Thursday, September 24, 2009

Worlds of Fun Scavenger Hunt

For all those that consider themselves Worlds of Fun experts... I give you the 2009 ACE Coaster Con Worlds of Fun Scavenger Hunt! Every photo below was taken at the park (this June 2009) and is in visible sight in a non-restricted area. They range from easy, to down right impossible (there are two that no one figured out!) I will post the answers in one week.

You will have to click on the images below to see them full size.

Page 1: Download for printing as a PDF

Page 2: Download for printing as a PDF

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Worlds of Fun History Exhibit

Wow, its been forever since I have posted a blog entry! I promise I will be better next time. It took quite a while to prepare for Coaster Con and I think I am just now recovering from it. I needed a vacation from my "vacation". It was lots of fun, probably even better then I thought it was going to even be (despite the 100 degree temps!) I have been wanting for sometime to review in this blog two major parts of the Worlds of Fun portion of Con that I personally was involved with. One, will be the Worlds of Fun history museum and the second will be the Worlds of Fun scavenger hunt.

First though I will start with the Worlds of Fun History museum, gallery, whatever we called it. I knew about three or four years ago when we first started planning for coaster con that I wanted to do some kind of WOF history gallery, it was a dream of mine. Truthfully my ultimate goal was not realized, I had wanted to pull out the cars from the EXT stand-up. With time running out, my sanity running out, and Jeff's rebelling against my ever growing agenda, Well truthfully it would have taken an act of god for those miserable, heavy cars to be moved anywhere.

Overall though we were able to include a lot of memorabilia, parts, maps and items that most visitors had never seen, or hadn't seen for many years previous. It was a great success, but before I continue with the photos I need to thank those that took time from their work schedule, school schedule and fun schedule and helped Jeff and I set up the entire exhibit.

I especially want to thank Bill and Anita Valliant, Rayne and Mike Etherton, Todd Swetnam and John Allen, all ACE Members who spent several hours dealing with gigantic pieces of scrap steel, digital movie files that wouldn't play, easel kits that didn't come with all pieces included, and 100 degree temperatures, sprinkled lightly with heavy thunderstorms. Without your help none of what comes next come have been accomplished.

I also want to thank Brandon Stanley of Worlds of Fun for helping finding a place in the park for such exhibit, and providing quite possibly the largest collection of park historical photos in existence.

Now I am going to really start sounding like the Academy Awards, but I also want to thank a few park staff members for their help and/or loan of specific items. I want to thank Matt Steere of park merchandising, Sal Tarentino of Park Operations and Phil Plack for their assistance as well.

For those that missed it our little "exhibit" was hosted during ACE Coaster Con XXXII on Wednesday and Thursday, June 23rd and June 24th. at the All Stars Grill, it was open for all park guests.

So on with the photos!

I wanted to start things off for the exhibit with a time line of park history. I lifted this directly from Epcot's 25th Anniversary exhibit timeline. However, it did turn our very nice, and exceeded even my expectations.

Behind this photo you will see our video screen that we projected old video from the park including rare footage of the EXT as a stand up and the Timber Wolf promo video. It also included various footage of the Zambezi Zinger and Orient Express.

Here is a little bit of an alternate view.

When we showed up early Wednesday afternoon for set up I had previously made some plans for set up, but not knowing (or more or less not realizing) the implications of the projector and its path, I had to come up with a new layout. Moving twenty or so tables wasn't in my plan either. Again thanks to all my volunteers! I ended up with a u-shape layout following park history. Here is at the beginning, From left to right, A Fairyland map, my postcard collection (in the binder), Schussboomer wheel (with fact card behind it), 1973 souvenir map, and Zinger footer. Click on the photo for a larger version.

This is the rarest item in the exhibit, the Zinger frontal profile (or blueprint). It was hard to photograph as the window shade had to be drawn for details to be viewable to guests, but caused so much glare that well you can see what I mean. The original blueprint was not originally laminated. I had it laminated when I was in college to protect the paper which was starting to fall apart at that time.

The Cotton Blossom Collection. My goal with this exhibit was to showcase the major attractions at the park that are no longer there.

Moving along is the "1976" portion of the exhibit, first though from left to right is my "KC Star" binder, for the last 12-13 years I have been collecting newspaper articles on Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun from 1971 to today. Above that is the 1976 map, the EXT uniform, Screamroller/EXT foot pedal (for unlocking shoulder harnesses). I have no idea how Jeff got that one!

Next to that is the data card (with photos) and a construction photo laying on the table. I love that you can see the bottom of the drop from Voyager in this photo!

Same thing as above, different view.

