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Throwing a ‘Tantrum’: Newest roller coaster draws huge crowd

Jun 2, 2018

DARIEN — Running down a wooden ramp, a student from the Alexander Music Band cried out, “I didn’t die!” before embracing a friend who was waiting at the exit of Darien Lake’s newest attraction, the Tantrum.

Opening on Friday, Darien’s Lake seventh roller coaster is the first of its kind in New York State and Ontario, as it brings riders on a 98-foot vertical lift at a 90-degree angle before dropping them down in a matter of seconds in a 97-degree drop, twisting and turning around a pretzel inversion.

Excitedly talking, the seventh- and eighth-graders from Alexander described seeing nothing but the sky when going up and unable to see anything in front of them as they careened around the turns.

“I’d go on it again,” was the general consensus before the group wandered over to have its photo taken at the ride.

Vice President Chris Suozzi of the Genesee County Business Development Center said they love it when Darien Lake invests, because not only does it put smiles on everyone’s face but it is a big, economic development engine in Genesee County.

“(Darien Lake) is still the No. 1 seasonal employer in New York State,” said Tom Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce. “We’re lucky to have a world-class amusement park like this in Genesee County to bring people from thousands of miles — hundreds of thousands of miles — to Genesee County to come to Darien Lake.”

Darien Lake General Manager Chris Thorpe said the Tantrum was specially selected as a result of the unique experience it offers its riders.

Jim Krencik, a reporter with The Daily News, boarded with other members of the media and park visitors while two other staffers stayed safe on the ground below. Describing eight people loading into each of the two cars, pointing at a car being pulled up the green tracks, he said your entire vision is the sky.

“As you near the top, you think, ‘I’m about to see the entire park,’ and at that moment you get a quick glimpse before whipping down,” Krencik said before giving a slight laugh. “Your body tenses, you grab the bar in front of you as it drops. The beyond vertical effect thrusts you in a way a roller coaster never has before.”

From there, he said, it’s just the green track and the orange structure that grabs your attention as the train car twirls and dips with a half-second notice. If it was more telegraphed, it might be more scary, Krencik added, but after the first drop, it’s nothing but fun.

By Mallory Diefenbach, Batavia Daily News

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