White Lightning (roller coaster)

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White Lightning
Fun Spot America Orlando White Lightning Station.JPG
White Lightning's Station
Fun Spot America
Location Fun Spot America
Coordinates 28°27′58″N 81°27′23″W / 28.466155°N 81.456393°W / 28.466155; -81.456393
Latitude and Longitude:

28°27′58″N 81°27′23″W / 28.466155°N 81.456393°W / 28.466155; -81.456393
Soft opening dateMay 20, 2013 (2013-05-20)
Opening dateJune 7, 2013 (2013-06-07)
Cost$3.5 million
General statistics
Type Wood
Manufacturer Great Coasters International
Track layout Out and back
Lift/launch system Chain lift hill
Height69.7 ft (21.2 m)
Drop67.2 ft (20.5 m)
Length2,032 ft (619 m)
Speed44.3 mph (71.3 km/h)
Max vertical angle58°
Height restriction46 in (117 cm)
Trains2 trains with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in a single row for a total of 12 riders per train.
White Lightning at RCDB
Pictures of White Lightning at RCDB

White Lightning is a wooden roller coaster located at Fun Spot America amusement park in Orlando, Florida. Manufactured by Great Coasters International (GCI), White Lightning opened to the public on June 8, 2013, as the first wooden coaster to be built in Orlando. Unlike traditional wood designs, the support structure is made of steel to reduce maintenance costs, and it was the first time GCI incorporated the design into one of their coasters. White Lightning has also been well-received, consistently ranking in the top 50 among wooden roller coasters in the annual Golden Ticket Awards from Amusement Today.


On December 31, 2010, Fun Spot Action Park announced that they purchased an additional 10 acres (4.0 ha) adjacent to the park, with plans to triple the size of the park adding a number of new rides. [1] In April 2011, Fun Spot Action Park surveyed park guests about what types of attractions they would like at the park. Consensus published by the park indicated they wanted water rides and roller coasters. [2] In August 2011, the Orlando Sentinel revealed that the park had contacted at least three roller coaster manufacturers. [3] In November 2011, it was confirmed that the park would receive two roller coasters: one wood and one steel. [4] The wooden roller coaster was later confirmed to be a family friendly roller coaster manufactured by Great Coasters International (GCI). [5]

In May 2012, Fun Spot Action Park announced on Theme Park Review that they would be adding White Lighting in 2013 as part of their expansion and rebranding. [6] However, due to the availability of extra funding, the park was able incorporate more thrilling elements in the ride. [6] After a one-year period of construction, White Lightning soft opened to the public on May 20, 2013. [7] [8] The park's official reopening ceremony was held on June 8, 2013. [9] The $3.5 million ride opened as Orlando's first wooden roller coaster. [9] [10] [11]


White Lightning's first drop

White Lightning is a wooden roller coaster designed by Pennsylvania-based manufacturer, Great Coasters International (GCI). [9] The 2,032-foot-long (619 m) ride takes riders to a height of 69.7 feet (21.2 m) through the use of a chain lift hill. Riders reach a top speed of 44.3 miles per hour (71.3 km/h) on the 75-second ride. [7] The ride operates with two Millennium Flyer trains. [12] Each train is made up of six cars that seat pairs of riders. This is shorter than most GCI trains and allows for a faster paced ride. Riders, who must be over 46 inches (120 cm), are restrained in the padded seats via a lap bar. [9]

The wooden-tracked ride features steel supports, a first for GCI. Wooden roller coasters ride differently to steel roller coasters, so it was necessary for GCI to design the track approximately 3 feet (0.91 m) above the steel support structure. Traditionally manufacturers would attach the track directly to steel supports. The steel support structure was requested by the park because it would require less maintenance than a wooden one, and it could be powder-coated to stand out in the park. [9]

Ride experience

White Lightning's 90 degree bank turn back

White Lightning begins with a small dip out of the station and into the chain lift hill. Once at the top of the 69.7-foot (21.2 m) hill, the ride plunges 67.2 feet (20.5 m) to the left at an angle of 58°. The train then traverses a small high speed hill, before entering a double up followed by a double down. The train then inclines into a 90° banked curve that dives back to the ground, sending riders back in the direction they came. Several small hills lead the ride to the final brake run and subsequently the station. [6] [7] [9] [13]


White Lightning has been well received. Dewayne Bevil of the Orlando Sentinel stated the ride had "several 'Wow, this is fun' moments". Bevil described the ride as "smooth sailing" when compared to other wooden roller coasters, praising the ride for its many twists and air-time hills. [14] Robb Alvey of Theme Park Review described the ride as "fast and fun" and that one shouldn't "judge it by its size". [13] David Martin of WOFL stated he loved the ride and that the ride was a hit. [8] Paul Ruben of Park World Magazine stated the ride is "not too big and it's not too small. It's just right." [15] John Arie, the owner of Fun Spot, stated GCI delivered a ride that exceed his expectations, giving it an 11 out of 10. [10]

Golden Ticket Awards: Top wood Roller Coasters
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Ranking 38 (tie) [16] 40 [17] 34 [18] 18 (tie) [19] 24 [20] 22 [21]

See also


  1. ^ "Fun Spot Action Park Becomes "Huge-er"" (Press release). Fun Spot Attractions. December 31, 2010. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  2. ^ "Surveys, Surveys, Surveys" (Press release). Fun Spot Attractions. April 26, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  3. ^ Smith, Steven Cole (August 14, 2011). "For your amusement: Fun Spot executive embraces the inner child". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Company. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  4. ^ "New attractions planned for Orlando park". Click Orlando. November 22, 2011. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  5. ^ Brisson, Mark (December 5, 2011). "Season 3 Episode 42". The Coaster Crew (Interview). Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Fun Spot Action Park White Lightning Wooden Roller Coaster". Theme Park Review. May 29, 2012. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c Marden, Duane. "White Lightning  (Fun Spot America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Martin, David (May 20, 2013). "David Does It: Fun Spot Orlando's new wooden coaster". WOFL. Fox Broadcasting Company. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Rutherford, Scott (July 2013). "Orlando's first wooden roller coaster strikes at Fun Spot" (PDF). Amusement Today: 10B. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Ruben, Paul (June 17, 2013). "Fun Spot launches Orlando's first wooden coaster". Park World Magazine. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  11. ^ Marden, Duane. "Roller Coaster Search Results  (Wooden roller coasters in Orlando)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved July 19, 2013.
  12. ^ "White Lightning". Great Coasters International. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Alvey, Robb (June 3, 2013). "White Lightning Wooden Roller Coaster POV Front Seat Back Seat Off-Ride Fun Spot Orlando". Theme Park Review. YouTube. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  14. ^ Bevil, Dewayne (May 30, 2013). "Fun Spot brings two new roller coasters to Orlando". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Company. Retrieved July 20, 2013.
  15. ^ Ruben, Paul (November 2013). "Fun Spot grows up". Park World Magazine: 10.
  16. ^ "2014 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 18 (6.2): 38–39. September 2014. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  17. ^ "2015 Top 50 wood Roller Coasters" (PDF). Amusement Today. 19 (6.2): 45–46. September 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  18. ^ "2016 top 50 wooden roller coasters". Golden Ticket Awards. Amusement Today. September 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  19. ^ "2017 Top 50 Wooden Coasters". Golden Ticket Awards. Amusement Today. September 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  20. ^ "2018 Top 50 Wooden Coasters". Golden Ticket Awards. Amusement Today. September 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  21. ^ "2019 Top Wood". Golden Ticket Awards. Amusement Today. September 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2017.

External links