Montezooma's Revenge

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This article is about the roller coaster. For other uses, see Montezuma's Revenge (disambiguation).
Montezooma's Revenge
Montezoomas Revenge (Knotts Berry Farm).jpg
Montezuma's Revenge in the hill right after the loop
Knott's Berry Farm
Park section Fiesta Village
Coordinates 33°50′44″N 117°59′56″W / 33.845634°N 117.998982°W / 33.845634; -117.998982Coordinates: 33°50′44″N 117°59′56″W / 33.845634°N 117.998982°W / 33.845634; -117.998982
Status Operating
Opening date May 21, 1978 (1978-05-21)
General statistics
Type Steel – Launched – Shuttle
Manufacturer Anton Schwarzkopf
Designer Werner Stengel
Model Shuttle Loop - Flywheel
Track layout Shuttle Loop
Lift/launch system Flywheel launch
Height 148 ft (45 m)
Drop 137 ft (42 m)
Length 800 ft (240 m)
Speed 55 mph (89 km/h)
Inversions 1 (traversed twice)
Duration 0:36
Max vertical angle 70°
Capacity 1344 riders per hour
Acceleration 0 to 55 mph (0 to 89 km/h) in 3 seconds
Height restriction 48 in (122 cm)
Trains Single train with 7 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 28 riders per train.
Fast Lane available
Montezooma's Revenge at RCDB
Pictures of Montezooma's Revenge at RCDB

Montezooma's Revenge is a steel shuttle roller coaster at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. It opened on May 21, 1978.[1] Designed by Anton Schwarzkopf,[1] it is one of eight flywheel-launched units manufactured for theme parks around the world.[2]It was the first launched roller coaster in the world and is the last ride of its kind still operating in the United States, and remains one of the most popular attractions at Knott's Berry Farm.[citation needed] In a "behind-the-scenes" YouTube video, it was revealed that the ride had operated 1,422,272 cycles as of February 2012 [3]

Unlike many other looping coasters, Montezooma's Revenge uses lap bars to hold riders in the seats instead of conventional over-the-shoulder restraints found on most other steel looping roller coasters.[1] Following Cedar Fair LP's 1997 takeover of Knott's Berry Farm,[4] fabric seat belts were added as a secondary restraint system.[1]


Montezooma's Revenge was named after the bluegrass group, Montezuma's Revenge, a musical act that performed regularly in the wagon camp at Knott's Berry Farm.[citation needed] Based on the launch mechanism for aircraft carriers, the flywheel-launched shuttle loop is a successor of the drop-tower launch shuttle, and predates modern LIM and hydraulic launch systems by over 15 years. The drop tower models had a large silo with a weight inside connected to a similar launch system. The weight would drop, thus pulling the cable and bob, launching the train. Drawbacks included no adjustments for inclement weather. Also, the drop-tower launch was nowhere as intense as the flywheel launch, taking almost two seconds longer to reach the same speed.

The nearby Jaguar! roller coaster passes directly through the center of Montezooma's loop.[5] Jaguar! was opened in 1995.[6] In 2002,[citation needed] Montezooma's Revenge was repainted with teal and yellow color scheme.[1] In 2008, Knott's opened Pony Express, a small "out and back" steel roller coaster[7] with a flywheel launch system much like Montezooma's Revenge.[citation needed]

Sometime around 2016, it was rumored that Knott's would have plans to demolish the coaster, however these rumors were confirmed false since the ride received a new paint job in 2017. [8]

Launch mechanism and safety features[edit]

The ride uses a flywheel mechanism to accelerate the train to 55 miles per hour (89 km/h) in 4.5 seconds. The train goes through a loop, then ascends a tower and reverses direction. It passes through the station in reverse and ascends another tower behind the station.

The 7.6 tonnes (7.5 long tons; 8.4 short tons) flywheel, located outside the station and adjacent to the loop, is attached to a clutch and cable system, which in turn connects to a small four-wheeled catch car known as a "bob". On the front of the bob is a launch pin that seats in a socket in the back of the train. Once the bob is seated, the operators receive the ready light.[citation needed]

Two operators are required to launch the train. After verifying that all passengers have secured their restraints and checking the exit stairs, one operator ascends a podium at the right front of the train. The other operator stands on a platform at the left rear. After verifying that the launch area is clear of personnel, the front operator gives a thumbs-up signal and says, "Clear; dispatch." Both operators must then press a button on their respective consoles simultaneously to launch.[citation needed]

At launch, the clutch system engages the cable to the spinning flywheel, pulling the bob and train rapidly forwards. During the launch sequence, enough kinetic energy is removed from the flywheel to reduce its speed from approximately 1044 rpm to 872 rpm.[2] The train negotiates a 76-foot (23 m) diameter vertical loop before ascending the 148-foot (45 m) front tower, then descends backwards, going through the loop a second time, running at full speed backwards through the station, and ascending the 112-foot (34 m) rear tower. It is at this point where the best "airtime" on the ride is experienced.[citation needed] The train then returns to its starting position after being slowed by 66 sets of brakes, 33 in the station and 33 to the rear of the station.[1]

During night time operation, the station lights dim at the instant of launch.[citation needed]


Justine Dedele Bolia, a 20-year-old female tourist from the Republic of Congo, died on September 1, 2001, one day after riding Montezooma's Revenge. Bolia suffered a ruptured middle cerebral artery, and an autopsy revealed a pre-existing condition. The ride was closed for several days while an investigation was conducted. Though state investigators concluded that the ride did not contribute to her death, a wrongful death lawsuit was later filed by her family in 2002.[9] The lawsuit was dismissed in 2006.[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Marden, Duane. "Montezooma's Revenge  (Knott's Berry Farm)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "ESshuttlelooptyp2GF". schwarzkopf coaster net. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  3. ^ "Montezooma's Revenge Behind the Scenes Tour". gdoggy1678. Retrieved 18 April 2014. 
  4. ^ Marden, Duane. "Knott's Berry Farm". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Morano, Chris. "Montezooma's Revenge". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Marden, Duane. "Jaguar!  (Knott's Berry Farm)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Marden, Duane. "Pony Express  (Knott's Berry Farm)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Anton, Mike (8 August 2002). "Knott's Sued in Death of Woman". LA Times. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  10. ^ "Court upholds dismissal of coaster lawsuit". Orange County Register. 24 February 2006. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
King Kobra (tied with Greased Lightnin' and White Lightnin')
World's Tallest Roller Coaster
1978 - 1983
Succeeded by
Moonsault Scramble