Cedar Fair searching Europe for classic flat rides

Posted Friday, August 7, 2015 10:22 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Inspired by the “American Pickers” reality television show, a pair of collectors is scouring Europe for classic rides to bring back to Cedar Fair amusement parks in the United States and Canada. The duo was sent on the continent-spanning scavenger hunt by Cedar Fair Chief Executive Matt Ouimet, a former Disneyland president who is hoping the refurbished family rides will add a nostalgic atmosphere to the chain’s 11 amusement parks.

Read more from The LA Times.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015 11:58 PM

That and U.S. worlds fairs.
I always had a suspicion that a lot of the flats from that era, including some from the Million Dollar Midway, were gently used rides and as I got older and looked into the history of European and U.S. fairs it came more clear. I would bet that Super Himalaja, Matterhorn, Schwabinchen, Bayern Kurve, Broadway Trip, Zugspitze, French Frolic, Satellite Jets, the Hoffmeister Rotor and both Calypsos started their lives traveling the road somewhere else. I also think that rides like Monster, Troika, the Chance Rotor and Witches Wheel were purchased new.
We should keep in mind that in the early years Cedar Point's rides were temporary, booked attractions owned by independent concessionaires, and as they lost their lease were carted off. When the "new" Cedar Point of the 60's was faced with having to stock a park they went looking for rides that still had life in them but weren't too expensive. It was a strange era- the "Disneyland of the Midwest" had a riverboat, a stagecoach, a monorail, a skyride, and turnpike cars just like the Anaheim park it was trying to emulate, but at the same time had plenty of portable flats that carried no such charm or theme. And if we think about it, the park carries that same vibe to this day and I think it's one of the things that makes it fun and unique.

So I guess it stands to reason that Europe would be a place to start looking for rides from Cedar Fair past. I just hope they find what they're looking for and choose wisely.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 8:32 AM

Speaking of Scramblers, I was at Waldameer on Sunday, andI couldn't believe theirs. It was a super long ride cycle, and it was fast.

I wanted to try their Musik Express, but it looked like it might be a little too insane for me.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 8:51 AM

Lisa P. would be disappointed.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015 1:42 PM

Nobody wins a giant ass panda!

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Friday, August 14, 2015 9:18 AM

It is a shame that CF didn't care about classic rides 20 years ago. Dorney had some great classics that CF just trashed.

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Friday, August 14, 2015 9:49 AM

What do you mean? Dorney receives all the 'classics' now! ;)

But in all seriousness, if there is any park that I can think of that was completely sterilized of the old school 'charm,' Dorney Park is it! Looking at the photos from the early 90's until now, it's amazing how much that park was transformed into a mini-Cedar Point. Granted, my first visit wasn't until 2002, so I didn't get to see it firsthand.

~Rob

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Friday, August 14, 2015 2:40 PM

Oh, I did and you're absolutely right. My first visit to Dorney included Coaster, painted yellow with its great dive out from and under the station platform, Mill Chute, Circle Swing, Flying Dutchman, Cuddle Up, walk throughs, dark rides, one of the best Dodgems I've ever ridden, and Alfundo the Clown guarding the entrance. I thought I'd died and gone to traditional park heaven.

Later visits revealed most of the antiques removed and the park so Cedar Point-ized that it made me sad. Not that I don't love Cedar Point, 'cause I do, but I didnt understand the corporate decision to transform Dorney into a miniature version. I get modern rides and why they're necessary, and Dorney has added a couple of decent coasters, but it's nowhere near the same. I think the Whip is about the only thing they have left from back in the day.

So, oddly, if anyone can use a few more hand me downs it's Dorney.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 11:02 AM

I also hope that history repeats. In the 1960's, Palisades Park owner Mickey Hughes was always scouring Europe for the next awesome flat ride to import to the USA. He Started that trend that continues today. He is the main reason that the Calypso, Music Express and Matterhorn rides, as well as dark rides started to appear in the US. His park showcased them. I would not be surprised if Roose and Legros made plenty of trips to Palisades.

So if Cedar Fair is looking for classic flats around Europe, I hope they find some new, exciting machines to bring over here as well.

Any company that can put together a high capacity, exciting, reliable flat with 30-40 riders per cycle would be a good fit in any of the Cedar Fair Parks. That's the key: the higher capacity. (Windseeker: 64, MaXair: 50, SkyHawk: 40, Enterprise: up to 40, PipeScream: 32) (though I wish they had custom-ordered 10-tub models of the Flying Scooters)

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 1:43 PM

I forgot about Palisades, and you're right. I wondered for a while if maybe some of Cedar Point's flats didn't come from there, but in examining photos of the park I think not. Their Calypso had a music theme and was named Hootenanny. (now, there's a term from the 60's if there ever was one.) But Palisades did indeed have the big spectacular European rides, and that would have been a fun place to visit, and I can imagine Roosevelt and Legros checked it out. (it's what park owners did back then, ya know, before the Internet...)

