Top Thrill Dragster 2022 Status

While certainly possible, I think its highly unlikely that dragster will get LSMs. I think its far more likely that the ride will either be scrapped, the line re-routed, or the line somehow covered. To convert to LSMs would require:

1) Many millions of dollars invested, with minimal return on investment, into a ride that is already 18 years old.

2) Working with Intamin to update the ride. Cedar Fair hasn't worked with Intamin since 2010, and that ride didn't even make it 5 years.

Last edited by 0g,

Not saying CF will or won't do this, but it's not as if parks haven't used other manufacturers to refurbish or modify coasters years after the fact. The Steel Phantom to Phantom's Revenge conversion is the first I can think of, and I think B&M had nothing to do with the launch system for either version of the Incredible Hulk.

As an aside, Knotts has removed the flywheel drive and the loop from Montezuma's Revenge, the last operating Schwarzkopf shuttle coaster in operation in the US. Rumblings are that they are replacing the launch system with something that doesn't require a cable. Also when they removed the loop, it was done with a cutting torch, so it's not likely that the original is going back up.

e x i t english's avatar

MonteZOOMa is also getting new trains with OTSR's, too :(

djDaemon's avatar

That Crazy Dan said:

...it's not as if parks haven't used other manufacturers to refurbish or modify coasters...

It's possible of course, but it's problematic when it comes time to troubleshoot and correct issues, because you're adding another vendor to the mix, unless IntaRide signs off on the idea, which would be surprising.

The only way an LSM conversion would seem plausible (beyond the technical capabilities) would be if the operational costs were so much lower compared to the hydraulic launch that they would actually realize some ROI from the modification. Otherwise they're spending a ton of money on a 20 year old ride that is already quite costly in terms of operation and underwriting.


Brandon

Very true, that would indeed complicate things even for a ride that's for all intents and purposes "out of warranty" with Intamin.

I know I mentioned earlier in the thread the what-if of what if they basically rebuilt Dragster from scratch with entirely non-Intamin parts. Yeah, I know at that point it would basically be a new ride and there wouldn't necessarily be a reason to keep it a L-TH-B layout, but let's say for the sake of discussion CP's decided they need to keep a 420ft launched coaster in the lineup one way or another.

Just kind of browsing recent LSM-launched coasters on RCDB, seems like your non-Intamin choices are essentially Premiere and Mack. I haven't ridden Copperhead Strike, but assuming it rides well and that the behind-the-scenes experience was good for CF, that might be your best bet for the closest to an Intamin launch experience.

There’s also Time Traveler and it’s multiple launches in Branson. It’s a great ride and as far as I know relatively reliable.
I don’t write the checks or take bids, but I’ve always heard that Mack rides are very expensive and that’s why we in the US haven’t seen many besides the standard mice.
And if cost is the prohibitive factor in choosing whether or not to install a new launch system then there may be your answer.

Last edited by RCMAC,

No doubt the trend in the industry right now is revamp, relaunch. We’ve seen this with Mantis, The RMC conversions, Tower of Terror at Disneyland (Now Guardians), just to name a few.

With Knott’s marketing a new Montezooma (Check out the new video of the new trains and refresh)

I do see this as a complete overhaul/new trains/new updates and “relaunch”.

The park has the second tallest thrill ride structure in the world, I see more potential in a refresh/reboot, rather than spending $$ to take it down (which don’t kid yourself would cost in the millions not thousands…)

If I can spend (estimate) $1-2 million to tear the structure down vs $5 million to revamp, get new trains, retheme, lsm, etc. and still claim to have one of the tallest and fastest roller coasters in the world, well that’s a no brainer.

New trains, new launch, new theme (?), well at that point you pretty much have an entirely new ride (Mean Streak/SV) and you also silence the argument that the ride isn’t safe.

I may be harkening back to my roller coaster fanboy years, but with Intamin’s Velocicoaster (the trains are amazing)- perhaps our markings are a revamp that includes keeping the structure, and then followed by a layout that uses the Corkscrew, Scrambler, Matterhorn area, with Velocicoaster type elements (inversions/Zero G Stall over the midway as homage to Corkscrew)- well that, my friends would be the greatest coaster ever created (and would certainly cost more than $5 million, but could open in 2024 as a brand new ride- 5 years after the last large ride, SV).

Last edited by Tilt-a-Whirl,
djDaemon's avatar

Velocicoaster has a launch speed of 70MPH that leads directly into a trimmed 155' tophat , so anything using TTD's 420' structure necessitating 120MPH would require an absolutely insane amount of trim brakes to have similar elements, pacing, etc. Or would require elements so large that they'd be prohibitively-expensive to manufacture and assemble, even if we pretended that steel prices weren't astronomically high and volatile right now.

As far as the "now safer than ever" angle goes, that's a tough needle to thread. Anytime you say something is "safer," you are basically acknowledging that the ride was comparatively unsafe before, and you still let the public near it knowing it was less safe. So, not a great marketing idea, to say the least.


Brandon

Correct, Indeed- the brake run would be replaced with a hill similar to Kingda Ka, and the elements would follow after. No one is saying the park would market it as “safer”.

