DreamWorld on the Gold Coast (Australia)

Associated parks:
None

Tuesday, December 31, 2002 7:35 AM

Date: December 3rd 2002
Weather: Lovely, sunny and warm: 95+

DreamWorld really surprised me. I don't know what I was really expecting, but I got something way nicer than I would have thought. When I called the park in the morning, I was told to expect 'moderate' crowds .. but it was pretty quiet. The two multi-train coasters were only running single trains (and Thunderbolt was only a one train wait anyway..). The crowd itself was good .. a lot of kids who seemed to have a half day of school (young teenagers), and there was not a single mini-basketball to be found!

First, a tiny bit of background .. I returned to Australia on November 30th for a two week vacation. On December 1st, my brother and I flew up to Byron Bay to meet my parents (who had both already been there almost two weeks). Byron is, without doubt, one of the nicest places on the planet .. Endless beaches, loads of parks and national forests, and almost no buildings (what little they have there is not higher than three or four floors). Byron is in northern N.S.W (just south of the (horrendous) Gold Coast), so my brother and I took a trip up to DreamWorld on Tuesday December 3rd.

While I wouldn't exactly call DreamWorld a 'theme park' as such .. it most certainly had different feeling areas. There was a 'western' area, a 'scenic' area, and a 'Cedar Fair' area. Obviously these are my own names ;-).

Interesting thing about this place was the fact that while some rides really didn't fit into their area ('Tower Of Terror' sits in the scenic section), the rides themselves were so well themed. The queue for Tower Of Terror was great, and the one for Cyclone was amazing. I will describe them in more detail further down.

The 'Western' area was your standard Old West location: wood buildings, brown paths, etc. This place contained a few 'Ye Olde Tyme' stores, too. Of the rides, we had a rapids ride, and a mine train. The rapids ride was pretty fun .. I'm not normally a huge fan of these (don't like spending the rest of the day with wet undies), but my brother wanted to ride .. and since it was so hot, I figured it'd be ok. Well, this was not the wettest rapids ride in existence. It was fun, had some fast moments, and excellent scenery, but the 'wet undies' quotient was quite low. Heck, even the 'wet socks' quotient was low! My brother and I enjoyed it.

Next came the Mine Train:
http://www.rcdb.com/installationdetail1129.htm
Sadly, my pictures to not reveal any more of this ride than the RCDB ones do.

I don't know who built this thing, but it was a riot! Basically it is a mostly enclosed mad-mouse .. standard mouse layout, but with little mine-cars running on steel tracks. I felt no brakes throughout the ride, and the turns/drops were suitably wild. The theming throughout the ride was great (from queue to exit). The guys from Indiana Beach should take a little look at this, and try and model Superstition Mountain in a similar way.

The 'Cedar Fair' section was next .. and I gave it this name because it could be right out of Cedar Point (front midway), or Knotts (area around Boomerang/Plunge). There was a lot of concrete and many rides and shops. Even though there were only a few trees here, several nice gardens were scattered about (so it didn't look like a concrete wasteland). There was also a large covered outdoor eating area. This area contained 'Wipeout', an Orbit, games-room, Thunderbolt, Cyclone, and several shops.

Wipeout was pretty impressive .. I'd never seen one of these 'in the flesh' before, and was amazed to watch it run. I didn't ride it .. we were a little pressed for time, and I'm not the biggest flat ride fan. It was well themed, with giant surf-boards, and water, etc.
http://www.buzzneon.com/australia/december_2002/dreamworld/misc/wipeout_01.jpg

Cyclone was pretty fun. This ride was relocated from the (quite sad) Luna Park in Sydney:
http://www.buzzneon.com/coasters/luna_park_sydney/luna_park_07.jpg.html
The new location is just as difficult to photograph!
http://www.buzzneon.com/australia/december_2002/dreamworld/cyclone/

The ride itself is pretty fun .. it's an Arrow, but quite smooth and zippy. The stats are not terribly impressive, but the layout is interesting and quite original. The first half of the ride consists of fast, banked turns; and the two inversions sit near the end of the course. They were only running a single train (with a 15 minute wait), but I couldn't even see a transfer track, or holding shed. The queue theming on this was terrific .. The queue spirals up the inside of a turbine building .. complete with the massive spinning turbine in the center. All the air-vents point the same way, so you can almost feel the air 'cycloning' around in there. The queue is covered, and the air-vents contain water misters. The walls of the queue show turbine 'parts' (one part was an old disassembled hard drive!). It's very creative, and very nicely done.

