a.k.a Mad Mouse, Wilde Maus, Zig Zag Coaster, Twister Coaster
Wild Mouse coasters are noted for their sharp turns, high lateral forces, sudden drops and generally fun layouts. The coasters are easily recognizable with a large flat section of upper track consisting of multiple 180° switchbacks and lower sections of track with a few drops and/or bunny hops. All wild mouse coasters use small cars that sit four or fewer passengers, but the cars are designed to be wider than the track giving riders the feeling a hanging over the edge and that they could fly out on the non-banked turns.
There are over 250 wild mouse coasters in operation worldwide, but they were almost extinct in the 1970s and 1980s. However, the 1990s saw a revival of the coaster type as smaller parks needed relatively exciting alternatives to more expensive conventional thrill coasters and large parks sought more intense family friendly coasters that had small footprints. The biggest boom came in the late 1990s when Reverchon developed wild mouse coasters with spinning cars and Maurer, Zamperla and Gerstlauer have all jumped on the spinning Wild Mouse bandwagon since the turn of the century.
SCHIFF WILD MOUSE
During the 1950’s and 1960’s, Schiff made dozens of wild mouse coasters across the USA. A Schiff Wild Mouse could be found at almost every major American amusement park at the time, including Cedar Point, Coney Island, Morey’s Piers, Six Flags New England, Kennywood, Dorney Park, Canobie Lake, Geauga Lake, Elitch Gardens and Arnolds Park. However, Schiff stopped production of wild mouse coasters in 1960 and none of them remain operating today.
ALLAN HERSCHELL COMPANY WILD MOUSE
Allan Herschell is pretty much synonymous with wild mouse coasters. Other than their Little Dipper line of kiddie coasters, Allan Herschell only produced wild mouse coasters. Their first one opened at Riverside Park in Indiana, USA in 1958 and they went on to build over 50 more before being acquired by Chance Rides in 1970. Allan Herschell developed three lines of wild mouse coasters and produced 34 Mad Mouse units, 5 smaller Mite Mouse units and 8 large Monster Mouse units. They also produced 3 Mad Mouse to Monster Mouse conversion kits, but only two Mad Mouse coasters remain operating today at Arnolds Park in Iowa and Little Amerricka in Wisconsin.
ARROW DYNAMICS MAD MOUSE
Arrow Dynamics had a small part in the late ’90s Wild Mouse revival. Their first wild mouse coaster was Mad Mouse at the Myrtle Beach Pavilion in South Carolina, which opened in 1998. Arrow built three more wild mouse coasters over the next three years before the company went out of business in 2001. That coaster has been SBNO (standing but not operating) at nearby NASCAR SpeedPark since 2007, but the other three are all still operating at their original locations: Psycho Mouse at California’s Great America in California and the Mad Mouse coasters at Michigan’s Adventure and Valleyfair in Minnesota, USA.
GERSTLAUER WILD MOUSE
Han-Katten at BonBon-Land in Denmark is the only Gerstlauer wild mouse coaster currently in operation and features spinning cars. Many people think that Gerstlauer coasters like Cobra at Paultons Park in the UK, Vilda Musen at Gröna Lund in Sweden, Thor’s Hammer at Djurs Sommerland in Denmark as well as G’sengte Sau at Erlebnispark Tripsdrill and Drachenritt at Belantis (both in Germany) are wild mouse coasters because of their upper flat section of sharp, non-banked turns and we have no problem with that, but technically these are all considered bobsled coasters (the term Gerstlauer uses) because of their larger layouts and highly banked lower turns.
L&T SYSTEMS WILD MOUSE
Hardly a household name in the coaster industry, L&T Systems produced eight wild mouse coasters between 1997 and 2004. The company went out of business in 2009, but a handful of their wild mouse coasters are still in operation.
Raton Loco at Mundo Divertido, Mexico
MACK RIDES WILDE MAUS
The modern day Wild Mouse layout was developed by Mack Rides and they have had a pretty successful run of installations. The first was Wild Maus at Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Virginia, USA, in 1996 (now Sand Serpent at Busch Gardens Tampa in Florida) and have more than two dozen wild mouse coasters operating in parks the world over. Mack has four Wild Mouse variations from a compact mobile model to the large park model like the Project X/Technic coasters at Legoland parks. The company also built three custom models including Matterhorn Blitz at Europa Park in Germany, which has an elevator lift instead of a lift hill.
