Purchases of our 2024 Roller Coaster Calendar and book on Pennsylvania Amusement Parks

2024 Coaster Calendar PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options

Monday, February 3, 2014

Our great weekend back in the Lehigh Valley and full Eastcoaster Update

For starters, if you make a book purchase I will send you your choice of either a Conneaut Blue Streak ticket or a Leap the Dips ticket. Some of the proceeds go to both parks. Just make a single book purchase using the drop down menu at the top of the page and specify in the payment note whether you would like a Blue Streak or Leap the Dips ticket as well.

I cannot express how exciting it was to meet so many folks between the ACE Eastcoaster event and our book signing at the Moravian Book Shop in Bethlehem. It was so much fun letting people know about the great parks our state has to offer. The Allentown Morning Call also ran an article about our state's great parks and our book "Great Pennsylvania Amusement Parks." We were very successful at both of these events.
The two of us at the Moravian Book Shop Signing in Bethlehem
It was wonderful meeting so many folks that I only knew from online discussion. I cannot say how much of a great decision it was to finally join ACE. I really love the community and the aim towards preservation. I apologize for the quality of the slide photos, they are just phone pictures.
Representatives from Six Flags America started off the day giving updates about parks around the chain. Six Flags America is adding a themed area named Mardi Gras with a restaurant, some renamed rides and a relocated spinning mouse. It will be a fun family attraction. I am sure you also know about Goliath at Six Flags Great America and the other projects. I did not take any pictures but I am pretty sure you know about the new 420 foot tall "Zoo Drop Zone of Doom" drop tower that will be built off of the front of Kingdaka. It is a pretty wild concept. They did a wonderful job outlining their projects this year in their announcements. Six Flags is very gracious to ACE and we thank them for that. 

Cedar Fair was represented by a team from Dorney Park and PR manager Don Helbig from Kings Island. They went in depth about the Cedar Fair changes and additions. Cedar Point, as you probably know, is freshening the Gemini midway through repainting and revamping the Eyerly Spider ride that they have along with adding a set of Larson Flyers named the "Lake Erie Flyers" which actually only took a single day to fully install. Those flyer rides are a blast and I would love to see more of them show up. I am not sure if our friend Sam from IRM Rides still has that set of Bisch Rocco Flying Scooters. If he does, one of you parks should purchase it!

Naturally there was the strongest focus upon Dorney Park and Kings Island since the representatives were from those parks. Dorney went into detail about their new slide tower, Snake Pit, which I believe is a perfect addition for Wildwater Kingdom. 
The next slide is pretty hard to read, but it shows some of the wonderful parts of the Kings Dominion 40th Anniversary celebration that will be going on throughout this season. The changes should really add some character back to the park. 
The next slide is about the new, state of the art, dark ride that will be added to Canada's Wonderland this summer. If this ride is successful, I fully expect to see more of these pop up around. 
Below is another look at that spectacular looking new invert train B&M will debut on Banshee. Don told us to expect to see some photos this week of the trains. They will be delivered to the park this week.

Chris Gray from GCI, an awesome guy that I interviewed for our book, came to present for his company. GCI is very busy this year, doing their great work as usual. At Arnolds Park in Iowa they are working to restore their Legend coaster back to full glory through completely rebuilding large sections of the ride. He said that the work was really tough this week since the temperatures were in the negative double digits. They are also doing work on the Twister at Knoebels, reworking the bottom of the first drop. They are also continuing their full restoration of the Coney Island Cyclone. The new emphasis on wood coaster maintenance in the Cedar Fair chain, which we will touch upon even further later in this post, is apparent in how much work they have completed on nearly every wood coaster in the chain. This was a welcome change this past season for the Cedar Fair wood coasters I rode last year, the Blue Streak and Mean Streak. Both of them rode better than ever. Additionally, GCI is working on some international restoration projects. 

Below is the work that they are completing on the Twister.
The new wood coaster of the year next year appears to be the Viper in China. It looks to be one of the best, wood coasters ever made. 
This beast will be built into a mountain side. The parts for the ride are in shipment right now to be assembled.

