SANDUSKY — A Lake Erie legend is about to be silenced forever. The Disaster Transport indoor roller coaster at Cedar Point will make its final screech-filled run on Sunday, July 29.
The ride, which has been sitting near the park’s main entrance since opening in 1985, will be completely demolished and removed to make room for a new attraction set to be unchained in 2013.
Park officials announced Disaster Transport’s closure back on July 13.
The ride first made its debut as Avalanche Run — an outdoor bobsled-style coaster. Then, in 1990, the ride was re-named Disaster Transport, enclosed and given a new outer space theme.
The two-minute ride, which takes 10-person trains along the dark track at speeds up to 40 mph, has thrilled more than 30 million people since it was first unleashed.
A “last ride celebration” will be held at 9 p.m. Sunday to use Disaster Transport’s final day as a way to raise money for Give Kids The World. Registration for the party, which involved a $20 fee and $50 minimum donation, ended at noon Friday.
As of Friday afternoon, more than $16,000 had been raised.
Those at the party will be given a Disaster Transport T-shirt and a souvenir.
The special event wraps up with an hour of exclusive ride time on Disaster Transport from 10:30-11:30 p.m. Those who raised the most money will have the privilege of choosing their seats on the last train while riding with the lights turned on.
Disaster Trasnport will become the second roller coaster permanently closed at the Sandusky scream park this year. Prior to the 2012 season starting, Cedar Point sent the WildCat roller coaster to its ride graveyard and removed it to create space for Luminosity, a new night-time show.
In addition to Disaster Transport, the Space Spiral, a 330-foot rotating observation tower and icon of the park’s skyline, will also be closed before the end of the 2012 season. It, too, will be demolished to make room for the new 2013 attraction. Its final operating day has not yet been announced.
As far as the new attraction for 2013, a leaked memo indicated it would be a wing-style roller coaster with the biggest drop, fastest speed and longest run of any similar ride.
It would be the first roller coaster Cedar Point opens since they first debuted Maverick in 2007.
Park spokesperson Annie Zelm said an official announcement about the 2013 attraction should come in mid August. Until then, the park has been releasing multiple teases about the upcoming attraction.
Meanwhile, Kings Island, which is Cedar Point’s sister park near Cincinnati, announced on Friday the permanent removal of the long-dormant Son of Beast wooden roller coaster.
SANDUSKY — There’s a lot of buzz brewing up along the shores of Lake Erie, and it’s all because of a pair of white, haunting eyes.
The animalistic stare is the first official tease from Cedar Point regarding its new attraction for 2013.
Cedar Point posted the image on its blog Saturday with the following tease: You didn’t think we would give away 2013 THAT easy did you? Watch out for inversions and (!%!@@!#%(!@!!^
The day before unleashing that teaser, Cedar Point announced on its Facebook page that two rides were being removed to make room for a new attraction. “Something big is happening,” the post declares. “Disaster Transport and Space Spiral will be dismantled this season to make space for @!!$!(*%%. We’re sad to see them go, but are excited as we fly into the future. Stay tuned for more!”
Park spokesperson Annie Zelm says neither ride will be moved to another location after being dismantled.
A press release says the rides are being removed “to make better use of prime space in the front of the park and enhance the overall appearance of that corridor.”
But this news comes as no surprise. Back in May we told you about the potential removal of those rides after a memo was leaked regarding a new attraction for 2013 — a wing-style roller coaster that’s said to have the biggest drop, fastest speed and longest run of any similar ride.
A wing coaster takes riders on a journey without a visible track above or beneath them. That sensation is created since riders are seated on each side of the track with their feet dangling in the air.
Dollywood in Tennessee and Six Flags Great America in Chicago each debuted a wing coaster this year (see video below to watch one in action).
If the new ride is in a fact a roller coaster as the memo indicated, it will be the first one built at Cedar Point since the park unleashed Maverick in 2007.
As a result of the new attraction, Cedar Point says Disaster Transport will make its final run on Sunday, July 29 before screeching to a halt forever.
