Knott's Berry Farm has begun construction of the new WindSeeker attraction, having switched its location to enable the long-standing Sky Cabin ride to remain in place.
The Orange County Register has confirmed the change of plans, which was strongly rumored last week. The 301-feet-tall WindSeeker will now be installed in the Fiesta Village area, instead of on the Sky Cabin site. As a result, it will now open to the public between Memorial Day (May 30) and the Fourth of July.
WindSeeker, announced last August, will see guests swinging in circles around a central tower 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. It will be the second-tallest ride at Knott's Berry Farm, after the 312-feet-tall Supreme Scream drop tower.
The Fiesta BBQ Mexican Food restaurant will be demolished to create WindSeeker's new home in Fiesta Village. The Sky Cabin, meanwhile, is set to return to operation later this year having been closed for several months. Knott's Berry Farm General Manager Marty Keithley said of the ride: "We felt keeping Sky Cabin was important to the park. It’s an older ride, and it has a following."
The Sky Cabin observation tower opened in 1976, and stands at 225-feet-tall. It originally featured two attractions - the Parachute Sky Jump (which saw riders drop into baskets beneath a faux parachute canopy) and an observation vehicle (which revolves as its climbs slowly to the top of the tower). The Parachute Sky Jump has since been removed, but the observation vehicle continues to operate.
Knott's Berry Farm's promotional video for WindSeeker (embedded below) showed that the "K" that marks the Sky Cabin's summit would be retained on the new ride. It is not yet clear whether this remains the case following the decision to construct the ride elsewhere.
Mondial's Wind Seeker is recent model that was only announced in February 2010. 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. Rival manufacturer 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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