Lots of stuff to see! Moving from left to right, 1977 map, binder of brochures through the years, then we move on to the ode to Orient Express :) The large photo is one of the few items that was on loan from Sal Tarentino of the Operations Dept. If you blow up this photo (by clicking on it) you will notice just how rare this photo is as it shows the Express with the earlier Silver stripe, the BETTER color from Jeff's point of view. I still don't get it (gold, silver, does it really matter?)

Next to that is about a two foot length of Express track, this was one of the side rails, and we are betting that it is from the helix as the track tie (on the very far end of the track piece) is a newer addition. You can still see on the right side of the track the black stripe caused from the wheels rubbing the paint off the track. Directly to the right is a piece of chain link, from the chain lift, and properly enough next to the chain link is a piece of the anti-rollback trough.

Let me explain what a anti-rollback trough is for those that are not familiar. When most coaster trains make their journey up the lift hill they are pulled up by a large steel chain (hence the chain link). In case the chain should break, there is a safety back-up to keep the train from rolling back down the lift. Each train has a "tooth" on the bottom of the train itself, (in the case of Express it had two) that click clack's up the hill, as it engages with the anti-rollback trough right below it. Should the train stop the "tooth" or chain dog engages with the trough, stopped it exactly where it is.

Boring? Most people already know that, but hey maybe, just maybe there was someone who didn't so I had to explain. That's just me! Moving on. We have several Express photos behind the steel pieces. Just behind that are a few late additions to the collection, a few recent park case maps that Jeff and I won in an auction held earlier the day previous.

Turning the "U" we move into the 90's, we have a 1989 souvenir map (remember that "wardrobe malfunction" with the easel?). Just beyond that is a large stack of wood, it actually is from the Ravine at Holiday World. I used it here as an example of wood coaster track construction, which I explain in the sign sitting on top of the wood stack. Again to read click on the photo for a larger version.

Finally we have the latest Worlds of Fun history, Mamba. Here with our Mamba construction photo binders (both of them are construction photos of Mamba) and a Mamba nut. Also you can see a few more of those previously mentioned case maps.

So that's it. Obviously quite a bit has changed since Mamba, and while technically speaking Patriot's addition is "history" as is Prowler, the Halloween Haunt, etc. I was limited by time. What you see was put together from a mish mash in about a two to three week period. I hope everyone enjoyed the presentation who visited during Coaster Con. For those that didn't have that option I hope you have enjoyed the photos.

I will be updating soon with the scavenger hunt, look for it soon!

See you all in the park.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yumma Yucca Mesa No More

A few days ago we broke the sad news that Yumma Yucca Mesa, the old Wild West town located near Prowler was completely demolished by the park. While it is true that one of the buildings had practically self-demolished thanks to a bad wind storm the previous season, the rest of the buildings were still standing and we believe could have been restored. As Worlds of Fun is now open weekdays, Jeff had a chance to head out to Yumma Yucca Mesa on Monday to take some photos of the deserted area. For those that would like to read more about Yumma Yucca Mesa I have also wrote a tribute to it here:

Here is the new look going into the train turn around, directly to the right would have been the water tower, and in the center are some patches of dirt where buildings once stood.

Here are the supports from the water tower.

And for a blast from the past, the water tower that once stood in the locations we just saw above. This was an actual water tower used to fill the train with water during stops in the turn around.

We all remember this view, the one building that was blown over late in the 2008 season.

Here is the spot cleared of the remains of the building. Amazingly when we took a look at the building when we were out there earlier this year shooting Prowler construction photos it was much more structurally sound then we originally assumed. It could not be pushed over by just simple human force, though Brandon tried! :)

A look at the once more structurally sound buildings.

And another look. The graveyard was added a few years back during Halloween Haunt/Halloweekends.

Here is the area now, completely devoid of any buildings.

Here is a look at where the "train platform" was located. This was seen on the way into the train turn around.

If you look closely you can still see the one remaining building from Yumma Yucca Mesa. Its the dug out and is built into the side of the hill.

No this is not a photo of Yumma Yucca Mesa, its from Bone town at Cedar Point. I am showing a few photos from Cedar Point as it makes two points. Number one, if these type of scenes arn't important when there are coasters to look at why would Cedar Point, the park with the MOST coasters in the country still keep their old west town up to date, maintained, and more important standing? Number two, its all in the simple things, I don't think any park should lose sight of that.

Here is a look at a few skeletons from the set up at Cedar Point, it doesn't cost much to do this, and it gives riders something to look at!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Orient Express and Extremeroller Videos!

Well it's been awhile and since I have been away, Worlds of Fun has opened for the season and so has Prowler. What an amazing ride! Tune in soon for an official review with photos provided by our world-class photographer, Jeffrey Mast.

