This is part 2 of the rec.roller-coaster FAQ....
2.1: Common abbreviations
A lot of things discussed on rec.roller-coaster are in acronym form. This
is because writing out "Six Flags Over Texas" several times in a posting is
tedious, at best; ``SFoT'' is much easier to write. Here are some
abbreviations you're likely to see in discussions on rec.roller-coaster.
Some entries are hypertext links, which can take you to explanations of the
terms or organizations mentioned here. In the plain-text version, these
items are enclosed in angle brackets <<like this>> to let you know to look
for an explanation elsewhere.
ACE - <<American Coaster Enthusiasts>>
BGT - Busch Gardens Tampa, Tampa, FL
BGW - Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Williamsburg, VA
BTW - By the way
CI - Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY
CP - Cedar Point, Sandusky, OH
DL - Disneyland, Anaheim, CA
ERT - <<Exclusive Ride Time>>
FYI - For your information
GASM - Great American Scream Machine (roller coaster at SFGA, Jackson,
GP - <<General Public>>
IAAPA - International Assoc. of Amusement Parks and Attractions
IMHO - In my humble opinion
IT - Inside Track magazine
MACC - <<Mid-Atlantic Coaster Club>>
NAPHA - <<National Amusement Park Historical Association>>
PCW - Paramount's Canada's Wonderland, Vaughn, Ontario, Canada (note
that many people think PCW is Paramount's Carowinds, but I don't think
we've settled on an acronym for it yet)
PGA - Paramount's Great America, Santa Clara, CA
PKD - Kings Dominion, Doswell, VA
PKI - Kings Island, Kings Mills, OH
POP - <<Pay One Price>>
POV - <<Point of View>>
RC - Roller Coaster
SBNO - <<Standing But Not Operating>>
SCBB - Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, CA
SFGAd - Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ
SFGAm - Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, IL
SFAW - Six Flags Astroworld, Houston, TX
SFMM - Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, CA
SFoG - Six Flags over Georgia, Atlanta, GA
SFoMA - Six Flags over Mid-America, Eureka, MO
SFoT - Six Flags over Texas, Arlington, TX
TC - Texas Cyclone, Astroworld, Houston, TX
TPM - <<Theme Park Mentality>>
WDW - Walt Disney World, Orange County, FL
WNYCC - Western New York Coaster Club
WoF - Worlds of Fun, Kansas City, MO
2.2: Definitions of Roller-Coaster terms
Discussions among coaster enthusiasts can soon become awash in jargon.
Below is a list of coaster terms used by enthusiasts when discussing their
favorite subject. This should help in following along with the discussions
live and in rec.roller-coaster. It'll also help you impress friends and
relatives with your knowledge of roller coasters. Cross-references to other
definitions in the list are enclosed in angle brackets <<like this>> in the
plain-text version, and are working hypertext links in the World Wide Web
References to images at the ftp site, gboro.rowan.edu, which do a good job
of illustrating the point being defined are listed in square brackets, like
[Images: WHATEVER.GIF]. In the hypertext version, many of the image
references have a hyperlink; in these cases, the image displayed is a
modified (often smaller) version of the actual photo. This is not an
exhaustive list of all images that show a "whatever," but indicates those
images which do the best job of illustrating the definition.
Describes the sensation of coming out of your seat when riding a
coaster. This effect is usually felt while riding in a front seat when
cresting a hill or in a back seat when descending.
A turn in which the tracks are tilted laterally to allow trains to turn
at high speeds without undue discomfort to the riders due to <<lateral
gravity>>. Note, of course, that enthusiasts _like_ lateral gravity.
[Images: CB_CYC01.GIF, GA_CYC01.GIF]
Arrow's name for an element just like a <<Boomerang>>, but a mirror
image of Vekoma's design.
B&M's version of a Batwing differs greatly from Arrow's. It features
two inversions as well, but it consists of two loops, both angled at 45
degrees and which face each other in a mirror-image arrangement.
A section of track which is divided from other sections by brakes, chain
lift, or some other mean of preventing forward progress of the
<<train>>. The safety system prevents two trains from occupying a block
at the same time.
There are two different meanings for this term.
1. A type of coaster manufactured by Vekoma. It is a variation of the
<<shuttle loop>> where you are hoisted up an incline, released and
sent through the loading station into a semi-loop arrangement (as in
definition 2 below) that inverts you twice, then into a <<vertical
loop>>. After this the train heads up another incline and stops.
