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.


Nicholas Tucker said...

Very cool items!

Paula said...

I loved all the old photos..post more if you have them..I can't get enough. I really like the actual items from the park (roller coaster parts)...how did you get them? What auctions did you go to and where were they?