The permanent closing of a popular theme park ride, which is a rare occurrence, is always disappointing for fans of the ride.
For example, Comcast’s Universal Studios Florida and Hollywood had a very popular ride, Back to the Future, which opened in Orlando in 1991 and in Hollywood in 1993. Fans of the ride were disappointed when the ride subsequently closed in March 2007 in Florida and in September 2007 in the Hollywood park, to make way for another favorite ride, The Simpsons.
Disney World’s Epcot had a popular ride with loyal fans, Maelstrom, that opened in July 1988 in the Norway Pavilion, but Disney closed the ride in October 2014 to make way for another popular ride, Frozen Ever After.
At Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., another ride popular with guests, the Skyway gondola, opened in 1956, a year after the park first opened, closed in 1957 for the construction of the Matterhorn, but reopened in 1959 before closed for good in 1994. The same ride at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom opened along with the park in 1971, but permanently closed in 1999.
Rough Ride Temporarily Closes Roller Coaster
In other cases, popular are sometimes forced to close temporarily after equipment failures. Fans of Six Flags Great Adventure’s iconic El Toro roller coaster in Jackson, N.J., are going to be disappointed for awhile as the attraction was forced to shut down on Aug. 25 by order of the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs after 14 people were injured on the ride with five being sent to a hospital, NJ.com reported. All people taken to the hospital were later released.
Witnesses said that the roller coaster felt like it hit a pothole as many people heard a loud bang and the ride jolted during operation. One person reported a neck injury, two had back injuries and two had mouth or tongue injuries, the Department of Community Affairs said.
“The ride will remain closed for inspection. Any maintenance and repairs necessary will be completed and the ride will be re-inspected by our engineers, maintenance professionals, our third-party independent safety inspectors and the state of New Jersey prior to re-opening,” Six Flags reportedly said in a statement.
This is not the first time that the wooden El Toro roller coaster has been forced to shut down for serious mechanical difficulties. The ride was shut down on June 29, 2021, after partially derailing as a train on the ride did not return to the station when it stopped a few yards from the ride’s brake run, NJ.com reported. No injuries were reported in the derailment. The ride reopened in late spring 2022.
El Toro is 19 stories high with a 176-foot drop at a 76 degree angle that would be the steepest drop of any wooden roller coaster in the country, the Six Flags Great Adventure website said. The ride is 4,400 feet long and hits a top speed of 70 mph for a ride lasting 2 minutes and 5 seconds.
New Reimagined Ride to Replace Troubled Coaster
Cedar Fair on Sept. 6 said it decided not to reopen its Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster at its Cedar Point park in Sandusky, Ohio, and would retire the ride after 19 seasons of operation with about 18 million riders on its strata coaster. The theme park operator said on its Cedar Point website that it will create a new reimagined attraction and it will share more details and information at a later date.
The Top Thrill Dragster ride was closed after a piece of metal broke off the ride on Aug. 15, 2021, hitting a woman in the head, causing a brain injury, according to an Akron Beacon Journal report. The Ohio Department of Agriculture, which regulates Ohio amusement rides, reportedly investigated the incident and “found loose bolts, signs of wear, deformation, and impact marks on train cars and sections of track over the spot where a metal plate broke from the ride and fell.”
Cedar Fair, which plans to close its California Great America in Santa Clara, Calif. by 2033 after selling the land the park occupies to a developer, is rumored to have plans to soon move a ride at that park, Psycho Mouse, to its Cedar Point theme park in Sandusky, Ohio. That move would be part of a much bigger ongoing development project at Cedar Point to build a new Boardwalk-themed area at the park that is expected to open in 2023.
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This story was originally published September 6, 2022 9:18 PM.
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