The MegaWhirl, a prototype ride described as combining the thrill of the Whip and the Tilt in a whole new way is expected to make its debut in Coney Island this season. On Monday, the first two of four trucks carrying the MegaWhirl structure arrived on Thor Equities’ Stillwell Avenue lot leased to the BK Festival promoters for their new Steeplechase Park. The new ride’s arrival is another promising sign of Coney Island’s revival. Back in the day, the first models of new park or carnival rides would make their debut here.
“This is the prototype. It’s running like a charm,” the MegaWhirl’s designer Jonathan Gordon of Gordon Rides told ATZ. Over the next few weeks, the ride will be set up, tested and inspected. “If all goes well, we’re hoping that the ride will make its debut along with the rest of the park on Memorial Day Weekend.” The prototype was built by Larson International and was previously set up on the factory floor at Larson’s headquarters in Plainview, Texas. Promo videos show visiting ride enthusiasts going for a test spin.
“This dizzying ride swings riders in all directions, creating the illusion of near-misses with other carriages and the edges of the ride,” according to Gordon Rides website. Unlike the Whip, the cars of the MegaWhirl spin all the way around- 360 degrees – in a random curve pattern that could be mild or intense. As a family ride, it runs at a maximum of 4 miles per hour. “We’re going to tweak it a little bit faster,” said Gordon.
When we interviewed Gordon last year for “New Ride: The Whip + Tilt-A-Whirl = MegaWhirl” (ATZ, June 28, 2011), the White Plains-based ride designer said that he grew up in Westchester County and went to Playland Park as a boy, where he enjoyed riding the Whip and other classics. “That influenced me quite a bit,” Gordon told ATZ. “The rides were beloved and they’re just not around anymore.” He spent summers working at the park, first as a mechanic and later in the superintendent’s office before going to engineering school. He holds numerous patents in roller coaster and ride design, including one on a “multi-track multi-vehicle interactive roller coaster.”
Related posts on ATZ…
April 19, 2012: Rides Return to Thor’s Stillwell Lots for 1st Time Since 2008
March 5, 2012: Exclusive: Goodbye Flea Market, Hello “Steeplechase Park”
June 28, 2011: New Ride: The Whip + Tilt-A-Whirl = MegaWhirl
February 1, 2011: Bring Back the Whip! A Birthday Gift for William F Mangels