Riders scream in both fear and excitement as they depart Cannibal’s bright-red platform to begin their 140-second ride through twists, turns and steep drops.
After five years of anticipation, Cannibal, Lagoon’s newest roller coaster, is open to thrill seekers. However, Cannibal’s opening did not come without a few bumps along the way. After delays due to testing and adjustments, Lagoon’s newest attraction opened to park-goers on July 2.
“When I go home to visit my family in Farmington, I pass by Lagoon along the way. The last couple of times I passed by they were just testing it, but it looked awesome,” said BYU student Zach Kitchen.
The delay in Cannibal’s opening sparked several rumors. Further, frustrations from park-goers due to Lagoon’s refusal to provide an opening date for Cannibal created tension. In fact, its opening was never publicly announced on Lagoon’s website but was spread by word of mouth and through various social media outlets.
One rumor propagated was that the delay was due to dummies flying out of the coaster during the test run. Lagoon officials said this rumor is completely false.
“That is ridiculous and untrue. We do not use dummies; we use sandbags, and no sandbags have fallen out during testing,” said Adam Leishman, Lagoon spokesperson.
The budgeted $22-million project was one of a kind, having been manufactured all on site. Nearly 75 percent of Cannibal’s contractors and vendors were Utah-based, including Intermountain Lift in Springville, which manufactured the entire track.
“By using Intermountain Lift it was easier to get longer lengths of track transported from Springville instead of shorter pieces from Sweden,” Leishman said. “Longer pieces mean a smoother ride.”
Despite the setbacks and false rumors, Cannibal’s opening was met with positive feedback from park attendees.
“I stood in line for almost two hours in the heat just to ride Cannibal. It was exhilarating and frightening all wrapped up into one,” said Elyse Wahlquist, of Provo. “I would stand in line all day just to ride it again because it is that good.”
Cannibal lifts riders 208 feet and plunges them into a 116-degree vertical free-fall into an underground tunnel, all while reaching speeds up to 70 miles per hour and pulling almost 4.2 g-forces. Other thrills include a 140-foot-tall inverted loop, water feature and three inversions.
Cannibal is the first roller coaster to put Lagoon on the map, as it joins the rankings as the fourth-steepest steel roller coaster in the world.