You drive on to the overpass and there it is, a looming purple structure rising and dropping over the trees like a sea serpent. Her name is Apollo’s Chariot. Currently the 5th best steel coaster in the world according to Coaster Grotto. I am not here just to write about the coaster itself, I want to delve into the history and the namesake of this 15 year old beauty.
Apollo: The Sun God
Apollo was not just the Sun God, but it was believed that his chariot and fiery horses were the Sun itself. The ancient Romans believed that the Sun moving across the sky was Apollo, riding his horse led chariot, giving light to the world. Apollo had a human son (a collective “yesssss” from Percy Jackson fans) whose name was Phaetheon. Phaetheon begged his father to ride the chariot across the sky, to which Apollo reluctantly agreed. Phaetheon lost control of the horses in mid air and flew so far away that the Earth began to freeze. Trying to correct the charge, the chariot dove towards the Earth burning the fields. Jupiter, Apollo’s father, stopped it with a thunder bolt, killing Phaetheon.
Sunday is named for Apollo.
An Auspicious Beginning
AC is the first hyper coaster manufactured by Bolliger and Mabillard, which brought some more excitement to the park, as they were the same company that built Alpengeist two years prior. The ride had a soft opening (unannounced sneak peek for guests) and then officially opened March 30th, 1999. Along with the fanfare, the man known as a “True Roman God”, model Fabio, was in attendance and was front row for the “inaugural” ride. Flying down the first drop, a goose struck Fabio in the face, leaving him bloody, but with only a minor cut. He was taken to a nearby hospital and would not return for the meet and greet that was to follow.
Apollo’s Chariot is still a favorite of many coaster fans around the world. Her speed and bank turns make her an exciting ride. For more info on AC go here.