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Hot Wheels SideWinder

Hot Wheels SideWinder is a steel roller coaster operating at Dreamworld. The roller coaster is one of the tallest in the Southern Hemisphere,[1] after originally being the tallest when it was first built.[2][3] Designed by Arrow Dynamics, built in Melbourne by Able Leisure Pty. Ltd[4] the ride was originally installed at Luna Park Sydney in 1995 as the Big Dipper before being sold and relocated to Dreamworld on the Gold Coast in 2001.[4][5][6] When it was brought to Dreamworld, the ride was the first roller coaster to be opened on the Gold Coast since 1997.[7][8] The roller coaster was named Cyclone from 2001 until 2015 when it was refurbished.

Hot Wheels SideWinder
Previously known as Big Dipper at Luna Park Sydney (1995-2001) and Cyclone at Dreamworld (2001-2015)
Hot-Wheels SideWinder Logo.jpg
The Cyclone from the Dreamworld carpark
Park sectionOcean Parade
Coordinates27°51′55″S 153°18′55.5″E / 27.86528°S 153.315417°E / -27.86528; 153.315417Coordinates: 27°51′55″S 153°18′55.5″E / 27.86528°S 153.315417°E / -27.86528; 153.315417
Opening date26 December 2001 (2001-12-26)
Luna Park Sydney
Coordinates33°50′51″S 151°12′36″E / 33.847482°S 151.209964°E / -33.847482; 151.209964
StatusRelocated to Dreamworld
Opening date1995 (1995)
Closing date27 January 2001 (2001-01-27)
General statistics
ManufacturerArrow Dynamics
Lift/launch systemChain lift hill
Height40 m (130 ft)
Length900 m (3,000 ft)
Speed85 km/h (53 mph)
Capacity400 riders per hour
Height restriction120 cm (3 ft 11 in)
TrainsSingle train with 6 cars. Riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows for a total of 24 riders per train.
Ride Express available
Hot Wheels SideWinder at RCDB
Pictures of Hot Wheels SideWinder at RCDB


The steel roller coaster, designed by Arrow Dynamics, was constructed by Able Leisure Pty Ltd in Newport Melbourne at a cost of A$8,000,000 during the 1994 redevelopment of Luna Park Sydney.[5] Construction of the ride used over 1,000 tons of steel and 15,000 sets of nuts and bolts.[7] Opening in 1995, the new roller coaster became a point of contention with residents, and was cited as the main example of the noise pollution generated by the amusement park. After appeals to various courts by both the "resident action group" and the park's new owners, it was decreed that the roller coaster could only operate at certain times, and under strict conditions. These conditions caused major shareholder Wittingslow Amusements to consider 'walking out' on the operating company.[9] The park's administration was doubtful of Luna Park's survival under the restrictions, and was proven correct when Luna Park closed in February 1996.[10]

A view of the roller coaster from the Dreamworld and WhiteWater World administration office.

The roller coaster remained on site until late 2001,[11] operating on several occasions for charity-supporting events, including those for the Variety Club and The Spastic Centre.[citation needed] Between 1996 and 2001, the roller coaster was filmed for sequences in the Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen film Our Lips Are Sealed[citation needed] and for Farscape Season 3 episode Infinite Possibilities Part I: Daedalus Demands.[12]

Developers looking to redevelop Luna Park were sold the land on the condition that the Big Dipper be sold prior to any developments.[13]

The ride was purchased in 2001 by Macquarie Leisure Trust, the owners of Dreamworld, for A$3 million. A further A$2.5 million was spent to relocate, install and modify the roller coaster, as well as to develop the roller coaster's new theme.[5] Several of the supports needed modifications to make them rest on the ground because they were originally located on top of a single story building.[5] It took 136 trucks to carry the track from Luna Park Sydney to Dreamworld.[6]

In the first 6 months of the ride's release in December 2001, more than half of all visitors to Dreamworld rode the Cyclone putting its popularity above The Giant Drop and Tower of Terror, but still lagging behind Thunder River Rapids Ride and Rocky Hollow Log Ride according to Macquarie Leisure Trust, owners of Dreamworld. They clarify: "the Thunder River Rapids and the Log Ride remain the most popular attractions in the park due to their large capacity and ride frequency".[3]