The train is then pulled further up the second incline and released
backwards, goes back through the loop and semi-loop and returns to
2. An element used in a looping steel coaster that inverts you twice
and also acts as a turnaround. You enter going up and to the left,
then the train twists upside down and follows through in an upright
U-shape, you twist upside down and to the left again, exiting
upright heading back in the direction you came from.
The rotating wheels used to move the train near the station, pushing it
along on flat track.
An element similar to a <<boomerang>>, but which you exit in the same
direction entered, rather than making a 180 turn as in a Boomerang.
Every coasteraholic's nightmare! ...used to slow the train, they are
located strategically in the circuit to control speeds in areas where
excessive speed may be undesirable (note that "undesirable" and "unsafe"
are not necessarily synonymous in this case, see also <<Theme Park
Mentality>>). Brakes are usually located in the center of the trackwork,
and not on the cars themselves. There are several different types of
brakes used on a coaster, they are:
A safety device that allows more than two trains to be on the same
circuit, as part of the "block" safety system. These are usually
brakes on a ride which don't necessarily slow down the train, but
separate one block from another. Should a train try to enter another
block when it is occupied, the safety system will <<set-up>> the
Used only to slow down a train, and are usually pre-set. The
difference between a Scarf brake and a Trim Brake is that a Trim
Brake can stop a train if needed, while a Scarf brake can only slow
A brake used to slow the train running the track. This is used when
the coaster exceeds recommended operating margins. It is also used
when the train is causing too much wear on the track from excessive
A flat stretch of track, usually two to three train lengths, at the
station approach, where in-bound trains are halted. Since it is very
difficult to stop a train with wet brakes, this area is usually covered
to keep the brakes dry during a rainstorm.
A series of two or more hills, each slightly smaller than the preceding
Also, B&M's reference to an "in-line" inversion element which can be
found on their Sit-down and Stand-up roller coasters.
A unit or part of a coaster train, it usually carries between two and
A catch or pawl device beneath the train cars which engages into the
The rolling chain that carries the train to the crest of the lift hill.
A safety device that allows more than two trains to be on the same
course. If there is a problem in one "block" of track, the check brake
will not allow the following train(s) to continue the trackwork.
A completed journey on a coaster track.
A term used to describe a coaster which is operated and maintained in a
"classic" sense. These coasters usually run traditional trains, void of
ratcheting lap bars, seat dividers, head rests, side bars, and other
modern restraint/safety devices. "Classic Coaster" is also an official
status given by the American Coaster Enthusiasts to coasters operating
in the above manner. (The <<list of ACE's Classic Coasters>> appears
later in this FAQ.)
B&M's version of a <<boomerang>> element, slightly altered to
accommodate B&M 4-across trains. B&M has slightly different versions of
the Cobra Roll for their sit-down and <<inverted>> coasters.
A coaster configuration that includes a horizontal spiral or helix in
which riders are turned upside down one or more times.
An Arrow-designed element which consists of a single inversion in a
A B&M designed element whose inspiration was taken from a stunt plane
maneuver. Riders enter the loop in a forward motion as the trains turn
to the side in a constant arc motion. Eventually the track inverts
before riders continue their parabolic curve back towards the ground.
The Diving Loop can be found on B&M's Stand-up and Sit-Down roller
coasters, but which is referred to as the "Immelman" Loop when used on
their <<Inverted>> coasters.
A left or right jog or offset in the otherwise straight, flat portion or
A hill that has been divided into two separate drops by a flattening out
of the drop midway down the hill.
A type of curve, usually found on an Out-and-Back, where the curve
descends in height as it curves. These curves are normally banked as
well (See <<Banked Turn>>).
Exclusive Ride Time
Usually part of an organized Coaster Club's event. An "ERT" consists of
a block of time, usually before and/or after a park is available to the
<<general public>>, in which only the members of the coaster club are
allowed to ride. This allows the hard-core enthusiast more rides in less
time. Parks usually make sure their coaster(s) are running better for
such events, making them even more appealing.
There are two somewhat different meanings of "fan curve" floating about.
A curved called a "fan curve" could actually meet definition 1 below, or
definition 2, or both. Confused? Good. ;^)
1. A curve with spoke reinforcements radiating from a central point to
the circumference of the track.
2. A curve that enters the turn while ascending, and exits the turn
while descending. These are usually more thrilling than a flat turn
(See <<Elevated Curve>>).
Layout of a coaster resembling the numeral eight, thus allowing both
right and left turns.
