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Notable Losses Since 2001

furie

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Notable Losses

Nothing lasts forever (except maybe Twinkies). Over the 100+ years of rollercoasters, thousands of coasters and hundreds of parks have gone forever. I'm going to take a look back at the last 20 years of closures. I've picked out the ones that I've found most interesting (or been most personally involved with) over the last two decades.

While this topic is a little melancholy, it's worth noting that in my research, park and ride closures actually seem to have been on a downward trend over the last decade or so. Although this could of course be because there are so few left to close ;) It's also not all bad news. Some removals (not many, but some) have made way for great new developments.

Along with each of the losses in this list, I've attached a couple of snippets of things linked that may be of interest. These rides and parks may be gone, but out there somewhere, is a wealth of fascinating information to research and new things to discover.

Feel free to post about any losses you think were more significant (or just more significant to you) in the topic. There are certainly some notable exceptions in this list...

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2001
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Photos: Left - schwarzkopf-coaster.net | Right - phantaweb.de

Gebirgsbahn - Phantasialand, Germany: Phantasialand has a long history of compelling, over-the-top theming. Their 1975 Schwarzkopf coaster, Gebirgsbahn (also known as Bob 1/Bobbahn 1) was no exception.

Harking back to the glory days of the Scenic Railways in the early 20th Century, Gebirgsbahn had an enormous facade surrounding the structure, giving the surrounding area a rocky mountain theme.

Sadly, fire broke out in the area in May 2001, destroying not just this, but also another coaster in the same area (Grand Canyon Bahn).

You may also be interested in:
  • Ride Review's POV of the ride
  • Taron - the theming around Taron shows the difference in skill for producing this kind of rockwork theming around a ride.
  • BMRX at Kobe Portopialand (before it was moved to Camelot as Knightmare). This is another Schwartzkopf steel coaster that was highly themed.

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2002
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Photos: Left - © Dr Neil Clifton (cc-by-sa/2.0) | Right - Joyland Books

Aerial Glide - Shipley Glen UK: Opened sometime (probably) in the decade between 1900 and 1910, the Aerial Glide was the oldest operating amusement ride in the UK. A mix of chair swings and suspended rollercoaster, it's one of the earliest known examples of a metal structure being used in this way. It also, arguably, holds the title for "first inverted coaster".

While the ride was closed in 2001 (due to increased maintenance costs and low footfall at the park), an emergency listing application was made in 2003 to stop the demolition of the ride. This was overturned, but the ride also remains the first ever to have an application for listed building status in the UK. The listing application is here.

I spent some time in the late 90's in Yorkshire and visited Shipley Glen. Unfortunately the park was closed during my visit. I saw a tantalising glimpse through some closed gates though.

The ride was finally demolished in 2004 and the park closed soon afterwards.

You may also be interested in:
  • Historically, the UK was covered in "Pleasure Gardens" and the like. There were many parks like Shipley Glen which sprang up all over the country in the late 1800's. They often contained menageries and had early rides and coasters like Switchbacks or railed bicycle rides. Some continued to build through to the 1970's park crash (such as Dreamland, Rhyl Ocean Beach, Battersea Park). Others, such as Matlock Bath (which also had a cave with bears in it - rescued by a fledgling Chester Zoo) vanished.
  • The Skytrack ride at Granada Studios in Manchester. Arguably the first ever "flying" coaster in the world. It lasted an impressive, single season.

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2003
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Photos: Left - Unknown | Right - Ultimate Roller Coaster

Flashback - Six Flags Magic Mountain, USA: Flashback was, thankfully, the world's first and only Intamin "space Diver" coaster. Originally called "Z-Force", it was passed around Six Flags parks like a rotten egg. The ride ended its days at Magic Mountain as Flashback from 1992.

The design seems to have been a brain fart by somebody looking at a child's "click-clack" toy, where a car or marble rolls down a series of slopes. Being through down a series of slopes in a marble, may have been slightly less painful.

However, the ride was a glorious statement in the history of amusement park bad ideas. For every bad idea like this, a good one stuck. You don't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs (or riders).

You may also be interested in:
  • psyclonesteve's POV of the ride
  • Screaming Squirrels. Proof that you can take a bad idea and make it worse.
  • Other rides fabricated or built by Giovanola, which include Shockwave at Drayton Manor and Anaconda at Gold Reef City

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2004
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Photos: Plan Projekt

Galaxie Express - Space Park, Germany: They say that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. Galaxie Express was the first "Virtual Reality" coaster, and nobody seemed to learn from its history. Opened in 2003, this Mack powered coaster had a drop-down VR screen that "engulfed" the rider. Imagine the VR equivalent of an Alien Face Hugger, only without the sweet, sweet release of death at the end - only nausea and loathing.

It lasted - along with the park - for a single season. While the ride being closed was a result of Space Park failing as a commercial venture, it's telling that the ride was never picked up by anyone else.

You may also be interested in:
  • Alpen Express at Europa Park. This ride was the first to use "modern" VR as a concept as part of a coaster.
  • Duel at Alton Towers, Tomb Blaster at Chessington, Spooky 3D at Oakwood and any other rides that have been "upgraded" with annoying features like guns or 3D glasses.

