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Nov 1, 2012
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I'm honestly astounded by your wealth of knowledge about the park, and the incredible level of detail you're able to recall. Genuinely can't thank you enough for all of the information you've posted here.



Once I'm finished restoring the collection, I'll be sure to post a selection to the group. I was also planning to give them back to the marketing department, if they're interested. Would be cool to see some of the photos come full circle and somehow be used by the park again, after being nearly thrown away, saved, and given back.

A few photos of Sky Pilot, the park's Intamin Flight Trainer, which opened in 1989 and closed in 1998. Each car had a joystick that could be used to control the elevation of the arm (to a degree), and to roll the car. Drop Tower now sits on the foundation used by it. I'm not sure exactly how many of these there were, but Kings Island, Knott's, and California's Great America had them as well.

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Must have been taken over winter (late 88 or very early 89) during initial testing of the ride, considering the lack of windows or graphics on the pods.

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February 1989.

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August 1993. Notice the cockpits became open air at some point - I'm not sure if it was a change made by Paramount or prior to them, or what the reasoning for it was.

The vehicles started with canopies to give the illusion of being in a cockpit of a plane.

The covers did have holes drilled in certain areas to allow for some air flow; but, as you can imagine, it could get really warm in the ride vehicles during the summer heat. Plus, the canopies had to be opened and closed manually by the ride crew; which was time consuming and lowered hourly capacity. So, after a couple seasons, they were removed.

Thanks for sharing here on this site. Like I posted earlier, you have photos of attractions, like Sky Pilot, that I have not seen on the facebook group site. Any photos you wish to post there would be appreciated. As for my knowledge, I started attending the park when it opened in 1975 (I was 13 years old). I can't gaurantee my information is 100% accurate; sometimes I can be off a year or two or I might have the order of something flipped here or there or a wrong name given. So I give my accuracy score between 85% to 95% on average.

Just wanted to clarify that the KD Historian site is just a repository of online posted photos, slides, and an occasional video. I am pretty sure they don't request or store any physical media. Just online uploads of media by generous donors. I would certainly contact the KD marketing department to see if they would want what you have for their archives.
 
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Jonesta6

Glumble
Feb 14, 2019
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Reminds me of the Dale Brumfield article about this ride. I would love to see more from him as well as more modern backstage voices from the park, but I believe he's set his sights on other unrelated topics.

@mwhinva - I concur with @zachclarke2 about how awesome it is for you to fill us in with your knowledge.

As to the question of why the cockpits went open-air at some point, my guess would be increasing capacity and speeding up operations. Less fussing with opening and closing canopies means faster loading which in turn can get more guests on the ride in an hour... Also, without the canopies I'd also guess that they're a bit easier to clean and have less parts that can break that can cause downtime for maintenance to repair. Edit: I see @mwhinva beat me to it.
 
Nov 1, 2012
1,020
2,256
113
Reminds me of the Dale Brumfield article about this ride. I would love to see more from him as well as more modern backstage voices from the park, but I believe he's set his sights on other unrelated topics.

@mwhinva - I concur with @zachclarke2 about how awesome it is for you to fill us in with your knowledge.

As to the question of why the cockpits went open-air at some point, my guess would be increasing capacity and speeding up operations. Less fussing with opening and closing canopies means faster loading which in turn can get more guests on the ride in an hour... Also, without the canopies I'd also guess that they're a bit easier to clean and have less parts that can break that can cause downtime for maintenance to repair. Edit: I see @mwhinva beat me to it.
You actually mentioned something I did not and that was maintenance issues. If the canopy hinges/latches broke, then the ride would have to be shutdown until maintenance repaired it. The removal of the canopies eliminated that maintenance issue and downtime.
 
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Jun 17, 2011
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zachcphoto.com
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August 1983. Opening year of White Water Canyon. Dave Brumfield has a great account of the ride's construction and early days if anyone's not been on his site yet. Amusingly the photo he has at the top of his piece appears to have been taken just a few seconds after this one - same riders and angle.