Fine' Del Capo
A portion of track that quickly ducks under an overhead support in such
a way as to give the rider a feeling of imminent decapitation. Can also
refer to the portion of track that first enters a tunnel or covered
brake run. Those of you who've studied music or Italian may recognize
the term as Latin for "end of the head." :^)
Usually the highest and most exciting drop on a coaster, most often
following immediately after the chain lift. First drops are usually
angled at about 50 degrees.
[Images: BEASTPC.GIF, RATTLER1.GIF, HERC1.GIF]
B&M's reference for a highly banked, high speed helix. This element can
be found on their Sit-down, Stand-up and <<Inverted>> roller coasters.
A turn in which the trackwork remains virtually flat (i.e. the opposite
of a <<banked turn>>). It usually gives the riders the feeling that the
coaster may tip over, due to <<lateral gravity>>.
A term from the original trackless coaster design. This coaster
resembles a bobsled run with the trains running in a U shaped trough.
The flying turns from the 1920s and 30s used Cypress wood for its trough
and maintenance was high. Newer versions of this type use steel for the
Literally refers to the non-enthusiasts who attend a park. The term is
used to connote those park patrons who like their roller coasters a
little (or a lot) less wild than the average enthusiast does.
A coaster that makes use of the natural terrain and gives an added
feeling of speed by keeping the track close to the ground through the
ups and downs.
TOGO's steel coaster in which the center of gravity is designed around
the riders "Heartline". Formerly referred to as the "MEGA Coaster",
TOGO's Heartline Coaster contains drops and inversions very similar to
Arrow's <<Pipeline>> coaster, but its trains ride on top of the rails as
opposed to between them.
An element on B&M <<Inverted>> coasters which rotates the train in a
very small diameter corkscrew, producing a rotation about the rider's
"heartline". This is very similar to a barrel roll or B&M's "Camel
Corkscrew-shaped loops on either a vertical or horizontal plane. The
usual meaning is of spiral turns either descending (like going down the
bathtub drain) or ascending.
Sometimes used in reference to a coaster hill.
B&M's term for their "Diving Loop" as used on their <<Inverted>>
coasters. This new element is named after the German stunt pilot whos
famous air acrobatics inspired this coaster maneuver.
B&M's new twist on a vertical loop, which is angled at a 45 degree
elevation. This is one-half of B & M's "Batwing" element.
Any part of a steel roller coaster <<circuit>> that turns you upside
[Images: DRACHEN3.GIF and many others]
A coaster that rides below the track rather than on the track. The cars
on this type of coaster are rigidly connected to their wheel assembly
(Compare with <<Suspended>>).
[Images: BATMAN01-05.GIF, GADVBAT1-6.GIF, TOPGUN01-03.GIF]
Two <<vertical loops>> that intertwine like two links on a chain. An
example would be the two loops on the Loch Ness Monster at Busch Gardens
in Williamsburg, Virginia.
Those forces which pull you to the side of the car (or slam you, as the
case may be), often found on <<flat turns>>, and often eliminated with
<<banked turns>> (especially on newer roller coasters).
Portion of the station where passengers board the coaster trains.
3600 people waiting in front of you to ride a coaster!
[Images: MSTREAKC.GIF, TOPGUN01.GIF]
Term sometimes used in reference to a roller coaster.
A hand-operated <<station brake>>, where the train is stopped by the
muscle power of the operator. Most often found on <<classic coasters>>.
Sometimes, the operator may not apply enough force and the train will
overshoot the station. If you're on board when this happens, you'll be
one of the lucky ones getting a free ride!
(Short for "Negative Gravity") See <<Airtime>>.
Out and Back
A style of roller coaster. The name describes the general configuration
of the ride, basically an elongated oval in which the train goes out to
a turnaround and then returns to the station. The truest form of this
would have no other curves besides the turnaround. Another way to do
this would be to put a couple of 90 degree turns (see <<dog leg>>) in
the ride giving it a L-shape. In general out and backs have higher
speeds than designs with more tight turns.
A coaster hill that has an almost continuous curve and very little, if
any, straight track.
Pay One Price
An amusement park admission which includes all rides and shows. The
alternative is for every ride to require a separate ticket (or tickets,
as the case may be).
Point of View
A view of a roller coaster as seen from the rider's point of view. This
is often done from the front seat, but can be from any seat on the
train. Both still and moving pictures can be "Point of View." Roller
coaster designers often create Point of View animations of roller
coasters that haven't been built yet, to give parks an idea of what the
ride will be like.
A coaster design by Arrow Dynamics in which the cars ride between the
rails, allowing such maneuvers as "barrel rolls" to be performed. No
pipeline coasters have been built yet, but similar designs are the TOGO
Ultra Twister and <<Heartline Coaster>>. B&M's <<Inverted>> coasters
feature a <<"heartline">> flip, which is similar to a barrel roll,
though not exactly the same.
