Rebel Yell ran one side backwards for 8 or 9 years during Paramount ownership (one side running backwards from mid 90's through 2005 | Paramount owned KD from late 1992 to the end of 2005). The coaster is in it's 38th season of operation (as of 2013). Therefore, The Rebel Yell ran 29-30 years with both sides running forward. When Cedar Fair took over at the beginning of 2006, and was reviewing the ride operations, they had questions about running the PTC trains backwards on the track and contacted the Philadelphia Toboggan Company. The train manufacturer told Cedar Fair that they did not recommend the trains run in a reverse direction. Cedar Fair had KD put the reversed trains back forward again and both sides run forward to this day.
I don't get why people think the trains have run backwards since the ride opened in 1975; when over 2/3's of its operational life has had both sides running forward.
I never said it always ran backwards, I said I missed riding it backwards. That said, I can totally understand why they stopped doing it. The last time I rode it backwards, I was in the last car, so I was sorta in the front, I guess? At any rate, were we climbing the first hill and the whole train slipped most of the way back down the track. It was quite the visual. It is a really old coaster, and I bet the whole backwards thing wasn't such a great idea. But is was a lot of fun.
To add to Evan's post, here is a shot of Rebel Yell from the 1977 movie Rollercoaster. I love how the rails and track were painted a rich blue and red. I really hope at some point in the park's celebration, Rebel Yell receives a fresh repaint. It really needs it as of late.
This is a vintage photo of Rebel Yell from the Eiffel Tower taken by my family circa 1975 - 1977. I rode the Rebel Yell on this trip -- it was my first big coaster. My mother and I were in the very back and my father was in the row in front of us. I will never forget the feeling of flying out of the seat and being grabbed by my mom with her hyper-mother instincts!
Rebel Yell from Eiffel Tower GeoUSA 1975 - 1977.jpg
Wow! That picture IS old! You can see the giant pump house next to the coaster and the 'not running' fountain in the water. That pump was so huge that it used to cause local brown outs when they fired it up. It shot water like over 100 feet in the air.
Quote from the book Amusement Parks of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware:
"The Rebel Yell trabeled alongside Lake Charles, a 10-acre lake named after project manager Charles Flatt, that featured a $500,000 fountain shooting water 250 feet in the sky, twice the height of Old Faithful. Unfortunately as Dennis Spiegel, the park's first general manager soon realized, when the fountain was turned on to full power, 'it watered everyone in the park!'"
Take this with a grain of salt, but a little birdie told me we can expect to see Rebel Yell's exit queue redesigned for the 2015 season. What this means is that you won't have to walk half a mile around Americana to exit the coaster anymore, which is a pretty big deal.