MAURER WILD MOUSE
Maurer started building wild mouse coasters in 1996 with Kopermijn at Drievliet in the Netherlands, which is still operating in the same park. Their first spinning wild mouse coaster opened in 2000 at Tokyo Dome City (now Spinner at Skara Sommarland in Sweden) and the company has gone on to specialize in spinning coasters with their popular Xtended SC models like Sonic Spinball at Alton Towers, Dragon’s Fury at Chessington (both the UK), Winjas at Phantasialand in Germany and Undertow at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in California, USA.
MILER MANUFACTURING WILD MOUSE
In 1955 through the very early 60’s, Miler Manufacturing produced a few Wild Mouse coasters. Three of the four park installations were relocated, but only two remain in operation – Cyclone at Wonderland Amusement Park in Texas and Wild Chipmunk at Lakeside Amusement Park in Colorado, USA. Unlike modern wild mouse coasters, Miler Manufacturing’s models use narrow, bullet-shaped cars with elongated bench style seats that can hold one or two passengers sitting behind one another. Their tracks are also much narrower with only an upper section of many switchbacks and the drops come on each side as the cars circumvent the outside of the circuit.
After changing their name to E&F Miler Industries, the company only produced one Wild Mouse that was similar in design to other non-spinning wild mouse coasters. Wild Mouse at Casino Pier in New Jersey, USA, operated from 1999 until 2012, when Hurricane Sandy wiped out much of the Jersey Shore. Unlike Star Jet, which was swept out into the Atlantic Ocean, Wild Mouse sustained minimal damage from the super storm and was relocated to Scandia Family Fun Center in California, USA, in 2015.
REVERCHON WILD MOUSE
Reverchon is credited with developing wild mouse coasters with spinning cars in 1979, a concept that has been copied by many manufacturers and is the most popular type of Wild Mouse today. Reverchon has built dozens of wild mouse coasters, all with spinning cars, and has over 20 operating at parks around the world with many more traveling models criss-crossing the globe. Reverchon’s most famous Wild Mouse was Primeval Whirl at Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom in Florida, USA, that operated from 2002-2020. They also have a very popular enclosed Wild Mouse called Exterminator at Kennywood in Pennsylvania, USA.
SANSEI YUSOKI WILD MOUSE
The Japanese manufacturer only produced three Wild Mouse coasters, but what makes them so unique and worth mentioning is the unusual track design. Unlike most where the switchbacks are horizontal to the lift hill, on these models the switchbacks are both horizontal and parallel to the lift. They also lack the series of drops and bunny hops that are typically found on the later half of the layout.
SBF VISA GROUP WILD MOUSE
SBF Visa Group jumped on the spinning Wild Mouse bandwagon in 2010 and have produced six to date (2016). The Italian amusement ride manufacturer’s versions are designed to be extremely family friendly and are therefore much slower and do not spin nearly as much as other models.
VEKOMA WILD MOUSE
A brief flirt with this coaster type for Vekoma produced a single Wild Mouse, with a strangely angled lift hill. It started off as Speedy Gonzales at the Wiener Prater in Vienna, Austria from 1985 to 1987 before being relocated to Alton Towers in the UK, when it operated from 1988 to 1991 as Alton Mouse. The coaster is currently located in the USA at Idlewild & SoakZone in Pennsylvania, where it has been operating since 1993.
ZAMPERLA ZIG ZAG COASTER
Zamperla is another company that was a big part of the Wild Mouse revival when Doo Wopper at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood opened on the Jersey Shore in 1998. Called Zig Zag Coasters, only eight have been manufactured so far, mostly due to the popularity of the company’s Twister spinning Wild Mouse coasters, which began production in 2005 with Crazy Mouse at Martin’s Fantasy Island in New York, USA.
ZAMPERLA TWISTER COASTER
The Twister Coaster is similar to other spinning wild mouse coasters produced by various companies. Unlike other manufacturers’ models, Twister Coasters use individual lap bar restraints for the riders. Like the Reverchon Wild Mouse, up to four riders sit in a single row across the car. The Twister Coaster comes in several set sizes or can be customized to a theme park’s specification.
UNKNOWN WILD MOUSE
We believe the one-off Crazy Mouse at Seoul Land in South Korea could have been produced by Meisho Amusement Machines, but was likely done in-house using the company’s track left over from the park’s other Meisho coasters. It uses tubular steel track that resembles the traditional Arrow style that Meisho copies, but that style track was never used on any of the 10 Wild Mouse coasters Meisho manufactured.