Quicksilver Express @ Gilroy Gardens

A park often forgotten about with all the CA Theme Parks is Gilroy Gardens. Gilroy Gardens actually has a very unique coaster! Quicksilver Express that is!

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Quicksilver Express is the world’s only Mine Train coaster made by Morgan. Quicksilver Express opened in the Gilroy theme-park in 2001, and was one of the last Morgan rides to be built. It’s a long ride, for a Mine Train Coaster, and has a track-length of 3,787 ft. QE is 60 ft. tall, and reaches speeds up to 38 MPH. The ride time is surprisingly short, with only 1 minute and 35 seconds.

Quicksilver Express has 2 trains, which fit 30 passengers each, which creates a capacity of approx. 1,400 riders per hour. The trains are similar to the Arrow Mine Train Coaster trains, with 5 cars of 3 rows each.

Quicksilver Express roller coaster QE has 2 lift-hills, and is built on a hill, offering a nice view of nature, as well as the gardens of the park it resides in, Gilroy Gardens. QE has the following height requirements; Riders must be at least 42 inches tall with an adult or 48 inches to ride alone.

Quicksilver Express is a very interesting, and often underrated, Mine Train coaster, that is actually pretty unknown, although it is faster than Gold Rusher at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and is unique due to the fact it’s the only Morgan Mine Train! So next time you are up in Northern CA to do some parks, why not check out Gilroy Gardens, and ride QE!

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Special Saturday– CA Winter Events

In this special you’ll see the 3 major winter events in CA Theme-parks. The 3 biggest ones are Knott’s Merry Farm, Holiday on the Park (SFDK), and Holidays at Disneyland Resort. Below you’ll find a description of each!

  • Knott’s Merry Farm is one of the many events that Knott’s has, and is the second largest. Halloween Haunt at Knott’s Scary Farm being the largest event. Visitors will visit Knott’s at a time of celebration, with all rides and buildings decked in lights, and Christmas music all around the park. Knott’s has special shows for the occasion, and additionally, all Peanut Gang characters are dressed in special Holiday outfits, as part of the ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas’. All rides are operating, and some rides are transformed for the event. Additionally, there is  65 ft. tall Christmas tree in the park, as well as more festive decorations. Knott’s Merry Farm is opened daily form the weekend before Thanksgiving through the first weekend of 2014, except for Christmas.
  • Holiday in the Park is a similar event, but up North, in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. The park’s rides are all beautifully decorated with Christmas lights, as well as other decorations alike. The park has many shows, which are all revised to the Christmas theme. Therefore there will be about 5 brand new shows every Holiday in the Park event! Additionally, the park has an artificial snow-hill in the back of the park, where visitors can slide down the icy hill on a sleigh provided by the park. This is a very popular attraction. Also, throughout the entire park, visitors will find fire pits, where they can get drinks, and relax while heating up by the fire. The park’s pathways are also heavily decorated with Christmas apparel. The park has had the world’s largest Christmas tree in one of it’s Holiday in the Park events, and still places a very tall tree in the entrance plaza each year. This is also the location where the Christmas closing and opening shows are being held. Over all, it’s a great event with all rides (but the ones that are in maintenance) operating, lots of interesting new shows, and a great atmosphere! Check it out if you happen to be up there!
  • The Happiest Place on Earth Becomes the Merriest Place on Earth.  The Disneyland Resort will once again be going all out for the Holiday festivities.  Starting November 12th, all of your favorite areas of Disneyland and California Adventure will be covered head to toe with Holiday decorations.  Carolers will line the lands of Buena Vista Street and Main Street USA, and the nights will all be capped of with the Believe in Holiday Magic Firework Spectacular.  Starting November 15th, the World of Color water show at California Adventure will begin sharing shows to spread the warmth of the holidays.  New for this year at the park is Viva Navidad; a fun celebration of Christmas with Latino influences, located at the dining area in Paradise Pier at California Adventure.  Of course, the three traditional Disney favorites will be returning.  First, the Christmas Fantasy Parade will once again wind around the streets of Main Street, featuring all of your favorite Disney characters in their finest Holiday attire, and of course the guest of honor, Santa Claus.  Also not miss Disney Holiday classics are the Nightmare Before Christmas themed Haunted Mansion, and the Holiday themed Its a Small World.  Overall, its looking like it will be one fine holiday season, and remember the Its Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

