The thrill of riding a towering roller coaster at an amusement park is rarely worth the hours-long wait in a line that’s hundreds of people long. With LEGO’s new Loop Coaster set, there’s no waiting in line, no screaming passengers, and no risk of vomiting when the ride is over. Where do I sign up to become a claw-handed minifigure?
This isn’t LEGO’s first attempt at a roller coaster. By our count, the company has come up with more than 10 brick-built gravity-powered thrill rides, including a 4,000+piece behemoth (now retired) that sent minifigs twisting and turning down a long track, and even a Batman-themed Joker’s fun house (also retired) that was encircled by a more tame coaster experience. What sets apart the new 3,756-piece Loop Coaster is that it’s the first gravity-powered LEGO thrill ride that takes minifigure riders through two full loops before returning them to the station so they can exit through the gift shop. (Gift shop not included.)
Successfully defying gravity to go fully-inverted through a loop requires quite a bit of momentum. Real-life roller coasters either rely on a very tall hill that riders are slowly dragged up by a pulley system, or magnetic launch systems with extreme rates of acceleration to quickly get the coaster up to speed. LEGO has chosen a different approach here to keep the ride’s overall footprint as compact as possible: a 36-inch tall tower with an elevator that lifts a coaster full of passengers from the station to the start of the track above.
Out of the box, the elevator is powered by a manual crank, but the set can also be upgraded with power functions, although it’s hard to tell if it can be left running autonomously in an endless ride loop like LEGO’s older Roller Coaster set.
The Loop Coaster comes with 11 minifigures in total, including a coaster operator, people selling pretzels, balloons, and hot dogs, a grandmother, a young kid, and five additional coaster riders with reversible heads showing varied reactions to the ride.
The set isn’t yet available for pre-order on the Lego website, but it’s listed as “Coming Soon on July 5, 2022” at which point you’ll be able to cough up $599.99 at LEGO’s online or brick-and-mortar stores to add it to your collection.