East Coaster 2008 Trip & Photo Report
The following is a Trip report for ACE's Eastcoaster event held at the Northampton Community Center, in Northampton, PA. The event was Saturday February 2nd, 2008. On Friday the 1st, we got to go on a tour at Dorney Park. On Sunday the 3rd, we got to go on a Tour of PTC's facility. The links will take you to photos of most of the slides throughout the night. Not wanting to retype all the info, you will need to get it from there. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them. I'm sure I forgot some things, as it is hard to listen, write and take photos all at the same time.
Dorney Park Tour
Since it was raining, the park was nice enough to provide us vehicles to get from place to place. We all met at the Employee cafeteria. The first stop was to the Maintenance building. Next we went to the VooDoo construction site. Lastly we went to the parking lot where the VooDoo pieces were waiting to be erected. Afterward, they took us back to the Employee cafeteria where they had coffee, pop, cookies, chips and pretzels for us to enjoy. Sorry, no pictures of the food, I was busy eating. :) Here are some panoramics of the Construction Site. Pan 1, Pan 2
Please forgive the quality of the photos. The lighting in this room is not the best for photos. I was as close to the front as I could be without being a Guest of Honor. Maybe next year. :)
Throughout the night they called off large groups of names for door prizes. Before the Malay began, I got these pictures. They had a record number of door prizes this year. The vendors, on top of having paid for their tables, even donated a prize each. Even with all that, I have now gone 2 years with out a door prize. Just my luck. :)
Various parks donated items for Auction. Throughout the night they auctioned of the items. 1 - Chiller Artwork. Sold for $60 2 - 2 pairs of Dollywood Thrills in the Hills Packages including: 2 admissions to the event, lodging and additional gifts. Both packages sold for $185. 3 - 3 pairs of Dollywood Season Passes. 2 pair sold for $110 and the third pair sold for $90 4 - 2 Steel Venom seats. Sold for $270 and $300. 5 - Chiller rules sign. Sold for $465. 6 - 2 Raven flags sold together for $40 7 - Knoebels Plaque made and donated by Coastin Steve. Sold for $80. 8 - As described by Tom Rebbie, a Single Locking Right Handed Loading lapbar from Thunderhawk. Sold for $65. 9 - Millennium Flyer prototype guide wheel. Sold for $40 10 - Side Panel from Thunderhawk in it's First 3 Seasons. Sold for $35. 11 - GCI canvas gift bag. It includes: Axel; Hat; Coasters; Photos; Brochures; Renegade Poster; Folder; 12 or 13 concept drawings. Sold for $130. Total - I must have a number wrong somewhere. I'm totaling it up as $2,165. They announced the total was $2,170. Winning bidders get to choose whether the money goes to the Preservation Fund or the Archives and Museum Fund.
Our hosts welcome us. They announce the distance travelers. Harold Davis from Vegas, Yvone from Texas, and Mark Cole from Florida traveled the farthest. In honor of Groundhogs Day, they go down the list of Rodent Based roller coasters. Mark Cole introduces the Regional Reps, Committee members and other people in attendance. He mentions that Ray Uberoth hurt himself when he fell on some ice. He is not in attendance. The ACE site has been totally revamped. Check it out. He's asking all the members to create a user name, log in, and check all your personal settings. He tells us the success of the Herbert Schmeck book will help fund future books. There should be more info about the 2009 Spain trip by Coaster Con. The event will most likely be held in July. The Archive Fund and the Museum Fund have been combined into the Archives and Museum Fund. The future of the Archives will use Pass Perfect Software to catalog the items and make them available for viewing on the internet. The success of the archives has led to an unfortunate side effect. They are too full to have ACE safely view them in large groups. Because of this the Archives were not open Friday or Saturday night as originally planned.
Chuck Hutchison, PR for Dorney Park is on hand. He is here to represent his park and the whole chain. Behemoth's track work was completed about 1.5 weeks ago. He had 2 Behemoth videos, and one Dorney Park video for us to watch that wouldn't play for some reason. To me it seemed to be memory problems with the computer. He said he's make sure the videos would be posted online. In addition, he had problems with his Power Point slide show. The pictures didn't always load. Drop Shop at Dorney Park will be renamed Possessions and themed to VooDoo.
