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Anytime a park closes down, sadness is felt throughout the coaster community. This sadness is further deepened when those parks have coasters, particularly ones which are classic woodies that likely will not be able to be salvaged, taken down, and meticulously reconstructed in another park. Not that they aren’t worth saving, as was proven by the reconstruction and revival of The Rocket, which became reborn in Elysburg as the mighty Phoenix. When Geauga Lake announced suddenly that they were no longer going to run the amusement park portion of the park, I was upset with the decision, primarily because the fans of the park were losing a staple of the area that had been there for over a century. Then, there were the rides and coasters – some were being saved and moved on to other places, while others awaited an uncertain fate. The first coaster that came to my mind as one that would be a terrible loss if it was simply torn down was Big Dipper, the park’s classic and wonderful little wooden coaster that has dished out some great rides from its central midway location for more than 80 years. I for one am hoping that some park will take on the task of keeping Big Dipper alive in a new locale, as it was a fine coaster that is worthy of continuing to thrill riders young and old for another 80 years.
To me, if there ever was an icon for Geauga Lake, Big Dipper was it. Yes, there were some towering steel beasts (and even a shiny new wooden one) that began gracing the park at the turn of this century, and they seemingly dwarfed and overshadowed this wooden coaster that had been around so long. But, while a coaster like Dominator may have become the heart of Geauga Lake, the Big Dipper was always the park’s soul. Big Dipper was the constant here. Rides came and went all around Dipper, and the park grew with waterparks being added. But in the middle of it all, the Big Dipper just kept on chugging, doing its thing and providing smiles and joy to everyone it could. So yeah, the setting and look of Big Dipper, to me anyway, was perfect. It had that simple, quaint charm to it that made the ride very endearing. No flash was needed here, just some treated lumber with an old fashioned feel, along with a nice old station. The whole setup made you feel like you were taking a brief step back in time, which for me is a great feeling on these nostalgic wooden coasters. I always picture a coaster like Big Dipper as a perfect starter coaster for younger kids that have just "graduated" to the more grown-up rides and attractions. And kids here loved this thing, as they composed a good half of the people in line and riding. The crews here were always some of the best in the park, and they were always happy and efficient. The lines were never very large, and when they were there they moved very quickly. The trains looked great and were very comfortable, with ample padding all around. I actually remember riding this when it was just the lap bar, and although the seat belts being added was slightly disappointing, they did not detract from the ride for me. Once the train departed the station, I always got a big smile, because I knew I was in for a ride that was classic, thrilling, and more than anything – FUN!
John A. Miller really was a genius of coaster design back in the day that this was built, and so many of his creations, like this one, just produce a great ride that even after all those years still delivers. His designs were so simplistic, yet so wonderful in that they did everything well and produced rides that could consistently thrill and satisfy a wide array of riders, from thrill seekers to the more casual riders. Big Dipper was no exception to this, and upon leaving the station, the train would climb the rather modest 65 foot lift hill. My favorite seats on this were the ends of the train, either the front seat or the back row. And of the two of those, I liked the front seat best. The first drop was very good, and gave a nice pop of ai
Fun, classic wooden coaster that was my second favorite ride at Geauga Lake (behind Dominator). The first drop gave decent air in the back and following that was a slow and boring hill (no air). Then came a good air time hill, followed by a turnaround giving a pop of air for front seat riders. Afterwards were some air time hills that gave decent air for front seat riders only, but there were quite a few that didnt. The ride was also pretty smooth throughout.
This old John Miller just wishes it was like some of its cousins. The layout was simple but there was barely any air to be found. The trains were plush and comfy, which was a great way to relax after being in the car for 13 of the previous 17 hours, but the ride didnt do much for me other than knock up the woodie count.
A fun family friendly type coaster. Not for thrill seekers, but a decent little ride, nonetheless. Not terribly or painfully rough.
I would like to begin by saying I am usually a huge fan of classic wooden coasters. However, this coaster just did not meet my expectations. It was fun, as all classic woodies are for the most part, especially the initial drop and immediate airtime hills. The return journey, however, was castrated by a set of trim-brakes that just killed the airtime on the final hills. Another Cedar Fair wooden coaster with a lot of potential shot down by killer-trims.
Theres nothing really thrilling about this. The seats are uncomfortable because your knees bang against them on top of that.
I was expecting alot from his historic old coaster. It looks like it should have great air time... but I found relatively little.
This was an awesome wood coaster! I sometimes could not tell if my rear was in the seat at all with the airtime you get from the ride! A must ride if you visit Geauga Lake
I can only guess that this ride was a lot more fun before the seat belts. But I have few complaints to justify my low rating.
1) - There is good air but with the seat belts it felt like the seat belts would cut through my thighs and separate my legs from the rest of my body.
2) - On the hills my lower spine was compressed when I came back into the seat (I think this is a result of the seat belts also)
3) - There is padding where your knees can hit the the seat in front of you under the lap bar but it does not go all the way from the right side the to left side leaving a part of the lap bar unexposed with no padding. That unexposed metal is dangerously close to your knees. Both myself and my brother-in-law came off the ride limping from our knees hitting this exposed metal.
Well, I had to ride the oldest coaster in the park. Definitely a classic. It is not the tallest nor the fastest, but it gives you some very nice thrills with the airtime. My only complaint on this ride is the constant slamming of your legs into the lap bar. Maybe I had it down too far or something. All in all, this ride is worth riding, especially if you love the classic woodie feel.
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