Disaster Transport (formerly Avalanche Run) was an enclosed steel bobsled roller coaster built by Intamin at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, United States. It was notable as being the only indoor roller coaster at Cedar Point and the only bobsled roller coaster in the midwest at its debut. The name of the ride stems from "Dispatch Master Transport". The origin of the name could still be seen in the ride's logo in its later years. Before the ride was enclosed, the supports and outer sides of the track were painted blue.
The outside of Disaster Transport
|Previously known as Avalanche Run (1985–1989)|
|Opening date||May 11, 1985|
|Closing date||July 29, 2012|
$3,400,000 USD to build (1985)|
$4,000,000 USD to renovate (1990)
|Type||Steel – Enclosed – Bobsled|
|Height||63 ft (19 m)|
|Drop||50 ft (15 m)|
|Length||1,932 ft (589 m)|
|Speed||40 mph (64 km/h)|
|Max vertical angle||27°|
|Capacity||1,800 riders per hour|
|Height restriction||46 in (117 cm)|
|Trains||5 trains with a single car. Riders are arranged 2 across in 5 rows for a total of 10 riders per train.|
Disaster Transport at RCDB|
Pictures of Disaster Transport at RCDB
Disaster Transport originally opened on May 11, 1985 as Avalanche Run and was entirely outdoors. It was built next to the beach, on the former spot of Jumbo Jet and later, WildCat. Many other rides also had to be relocated. The original ride cost $3.4 million: $1.9 million to manufacture and $1.5 million to install.
In 1990, ITEC Productions, Inc. was chosen to renovate the ride, completely enclosing it in a show building. The renovation included the addition of a space-themed queue and ride along with special effect lighting, two robot animatronics, and sound. The special effects and construction cost approximately $4 million. On the outside of the building, "12 E" was written, which had caused numerous rumors as to its meanings. On August 3, 2005, it was revealed that it stood for the 12th ride designed by the ITEC employee, Eric.
Not long after the changes to the ride in 1990, the special effects began to deteriorate due to a lack of upkeep. By the time the ride closed, many of the effects were no longer active or had been covered up. Blacklight reactant paint lined the walls, mostly in the form of handprints or outlines of scenes. These gave a 3-D appearance when the rider wore special glasses purchased at the beginning of the queue.
On July 13, 2012, Cedar Point announced that Disaster Transport would close on July 29, 2012. It was the second roller coaster at Cedar Point to close in 2012. A charity auction was held for the final riders, benefiting the Give Kids the World charity foundation. The last ride was given at 11:53 PM on July 29, with the lights turned on. The ride started demolition on August 6, using about 380 trucks to transport scrap materials. A portion of track, two cars and the main entrance sign will be donated to the National Roller Coaster Museum. Less than a month later on August 29 at around 9:30 AM, the last section of Disaster Transport was demolished. The 12E part of the building was the last section left standing.
Disaster Transport was a bobsled roller coaster, meaning the wheels were not attached to a track as on a conventional roller coaster. The cars — resembling bobsleds — operated within a steel trough, on which they were allowed to operate freely. This allowed the ride to swing from side to side when turning sharp corners, as an actual bobsled would. Guests would enter 10 passenger bobsleds, secured by a lap bar. After leaving the "launch area", the bobsled traveled up the 63-foot-tall (19 m) lift hill at a 15-degree-angle, which featured red and blue blinking lights on the sides. After reaching the top of the lift hill, it curved to the right, dropping 50 feet (15 m) at a 27-degree-angle and reaching a top speed of 40 mph (64 km/h). After that, it curved to the left into a mid course brake run. After the mid course brake run, the bobsled turned left followed by several banked turns and curves and two more brake runs. One cycle of the ride lasted about 2 minutes and 32 seconds.
After the ride was renovated in 1990, a new space theme was given. The story of the ride was the passengers had been to deliver cargo from a suborbital factory to a station in Alaska. Large screen projections, simulated lasers, mist, and recordings were added to the ride. In the queue, guests would go through three rooms including Rocket Recovery, Mission Control and Repair Bay. The original entrance to the ride was located next to Troika. During HalloWeekends, the park would change the entrance of Disaster Transport to under the lift hill, leaving the one next to Troika to be used for the Halloween Haunt. For the 2009 season, the entrance was permanently changed to under the lift hill. When the entrance was changed, the Rocket Recovery and Mission Control rooms were closed, leaving the Repair Bay the only room guests walked through.
The Original RideEdit
The ride experience was different in its earlier years. Passengers would enter under the middle of the coaster's lift. After entering, an eerie space soundtrack played. The first room was "Mission Control". Black lights lit the room. Travel posters and a rocket diagram were on the side walls. Two airport loading gates were seen next to two TV monitors (showing the head of the company "The Dispatch Master" or random space pilots) and were on either side of a desk in the middle. An employee sitting at the desk would say to the riders that the loading gates on were both malfunctioning and the riders had to be rerouted through the "service rooms" of the hangar. Walking into the next room deemed "Rocket Recovery", guests would see a "rocket locator" robot named "Dave" working up on a platform at a terminal trying to contact the companies rockets (one according to him crashed outside of Akron). Walking down another hallway, guests could glance at crates inside of a warehouse within the building. After the short hallway, guests entered the "Repair Bay". A room showcasing a "binocular security camera" robot named "Franc" looking around the room (he was later removed). There were also suspended conveyor baskets carrying various items, a high voltage generator, pneumatic robotic arms "repairing" a rocket, and a security scanner that flashed "REJECT" after scanning guests. A small room outside the Repair Bay had the company's logo subtlety broken to reveal the ride's true name. Entering the "Launch Area" rockets moved from behind a curtain without passengers. After ten people loaded on a rocket the ride began. The rocket moved out on a block section where an "on-board computer" welcomed you and started the "automatic launch sequence". Two spinning laser light spheres projected a star field around the rocket as it climbed the lift. Upon reaching the top your computer took notice of nearby "space pirates" and began to perform evasive maneuvers. As riders went through the coaster, they would see exploding rockets, meteors, laser projections, and a satellite that shot lasers. Your on-board computer shouted "I'm losing control, I'm losing control!" before an Alaskan landscape came into view and the rockets entered the brake run. Riders entered the unloading station where they were greeted by an employee that yells "WELCOME TO ALASKA!" The riders disembarked their vehicle and exited on the left.
The building was also used as a storage facility for the park. During HalloWeekends, much of the original queue area was used to house a haunt attraction. It was first used in 1997 for the haunt, Cedar Point Cemetery. In 2000, it was transformed into the Egyptian themed, Pharaoh's Secret haunted house. In 2009, it was transformed into Happy Jack's Toy Factory, a haunted toy factory.
The ride, though indoors, would close in any type of rain. Because of leaks in the structure, water pooled in the trough, warranting a shutdown. Typically, the ride would remain shut down after a period of rain as the crew would have to cycle several trains through the circuit in order for it to dry. Although the ride was enclosed, the storage track remained outdoors with a large door that opened when the storage track was needed.
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