Twist N Shout
Specific Type: Steel, Wild Mouse
Following the minor addition of the Minor Mike roller coaster in 1998, the owners of the small Gillian’s Wonderland Pier wanted to add a little more to the park the next year. Keeping it still family-centered, but trying to add a bit more thrill this time around, the park added the Wild Wonder in 1999. The small but zippy “Zig Zag Coaster” was Zamperla’s take on the Wild Mouse roller coaster, offering hairpin turns and abrupt drops. The ride’s tenure at Gillian’s though was very short lived, leaving the park before it even lots its “new-coaster smell.”
In August, 1999, a mother and her 8-year old daughter were killed on the ride when their car stalled and rolled backwards, ejecting the two passengers from their seats as it bounded around a sharp turn the wrong way. Problems with the anti-rollback device, including wear and being made out of a weak steel, caused it to fail from preventing the rollback from occurring. Compounding that were issues found with the lap bar mechanism, which was both improperly adjusted and had weak points found. Had one of these two issues been found earlier, the incident likely would have been minor, but together they turned fatal. Zamperla was fined #30,000 for safety violations, while Gillian’s Wonderland was fined $25,000 for operating the ride with the lap bar not properly adjusted and making unauthorized modifications to the ride. Shortly after the incident, a number of complaints suddenly surfaced with guests reported they had felt bumps, herd grinding noises, and noticed operators having to shut the ride down on several occasions. All this had tarnished the rides reputation, and Gillian’s Wonderland decided the rides inaugural season would also be its last.
After not operating for a year, the coaster would make its way to Arkansas where it would open in 2000 as Twist ‘n’ Shout at Magic Springs & Crystal Falls. Magic Springs had closed in 1995 due to financial troubles, but Ed Hart helped bring it back to life in 2000, and thought Twist ‘n’ Shout should be given a second life like the park was getting. It seemed the disastrous past was long behind the ride, but in 2006 the small coaster was thrust back into the spotlight. In July of that year, a 45-year-old woman fell out of the coaster when the ride was rounding a curve, but this time, there were no mechanical issues found with the ride. Instead, the operator of the ride let the “larger” woman violate protocol of “one seat per rider” by letting her sit sideways across two seats, not allowing her to be properly secured. The woman was injured, but survived the incident. The coaster continued to call Magic Springs its home until the end of the 2012 season.
But the coaster’s journey did not end there. For the 2013 season, the ride made its way back to the coast, finding a new home in Myrtle Beach. Maintaining the Twist ‘n’ Shout moniker, the new coaster joined a couple of other rides making a debut at the Family Kingdom that year, including the Kite Flyer hang-gliding ride, Flight School mini-airplanes, and a Frog Hopper bouncy ride. With that, the infamous mouse now shares its home with the legendary Swamp Fox.
Up to four passengers, two per row, load up into small ’57 Bel Air themed cars before embarking on their journey. Dropping to the right out of the station, the cars slowly climb the 40-foot lift hill to the top, aiming for the “Twist ‘n’ Shout” signage at the top. Turning right upon apexing the hill, this is where the ride undergoes the “Zig Zag” portion of the ride that are a trademark of the wild mouse design. One…two…three…four…five times riders to through a sharp switchback, increasing speed as they go through each successive one. After the last switchback, heading over the station, the track breaks right again, now running next to the lift hill. No sooner is the quick turn completed than the cars plummet down to the ground and back up again. Turning around through another sharp corner, riders are dropped down another smaller drop, rising and switching back over the station before dipping through two small drops, switching again, and dipping one final time into the final brake run.
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