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.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prowler Tour March 1, 2009

It was a great day at Worlds of Fun and the rides weren't even running (and in many cases were in pieces!). We headed out today for Worlds of Fun's ACE Prowler Tour, and between ACE and Coaster Community we had about fifty in attendance. Before heading out we broke into three different groups with our group being lead by Jeff Mast and Brandon Stanley. Of course having Brandon Stanley along made our group the best!

Our three locations we visited in route included the station and photo booth area, the merchandise warehouse out by E Lot and the ride structure itself out by K lot. while a lot of walking (and slipping and sliding) was involved a great time was had by all. Many thanks to Brandon Stanley and Worlds of Fun for allowing us all this opportunity.

First shot, our group in the snow just outside of what will be Prowler Plaza.

Inside the Photo Booth, one on-ride photo please!

The outside of the station, making progress!

Looking at the lift from the exit. Pretty snow and sky!

The Transfer station from the station with trees surrounding it. I am betting by the summer with the leaves on the trees this view will be quite a bit different.

Before heading out a look at the Photo Booth.

Inside the station

Looking at the drive box from the ride exit.

After gallivanting around the station area we headed for E Lot and the Merchandise Warehouse we found these waiting for us.

Prowler Trains also had some winter time neighbors.

A close up of the front Prowler car.

Our last stop on the tour was to K Lot, to take a look at the meat and potatoes of Prowler. Our first shot is of the lift and return run back to the station. Notice the elevation difference, as after the 1st drop the return run is about the maximum height of the rest of the structure.

The Prowler turn-around.

A great shot, thanks to Larrance Brown. Poking our head through the track, in just a few months a train will be headed straight for us here!

Jeff and I out in the snow.