Monday, June 15, 2015

California's Great America to Go Floorless in 2016?

© California's Great America
It appears as though the Vortex roller coaster at California's Great America may be receiving new floorless trains in 2016, according to a news report.  The story is about Cedar Fair's 2015 initiatives to grow the company, one of which is the floorless conversion of Mantis at Cedar Point into Rougarou. 

The story is a great read on its own, but toward the end it indicates that the company's CFO, Brian Witherow, made this implication with regard to Rougarou:

"Witherow said Cedar Fair plans to do the same with other aging coasters in its portfolio, including one next year at its park near San Francisco."

© California's Great America
Now this will still remain as rumor status officially, but the fact that Vortex, an aging B&M designed stand-up coaster, is located at California's Great America probably isn't a coincidence.  Vortex opened in 1991 as the company's second creation after Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America.  The coaster stands 91 feet tall with 1,920 feet of track and two inversions - a vertical loop and a corkscrew.

On my recent trip to Carowinds I bemoaned on Twitter how their Vortex, also a B&M stand-up ride, was uncomfortable and slow loading due to the trains.  I indicated I hoped Rougarou was a success so other conversions would get approved, and the reaction consensus seemed to be that the company wouldn't spend big bucks on new trains for such small rides - seeing that Rougarous is way bigger.  It would now appear that there must be sufficient financial sense to convert the rides as one may be moving forward next year.

I would expect a similar roll out to the Mantis approach - a new name for Vortex, full re-paint and the like.  We'll stay tuned!