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2005
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Photos: Bisnow – Remembering AstroWorld

Six Flags Astroworld - USA: In 1968, a new and exciting park was opened in Houston, Texas. Astroworld was right in the middle of a busy area of the city. In 1975 though, the park was sold to emerging theme park conglomerate, Six Flags. During its life, the park would host the usual Six Flags staples (Batman, SLC, etc.), but there was one ride that stood out a something... Different.

In 1976, a copy of the Coney Island Cyclone was erected at Astroworld. There had been talk of the Coney Island Cyclone being demolished. An attempt was made to buy Coney's Cyclone, but it fell through due to the complexity of moving the ride. A copy was designed that was a mirror of the original, but also taller and faster. So not so much as a copy as an homage. In honour of the original ride, it was named the "Texas Cyclone".

Determined to close with the same run of oddities it performed while open, the reasons for Astroworld's final breath are also... Different.

Along with the standard reasons of poor attendance and increasing land value, it seems as much to do with car parking. The park had an agreement for visitors to use the nearby football stadium's car park. This agreement ended in 2005 and with nowhere to put customers the following year, this was the final nail in the coffin. The park was closed and demolished over the winter of 2005/2006.

The land still stands empty today (well, it's a car park), and every few years, the rumour mill likes to come around and suggest somebody is going to use it for a new park development - spoiler: they won't.

You may also be interested in:
  • Other rides designed by William Cobb. These include the "Cyclone" at Six Flags New England, which has since been given the RMC treatment.
  • The Coney Island Cyclone, which is still operating today, almost 100 years on.

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2006
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Photos: @furie’s personal postcard collection

Cyclone - Southport Pleasureland, UK: At the end of 2006, Southport Pleasureland closed its gates at the end of the season as always - ready for the upcoming 2007 season. It was a bit of a shock then, when bulldozers moved onto site and started to demolish rides and attractions.

A decision had been made to close the park (the usual poor attendance/high maintenance reasons), remove any rides of value (Traumatizer went on to become Infusion at Blackpool for example) and flatten the rest.

The Cyclone was designed by Charlie Paige and opened in 1937. It was an odd ride, with the world's slowest turnaround at the beach end. It also had a ridiculously crooked lift hill. It was almost, but not quite, totally rubbish.

There are, however, two reasons The Cyclone makes this list for me.

Firstly, the demolition team also had a bit of a shock, as two Southport residents climbed the structure of the Cyclone and sat in protest of the demolition. This caused the usual storm-in-a-teacup the British excel at, for the few days until they were removed.

Secondly, it mobilised a team to try and save The Cyclone (and a few other structures) by having them marked as listed buildings. This is similar to the (failed) listing at Shipley Glen (see 2002) and the (successful) listing of the Scenic Railway at Margate. I was involved in preparing information and research for the listing application.

The application failed and demolition continued over the winter months.

You may also be interested in:

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2007
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Photos: @davidm

Batman and Robin: The Chiller - Six Flags Great Adventure, USA: The road to hell is paved with good intentions, so the aphorism goes. The road to coaster hell is likewise paved with good intentions, more often than not by Premier.

In 1996, Premier had some success with LIM launched coasters. Not being a company to rest on their laurels, they sold an ambitious design idea to Six Flags Great Adventure. Not just a single LIM launched coaster, but two that would duel. Not only that, but each coaster would have a different layout. With a year’s LIM experience under their belt, they set to deliver it in 1997. While it did open briefly in 1997, it was closed due to technical issues for almost the enitre 1997 season.
By the time it actually fully opened in 1998, the ride was already plagued with problems. One side was usually down for some form of maintenance while they ran the other side. Riders complained of headbanging from the OTSR.

It was a beautiful idea, badly implemented. During the 2006 season, the ride was closed for extensive work. The zero-g rolls were removed, and the ride reopened in 2007. After another run of problems, the decision was made to close the ride permanently about halfway through the season.

In a final pique of bravado (after some years of track in storage), Six Flags sold the ride to Beto Correro World in Brazil, where it was eventually scrapped without being assembled.

You may also be interested in:
  • Phobia Phear Coaster at Lake Compounce – have Premier finally got their LIMs right?
  • Vertigo at Walibi Belgium, an even less successful new concept coaster.

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2008
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Photos: CoasterForce YouTube videos 1 & 2

Corkscrew - Alton Towers, UK: It would not be an exaggeration to say that 1980’s The Corkscrew at Alton Towers, was pivotal in producing the UK’s current Theme Park industry.

In a perfect embodiment of “right ride, in the right place, at the right time”, John Broome kickstarted a whole new amusement boom out of a decrepit and failing UK amusement park industry. Don’t get me wrong, Geoffrey Thompson also played his part over at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, but Broome saw something different.

The Corkscrew, headlining a newly revamped Alton Towers, promised to bring the idea of the America Theme Park to Great Britain. It was a massive hit, and this often cloned Vekoma beast set the scene for the next generation of rides and attractions in the UK.

It was never going to last forever though. The ride was never smooth and comfortable when new. After almost 30 years, it needed to be retired (though not in the good way with biscuits and slippers). In 2008, there was a farewell party in its honour. Thousands of riders came on a wet and windy October day to say their good bye’s/riddance’s.

The ride will never be forgotten, as the iconic double corkscrews still stand as a monument, over the entrance plaza to the park.

