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Welcome * Ride Reviews * Cyclone

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The Place
  Williams Grove Park - Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania USA

The Stats

Track Type Year Designer / Manufacturer
Wood Single Out & Back, ACE Classic 1933 Oscar Bitler / N/A
Ride Statistics
Height: 65 feet Max Drop: 60 feet
Top Speed: 60-70 mph Track Length: 2300 feet
Rider Capacity: Max G-Force:
Inversions: Ride Time: 52 seconds
Avg Speed: 45 mph Angle of Descent:
Number of Cars: Length of Train:
Restraints: Single Position Lapbar, Belts Number of Trains: 1
Cars per Train: 2 Vehicles Designed by: PTC

The Experience

* Arrangement: Riders are arranged 2 across, 6 seats per car for a total of 12 riders per train.
* Notes: Down but definitely not out, the Cyclone suffered around $15,000 damage on 25 September 1995. A maintenance building next to the ride caught fire. Unbeknowst by the owners until the Monroe Township firefighters put out the blaze, the total estimated loss was $160,000. The shed housed paint and fuel cans and contained three bays for repairing park rides.
* Structure: One of the ride operators/carpenters remarked it takes him 3 weeks to tighten every bolt. Portions of the structure are white and natural wood color. Rolling stock is red with blue and yellow trim. A string of light bulbs give the train station character.
* Elements: Sometimes the train may not have enough momentum to make it up over the second hill after the first drop. One unique feature is that the return leg of the ride still runs directly below the outbound track even after the renovation and some minor redesigns. This means that after the second turnaround, you bunny hop your way back underneath the track you just traveled. It does feature a double dip with the last "hop" into the station. Beware that brakes will always be set full on or you might go flying!
* History: Formerly operating as the Zipper, Williams Grove purchased the rolling stock off the old Palisades Park Cyclone and hence changed the name of the ride to match the name on its new train.

This ACE coaster classic came out of retirement after two years and a half million dollar facelift. The coaster station and a portion of the track collapsed on 26 January 1996 under the weight of snow and ice. Repairs were hindered by harsh winters and the coaster remained closed for the 1996 summer season. Morgan Hughes, who owns the park along with his wife, Ingrid, chose to refurbish the coaster rather than replace it in order to maintain the ACE classic designation. Besides, a new coaster of similar design would have cost around $1.8 million, Hughes said.

Restoration was under the guidance of Jim Mickel, a coaster expert from Ohio, and Roy M Benjamin, a structural engineer specializing in wooden roller coasters. As many as 14 carpenters worked 40 to 60 hours a week for 9 months so it could reopen on 20 June 1997. As of July 1998, new wood was infused in the structure along with a brand new station.

The Verdict
There is a lot of nostalgia associated with this coaster; when you arrive at Williams Grove, you almost have traveled back in time. But along with the memories of a nearly 70 year old coaster comes the complete frightfulness associated when you discover missing track ties, rails & taped up cars. You feel that it could collapse at any time. Raising your arms can be fun until the train gives, tugs, and pulls its way back to the station almost letting you know "It's time to hold on now, playtime is over ...." The observation can be made in the very last seat, just when you were beginning to worry about your back, the lapbar slams into your mid section - almost as if to take your mind off your back temporarily. It's truly a classic, and only classics ride the way they do. New woodies can't even come close to the way trains glide (or attempt to glide) along this rickety structure.
I rate it 7 Star's

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