Waldameer's Whacky Shack celebrates 40 years

Posted Monday, May 24, 2010 11:58 AM | Contributed by Ghostly Manor

Hundreds of families, decades of fun, and Erie landmark is celebrating forty years at Waldameer. The Whacky Shack made its Erie debut in 1970, today dozens of ride enthusiasts flocked to the park from as far away as the United Kingdom.

Read more and see the video from WJET/Erie.

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Monday, May 24, 2010 1:10 PM
RPM's avatar

The wife and I are going to Waldameer for the first time, next month on our way to Naigara falls. I didn't know about this ride. My main reason for going is to ride Ravine Flyer, but now I've got another must ride attraction. I think these quirky dark rides are a whole lot of fun.

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Monday, May 24, 2010 1:38 PM

"Hello Earthlings! I have some instructions you must obey before coming into my house. Please keep your arms and legs inside your car, and remain seated throughout the ride with both feet flat on the floor. Never throw things at me, or I'll see that you lose your wristband. Maybe with your arms still attached! I'll be watching to see that you behave yourself! Muhahahaha!"

What a true gem! Whacky Shack and Pirates Cove both have the highest laugh factor at Waldameer. From screaming for no good reason, and enduring minor injuries from seeing how fast you can sprint through the cove (54 sec for me!), Bill Tracy has left a mark on Waldameer that no one can surpass!

Fun Fact: The famous "smell" is of ozone generated by the electric track.

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Monday, May 24, 2010 1:53 PM
birdhombre's avatar

Don't forget arguing about whether the little gravity-driven dip out front on Whacky Shack counts as a coaster credit. :) I always wondered why he called us "Earthlings" though. Is the shack wacky because it's from outer space?

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Monday, May 24, 2010 2:49 PM
Jason Hammond's avatar

54 seconds in Pirates Cove? That's insane.

I don't count Wacky Shack, But I do count Devils Den at Conneaut and the dark ride at Camden. It's a chain lift and gravity the rest of the way. My criteria are as such that the ride needs to either look like a traditional coaster or act like a traditional coaster. By act like a coaster I mean, have an initial input of energy and than have gravity doing the rest of the work.

Powered kiddies don't act like traditional coasters, but certainly look like coasters. Things like Devils Den don't look like coasters but act like coasters. Disco Coasters do not look or act like a coaster. Wacky shack does not look or act like a coaster. I do not count these types of rides.


843 Coasters, 34 States, 7 Countries
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Monday, May 24, 2010 3:53 PM

The keys to a Cove Sprint are: slow day/no one in front of you, sliding/diving under the bars when possible, and not worrying about faceplants and checks into the walls. It hurts pretty bad. Made an attempt last week, but our group lost some of its agility.

Ah the Whacky Shack drop! Anyone ride when it was significantly deeper? According to Waldameer, it got the Rattler treatment because cars got struck and it was a neck cracker. As for coaster credits, I say no. However, when Comet was the only other choice, I found this drop as well as the quick turn towards the end "coasteresque."

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Monday, May 24, 2010 7:24 PM
mlnem4s's avatar

Waldameer is an absolutely wonderful small park and I hope more people make an effort to visit!! It is an incredibly easy drive from Northeast Ohio and makes for a perfect day trip. I went of course to ride Ravine Flyer 2 but was pleasantly surprised by Steel Dragon and all the unique attractions of the park, especially the dark rides. I dare say the only thing they are lacking would be one more coaster, something steel along the lines of Magnum XL 200 or Bizarro which would round out the park perfectly.

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Monday, May 24, 2010 9:35 PM
rsscbell's avatar

The shack ran the full dip till around '82. Cars would not make it up and jerk to a stop. The attendant would have to push assist quit a few cars through out the evening. The stunt was to resemble a broken staircase.


ROLLER COASTER RD rose twp. jeff co. T843
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Monday, May 24, 2010 11:15 PM

What a nice story about one of my favorite rides. When I went to ride Ravine Flyer II I wound up spending a lot of time in the Whacky Shack, riding it over and over on a slow day. The operator was a hoot, had a lot of great stories about the ride, and seemed to recognize my appreciation for what it is. A bonus was finding printed copies of Bill Tracy's original design rendering for the Shack (suitable for framing!) for sale in the gift shop near the ride. Some of the intended decorative features have either been lost over the years, or perhaps never came to be, but the rendering shows a slightly more elaborate facade. (if thats possible!)

I've always been curious about the reprofiled dip, so thanks, rsscbell, for the info. You can clearly see the outline of the original dip, and it looks as though it was more like the ones we find at Camden and Conneaut.

I always went with the educated guess that the ride ran originally with traditional Pretzel cars, and the current fiberglass "hushpuppy" cars were replacements somewhere along the line, perhaps necessitating the reprofile. On this and other rides where they appear, they always seem a little heavier, slower, and less "free-wheeling", if you will, than the cars of yesteryear. So it kind of makes sense if they were valleying. Does anyone happen to know?

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Monday, May 24, 2010 11:43 PM

Never mind. After further checking, I found this http://www.laffinthedark.com/articles/waldameer/whackyshack.htm article over at Laff in the Dark that states that Waldameer's 1970 ride was one of Tracy's original designs that used the hushpuppy track system and cars. I guess that means that the dip caused trouble for 12 or so years!

Then in this http://www.laffinthedark.com/articles/tracy/tracy6.htm article about Bill Tracy, you can find the original drawing for the layout of Waldameer's Whacky Shack.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 11:24 AM
crazy horse's avatar

I was there on sunday, and got a few rides on the shack.


what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard.
Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010 1:37 PM
rsscbell's avatar

The cars would not valley in the manner of a coaster and roll back. They would just jerk to a stop and buzz. Perhaps the brushes needed rehabed in the motors. That would be my uneducated guess. When built the shack's neighbors were the scrambler ( now home to the tilt-a-whirl) and Flyers similar to Knoebels.(Replaced by Spider in '78)


ROLLER COASTER RD rose twp. jeff co. T843
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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:01 AM
rollergator's avatar

Waldameeer totally rocks and was a great park before RF2 came to be. The Spider is one of the very best running anywhere. Adding the spinning coaster and RF2 (combined with GL's demise) has virtually guaranteed a bright future for the park - and I am very happy for the entire park family.

Having two Bill Tracy attractions certainly sets Waldameer apart....in a very good way! :)


You still have Zoidberg.... You ALL have Zoidberg! (V) (;,,;) (V)

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:11 PM
Raven-Phile's avatar

That spider is BRUTAL. It almost did me in last year when we took that ride right before our RF2 ride session. Of course, that whole day started off all wrong when Matt and I rode the Tempest at Conneaut.


R.I.P LeRoi Moore 9/7/61 - 8/19/2008
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