Those forces which pull you downward, often appearing at the bottom of
hills, and in steel looping elements.
Any coaster that runs two trains that leave the station at the same time
and "race" other, most often on parallel tracks.
[Images: RACER*.GIF, RUSA.GIF, ROLLTH01.GIF]
A claw-toothed steel bar running on certain inclines that prevents a
train from rolling backwards. The ratchet causes the clanking sound
associated with the chain lift (also referred to as the "anti-rollback"
device or "Ratchet Dogs"). The ratchet itself does not stop the train.
This is done by a device affixed to the bottom of the car which catches
in the ratchet.
Any occurrence which causes trains to stop outside of the station. This
may include shutdowns initiated by the safety system, the operator, or
some other cause.
A type of coaster where the train travels forward out of the station
through a vertical loop then up an incline of track that ascends high
into the air. The train then plummets backwards through the loop and
through the station, usually to another steep incline, which returns the
train to the brake run.
A coaster with guide rails located above and on the outside edge of the
running rails, instead of using guide <<wheels>>.
One half of Arrow's version of a <<boomerang>> element, which makes a
A very abrupt, rough drop that sometimes occurs after a major hill (an
extreme example of <<Airtime>>).
A small hill taken at high speeds usually lifting riders off their seats
A series of speed dips, usually on the way back from the turnaround on
an <<Out and Back>> coaster.
A 360-degree turn.
Standing But Not Operating
A roller coaster which is no longer operating but has not been
destroyed. Preservation efforts by the American Coaster Enthusiasts, and
others, often will focus on these coasters because of their status. They
could be torn down at any time, and the lack of maintenance will cause
their condition to deteriorate rapidly.
A steel roller coaster, often with one or more inversions, where cars
are designed for the riders to ride standing up instead of sitting down.
A building that houses: ride operators, brake and chain lift controls,
brake run, loading and unloading platforms, train storage area, and
often, the train maintenance workshop.
Standard gear on EVERY coaster. Used for deceleration on return to the
station (See <<Brake Run>>).
Generally, any coaster with tubular steel rails supported with steel
framing. Some coasters classified as steel actually have wooden framing.
Cars usually have nylon wheels that impart a smooth, quiet ride.
[Images: GASM01A.GIF and many others]
A coaster that rides below the track rather than on the track. The cars
on this type of coaster are designed such that they are free to swing
relative to their wheel assembly (Compare with <<Inverted>>).
Suspended Looping Coaster
Vekoma's version of B&M's popular <<Inverted>> coaster. The major
differences are two-across seating vs. B&M's 4-across, and the track
fabrication is similar to that found on sit-down Vekoma or Arrow looping
To date, Vekoma's Suspended Looping Coaster (SLC) are only available as
production model rides, and not available in custom configurations,
although two models are available: a SLC "Boomerang" coaster, and a
5-inversion SLC (which appears to be Vekoma's take on B&M's "Batman"
A fast turn that incorporates a dip and a return to the crest of the
next hill while turning.
A park, usually of large size, which has one or more "themed" areas,
with Rides and Attractions keyed to the theme of their location within
the park. Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Fiesta Texas are all
excellent examples of theme parks.
Theme Park Mentality
A derogatory (but sometimes applicable) term which implies a set of
overly strict, safety conscious rules and operation procedures.
These policies are there to please the <<general public>> and the park's
insurance company, not the hard-core enthusiast. :^)
Note that a park does not have to be a <<theme park>> to suffer from
"Theme Park Mentality." There are traditional parks which suffer from a
lot of TPM, and there are theme parks which suffer from little or no
Traditional Amusement Park
A park which still holds aspects of its origins in today's modern
society. Most Traditional Parks grew out of "Picnic Parks" which were
located at the end of trolley lines. Kennywood, Whalom Park, and
Lakeside are all excellent examples of Traditional Parks.
A series of two to seven cars hooked together to make a circuit of the
Usually the turn located farthest from the station (usually on an
<<Out-and-Back>> style coaster) after which the trains begin their
Just like it sounds. The configuration of this type of coaster is varied
and has multiple turns, often in a Figure 8 layout. The Coney Island
Cyclone, the Riverside Cyclone, Mr. Twister, and the Texas Giant are
good examples of a twister. You can expect the unexpected. A good
twister will disorient you!
[Images: TWISTER.GIF, RBLGHT01.GIF]
Portion of the station where passengers unload from the coaster train.
