Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Blast From The Past - The Typhoon at Santa's Viilage

Back in 1999 we made our one and only visit Santa's Village in Dundee Illinois, The third of the Santa's Village parks to be built, this park was projected to be the hub of a chain Glenn Holland was building across the country.

The first two Villages were built in California and parks were planned for Richmond, VA and Cherry Hill, NJ, The east coast parks were never built, making the park in East Dundee the last of chain.

The park's buildings represented what children might imagine Santa's real Village looked like. When the park opened in 1959, it was a very popular theme park. Even though it's popularity waned in later years, more than 20 million people passed through the front gates before the park closed in 2006

We had been planning our trip to the park for some time, in fact it was July of 1997, about the time the park's roller coaster was scheduled to open. Problems developed and the$1,500,000 Typhoon didn't open until 1998.

Manufactured by Top Fun USA of Brentwood, TN. the first of it's kind Typhoon was 1775 ft long, with a height 63 feet, one inversion and a maximum speed of 45 MPH, There were two trains, each had three cars and riders sat two across for a 12 riders per train. Riders had to be 54" or taller to ride, by the way the park was anticipating a 42 inch requirement, but the height requirement was raised after testing

Some think the Typhoon was the beginning of the end. The ride was very rough, with lots of head banging. The 54 inch height requirement was hoping to bring in an older crowd, but Santa's Village was really a children's park so the majority of guests were unable to ride the park's new ride.

The Typhoon didn't really fit the park's theme, in fact the coaster really didn't even have a theme. for whatever the reason the huge decline in attendance led to the parks demise in August of 2006. Most of the rides and fixtures were auctioned in October 2006. The Typhoon was auctioned off to the Ray Cammack Show company, a traveling carnival operator based in Arizona, for $250,000. We are not certain of it's current where abouts.

As for Top Fun it seems from the brochure, they were banking heavily of the Typhoon being a winner, instead it was what doomed the company's future.