Tuesday, January 19, 2016

We Were Starting to Think Winter Would Never Come

Flashback to December, and the Waldameer and Water World Team was still outside painting and blowing leaves in 50 and even 60 degree weather. A group of visiting Roller Coaster Enthusiasts even asked us to open some rides! Less than a month later, our mild December turned into a chilly, snowy January. To celebrate the late arrival of Winter, the Third Annual Waldameer Winter Photo Tour is in order.

2016 will be Thunder River's 20th Anniversary. An iconic Thunder River picture from 1996 has been merged with present day, January 2016. Can you guess which ride is missing on the right side?

Beautiful landscaping around Big Rigs only enhanced by the snow.

Ravine Flyer 3's fresh paint really pops in under the white snow cover.

Speaking of fresh paint. Check out those colors.

Even more fresh paint for the Pirate! Notice a trend?

Promise, last one, but once the snow melts, freshly painted cars make their way back to Tilt-A-Whirl.

Mega Vortex takes the shape of a taco for Winter.

Music Express sans music and a canvas.

One might remember how June of 2015 felt like winter in Water World.

Lake Erie Dip and Presque Isle Plunge doing their best frozen-over impression of the bodies of water nearby.

Just like our fireworks, we want our Winter Photo Tour to end with an amazing Grand Finale. It's almost a tradition to explore Ravine Flyer II in the snow. Hope you aren't afraid of heights!

Looking backwards from the bunny hop over the lift.

Tight descending turn heading under the lift hill.

Looking up the largest wooden coaster drop in Pennsylvania.

Last but not least, looking down the largest wooden coaster drop in Pennsylvania.

We hope you enjoyed the Third Annual Winter Photo Tour, and while the snow is beautiful, we can't wait to get started on our 120th Season at Waldameer and Water World.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

One Train, Two Train, Green Train, Blue Train

Once Waldameer's season ends, many of the rides perform somewhat of a disappearing act. Some of them like Tilt-A-Whirl barely resemble their Summer look once all of the cars, lights, and canvas are all disassembled and stored inside for protection in the Winter. While many of our roller coasters have spacious stations and storage tracks to keep them protected while not in operation, their trains also seem to disappear.
No Steel Dragon cars to be found here...

One might think with two trains of 6 cars on Ravine Flyer II, two trains of 4 cars on Comet, one train of 6 cars on Ravine Flyer 3, and 8 cars on Steel Dragon that there must be a big place to store all 34 coaster cars. When not humming with games, the Arcade serves as the Winter hiding place for many of our rides including our four roller coasters. 
Comet's orange and green trains with Ravine Flyer II's red train on the left.

But the Arcade is only one stop on the Winter tour for our coasters. Over in the Maintenance Shop, we have cars from all four coasters deep into their annual off-season rehabilitation program. Let's take a glimpse into what it takes for each roller coaster to be ready for 2016.

 Once into the shop every car of every coaster train gets taken down to every last nut and bolt. 
Ravine Flyer II's blue train down to the last bolt.
Once disassembled, it's time for a bath. The choices for this bath are a high-power pressure washer or a shower in kerosene. It's not uncommon to see a Maintenance Team Member outside in single digit temperatures pressure washing some of the larger coaster parts.

After going though the parts washer, these Ravine Flyer II wheels look like new.

Once clean, many of the parts require sandblasting to remove paint in preparation for NDT. NDT stands for Non-Destructive Testing. This process is used to inspect and verify the integrity of parts under high stress or those that have welded components. 
A Steel Dragon car chassis fresh out of the sandblaster and completed NDT.

After all the parts are cleaned and inspected, the coaster cars are rebuilt, touched up on paint, and almost ready for another season.

Might not look like it, but here is a Comet car in the early stages of reassembly.

This Steel Dragon car is taking shape quickly.

Finishing touches are being made on a Ravine Flyer 3 car.

Every so often, coaster trains receive a special gift. With eight seasons and now well over 1.5 million riders, we thought it's time to freshen Ravine Flyer II's trains up with a shiny new coat of paint.

Look at that shine!

While the Maintenance Shop might be full of roller coaster cars for now, these are just a few of the many projects going on in the Shop this Winter. For example, L. Ruth Express and Tilt-A-Whirl are both receiving mechanical and cosmetic updates as well. For most of us it might be the "slow season" for Waldameer, but don't tell that to our dedicated Maintenance Team.