Chris specifically said that this ride was designed with their "Wood Coaster" that they built in China a few years ago, but with a second half that is inspired by Boulder Dash. This ride will utilize the mountain side perfectly and be near a mile long. The ride will do nothing but pick up speed throughout and still go into the brake run at 40 miles per hour. 
Here is the POV footage of the ride released by GCI. It is going to be wild!
Rick Knoebel made a stop to talk about the great things that this park does. He is holding the sign that says "separate ticket required to ride" or something along those lines, for the Flying Turns. It will be included in this year's wood coaster wristband. 
He also spilled the beans about the confidential 2015 file. He told Reverend Cliff that there would be a new Dippin Dots flavor.
Photo: We are anxiously awaiting the news. Rick Knoebel gave a hint to Reverend Cliff that it would be a new Dippin Dots flavor

The text is cut off, but you can get the point of what they are doing. 250 feet of track is being replaced on the Twister this year by GCI. 600 feet is being replaced by the Adams and their company STI. They have a long association with Knoebels and do many wonderful things for wood coasters through the industry, including restoring the Conneaut Blue Streak back into a world class ride. 

The next development I just heard of is the restoration of a W.F. Mangels, a businessman and ride creator that built great rides like this and the Whip at Coney Island. 

This ride was purchased from a carnival company based out of Reading. Back in 1991 or 1992 as a young little chap I rode a pony cart at a circus/indoor carnival at Lehigh University's Stabler Arena. I am pretty sure this is likely the same Pony Cart. Either way, it is very special and I love how Knoebels saves so many classics. 
Jeff Filicko is a great guy and he came to present for his park, and my homepark, Kennywood. One of the biggest things that will happen this year at the park is the restoration of the headlights on the classic Thunderbolt NAD trains. Additionally, look for the original carousel shelter to be turned into a sitdown eatery. It will be a Johnny Rockets. They are going to keep the beautiful wooden ceiling and the historical integrity of this century old building intact. They are also fully revamping the Auto Race ride to have a nice block system to provide for faster and safer loading. Irvine-Ondrey Engineering is responsible for the new control system. 

Many of these next photos are not too crisp at all, but they semi get the point across. This first project is a restoration of the Kemah Boardwalk, Boardwalk Bullet trains. I think I caught this photo as the slides were changing. The amazing and funny Tom Rebbie, owner of PTC, was presenting. It was awesome interviewing him when we were writing the book. 

The trains from both the Six Flags America Roar and Wild One are being fully restored.

Along with the Holiday World Voyage
And Cedar Point's Blue Streak and Mean Streak. This is the second year in a row and those Blue Streak trains are relatively new. Cedar Point is finally getting fully serious about their wood coaster maintenance. This year both the Blue Streak and Mean Streak ran as well as they ever have. Blue Streak was just incredible. Mean Streak was actually pretty smooth.
As confirmed by both Tom Rebbie of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company and Jeff Filicko of Kennywood, a multi year restoration of the Kennywood Racer trains is complete. 

The Clementon Park Tsunami, J2, Hellcat trains have undergone a full restoration as well. 
The Michigan's Adventure Wolverine Wildcat trains are also being worked on.
This is a new set of trains heading to China shortly and that caps off the busy year PTC is having in the shop. It is great to see a great Pennsylvania company like the Philadelphia Toboggan Company thriving like this. 

Additionally, there were presentations from other parks including construction updates on Dollywood's Firechaser Express and a presentation from Schlitterbahn about the spectacular looking Veruckt waterslide. My days on waterslides are likely over, but this 170 foot behemoth WITH an airtime hill at the bottom, looks unique and spectacular.

It was great being able to finally match up faces with the names of the folks I have talked with online. I am glad to be an ACE member now and I think anyone with a passion for coasters should join. The reception for the book from the club and at the Moravian Book Shop was incredible and it is really something to hear about all of these folks, even at Eastcoaster, that are unaware of some of the great parks this state has to offer. It was great getting that awareness out between those events and the newspaper piece in the Allentown Morning Call. If you are interested in the book, be sure to use the drop down menu to order. A portion of the book's proceeds are going to support Conneaut Lake Park and Lakemont Park and as a thank you for the support you get the choice of either a free ride on Conneaut's Blue Streak or Lakemont's Leap the Dips. Be sure to write a note in your order of which park you would like a ticket for and I will send it with the book. 


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  2. This is Brian from Irvine Ondrey Engineering. We are thrilled to be working with Kennywood on the new system for the Auto Race. It's great to be going back to work on a ride I loved as a kid. I'm curious, were we mentioned at Eastcoaster or if you heard the news from our facebook page? Thanks for the mention and let me know if you have any questions about the project

  3. I first heard it from your Facebook page and then I heard it at Eastcoaster again. If you go to our Facebook page from a week or two ago you will see we shared the post from your Facebook page. It is very exciting news. If you would like I can do a more in depth post about your work.

    1. We love to share what we do with everyone, so it would be great to do a more in depth post with you. Please let us know if there are any particular questions we can answer for you.

    2. Please email me at dwitos079@gmail.com