Hey everybody, MarioSonic94 here with the last article in the Retro Great Adventure series. This installment focuses on 1999. A season which will be remembered for "The War on Lines": the season in which 12 new flat rides, 3 new roller coasters, 2 new kiddie rides, and brand new kiddie section debeuted. Together, 25 new rides opened that season (Probably also to coincide with the park's 25th birthday which also fell around the same year). As always, credit for the photos goes to Harry Applegate of Great Adventure History.com and Tom Benton of amusementpics.com
New Roller Coasters
Arguably, the addition that stood out, was Medusa. Medusa was the world's first floorless roller coaster. The location that it was built was orginally supposed to be the site of the Pysclone wooden coaster, before the project was moved to Magic Mountain. Even though it's name and color scheme were an odd choice (since the ride was placed in the Frontier Adventures section), the queue had some western and mining theming. In 2009, the 10th anniversary of Medusa, the ride will be repainted, given water and fire effects, and a new theme (Possibly a Lex Luthor and Superman theme)
Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train
Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train was a double figure-8 model Tivoli coaster, and offered a great family coaster experience that the park had been missing. Originally, it was going to have elaborate pirate theming, but due to budget constraints, the plans for theme elements were removed.
Medusa: Though I didn't ride this monster until 2004, I remember the ads that ran on TV when it opened in 1999. That commercial used to freak me out. The ride is probably the coolest coaster in the park. It's a shame it doesn't get long lines like it used to. I'm hoping the re-do manages to bring the long lines back to Medusa
Blackbeard's Lost Treasure Train: I didn't know this ride exsisted until 2000. When I rode it for the first time, I enjoyed it and still do.
Chaos was a Chance manufactured ride and one of the most generic rides of the War on Lines line-up. After five seasons of operating, the park pulled the plug on Chaos, after several accidents of similar rides at other amusement parks. In was in SBNO status in 2005 and was removed and put in storage after the 2005 season.
Evolution was a ride that appeared in a lot European carnivals before arriving at Great Adventure. Even though it was easy to assemble, it rarely operated due to an overly complex operators panel which few could run. After four seasons, it was removed at the end of the 2002 season and sent to Six Flags St Louis, where it recieved modifications to it's control panel and theme elements
Great American Road Race
The Great American Road Race was added to Great Adventure and the same go-kart ride was added to Six Flags theme parks throughout the country at the same time. The upchare attraction replaced The Right Stuff Mach 1 Adventure's extended queue. The go-karts were the park's first since the removal of the Grand Prix, one of the park's original attractions.
Houdini's Great Escape
Perhaps the most spectacular and one of the most unique rides that was added in the War On Lines was Houdini's Great Escape, a uniquely themed Vekoma Madhouse which was more than just a ride, and could be enjoyed by the whole family. Due to budget constraints, the ride was put into SBNO status for both the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
The Jolly Roger was another prototype ride the park purchased directly from the manufacturer after it had been used as a demonstration model. The Zamperla Regatta ride featured a pirate theme which made it a perfect fit for the Lakefront section of the park, adjacent to Skull Mountain and Buccaneer. The ride was built on the spot on Skull Mountain's elaborate yet rarely used extended queue.
Jumpin' Jack Flash
The Jumpin' Jack Flash ride had perhaps the most dramatic and visible locations in the park, replacing what had been a planter at the center of Dream Street. The brightly colored ride and it dramatic movements were a spectacle that drew crowds to watch as much as to ride. One of the more interesting facts of the ride was that even though it was called Jumpin' Jack Flash, the ride's sign indentified it as Freefall. This made guests confused between this ride and the Stuntman's Freefall ride at the other side of the park. Since this was a prototype ride, it was prone to a lot of downtime. After four seasons, Jumpin' Jack Flash was removed and placed in the park's boneyard.
The Pendulum was a standard Huss Frisbee ride that was given a vaguely medieval theme to fit into its location in Old Country behind the Autobahn. While at the park the ride was rarely open, and when it was many guests weren't even aware that the ride existed. Many guests saw it while entering the park as it swung over the fences in the Inner Mall area, but couldn't figure out how to get to the ride. After the 2003 season, it was removed at was sent to Six Flags Great America and was renamed Revolution.
