So Jeff and I headed out to Worlds of Fun this last Friday, February 28th for a look at the park during the off-season. Special thanks to Rachael Murie and Wayne Meadows for escorting and visiting with us yesterday!
First, though there is a LOT of work going on in the park this off season, it is not as much as we originally would have thought. When the discussion with Wayne Meadows occured the annoucement of Steel Hawk had yet to be made, due to costs associated with installing the new ride, many of the original park enhancements have been delayed (not cancelled!) until either later this season or for 2015. Yes, Steel Hawk isn't a new ride, but from discussions many of the ride components have been completely replaced or updated, plus its site and foundation is QUITE extensive as we will soon see. Still lots of things going on in the park, including Steel Hawk so we will take a look quickly at them.
An update on the photo blog from November, the expansion of Baltic Bazaar/Scandi Shops is being finished, from what it looks like these expansions will be mostly storage space, but still something desperatly needed. ALSO, though there is no photo here the lights from Plaza Gifts (old Scandi Skees) have been removed from the towers, whether this means the lights are gone, or that they are being removed to repaint the towers (which are still the original green color) is yet to be seen. I hope they will finally be repainting the towers and replacing the lights! We shall see.
Here is Viking Voyager, which is getting some work this off season, not as much as originally thought, but about 100% more then its seen in years. (which is next to none). As one who worked on Voyager for 2 seasons I can speak from absolute experience that ambassadors will be thrilled that the evacuation walkways are BEING REPLACED BY GALVANIZED STEEL ONES! For those that have never worked Voyager, the originals were wood, which if they weren't painted (which usually they weren't) they would get slimy and VERY slick. Some of us almost fell on our you know where MANY times because of this. So thrilled to see that. Also you can see here the lift rollers are being replaced. There is also some footer work going on too below the ride, but that doesn't photograph well.
Though we have no close up photos of the Steel Hawk foundation as of yet, its definitely impressive in stats. The concrete structure to support this 301 foot tower, is over 7 feet deep and features 1 foot wide steel rebar. The base of the structure weighs 30 tons (ELI is 25 tons to compare). It was for this reason that the crane to lift it in place was not at its full height for the first piece placement. Now if you drive by the park you will see the crane dwarfing the rest of the park towering over 320 feet in the air.
Wayne stated he had looked into replacing the roofs of these three structures in the same manner they were designed and originally built, but found the cost to be prohibitively expensive. So the options were no roof at all, (which considering the state the original 40 year old roofs were in probably would have happened), or this. So, though I may not like it thematically and asthetically I can... understand the decision. After all if I was in the same situation I would have probably had to have to make the same decision.
One last comment... and update to the park that may not be OHHH! AHHH!! WOW! to some but to us symbolizes and very 180 direction change in thought. (or demonstrates some thought period). For those that have parked in C lot at the park .. you may remember that there were cinder block/parking lot wheel stops that lined C lot, in fact they were the only thing (supposedly) keeping cars from exiting from C lot to the exit lane. In many cases cars just ran over them, and they were shoved here and there looking terrible. Well good news, the wheel stops (what was left of them) have been REPLACED by a more permanent curb. Will this stop cars from driving over said curb? Probably not, but it looks much NICER and was always a huge complaint from Jeff.
So this is the end for now, for those that just so happen to be driving by the park over the next few weeks (yes we all know die hard fans love to find reasons to be around Worlds of Fun Avenue...) you should be able to see Steel Hawk rising in thr air very soon, Snowmagedon not withstanding. We will be back atleast one more time before the beginning of the season to bring you updates to the park so keep watching!