in. Luckily, the theming isn’t a completely lost cause here. The ride does feature a minimal hot rod theme, and some pretty awesome trains. They look like rock-n-roller coaster’s cars on steroids. The coaster track also has a neat pink paint-scheme. I don’t particularly like it, but it’s cool that Knott’s tried a more unique color.

In the restraints category, Xcelerator receives a 3 out of 5. I’ve never particularly liked Intamin’s restraints. I found the lap bar restraints on Superman: The Ride (an Intamin mega coaster) to be some of the most constricting restraints on any coaster. Luckily, Xcelerator’s restraints were manageable. They weren’t as good as what you might find on a B&M or RMC, but they still provided enough room for you to feel nice and free during the ride. They aren’t the best, but they’re definitely better than any over the shoulder restraints.

Now we have our last major category: the layout. Because of it’s shortness, I don’t see a way to give Xcelerator a perfect score for this one. That said, the overall elements on this ride are very well paced. You launch up and over the top hat, go through some banked turns, and hit the break run. It might not have any inversions or airtime hills, but everything it does have is a lot of fun. 7 out of 10.

After that, we have 3 more quick categories to round things out. First up, the queue. Similar to the theming category, the queue is pretty barebones. It’s really just a bunch of chain switchbacks. Luckily, 2 things vouch for the plain queue. 1) there’s shade and tarps to stand under, and 2) it offers lot’s of good opportunities for off-ride photography. Those two small factors win Xcelerator a 3 out of 5 for queue.

Now we have the coaster’s name. It’s admittedly pretty upsetting that a world-class theme park like Knott’s would give one of their best coasters such an awful, basic name like Xcelerator. The type of coaster is literally called an Accelerator coaster! It’s like they didn’t even try to come up with a better name! Luckily, this small problem is probably the only disappointment of the entire ride. Even though the name gets a 1 out of 5, it’s not a huge loss.

Finally, we have the operations. There really isn’t much to talk about here, as operations were smooth-sailing both times I rode Xcelerator. They were running two trains throughout the day, and did a great job filtering people in and out. 5 out of 5.

Well, we’ve finally reached the end of our review. I’ve added up the points, and Goliath’s final score is…a 77! Xcelerator really is an awesome roller coaster. It’s definitely become my favorite launch coaster, and one of the coolest rides in California. It’s probably my second favorite coaster at the park, with Ghost Rider beating it out by just a little bit. If your looking for an intense, re-rideable coaster with an epic launch, than I’d definitely recommend heading out to Knott’s Berry Farm and riding Xcelerator.

Update – New Coaster Grade: 8/10


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