WindSeeker thrill ride to alter Knott’s Berry Farm skyline in 2011

WindSeeker at Knott's Berry Farm

The 301-foot-tall WindSeeker promises to change Knott’s Berry Farm’s skyline when the spinning swing ride debuts at the Buena Park theme park in 2011.

WindSeeker will carry 64 riders in twin-seat gondolas to the top of the tower, where the ride’s metal arms will extend out at a 45-degree angle and spin for one minute at 30 mph.

WindSeeker at Knott's Berry Farm

The $5 million WindSeeker thrill ride replaces the venerable but aging Sky Cabin, a 225-foot-tall gyro observation tower built in 1976 and painted in patriotic red, white and blue. In recent years, the sedate observation deck has become better known for getting stuck in mid-ascent than for its commanding views. Knott’s removed the nostalgic Sky Jump parachute drop from the tower in 1999, leaving only the Sky Cabin.

The WindSeeker tower will retain the Sky Cabin’s signature Knott’s “K” at the top of the ride.

Sky Cabin at Knott's Berry Farm

WindSeeker will be just a bit shorter Knott’s 312-foot-tall Supreme Scream turbo drop ride, touted as the tallest freestanding structure in Orange County when it was built in 1998.

Cedar Fair, Knott’s parent company, will install identical WindSeekers in 2011 at Cedar Point and Kings Island in Ohio and Canada’s Wonderland in Ontario.

The ride’s Dutch manufacturer, Mondial, is embroiled in a bitter patent dispute with an Australian competitor over the ride’s design. FunTime’s Star Flyer looks like a classic wave swinger ride with seats suspended from chains while Mondial’s WindSeeker features steel arms designed for higher wind conditions.

FunTimes's Star Flyer

WindSeeker had been an open secret on theme park websites like Screamscape and Westcoaster before FunTime spoiled Cedar Fair’s surprise last week by taking their patent infringement claim public.

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Funland amusement + theme park blogFind the latest amusement and theme park news at the Los Angeles Times Funland blog: www.latimes.com/funland. Follow Funland on Twitter and Facebook.

— Brady MacDonald, Los Angeles Times staff writer

Photos: Concept art of WindSeeker; Sky Cabin at Knott’s Berry Farm; FunTime’s Star Flyer. Credits: Knott’s Berry Farm, FunTime.

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2 Comments on “WindSeeker thrill ride to alter Knott’s Berry Farm skyline in 2011”

  1. Fred Says:

    It should be noted that the existing Sky Cabin (at Knott’s) is actually only the remains of a larger ride. It began life a a Parachute Jump ride. The Sky Cabin was simply an observation cabin that moved up and down the center pole of the parachute ride (a bonus, if you will, for the main ride). For some reason, they took out the parachutes a few years ago, but left the tower (and the cabin) standing.

  2. Michelle Micone Says:

    Oh my gosh that looks CRAZY!I cant BELIVE that people would acually go on the wind seeker!It looks huge from the pictures,it looks AWESOME!

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