“I think fans of the park who really want it to be special have felt for a long time that Disaster Transport was a hideous warehouse-looking structure blocking views of the lake,” says Jeff Putz of CoasterBuzz.com. “While some people may be sentimental about the ride, especially if it was one of their first as a young child, it certainly isn’t very exciting. Once they see the replacement, I doubt anyone will give it a second thought.”
The ride first made its debut along the edge of Lake Erie in 1985 as Avalanche Run — an outdoor bobsled-style coaster. In 1990, the ride was re-named Disaster Transport, enclosed and refurbished with a new outer space theme.
The two-minute ride takes 10-person trains along the dark track at speeds up to 40 mph.
Cedar Point says more than 30 million people have experienced the ride since it made its debut.
Distater Transport’s building also housed a special indoor haunted attraction each Halloween season for HalloWeekends — most recently Happy Jack’s Toy Factory. But as a result of the building’s removal, Zelm says that Happy Jack’s Toy Factory will not be returning for this year’s HalloWeekends. Instead, Zelm says the park will introduce a new HalloWeekends attraction for the 2012 spooky season. That attraction has not yet been revealed.
Those who want to be the final riders on Disaster Transport can participate in an online auction to benefit Give Kids The World. For a $20 registration fee and a $50 minimum donation, anybody can enjoy a private party and exclusive ride time on Disaster Transport after the coaster closes to the public. The fundraisers with the highest totals will earn the privilege of choosing their seats on the last train while riding with the lights on.
This marks the second roller coaster to be placed in the Cedar Point graveyard this year because the park removed the WildCat prior to opening day to make room for Luminosity, a new night-time show.
The park has not yet announced a final operating day for Space Spiral, but officials say the ride will be closed forever before the end of the season.
The 330-foot rotating observation tower opened in 1965 and has been an icon of the park’s skyline ever since.
Zelm says Cedar Point has not yet set a firm date on when they will officially unveil the new attraction for 2013, but they are looking at unleashing the news in mid August.
From the Sandusky Register…
Cedar Fair stands ready to spend big money on a new roller coaster for 2013 at Cedar Point that will change the park landscape.
Code-named “CP Alt.Winged,” the coaster will have the “longest drop, run the fastest and be the longest ride” of its kind, Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet wrote in Feb. 15 memo to Cedar Fair’s board of directors.
The total projected cost of the project is $25 million, a price that includes removing the park’s Space Spiral and Disaster Transport rides and restructuring the park entrance.
Ouimet was unavailable for comment Tuesday.
“We have not announced any plans for 2013 but we did announce a $25 million investment,” Alexakos said. “This will be one of the largest capital expenditures ever.”
Alexakos said that with any ride or attraction Cedar Point undertakes, the company is always looking to set records.
The Swiss-based Bolliger & Mabillard Consulting Engineers is set to design the new ride, which was described in the memo as having a “Front Gate Statement— a roller coaster that flies overhead, rolls and flies back— highly visible above guests entering the park.”
The firm designed Cedar Point’s Raptor.
A winged coaster is designed to suspend riders on wings to the sides of the rails so there is no track above or below the guest.
Engineering schematics show a proposed coaster with gravity defying twists, curves and rolls.
“Rob Decker (Cedar Fair VP of planning and design) and others have done a great job of creating a compelling, economically attractive new coaster for Cedar Point,” Ouimet wrote. “We believe this particular ride design with this particular manufacturer balances the desire for marketable innovation and risk associated with early adaptations of prototypes.”
Bolliger & Mabillard designed the first winged coaster for installation in Italy at a park known as Gardaland. The Six Flags Great American park outside of Chicago also has one of the company’s winged coasters, called X-Flight.
The new ride at Cedar Point could promise to be a work horse available to guests at almost any time they are in the park.
“Rob talked to operators of the first one in Italy and found no unanticipated negatives and very high ride reliability (less than 1 percent operational downtime).
