Posts tagged: Fun Spot

By , April 26, 2013
Colin Coon

Hello again everyone,

Long time no blog, but we have been very busy and very productive this last month as the opening of both Gold Striker and White Lightning quickly approaches.

As many of you have seen already, Gold Striker has been testing!  Below is a POV from the first run of Gold Striker if you haven’t seen it already yet.  According to Chris the ride is very fast and I have a feeling that it will be a great addition to the park.  I have to say it feels pretty awesome to see something you’ve worked on for the last half a year make it around the track like that.  Two functional trains under my belt so far, with two more to go!

Gold Striker POV

Trains for White Lightning have also been nearing completion and as I type this 90% of the first train is ready to go.  It should leave Sunbury sometime next week with the second train following shortly behind.  I feel a bit more attached to these trains since not only will they be nearby in Orlando, but also because of some design work that I helped with.  I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to see it when they show up in Orlando in the next few weeks!

Speaking of next week; next week will be my last week here in Sunbury.  I’m not going to say my goodbyes yet though, not until next time at least.  We still have two trains to push out the door, a bunch of spare parts to get together, and two weekends of Knoebels to take advantage of before I can even think about leaving!  Also if it all works out I hope to be around on-site in Florida for the initial startup of White Lightning

That’s where we sit for now, thanks for reading!

By , March 15, 2013
Nathan Rubin

Happy St. Patrick’s day from Great Coasters International!

This week has been quite the exciting week here at the Kentucky office, but finally coming to an end. We have been working full force on White Lightning, and that is most definitely evidenced by how quickly the structure has been going up in Florida! For those of you who haven’t seen, the lift hill and first drop are almost completed, along with the brake run and some of the smaller bents heading towards the turnaround. It has been exciting being able to see the AutoCAD drawings turned into reality at such a rapid rate.

The coolest thing about working in this industry that I have discovered so far is how gratifying it is to work for so many hours on something so complex, and then see each piece come to life. Although detailing steel and the main design have been completed for all our rides opening this year, there are still many things to be done before opening. These next few weeks, I anticipate assembling a ride manual for the various parks and learning more about the mechanical systems that are associated with our rides I hope to be able to provide y’all with some great pictures next time!

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By , March 13, 2013
Colin Coon

I’ve spent roughly the last month and a half dedicated to solely trains.  The last few weeks have been getting all four trains basically up to the same spot in terms of assembly, and now that we are there we are finishing up one train at a time.  Basically all of the chassis can roll on the track as we speak, but putting seats, lapbars, running boards, and everything else in between are being done one train at a time.  This keeps things moving smoothly and we don’t have to keep track of where each of the 36 chassis are in terms of completion.

Goldstriker train one is almost fully completed with only a few minor things to bolt on before shipping it off to Great America.  Train two is also coming along nicely as well and is currently getting the seats and lapbar components installed.  The trains turned out really awesome and the colors Great America chose for them really make them “pop”.

The trains for White Lightning are also in assembly as we speak.  Running boards have been assigned to each train and most of our painted parts have arrived at the shop.  Once train two of Goldstriker is completed we will concentrate on finishing up what remains of the White Lightning trains.

Also structure over at Fun Spot is going up incredibly quickly.  The entire lift has been stood, including the tallest bent which was installed last week.  It looks amazing so far and I’m really excited to have this ride so close to where I live.  Jerry, Kevin, and Eric have worked really hard (as well as the rest of Jerry’s team) and it certainly shows.

Goldstriker also had one of the final shipments go out today and it is very much nearing completion.  All of the mechanical components (brakes, lift motor, chain, etc) are now on their way to the ride.  I’m equally as excited to see this ride open in the coming months; hopefully I get a chance to go out and ride it this year!!

Speaking of which, as of next week I will have survived my first “off season” that I can remember  Parks are beginning to open again, which is something I’ve never really had to look forward to as a Floridian (humble brag)!

As always, stay tuned!

By , February 18, 2013
Nathan Rubin

Hello GCII fans!

I just wanted to give y’all a brief update of what’s going on at the Kentucky Engineering office. These last two weeks have been spent working almost exclusively on finalizing steel posts, batters, bracing, ribbons, and diagonals at Fun Spot. I take it that many of you have seen the photos of the brake run posted on our Facebook page. I would definitely expect to see many more in the near future of the lift hill starting to take shape. Detailing and cutting the steel is what takes a long time; however, the construction is as simple as putting in some bolts and aligning the pieces. (Okay, some more than that goes into it, but that’s the general idea). This should be a very rapid process up until the track is laid, which requires time, patience, and LOTS of experience.