Modern coasters have combined the loading and unloading platforms into
one quick-moving operation.
A nearly closed vertical turn of 360 degrees in which riders are turned
upside down in a transitional curve in a near-vertical plane.
A coaster car uses 3 different types of wheels:
* Guide Wheel - A set of wheels which guide the train so that it does
not leave the track sideways (also known as Side-Friction wheels).
* Road Wheel - A wheel that actually rides on the top of the track.
* Upstop wheel - A set of wheels which ride underneath the track to
keep the train from jumping off or leaving the trackwork (also
referred to as "Undershot" or "Underside" Friction wheels).
A small steel coaster featuring small cars (big enough for two adults);
sharp, unbanked turns; quick, steep drops (heavy on the airtime); and,
in general, a very rough and wild ride.
An element on B&M coasters similar to a <<corkscrew>>, but more like an
extended <<vertical loop>>.
Generally, any coaster with laminated wooden rails, to which flat steel
rails are attached. Supporting members are usually wooden, however, some
coasters classified as wooden actually have steel framing (e.g. Crystal
Beach Cyclone, Coney Island Cyclone, and Frontier City's Wildcat!).
2.3: American Coaster Enthusiasts - ACE
The American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) is a non-profit organization that was
established to promote roller coasters, and their preservation,
documentation, and information. The annual fee is $50 for an individual.
The rate for a couple is $65. (ACE has a very loose definition of couple --
two people living at the same address.) Additional family members can be
added for $5 each. Membership includes four high-quality magazines a year
and newsletters approximately every six to eight weeks.
Get-togethers include an annual convention and usually two or three
conferences. In many cases these events coincide with the opening of a new
roller coaster and they almost always will feature some Exclusive Ride Time.
Several parks provide free or discounted admission to ACE members. Parks
providing free admission are Frontier City, Oklahoma City, OK; Magic
Springs, Hot Springs, AR; and Worlds of Fun, Kansas City, MO.
The ACE application is available from a few places on the internet. You can
get it from:
* http://www.contrib.andrew.cmu.edu/usr/ga25/home.html (The home page of
former ACE Membership director Gary Aulfinger.)
* email to current ACE Membership director Brian Peters at
* email to Bill Buckley, ACE Regional Representative for the New England
region at buc...@powdml.enet.dec.com
The slowest way is to write to:
American Coaster Enthusiasts
P.O. Box 8226
Chicago, IL 60680
If you don't have a postscript printer, you'll have to contact one of the
ACE representatives listed above or write directly to ACE to get a hard-copy
version of the application.
Remember that all of this work is done on a volunteer basis, so if you don't
hear from them right away, be patient.
2.4: Mid-Atlantic Coaster Club - MACC
The Mid-Atlantic Coaster Club is a fairly good-sized regional club. It is
based out of the Virginia area, but members are welcomed from any state.
There is a monthly newsletter called The Front Seat which keeps members up
to date on club activities, etc.
Among these activities is the annual Screamfest convention, usually held in
early Spring, as well as a late Summer event of some sort. As usual, the
highlight of this event is the exclusive ride time available only to club
The annual membership fee is only $15 for an individual, and $20 for a
couple (family rates may be available, but you'd have to inquire). For
membership, please send a check (payable to Steve Thompson) to the following
7532 Murillo Street
Springfield, Virginia 22151
2.5: Western New York Coaster Club - WNYCC
The Western New York Coaster Club (WNYCC) is a fairly good-sized regional
club. It is based in the Buffalo/Rochester area, but there are many members
from just about every state.
Meetings are held in various areas of western NY state. There is a monthly
newsletter called the Gravity Gazette that keeps members up to date on club
activities. The Gravity Gazette centers around articles written by the
members themselves, giving a very intimate, inclusive feeling to the
Among these activities are an annual Coasterfest (usually on Memorial Day
weekend). As with events of other clubs, you can expect to get in some
exclusive ride time. Most of the time there is *at least* one dinner
included in the registration fee.
The annual membership fee is only $15 for an individual and $20 for a
The membership address is:
Mr. Rick Taylor
WNYCC Membership Director
4731 Forest Grove
Ft. Wayne, IN 46835
2.6: Great Ohio Coaster Club - GOCC
The Great Ohio Coaster Club is a non-profit, social organization for the
simple enjoyment of the roller coaster and amusement parks. It is based
around the Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown area but members are from all over
Ohio plus Pennsylvannia, Michigan and Texas. To keep gatherings and events
friendly the membership is limited to 200 members. Currently there are about
The club plans four or five trips each year plus a Christmas Party.
