Today’s Throwback Thursday comes from this past summer, when I had the privilege to cross the country with my good friends Robert Ingle and Nicholas Laschkewitsch to help tell the story of Arrow Development.
The documentary is coming out later this year – so for now, enjoy this great scene of Magnum XL-200 (world’s first hypercoaster) from Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. The fire ants and muffleheads were INSANE!
As for my hair – I’m pretty sure I was wearing a hat that day…
Today’s Throwback Thursday is a rare gem!
Presenting the Arrow pipeline concept – a roller coaster that stood for many years in Arrow’s Clearfield, UT plant. However, it never made it into a park (although Intamin would make a similar design in Asia several years later).
This video shows the process of testing and some rare POV of the ride as well – anyone want to get in line to be the first riders? Don’t forget to check out our documentary project on Arrow Development by following American Coaster Enthusiasts on Facebook!
There are many things us coaster and park fans should be thankful for this holiday season, so I’ve attempted to narrow it down to the top five:
5.) A stabilized, improving U.S. economy:
While the economy continues to trudge around, improving slowly – we’re starting to see parks re-invest in themselves once again, with larger, more ornate attractions. While it’s true – you can’t (and shouldn’t) add a coaster each and every year – it’s great to see parks and chains aren’t scared off to build by credit crunches, slumping attendance or instability in the market.
Speaking of re-investment…
4.) The remarkable turnaround of California’s Great America:
If you were to tell me five years ago that California’s Great America would still be open, let alone THRIVING in this new decade, I would have probably wagered a hefty sum against you. But, here we are in the ‘teens, and I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.
What once appeared to be a contentious relationship between Cedar Fair, the City of Santa Clara and the San Francisco 49ers (and subsequent de-investment in the park) finally improved. Even a minor spat over noise levels this past summer with neighbors couldn’t derail this parks’ epic climb back from it’s dark abyss of only a few years ago.
I have a confession to make: I have always had a soft spot for this park – my family took me there every summer for my Grandma’s company picnic. I unlocked my love of the thrill ride on a fateful launch of the Tidal Wave there in 1993 – to see a place I grew up in becoming healthy again; it should warm the soul of any long-time south bay resident.
For the first time in many years, the park has personnel in positions of power, who truly care about the direction of park and more importantly, what it means to the local community (and economy). From new paint and roofs, the return of themed park sound, upgraded shows and a truly stunning Haunt presentation – CGA has shown it’s fans and employees not only what it wants to be, but what it CAN be.
3.) The movement back to lap bars
Throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s, park fans saw an incredible amount of new inversions and combinations of ways to throw yourself upside down. However, it came at a caveat – riders had to be locked into restrictive OTSR (over the shoulder restraints).
But towards the latter end of the 1990’s, the industry began a switch – away from the sometimes painful “headbanging” OTSR restraints and into more advanced, sculpted lap bar restraints.
By immobilizing the entire leg – designers could now perform aerial stunts once thought unheard of without OTSR’s – and our heads and chests are still thanking designers for it!
2.) “@FakeThemePark” on Twitter
Let’s face it – we all need a good laugh every now and then. This Twitter account does it’s best to pretend to be a an actual park, but with situations that would make any good park spokesperson have a heart attack.
1.) Camaraderie amongst park fans:
Despite the efforts of an isolated few in the amusement park fan community – I’ve found that our common love of parks and rides (not affiliation to specific sites) is still what bonds us together…and that the bond is stronger than ever.
After more than a year of working on growing this brand, I’ve been blessed to meet so many new acquaintances that I now can call friends. And isn’t that the point of having a hobby…to meet others that also share in your interests, and to in turn enjoy that hobby with them?
That is the sign of a true enthusiast community – and the mark of a thriving one. So when you sit down and enjoy your turkey and gravy with friends and family – know we’ve got a ton to be thankful for this year and for the upcoming year as well!
Recently, I had the pleasure to give a “Grand Tour” of California’s Great America to “The Coaster Guy.” Kurt runs a very in-depth site that focuses on his home park, Six Flags Magic Mountain – but also covers other parks that he visits in his travels.
If you’ve never been to his site, I HIGHLY recommend taking a few minutes to go over there and peruse it. It’s always great to meet up with like-minded enthusiasts – and especially ones who share the same passion for parks that I do. I just hope I didn’t make him completely sick showing him all the intense flat rides at the park!
Kurt, I promise that I’ll make it out to Magic Mountain – and look forward to a “smooth” free fall on Drop of Doom!
For more information or to see the Great America update, visit: www.theCoasterGuy.com
KGO 810 AM here in the Bay Area interviewed me this past Friday on the “Lost Parks” series. Hopefully, it’s the start of people discovering my little series!
For those who missed it – check it out!
Ladies and Gentlemen, may I present to you, episode one of, “The Lost Parks of Northern California,” featuring San Mateo’s “Pacific City.”