If this photo doesn’t capture my love of amusement and theme parks, then I’m not sure what photo could…
Yours truly on the venerable (and sorely missed) Triple Wheel at Great America in Santa Clara, CA. Here’s hoping it brings as much joy to you as it did to me finding it in an old photo album.
For those wondering what the ride looked like that I’m pictured on, this great video from GreatAmericaParks.com should help you out – the sound ALONE should spark your memory:
In light of recent events with “the Smiler” at Alton Towers – and the inevitable 24/7 news coverage about it, it’s good to have some perspective on events like it.
So, before you start clicking on those “roller coaster accident” click-bait links, or go off on social media, spouting that, “…all rides are unsafe and you’ll never go on one again” (liar), here’s some “odds of” over your lifetime that should bring you some perspective:
The odds of dying on a roller coaster as a result or either neglect or act of God are approximately 1 in 300,000,000. That’s 300 MILLION for those who stopped counting zeroes. This is according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Also…
The odds of being killed in a car crash in the United States: 1 in 470
The odds of being killed by lightning: 1 in 164,968
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot: 1 in 259,000,000
The odds of bowling a perfect game in bowling: 1 in 11,500
The odds of marrying a supermodel: 1 in 880,000
The odds of being killed by a shark: 1 in 300,000,000
The odds of drowning in a pool: 1 in 567
The odds of being killed by a terrorist: 1 in 20,000,000
The bottom line: you should be fearing those numbnuts in ISIS, planning how to spend all that lottery jackpot money or discussing how you’ll spend your honeymoon with Kate Upton or Gabriela Fernandes before you EVER think twice about jumping on your favorite roller coaster.
SIDE BAR: Kate or Gabriela, you’re welcome to join me on ANY coaster, ANYtime!
It’s good to know people. But it’s even better to know there’s all sorts of things inside our favorite amusement and theme parks that can make your day that much more special, IF you know them! Here now is my top six most celebrated amusement and theme park “insider” experiences as parks open up for full time operation this week:
6.) Dole Whip:
Once only reserved for visitors to Disney’s Tiki Rooms, this Polynesian frozen treat is slowly making its way out from the mouse and into regional parks, to the delight of pineapple fans everywhere. If you haven’t experienced one yet – hunt it down or request it be brought to your park.
5.) The Rollback:
We ain’t talking about WalMart here…an exclusive experience to Intamin cable-launched coasters, this delightful event occurs when the launch isn’t quite strong enough to get you over the first hill, resulting in screams of euphoria from enthusiasts – and shrieks of horror from the general public.
In reality, it’s all perfectly safe and for the lucky riders, it’s like getting 1.5 rides for the wait of just one!
4.) The Round-Trip Skyway Ride:
Because nothing’s better than watching all those people in line scratch their head over why you’re not getting out of your sky bucket. But, with so many of these rides being removed in recent years, plus the increase in overall park attendance (which means longer lines for rides) this experience has become far more difficult to cross off your list.
3.) The Track Walk / Evacuation:
A very rare event that you don’t necessarily want to root for experiencing for yourself. Why? Because it most certainly means the ride will be down for at LEAST the rest of the operating day.
But the experiencing of walking a coaster lift is most certainly a memorable one.
2.) The Last Ride of the Night:
There is something oddly cathartic about knowing you’re the last person to experience all that fun. Well, at least until the mechanics come in tomorrow morning to start checking on things. this fun. But, until then…
And the number one most celebrated amusement park insider experience?
1.) Exclusive Ride Time (ERT):
The only thing better than the last ride of the night, is having the ride all to yourself or the group you’re at the park with!
Just think about it – no line and fast operations. It doesn’t get any better than that. Heck, it’s one of the biggest reasons I joined ACE!
Did I miss an experience? Do you have one to add to the list? Tell me about it on my social media channels or leave a comment below!
Despite the fact that we weren’t nominated for Creative Awards from CreaTV late last week, we haven’t let it get us down. In fact, we’ve had more media than ever contact us about the “Lost Parks” series!
Just this week, we’ve been in contact / interviewed with :
Oh, did we mention we’re still trying to finish the Santa’s Village episode, too? : )
Stay tuned everyone, we’re not the fastest growing amusement / theme park website on the web for nothing!
The hits just keep on coming – check out the latest coverage on the “Lost Parks” project, this time from the Register-Pajaronian, out of Watsonville, CA:
Read the whole article by clicking here or, copying the link below:
Yes, amusement park safety technology was pretty much non-existent back in the last 19th century, but you have to admit that this free-fall ride concept was far beyond the acceptable level of crazy for it’s day.
According to io9.com, this is from, “An 1891 issue of Scientific American. (It) showcased this invention by a one Monsieur Carron of Grenoble, France. In short, Carron had invented an amusement ride that involved 15 patrons falling almost 1,000 feet inside a 30-foot-long bullet, which then would land inside a champagne-flute-shaped, 180-foot-deep well.”
Eat your hearts out, free fall fans. This thing is crazier than the looping waterslide at Action Park in New Jersey. (The only difference – that was ACTUALLY built!)
The article also goes into very specific details on how the “ride” would work:
“Mr. Charles Carron, an engineer at Grenoble, has analytically studied the conditions in which the punctuation of the water by such a shell would be effected, and the reactions that the passengers would have to support. The conclusions of this study show that there is nothing, either theoretically or practically, opposed to its construction and to its operation in falls reaching three hundred meters. The accompanying figures give the general aspect of such a shell capable of accommodating fifteen passengers falling from a height of 300 meters […] The passengers would be securely seated in arm chairs that exactly followed the contours of their body.”
Nevermind the fact that there’s no lap bars to hold you in, or that the wind conditions at 1000 feet are far different than those on the ground. (Trust me, I used to work with an airship company – they’re WILDLY different!) True, in principle it makes sense – but we all know from the Mythbusters that real-world results can always vary!
Here’s my question – who’s ready to queue up for a modern take on this?!?
After a slight delay to install an additional 70 foot long tunnel, Gold Striker is back up and running (and presumably under the decibel limit agreed to by both Prudential Real Estate Investors and Cedar Fair (owners of the park).
The park sent out this message on Facebook today:
“Great news regarding Gold Striker. An additional 70 ft. tunnel, similar to the initial descent tunnel, has been added and the ride is better than ever. Feel the rush today.”
So – no long closure (as was initially implied and worried about on some websites – this one included) and a second massive headchopper sure to add to the thrills of the ride – what’s not to love?
It’s been a long road to get here, but all fans of the park and ride can breathe a sign of relief – after seven long years – Gold Striker is finally here to stay and now open PERMANENTLY!
If you haven’t already, get yourself out to California’s Great America and ride the Best Wooden Coaster on the West Coast, GOLD STRIKER!