Knott's Corkscrew Will Wind Down; New Ride Planned

Times Staff Writer

Knott's Berry Farm's 14-year-old Corkscrew, billed as the world's first upside-down roller coaster, will make its final gyrations Sept. 17 before it is dismantled "to make room for a bigger, more thrilling attraction," a park spokesman said Monday.

The Corkscrew, which twists riders through two 360-degree revolutions, is being replaced "to enhance the offerings at the park," said Robert Deuel of Knott's public relations office.

The ride is still one of the park's most popular features, Deuel said, but "we have to continue to produce new and exciting attractions for guests constantly. You can't sit back and rest on your laurels.

"We are a little sad to see it go. But the new one will be just as exciting."

Deuel would disclose few details about the new ride, except that it will contain upside-down twists, "more thrill elements" and will be "technologically more advanced" than the Corkscrew.

The Corkscrew, which cost about $1 million and has carried more than 31 million passengers since it opened in 1975, "was a pioneer in its time, and the new attraction will prove to be just as pioneering," Deuel said.

The new ride is scheduled to open next spring or summer, Deuel said. Construction is slated to start as soon as the Corkscrew is out of the way.

The Corkscrew was designed by Ron Toomer, a mechanical engineer whose recent creations include the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., which features seven upside-down loops.

Toomer could not be reached, but a spokeswoman for Arrow Dynamics in Clearfield, Utah, where he is president, said he is not working on a new ride for Knott's Berry Farm.

Relatively new thrill rides in Southland parks include Disneyland's Splash Mountain (estimated to cost as much as $70 million), a 6-week-old water slide in which riders are dropped 52 1/2 feet at a 47-degree angle; and Magic Mountain's Ninja, a $10-million roller coaster that opened last May, on which riders speed along in a swinging, suspended train (as opposed to a car that sits on a track).

In May, Knott's Berry Farm opened XK-1, a "flight simulator" in which riders are spun at a height of 10 stories.

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