My only grip is the fact that the train takes SO long to return to the station! The final brakes stop it .. then let it roll slowly forwards about 2 inches, then stop it again. Repeat for about 5 minutes!

Thunderbolt was next, and what a mistake that was! A sign in the queue states "Some riders may consider this to be a rough ride" .. well, they were not wrong! I normally don't mind getting tossed around a bit (ie: I LIKED Shockwave at Six Flags Great America!) .. but this was awful. The layout was pretty great .. Very Schwartzkopfian .. but it felt (and sounded) like the wheel bearings were square (or gone). This wasn't rough in an Arrow kind of way .. it was rough in an unbalanced washing-machine way. The vibration (and noise) was horrible. I wonder if I caught it just before a major rehab .. or if it's just that old and tired. Who knows..
http://www.buzzneon.com/australia/december_2002/dreamworld/thunderbolt/

One interesting thing to note is that the fences for the queue were only chest height .. none of this 8-foot barbed wire 'fortress of solitude' surrounding the ride!

And, saving the best for last .. Tower Of Terror. This is pretty much a clone of Superman The Escape at Magic Mountain (I have heard that this was actually first to run successfully .. can anyone confirm or deny it?).
http://www.buzzneon.com/australia/december_2002/dreamworld/tower_of_terror/

I had never ridden one of these before, and it was my main reason for wanting to go to the park. What fun! I almost required a change of undies while waiting for the launch the first time .. but man, what a great ride. It was completely different to what I was expecting .. not scary at all, you don't feel high .. you don't even feel like you're falling. And the launch! MMmmm .. It just Keeps. On. Accelerating! Feeling the speed increase, while the tower looms overhead .. it's great! I tried to get my brother to ride .. but alas, he decided against it. I never waited more than about 20 minutes for this .. and rode it many times. (Several times in the front).

The queue for this was also impressive .. All dark and gloomy like the inside of a submarine, or the basement of a building. We were continuously broken down into smaller and smaller groups of people, until just fifteen remained. The sound of the ride (and the screams) became louder as the line moved forwards .. but it was impossible to see any of it! (Until the final set of doors opens, and the empty car is sitting there looking all innocent and friendly). It was very well done, and very intimidating. Two curious aspects of the queue: a section with clear flooring and 'infinity lights' below. It makes it look like you're VERY high over nothing! There was also a section where the floor is on springs, and it bounces and shakes as you walk over it (Cyclone had this too). It all adds so well to the intimidation factor since it's dark .. you're already nervous .. and then suddenly the floor is moving!

A Giant Drop is bolted to the tower of Tower Of Terror. This is an Intamin drop ride, but it looked nothing like the ones I've seen (and, stupidly, I got no good photos..). The motors are at the base of the tower, and are quite loud as they pull the cars up. The cars themselves look very much like a 'shop-class' project, or construction site elevator .. it's pretty apparent that this Giant Drop has been custom built for DreamWorld.

DreamWorld is also the location for the Australian version of Big Brother. So we got to walk through the house (and backstage areas). Fun!

Overall it was a very fun day .. Even though it was hot, it didn't feel all that bad (the TOT line was air conditioned .. everything else had shade and fans and/or misters). I hope that the park builds a Ravenesque wooden coaster through the trees .. The only wooden coaster in this entire country is the 1912-built, side-friction, Scenic Railway at Luna Park here in Melbourne (which I'll be on as soon as I get this done!).

Here is a link to all of the DreamWorld pictures:
http://www.buzzneon.com/australia/december_2002/dreamworld/

Cam.


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Cameron Silver

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Tuesday, December 31, 2002 8:25 AM
Nice TR. You're right about Tower of Terror succesfully being the first coaster to travel at 100 mph. Dreamworld beat Magic Mountain to it.

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Never Has Gravity Been So Uplifting.

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Friday, January 3, 2003 9:14 AM
A quick question, do they launch the cars at full power or just not so much like with Superman: The Escape at SFMM?
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Friday, January 3, 2003 8:49 PM

Great job mate! You've described my other homepark very well. Only thing is I was expecting you to compare T.o.T to other launched coasters you've been on.

olov, they're pretty much the same. Although last rode S:TE 3 years ago but may ride it in a weeks time & if so will be more definite.

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Saturday, January 4, 2003 2:18 PM
One Question. On ToT, do you get close to the top, since on S:TE you don't get anywhere near it since they used so much extra track, but I know dreamworld didn't use as much? Thanks. One more. How high up do the drop towers on the sides go.

