They often say that life is like a rollercoaster, it is full of ups, downs, twists and turns. But, what if your life is actually all about rollercoasters? Meet Gavin Seipelt – Pico Play’s very own walking rollercoaster and theme park encyclopedia. Gavin has been an attraction designer for the past 7.5years, but throughout his life has visited over 614 different roller coasters and been to 119 different theme parks. His obsession with coasters and thrill rides should not go unnoticed. Read more below about some of the best theme parks and rides he has visited over the years and some fun facts about coasters.
What has been your favourite rollercoaster you have ridden?
It is hard to pick a singular one, but I loved Lighting Rod at Dollywood, it had a fun themed queue line through a hotrod workshop, and the ride is a manic launched wooden coaster that launches up over a mountain ridge and down into valley. Also love Taron at Phantasialand, Nemesis at Alton Towers, Incredicoaster at Disneys California Adventure and Skyrush at Hersheypark.
What is the average time of a rollercoaster?
It seems your average major one is only about 1:30 seconds from station to brakes, and that even goes for brand new ones like Velocicoaster. The rules of physics rule supreme here - the train has got to run out of momentum at some point. Even making a hyper or giga coaster doesn’t add a whole lot of time, for example DC Rivals Hypercoaster here in Australia is 1:45 and Leviathan at Canadas Wonderland goes for about 2:00. Even if a park has a small budget and can only build a short ride it doesn’t matter, so long as it’s “doing something” the whole time and keeping the blowtorch on. That’s how you build a winner. It doesn’t really cost any extra to shape the track in a more exciting way.
What is the best themed coaster you have seen?
Outside your usual suspects a Disney and Universal, Black Mamba at Phantasialand has some great theming, with a track that ducks and dives through a series of caves and trenches in an African kingdom.
What is the loopiest coaster you have been on?
Smiler at Alton Towers has 14 inversions, a world record, but I haven’t ridden it yet. I’ve ridden the previous world record holder, Colossus at Thorpe Park, another Merlin coaster, but with “only” 10 loops. In terms of coasters that are “all about the inversions”, you can’t go past ones like Kumba at Busch Gardens Tampa, Steel Curtain at Kennywood and Banshee at Kings Island.
What are your thoughts on screaming on rollercoasters?
Some people can’t help but do it, and it’s genuinely funny when people do it involuntarily, and outright hilarious when people let out expletives on things like intense free spin coasters. People who do it on purpose can be annoying, but I guess it’s one of the few places in society where you have leeway to scream with impunity.
There’s a coaster at BonbonLand in Denmark called Hunderprut which means dogfart.