The Pirate's Flight ride was placed on the former site of the Traffic jam bumper cars in an area between the Lakefront section and Fantasy Forest, fitting equally into both areas. The Zamperla Balloon Race ride was customized with a pirate ship theme. The ride was a popular family ride though due to staffing issue, wasn't open all the time. The ride was removed in the beginning of the 2002 season and was sent to Geuaga Lake (then known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure), in an attempt to beef up the ride lineup. It remained there until the theme park closed in 2007.
The Rodeo Stampede was a uniquely themed Huss Breakdance ride, with cow shaped ride vehicles. The ride was located on what had been part of the overflow queue for Viper and was no longer needed as the coasters popularity declined. At the end of the 2005 season, it was removed and sent to Six Flags Over Texas, which was planning their own War on Lines.
Time Warp was a Chance Double Inverter ride located along the park's lakefront between the Aqua Stadium and the Great Lake Grandstand. The ride was rarely open between lack of staff and mechanical problems. When it did operate it seemed to draw more spectators than riders as the cars inverted practically over the heads of guests passing by on Show Row. After two seasons of problematic operations, the ride was removed and placed in the park's boneyard where it sat for years until it was removed in the 2008-2009 off season.
The Twister was added as a replacement for the aging Joust-A-Bout ride at the top of the Boardwalk where its bright lights and wild motions made it a spectacle. The ride's wood grain theme is incongruous with the Boardwalk and Air Force Base themes that surround it.
Spinnaker was the park's third version of a monster-type ride, and was probably the least operated of the War On Lines rides added to the park. The sea themed ride fit well with the other nautically themed Lakefront attractions, but it suffered from mechanical problems from the day it arrived at the park. After two seasons the ride was removed from the park.
My experience: Out of all the War on Lines flats, I've only been on three of them.
Houdini: This was the most elaborate ride I've ever been. I even think the ride really does go upside down. I'm hoping that the park reopens this ride
Jolly Roger: This ride is pretty much like the park's Musik Express ride. Only without the music.
Twister: This is possibly to most uncomfortible and painful ride I've ever been on. They should have put this in SBNO instead of Houdini
Looney Tunes Seaport opens
Up until 1998, Bugs Bunny Land was the park's only children's section. In 1999, Looney Tunes Seaport was built to replace the badly outdated Adventure Rivers. The front section was ready for opening day, while the back section wasn't ready for a few weeks. The front section lasted until the end of the 2006 season. It and rides in that section were rethemed into Wiggles World
Front section rides
Sylvester's Pounce & Bounce
Sylvester's Pounce & Bounce ride was designed to look like a lighthouse with a Tweety figure at the top holding a mallet, with a Sylvester figure at the top of the ride's seats which bounce up and down the tower. The Sylvester figure was later removed. For the 2007 season the ride was rethemed as part of the creation of the Wiggle's World area from a portion of the Looney Tunes Seaport, becoming Bouncing with Wags.
Elmer Fudd Seaport Weather Balloons
The Elmer Fudd Seaport Weather Balloons combined the spin of a teacups ride with a slight lift and tilt making the ride even more wild as the weight in the cars caused the spinning to speed up and slow down at unexpected times. For the 2007 season, the ride was rethemed as part of the Wiggle's World makeover for a portion of Looney Tunes Seaport, becoming Dorothy's Race To The Rainbow.
Taz's Seaport Trucking Company
Perhaps the most elaborate of the rides added to Looney Tunes Seaport was Taz's Seaport Trucking Company which featured oversized 4x4 style trucks that followed a winding course through elaborate pieces of scenery. For the 2007 season's transformation of a portion of the Looney Tunes Seaport into Wiggle's World, the truck vehicles were replaced with cars to create the Big Red Cars ride, and the original vehicles were removed to the park's maintenance area.
