MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress, formerly known as Montezooma’s Revenge, is a shuttle roller coaster at Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, California. The attraction, designed by Anton Schwarzkopf, debuted on May 21, 1978, and is one of eight flywheel-launched units made for amusement parks worldwide. It is the oldest shuttle loop roller coaster currently in operation and the last of its kind in the United States.
Unlike other looping coasters, MonteZOOMa: The Forbidden Fortress secures riders with standard lap bar restraints rather than over-the-shoulder restraints.
The attraction was halted in February 2022 for a significant renovation and is set to reopen in 2023.
The nearby Jaguar! roller coaster, which debuted in 1995, runs directly through the center of the Montezooma loop.
Montezooma’s Revenge was redone in a teal and yellow color scheme in 2002. Pony Express, a tiny “out and back” steel roller coaster featuring a flywheel launch technique similar to Montezooma’s Revenge, debuted in 2008 at Knott’s Berry Farm.
The train is accelerated to 55 mph (89 km/h) in 4.5 seconds thanks to a flywheel mechanism. The train does a vertical loop before ascending a spike and reversing direction. It goes backwards through the station and ascends another spike behind it. The flywheel, which weighs 7.6 tonnes (7.5 long tons; 8.4 short tons) and is placed outside the station and adjacent to the loop, is connected to a clutch and cable system, which in turn connects to a small four-wheeled catch car known as a “bob.” A launch pin on the front of the bob fits into a socket in the back of the train. The operators receive the ready light after the bob is seated.
At launch, the clutch system connects the cable to the spinning flywheel, propelling the bob and train ahead quickly. The flywheel loses enough kinetic energy during the launch sequence to drop its speed from about 1044 rpm to 872 rpm. The train negotiates a 76-foot (23-meter) diameter vertical loop before ascending the 148-foot (45-meter) front spike, then lowers backwards, travelling over the loop a second time, running backwards through the station at full speed, and rising the 112-foot (34-meter) rear spike. The best “airtime” on the journey is enjoyed at this point. The train then returns to its starting point after being slowed by 66 sets of brakes, 33 within the station and 33 outside.
Fabric seat belts were installed as a supplementary restraint to augment the existing lap bar restraints following Cedar Fair’s 1997 acquisition of Knott’s Berry Farm.
Next Point of Interest: Pony Express