Category Archives: Spinning Rides

New for 2011: WindSeeker

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.

Height

301 feet

Manufacturer

Mondial

Ride Time

3 min., 0 sec.

Year Opened

2011

Height Requirement

48″

New Cedar Point ride’s patent being disputed

From toledoBlade.com

SANDUSKY – Cedar Point amusement park in Sandusky had intricate plans to use the social media site Facebook as the place next week to unveil its newest ride for 2011.

But now it appears that an Australian ride manufacturer has revealed it in a patent dispute over its version of a towering thrill ride it calls StarFlyer and a Dutch competitor’s version called Wind Seeker.

Funtime Group of Bundall, Australia, claims it thought it had a deal with Cedar Fair LP to build a 400-foot high StarFlyer ride to debut at Cedar Point in 2011, but now the Sandusky park plans to buy a Wind Seeker from Mondial World of Rides of Terband, the Netherlands.

Both rides feature a large tower that spins up to 50 riders from a center ring that rises high into the air. StarFlyer’s chairs are attached by chains, Wind Seeker’s by poles.

Dennis Speigel, president of International Theme Park Services Inc., of Cincinnati, said StarFlyer-type rides cost just more than $2 million each and do not require a large area like a roller coaster.

Funtime, which introduced StarFlyer in 2004 and has a U.S. patent on the design, has threatened legal action if Cedar Point builds a Wind Seeker.

“We’ve spoken with the folks at Cedar Fair and my belief is we’re going to work it out,” said Tony Handal, a lawyer for Cottingham Agencies, the U.S. patent holder on StarFlyer for Funtime Group. “We have a patent and it’s a remarkable ride, newer technology. I couldn’t imagine Cedar Fair wouldn’t respect our rights in this.”

Mr. Handal said Cottingham wants Cedar Fair either to buy a StarFlyer or pay a licensing fee for using technology it claims infringes on its patent.

The attorney said that, while the two ride makers attach their two-seat ride cars differently, Cottingham’s position is there’s “no significant difference” in the two rides.

Officials at Mondial could not be reached for comment.

Cedar Fair spokesman Stacy Frole said the company had no comment on the controversy or statements by Funtime.

“We haven’t announced the ride yet, so there’s nothing to comment about,” she said. The announcement on the ride is to be made Tuesday.

Mr. Handal said Cedar Fair went to Florida this year to view a StarFlyer at Magical Midway amusement park and contacted Funtime about one for Cedar Point. In July, Cedar Fair filed a trademark name application for a new ride called “Stratosoar.”

“[Cedar Fair] did contact us, but then they went with another company that doesn’t own the patent,” Mr. Handal said.

Jeff Putz, a Web site operator for PointBuzz, a Cedar Point fan site, said the patent controversy is now the hot topic among parkgoers.

“There had been a lot of rumors beforehand about what the ride was,” he said. “So far, people are talking more about the controversy than the ride.”

Contact Jon Chavez at:
jchavez@theblade.comor
419-724-6128.