I got to talk with a park employee during the long walk from Midway America at park closing on Saturday night. I asked about the upcoming improvements to Carousel Circle. I was told that on Monday (Nov 1) dismantling of the Giant Wheel begins.
I asked what other changes are going to be made and the employee told me from what he had heard Carousel Cones is also slated to be removed, and a kiddie ride is supposed to be added. He didn't know if the ride was being located in that same spot, or if a lot of things were going to be moved around with the refurbishing of that whole area.
So, within 5 minutes of this post, the Giant Wheel at Hershey will be giving its final ride.
I know that it's unlikely, but I wonder if Hershey has considered moving the Giant Wheel to Dutch Wonderland? I think it would be a great fit there, if it were feasible. Unfortunately, I think it is being removed because of its age and availability of parts. Sad to see it go, but really looking forward to Turbulence when it opens in the spring! *** Edited 11/1/2004 4:10:16 AM UTC by Brother Dave***
As of 3:00 pm today, all of the cars had been removed from the G-Wheel as well as the arms from the East (or Crafts Barn) side. The ride was sold as scrap to Aycock Company, a steel rigging and dismantling outfit. They were the ones that set the steel for the Storm Runner. Tomorrow the West side arms should be gone.
After that, it's one piece at a time until all that's left is memories. The dismantling should be complete by the early next week. At that point, the only thing left to remember this gentle Giant will be a few of the cars which were saved by concerned individuals.
The giant wheel is a dying breed, I believe the company that makes it, or the parts for it stopped making the parts probably more than a decade ago, and all the parts were made on an as needed basis, which is extremely expensive.
its the same company that built the sky rides that have been removed from many parks.
This was the last ride of its kind in the US. Already removed were variations at Astroworld and Magic Mt, an exact duplicate at Kings Island and the triple wheels at Great Americas.
It is very sad to see it go. It was one of the most pleasant experiences that any park ride can produce. Long ride, minimal lines because of capacity, excellent view, spectacular presence.
It amazes me that parks prefer to operate the very inefficient traditional large ferris wheels instead of a ride like this. This ride does involve more expense with the hydraulics, but it is one of the most efficient loading ride designs possible.
I made it a point to get to Hersheypark before Sunday's hockey game at GIANT Center for one last ride on Giant Wheel (as well as 5 end of season rides on Comet...of course).
I noticed a few things that I had not paid attention to before.
- The ride time is incredibly long, and constant movement compared to a traditional ferriswheel.
- While you are high in the air, for what ever reason the view does not seem all that spectacular... I don't know why. I didn't remember those buckets being so "cramped" feeling.
- Best view of the Comet you can imagine... especially turn #2, Lift Hill, and dog legged return section.
- I didn'nt realize just how bad of shape the old Hersheypark Arena was in. Either the "old barn" was in worse condition than I had thought, or else they really let it go since the Bears moved to GIANT Center. Got a good view of the old Arena from Giant Wheel.
While I only rode the Giant Wheel twice in the last 5 or so years (I am not really fond of ferris wheels of any type... its a height thing), what I will miss is, as someone said, its simple presence there. It was "always" a land mark / icon of the park... one of the first symbols of the park's transformation from very "traditional" amusement park to a modern "amusement / theme park" back in the early 1970's. As a wee lad, I believe I had been to the park before its installation, but I don't have any real memory of that. To me, it has always been there.
It even made an appearance on the commemorative AHL All Star game pucks from 1996. (the Hersheypark Arena with the "skyline" of Hershey behind it, including Giant Wheel, Kissing tower and the twin stacks of Hershey Chocolate). *** Edited 11/2/2004 4:47:23 PM UTC by SLFAKE***
Since this has turned into a Giant Wheel love thread, I will add my two cents (which really isn't worth that much).
I too was very fond of this ride. As other have said, it was just a great concept..high capacity, long ride time and generally speaking, a better view than "traditional" ferris wheels.
But what I really loved about this ride was that it was a great way to relax after going from coaster to coaster all morning. You could quickly hop on the Giant Wheel mid-day (when all other lines were hours long) and relax up there and enjoy the view of everything...the Arena, the factory, the old high school, the town of Hershey, and especially of the park below. Until today, I never visited HP without a ride on the Giant Wheel. This ride was easily my favorite non-coaster ride at HP and likely will be for years to come, but only in memory. RIP!
As of 2:30 p.m. today (Friday) all that's left standing is the tower. The beam was cut up and removed over the last two days. By the end of next week it will be entirely gone. Seeing as how it was cut into bite sized pieces, that should answer the questions as to what will happen to it. Perhaps one day you'll be driving a piece of it....
It wasn't ONLY good for smoking reefer, LOL....it also made for some *fantastic* picture opportunities...
Sorry to hear about its demise, but I'd imagine getting parts for it woulda been quite a pain.
Along the lines of *improvements*, Turbulence does seem an apt name for the new ride. 960pph sounds more like a theoretical max than *operational capacity*, time will tell...depends a LOT on the restraints...;)
Actually, the ride has been very little trouble over the last few years, and as far as parts, Hershey has a rather complete stock, including spare pumps, motors and cylinders. The decision was made to remove it, and that's how it is. In fact, no one can remember a maintenance call on shift to the old gal this year.
There is a website with pics of the dismantling, I have to find the address. I have a complete series of pics, but don't have the time or energy to put them up somewhere. I'll post the address when I find it.
There was a short on ABC27 news last month and they interviewed Kathy Burrows, the Public Relations person for HP. She said the main reason that they wanted to retire GW was because the co. (Intamin) could no longer supply the parts for the ride. I highly doubt that HP would just want to trash it and get rid of it for no reason. I think, from what I heard, that parts was the main isssue, not because they didn't care about the ride or it probably would still be there today. That's how I understand and heard about the situation.