The Trust concluded that the Cyclone's success, along with the impact of social changes in Australian culture were able to offset the negative impact of the Ansett collapse and increase attendance by 6.9% and total revenue by 13.3%. They did not attribute a specific portion of this to the Cyclone itself.[3]

Hot Wheels SideWinder train built by Vekoma at the top of the lift hill

The ride reopened as the Cyclone at its new location in Dreamworld on 26 December 2001,[13] in a ceremony dedicated by Peter Beattie and Merri Rose MPs.[7] Dreamworld's chief executive, Tony Braxton-Smith, stated the ride was similar to being in an actual cyclone: "the name Cyclone fits the ride perfectly with lots of nail-biting twists and hair-raising turns to simulate being caught in a real cyclone".[2] The intention of the ride's spiral queue design was to occupy patrons through both visual and physical stimuli such as theatrical lighting and shaking floors.[14] At a point prior to 2008, the queue line was switched with the exit ramp resulting in patrons lining up on the ramp that wraps around the building, and exiting through the deactivated interior queue.

The Cyclone closed on 12 October 2015 for a refurbishment to become part of a new Motorsport Experience precinct at Dreamworld. As part of the upgrades, the ride was fitted with a new train built by Vekoma that featured onboard audio and renamed Hot Wheels SideWinder.[15] The Motorsport Experience precinct opened on 26 December 2015 with the refurbished roller coaster and V8 Supercars RedLine simulators, as well as a collection of Peter Brock's cars in Brock's Garage.[16][17]

Ride experienceEdit

The ride's track interacting with slides at WhiteWater World

Riders queue inside a spiral building with a variety of Hot Wheels themeing. The 900-metre (3,000 ft)-long ride stands 40 metres (130 ft) above ground at its highest point.[13] The ride features two inversions towards the end of the ride - a reverse sidewinder followed by a vertical loop.[5][6][7][13] The single six-car train seats 24 passengers (4 passengers per car), and reaches a top speed of 85 kilometres (53 mi) and a top acceleration of 3.0 g (31 m/s²) during the course of the two-minute ride.[5]

The onboard audio played on this ride is; Freestyler by Bomfunk MC.


  1. ^ "Cyclone Rollercoaster Dreamworld". Your Gold Coast. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  2. ^ a b Australian Associated Press (22 October 2001). "Fed: Big Dipper renamed as Cyclone at Dreamworld".
  3. ^ a b c "Macquarie Leisure Trust Newsletter July 2002" (PDF). Macquarie Leisure Trust. July 2002. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 August 2008. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Cyclone roller coaster - Dreamworld". Roller Coaster Yellowpages. Ultimate Roller Coaster. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Cyclone (Dreamworld)". Parkz. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  6. ^ a b c Australian Associated Press (20 December 2001). "Qld: Big Dipper Roller-coaster Unleashed as a Cyclone".
  7. ^ a b c d Dreamworld (1 January 2002). "Dreamworld Guests Blown Away By Cyclone". Press Release. Parkz. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  8. ^ Carne, Lucy (10 December 2006). "Just add water". Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  9. ^ Marshall, Sam (2005). Luna Park - Just for fun (2nd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd. p. 131. ISBN 0-646-44807-2.
  10. ^ Marshall, Sam (2005). Luna Park - Just for fun (2nd ed.). Sydney, Australia: Luna Park Sydney Pty Ltd. p. 134. ISBN 0-646-44807-2.
  11. ^ Marden, Duane. "Big Dipper  (Luna Park Sydney)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  12. ^ ValaScifi (15 December 2008). "314 Infinite Possibilities.Part I.Daedlus Demands -FrScp-5". YouTube. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  13. ^ a b c d "Cyclone (Dreamworld)". Thrill Network. Archived from the original on 8 June 2006. Retrieved 27 March 2008.
  14. ^ "Schematic Design - Cyclone - Dreamworld". Sanderson Group. Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  15. ^ Wilson, Richard (26 December 2015). "From Big Dipper to Cyclone to Hot Wheels SideWinder". Parkz. Retrieved 26 December 2015.
  16. ^ "Dreamworlds New Motorsport Attraction". Archived from the original on 13 September 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.
  17. ^ "Getting Here". 18 October 2015. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2015.

External linksEdit