Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Knott's Update: Part 2 - The Sky Cabin

Today we will be revisiting Knott's Berry Farm's Sky Cabin attraction. For more than a year now, it has spent most of it's time "parked" at the top of the old Sky Jump tower in the Boardwalk section of the park (formerly the Roaring Twenties Airfield). For a while, there were plans to tear down the old tower and build Windseeker in it's place, but that plan changed last year when Windseeker's location was moved to Fiesta Village and it was announced that the old tower would be staying and the Sky Cabin would be refurbished. Here's a shot that was taken last year of the tower with "Boomerang" in the foreground. (Incidentally, Boomerang is the rollercoaster that replaced Knott's historic Corkscrew Rollercoaster.)

This next shot was also taken last year. I'm not sure why the Sky Cabin car was left at the top of the tower. One employee told me that it had to do with weights....or was it counterweights? I don't know the difference, but it sounds good! Another employee told me that they thought it was "stuck" in that position, because in it's last days of operation, it kept getting stuck at the top of the tower with people inside the cabin!

Even though the attraction remained closed, this sign continued to hang on the side of a nearby snack stand....and it's still there today. Note how the tower is depicted with it's old paint job (after the red and white checkerboard pattern, but before the current red and white stripes).

The safety/information sign can also still be found at the entrance to the attraction.

But Sally and Peppermint Patty are there to keep us from entering the attraction's queue. (They should also be apologizing for their scratched and dirty sign.)

Well, last Thursday when I stopped by Knott's to ride Windseeker, I noticed the cabin actually going up the tower! I went over to get a closer look and to see if it would come back down. When I got closer to the tower, I noticed something odd about the observation car. Can you see what's missing in this photo?

How about if we zoom in a bit?

Okay, let's get even closer. Hey that man is leaning OUT of the window! The glass is gone! That's a good thing considering the last time I rode in the cabin, the view was very "cloudy" from all the scratches on the glass.

Now the cabin is coming back down......

....however, it was not rotating like it used to.

I spoke with a couple ride operators and they said that Knott's is trying to get the cabin in working condition again so that it can be reopened. I really hope this happens! Knott's needs more variety. I would enjoy getting to ride this attraction again just as much as I enjoy riding Windseeker. And I'm sure there are people out there that would ride the Sky Cabin that would NEVER go on Windseeker. Everything doesn't have to be a thrill ride! Bring back Bear-y Tales and the Haunted Shack! (I know, I know....I work that plea into a lot of my Knott's posts, but it will likely never happen!)

The railings in the foreground of these next two pics are located in what used to be the loading area for the old Parachute Sky Jump attraction.

Compare the entrance sign above with the sign in the vintage photo below. Was everything better in the past? Maybe not everything, but that sign certainly was. It looks like they are using the same sign posts after all these years, but today there is a bit of rust coming through the paint.

This was actually the entrance for just the Sky Jump. If we zoom in, we can see a special sign pointing us in the direction of the Sky Cabin entrance which was located on the other side of the tower. (By the way, this photo was from a "Knott's Employees" group on Facebook. The page stated that all content is public, so I hope that means it's okay to repost this photo on my blog!)

Just for fun, here's a vintage postcard of the Sky Jump and Sky Cabin and it also shows another version of the Sky Jump sign.

If the Sky Cabin does reopen, I've got my "C" ticket ready!

Or maybe they would still accept this old "Rides Aplenty" unlimited-use ticket!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Knott's Update: Part 1 - Windseeker

Windseeker has finally opened at Knott's Berry Farm! I rode it last month just shortly after it had it's official opening. It was actually nighttime when I rode it for the first time and I really felt like I needed to go back and ride it again during the day. Well, last Thursday was that day. You can see by the sky that it was a weird overcast day. It was also warm and humid.

Once again, Windseeker is located in Fiesta Village between Jaguar, Montezooma's Revenge, Silver Bullet and the Carousel. Below, you can see the tracks of Jaguar and Silver Bullet.

Here's one of Jaguar's cars gliding over the entrance to Windseeker.

The entrance and queue is covered with a metal roof. I'm sure this is to protect the people below from potential flying debris from the riders above.

The ride spins around 30 stories up in the air. Here it is on it's way back down to the ground.

This next shot was taken while riding Jaguar. I used this same method to take many construction photos earlier this year. Those can be seen here: Windseeker Construction.

There is no camera or cell phone usage allowed during the ride, although I have seen footage on YouTube that was taken while riding. I think it would be quite dangerous to do this since if the device was dropped, it could potentially kill someone below. The viewing area next to Windseeker is not covered.

I shot this nighttime footage back in August, a few days after Windseeker opened. You can hear the music from the Merry-Go-Rond in the background and then a little bit later, you can hear LeAnn Rimes singing, "God Bless America." The park was closing and this is the music that they play at closing time. The odd thing is, that while riding Windseeker, they play the music from the movies, "Superman" and "E.T." I wonder how much Cedar Fair had to pay for the rights to that music?

I did enjoy riding Windseeker, but it was definitely more enjoyable during the day since obviously the view is better and you can get a better feeling of how high up you truly are.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dapper Day at Disneyland - An Evening Affair!

The second biannual "Dapper Day" was held at Disneyland last Friday. The basic idea for this "unofficial" park event was just to get dressed up, go to the park, and have fun. I missed the very first event back in February, but I made it to this one and I have only two complaints. The night went by too quickly and I wish I had taken more photos!

There were two scheduled "meets" during the evening. The first was for the "Dapper Derby" in Fantasyland. Everyone met at 8:00 and then "flash mobbed" the Carrousel.

The turn out for this event was so great, it took four rounds on the Carrousel to accommodate everyone in the group. Here are some photos of the first group of riders.

It's the "Disney wave."

Notice the vintage Disneyland paper bag from the late seventies and early eighties.

These next photos are of the second group to ride. Below, is "Progressland" of the Disneyland Nomenclature blog, and artists Kevin Kidney and Jody Daily.

No texting until the Carrousel comes to a full and complete stop, please!

After the Carrousel ride, many people stayed in the area and posed for pics.

Here's a very dapper Dave of Daveland posing with a dapper duo!

This shot was requested by one of the ladies attending the event. She asked for a group photo of some of the hat-wearing men.

Zooming in, we see another vintage Disneyland bag. This one is circa the late sixties and early seventies.

Then the crowd broke up since the next meeting time wasn't until 11:30 over at Trader Sam's. Some of us stayed together to watch the "Magic, Memories and You" show, and the "Magical" fireworks show and also to ride.....It's a Dapper World After All!

After the park closed, people met up again over at the Disneyland Hotel for cocktails in the newly opened Trader Sam's.

If you haven't seen Trader Sam's yet, it is definitely worth checking out!. If you order a specialty drink (or just wait for someone else to order one), "enchanted" things happen.

A "family tree" can be found mounted on the wall inside. If the colors look strange in this shot, it's because I converted the photo to "retro colors." I was going to do this to all of the photos (along with adding the white borders) to give them a vintage look, but I didn't like the way they turned out so we just have this one that managed to make it's way into the post.

This is the view from the patio of the new hotel water slides, framed on either side by tiki torches.

Here are a couple videos from that night. This first one is from YouTube user "drwrose" and shows the first group to ride on the Carousel.

This second video is from YouTube user "pizzaplanettruck" and starts out with one of the attendees choosing an outfit for the evening and also shows dancing at the soon-to-be-demolished Plaza Gardens Pavilion. I love the Glenn Miller version of "When You Wish Upon A Star"....excellent soundtrack choice!!!

For more information about Dapper Day and to see some pics from the very first event that was held in February of this year, click here: Dapper Day