Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Great Coasters International Retracking Project Sky Princess (Kingdom Coaster) Dutch Wonderland

I have embraced camping for my entire life, starting with my family and also myself as an adult with Brit. One of our favorite campgrounds has always been Old Mill Stream, the campground located right next door to Dutch Wonderland. It is a great place for a quick getaway. With the Sky Princess bordering the park on one side, and the back bordered by a nice creek and Amish farm directly across the creek from the campground, you cannot go wrong. It is always fun with their nice, well planned campground in which the Amish actually wagon through the campground and sell delicious baked goods, homemade root beer and homemade cider. Fun all around experience.

On a quick weekend getaway in roughly spring of 2006 although it may be another year, not sure because the computer crashed that these photos were on. The park was still under Hershey ownership and they were doing a nice re-tracking project on the first drop and other areas of this wonderful little wooden coaster. If you have never rode this coaster I highly recommend it. It was my first coaster way back in 1992 here is a photo of me, barely tall enough for my head to reach over the side of the PTC train. I had the time of my life, in this photo you can see me riding with my mother in the third row. My parents would alternate while one of them watched my sister. Beyond the special importance in my life this ride made upon me, getting me hooked on coasters from age 4 and half, it was also CCI's and most importantly, Mike Boodley's first designed coaster. It opened in the same year that I first rode it in 1992.  
As you can see, I have a real love for this coaster, and Hershey had a real love for it too, aside from the stupid new color scheme of Blue and Purple. Hershey is among the best out there at taking care of their wooden coasters. At this poin it was still the Sky Princess, that would not happen until I believe 2008 although it had these new colors. Anyways, Hershey hired GCI for the re-tracking project, something they would do again and Palace has done three of the last four years as well. 
GCI plating 
No new pieces of wood here and there, they went right for cutting the old track out and doing the job right. No patchwork here
Here you can see the beautiful new wood involved in the re-tracking work almost finished
The small but powerful first drop, leading towards a zippy and smooth ride come opening day.

GCI aka Great Coasters International does not cut corners when it comes to their work. As you may know, Mike Boodley, the designer of this ride, would leave CCI and create his own company, GCI a few years after his creation of this coaster. As a result of this, it is interesting that this works out and he ends up being involved in retracking his own coaster design with his own company later on.

This masterpiece is a must ride because it is thrilling for adults, yet tame enough for the little ones. I can attest to this in that not only was it my first coaster at four years old, but it also started my love for coasters and this hobby.  

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