Orlando, Florida: Polercoaster, the world’s tallest roller coaster, is a type of theme park ride offered by US Thrill Rides. In 2011 at International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) Trade Show in Orlando, Florida, the Polercoaster was introduced to the world of Theme Parks. Bill and Michael Kitchen invented the concept, in an exclusive chat with AmusementParks News, Michael Kitchen, President of US Thrill Rides speaks about the size, construction, business and costing of this project. Over to him:
Please introduce Polercoaster™ in detail?
Polercoaster is a patented “rollercoaster on a pole” that takes the mega-coaster made famous by traditional theme parks and places it vertically on a towering structure. Going vertical adds the thrill of height to all of the loops, rolls, dives, inversions and speed that normal coasters deliver, but with more commercial upside. Instead of requiring a sprawling plot of land, The Polercoaster’s vertical design compacts the most exciting attractions of a theme park into a very small .25 (1/4) hectare of land. The Polercoaster can be configured to include a rollercoaster, drop ride, zip line, skywalk, observation deck and tower-top lounge, creating a highly visible, iconic structure that can reach more than 330 meters in height.
Parks of what size are eligible to ask for installation of Polercoaster?
This is more of a function of financial budget than just simply park size. The footprint of the Polercoaster is so manageable, almost any size park could potentially accommodate a Polercoaster tower.
Will the size remain same for all parks or you modify it as per the available space?
Each tower is custom designed per the requirements of the customer. Currently, we are developing towers from 80 meters to nearly 200 meters tall!
What is the time taken to complete a single project, please explain the various phase?
Twenty four months from time of order to completion.
Design – we create a project to the customer’s specifications. Total height of the tower, capacity and length of the coaster, how many levels on top (restaurant, retail, observation, etc.) number of elevators, drop ride, other attractions. etc. All these options need to be determined.
Engineering – Once we selected a design around the customer’s requirements, then the tower moves to an engineering phase. This is a very detailed and complex process designing to the highest safety standards in the world, and meeting codes for both rides and tall buildings on the same structure.
Fabrication – After completion of engineering and shop drawings, the design is off to fabrication. The tower’s components may be sourced locally, such as structural steel, and ride components may come from around the world.
Construction and Installation – Pretty self explanatory.
What is the approximate investment to install this ride, please elaborate the cost of every stage from designing to installation. What is the break even period?
The towers range in price from $30 million to over $100 million US dollars to build. This varies significantly on height and ride options. This price may seem expensive, but then think about what you are really getting for that single purchase:
Polercoaster = Observation Tower + Drop Tower + Tower Restaurant + Roller Coaster + Icon + other optional attractions
Really, you are buying several world class attractions on one single vertical platform.
What is the size of operating team required to maintain and operate this ride. Do you provide your own staff or train existing employees at park?
Ride staff is similar to that of a high capacity roller coaster found in other major parks. We train local staff to operate and maintain the equipment.
Which park will be the first to install this ride?
Stand alone sites in Atlanta, Georgia and Atlantic City, New Jersey will be among the first sites to open in America.
How confident you are about the success of Polercoaster™, do you think it will slowly replace the traditional Roller Coaster from parks?
The success of the Polercoaster has already been proven having sold multiple units into the market. We believe there will be 30-50 Polercoasters (or more) in the next five years around the world. We do not believe the Polercoaster replaces the traditional rollercoaster. Rather, the Polercoaster augments the market with a Vertical Theme Park attraction opportunity in a very small footprint.
Deepak Tiwari, Business Editor:
AmusementParks News Bureau: firstname.lastname@example.org