I know this is a short update, but these past two weeks have been very busy, and a LARGE amount of work has been done. Joe, Jeff, Evan, Adam and myself have been extremely focused on making White Lightning as flawless as possible. It is shaping up to be amazing ride, and could not have been completed without the talent and dedication of everyone at the engineering office in Kentucky, as well as our steel fabricators, train manufacturers, and the entire construction crew in Florida.

I look forward to updating y’all with some photos from the job site in the near future As always, the best way to follow our progress is either through our Facebook page or Fun Spot’s!

A Typical Day at The Office

By , February 6, 2013
Nathan Rubin

These past three weeks at the Florence office have been three of the most entertaining weeks of my life. Alongside hours of hard work on some final touches for the Fun Spot steel fabrication drawings is an atmosphere filled with constant fun. Considering that we work in the amusement industry, this is only appropriate. Instead of focusing on the engineering work going on in the office, I really wanted to focus on what a day in the office is like.

Our office is host to three dogs. Gordo – Joe’s new dog, Abby – Evan’s dog, and Finley – Adam’s dog. I am normally greeted to the office by friendly banter between Abby and Gordo, along with the infamous “No Gordo!” which Evan has become an expert at yelling. However, this is not the thing that defines my morning. The absolute best greeting that anyone could ever want to receive is Jeff’s “How’s it going, Players?” followed immediately by “Where’s my coffee, intern?” The rest of the morning is filled by the occasional amusement industry jest or Joe experiencing the excellent restroom skills that puppies typically exhibit.


Gordo creating mischief around the office

Once lunch rolls around, we normally collaborate on where to eat. However, anytime the words “Skyline Chili” are uttered, the lunch venue is immediately set. For the record, Cincinnati chili is NOT real chili, but nonetheless, it is growing on me. Even Adam, who habitually abandons us to go work out at lunch, cannot refuse this Cincinnati delicacy.

We then arrive back at the office, stuffed full of pasta and oyster crackers that are better than those in Texas (as most everything is better in Texas except for that), and return to work. Last week, a past intern, David Stamper joined us for lunch and post-lunch festivities, which I have provided pictures from. It happened to be an exciting day, as we received miniature Millennium Flyer trains from Chris Gray at the Pennsylvania office. We then proceeded to place the FedEx envelopes that were packaged with these 3D prints on our heads, and take random pictures with a golden cup in the office.

Golden Cup!

The excitement that afternoon was not over yet; as a very large package arrived in the mail (as shown below). It was a Phish poster that Joe had ordered from his favorite concert ever. Seriously though, he showed us the video from it, and it was pretty awesome. Joe was so excited, that amidst the fun of unwrapping the package was a moment of panic where we thought he may or may not have broken his nose. This should give you an idea of how excited Joe was to open this package. Once the package was unwrapped, David Stamper returned to Louisville, and all was well again at GCII. We proceeded to continue vigorously working on the Fun Spot steel detailing until the exciting day came to a conclusion.

Phish Poster Unwrapping


^That dashed line above represents the point at where my sarcasm ends and I begin posting about what y’all want to actually hear. I promise my next blog entries will be more content related; however, I wanted to give you GCII fans an insight (even if dripping with sarcasm and hyperbole), into the fun that this industry really represents. At GCII, a lot of fun is had in the office, but at the same time, vast amounts of work are accomplished; moreso than I ever did working at any other engineering firm. The engineers at this firm are some of the brightest in the nation, and I am truly blessed to have the opportunity to work and interact with them. I look forward to keeping you updated on our progress at Fun Spot! White Lightning is shaping up to be one of GCII’s best

By , January 23, 2013
Colin Coon

Hello again everyone,

I know it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but I figured now is as good a time as any to write a new one.

To start, Great Coasters has asked me to extend for another semester.  It was a pretty easy decision to say yes, so I will be interning until summer classes start again in May.  I’m pretty excited to see what this next semester holds in store for me!

As far a shop related things go, we haven’t had a whole lot going on during the month of December.  In fact most  of the month of December was dedicated to inventory.  Luckily with Dan and I working on it we managed to get a solid count of everything and can start focusing on preparing the trains for Fun Spot and Great America.

Since returning to Sunbury, Dan and I have been catching up on lots of things around the shop.  Park orders, inventorying incoming parts, picking up and delivering parts, and preparing materials for repair jobs have more or less taken over our days.  More and more train parts are coming in, so the big push to get everything together is fast approaching.

For the rest of this blog I want to talk about what I have learned so far at Great Coasters and what I hope to learn over the next semester.