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March 1984. Shenandoah Lumber Company, the park's Arrow log flume that opened in 1975. Still there obviously. Have any major modifications been made to this ride over the years, or is it more or less the same?

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March 1984. Haunted River opened in 1979 as part of the Lost World expansion - in its first season it was called Voyage to Atlantis, but was changed for 1980 with overhauled theming. This is the elaborate ghost pirate dinner table scene towards the end of the ride. Dale Brumfield wrote an excellent account of this ride as well; interestingly he claims the chandelier hanging above the table in this photo came from the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond.

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April (?) 1987. Racing Rivers, the park's 'dry' water slide complex which opened later that season. From left to right the slides were Torpedo, Splashdown, and Riptide, although the latter isn't yet constructed in this photo. This stood about where Joe Cool's/Dominator are today, which means the photo was likely taken from the Eiffel Tower's 50 foot deck, or possible a little higher up the stairwell.

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Judging off this photo, this appears to be Torpedo, the enclosed slide on the left of the tower.

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Looks like Splashdown (middle), based on the same photo.

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No date on either of the above 3 photos, but I'd guess they were taken shortly after opening since there's a photo of each slide. This one's Riptide, the slide on the right of the tower. I always found Rampage at WCUSA to be pretty unsettling, but this just looks straight up bonkers. No way the sleds didn't get air on that drop.

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1994. Another shot of Torpedo, with Paramount branding.

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August 1993. Small slides that were a part of Splash Island, the kids area in the original Hurricane Reef waterpark expansion. Monsoon Chutes and Anaconda are visible in the background.

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August 1993. Pipeline waterslides, which are currently multicolored and named Baja Bends. Visible in the background are Cyclone, Tidal Wave, Splash Island, Rebel Yell, Sky Pilot, the Skyride, Shockwave, and Apple Turnover.
 
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Jun 17, 2011
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zachcphoto.com
eiffeltower_01.png
March 1984. Eiffel Tower during a full moon rise.

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March 1984. Interestingly this slide was included in the collection, although it appears to be Kings Island's Skyride as the one at KD never had round gondolas.

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March 1984. Blue Ridge Tollway, the Arrow antique car ride.

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March 1984. Old Dominion Line, a narrow gauge steam train that made a full circuit loop around the woods, and included a show that cycled out through the years. There were 2 trains: the Patrick Henry, and the Stonewall Jackson - this is the latter. When the ride was closed in 1994, Patrick Henry was sold to Busch Gardens Tampa, where it still remains. Stonewall Jackson was sold to Dry Gulch USA, a Christian children’s camp in Oklahoma, and was used around Christmastime. In 2020 it was sent to Worlds of Fun in Kansas City to fill in for an engine undergoing refurbishment. The station was roughly where Twist & Shop and Skyflyer are now if I understand correctly.

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July 1993. Carousel, taken to the right of the clock, looking east. Skyride cable is sort of visible in the background.

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September 1993. Berserker, the Intamin looping starship flat.

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September 1993. Days of Thunder exterior.

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1994. I've seen a black & white cropped version of this photo before, but not this full crop color version.
 

Mushroom

Getting aHEAD of myself
Advisory Panel
Feb 12, 2011
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Wow, that's the first photo I've seen of the Action Theater's original exterior when it was Days of Thunder. That building has been ugly for as long as I can remember, but damn, that Days of Thunder exterior looks really trashy. The white picket fence, the racecar that looks like it was just plopped down into the pathway (and incidentally now serves as Dale Earnhardt's racecar next to I305), the theater's industrial-looking trusses, the bright red paint... it's all so cheap-looking.

This was also one of Paramount's first additions to the park, so just imagine how shocking it was in 1993 to see that forested path from International Street replaced by something so garish. Until Days of Thunder, the path had been part of Old Virginia and contained a small, wooded outdoor performance venue. What a change - and quite symbolic of the future impact Paramount would have on the park.
 
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