You may also be interested in:

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2009
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Photos: Left - Johnny Upsidedown | Right - Theme Park Insider

Freestyle Music Park/Hard Rock Park - USA: This is such a difficult park to write about. It’s hard to see, in terms of quality and content, where the park went wrong.

The original park had everything, like a sensible enthusiast and a keen music fan got together to produce the perfect park for both.

B&M Multi-looper blasting out Led Zeppelin while you ride? Yep, got that.

Psychedelic dark ride based on the seminal Moody Blues “Nights in White Satin” by the superb Sally Rides? Yep, got that.

Play areas that can play tunes? Aye-aye.

Review on the billboard by our very own “Brian from CoasterForce”? Hell yeah.

Freaky prototype Premier rides (them again) coaster? Okay, maybe we’re seeing some cracks.

Massive investment in a park in an untried area of the US as a recession hit? Okay, the writing was probably always on the wall.

The park was sold off after a single season and reopened as Freestyle Music Park for the 2009 season. Unfortunately, the new owners continued to be plagued with financial issues (they’d taken on debt for former employees for instance) as well as other lawsuits. It never opened its gates again and the rides were mostly sold off.

You may also be interested:

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2010
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Photos: @ECG

Great American Scream Machine (or GASM) - Six Flags Great Adventure, USA: 2010 was a good year for coaster enthusiasts, but a poor year for anyone writing about notable losses in the amusement park industry.

There were very few notable losses in 2010, so this 1989 Arrow Dynamics looper gets a mention almost by default.

Great American Scream Machine was notable for a being quite smooth for an 80’s Arrow looper, possibly making it even less remarkable than it otherwise could have been. I rode it in 2009 and it has left no lasting memory at all.

I’m beginning to wish I’d written about Beastie leaving Alton Towers now.

To be fair, Arrow dominated the 80’s with rides like this. While their ideas and technologies were being outstripped by the time GASM was built, their rides built the amusement industry we know today. To add insult to injury, the ride was replaced by a fairly mediocre, relocated B&M stand up coaster – B&M probably being the company that helped put Arrow out of business.

You may also be interested in:
  • Chang at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. The ride that was moved in to replace GASM. A world record breaker when it was built.
  • Beastie at Alton Towers. A Pinfari kiddie coaster.
  • Phantom’s Revenge to see what you should actually do with your old Arrow looper.

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2011
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Photos: @davidm

Déja Vu - Six Glags Magic Mountain, USA: Ahhhh… The Giant Inverted Boomerang (GIB). I can’t confirm how the process for this design happened at Vekoma, but I can guess…

Having both the successful Boomerang and SLC models in the wild, the idea was born to merge the two. I assume that the thought was “two negatives make a positive” and the “Invertigo” was the bastard lovechild. A suspended Boomerang that was as horrific as can be imagined (the first one actually missed our 2002 loss spot).

Having produced this (I’m sure, much maligned) Frankenstein’s monster of a coaster, Vekoma doubled down on the idea. The Giant Inverted Boomerang was born – and Six Flags Magic Mountain got the first one in 2001.

There’s no denying it, these rides are absolute beasts. If there was a coaster equivalent of Godzilla, these are it. Tall, overbearing, noisy and likely to break you.

If you ever get to ride one - that isn’t in an extended period of downtime - they’re incredibly thrilling in-between the bouts of unconsciousness.

I do have a confession to make here though. 2011 was an even slower year for notable closures than 2010. This GIB is still operating at Six Flags New England (I’m not sure what the East Coast did to deserve this, but I assume something utterly heinous).

The ride was relocated at the end of the 2011 season, rather than closed and reopened in 2012. Still, New England’s loss is California’s gain…

You may also be interested in:
  • Kong at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Actually named after a giant monster AND a Vekoma!
  • Hangover – either the medical condition or the Invertigo that was at Liseberg – there’s little difference between them.

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2012
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Photos: LancsLive

Camelot Theme Park - UK: How am I to write this without succumbing to a reference to “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”? I shall just have to be strong.

Camelot opened in 1983, and for the last 10 years of its life, it seemed to always be teetering on the edge of disaster and closure. It finally succumbed in 2012. To be fair to the park, the tried one final “hurrah” when they imported BMRX from Japan – renamed Knightmare – in 2007.

The park was subject to the classic mix of poor investment by a series of desperately uninterested investors. You can see parks like Camelot (and one-time sister park, American Adventure) freefall in a death spiral. Poor investment results in poor performance that results in further poor investment. Once the damage is done, it’s hard to fix.

The installation of Knightmare was very well done. The groundwork and landscaping around the ride was top-notch. Unfortunately, the rest of the park suffered from years of semi-neglect. Dirty dioramas near the stench of open sewers seemed to bring to life medieval times, but not in a good way.

That said, there were some absolute gems at Camelot. The shows were exceptional for a UK park. The jousting show was really excellent entertainment, as was the magic show and the wandering entertainers. These are things that much larger park chains can’t get right, but the entertainment team at Camelot were truly wonderful.

There were also some fantastic little quirks in the park. The diesel engine “Dragon Flier”, that was like something Land Rover and British Rail had come up with one lunchtime, was a prime example.

I first visited the park in 1983 on a school trip. It was a mix of assault courses, massive inflatables (the likes of which I wouldn’t see again until Saturday tea-times in the 2000’s), incredible (for 1983) animatronics and… A wild west town with a wild west show. It was great to see the park expand from those roots, into what was – for a short time – an excellent little park.