Membership dues are $20.00 individual, $30.00 couple. The club's newsletter
The Streak is published six times a year.
The address to write for membership is:
Jeffrey L. Seifert
9600 Cove Dr #4
North Royalton, Ohio 44133-2769
2.7: First Drop - U.K. Coaster Club
Coaster clubs are not confined to the U.S.! There is a club in the United
Kingdom with a bi-monthly newsletter, which keep tabs on all the coasters
across ``the pond''. There has actually been quite a bit going on in the
The address is:
16 Charles Street
The membership rate, payable in check, postal order, or International money
order to FIRST DROP is:
U.K.: 15 pounds
Europe: 17.50 pounds
USA and Canada: 20 pounds
Rest of the world: 22.50 pounds
Corporate: 35 pounds (UK and Europe)
40 pounds (Rest of the World)
Additional family members (at same address) are 2.50 pounds
If you pay in U.S. funds, add $3.00 for bank handling fees.
2.8: National Amusement Park Historical Association -
NAPHA Is a non-profit organization formed in 1978 to preserve and display
items of amusement park memorabilia (past and present), document park
history, enable people with common interest in parks to meet and exchange
ideas, and in the future, to open the Amusement Park Historical Society.
Membership per year is $30.00/individual, $40.00 for Family or corporate
membership (USA). International rates are $40.00 individual, and $50 for
family and corporate memberships. Check or money order can be made payable
to ``N.A.P.H.A.'' Membership includes 6 newsletters/year, park discount
tickets, and an annual convention, usually held in IL.
For membership, write to:
National Amusement Park Historical Association
P.O. Box 83,
Mt. Prospect, IL 60056
2.9: National Carousel Association - NCA
The National Carousel Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to
the appreciation and conservation of the hand-carved wooden carousels. This
group is not really coaster-related, but an item of nostalgia which may be
of interest to readers.
The NCA's annual membership fee is $30.00 (at least $5 of this goes directly
to carousel preservation), and the club offers a magazine/ newsletter
arrangement similar to the ACE schedule: 4 magazines/year
(Merry-go-Roundup), and 6 newsletters/year. A yearly convention is also
Inquires for more information on the organization, or for membership
requests, should be sent to:
National Carousel Association
P.O. Box 4333
Evansville, IN 47724-0333
2.10: Books on Roller Coasters and Amusement Parks
_GUIDE TO RIDE_
Published by ACE in 1991. Lists the _major_ roller coasters located in
North America. Features photos of most rides, and a full description of
$17.95 US and Canada
$21.95 all other countries
American Coaster Enthusiasts
c/o John Page
6108 Sherman Drive
Woodridge, IL 60517
_THE AMUSEMENT PARK GUIDE_
Written by Tim O'Brien. Lists nearly every amusement park on this
continent! Lists parks alphabetically by state then Canada and Mexico.
Published mid-1991 but includes some rides to open in 1992.
The Globe Pequot Press
"A Voyager Book"
_GUIDE TO NORTH AMERICAN THEME PARKS_
Published by AAA. Lists selected Amusement and Theme parks. Not all
parks in either category are listed. Parks are listed by region. Lists
all rides and attractions by name including description. Published
Spring 1990. Available in most book stores in the TRAVEL section.
_THE AMERICAN AMUSEMENT PARK INDUSTRY: A History of Technology and _
Written by Judith A. Adams, this traces the history of amusement parks
from Bartholemew's Fair in 1614 to current. Covers the rise and decline
of trolley parks, offers an in-depth critical look at the Disney Parks,
and covers the current success of theme parks. Often viewed from a
socio-economic perspective, it can be a trifle dry at times, but
contains a lot of historical data.
Twayne's Evolution of Business Series
_THE INCREDIBLE SCREAM MACHINE: A History of the Roller Coaster_
by Robert Cartmell. This book traces the roller-coaster from its origins
in Russia and Paris to America. It discusses the early rides, and how
John Miller revolutionized coasters. It goes on to talk about Traver
and Theme Parks in general. This book is illustrated with many
photographs, including photos of Miller's rides, Traver's twisted (some
might say ``demented'') metal coasters with wooden tracks, and the old
Bowling Green State University Popular Press
Price: $42.95 (hardback) $25.95 (paperback)
_THE GREAT AMERICAN AMUSEMENT PARKS: A Pictorial History_
by Gary Kyriazi. Published in 1976 by Castle Books. This is an older
book with loads of facts and photos (somewhat dated, of course, but
reportedly worth it if you can find a copy). I don't have any other
info on this book. Feel free to contribute!
