Giant Dipper

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 8:55 PM
I have never seen much written about the Giant Dipper at Belmont Park in San Diego. I am going to be in Palm Springs on vacation for a week in April and I am considering driving the two hours to San Diego one day to ride the Giant Dipper. Is it worth the drive? Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Tuesday, March 8, 2005 8:59 PM
The ride itself is pretty good. If you haven't been to Santa Cruz and tried their version, I'd say that it is worth a visit. The location is beautiful and the ride is a classic.

One thing to note is that the Giant Dipper is really the only ride there worth doing. Mostly kiddie stuff besides the Dipper.

I'd say that it is worth it, but know that its just the Giant Dipper there!

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 9:20 PM
Hopefully it doesn't rain during your visit here in the desert! It has seemed to rain as much as the Bay Area this year (and everything is so green as a result.)

Just so you know, there is an easy way to get to San Diego from the Cochella Valley, just take the 74 up over the mountains instead of the 10 around the mountain. As long as the weather is good you should be fine. This would probably cut almost an hour out of your drive time to San Diego. On the 10 it would probably take more than two hours, and you could hit traffic.

I live right here in Indian Wells (very close to PS), so if you want anymore local information, feel free to contact me. If you are flying into Ontario airport, and are a credit whore, you could hit Scandia (2 credits) and Pharaohs (2 credits.) If you go to San Diego on the 10 as opposed to the 74, you could hit these coasters that way. I live in Indian Wells (very close to PS), so if you want anymore local information, feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 9:30 PM
I thought Pacific Beach was a fun area, sure, the water was chilly, but I could have spent an entire day on the pretty beaches, plus, going up and down the beach on skates or a bike is fun, exploring all of the shops and such.

As for the coaster, it is pretty good, worth a 4 hour round trip alone, but you can enjoy other things at the same time, plus, Sea World is probably only 5-10 minutes away, I can't remember exactly, but it has a neat looking water coaster... good luck :)

Tuesday, March 8, 2005 9:31 PM
The GD is worth the drive from the stand point of being the sole surviving Prior & Church designed and built coaster (Santa Cruz was designed by P & C, built by Arthur Looff). I was down there a couple weeks ago talking to the manager, and they were laying some new wood into the track. They should be running daily during spring break. Has been hit and miss lately with the weather. I'd call first befoe hitting the road. Now if we can just convince them to replace the Morgan trains with Millineum Flyers......................
Tuesday, March 8, 2005 9:34 PM
I liked the Giant Dipper, especially the musical anti-rollbacks going up the lifthill A one of a kind sound!:) I wouldn't really call it a super wild wooden coaster like Ghostrider, Boulder Dash, Thunderhead or The Phoenix but the Giant Dipper is a fun ride, somthing you can ride and ride again and not worry about getting bruises or tossed all over the place. I actually don't mind the Morgan trains on it either!

Just don't expect a mega air machine with tons of laterals. It's still one of my favorites. Not to mention it's a rare Prior and Church from the 1920's boardwalk parks.

Be sure to check out the small gift shop near the carousel. It has a cool model of the Giant Dipper! At least it did when I was there in 2001.

*** Edited 3/9/2005 3:16:26 AM UTC by coasterpunk***

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 8:19 AM
Don't forget about the great loooong tunnel to the lift. From a historical standpoint, the Giant Dipper is worth a visit. It's a pretty ride with beautiful flowing lines. The Santa Cruz Dipper has much better pacing and I do not care much for the fiberglass Morgan trains on either. Just don't get your hopes too high. It's a fun ride, but not the thriller like we have seen built in years past.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005 8:55 AM
Yes, it's worth it. The dipper may not be rich in airtime, but it's certainly not a family coaster either. In fact, it's a violent little twister, but mostly due to the trains. If only we could get a Millennium Flyer train on that thing.

I laughed out loud when I read the above comment about the dipper being a coaster you can ride and ride again without getting beat up. Has the ride been severely improved since my visit in circa `93 for the ACE Con? Man, it certainly did not fit that description then, but still a great ride.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 9:32 AM

coasterpunk said:

Be sure to check out the small gift shop near the carousel. It has a cool model of the Giant Dipper! At least it did when I was there in 2001.

It was still there last summer. I think it was built when it was doubtful that the Giant Dipper would be restored and returned to operation.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 9:45 AM
I rode it two years ago and it was rough enough that I had to take a break every few rides to catch my breath. Still, I think it's worth the drive if for nothing more than a historical treasure, and a beautiful view.

As stated before, visit the little gift shop and check out the beautiful model of the coaster. The person that was working the shop when I was there was very knowledgable about the ride and shared a lot of facts with me about it.

Also, if you are a credit whore, Sea World is right down the road from there and they got JTA. Is it a coaster or is it a water ride? ;)

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 10:58 AM
Not every coaster has to be an airtime machine. Dipper is a fine coaster with a great first drop and nice pops of air. Sure it was better with the original P&C trains but its fine with the Morgans.

As one of two [?] remaining Traver coasters in operation how could anyone enthusiast pass it up?

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 11:29 AM
That little gift shop is more of a museum with old photos, memorabilia from the restoration effort and I think an old car, so its definately a nice little thing to see while you are there.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005 11:34 AM
Personally, I wouldn't drive two hours from it, but I did find time to ride it when I was in San Diego, and I don't regret it.

Seeing it, IMO, was a better experience than riding it. It's so nice to see a roller coaster that's not in the pavemented corporate setting of a theme park.

Anyway, I spent a total of about 10 minutes at Belmont Park... just enough time to buy one ticket, ride once, and leave.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 2:19 PM
Last June I found the coaster to be running a little rough but because of the piles of new wood underneath the structure, I'm guessing that it was about to receive some much-needed work. The Morgans suck (no surprise there) but the layout is great and its historically significant for countless reasons. Definitely worth the drive, especially if its running good.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005 6:16 PM
On a nice Sumemr day the Belmont Giant Dipper really warms up and can prove to be an incredible ride with plenty of airtime pops. A bit shakey toward the back, but not awuful. On colder days, it has less of an impact, but still is definately worth riding. Do make the drive, unless it's absolutely pouring rain.

Journey to Atlantis at Sea World is the only other thing in the area, and unless you plan on doing all of Sea World, I don't really think it's worth the admission price alone.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 6:20 PM
Sumemr is my favorite season ;)
Wednesday, March 9, 2005 8:01 PM
Mine too, It's right after Sprnig and before Flal.
Wednesday, March 9, 2005 10:05 PM
Hey guys-Thanks for all the information. Weather permitting, I will definitly make the trip. Look for a trip report by the end of April.
Thursday, March 10, 2005 9:30 AM
Winetr sucks.

(just jumping on the dislexic bandwagon)


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