Jaguar! is a junior roller coaster situated in Buena Park, California at Knott’s Berry Farm. The coaster, designed by Werner Stengel and built by Zierer, first opened to the public in 1995.
Knott’s Berry Farm announced the addition of Jaguar! to the park in December 1994. The ride’s construction would cost $10 million. It was supposed to open in May 1995, however it was postponed. Jaguar! would be released on June 17, 1995.
Riders approach the ride through the temple in the park’s Fiesta Village portion. Many Mayan-style drawings and paintings can be found on the walls of the temple. The bottom queue has the most thematic items. Riders can glimpse inmates who were imprisoned in the temple but are now simply skeletons on one side. Riders may view a gigantic Aztec idol with skulls on his side on the other side. The bottom walls are painted with Aztec gatherings, prisoners, and other figures. The line snakes through a maze of rooms and tunnels. Riders can view more skulls into the temple as they walk up the next ramp. Straight ahead is a massive stone tablet depicting more Mayan Jaguar Warriors with jaguar heads. Another Mayan idol head is to the left of that. Riders may occasionally hear the Jaguar’s roar, which is activated when the train enters the helix at the coaster’s finish. There are also tribal drums and other Mayan sound effects. The queue climbs to the station where passengers board the roller coaster.
After leaving the station, the ride begins by ascending a lift hill. The coaster then turns to the left and drops gently. The coaster then makes a banked right curve up, travels through the top of the temple (where the fire effect used to occur), and finally loops through MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress. The train then turns right and ascends another lift hill. The coaster travels through a succession of bunny hills after the track bends left. The route spins around as it approaches the Timber Mountain Log Ride. The train passes through more bunny hills before doing a banked helix to the left. Finally, it enters a brake run and returns to the station.
Because of the small distance between the two lifts, the train is driven by drive tires. The tread pattern on these tires varies. The main tread pattern is diamond cut recycled rubber. Some tires look to be spinning but are actually speed monitors that track how fast the train is moving and instruct the other motors how fast to spin based on how fast the train is moving. If the train is traveling too quickly, a fault will develop, and the train will come to a halt at the first possible stopping location. Each lift is 65 feet high, with a 20-degree inclination on the first and a 25-degree gradient on the second.
There are two trains, each with fifteen vehicles. The cars are equipped with two types of wheels: track wheels on top and guide wheels on the sides. Every car has a brake fin underneath it to assist in driving the train through the drive tires and braking. Each automobile can accommodate two passengers. The restraint mechanism has three locking positions. The trains are themed to match the architectural style of the temple and surrounding area, with a man on the front that the employees, specifically the maintenance personnel, refer to as Victor, in honor of a maintenance person who once worked at Knott’s Berry Farm and bore an uncanny resemblance to the man on the front of the train but died in a car accident.
The Block System
Jaguar! employs a semi-complex “block system” to keep trains from getting too near or colliding completely. Each train’s location is tracked using proximity sensors, which detect the metal of the brake fin and communicate the information to the main computer, which is shown on the main dispatch control screen. The ride is divided into three sections, not counting the station. “A Block” is the distance from the end of the station approach to the station. “B Block” refers to the area between the tops of Lifts 1 and 2. The only point where a “Set Up” can occur is from the top of the second lift to the station approach segment of the track. A “set up” occurs when one train tries to enter a block that is already occupied by another train. After the second train has cleared the second lift and entered the “C Block,” the dispatch screen only enables the operator to send one train. The train can stop at six different locations: Station, Lift 1, Lift 2 Approach, Lift 2, “C” Brakes, and Station Approach. When “Auto Advance” is turned on, the train enters the station from the station approach automatically. If the “Auto Advance” switch is turned off, the train will remain in Station Approach while the other train moves through A and B Block. When the train arrives at the top of Lift 2 with the other train in Station Approach, both lifts will come to a complete stop, and the dispatcher’s display will say “067 Block C/Setup,” indicating that the two trains are attempting to occupy the same block. When the trains grow too near in the computer’s readings, even though only one train occupies the blocks, a “061 Block R/Setup” occurs.
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