The Flying Ox – is it a roller coaster?
Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, Tennessee may be home to more attractions that make you ask “Is it a roller coaster?” than any other place in the world. As coaster enthusiasts, we love counting our “coaster credits” but we don’t all agree on what counts and what doesn’t as a roller coaster. The Flying Ox may be the most controversial yet.
First, there are the countless alpine coasters, which are just like any other roller coaster except riders are able to control their own speed via a manual brake. There are different types of alpine coasters now too, like the single rail mountain coaster at Anakeesta, Rail Runner. Check out our comprehensive guide to all the alpine coasters in the Smokies.
Then you have alpine slides, which are just like alpine coasters except instead of riding on rails you ride in a trough like a slide or bobsled on wheels.
You also have rides like the Mountain Glider at Rowdy Bear Adventure Park in Gatlinburg, which is a single-rail suspended coaster but you ride in a harness more like a zipline rather than a fixed seat.
The latest “is it a coaster” attraction gets even crazier! The Flying Ox is a rail-to-zipline-to rail zipline coaster at Paula Deen’s Lumberjack Feud. The best way to describe it is to simply watch the video of the zip coaster in action below:
Is The Flying Ox a roller coaster? Well, for starters it coasts. It rides on a rail, though not the whole time. I believe the ride also uses magnetic brakes at the end like many roller coasters do.
But you do hang in a harness like a zipline, not a solid ride vehicle with lap or shoulder restraints. And you don’t ride the full circuit – you have to climb an eighty foot spiral staircase before getting hooked up.
Either way, it sure is fun to watch. And that’s the most important question in my mind: is the ride fun?
Unfortunately, to try out the Flying Ox to see if it is fun requires you to purchase a $35 ticket for the entire adventure park, seems like it is not an option just to do the zip coaster.
What say you? Does The Flying Ox count as a roller coaster credit? Let us know in the comments below.