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Cedar Point debuts WindSeeker, a 30-story spinning ride

Detroit Free Press

Original Article »

May 22, 2011

Little sister, you've never seen this swing on the playground.

WindSeeker, a 301-foot tall spinning ride, debuts at Cedar Point this spring, just in time for scaring the kids silly.

Built by the Dutch company Mondial, the ride features 32 swings carrying 2 people each. It will twirl around as the swings rise, increasing speeds as they spin higher and higher. At the top, the entire set of swings will be moving around at 30 m.p.h. at a 45-degree angle -- giving a great 360-degree view at a blur.

Three other parks owned by Cedar Point's corporate owner Cedar Fair also are debuting WindSeekers -- Kings Island near Cincinnati, Canada's Wonderland near Toronto and Knotts Berry Farm in California.

Putting the same $5 million ride at several parks may alienate hard-core theme park goers, says Robert Niles, editor of, but it should delight casual visitors who like new rides at their local parks.

"Regional theme parks ... live and die by how many people from their local areas come out to the park," he said.

For Cedar Point, the WindSeeker is a modern version of a famous ride the park had back in the early 1900s.

"Sea Swings" was a ride actually in Lake Erie, not on the beach. Riders skimmed around on the surface of the water as the ride twirled, with customers sometimes flying off into the waves.

Cedar Fair doesn't report individual park results, but it told investors it had a 7% overall boost in visitors last year -- 2.2 million more than in dismal 2009.

The parks are already open, and WindSeeker should debut in June if weather cooperates for testing.

Two other regional theme parks also have new features this year.

Michigan's Adventure in Muskegon is introducing Beach Party -- a huge interactive water play attraction geared to the younger crowd.

And Six Flags Great America near Chicago is expanding its giant Boomerang Bay water park with Riptide Bay, 4 acres of attractions.

The Riptide Bay ride of note? The Dive Bomber. Here's the description: "It's bombs away as the floor drops out from beneath you and you free-fall 5 stories into a looping water slide; travel speeds of up to 40 m.p.h., while clear tubes allow guests to see riders shooting down the slide."


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