It’s always sad to see a park close, especially one you can still see abandoned and unused from the M6 motorway (just by Charnock Richard services). Local opposition will mean that the park will never reopen.

‘Twas a silly place (dammit!)

You may also be interested in:
  • The Ultimate – which was actually made in partnership with British Rail
  • Free Fall coasters made by Rainbow Rides, Pakistan.

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2013
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Photos: Coaster101

Medusa - Six Flags Mexico, Mexico: In the year 2000, Custom Coasters International were at the top of the wooden coaster game. They had a string of highly regarded woodies under their belt already, and Medusa continued that trend.

The ride was a fantastic mass of wooden latticework supports. It had the steep drops and long, sweeping, beautifully crafted curves that marked CCI’s best work.

Sadly, the good always die young. Just a teenager, Medusa’s life came to an end.

However, like the Titan it was named for, it underwent a massive transformation. From elegant beauty to harsh lines and starkness. Medusa was converted by RMC into a steel hybrid. What it lost in wooden beauty; it now makes up for in malicious thrill.

You may also be interested in:

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2014
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Photos: Wikimedia Commons

Colossus - Six Flags Magic Mountain, USA: Medusa was the first ride I’ve mentioned that was closed for an RMC makeover, Colossus is the second, and probably more deserving.

Colossus was one of a multitude of a “wooden coaster revival” in the 70’s. Built in 1978, it suffered like all the other of this era. The better engineering skills made the designs generally “better” than the original wooden golden age coasters from the 20’s and 30’s – but somehow less thrilling. They were taller and longer, but the never quite captured the – often accidental – madness of the classics.

The ride was immense though, a double tracked duelling coaster that dominated the area.

Colossus went through several reprofile changes to improve the ride, but it never rose above mediocrity. Outpaced by the new wave of wooden coasters from the 90’s, Colossus had a Sisyphean task ahead of it.

It was put out of its misery in 2014 and Six Flags used the footprint to make Twisted Colossus.

You may also be interested in:
  • CoasterForce’s POV of the ride
  • Florida Hurricane, another woodie that also opened in 1978
  • Montaña Rusa in Mexico. A sixties coaster that is/was also a Mobius looping coaster (Twisted Colossus used the original layout to become a kind of Mobius coaster).

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2015
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Photos: Coaster101

Thunder Road - Carowinds, USA: At this point, I’m thinking that the mid 2010’s section of this article should have just been a single line of “You may also be interested in: Wooden coasters removed to make way for newer, more exciting rides”.

Thunder Road is very similar in a lot of ways to Colossus at Magic Mountain above. It was a double track duelling wooden coaster, built in the 70’s (1976 in this case). It was never an outstanding ride, but filled a gap in Carowinds line-up (every serious park has a woodie, after all).

So, what made Thunder Road special? Its most astonishing feature was that it crossed the state line between North and South Carolina.

For those of you now in a state of despair at the loss of a coaster that accomplished such a feat, it’s okay, Fury 325 which opened in 2015 also crosses the state line. We can all sleep safely in our beds once more.

You may also be interested in:
  • Rebel Yell "Racer 75" at Kings Dominion has pretty much the same layout that Thunder Road had. Although Thunder Road never starred in a film about rollercoasters.
  • Timber Wolf at World’s of Fun, also designed by Curtis D. Summers

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2016
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Photos: CoasterForce

Tsunami - M&Ds, UK: Before I start with Tsunami, let’s remember that amusement parks and rides are incredibly safe. Accidents and injuries are few and far between.

Sadly, in 2016 there was one of these rare incidents. A catastrophic failure caused an entire train to derail. 2 adults and 8 children were injured in the accident.

The ride had been running since 2004 without incident (beyond poor comfort, it wasn’t a good ride). Investigations showed issues with welding on the wheel assemblies. The park pleaded guilty to the charges against them for breaches of Health and Safety laws.

It’s a ride that will not be missed.

You may also be interested in:
  • Mindbender at Galaxyland which suffered a similar (though worse) incident
  • The numerous “Big Apple” coasters Pinfari make. Slow, safe and secure.

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2017
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Photos: @davidm

Spaceworld - Japan: There are some images that last a lifetime. A snippet of something that grabs your attention and opens doors to further lines of inquisition.

The shot of a replica Space Shuttle with a coaster loop in front of it is one of mine. It was a shot that made me realise that there were coasters out there that I just had no idea existed, in countries I had never considered would have an interest in Theme Parks (how naïve I was).

Spaceworld wasn’t with us for long, but the impact of this 1990 park was huge for me. Where was this coaster? What is going on with that giant shuttle? Should I be looking at expanding my horizons?

The park followed up on all this intrigue with a clone of Thorpe Park’s Stealth.

Then nothing, other than an odd decision to make a skating rink, where the frozen water was filled with 5,000 dead fish.

It’s unclear if the frozen fish escapade hastened the end of the park. It’s worth noting that the park actually closed in 2018; 2 a.m. on January 1st to be exact…

You may also be interested in:
  • Crush’s Coaster at Disney Studios Paris. The fish are also not alive in this attraction.
  • Flight of Fear by Premier rides, another space themed ride.

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2018
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Photos: @Hixee

Volcano: The Blast Coaster - Kings Dominion, USA: 1998 didn’t know what had hit it when King’s Dominion opened Volcano.