Kathy Burrows is on hand. She tells us that Fahrenheit is on schedule. We watch a construction video that she brings along.
Six Flags Great Adventure
Angel Aristone is on hand. Angel said she knows how much everyone liked the coaster that never ran and the boats that sink, but they're going bye-bye. Dark Knight is coming. The current height restriction for Dark Knight is 48" or 42" when riding with an adult. They are trying to get the 42" changed to 40". Last years race for the cure drew 12,000 walkers. She mentions that she wanted to have pictures of Dark Knight to show us, but was told she isn't allowed. Luckily I got some 2 weeks ago :)
Peter Gardella Jr. was on hand. He showed us a promotional video for the park. I never realized how much they have there. This year is their 60th anniversary. When the family bought the park, they originally wanted to keep the name as Bland's Park. Eventually they decided to rename it to DelGrosso's to cross market the park with the Pasta Sauce. It is the oldest pasta sauce in PA. The park still hasn't decided where they will put Revolution. As many of you know, it is a small park. Wherever they decide to put the coaster, it will likely have an effect on other rides or attractions. They hope to have the coaster up and running in late 2008 or 2009. In my photos, an interesting thing to note is the race track. It was made completely out of wood. Over time it deteriorated and eventually had large holes in it. When this happened, kids would stick their head up through the holes to watch the cars. Don't worry, no one ever got hurt.
Wildwood at Morey's Piers
Angel Daniels is on hand. A 120' section of Great White has been completely removed and will be replaced. She mentions that anyone at the event last year probably knows which section that is too. In addition they are retracking about 600' in various areas. They are putting the new Vekoma SLC restraints and trains on The Great Noreaster. About 5 of the staff went to Walibi World in the Netherlands to ride El Condor. This was the first SLC and was also the first to receive the newly designed restraints and trains. They are in agreement with most enthusiasts that SLC's can be painful to ride. They would never ride TGN more than once or twice. After riding El Condor more than 20 times in 5 days, they immediately knew they had to put the new restraints and trains on TGN. The restraints have a redundant hydraulic system with infinite locking. The park not just wanting to make this decision on their own, wanted some enthusiasts opinions. They asked Mark Davidson to come down and test ride the coaster fro them. There was a catch however. Because this was a prototype, insurance would not cover Mark unless he was an employee. So they actually had to process him in as an employee for the day. Mark had the W-2 with him to prove it. In addition, he wasn't allowed to tell anyone he rode it. Now that the cat was out of the bag, he was asked by the park to express his opinion for everyone to hear. (I hope I don't mis-quote him here) Mark said it is a brand new ride. You can't even compare it to the old version. He thinks the comfort level is comparable with B&M. You have total freedom as opposed to before. You can look around, freely move your arms about, and most importantly, no more head banging or rubbing your face on the sweaty black foam. The park is still in the design and proposal phase for the new coaster. They did a round-table with enthusiasts last year and took it to heart. They've made several changes to the original design. You can see the original and new designs in the photos. The new coaster might come in 2010.
Steve Gorman was on hand. He gave us a brief history of the park and talked about the trials and tribulations of getting Ravine Flyer II off the ground. He brought up-to-date pictures of the progress. The coaster has 138 pilings. Ravine Flyer 2 will go over a road. This road leads to Presque Isle State Park. This park is the most visited state park in PA. It sees 4 million visitors a year. More than Yosemiti. Because of this they were not allowed to work on the bridge during the summer. And even now, they had to do the work at night. The park opens on May 10th, but for tax purposes they are trying to get the coaster running before the end of April. The reason being, that is their fiscal year end. The first rides of both trains will be auctioned off to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. Since all the families money, and future of the park are dependent on this coaster opening on time, they couldn't take their chances with an unproven product. The could possibly use the Articulating PTC trains in the future.
Janice Witherow was not in attendance, but does a video introduction for Chris Gray. She told us some fun facts about Chris. And I must have been pretty into it, because I didn't write any down and now I can't remember them either.
