Cedar Fair says Geauga Lake Big Dipper will be demolished

Posted Monday, October 10, 2016 7:31 AM | Contributed by robotfactory

The historic Big Dipper wooden roller coaster at Geauga Lake will be demolished in the “next few weeks,” according to Bainbridge Township trustee Jeffrey Markley. Cedar Fair released a statement confirming the plans.

Read more from WKYC/Cleveland.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 1:30 PM

Geauga Lake was my first park and Big Dipper was my first coaster. That place defined my childhood and teen years and I still get sad that it is gone. That said, I don't understand what good having the structure still standing does at this point. It's not like the park is open and thriving and they are tearing it down to build something new. The park didn't make it, and sadly this piece of coaster history goes with it. It'll sting seeing it come down, but I fully support this.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 3:11 PM

The time has come. It was my first coaster too but several years ago it was clear that it was never going to run again. Once Dipper is gone maybe the hardcore reality resistance will finally accept that he park is not coming back no matter how many township meetings they go to. It's time to just focus on the good memories. It was nice while it lasted and now it's over.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 3:15 PM

A decaying reminder of what once was. I morn every John Miller coaster that's lost, but this needs to happen. Good bye Sky Rocket.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 3:35 PM

Good bye, Clipper.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 3:57 PM

Anyone know where I can start a petition? Asking for a friend.

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Monday, October 10, 2016 5:45 PM

We can always start a GoFundMe and get the Home Depot to donate some lumber. I have a friend who knows a guy who has a cousin who owns a truck!

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 6:57 AM

If wasn't my first coaster, that was lost a long time ago in the kiddie coaster that was there, but it still has a place in my heart for starting my passion for coasters.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 10:35 AM

If only there was another Bay Beech park sitting out there somewhere for Big Dipper to go to. I never though Green Bay would end up with Zippin Pippin, so stranger things can happen, but then again, I'm not holding my breath.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 10:43 AM

Other than blueprints, I didn't think any of the ZP hardware ended up in Green Bay...

Wooden coasters MUST be maintained....sitting idle for a long period in ALL likelihood means that Dipper ends up in the scrap pile along with Clementon's Jack Rabbit, LeSourdsville's Screechin' Eagle, and the LibertyLand ride...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 1:08 PM

Yeah Pippen was not a relocation. It used some hardware from Thunder Eagle but nothing from
The original Pippen.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 3:39 PM

At this point, even if the ride reopened on site, it would likely need such a major refurbishment that hardly any of the original structure would remain. And I am sure it would need new rolling stock as well. These folks asking for it to be disassembled and stored make no sense - why would you store a pile of rotten wood and rusted metal track? Again, the ride did have a bit of a chance back in the 2008/2009 time period, but a lot happens in nine years. And if nobody wanted it then, why on earth would they want it now? I seem to recall Cedar Fair actually did do some minor maintenance on the ride in 2008 in the chance it would sell, which they absolutely had no obligation to do. There is a reason the ride has not sold or been moved in the nine years since the park closed, it just isn't feasible for the return on investment it would get.

Last edited by BrettV, Tuesday, October 11, 2016 3:40 PM
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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 3:54 PM

People seem generally unconcerned with facts or reality these days.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 5:33 PM

Have any of the relocations really used that much from the original machines, aside from maybe cars, motors, chains, etc. I thought that for the most part the wood was almost all new on the relocation. The exception to this that I can think of is Little Dipper at Little Amerika, which I believe had the bents moved for the most part.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 6:25 PM

I was under the impression that Little Dipper from Kiddieland involved considerable amounts of lumber...and Starliner as well. Not sure about Skyliner...

I think the general rules are that even if SBNO for 1-3 years, the heavy timbers would almost always be re-used if possible (those are expen$ive pieces of wood)...and that as you increase in age and decrease in size, the likelihood of re-use goes down dramatically...