Of all the parks and rides mentioned in this list, perhaps Volcano is the one that we should lament the loss of the most. It’s not that the ride was actually great (it was good fun), but that it was so “special”.

It wasn’t that anyone hadn’t, or wouldn’t, make inverted coasters. It wasn’t that anyone hadn’t, or wouldn’t, make multi-launch coasters. It wasn’t that anyone hadn’t, or wouldn’t, make a coaster themed to erupting from a volcano. It wasn’t that anyone hadn’t, or wouldn’t, name their coaster in such a ridiculous fashion.

Intamin and King’s Dominion did all of these things in one coaster. A coaster that sold more than it ever delivered, but the world is all the worse for it no longer existing. Unless you were unfortunate enough to have ever lost a loved one to an erupting volcano.

Sometimes, fortune favours the brave, and in Volcano’s case, it was favoured indeed.

You may also be interested in:
  • Volcano Coaster at Jawa Timur Park 1. There wasn’t much competition for Volcano named coasters.
  • X:\No Way Out at Thorpe Park, which probably holds the title of “most stupidly named coaster”
  • CoasterForce’s off-ride Video



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2019
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Photos: Yle.fi

Half Pipe - Särkänniemi Amusement Park, Finland: So far, there have been two controversial entries in this list – Déja Vu for relocating, and Spaceworld for closing at 2 a.m. on Jan 1st 2018.

This coaster is perhaps the most controversial ever.

Is it a coaster? If it IS a coaster, then why aren’t Zamperla’s Disk’o Coasters coaster?

The arguments rage and the sooner these rides are all gone, the sooner we can get back to normality and arguing over what counts as an inversion.

You may also be interested in:
  • The multitude of Butterfly coasters people also seem to think are coasters.
  • Arguing over inversions, molly orange and “is the dress gold or black?”

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2020
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Photos: @ECG


Primeval Whirl - Animal Kingdom, USA: It’s very rare that Disney parks make a mistake. Primeval Whirl is one of the few.

What could be worse than a park, well renowned for exemplary theming and presentation, putting in a minimally themed standard spinning wild mouse?

Why, putting in two of them side by side of course.

They’re the coasters enthusiasts love to hate. It seems every low budget park has them. They sit there, tantalisingly almost thrilling, but never quite. Not much more than Big Apple in terms of ride value. But they’re there and need to be ridden as a penance and punishment for all the superb rides we get to go on (like Expedition Everest, for a close example).

While this is an excellent move by Disney, there are a host of dirty credit whores out there now who never got them, missing two new creds and reducing the cred count at Animal Kingdom to one. Cry me a ****ing river.

You may also be interested in:
  • Any other Disney Attraction. Even the urinals are better than these were.
  • Any coaster with the word “Crazy” in their name – it’s probably one of these Reverchon Spinners.

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Has anything here brought a tear to your eyes at all? I'll bet there's been a few, "it was never that long ago, was it?" thoughts.

What do people think this list will look like in another ten years? We've seen stuff here that survived for many decades, but are new coasters part of today's throw away society? Will we see any shocks as an outcome of the global pandemic? Are B&M's hitting their natural lifespans? Let us know below.
 

TilenB

Well-Known Member
Good list, though I feel that there are some coasters/parks that would deserve at least an honorable mention here or there.

2001: Spreepark in Berlin - a park that is now far more famous being abandoned and derelict was once the only park in Berlin. Closed down in 2001 due to owner Norbert Witte's financial troubles and lack of parking near the park's premises. Witte then went on to Peru to open a small park, which in the end just turned out to be an elaborate cocaine smuggling operation that resulted in Mr. Witte spending 5 years in a German prison, while his son Marcel ended up being incarcerated in Peru for 13 years.

2002: Shockwave in Six Flags Great America - When it opened in 1988, it was the world's fastest and tallest coaster along with record breaking 7 inversions. Closed in 2002 and scrapped in 2004. Honorable mentions to Thrill Valley (original home of SFFT's Goliath) and Yokohama Dreamland closing down in Japan.

2003: Parque de la Ciudad in Buenos Aires - a park with a rocky history that somehow managed to last for 21 years closed down its doors in 2003. While it did reopen for a brief period in 2007 with only the smallest of the coasters running, it sadly closed down again a year later with most of its rides getting removed during the following years. The only coaster still standing at the property is the infamous Vertigorama.

2004: Wonderland Sydney - opened in 1985 as an Australian counterpart to Canada's Wonderland, this park sadly never quite lived up to its more famous big brother. Their wooden giant Bush Beast sadly met the axe soon after, while their Vekoma Boomerang went on to operate for a few years in Alabama Adventure and is now running in Wonderla Amusement Park in Hyderabad, India.

2005: I don't think there's anything coming close to AstroWorld, so an honorable mention to Six Flags New Orleans, a park that closed and never reopened due to the devastating consequences of Hurricane Katrina.

2006: Nara Dreamland - A Japanese knock-off Disney park that opened in 1961 finally closed down in 2006 after years of struggling with low visitor numbers. Notable casualty of the park's closer was Aska, a ride widely regarded as the best wooden coaster in Japan. Honorable mention to Cop Car Chase, a racing Intamin coaster that only lasted a decade in Movie Park Germany.