The last six months have been incredibly rewarding and I have learned so much more than I ever could have expected.  I’ve had a chance to dip my toes in several areas of the company such as putting together park orders, working in the field at Carowinds and Dollywood, loading trucks for California and Fun Spot, and even answering the phones for a while (no we don’t fix pinball machines, thanks Joe).  I feel as though I have a very solid idea of how the company works as a whole now and while I can’t learn everything in a short six months I have learned that it takes a lot to run a manufacturer such as GCII.  Getting to experience all of these things first hand is more than I ever expected I would get out of this internship.  And to top it all off I am pretty decent at driving a forklift now which I’m a little proud of!

For the next six months I am really looking forward to building the trains for White Lightning and Gold Striker.  It feels pretty good to know that a ride I had a hand in will be operating down the street from me when it opens.  I also feel that I have a bit more responsibility now and can more or less function on my own at work.  Dan obviously still has a lot to teach me, but I’m comfortable with doing most things unassisted  Now all I need to do is become a proficient driver in snow!

Stay tuned for the next installment, which hopefully won’t take as long!

Florence Y’all

By , January 17, 2013
Nathan Rubin

Howdy Y’all!

Okay, so not exactly. For as many people hear about Texas on the news, I still get the impression that a lot of people who haven’t visited think that we’re all cowboys and hicks in the South. As a civil engineering student at The University of Texas as well as a proud member of the Longhorn Band, I can tell you that this stereotype is completely false. In fact, the word y’all is much more prevalent in Florence, KY, where I’m working for this semester. I was greeted to “Florence Y’all” plastered on the local water tower on my drive into town, reinforcing the fact that I’m still in the South (that and the SEC….but we won’t go there).

I’m truly blessed to have the opportunity this upcoming semester to work on detailing the steel for the new Fun Spot White Lightning coaster. Although this is only my fourth day at the office, I have been thrown into tons of AutoCAD work and fully immersed in the friendly, encouraging culture that defines Great Coasters International. Jeff, Joe, Evan and Adam are quite possibly the best co-workers anyone could hope for.

As many of you reading this are probably wondering, I ended up in this position as a result of continually pursuing a passion and believing that there was an opportunity to succeed despite unfavorable odds. However; to those of you who work hard and persevere through whatever obstacles you may encounter, I promise you that you will come upon some kind of success. Most importantly, find a way to make yourself stand out. Show that you are passionate about sustaining and furthering this industry. And most of all, have patience.

My interest in roller coasters stems back to my first roller coaster ride as a child. I do not remember the roller coaster name; however, I remember the layout and how much I enjoyed that ride. It was a kiddie coaster at Riverside Park in Agawam, MA, now known as Six Flags New England. When I was in sixth grade, everyone had to present the careers that they were passionate about. Some kids wanted to be astronauts, others doctors and some even professional athletes. I, however, wanted to be a roller coaster designer. And as many people’s career interests began to grow away from those of their childhood dream, mine continued to flourish throughout high school. During my senior year in high school, for a class called ISM (an independent study and mentorship program), me and my friend, Ian Mair, designed and built a backyard roller coaster, known as The Predator. While not the boldest or baddest roller coaster in the world, the experiences we gained from working with structural, mechanical and electrical engineers were the most invaluable experiences I’ve ever had. Take any engineering experience that you can find, as it is crucial to learning to work with a problem solving mindset.

My first summer internship was two years ago as a worker for Terracon. I mainly inspected rebar and concrete on various jobsites. Nothing screams “roller coaster design” like standing out in the 100+ degree weather with jeans and steel toed boots on, telling the contractor that his or her concrete was too hot to pour or had too high of a water content and being yelled at for it. While not necessarily obvious to many how this contributed to my current internship, working firsthand on a jobsite, reading blueprints and communicating with contractors has been extremely valuable in my pursuit of a career.

Skipping over last summer working at the Texas Department of Transportation designing bridges, I ended up at IAAPA this November upon being highly encouraged by Evan to do whatever I could to attend this convention. Stepping onto the red carpet of this monstrous convention is utterly overwhelming for the first time. Thousands of lights disorient your senses, and the sounds of carnival rides overwhelm the 1,100,000 square feet of exhibition space. Essentially, it’s heaven for the child that still remains in each one of us. This was the crucial experience in my search for an internship in the amusement industry. Having one on one experience with every major professional in this industry is the most insight you can gain into this industry. As a result of attending IAAPA, I was considered out of hundreds of applicants for this position. How I ended up here was a matter of luck, hard work, and perseverance.

I look forward to keeping y’all updated on the experiences I have at Great Coasters International. I cannot express how great the work culture at GCII is, and how welcoming and knowledgeable the employees here are. I could not see myself having a better opportunity to experience the amusement industry than working right here in Florence, Y’all!

The local water tower here. At one point, it read “Florence Mall,” but due to governmental violations with using public funds for advertising, was cleverly changed into “Florence Y’all.” It was the first thing I saw upon arrival.