Chris Gray was on hand. He tells us some stories about the past years worth o building coasters. While in the Netherlands building Troy, they had 5 laptops, 2 cameras and 5 printers stolen. That wasn't a good day. The Millennium Flyer trains normally cost $12K to paint. The Troy trains were hand painted by one artist and cost $36K. Six Flags called them and said, "We have this much time and this much space, we'll sign a contract in 5 days if you can do it." As luck would have it, Thunderbird at PowerLand was a perfect fit. So, in fact, Evel Knievel is almost an exact copy of Thunderbird. There are only some small differences. 1/2 of Cheeta will be retracked this year, the other half will be done next year. The website will be redesigned this summer by Evan.
Though they weren't in attendance, Dollywod sent a bunch of auction items.
In addition they are now a corporate member of ACE. They will have ACE discounts starting this season.
Coney Island Development Corp.
David Finkelstein gives us an in-depth look into the plans for Coney Island. It was one of the longest if not The longest presentations of the night. I don't even know where to begin. Check out the photos of the slides and I'll try to answer any questions.
Future ACE Events
Mark Cole ran through the same presentation that Paul Blick did during No Coaster Con. He did it even faster than Paul. So I still missed a few shots. I did manage to get a bit more this time. I combined the photos from both events to make the most complete slide show I could. Even at that there is still missing info. Mark mentioned that Canobie and Fun Town could be possible Add-Ons to Preservation Con.
Pam Kanai showed us a video entitles, "Knoebel's Bumper Bash." It was one of the most insane displays of Bumper Car I have ever seen. All the card were occupied by enthusiasts. I believe the video will be on YouTube eventually. Though at the time of this post, it is not yet there.
Coastin' Steve gave us an update on the Flying Turns. Most of his presentation was a video. I made an attempt to get some pics, but most of them didn't turn out. Dick, John, and a few others have ridden it. His video consisted of a complete Walk through of the ride. One thing he pointed out was how many leaves and other debris have been ending up in the trough. This has resulted in the addition of a leaf blower to the morning walk throughs. To simulate the coaster riding in the summer, they have tented in the first brake run and have it heated to 90 degrees. There is extensive track work being done to Twister. There is still no guarantee on the opening. Steve thinks it will be running on opening day, but he reiterated that, "It will be done, when it's done."
Cliff Herring had us take a moment to remember Wayne Stuber. He died suddenly last summer. He played an old radio spot of Wayne from when he worked at WSPA. The spot was promoting a 5 part series about amusement parks and roller coasters that was to air.
Tom gave us a history of PTC and showed us some shots from his facility. My batteries lasted this week. However with time running over, he went through most of the slides very quickly. I got a lot more than last time though. It's almost a moot point anyway. I got tons of pics at the PTC tour the next day. Interspersed every 10 slides or so, there would be a quick flash of the Herbert Schmeck Book. After seeing it about 3 or 4 times, the crowd started to catch on and it would get a chuckle every time it popped up. To entice even more people to buy the book, he mentioned that anyone buying a book tonight or tomorrow morning at his facility, would get a surprise.
On Sunday about 100 people headed down to the PTC facility in Hatfield, PA. The building was open from 10am to 2pm. People came throughout the day and few stayed the whole time. An hour or 2 was plenty. Having the additional time was nice though. It kept the crowds a little smaller, which made the picture taking easier. Many people took the opportunity to sit in the Ravine Flyer II, and PTC prototype articulating display cars to get their picture taken. Torrence Jenkins Jr. was on hand to promote the Herbert Schmeck book. He had a box full which were signed by him and Tom. The special surprise for those who bought one was to get to see the Archive room. It's not a big room, but he had some very cool pictures layed out. The person in charge of scanning all the photos was there. He told some cool stories. As we walked out of the archive, as part of our surprise, he gave each of us a PTC VHS tape from 1995 entitled Rolling through time and a blue print. I believe everyone got a different blueprint. Mine was of a Roller Coaster and Mill Chutes ride from 1922. It was at the now defunct Recreation Grove in Trenton, NJ.