Why Michigan’s Adventure Should Get Geauga Lake’s Historic Carousel

21 12 2008

Geauga Lakes Historic Carousel

OK, it’s not about roller coasters, but who doesn’t love riding on a carousel?

Cedar Fair closed Geauga Lake’s amusement park section last year (the waterpark is still open) and relocated many of the rides to other parks.  The most notable of these relocations was Dominator, a B&M floorless coaster, which went to King’s Dominion in VA.  The carousel, however, remains on site.  Cedar Fair is going to relocate it to another one of their parks, but is keeping the destination a secret.

The carousel was hand-carved by Marcus Illions.  It was built for the Philadelphia Sesquicentennial Exposition of 1926.  After 10 years in storage, Illions restored it and sold it to Geauga Lake for the season of 1937.  It will now be refurbished a second time and given another brand new home.  Here’s why that new home should by Michigan’s Adventure.

1.  Michigan’s Adventure lacks a good carousel.  Right now we only have a little carousel that feels and looks like it was made out of cheap plastic.  Bring on the hand-carved wood!

2. Michigan’s Adventure is a young park.  It has very little history or identity currently, so it could use a ride that has real history and identity behind it.

3. Michigan’s Adventure needs an iconic family ride.  We have Shivering Timbers sure, but does it appeal to families?  Not so much.

Source: Amusement Park Madness

So there are my reasons.  Have your own?  Please comment.  Don’t miss any roller coaster goodness! Please subscribe via email or rss!

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Rebuild the Cedar Point Cyclone!

19 08 2008
The Cedar Point Cyclone

The Cedar Point Cyclone

Cedar Point, home of the largest collection of coasters in the world, has been lacking something for a great while.  It should be noted that of their 17 coasters, only 2 are genuine woodies (Gemini and Cedar Creek Mine Ride do not count).  Ever since 1951, a great hole has been left in the park.  Cedar Point has tried to patch it with many rides including Disaster Transport, but has failed.  Nothing could take the place of the Cyclone.

The Cyclone is a beautiful coaster

The Cyclone was a beautiful coaster

We know very little about this ride.  We know that it was a collaboration between two of the greatest coaster designers of all time; it was designed by Prior & Church and built by Harry Traver.  It opened in 1929 and was demolished in 1951.  According to The Walkerville Times, “This monster struck fear in the hearts of many; riding it became a rite of passage for visiting teenagers.” [source]

The 72' drop

The 72' drop

We do, however, have the layout of the ride and an excellent NoLimits simulation of it.  If you own NoLimits, I suggest that you download this track here.  Also check out some of his other sims of classic coasters here and here.  If you don’t own NoLimits yet you can find it here.  The length of the simulated coaster is 2,680 feet and takes 1:45 total time to ride.  The ride appears to have a lot of airtime and a few good lateral g’s (but of course that is all up to the banking of the turns).  The ride is about as long as the Blue Streak, though a few feet shorter in height, so it stands to reason that the ride would be about as intense.  That means the Cyclone would be an ideal middle of the ground ride which would appeal to all ages.

The simple but great layout of the Cyclone

The simple but great layout of the Cyclone

The ride feels like it would fit perfectly in either Great Coaster’s International (GCI) or Gravity Group’s portfolios, which is why I propose that the project be a collaboration between the two firms.  GCI would finalize the design and provide their Millenium Flyer trains, while Gravity Group would actually build the ride.  The Millenium Flyer trains are important because they look like classic Prior and Church trains with their open fronts and articulated cars (for negotiation of P&C’s particularly twisted coasters) and because their heavy wood frames and upholstered seats make for a comfortable ride.  Gravity Group is important because GCI has quite a few projects that they are working on, they build very high quality rides, and they use steel support structures like the Traver company.  The collaboration would also be symbolic because the original Cyclone was designed by Prior & Church and built by Harry Traver.

Millenium Flyer trains by GCI

Millennium Flyer trains by GCI

But where to put it?  The answer is simple: about where it used to be.  The area currently taken up by Disaster Transport would be perfect.  Estimating from the grid in NoLimits editor, the Cyclone is about 160 meters by 40 meters.  Taking a rough measure using Google Maps, Disaster Transport is about 160 by 60 meters.  But what about Disaster Transport, you say?  I say that it is an ultimately forgettable ride housed in a building that is quite an eyesore to that area.  Being in this position, the coaster would also be a welcoming addition to the skyline as visible from the parking lot.  Would you rather look at a big warehouse or a beautiful beach?  This location for the Cyclone would be both beautiful and historically significant.

Disaster Transport is one attractive ride

Disaster Transport is one attractive ride

There are two trends currently that make the rebuilding of this ride realistic now.  One is that Cedar Point and the Cedar Fair chain are becoming more devoted to attracting families to the parks.  The Cyclone would certainly be a roller coaster that would appeal to multiple age groups.  The other is the trend towards constructing new GCI coasters across the Cedar Fair chain.  Both California’s Great America and Worlds of Fun are getting new GCI’s for 2009, and Valleyfair got one in 2007.

The Cedar Point Cyclone was a fun and historically significant coaster.  Today, it would be an ideal addition to the park’s steel coaster heavy lineup.  I’m sure that you can see from these reasons that it would be a great idea to build this ride again.  So this goes out to Cedar Point: Please rebuild the Cyclone!

Readers: What do you think?  Would you ride the Cyclone?  Should Cedar Point rebuild it?  Please comment!

Also: Tell Cedar Point what you think by leaving a comment here.

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Goodbye Lincoln Park

27 01 2008

Lincoln Park is an example of the small bits of history which get plowed under for the sake of progress. It has been slated for development into condos, among other things. This park had been abandoned for a while, but it is always sad to see another park demolished. We also lose the Comet roller coaster, but more about that at a later date. We have to decide whether amusement parks or condos are more helpful to society. Ideally, an enterprising developer would have bought the park and restored it to its former glory. Perhaps that is just not realistic in this day and age. (read more)