2007: This was the year of some big closures. I'll start of with my personal darling, Sierra Tonante in Mirabilandia, one of the last coasters built by William Cobb and the only wooden coaster in Italy. It was the ride I always looked at in awe when I was a little kid, but it sadly closed down before I reached its age limit of 12 years (which now that I think of it, hasn't been exactly strictly enforced). My frustration with not being able to ride as an 8 year old also resulted in my dad and my cousin having to sit this one out and never getting the credit, whoops.

But as said, not a great year for coasters with also Hypersonic XLC (world's first compressed air launched coaster) and Expoland in Japan closing down that year after a fatal accident on their stand up coaster Fujin Raijin II.

2008: A better year to be a roller coaster, with the most significant closure of the year being Celebration City in Branson, along with its great looking GCi coaster Ozark Wildcat. There's a long story on how and why that park failed so soon after its opening, but I won't get into too much detail here.

2009: Son of Beast at Kings island - opened in 2000 as the fastest and tallest wooden coaster in the world along with being the first modern looping coaster to feature an inversion, this ride had a short and rocky life. The loop was removed after a major accident in 2006 and the ride closed down for good after another incident in 2009 and was demolished in 2012 after spending 3 years standing but not operating.

2010: Gream American Scream Machine is the only really notable coaster to close down this year, but honorable mention to Terra Encantada in Rio de Janeiro and Tivoli Karolinelund in Aalborg, Denmark closing their doors that year too.

2011: While I do agree that Deja Vu was pretty much killed (at least judging by all of the comments on it) when it received those Premier Rides trains in SFNE, the ride still continues to operate. Some more notable closures of that year include Speed: The Ride in Nascar Cafe, Las Vegas (which was to be rebuilt as a part of the London, Las Vegas - that project never materialized and the ride has since been reported as being on sale for scrap metal) and Dania Beach Hurricane, a ride reported as the best wooden coaster in Florida at the time (and another coaster that I came tantalizingly close to riding).

2012: This year also didn't leave a big number of casualties in its wake, the only other notable parks that closed then were Kumdori Land in Daejeon and Playcenter Sao Paulo. The only somewhat notable coaster to close this year was Rattler in SFFT.

2013: Ahh, 2013, the year the infamous ring racer at Nürburgring finally opened... only for it to close down for good less than a week later. The ride is still standing next to the famous racetrack, though the chances of it ever reopening seem very slim.

2014: And just when you thought ring racer's lifespan was quite possibly the shortest one imaginable, along came Yomiuriland with their Twist Coaster Robin, a ride that closed down for good after suffering a major accident on its opening day. The ride was left SBNO for a couple of years before finally getting demolished in 2016 to make way for coasters and rides that actually worked as intended. Other somewhat notable closures of 2014 include U-shaped Roller Coaster in Victory Kingdom (the only Intamin Fly Rider ever built), Galaxy Express 999 in Tokyo and Reaper, Drop Ride to Doom! in Amsterdam Dungeon.

2015: A year when a bunch of wooden coasters closed down for good. This was the final season for Magnus Colossus at Terra Mitica, Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa, Roar at SFDK and Hurler at Kings Dominion (as well as Thunder Road already mentioned in furie's post). 2015 was also the final year of Hullamvasut in Budapest's Holnemvolt Park, though the ride is slated to reopen in the coming years as a part of a new area of the nearby ZOO.

2016: The year that Dodonpa became Do-Dodonpa and got its top hat replaced with a vertical loop, much to the dismay of coaster enthusiasts around the world. The notable amusement park to close down back then was Kuwait Entertainment City. Initially its closure was for an extended renovation, that never ended up happening. Most of the rides have been removed in 2020 with their Batman clone offered up for sale.

2017: Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure and Wild Mouse in Pleasure Beach Blackpool. A couple of iconic fan favorites bit the dust that year. One had a proper send-off and was replaced by a world class family coaster, while the other was quietly demolished during the New Year's break and will be replaced with a fountain or something (if we're lucky).

2018: Stingray at Giant Wheel Park of Suzhou - The only Vekoma Stingray ever built and the only good compact flying coaster ever built. It served as sort of a bridge in the manufacturer's portfolio between the good old Flying Dutchman rides and the shiny new flying coaster, first of which, FLY at Phantasialand, opened some few months ago.

2019: Tower of Terror II at Dreamworld - the loudest coaster that ever closed (at least from my limited experience). Once the tallest and fastest coaster in the world, this ride was just a sorry shadow of its former glory in the years running up to its final closure in late 2019. Though it did still deliver some eardrum shattering noise in 2017 when I rode, so not all of its charm was quite lost. Another notable closure of the year was Vortex at Kings Island - the tallest full circuit roller coaster at the time of its opening in 1986 and also the first coaster to feature six inversions.

2020: Misaki Park and Toshimaen, both in Japan - it's always sad to lose a small amusement park and Japan lost 2 rather notable ones last year, both of which had a pretty unique jet coaster (Meiwa's Jet Coaster at Misaki Park and Togo's Cyclone at Toshimaen). The most notable coaster closure of the year was Cheetah at Wild Adventures, though I feel that we're going to get some more bad news in the coming months, considering how unkind the current climate is to places like amusement parks.