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 6:25 PM

This ride isn't going to run again. It's over. It's overer than over. Your best hope would be that someone gets the blueprints (if there is still a copy of them somewhere) and builds a duplicate elsewhere.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 6:59 PM

I do believe Phoenix at Knoebels was a complete tear down and rebuild. Playland park closed in 1980 and Knoebels picked up the ride in 84? It opened in 85. I remember that they had to label each board and piece because there was no blueprints.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 8:53 PM

Neither the park In green Bay, nor RCDB lost Pippin as a relocation. I took a photo of the plaque on the ride talking about how it was a replica.

So if they owners and the gontomsource for the community say it's not a relocation, I tend to follow their lead.

As for other relocations, Phoenix was definitely a relocation. I believe the kiddie at GAm was or mostly was as well.

There are only a small handful of wooden coasters that have been relocated in the last 30 years or so. Inbelieve less than 10.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2016 10:59 PM

Thabto said:

This ride isn't going to run again. It's over. It's overer than over. Your best hope would be that someone gets the blueprints (if there is still a copy of them somewhere) and builds a duplicate elsewhere.

I completely agree with Thabto(Brian). I mentioned this on Pointbuzz, but nobody responded, but it would be cool if Cedar Fair built a duplicate at one of their sister parks. I mentioned Dorney Park as a candidate. Also have GCI rebuild it someday too.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016 8:25 AM

I think it is ok to accept the loss of the Dippper (and other coasters) and still be sad about it. There is an emotional connection to parks and rides. Heck, if there wasn't then Coasterbuzz and other fan sites would not exist. I have many fond memories of the Dipper. If it wasn't the first wooden roller coaster that I rode then it was one of the first. I spent several summers at the park as a season pass holder and I'm sure I lost count of the number of times I rode it. Then, I would get a summer job at the park that turned into five summers.

For four of those five summers I worked on the Dipper. I remember working in Rainbow Island and seeing the guys who operated the Dipper. They were the guys everyone in the park wanted to be. When I got "the call" to learn how to operate the old Ferris Wheel everyone knew that was my ticket to get to the Dipper. The Dipper gave breaks to the Ferris Wheel back then so you had to know how to operate it before moving to the Dipper. After what took more time than you might think to learn the Wheel I got the chance to learn to operate the Dipper. Let me tell you the energy at that ride, particularly before the Raging Wolf Bobs and the other modern expansions, was electric. People would cheer on the way out of the station and cheer louder on the way back in.

I can still hear the lift hill chain and smell the grease. I can feel the weight of the train pushing against the brake lever as I pushed back. I can see the nails poking out of the hand rain on the steps of the lift hill and feel the splinters I got in my hand as I would have to walk up or down for one reason or another. I remember the feeling I had when girls started to notice me because I was operating the Big Dipper. That was worth the minimal pay and long hours, for sure.

I remember sitting in the Park Operations office when we heard on the radios that there had been a crash at the Dipper. As the area manager I ran full sprint to the ride nearly knocking down guests in my haste to get there. I remember seeing our ride operators standing there almost in a daze and asking them where the second train was. I remember looking up at the lift hill and seeing it sitting up there (and feeling relief that someone had the foresight to stop it on the hill before it took another lap with shocked riders and vehicle damage).

I can hear the cries of children and the silence of adults who had no idea what had just happened. I remember EMTs and security guards showing up, the former tending to the guests in the trains and the later clearing the station. I remember walking the ride operators back to the Operations office and separating them into different offices so that we could take their statements about what happened.

I think about all the times I walked under that track and found so many bizarre things. Dentures, cash, hats, a bra...and wondering if the owners even realized they were gone. I remember test riding on cold days and, on occasion, having the train valley because it couldn't make it up the second hill. I remember test riding on warm days and cozying up against the girl riding next to me.

I'm just one guy who once worked there for five summers...on a ride that operated for more than 80 years. There were dozens and dozens of other operators, maybe hundreds, and there were hundreds of thousand of riders, maybe millions. All those folks have memories too...some of them even richer than my own.

It is ok that this is emotional for people. It is sad that it is over. I'm even more sad that a company that I would go on to work for would be in some way responsible for the demise of that beloved (to some) ride. But, it happened. I'm more sad that NE Ohio lost what was once a small, classic, amusement park.

There won't be any more rides, but they can't take away those memories.

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