Montezooma's Revenge

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Montezooma's Revenge
Montezoomas Revenge (Knotts Berry Farm).jpg
Montezooma's Revenge in the hill right after the loop
Knott's Berry Farm
LocationKnott's Berry Farm
Park sectionFiesta Village
Coordinates33°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
Opening dateMay 21, 1978 (1978-05-21)
General statistics
TypeSteel – Launched – Shuttle
ManufacturerAnton Schwarzkopf
DesignerWerner Stengel
ModelShuttle Loop - Flywheel
Track layoutShuttle Loop
Lift/launch systemFlywheel launch
Height148 ft (45 m)
Drop137 ft (42 m)
Length800 ft (240 m)
Speed55 mph (89 km/h)
Inversions1 (traversed twice)
Max vertical angle70°
Capacity1344 riders per hour
Acceleration0 to 55 mph (0 to 89 km/h) in 3 seconds
Height restriction48 in (122 cm)
TrainsSingle 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 shuttle roller coaster located at Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California, United States. Designed by Anton Schwarzkopf, the ride opened on May 21, 1978,[1] and is one of eight flywheel-launched units manufactured for theme parks around the world.[2] It was the first flywheel-launched roller coaster in the world, the oldest shuttle loop roller coaster still in its original location, and it was the last ride of its kind to ever operate, with it now being extinct.[citation needed]

Unlike traditional looping coasters, Montezooma's Revenge uses conventional lap bar restraints to secure riders instead of over-the-shoulder restraints.[1] The ride was closed in February 2022 for a major refurbishment and is scheduled to reopen in 2023.


Train traveling along the center loop of Montezooma's Revenge

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, which opened in 1995,[3] passes directly through the center of Montezooma's loop.[4] In 2002, Montezooma's Revenge was repainted in a teal and yellow color scheme.[1] In 2008, Knott's opened Pony Express, a small "out and back" steel roller coaster with a flywheel launch system much like Montezooma's Revenge.[5]

In 2017, Montezooma's Revenge was painted with orange track and dark green supports.[6]

On June 20, 2019, Montezooma's Revenge was designated as a Roller Coaster Landmark by the American Coaster Enthusiasts, officially recognizing the ride as the last coaster of its kind in the United States and the longest standing in its original location.[6] The ride will be closed for a major refurbishment throughout the 2022 season, set to reopen in 2023.[7]

Launch mechanism and safety features[edit]

The flywheel launch system.

The ride uses a flywheel mechanism to accelerate the train to 55 mph (89 km/h) in 4.5 seconds. The train goes through a vertical loop, then ascends a spike and reverses direction. It passes through the station in reverse and ascends another spike 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]

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 spike, 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 spike. 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]

Following Cedar Fair's 1997 acquisition of Knott's Berry Farm,[8] fabric seat belts were added as a secondary restraint to complement the existing lap bar restraints.[1]


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]

Awards and rankings[edit]

In June 2019, Montezooma's Revenge was given the Coaster Landmark Award by the American Coaster Enthusiasts club. There is a plaque commemorating the achievement. Knott's tweeted their announcement of the award.[11]


  1. ^ a b c d e Marden, Duane. "Montezooma's Revenge  (Knott's Berry Farm)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "ESshuttlelooptyp2GF". schwarzkopf coaster net. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  3. ^ Marden, Duane. "Jaguar!  (Knott's Berry Farm)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  4. ^ Morano, Chris. "Montezooma's Revenge". Roller Coaster Database. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  5. ^ "Pony Express - Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, California, United States)". Retrieved 2020-04-10.
  6. ^ a b MacDonald, Brady. "Knott's Berry Farm's Montezooma's Revenge joins an elite group of legendary roller coasters with historic award". The Orange County Register. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
  7. ^ Niles, Robert (January 7, 2022). "Knott's Will Renovate Its Montezooma's Revenge Coaster". Theme Park Insider. Archived from the original on January 8, 2022. Retrieved January 8, 2022.
  8. ^ Marden, Duane. "Knott's Berry Farm". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  9. ^ Anton, Mike (August 8, 2002). "Knott's Sued in Death of Woman". LA Times. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  10. ^ "Court upholds dismissal of coaster lawsuit". Orange County Register. February 24, 2006. Retrieved October 9, 2010.
  11. ^ Knott's Berry Farm [@knotts] (June 20, 2019). "This morning Montezooma's Revenge was recognized as a Landmark Coaster by the @aceonlineorg. This honor has been given to only 41 roller coasters in the world! Thank you to ACE for the recognition of this classic attraction. #CoasterCon" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]

Preceded by World's Tallest Roller Coaster
Succeeded by