By , December 8, 2012
Kevin Young

Hey everybody!

It’s been a few weeks, so I figured I’d give you a quick update on what’s been happening around the shop.  Fun Spot progress continues, as the first powder-coated steel has arrived on site in Florida.  Another truck has left the shop for powder-coating, and we are already working to get material ready for a third.  I’m not exactly sure how many trucks it will take to finish this project off, but rest assured that these first two only scratch the surface.

One thing that GCII really allows the interns to do is make contact with several of our vendors.  I was sent to the powder-coater to load the first truck headed to Fun Spot, and given responsibility to make sure things were loaded and packaged properly.  Since this is a first-time deal for everyone involved, there are still several kinks to be worked out, and I had to straighten some of them out myself on this particular trip.  As far as I’m concerned, all of these kinks center around getting the steel to Fun Spot in the most perfect condition possible.  We have to consider the fork lift moving it around, the steel shifting around in the bundle itself, and finally the cribbing the steel rests on in the truck bed.  Our guys are working hard with the powder-coater to make this happen, and I hope the finished product will reflect that work.

Well, that’s the vast majority of what I’ve been up to the last 2 weeks at the shop.  This week will be my final week here in Sunbury, and I will be back with a final wrap-up of my experience here in the next couple of weeks.


By , October 7, 2012
Kevin Young

Hey everyone!

The last couple of weeks have been really busy here in PA, as we are now in full steel processing mode for Fun Spot as well as finishing up numerous tasks having to do with the transfer table project.  I’ll talk a little bit this time around about both projects and the progress we are currently making.

The bulk of my time the last couple of weeks has been spent cutting steel to length for the White Lightning project at Fun Spot.  While the task of cutting using a band saw is simple enough, what makes it somewhat difficult is maintaining the tight tolerances our drawings require while still moving at a tempo quick enough to get the job done in a reasonable amount of time.  However, it becomes easier and easier when you are making almost 700 cuts in a week’s time.  I enjoyed the responsibility of maintaining quality on pieces that will actually be put on a ride, as well as the task of figuring out how to do it quicker while still maintaining that high standard.  One of the greatest parts of working for a small operation like Great Coasters is that each and every person’s time and skills are utilized to the maximum, interns included.  While Colin and I are both here to learn as much as we can about the amusement industry and how this company operates, Great Coasters really allows us to work independently, which gives us responsibilities and experiences we might not be able to get at a larger company.

I’ve been given the opportunity each of the last two weeks to go out to the site and work on our transfer table project, and both times on site have offered me great hands-on experience.  I’ve actually gotten to help put a deck together, as well as aid in setting up with some of the mechanical components of the table.  Everything happens more quickly on the job site than in the shop, which is primarily a function of it being assembly only.  However, there’s still a ton of work to do and it still takes a crazy amount of time to complete things. It’s neat seeing the small parts that have been created and sub-assembled in the shop placed in the larger structure of the ride, and how each and every small component will actually work together in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve been taking pictures of the steel process for Fun Spot, and hopefully those will be posted very soon on the site! A month is in the books here at GCII, and time is flying by. I can’t wait to tell you more next time!

Stay tuned!

By , September 18, 2012
Kevin Young

Hey everybody!

I thought I would check in and let you know a little of what’s been going on at the shop since I posted last week.  We’ve been in a transition period since early last week,  finishing up some of the parts for the transfer table project and pushing through some of the steel structure for Fun Spot!  Also, as you’ve possibly already seen on the GCII facebook page, the bridge steel is headed out to California!

I had the opportunity to create an entire part for the new transfer table from start to finish last week, which was pretty awesome.  It started with cutting a length of bar into several shorter segments, each needing to be the same length.  Then, two different holes were drilled using the drill press.  I really enjoy using the drill press because of how precise you can be, as opposed to angle and location variation that can come into play with a  hand drill.  Finally, the holes had to be reamed for bushings and primed to prevent rust.  I was able to see this part creation through from start to finish, and it will be cool to see it once it is added to the brake run assembly.

Steel structure creation is well under way at the shop, and it is a great learning experience for everyone involved.  Since this is our first time doing a primarily steel structure, each and every step of the way presents new challenges that must be solved.  It is absolutely amazing to see the amount of work that goes into preparing for projects, and the attention to minute details that each person is required to have for every activity and job we do.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, the bridge steel I talked about during my first post is now on its way to California, and you can see pictures on the GCII page.  I’m going to try in the next couple of weeks to take some pictures of our steel structure work, so that you can see the numerous steps that it takes to make raw metal into the beautiful creation that you will see in a few months!

Until next time!

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