Santa Cruz Giant Dipper - 5/25/24

Rick_UK's avatar

With the original plan for our trip, we were going to be in San Jose for the Giant Dipper's centenary, so it seemed a no brainer to head down there. However - we changed up the order of our trip and ended up in the area a week later, so we did it then - I didn't account for the Memorial Day traffic, which was slow into town but parking was easy on the wharf.

My good lady isn't a big coaster fan and I had already subjected her to two long days at Disney (TR to follow) - but she agreed to take a lap.

It's a great coaster, incredibly well looked after and it was running great. It was running both trains (although only filling 4 cars). I think it's a good example of where a heritage ride has been modernised in quite a sympathetic way, with a PLC and skid brakes etc.

I was curious (see photos) that the horizontally layered track is built on a vertically layered structure. I haven't worked on many wood coasters, but I don't recall seeing that. My bad if that's common - maybe the angle you can normally see the rides from doesn't normally afford that view.

The park itself was bustling with (I think) almost all the rides open. We opted for the $8 Giant Dipper ride and then headed off for some lunch. You could ride all day for ~$70 or so.

The town was busy - a nice little detour.

Last edited by Rick_UK,

I first rode that coaster in 1999 when it was its 75th anniversary and I thought it was old!!! Last time I rode it was in 2002! I will eventually get to it again some day and ride it. The Giant Dipper is such a beautiful and wonderful seaside woodie and I love Santa Cruz :)

Tommytheduck's avatar

I love this ride so much more than the one in San Diego. The tunnel winding around crazily and not just a loop like so many others is a great start and it rides smooth. At least it did on our last visit, maybe 7-8 years ago.

I hope you got a few laps in on the carousel as well. It's one of only a few left where you can grab the rings. On our last visit I mentioned above, the carousel stayed open after the coaster closed and our son and I spent at least an hour marathoning it.

Rick_UK's avatar

We didn't do the carousel ... watched it for a short time, but time was marching on. If we had stuck around at Santa Cruz, the trip to CGA wouldn't have happened, happy with my choice I think.

Nothing to see here. Move along.

Carousel Rabbit's avatar

I visited the Boardwalk for the first time last year, spending two whole days there, and it had been a very long ambition of mine specifically because of the carousel! I probably rode it more than any other ride there including the Giant Dipper (which was also wonderful). It runs at a reasonable speed and there is a social vibe to the ring game; when someone successfully made a throw into the clown's mouth (which is hard) everyone on the ride as well as the onlookers would all whoop and cheer.

The horses are in marvelous condition and the band organ sounded great and well tuned. It actually has its own room that is miked, and speakers carry the sound into the carousel building, so they can control the volume. (Band organs are often so loud that patrons complain if the sound isn't throttled, so various methods have been used to dampen them – this is the most elaborate I've seen.) The organ has a glass window onto the midway so all can admire it. I'm not sure I've seen a more marvelous carousel setup.

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