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Zodiac Thoughts/Memories


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I still think this was one of the most unique/visually cool rides ever to operate at Kings Island. I believe the Zodiac was an Intamin Double Ferris Wheel that operated from 1975 - 1986. As far as I know none of these rides exist anywhere in the world at this point. If one defunct ride type could return, I think this is the #1 choice for me. Anyone else have thoughts, information, or stories about the Zodiac. I posted some pictures of it from KI and also from Wonderland Sydney where it eventually closed in 2004. 

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Zodiac was before my time, but I've always been fascinated by it - it was such a cool looking ride.

17 minutes ago, johnjniehaus said:

I believe the Zodiac was an Intamin Double Ferris Wheel that operated from 1975 - 1986. As far as I know none of these rides exist anywhere in the world at this point.

Technically the ride was from Waagner-Biro and was brokered by Intamin. Intamin almost always gets credit for it though.

And technically one still exists - Scorpion at Parque de la Ciudad in Argentina. It hasn't operated in almost 20 years though.

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Loved the ride.  The design was impressive.  Usually in a ferris wheel type ride one the whole ride stopped to let on more riders.  This design does away with that allowing for a continuous experience while the other side loads.  Would be nice to see this type of ride make a comeback updated with today's tech.

And, of course, if you haven't already you can see it in action in Beverly Hills Cop III.

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I rode the Zodiac at Kings Island several times, as well as the one (Giant Wheel) that was at Hersheypark. (Trivia - all of KI's promotional materials for the addition of Zodiac  in '75 used images of Hershey's Giant Wheel.)

Although it was always closed when I went to the park prior to its removal, there was a triple-arm version at Great America in Chicago (Skywhirl.) They removed it for Deja Vu'.

My fondest memory of the Zodiac at KI was riding it to see "The Bat" from the air.  My Dad and I first rode it specifically so I could get a better view of the coaster.  What sticks out in my mind about the ride experience itself was that the "barrels" needed a paint job in those later years.  They were held on to the arms by chains - so that was a bit unnerving.  There was a pole that ran down the center of each barrel with a metal wheel - much like spinning teacups - that allowed you to rotate.  But the barrels were hard to turn and they didn't rotate that quickly and made a "sqeeeeeak."  There were also legs on the bottom of the barrels that would "scrape" the concrete a bit when it reached the ground.  The ride cycle was a long one - because they had to fill and lock each of the tubs one at a time on the loading side - much like how long it takes to load and lock the Scrambler and/or Monster.  The ops used a "key" to unlock each barrel like they do skyride tubs.

Finally, the ride was essentially a walk-on at anytime.  I don't ever remember a long line.  The wait was akin to the wait for Eiffel Tower.  Since it was more of an "observation" ride rather than a "thrill" ride, it wasn't a big draw.

Before I knew better, I always thought they had taken Skyride Tubs and built the ride - LOL.  They looked the same to my young, untrained eyes back then.

I recall the barrels on Zodiac being fairly wide - each held at least 4 people.

 

 

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Shaggy, you're post brought back a lot of memories riding that ride! I used to be scared to death riding that thing as a kid. Being held that high by chains always unnerved me!

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I rode Zodiac when I was a kid myself. It was a neat ride and I was also unnerved by the chains holding you. In all fairness, the rides like that I always found more terrifying than any coaster. The Skyline also was a nervous experience for me. I don't enjoy the hanging feeling. 

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4 hours ago, jbeast said:

Shaggy, you're post brought back a lot of memories riding that ride! I used to be scared to death riding that thing as a kid. Being held that high by chains always unnerved me!

Watch Beverly Hills Cop III and it will really make you scared of the chains. :) 

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Thanks for the information! Great to hear first hand stories too. After watching Beverly Hills Cop III scene I know why all the double and triple wheels have been closed. That was epic! Wonder if Intamin still got all the credit or tried passing the buck to Waagner-Biro when there was a lawsuit over the dangerous malfunction of The Spider at WonderWorld? 

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 10/20/2022 at 11:22 AM, Shaggy said:

I rode the Zodiac at Kings Island several times, as well as the one (Giant Wheel) that was at Hersheypark. (Trivia - all of KI's promotional materials for the addition of Zodiac  in '75 used images of Hershey's Giant Wheel.)

Although it was always closed when I went to the park prior to its removal, there was a triple-arm version at Great America in Chicago (Skywhirl.) They removed it for Deja Vu'.

My fondest memory of the Zodiac at KI was riding it to see "The Bat" from the air.  My Dad and I first rode it specifically so I could get a better view of the coaster.  What sticks out in my mind about the ride experience itself was that the "barrels" needed a paint job in those later years.  They were held on to the arms by chains - so that was a bit unnerving.  There was a pole that ran down the center of each barrel with a metal wheel - much like spinning teacups - that allowed you to rotate.  But the barrels were hard to turn and they didn't rotate that quickly and made a "sqeeeeeak."  There were also legs on the bottom of the barrels that would "scrape" the concrete a bit when it reached the ground.  The ride cycle was a long one - because they had to fill and lock each of the tubs one at a time on the loading side - much like how long it takes to load and lock the Scrambler and/or Monster.  The ops used a "key" to unlock each barrel like they do skyride tubs.

Finally, the ride was essentially a walk-on at anytime.  I don't ever remember a long line.  The wait was akin to the wait for Eiffel Tower.  Since it was more of an "observation" ride rather than a "thrill" ride, it wasn't a big draw.

Before I knew better, I always thought they had taken Skyride Tubs and built the ride - LOL.  They looked the same to my young, untrained eyes back then.

I recall the barrels on Zodiac being fairly wide - each held at least 4 people.

There is never a dull post from you, Shaggy. This ride has always been a bit shrouded by mystery to me, including its alleged storage at Sunway Lagoon in Malaysia after Wonderland Sydney closed its doors. I want to believe that it still exists disassembled to this day, although I am almost certain it was likely scrapped in the late 2000s.

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This is still my favorite  flat ride to this day.    I got to ride Zodiac as a kid and Giant Wheel at Hershey as an adult so I remember the experience well.  Giant Wheel was removed after 2004 I believe.     I loved the long cycle and great views.  It was a ride just about anyone could ride unless afraid of heights. 
 

As stated above, it’s such an efficient, high capacity design since one side cycles while one side loads.  
 

The typical Ferris wheels like the one at Cedar Point are garbage in comparison.   They take forever to load and the cycle is short.   You spend most of the ride time not moving.   Plus they have a balancing issue, so the parks never load them at full capacity. 
 

2 memories of Zodiac-   You could see it from International Street giving anticipation of what was waiting.   Bi ajways think of Zodiac when I hear disco music as the Coney Island Disco was next door when I got to ride it.  
 

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