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Calico Mine Train Ride @ Knott’s Berry Farm

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The Calico Mine Ride at Knott’s Berry Farm has been a family favorite for over 50 years.  Since 1960, this ride has been taking riders through a deep excavation of the Calico Mine, ending with a view of the Calico Glory Hole.  The ride features an on board tour guide through the mine.  This person plays the dimwitted train conductor who has riders worried for their lives.  The ride dives into the mine, taking riders throughout the mine, featuring dig sites, geysers, and rock formations.  Riders then get a glimpse of the famous Calico Glory Hole, where miners have excavated “gold nuggets, silver nuggets, and and the rarest of them all, chicken nuggets.”  The ride then dives even deeper into an active blasting zone, where the train speeds up and gets out just before the blast.  The ride ends by passing a waterfall coming off the side of the mountain that houses the ride before riders exit.  The ride is a nice long relaxing ride with nice scenery to view and fun for the young ones as well.

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Tomorrow Tuesday — Kings Island 2014!

We might be CA Coaster Kings, and we generally only cover CA, we cannot leave Kings Island’s 2014 plans unnoticed. Kings Island will introduce the world’s tallest and longest inverted coaster in 2014! Additionally they will transform their Flight Deck Arrow Suspended Swinging Coaster into BAT! 

 

Banshee will stand a 167 ft tall and feature a first drop of 150 ft. With a length of 4,124.1 ft. the ride will become the world’s longest inverted roller coaster when it opens in 2014. The ride will include seven inversions including two vertical Loops, a Dive Loop, a Zero-G-Roll, a Batwing and a Heartline roll. Riders of Banshee will experience speeds of up to 68 miles per hour on the 2-minute, 40-second ride.

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After departing from the station, the train will make a left turn towards the 167-ft. lift-hill. Once at the top, the train will drop 150 ft. on a heavily banked right turn. After reaching the bottom of the drop, riders will enter a Dive Loop immediately followed by a vertical Loop around the lift-hill. Continuing down the valley, the train will enter the third inversion, a Zero-G-Roll, where riders experience the feeling of weightlessness. Next, the train will make an upward left hand turn into a Batwing. Upon exiting the Batwing, the train will enter a second vertical Loop before making a right turn into a Heartline roll. Following a downward left helix, the train will make a banked right turn into the final brake run.

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The BAT has a long background story, but in a few words;. Kings Island opened the first ever Suspended Swinging coaster from Arrow, with the name BAT, in 1981. Due to technical problems this ride closed pretty quick after it opened, in 1983. Kings Island then opened a 2nd generation Suspended Swinging Coaster from Arrow 10 years later in 1993. This ride opened as Top Gun, and was changed to Flight Deck due to license rights in 2007. To honor the old BAT that closed 30 years ago, Kings Island is re-theming Flight Deck to become BAT. This also has to do with the fact that Flight Deck/BAT’s entrance is ;located next to Banshee.

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Fun Fact Friday -1 November 2013-

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Please notice that, Cedar Fair operates the park, the park is still owned by the City of Gilroy. Also, there is a small grammatical error, it’s suppose to say Bonfante Gardens!

Throwback Thursday–Sky Whirl and Triple Play

Sky Whirl was a triple ferris wheel that operated at California’s Great America in Santa Clara from 1976 until 1997.  It was a Tree Triple Wheel model, supplied by Intamin and manufacture by Waagner-Biro.  Sky Whirl resembled a huge tree with three arms, with each arm supporting a giant wheel. Two wheels were spinning while the third was on the ground loading.  Sky Whirl was featured in the movie Beverly Hills Cop III, which was filmed in 1994, but closed 3 years later in 1997, to make room for Invertigo, which now resides in Dorney Park as Stinger.

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Triple Play was a HUSS manufactured Troika model. The Troika is a ride, designed and manufactured by HUSS in the mid-1970s.  Triple Play opened at Great America in 1976 and closed in 2004.  Triple play consisted of three arms radiating from a center column. At the end of each arm is a star shaped structure holding seven gondolas, each of which seats 2 people side by side.  When the ride was activated, the central column rotated clockwise, while the Star at the end of each arm rotated counterclockwise. Hydraulic cylinders then raised the arms to an angle of 40°. The gondolas did have some capacity to rock from side to side. At the end of the ride cycle, the arms were lowered, and the rotation stopped.  This ride was located next to the entrance of Vortex, and was considered the perfect ride for intermediate thrill seekers, who were ready to graduate from Kidzville, but not yet ready for the larger flat rides like Orbit.