2021: Farm Roller Coaster at Fenghuang Paradise - This year is still young, so this is the only closure so far. As per rcdb:
The park and roller coaster was removed a few weeks after opening due to illegal land usage.
Brilliant


So yeah, that's it from my side, hah. If anybody wants to do a detailed write-up on every coaster that has closed in the past 20 years, drop me a PM for a collab. ;)
 

furie

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Good list, though I feel that there are some coasters/parks that would deserve at least an honorable mention here or there.

So yeah, that's it from my side, hah. If anybody wants to do a detailed write-up on every coaster that has closed in the past 20 years, drop me a PM for a collab. ;)

Wow - I was expecting the odd post here and there with something like "you missed Wild Mouse at Blackpool", but I wasn't expecting such a complete post - nice :)

I did shortlist before making a final list, but you picked up on some that I overlooked, and I'll be looking deeper into some of them. The list is obviously subjective, and it's "things-that-interest_Furie" - so it's great to see more ideas of what was of interest to others.

Wild Mouse at PB... Need I say more?

It was pants. I'd already vented my spleen about AT and her chainsaw in 2006 as well ;)
 

cookie

Member
Not coasters, but losing JAWS in Orlando to Harry Potter and Piraten in Batavia (the original) in Europa Park to a fire both gutted me since I really enjoyed both. Watching the charred remains of Batavia and the Scandinavian town from the monorail was quite surreal.
 

Hixee

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On the subject of GIBs:
There’s no denying it, these rides are absolute beasts. If there was a coaster equivalent of Godzilla, these are it. Tall, overbearing, noisy and likely to break you.
They're also both a weird shade of green. :p

In all honesty, I suspect if we revive an article like this at CF's 30 year anniversary, it wouldn't surprise me to see some of the famous B&Ms on the list. Will Nemesis really hang on for another decade? I'm not so sure...

I think we'll also (thankfully) see more and more of the **** 80s Vekomas getting spited - I'd happily see every Boomerang removed, for example.

Great article - I enjoyed reading this one!
 

Tomatron

Active Member
Eagle Fortress was sad to see get pulled down, but inevitable given how much faster the ride was running that it was designed to. It was tearing itself apart.

Which is a huge shame, because it was the best Arrow Suspended coaster ever, one of the best coasters ever, and only a few lucky folks on here got to ride it.
 

SilverArrow

Active Member
Great thread, right up my street!

Not much to add except:

Big Bad Wolf for 2009. I remember there was quite an outcry over this at the time and rightly so it seemed as apparently it was a great ride and widely considered the best Arrow Suspended in the west (not ridden it but it sounded fab).

Thriller/Zonga/Tsunami/-2016. What was likely the craziest travelling coaster ever (pre-modification anyway) closed in Mexico in 2016. It was modified by Six Flags because it was considered too intense for their guests. It's pre-modification layout has a legendary reputation, noted to have pulled 6.5Gs due to it's two first near-circular loops and even post-modification it was likely still an amazing ride. It was still lying in a yard in Mexico as of last year but it's unlikely that it will ever open again.
 

furie

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What was wrong with it? Besides the restraints, I thought it looked great. And I personally don't mind those Intamin OTS bars.

It was pretty bad. It launched into brakes and went rapidly worse from there. It was rough, uninspired and just dull.

Big Bad Wolf for 2009. I remember there was quite an outcry over this at the time and rightly so it seemed as apparently it was a great ride and widely considered the best Arrow Suspended in the west (not ridden it but it sounded fab).

BBW was on my original shortlist (my original shortlist was 40 rides/parks, I was trying to do one park, one ride each year, but the task was too large). It was a great suspended coaster - but only an okay coaster. It had some interesting winding sections through theming and that drop over the lake was great - but it was more photographic still than it rode. It was a notable loss though, same as Eagle's Fortress which should have really made the cut.
 

Howie

Active Member
Are B&M's hitting their natural lifespans?

This sentence fills me with dread.
Seeing as you're a Staffordshire bloke, when you say B&M's I assume there's one B&M in particular that you're thinking of... and yeah, that's the one that fills me with dread. She'll be 28 this year, no Spring chicken by any means. Already a lot older than the Duelling Dragons were when they were scrapped. Still haven't quite got over that yet, seems like only 5 minutes since they were the latest, state of the art rides.
And then we have dear old Nemmie. Apart from the Runaway Train, the oldest coaster at Alton Towers. Like Hixee said, will she still be here in 10 years time when CF is 30?
Hmm... dunno, but I'm already preparing myself for the fact that it will happen sooner or later.
 

cookie

Member
What was wrong with it? Besides the restraints, I thought it looked great. And I personally don't mind those Intamin OTS bars.
The Intamin restraints were overly padded and the layout itself just wasn't very fun or smooth. It had a good launch but that was about it. Never ridden it more than twice even on days when I could marathon Balder, Helix and Lisebergbanan over and over.

And Valkyria slaps.
 
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furie

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This sentence fills me with dread.
Seeing as you're a Staffordshire bloke, when you say B&M's I assume there's one B&M in particular that you're thinking of... and yeah, that's the one that fills me with dread. She'll be 28 this year, no Spring chicken by any means. Already a lot older than the Duelling Dragons were when they were scrapped. Still haven't quite got over that yet, seems like only 5 minutes since they were the latest, state of the art rides.
And then we have dear old Nemmie. Apart from the Runaway Train, the oldest coaster at Alton Towers. Like Hixee said, will she still be here in 10 years time when CF is 30?
Hmm... dunno, but I'm already preparing myself for the fact that it will happen sooner or later.

