WindSeeker-ness

With the closure of WindSeeker at Knott’s Berry Farm, and the possible removal of it, we are looking into the design of the WindSeekers. 

WindSeeker_second_Logo

WindSeeker is a 301-foot-tall (92 m) swing ride at several Cedar Fair parks. The rides are Wind Seeker models manufactured by Mondial. They opened for the 2011 season at Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario, Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio, and Knott’s Berry Farm in California. Carowinds in North Carolina and Kings Dominion in Virginia opened their WindSeekers in 2012. The first four each cost US$5,000,000, and the next two each cost $6,500,000.

The three-minute ride features 32 suspended twin seats spinning around a central tower. A lighting package was installed on all WindSeekers, consisting of strips of LED lights mounted on the arms that support the swings and (except at Knott’s Berry Farm) colored floodlights to illuminate WindSeeker’s tower from above. Knott’s also has a different color scheme that, together with the customized sign, fits the Mexican theme that the area it resides in has.

Canada’s Wonderland was the first of the four parks to open its WindSeeker in 2011. On May 24, 2011, the ride was only open for a brief time before problems caused it to be closed for repairs; it re-opened the week of June 10. The second WindSeeker was opened to the public at Cedar Point on June 14, 2011, the third on June 21, 2011, at Kings Island, the fourth in mid-August 2011 at Knott’s Berry Farm, the fifth WindSeeker to open was Carowinds’ model which soft-opened on March 30, 2012  and officially opened to the public on March 31, 2012, and the latest one to open was the sixth WindSeeker at Kings Dominion which officially opened to the public on April 6, 2012.

On September 21, 2012, Cedar Fair announced the temporary closure of all WindSeekers in response to two incidents at Knott’s Berry Farm.  All the installations, excluding Knott’s Berry Farm, have since reopened.

During the 2012 season, all of the WindSeekers except Kings Island’s experienced incidents in which the ride stopped, stranding riders in the air. Two such incidents occurred in September at Knott’s Berry Farm, in one case leaving riders stranded at the top of the ride for nearly four hours, prompting the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration to order the ride shut down indefinitely on September 19 pending investigation of both the length of time riders were stranded and the actual causes of the incidents. Two days later on September 21, Cedar Fair announced the closure of all other WindSeekers to conduct an internal review. The company said that until the review concludes, none of the rides would operate again. The rides remained closed through the remainder of the 2012 season at the five seasonal parks but have since reopened at all parks excluding Knott’s Berry Farm.

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