by Paul Ruben
Unlike previous trade shows, I wasn’t exactly overwhelmed by the appearance of innovative new amusement rides at this winter’s IAAPA Attractions Expo.
Most years there are a number of innovations, but this year I found few. I was in the market for a new ride for my amusement park, Six Flags Over Paul’s House. It’s my own miniature amusement park. Operating a miniature amusement park has its advantages. My utility bill for operating rides is very low. There is never a problem at the guest services window. Maintenance is a breeze, and operations work flawlessly. The park is open by appointment. I’d like to acquire a few more miniature rides so that I can charge a pay-one-price admission. For now parking is free. Unlike Busch Gardens, adult beverages remain free too, at least for my friends.
So after a week in Orlando I went Christmas shopping. In the past I had purchased the Gold Label World’s Fair triple-layer figure-eight Tornado Roller Coaster at The Magical Carousel, a gift shop on the boardwalk near Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. Now I returned to see what else they might have for me. Six Flags Over Paul’s House also is home to a Gold Label Musical Carousel that plays a choice of ragtime tunes or Christmas music. I like the volume set very low. The grandkids like it high.
And what did I find this time in Seaside Heights? The Zinger, a ride by Lemax that exists only in miniature. See it here? The main boom of The Zinger revolves above the platform as the cars at each end of the boom spin on their axes. There is a soundtrack; there are lights. For now the Zinger is separate from SFOPH’s Coaster and Carousel. We have a real estate problem in the living room, so the Zinger has a place of honour on the étagère in the family room, near the TV set. My imaginary park guests love it, which got me thinking. Would real guests enjoy a full-sized version?
Maybe not. The Zinger is reminiscent of the ride described in US patent 3,596,905, a “plural horizontal axis roundabout having a sheave driven carriage.” A centrally pivoted elongated oblong boom carries an endless conveyor around sheaves at opposite ends of the boom. The boom carries freely swingable passenger cages. Sound familiar? It was invented by Joseph M Brown and assigned to Chance Manufacturing Company. It’s the Chance Zipper.
I become discombobulated when I ride the Zipper, so I’ve avoided it in recent years. The Zinger is slightly different from the Zipper, but I suspect the ride motion is similar enough that it would get to me. But in miniature, no problem. I love my Zinger. When I’m feeling blue watching the evening news I turn down the TV and turn on the Zinger. It cheers me up, and I don’t get nauseous.