Actually, kind of not. Nemesis is sitting in a huge custom hole in the park. It's not like they can just reuse the area.

But, it's part of a slightly bigger debate, and we're in a weird place in the industry right now. The US is a little different (ahead of the curve), but there's a history to this, which is being bucked completely.

1. Victorian thrills. I mentioned this slightly in the Shipley Glen section, but in the late Victorian era, pleasure gardens erupted everywhere, and (new from Coney Island most of the time) rides appeared. Lots of Switchbacks and Scenics mostly - like, literally everywhere. The parks that because big in the UK tended to be on the coast, in the US coasts and large lakes. Some massive parks today have their roots here.
2. The golden age of coasters. Essentially the 20's and 30's. Massive leaps in technology and pushing of boundaries. Top parks with top coasters float to the surface. Some still with us, many not. This is the era of Harry Travers, John Miller, Fred Church and Charlie Paige. It's hard to overstate the importance of these guys and the designs work they did. You have some notable failures like the Crystal Beach Cyclone (and clones), but you don't make a coaster omelette without breaking a few legs.
3. War/Post war decline. Obvious really, but the 40's and 50's weren't good. The parks that stayed afloat through this just kept rides that they could keep functioning going. So we lost a lot of the extreme stuff, and innovation was a little stifled.
4. Disney Revival. In the 60's, Disney completely invigorated the entire industry in the US. Really shook it up, and suddenly we have a new era of innovation. Steel is being used and the idea of "theme parks" spreads.
5. Out with the old... The converse of this is that parks start to demolish "old crap" to replace them with new coasters - though we do get a quick blast of new woodies, oddly. In the UK it's worse. The UK has seen a massive decline in coastal holidays due to the rise of package holidays, and the Battersea accident has shot a rocket up the arse of the amusement industry and led to essentially a mass culling of rides and parks. We lose a lot of old coasters that are 50 by this time. This is important. I'll note here that GT was a revolutionary in Blackpool in the 70's.
6. We know the 80's, the rise of steel and engineering, then a second wooden revival in the 90's/2000's. UK's new love affair with theme parks. Up to now. Where are we now?

We've had a number of older wooden coasters (often built in the 70's) converted by RMC. These are rides hitting their 40's and 50's. The UK still has a handful of rides not far off 100.

So, what does this have to do with B&M? Well, the question is... Are B&Ms our future history? As long as parts can be manufactured why scrap a B&M? I can understand it if they're costing a lot in maintenance and sitting in a huge space in your park that you could use to fill with a new technical wonder. But rides that are reliable, still smooth and form a cornerstone of the park? I think it's difficult. I think that imagining Busch Williamsburg without it's B&Ms is like imaging Blackpool without it's 3 main woodies. B&M coasters are still great rides today. It's not like a Vekoma Corkscrew or a Pinfari Zykon (or even an Intamin turd like Kanonen) - these B&M rides were so well designed and built, they are still great coasters today. They're our true coaster renaissance. What are you going to replace Mamba with at Phantasialand? A little RMC? What could possibly replace it AND be a better ride?

I'd even say Covid, in some ways, will benefit this. Parks will need to sweat their coaster assets a little longer as they re-establish visitor numbers in the next few years. They'll see the benefits of the high quality, low maintenance rides.

I guess some of this also raises the question of "are we hitting a zenith with coaster design?" Without doubt, rides are getting better in terms of quality, as technology beds in and design/manufacturing processes improve. Are we then reaching the point where there is no such thing as a "bad" coaster, just a coaster that doesn't quite fit the 10/10 top tier design example out of a computer somewhere? Will we turn our love to the B&Ms (and we do old woodies) and say "it's got character and personality"?

I dunno, but I don't worry for Nemesis just yet. Though Merlin are very much like the UK parks in the 60's/70's where cash is king. If they aren't turning a profit, they'll forget the reason they exist in the first place and continue to slowly shut down bits of the Alton Towers' experience - which may one day include running Nemesis at all. A year SBNO is the death knell for the ride.

Anyway, we've got The Ultimate's funeral next year to get over first ;)
 

toofpikk

Member
@furie you raise an excellent point - it's becoming increasingly normal to see humongous overhauls of rides across the globe. Python @ efteling, The Big One @ Please Beach Blackpool, that corkscrew at gardaland and Colossos @ heide park, and mystery mine @ dollywood now getting touch ups; all just from the top of my head. Not even acknowledging RMCs or the standard upkeep of wooden coasters either. It gives me hope that as long as the parks are running, they have the resources there to maintain good upkeep of their rides and keep them in fairly good shape.

Who knows, maybe in 20 years time some of the more standard theme parks (basically that aren't disney or universal) that don't have the guarantee of doing better than their last staple attraction will still have fury 325, shambhala and nemesis in some sort of weird frankensteins monster renaissance.
 

TMCoasters

Member
I would definitely put Eagle Fortress, Avalanche (Timber Falls), Tree Topper :( (Upper Clements), Big Bad Wolf, Wild Mouse (BPB), Ozark Wildcat, Son of Beast, Hypersonic XLC, Magnus Colossus, and most recently, Cheetah on this list
 
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