Specific Type: Wooden
On July fourth, 1925, a coaster by the name of the Giant Dipper made a debut at the San Diego, California Belmont Park. Designed by coaster geniuses Fredrick Church and Frank Prior and put together from the ground up in just 45 days, the Giant Dipper rumbled over 2,600 feet of wooden track, with a highly-twisted multi-out & back layout formation situated by the side of the Pacific Ocean at Mission Beach. The wooden wonder packed a punch for its riders, with a few surprises along the way. But by the mid 1970s, the gates of Belmont Park would close and the Giant Dipper would be left to battle nature - and plans for redevelopment - from 1976 on. The light at the end of the tunnel would come at long last in 1983 as a group of cause-devoted coaster enthusiasts took action and formed the Save the Coaster Committee, finally getting their chance to preserve a coaster legend. The Giant Dipper re-emerged on the eleventh of August, 1990 as one of only two remaining wooden coaster classics on the West Coast, the other being the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk's much-differing Giant Dipper coaster. Equipped with shiny new trains donated by Morgan Manufacturing, new trackwork and restructuring and a fresh coat of paint, the Belmont Giant Dipper reopened and went down on the National Register of Historic Places and became a National Landmark.
Boarding the sea-green and white painted 2-abreast train, riders leave the station around a left-hand U-turn. But just where a lift-hill would be expected, the ride enters a tunnel with a second turn enclosed, then the beginning of the lift arrives at last. Exiting the tunnel, the train continues on up with chain-lift melody until reaching a 73-foot peak. A spiraling drop curving widely to the right sends the course in the opposite direction, then traveling parallel to the lift over a second hill. Dipping down, a banked turn winds the track around to a third hill and turnaround dive. More rabbit-hopping fun follows with a set of curving, winding hills, then riders are thrown around to the left for another turnaround of the layout, this time encircling the first spiraling drop. Passengers dive under the wooden support structure and engage on two more meandering airtime hops twisting around the structure of the completed track sections. A fan curve around the far-end turnaround swings the ride around and into the brake section to finish off the ride with a bang.
The Giant Dipper may not exactly be a giant by today's standards, but is one of the few remaining examples of a true classic coaster.
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