On a sad note with Prowler coming in, one attraction has come to a end, one that has been with us for many years. Yumma Yucca Mesa. As it is park policy to not allow photos from the train I don't have any photos to share with you at this moment. However, again that will be changing so check back soon.

What I do have though is something I have been waiting many years to share with you. For almost the past 7-8 years Jeff and I have had in our possession two rare videos. One featuring the EXT or Extremeroller as a stand-up coaster, and the other being the VHS from Coaster Con XVI, hosted right here at Worlds of Fun in 1993. The video features views of the two classic Worlds of Fun coasters of Zambezi Zinger and Orient Express.

Before we get to them though bringing these videos to you has not been a one man or one man and one woman show. Most important credit goes to Robert Reagan, a fellow ACE member, who back in 1984 took a brick of a video camera with him on the country's first stand up coaster. Without his foresight I believe we would not have to look back at Worlds of Fun's staring role in Amusement Park history.

Second, credit should also be give to Ben Matson who helped us tremendously by digitizing all the VHS copies so we could bring them to you.

Last, please before watching be aware that these videos are in atleast Extremeroller's case twenty five years old! The quality is not the world's greatest, but as these coaster don't exist, and certainly in the case of EXT no other video that I am aware of exists, the uniqueness should be taken into consideration.

So with all parties properly thanked please pull down on your harness, ensure that it is locked and away we go!

1984 Extremeroller

Orient Express Station and On-Ride from 1993

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Prowler Construction Tour 03/26/2009

For some of you this may be the third time you have seen photos from this same day, however you know what they say... greatness takes time! (that's a joke folks, sorry this is as good as it gets).

So lets head back to another great work in progress, Prowler as work is about finished up on the structure itself with attention now turning to the details. With an opening day of May 2nd already on the calendars Prowler is now starting to look like the finished attraction that it will become.

Poking heads through track has offered some great photos lately, but I think this is one of the best, looking back on the first drop. Just don't ask our photographer about his much earlier "poking through the track" incident with the Orient Express!

Even though the track is all but done, workers still are hard at work checking their handywork.

What pretty teeth to eat you with! Patented in 1919 by John Miller these are Anti-Roll backs, literally steel teeth that combined with a steel "chain dog" on the bottom of the coaster train itself create the unique clicky-clack that you hear on a lift hill. However, these anti-roll backs are NOT in their natural habitat, otherwise known as the lift hill. These are located on the final "s" turn right before the brakes. So why there?

If you will allow me a little moment with Worlds of Fun's other wooden coaster, Timberwolf, it also has these funny little roll-back teeth at the end of the 580 degree helix. They are found in both places, on both coasters for one and only one reason. Roll backs. Let me say that again.... Rollbacks. Coasters are thrilling machines but their creators are surprisingly cautious adding safety devices for situations that may or may not happen. In this case if say on a cold morning the Prowler train may not make it all the way around the course.

Another gravy shot, ohhhh pretttyyy!

The Perimeter fences, on most coasters these are to keep people out of the track area. On Prowler it is to keep people AND Deer out of the track area. Can't you just see it? New on the Blue Bronco/ZardaQ/whatever they are calling it this year menu... fresh Venison.

Its all in the details and here we see the Prowler station getting its coat of new paint.

There have been some discussions on what that bar in the center of the track is for. It is not actually part of the braking system at all. Instead it is for releasing harnesses, or in the case of prowler the lap bars. When the button is pushed by the operator that bar will actually raise up and unlock the bars. I believe if you look also at the far right side of the track you can also see where the photo eye sensors will be located.

Here we have a completed run to the lift hill.

Dumping gravel, this will be the base for the concrete walkway.

Prowler plaza area is shaping up nicely, and in the summer will have lots of shade!

Looking back at the Africa train trestle. In the background is Boomerang.

A little bit further along, in the background is the Zulu station.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Worlds of Fun Off Season Tour

Brandon invited Jeff & I out to Worlds of Fun today for a park off-season tour. We spent almost two hours driving around the park as it was very cold, plus there was mud. lots of it. Lots of things to look at today so lets get going.

Those that were out on March 1st saw the voyager boats out sunning themselves, unlike most coasters trains which are online, voyager boats are still waiting for their home to be finished up for the season.

This photo is most relevant to 2008 park ambassadors who remember the "keep the fence up until the end of the season without having to rebuild it", the park must have had three or four pieces of wood jerry-rigged last year on the opposite side to prop the fence up! Well folks the fence is getting replaced, thankfully. For those who didn't wander down to the employee entrance to the park, this is the fence that blocks that walkway off from the main gate area.

