Cedar Point delays debut of Shoot the Rapids water ride

Cedar Point is still opening Saturday, but its new Shoot the Rapids attraction won't be along for the ride. Engineering problems with the ride -- the boats the passengers ride in were too long and didn't fit the flume -- forced the park to delay the ride's debut by two weeks.
Tom Jackson
May 11, 2010

 

Cedar Point is still opening Saturday, but its new Shoot the Rapids attraction won't be along for the ride.

Engineering problems with the ride -- the boats the passengers ride in were too long and didn't fit the flume -- forced the park to delay the ride's debut by two weeks.

Cedar Point had planned to launch the ride on the park's opening day. The new target date is two weeks later, on May 29, said Dick Kinzel, president, chairman and CEO of Cedar Fair, Cedar Point's parent company.

He said he believes May 29 is a firm date.

Kinzel and other Cedar Point executives made the decision to delay the ride's launch on Sunday, after a series of weekend meetings. A planned media day to show off the ride to reporters on Friday morning was axed and won't be rescheduled.

Delays in launching a new ride at Cedar Point are unusual but are not unprecedented, said Robin Innes, Cedar Point's main spokesman. The last delay was with Maverick in 2007, he said.

Cedar Point had planned to launch Maverick on May 12, 2007, but the opening was delayed until May 26. Three sections of track were removed after tests revealed an excessive amount of stress.

Shoot the Rapids also has been delayed because of an engineering problem.

"Basically, we had trouble with the boats," Kinzel said Monday. "It's more of an engineering problem than a safety problem."

"The manufacturer made the flume, and he contracted out the boats," Kinzel said. "When the boats came together, the boats didn't fit the flumes."

Kinzel said workers have been busy all week trying to modify the boats, which were too long and didn't go over the top of the hill properly. That can destroy the flume, he said.

By Sunday, only two of the boats had been retrofitted. The ride uses four boats.

"We can run two or three boats, but that's not what you want to do," he said.

The struggle to get the ride to work right cut training time, so executives decided on the delay to give the ride crew time to prepare, Kinzel said.

Kinzel said the park has had a long relationship with the manufacturer, Intamin Worldwide of Switzerland, which made Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium Force and Maverick rides. Cedar Fair will work the problem out with the company, Kinzel said.

"We're not going to bring our lawyers into it," Kinzel said.

The delay also has postponed the auction that the Firelands Chapter of the American Red Cross is conducting for who gets to be first to try out the water ride. The cutoff for bidding is now 8:30 a.m. May 26, said Ron Rude, executive director of the local Red Cross chapter.

"I think it may work to our advantage," Rude said. "We always like to complete things on schedule, but it will give us more time to hopefully gain more bidders."