_ROLLER COASTERS: an illustrated guide to the rides in the United States and
Canada, with a history_
by Todd H. Throgmorton, published 1993 by McFarland & Co., Jefferson,
I don't have nay more info about this book, but thanks to Martin I
Lewison (mil...@pitt.edu) for providing this much.
_Kennywood: Roller Coaster Capital of the World_
by Charles J. Jacques, Jr. (1994) published by Amusement Park Journal,
is available from the publisher (for about $20) at:
Amusement Park Journal
P.O. Box 157
Natrona Heights, PA 15065
_Cedar Point: The Queen of American Watering Places_
by David Francis and Diane Francis (1988) published by Summertime
Publications, P.O. Box 16, Wadsworth, Ohio, 44281. This book is
apparently sold at Cedar Point.
A place to try for ordering some of these books if your local bookstore
doesn't have them or can't get them in, is:
Gunther Hall, Limited
P.O. Box 140
Alton Bay, New Hampshire 03810
Call or write and ask for their list of coaster products. You also might try
bookstores specializing in out of print books and/or used bookstores for
some of the older books mentioned here.
is the quarterly magazine of the American Coaster Enthusiasts and is
included with ACE membership. See the section on <<ACE>> above for
is the newsletter that is included with ACE membership. This is where
you'll read about the latest happenings in the coaster industry. ACE
News comes out about every 6 weeks.
ACE News can be reached on the Internet at "ACE...@aol.com"
is a magazine that is worthwhile for new information on roller coasters
and amusement parks in general. It is a newspaper format, published
monthly, and very professionally done.
Along with news on new coasters, there is info on park closings, coaster
designers and amusement ride innovations, and a section called APtv
(Amusement Park Television) that'll give you info on videos and feature
movies with coasters and parks in them. Inside Track is highly
recommend for those that want to keep tabs on what's happening in the
Amusement Park Industry.
For a subscription in the US send your address and $20 to:
Mark Wyatt, Editor & Publisher
P.O. Box 7956
Newark, DE 19714-7956
The subscription rate for those outside the US is $30.
Inside Track can be reached on the Internet at "Insi...@aol.com"
is a newsletter magazine, published quarterly, which maintains an
international focus on amusement parks, roller coasters, and the latest
industry technology. _The Ride_ is acquiring a reputation for breaking
the latest/hottest news in the Amusement Park industry. The newsletter
mirrors the look, layout and laid-back feel of the original _Inside
Track_. The magazine's "Hit List" publication annually generates quite a
buzz in the industry -- a survey like no other, one has to read it to
appreciate its unique approach to what's hot and what's not!
For subscription information, please contact:
P.O. Box 8345
Jersey City, NJ 07306
THE RIDE can be reached on the Internet at "TheR...@aol.com"
is the magazine of the <<First Drop Roller Coaster Club>>. It's a very
well-done magazine that is something of a combination of newsletter and
glossy magazine. It also has a wonderfully informal, "you're among
friends here" feel.
_At the Park_
is published by Yellow Dot Publishing, and is by-and-large the
brainstorm of long-time ACE corporate member Allen Ambrosini. This is
more a journal for the amusement park industry than for the average
coaster enthusiast; however, the magazine is TOP NOTCH in design and
format (contains excellent 4-color photographs of today's top coasters
and parks!), with very well-written articles, and a sensible, enjoyable
layout. You'll learn much more about the industry as a whole. It's a
highly recommended as an addition to ACE News or Inside Track. A one
year subscription (5 issues) costs:
Canada and Mexico: $31.95
Outside North America: (Please inquire with publisher)
Send your name and address to:
At The Park Magazine
P.O. BOX 597783
Chicago, IL 60659-7783
is published two or three times per year, and features stories focused
primarily on the Disneyland of the 50s and 60s. (The full title of the
magazine is ``The `E' Ticket -- Collecting Theme Park Memories.'')
Though Disneyland is the primary focus, the magazine covers other
California parks as well, such as Pacific Ocean Park and Knott's Berry
Farm. Each issue is about 35 pages long. For a sample issue, send $6
The ``E'' Ticket
20560 Alaminos Drive
Saugus, CA 91350
If anyone has info about ordering from outside the US, I'd be happy to
a weekly publication which covers ALL aspects of the entertainment
industry: water parks, amusement parks, theme parks, traveling
carnivals, state fairs, concerts, sporting events, trade shows, ANYTHING
to do with public supplied entertainment!