Design plans show the new ride with a 170-foot tall lift that will fly overhead of park guests entering the park. It will have the longest track and longest ride time of any coaster of its style as it flies overhead, rolls and then fly back.
The huge roller coaster will dominate the front gate and the track will travel over a large parking area at the park.
“We have several coasters that cover parking lots,” Ouimet wrote. “Not necessarily ideal, but certainly acceptable given tight site constraints and the amount of land such attractions require.”
Disaster Transport and the Space Spiral both would have to come down if the site plan currently under consideration is chosen.
Part of the $25 million investment will also include renovations and upgrades at the park entrance from the parking lot.
Cedar Point general manger John Hildebrandt was not available for comment on Tuesday.
Coaster buffs like myself will enjoy a full 30 minutes with Ed Dangler, Director of Maintenance and New Construction at Cedar Point. Topics include various coaster wheel assembly arrangements, launch and restraint systems, how coasters and maintained and repaired, the process through which Cedar Point decides what to build and how to build it and much more!
- No wooden coaster in the near future for Cedar Point, maybe after two more years. 16:12
- Part of the WindSeeker’s foundation will be on the beach [like suggested by the construction stakes earlier this season]. 18:10
- WindSeeker Challenges 18:15
- Winter Weather
- Water Table
- Process of Adding a Ride 20:32
- Executive Planning Board to decide ride based on the need to offer guests something new and excited.
- Ride manufacturing is in charge of the design.
- TUV overseeing WindSeeker Construction.
- Dick Kinzel decides if they want to be the first at something, such as the tallest and fastest roller coasters. 25:35
- Nostalgia is a delicate decision at Cedar Point. A long and thought out process to remove a ride. 26:00
- Guest input is important. Cedar Point is good friends with ACEers. They read and encourage comments. Social media gives them instant feedback. 28:00
Cedar Point has announced that it will introduce WindSeeker, a 30-story-tall swing ride to the Sandusky, Ohio, amusement park/resort for next summer. WindSeeker will tower above everything around its location on the beach, rising almost as high as the Millennium Force roller coaster’s giant first hill.
In the early 1900s, the Cedar Point Beach was a hub of activity as families played in the sand or frolicked in the lake. One of its most popular attractions was the Sea Swings that would dip riders into the cool waters of Lake Erie as it spun in a circular motion.
Now 100 years later, Cedar Point will add a 21st century version of that thrilling ride to the park for next summer.
The new WindSeeker will be a 301-foot-tall tower that will spin riders nearly 30 stories above the Lake Erie shoreline. Seated in two-person swings that will allow their feet to dangle, riders will slowly begin rotating in a circular motion as the swings ascend the tower. At the top, the swings will be reaching speeds between 25-30 mph, flaring out almost 45 degrees from the tower. WindSeeker will be able to accommodate 64 riders (32 swings) at one time.
“Spinning almost 300 feet above Lake Erie and the Cedar Point Beach will be a very exciting ride experience for our guests,” said John Hildebrandt, the vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “Day or night, WindSeeker will provide riders with dramatic views of the park and the Cedar Point Peninsula. It will be an extremely popular addition to Cedar Point.”
WindSeeker will be positioned near the present location of the Ocean Motion swinging boat ride and will extend the park’s midway onto the Cedar Point Beach. At the end of the season, Ocean Motion, built in 1981, will be dismantled. It is currently available for sale.
In comparison to other Cedar Point rides, WindSeeker will climb nearly two stories higher than the cabin on the park’s Space Spiral observation ride and is only a few feet shorter than the first hill on Millennium Force. Another swing ride, the Wave Swinger that opened in Frontiertown in 1979, is 31 feet tall and has a top speed of approximately 9 mph.
The ride is manufactured by Mondial, a 23-year-old Dutch-based company. WindSeeker will cost approximately $5 million to build. Riders must be at least 48 inches tall and will be secured with individual over-the-head lap bars with interlocking seat belt.
Overall, Cedar Point will add more than $6 million in capital improvements to the park for 2011.
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