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Monday, January 6, 2003 7:48 AM

The drop ride goes pretty much to the top of the tower:
http://www.buzzneon.com/coasters/dreamworld/tower_of_terror/giant_drop_03.jpg.html

The dreamworld.com.au website claims the giant drop falls 120 meters, which is about 393 feet.

The coaster car goes 'most' of the way up, maybe about one car-length higher than in this picture:
http://www.buzzneon.com/coasters/dreamworld/tower_of_terror/zero_g_02.jpg.html

The dreamworld.com.au website claims that Tower Of Terror "reaches speeds of up to 160 kph and stretches an incredible 38 storeys straight into the air" .. We never actually hit 160KPH .. twice we got to 159, and the other times "only" 158. There is a display in the exit which shows your speed. (160KPH is about 100MPH).

Taipan, you now need to come to Chicago and try out my home park ;). The only other launched coasters I have been on are Hulk, Vertical Velocity, Rock & Rollin', and Montezooma's .. I think I liked the launch on Tower Of Terror the best .. simply because it lasts so long, and you end up travelling so fast.

Olov, I have never ridden Superman:The Escape, so I am unable to compare the two rides. Sorry!

Cam.

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Cameron Silver

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Monday, January 6, 2003 8:15 AM
Cyclone still has only one train still, right?
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Monday, January 6, 2003 5:54 PM

Yes John .. Cyclone only had one train when I was there.

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Cameron Silver

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Thursday, July 10, 2003 1:56 AM
Ok, I live in Australia and I would like to inform you guys on these things:

1. Thunderbolt is by some Japanese people and was designed to be exactly like the roughness of a wooden coaster. As you can see, the ride does show that.

2. The Giant Drop is the highest and tallest free fall drop ride in the world and broke 3 records when it opened.

3. Tower of Terror WAS the first rollercoaster to break the height and speed barrier (of I don't know which). It DID open before Superman: The Escape at SFMM and does the same as that. Tower Of Terror isn't taller than S: TE due to S: TE has more extended track. I think the difference is over 50ft - 75ft. Although it did go over 160kph in the days it opened (1997), it still goes at its Max speed of 159kph +. But you got to hand it to Dreamworld, this ride is a MUST ride whenever your at Dreamworld or SFMM. The weightlessness is just crazy!! I like to put my lap bar really high up so I float. ';..;'

4. Yes, the WipeOut is one of the best themed top spins in the world. It surrounded by a giant crashing wave, sand, water, palm trees, ocean, sea-life (a shark), shipwreck, beach huts and giant surfboards. The sounds might not sound quite right when operating but this ride is also a MUST ride whenever your visiting Dreamworld. The WipeOut is only three of its kind in the world. That doesn't include the normal parallel top spins. (Eg. Ripsaw @ Alton Towers). Another clone of WipeOut is at Adventure World in Western Australia. It is called 'The Rampage'.

5. Thunderbolt, Cyclone and WipeOut are part of the 'Ocean Parade' land at Dreamworld. Although Cyclone and Thunderbolt don't really fit well into this category, they didn't really have much choice in where to put and name it.

6. You said if Dreamworld could have a wooden coaster as their next attraction due to Australia has none. You are wrong. Wonderland Sydney in well.. Sydney.. has two wooden coasters. Wonderland used to be owned by Paramount and features one of the many cloned rides which is 'The Beastie'. A clone of The Beastie is 'Scooby Doo Ghoster Coaster'. Although The Beastie does not run in these days, the park is finding a way of renewing the entrance due to the land it was in was taken away because the dumb unfit guests said that the park is too big and they can't be bothered to walk 1km+ to the other end (To where the next woody is). The next woody is a giant of a kind. It is called 'The Bush Beast' and is situated in a nice lucious country side land called 'Gold Rush'. The Bush Beast and Beastie were added when Paramount was owning the park. The Bush Beast owns the same logo as 'The Beast' at another Paramount Park and you don't know how they got the name 'The Beastie'? Although they added 'Bush' to 'The Beast' the logo still is the same as it was over 10 years ago. The Bush Beast is the largest and tallest wooden coaster in the Southern Hemisphere and is one of the roughest! But overall, this is a great ride and this ride normally gets guests at the end of the day saying that The Bush Beast was one of their favourite rides of the day.

I hope that solved some of your problems? Ask me more if you wish and visit the Australian theme park websites for more detail!

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