Back Section rides
Bugs Bunny Fun Factory
One of the attractions that seemed to be a favorite of the Premier Parks management that was added to many of their parks was the Foam Factory, an interactive play area with foam balls that could be played with using a variety of shooters and implements. Looney Tunes Seaport received the Bugs Bunny Fun Factory which was nautically themed on the exterior of the building. The interior of the building offered multiple levels and included slides, climbing structures, and thousands of foam balls that could be shot with air guns. In the center and all around the building were Looney Tunes characters with targets and other unique elements that would launch or spill the balls all around.
Pepe LePew's Heart's Aweigh
A teacups style ride is always one of the most popular rides for kids, and had been something the park had lacked. Pepe LePew's Heart's Aweigh was a Zamperla Mini-Teacups ride custom themed to fit in the Seaport's nautical motif.
Michigan J Frog Fun Flotilla
The Michigan J Frog Fun Flotilla was the second kiddie boat ride in the park. Perhaps the most unique feature of the ride is that it was named for one of the lesser known Looney Tunes characters. At the time Michigan J. Frog was the mascot of the WB Network and was used in commercials and promos. The character had only appeared in a single cartoon in 1955 which is one of the best known of the Looney Tunes cartoons and considered by many as one of the best cartoons ever made.
Bugs Bunny Seaport Barnstormer
The Bugs Bunny Seaport Barnstormer was a Zamperla Barnstormer ride featuring two biplane shaped gondolas each seating 10 guests, which rotate on arms in opposite directions. This was a great addition that parents could ride alongside their children, and the mild ride was a great "next step" for children who were ready to start trying the more grown up rides.
Daffy's Deep Diver
Daffy's Deep Diver was a submarine shaped Zamperla Crazy Bus ride, providing a mild thrill to children and parents as the ride made its fast drop in its rotations. The yellow submarine shaped ride gondola featured port holes including a large front porthole, along with a Daffy Duck figure clinging to the periscope protruding from the top.
Road Runner Railway
The third and smallest of the coasters added as part of the War On Lines and offered a great first coaster for the youngest guests. The park had been lacking a children's coaster since the removal of Little Thunder in 1983. Originally the coaster featured the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote characters on the front and back of the train, but the figures were removed after only one season.
Yosemite Sam's Seaplane Flight Tour
The Yosemite Sam Flight School was a standard Zamperla childrens ride with the unique feature of having pontoons on the plane bodies and a circular pool beneath the ride. The ride's theme elements were simple with the addition of a Yosemite Sam fiberglass figure in the center and the picket fence surrounding the ride featuring propellers.
This ride was originally supossed to be place in the Fantasy Forest section of the park, next to the Character Cafe. Plans were changed and the ride was moved to Looney Tunes Seaport. The Taz Tornado was a Zamperla Lolly Swing ride with the standard clown and lollypop theme elements being replaced with a Tasmanian Devil head a the center and the arms as the character's hands. The center of the ride featured a swirling tornado covering. The ride's spinning motion was a clever was to represent the characters wild spinning.
My Experience: I have a lot of memories with this section of the park. Here are my experiences of all the ride's I've been to in this area.
Sylvester's Pounce and Bounce: When I was five years old, this was my favorite ride in Looney Tunes Seaport, because of the bouncing motion. It's sad that it's seaport motiff was replaced with a bright colored motiff.
Taz's Seaport Trucking Company: Comfortable then, uncomfortable later on. Good thing the trucks were replaced by the Big Red Cars. Those are more comfortable than the trucks.
Elmer Fudd Seaport Weather Balloons: Fun ride, to make it even more fun, spin the balloon basket your riding in really fast.
Bugs Bunny Fun Factory: Fun place to waste your time. Shooting balls from a cannon has never been this much fun before.
Bugs Bunny Seaport Barnstormer: Mild ride that pretty much prepared me for the bigger rides in the park.
Road Runner Railway: Out of all the rides in Looney Tunes Seaport, this one is my favorite. This ride was the very first roller coaster I've been on in my entire life. Even though it is really rough (Road Runner Railway is even rougher than Scream Machine), it still is really fun.
Taz Tornado: This ride is pretty much the same as the defunct Flying Wave. Now that Flying Wave is gone, I might as well ride this as a alternative for Flying Wave.
So ends a great article series. MarioSonic94, signing out.