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Drop Tower @ California’s Great America

This will be a rather short Ride Review of Drop Tower at California’s Great America, which is an Intamin ‘Giant Drop’ drop tower with 6 cars going up the tower individually (each carrying 4 riders)

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Riders will approach the 224 ft tall drop tower as they walk towards the back of the park. You can’t miss the tallest structure in the park! A huge sign saying; ‘Drop Tower’ will indicate that the adventure is about to start! Riders will approach the beginning of the line and will basically enter a huge set of switchbacks under an old sun-cover that is tearing apart slowly. Yes, indeed, they still need to fix this area of the park. Continue reading “Drop Tower @ California’s Great America”

Throwback Thursday–Whizzer at California’s Great America

Whizzer opened in 1976, in both Great America Parks (California and Illinois) as Willard’s Whizzer, named for the parks owner Willard Marriott.  An electric motor beneath each car powered the four-car trains to the top of a unique spiral lift hill, where gravity then took control and delighted riders with a series of swooping dives and ground-hugging turns. whizzer lift

Guests sat in comfortable, tandem-style seats that were originally designed without any form of restraint device but seatbelts. From the start, both Willard’s Whizzer roller coasters suffered from problems with the braking system that would sometimes allow the trains to collide in the station.  Unfortunately, no immediate solution was put forth to remedy this problem. Continue reading “Throwback Thursday–Whizzer at California’s Great America”

Sierra Sidewinder @ Knott’s Berry Farm

This Ride Review is ‘reviewing’ the, currently, only Spinning Coaster in CA! (Undertow hasn’t opened yet, and Pandemonium closed in 2011)

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Sierra Sidewinder opened in 2007 pretty unique, since there are only 3 Mack Spinning Coasters, and the other two are located in Europe! The ride is located in Camp Snoopy, right of the entrance plaza and is a nice family coaster that is super re-ridable, and you want to ride it over and over again since not a single ride is the same!

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Riders will approach the ride’s line after entering Camp Snoopy, the family/kids area of the park. The line exists out of 2 sets of switchbacks surrounded by wooden fences. The line is located right under the roller-coaster, so guests will see spinning coaster-cars fly by ever 2 minutes or so! Once guests have walked past, or through, the switchbacks, they will take the stairs up to the station, where they can choose a row to sit in. They will eventually board the relatively small trains, fasten their seat belts, lock their restraints and off they’ll go!

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The ride’s vehicles are locked (so they don’t spin) for the pre-lift and lift-hill section of the ride. Once the train reaches the top of the 62.3 ft lift-hill, the train’s cars will unlock their awesome spinning feature, and there is no stopping to ’till the end. The ride doesn’t have a large drop. The drop is only 39 ft, and goes right into a set of banked turns, the 3rd one being 90′ degrees tilted! After this the train will make a quick, sudden, transition into a double downwards helix, where the train will come very close to the ground. The train will then also reach it’s maximum speed of 37 MPH. Riders will then be thrown into a waving transition, in which the train will quickly bank about 45 degrees either way twice in a row. This movement is followed by two banked turns that run into the brake run. The train’s cars will then be rotated back to the original starting position for it to re-enter it’s station.

Perfectly aligned vehicles, since the cars don't start spinning 'til the first drop!
Perfectly aligned vehicles, since the cars don’t start spinning ’til the first drop!

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This ride may be a little short, but it really offers a unique ride that is different and exciting every time you ride, due to the spinning. The ride is nicely located, and circles some smaller rides that are located in the kids area. The ride’s lines tend to be short throughout the day, and even when the switchbacks are both full, the line will only be about 30 mins. So you can never go wrong with Sierra Sidewinder! Check it out next time you’re at Knott’s Berry Farm!

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Vortex @ California’s Great America

In this Ride Review, we’re taking a look at the 2nd B&M ever made. VORTEX at California’s Great America that is. 

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Vortex is located behind the big carousel, and is hard to miss since it is the only roller coaster before heading past the food locations to the back and middle of the park. Riders will approach the line where a wooden sign indicates that they’re about to board Vortex. The lines is simply all switchbacks that seriously never fill up. Riders will then approach the stairs that lead to the station. The station is out door, and there will be a canopy for the operator that will assign you a row. Continue reading “Vortex @ California’s Great America”