But if you strip the ride of virtually everything but the tower, retheme it, and put Velocicoaster style trains, you negate every argument here for its removal.

Will it be done- who knows, that’s the fun of being a part of a community like this.

Can it be done? Absolutely, Rougarou. ;)

djDaemon's avatar

There are roughly 3,476,918 better uses of the capital than that. And I can answer your question - no, it won't be done.


Brandon

Yeah man I think the retro fit you guys are talking about is like 50 million not 5. I still think to install LSM's you're having to make the run up longer somehow by either moving the station (Landlocked at this point) or moving the tower (Practically impossible). I just cannot see that happening.

vwhoward's avatar

I couldn't imagine they would even be considering an LSM conversion. Seems like the least of their problems. The hydraulic launch has been unreliable since day one. They haven't changed anything yet. Yet another enthusiast pipe dream. I can't believe it's even getting debated.


Joe
Eat 'em up, Tigers, eat 'em up!

Agreed.

heric's avatar

I believe this is why it is getting discussed. I am absolutely not an engineer but it does not seem that far outside of the possibility for a LSM conversion using Red Force as an example. However it is as others have said - ROI/investment in something like this and potentially requiring Cedar Fair and Intamin to come to the table.

Another thing to consider is this tragedy threw a wrench into what already existing plans CP might have had for Dragster and the surrounding area. The movement of Matterhorn and Scrambler were probably set before the incident happened. Plus then you have two old Arrow's with Iron Dragon and Corkscrew. With the potential removal of one of those + Dragster's plot of land, you then open a whole world of possibilities though again knocking out one of the more kid-friendly coasters.

Personally, I hope that either it gets retrofitted/rebranded for reliability and safety or it comes down for a massive investment like a B&M giga that would be a massive people pleaser. If you go higher than Fury 325 the marketing department could still twist it as 'the world's tallest traditional roller coaster" or whatever - go nuts.

I'd like to think we're past needing a superlative to market a ride, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt. 300 and change does seem to be the sweet spot, considering how many 400+ footers we *haven't* seen since 2005, even in places like Abu Dhabi that like throwing around money on superlatives.

And re: the speculation about refurbing versus TAER IT DOWN, until there's an actual announcement, I don't see discussion and hypotheticals as getting people's hopes up, "pipe dream" or otherwise.

Mostly because I also want to recall people saying that Mantis becoming a floorless and Mean Streak getting RMC'd were bad ROI and were never going to happen, and so on and so forth.

vwhoward's avatar

^ I work for a company that manufacturers a product that is globally known and recognized. It's name is synonymous with the product akin to Kleenex and Rollerblade. They are always, and I mean always, working on something and introducing it as the "new" this, the "best" that, and the "only" with. We absolutely live in a world that superlatives are needed to sell. Now more than ever. Consumers crave and almost require the newest, the biggest, fastest, the best, the first. It is literally a necessity to capture the eye of today's buyers with shorter attention spans. They could ride the "tallest fastest" and then a month later call for something taller and faster. It is getting harder to please people in an era with a 3 minute news cycle and instant gratification.

And as far as the refurb vs tear it down aspect of the conversation, this is a totally different situation than Mantis and Mean Streak. They weren't shut down for a totally unrelated issue. The fact that people have grabbed on to an LSM refurb when it is irrelevant to the safety problem responsible for it's closure is lunacy.


Joe
Eat 'em up, Tigers, eat 'em up!

I know I don’t pay attention to anything unless it has broken the internet.

Stripping the ride of everything but the tower, installing a new lsm ground up launch (new track, new trains- think sound/lighting, new supports, etc.), a new layout following the launch akin to Velocicoaster (the arguably new “it” thing on the market when it comes to roller coasters- yes, Cedar Fair WILL work with Intamin again if they have what people want).

If you haven’t been on Velocicoaster, then I really need you to go do so. I live down here and people are obsessed with the thing unlike anything I’ve seen since Magnum in ‘89. If RMC can rip out 70’s/80’s wooden roller coasters and install new steel track over it- why can’t Intamin come in, TAeR everything down but that yellow structure, and build a new coaster?

If not this, than what better installation? B&M (while fantastic) doesn’t really have the next “it” thing right now- Islands of Adventure does. Will it cost $50million? Probably. Its called inflation. Orion was $40 million. (At least that’s what the conductor told me on the train, he’s probably right, after all- it wasn’t the Lemon Chill guy 😉)

Cedar Point is going to continue to do what it’s done the last 150+ years- adapt and change to what the market is wanting.

We’re getting our family coaster next year.

2024 is anyone’s guess- but it’s looking more and more like it will be back to basics- building the kind of roller coasters people travel all over the world to ride.

Last edited by Tilt-a-Whirl,

I'm still not convinced Cedar Point is getting any new major coasters anytime soon. Big record breaking roller coasters really aren't "in" right now, and budgets are still being watched after 2020. I'd much rather see a major update of CP Shores and/or some type of log flume or dark ride than what you just described. CP has a wonderful collection of coasters. They still need a few other things to round the place out.

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