Cedar Fair has confirmed that Canada's Wonderland, Cedar Point, Kings Island and Knott's Berry Farm will all receive Mondial Wind Seeker rides for the 2011 season.
The rides, which will all be named WindSeeker, will see guests swinging in circles around 301-feet-tall towers in a vertigo-inducing variation on the classic "Chair-O-Plane" attraction. Riders will reach speeds of up to 30 miles per hour but will still have time to take in panoramic views of the parks and beyond.
The announcement was widely expected after rival manufacturer Funtime revealed that it plans to sue Cedar Fair for selecting what it claims is patent-infringing clone of its own StarFlyer attraction. However, the Cedar Point version had been thought to be named Stratosoar prior to the announcement that it would also be dubbed WindSeeker.
The 301-feet-tall, $5 million WindSeekers are shorter than the StarFlyer ride Funtime claims it was planning for Cedar Point. It says its ride would have stood at over 400 feet, making it the tallest ride of its type in the world. However, the attractions will still be dramatic additions to the skyline at the Cedar Fair parks.
At Cedar Point, WindSeeker will replace Ocean Motion in the Cedar Point Beach area. Ocean Motion, a classic Huss swinging pirate ship attraction, will be removed at the end of the 2010 season and is currently available for purchase by other amusement parks. The park claims that the new ride will be a tribute to the Sea Swings attraction, which dipped riders into the waters of Lake Erie in the early 1900s.
Cedar Point's vice president and general manager John Hildebrandt said of the new addition: "Spinning almost 300 feet above Lake Erie and the Cedar Point Beach will be a very exciting ride experience for our guests. Day or night, WindSeeker will provide riders with dramatic views of the park and the Cedar Point Peninsula. It will be an extremely popular addition to Cedar Point."
At Kings Island, WindSeeker will be located in the Coney Mall area close to the exit of the Vortex rollercoaster. Spokesman Don Helbig claims visibility from the top of the ride will be some eighteen miles on a clear day, and decorative lighting will make the attraction a notable landmark for drivers on Interstate 71.
Knott's Berry Farm's version of WindSeeker will replace the Sky Cabin observation tower, which opened in 1976. Although the Sky Cabin will be removed, the "K" which marks its summit will be retained on the new ride. WindSeeker will be slightly shorter than the 312-foot-tall Supreme Scream compressed-air tower ride which is currently the tallest ride at the park.
At Canada's Wonderland, WindSeeker will be the park's 68th attraction and the latest in a string of thrill rides. It will become the tallest ride at the park, standing some 70 feet taller than the previous tallest rides Drop Tower and the Behemoth rollercoaster.
Mondial's Wind Seeker is recent model that was only announced in February. At the time, the company said it had been designed to meet the needs of parks that were demanding a "tall swing ride" that could be operated in normal wind conditions - something which it claims is achieved by using the steel arms in place of more flexible chains. Funtime has since disputed Mondial's claims that its StarFlyer rides cannot operate in strong winds, claiming that its attractions are already operating in areas that regularly face such conditions.
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