is a ride I go back a long way with, it was built in 1983, although
I didn't ride it until 1990. Thinking about it, I never did the
Thunder Looper or Blackpool until 1994, and Disney's Big Thunder
Mountain was 1992, so for 2 years it was the best coaster I'd ever
done. My memories from that first ride were a bit of a rush.
This was the days before the internet, so we had little idea what to
expect. We just queued for a ride in a green and yellow building.
This led to a cruel joke 4 years where we told people it was just a
gentle scenic ride. It started out that way with a trundle up a
spiral hill lift, with a model of an astronaut in a space
hanging from the ceiling. When you reached the top though the
coaster section started with avengance.
All I remembered from my first ride was a burst of speed and a load
of flashing lights in my face. As I rode it more times over the next
10 years I became more accustomed to things and was able to take in
more. Things became less scary, but it never failed to thrill me.
After 25 years of service to the park age started to catch up with
it. That and the need for space for new rides meant it was only a
matter of time. Sadly the rides end
a little premature due to some changes in safety laws, requiring
better access for indoor rides, meaning a lot of expensive
modifications would have been required to keep the ride open. So a
ride that had safely operated for 25 years was closed. The ride was
taken away, and given a full refurbish, and sold on to Furuvik in
Sweeden where it can still be ridden as an outdoor coaster. The
former site of the ride was vacant for 8 years until it became the
home of the Smiler.