AB is always on the ball about the latest and hottest news!! AB is a bit
pricey, though. There are a large variety of prices, but here are a few
Subscription -- pre-paid billed
USA, 6 month -- $75 $85
USA, 1 year -- $99 $119
Canada, 1 yr, airmail -- $169 $189
Canada, 1 yr, surface -- $115 $135
(and too many other options to mention here...)
Inquiries, information, and subscriptions can be sent to:
Amusement Business can be reached on the Internet at "A...@aol.com"
2.12: FTP site
The ``official'' ftp site for rec.roller-coaster is gboro.rowan.edu. The
good stuff is in directory /pub/Coasters. You'll find all sorts of goodies,
including images (in JPG and GIF formats), descriptions/reviews of parks and
coasters, track definition files for Disney's "Coaster" program, and this
FAQ. Check the file Coasters.lis, which is an index of what's available.
Please limit your ftp usage to after hours, Eastern Time.
If you have anything to contribute to the FTP archive, send it to Ken
2.13: Other stuff of interest
This section lists some other things available "out there" that you may find
of interest. No guarantee is implied by their mention here, but you may want
to check them out.
Windows screen saver
There is a screen saver for Microsoft Windows that runs a simulation of a
roller coaster. It's available by anonymous ftp from ftp.cica.indiana.edu
A Roller Coaster Calendar is published by Moor Publishing. For ordering
1209 Hill Road North
Pickerington OH 43147-8600
Cost: $11.95 + Shipping and handling
The 1995 calendar features the following coasters:
Jan Great American Scream Machine, Six Flags over Georgia (daytime)
Feb Batman The Ride, Six Flags Magic Mountain (daytime)
Mar Hurler, Paramount's Carowinds (daytime)
April The Bat, Paramount Canada's Wonderland (daytime)
May Thunderbolt, Kennywood (daytime)
June Desperado, Buffalo Bill's (daytime)
July American Eagle, Six Flags Great America (daytime)
Aug Nemesis, Alton Towers (daytime)
Sep Le Monstre, Le Ronde (daytime)
Oct King Cobra, Paramount's Kings Island (daytime)
Nov Top Gun, Paramount's Great America (daytime)
Dec Vortex, Paramount's Carowinds (night)
Special thanks to Bill Buckley for these descriptions!
2.14: Amusement Industry Jobs
A lot of us would love to be a roller coaster designer. We often see posts
from people asking how to get such a job. Here are some
comments/advice/etc. on coaster-designing jobs, mostly from people who don't
have such jobs, so take it all with a few grains of salt.
* A lot more people want to design roller coasters than can find jobs
doing it. Be aware of that before setting your hopes too high. Don't
quit your day job, as they say. For example, Arrow Dynamics employs
about a dozen engineers, and has low turnover. The other coaster
designers are probably similar.
* Mechanical and electrical engineering are the most used disciplines.
Arrow also has two civil engineers.
* Get some industry design experience first. Remember these companies are
small, and don't have the ability to train new-hires like a Boeing or
* If you _do_ get a job with an amusement design company, recognize that
you're probably not going to start off designing the next big bad roller
coaster. You may design a spinning kiddie ride. Or an insignificant
component of a spinning kiddie ride.
* You can get company addresses from the ACE Directory, phone books, the
Thomas Register of Suppliers, and no doubt other sources. Make friends
with your local librarian. They like looking things up --that's why
they're librarians. It'll cost you $0.32 + paper and time to send a
* Do as much research as you can before you fire off resumes! Join ACE.
Go to the ACE conventions. Talk to people. Go to the IAAPA Convention
(but be forewarned that this is a *business* convention, and if you go
barging in with your resume in hand you may not make too good an
impression; talk to people and see if you can make appointments; do this
*before* going to the convention). Subscribe to Amusement Business.
* If you're still in school, get a summer job at an amusement park. Try
for operations or maintenance (sorry, experience in food service won't
do you too much good ;^) ). Learn everything you can about the rides and
how they're operated and maintained.
Still want to do it? Good luck! We look forward to riding your creations.
Geoff Allen, Washington State Univ, School of EE & CS, sysadmin support guy
(ge...@eecs.wsu.edu || ge...@wsu.edu) && http://www.eecs.wsu.edu/~geoff/
Please remain seated and keep your hands and arms above your head
at all times. Enjoy your ride.
2.1: Common abbreviations
A 360-degree turn.
The membership address is:
The address is:
For membership, write to:
2.12: FTP site
Windows screen saver
This is a re-post of the FAQ orginally posted by Geoff Allen on 12/20/95