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.
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.
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.
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— 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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