HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — At Hersheypark, there are so many things that you hear. The screams of guests on the attractions or the laughs of families playing in the water park. But there is one thing that has remained the same for the past 25 years.

The roar of Great Bear. (Don’t worry, I’ll get into why Great Bear actually roars later in the story).

Great Bear is a fan favorite, according to the Hersheypark website. It is the only coaster in the park that allows riders to experience a roller coaster from under the track, with nothing underneath them. This is called an inverted roller coaster. Great Bear is the first-ever inverted roller coaster to be built in Pennsylvania.

The coaster was designed by Bolliger and Mabillard (B&M), the same designer as another coaster at the park, Candymonium.

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The ride opened in May 1998, to critical acclaim. It is named after the constellation Ursa Major. This layout is unique to B&M, as the coaster goes into a left-hand helix before the first drop.

The 100-foot loop on Great Bear

The coaster starts by climbing a 90-foot chain lift, followed by the left helix, which provided plenty of lateral g-forces. It then dives down 124 feet into The Hollow area of the park hitting a top speed of 61 miles per hour. It immediately goes into a 100-foot vertical loop, followed by an Immelmann.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica. this element is named after German World War I aviator Max Immelmann. Riders enter a half-loop followed by a half-twist and then exit the element traveling in the opposite direction making a 180-degree turn.

After the Immelmann loop, the riders are flung into a left-hand zero-g roll. This inversion is one of the more intense elements of the ride due to the speed the coaster traverses the roll. It also delivers a pop of weightlessness as the ride traverses the inversion.

Diving down the 124 foot first drop

The train then rises and swoops past sooperdooperLooper’s final helix, barely missing it. Riders then speed paralleling Spring Creek, passing underneath Looper’s lift hill and whipping into the final inversion, a corkscrew (which is my favorite part of the ride). The coaster then speeds past Looper’s inversion and slams into the brakes.

The reason why Great Bear roars as it speeds by is due to the hollow, box-style of the track. The sound of the wheels vibrates against the hollow track, causing the signature roar sound. Other parks that have B&M inverted coasters sometimes fill the track and supports with sand, to combat the vibrations and the loud roaring sound.

The layout of Great Bear is unique, because of the proximity to other rides. The ride can handle up to 1,300 riders per hour with its two 32-passenger trains. The coaster was the most expensive investment at the time, costing $13 million (about $24 million in 2023).

To take a virtual ride on Great Bear, click here!