Norseman's Nicities no more, its now The Lift. From Brandon the exterior isn't changing to much, the hanging sign though is staying with a new logo for the new name. Here are some view from the interior though which is taking a complete 180 from the previous interior design (if there was one anyway?). It looks like it will be have a dark mahagony-like interior featuring a small lounge area. Happy to see the detail being looked out for here.

Some shelves being finished up and stained in the back of the shop. This would be the opposite end of the previous cash register area.

The cash register area will be moved from the extreme opposite side of the store to approximately the center, here. The shop will feature more upscale merchandise, watches, non-park logo wear, and some very nice magazines. hmmm.... wonder which ones? Plus from what I hear the packaging will not be standard WOF/CF logo plastic bags, but will have its own stylish packaging.

More work in Scandinavia, new shingles! In this case both at the Tivoli bathroom and here at the Swedish Sipping Chalet (trying saying that five times fast!).

Both Voyager and Nile are supposed to recieve new filtration systems, we scowered Voyager area and didn't find anything new YET. However, as I always love looking at rides during in the off season lets take a look anyway. Here we are looking down on the left-handed un-load area. The brakes have been removed for the off season.

Oh how I remember THIS view from about three years ago! Its the pump pits of Voyager, oh and a bunch of leaves. The screens are missing but will be coming back again this year.

The final drop on Voyager, with no water.

Spinning Dragon's foam lapbars 50% protein, 10% Vitamin C, 0% dietary fiber. Atleast you would think so from how *chewed* up they have gotten over the last few years. Looks like the park is trying to repair the damage here.

Now onto the star of this show, Timberwolf, our 20 year old coaster is getting some more TLC this off season. It is terribly hard to take a photo showing the actual work being done but here is one of the second drop. The entire 7-8 layers of laminated wood have be removed and replaced. The complete re-track has progressed all the way through the bob's turn. Boy that thing has some great airtime in the past, I am excited about riding it now!

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.... as I add this photo to the blog. More relics from the Timberwolf rehab, old steel track.

Geauga Lake's past creeps into Worlds of Fun one more time.... With the "new" Whack A Mole game. This game is located where Rising Water was located in the Timber Wolf games area.

Well what have we got here? Autobahn is getting some work too. Though not anything that would cost a fortune, maintenance is replacing the ride's chicken-wire ceiling.

More work going on Europa, in this case on Le Taxi Tour's station. The wood trim has all been updated and repainted (it looks great!), and the pointed roof has been replaced. Now more faded spots.

Here is a closer look at the roof. One final comment on the re-furbed taxi station, is one point I have just noticed. It is surprising now to look at the buildings that have not been re-habbed, and they now look terrible. I don't say that to attack the park, but to congratulate the park on the realization on how important these small updates are.

Moving from Europa to Africa, and here we have some fixtures from a foreign land.... what are these unusual objects? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

No one knows? Shame.

These are Niles four pumps! It appears they have been refurbed and re-painted. Again small things that guests won't really notice, but still make a difference.

Sitting right next to the pumps are these further unusual packages of chain. No, not prowler lift hill chain, but new chain for the Nile lift hill.

Looking down on the afore mentioned lift hill chain, which looks like it really needs those new chains! Also use # 103,100 for the previous Festaus tent.

Here is an empty pump pit on Nile. Usually three of these four pump pits are bubbling over with water during regular park operations.

Another unidentifiable object. so what is it? This is Nile's boat positioner. Usually this is in the unload area, right after the boats disengage from the lift hill, and it positions boats (supposably) before it hits the main chain. It also opens and closes to allow boats in and out of the storage area.

Down near Zulu, the park has removed the two beds, the one that was in the middle of the midway and also the one in front of Zulu's Queue house. We are not sure if this is permanent or if they will be replaced. If memory serves, both of these were the original HME creations, and Zulu's were very rotted out railroad ties. I really do hope they replace them.

A look at the Prowler station, we didn't have hard hats at this time so we didn't go exploring (plus it was exceptionally muddy), one thing I noticed which is not apparent in the photos is that the red roof is a textured or ribbed steel. It still looks nice though. The lift is starting to get its steel track in this shot too.

One of our last stops was for ELI, which is getting its rods and tubes replaced. First the boiler tubes. Here we are looking from the front of the train back into the boiler tubes. You can see if you zoom in on the photo that some tubes have been removed and some are still in there.

Here is the opposite view from the fire box, we are looking into the boiler, the tubes are for the steam which heat the water around it, and creates steam.

The new steel tubes ready to go in.

The main rod and the side rods, this year they replaced the bushings, these are brass wear surfaces to protect the steel from wearing itself. The rods connect the driving wheels, with the side rode connecting the two main driving wheels together and the main rod connecting the wheels to the piston.