I think Boblo had some cast offs, even before they closed, that might've wound up at Cedar Point, particularly Zugspitze. (They either had that or a Lovers Lake) I've also wondered about the origin of CP's Wild Mouse and Scamper. Boblo had a Schiff mouse, like CP's and so did Conneaut. Scamper is a Mack version and I don't know where it came from, but I remember LeSourdesville having one. I'll have to try and do some research, but as I recall RCDB's info on those is sketchy.

I know Broadway Trip was at Seattle World's Fair and they had a Calypso, too. Limited runs like that were prime picking for amusement parks to shop, but I'm not sure the dates line up. I think Conklin traveled eastern US and Canada with Broadway Trip before it came to CP then it went to the Jersey Shore.

Sorry if this jabber is boring to some, but I (obviously) think its fascinating and portable flats is one of my compulsions.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 2:07 PM

Conklin operated several concessions at parks in the Eastern US back in the 1960's. He had a Bayern Kurve at Kennywood, and later a Eyerly Monster, and others as I recall. It was easy to tell because the ops on those rides wore Conklin Shows shirts. Very often when the contract expired he wound up selling the piece to the park.

Yes, Mickey Hughes did a real land office business with the spectaculars back in the day. It would be relatively safe to say that at least a third of the German imports during that era came through his hands. I still have some catalogs and flyers from him in my archives. He was the primary if not exclusive source for Schwarzkopf rides back then.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 4:41 PM

Awesome info, I'd love to see that stuff. Now I recall some of the Schwarzkopf rides that were at Palisades, including the Sprung Schanze which continued to tour through the 70's.

Patty Conklin provided the Gay Way midway for Seattle against everyone's advice. Worlds Fair rides were notorious for making little money, but he went ahead. And he probably reckoned afterwards he could sell em or have a great arsenal of rides for his own show and I think both of those scenarios came to pass. To this day that midway is regarded as one of the finest that ever was. A beautifully restored early replica (1965) of the Seattle Wheel still runs as part of Drew Expositions show.

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Saturday, August 15, 2015 7:10 PM

Have you seen this site before MAC? http://schwarzkopf-coaster.net/

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 12:47 AM

Yes I have! One of my favorites and thanks for re-calling it to my attention.
The architecture on some of those rides and backdrops was phenomenal.

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Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:12 AM

RCMAC said:

arsenal of rides

Killing people's expectations with his rides, just blowing up their minds; the rides are amazing, a great arsenal. The soviets couldn't do better with that arsenal! (I'm sorry, I just hate that word when it's used casually and I'm making fun of you for it)

Last edited by bjames, Sunday, August 16, 2015 1:14 AM
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Sunday, August 16, 2015 9:08 AM

Thank you for making that clear. I never would have known you were making fun of me, as I have no sense of humor and comedy just isn't my thing. And who knew you could be such a riot?!
But... doubting myself, (just briefly, mind you,) and in an attempt to clear up my good name around here, I did a quick google search and came up with this.

Full Definition of ARSENAL

1
a :  an establishment for the manufacture or storage of arms and military equipment
b :  a collection of weapons
2
:  store, repertoire <the team's arsenal of veteran players>

See item 2^

The use of arsenal as a noun to describe an "array of resources available for a certain purpose" is not merely casual, it is absolutely correct. I think my use of arsenal to describe a midway with a powerhouse collection of rides is pretty appropriate.
It originates from the obsolete Italian word "arzanale" used to denote a dock or an area for ship building, which is derived from a 16th century Arabic word meaning make or fabricate.

Try not to hate words. Words are our friends.

Last edited by RCMAC, Sunday, August 16, 2015 12:26 PM
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Monday, August 17, 2015 11:59 AM

Yeah, "arsenal" is a word I use often, mostly when referring to things not related to weaponry.

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Monday, August 17, 2015 1:52 PM

I have an arsenal of words I'd like to use on bjames, but my post would probably get deleted.

Show some class, dude.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015 1:46 AM

I think we all need to stay classy in difficult situation such as this one. It is a very controversial subject that needs to be handled with great sensitivity.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015 3:43 AM

Aw, I dunno, Travis. It's just a trip to Europe to look for some rides....

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015 10:18 AM

I forgot the winkie face.

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