Great Coasters International

Great Coasters International, Inc. (GCI or GCII) is a Sunbury, Pennsylvania-based roller coaster manufacturer which has created several award-winning rides since its formation in 1994. Starting in 2006 with Thunderbird at PowerPark in Finland, the company expanded beyond the United States and began building coasters in Europe and Asia. Günter Engelhardt GmbH handles the company's marketing rights in Europe. In addition to designing and building new roller coasters, GCI also refurbishes and re-tracks existing roller coasters, regardless of manufacturer.

Great Coasters International
IndustryManufacturing
Founded1994 (1994)
Headquarters,
U.S.
Area served
Worldwide
ProductsWooden roller coasters
Websitegreatcoasters.com

GCI designed roller coasters are known for their often curved drops, twisted layouts, and perception of high speed. Exciting elements such as the station fly-by and station fly-through have been incorporated in many of their layouts.

Many GCI designed roller coasters also contain an on-ride camera midway through or towards the end of the ride.

History

GCI was founded in 1994 by Mike Boodley and Clair Hain, Jr. Boodley was a coaster designer previously with Custom Coasters International and Hain had gained a reputation throughout the industry as a master coaster builder. In 1996, the firm opened Wildcat at Hershey Park which contained many of the signature elements the firm would soon become known for: tight sweeping curves, reminiscent of designs from the turn of the century by such noted coaster designers as Fred Church and Harry Traver. In 2005, Boodley retired and assigned Jeff Pike with the responsibility as lead designer for the firm. The first coaster that Pike is credited with is the Kentucky Rumbler at Beech Bend Park near Bowling Green, Kentucky. Though GCI is capable of re-tracking roller coasters, they haven't re-tracked many. One of their most notable re-tracking was in 2016, for the GhostRider at Knott's Berry Farm. The roller coaster was in need of a refurb (due to its aging and roughness). Originally planned to be retracked by Rocky Mountain Construction, Cedar Fair ultimately decided to work with GCI instead.

Millennium Flyer trains

Most GCI-designed roller coasters run with in-house–designed articulated Millennium Flyer trains. The only exception is Roar at Six Flags America, which runs with Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters–designed trains. Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and GCI's first roller coaster, Wildcat at Hersheypark, also operated with PTC trains when they first opened, but both coasters have since been modified to run with the Millennium Flyer trains. In 2017, Wildcat at Lake Compounce also received Millennium Flyer trains even though the coaster was made by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters or PTC.

These trains are known for their cushioned seats, allowing riders to be comfortable during rides. These trains also contain individual lap bars which automatically lower and lock into a position to accommodate the rider, allowing quicker dispatch times. With their easily identified open, gate-like fronts, usually customized with the logo for the respective ride on which they are running, Millennium Flyer trains are styled similarly to trains seen during the golden age of rollercoasters.

List of roller coasters


As of 2019, Great Coasters International has built 29 roller coasters around the world.[1]

NameModelParkCountryOpenedStatusRef
WildcatWood Support StructureHersheypark United States1996Operating[2]
RoarWood Support StructureSix Flags America United States1998Operating[3]
RoarWood Support StructureSix Flags Discovery Kingdom United States1999Converted
Now known as The Joker
[4]
GwaziWood Support StructureBusch Gardens Tampa United States1999Converted
Now known as Iron Gwazi
[5]
Lightning RacerWood Support StructureHersheypark United States2000Operating[6]
Ozark WildcatWood Support StructureCelebration City United States2003Removed[7]
ThunderheadWood Support StructureDollywood United States2004Operating[8]
ThunderbirdWood Support StructurePowerLand Finland2006Operating[9]
Kentucky RumblerWood Support StructureBeech Bend United States2006Operating[10]
RenegadeWood Support StructureValleyfair United States2007Operating[11]
TroyWood Support StructureToverland Netherlands2007Operating[12]
American Thunder
Formerly Evel Knievel
Wood Support StructureSix Flags St. Louis United States2008Operating[13]
El ToroWood Support StructureFreizeitpark Plohn Germany2009Operating[14]
ProwlerWood Support StructureWorlds of Fun United States2009Operating[15]
Apocalypse The Ride
Formerly Terminator Salvation: The Ride
Wood Support StructureSix Flags Magic Mountain United States2009Operating[16]
Joris en de DraakWood Support StructureEfteling Netherlands2010Operating[17]
Wood CoasterWood Support StructureKnight Valley China2011Operating[18]
Wodan Timbur CoasterWood Support StructureEuropa Park Germany2012Operating[19]
White LightningSteel Support StructureFun Spot America Orlando United States2013Operating[20]
Gold StrikerWood Support StructureCalifornia's Great America United States2013Operating[21]
Python in Bamboo ForestWood Support StructureNanchang Sunac Land China2016Operating[22]
Jungle DragonWood Support StructureHappy Valley Chongqing China2017Operating[23]
Heidi: The RideWood Support StructurePlopsaland De Panne Belgium2017Operating[24]
InvadRSteel Support StructureBusch Gardens Williamsburg United States2017Operating[25]
Mystic TimbersWood Support StructureKings Island United States2017Operating[26]
Great Desert-RallyWood Support StructureHappy Valley Chengdu China2017Operating[27]
Wicker ManWood Support StructureAlton Towers United Kingdom2018Operating[28]
WilkołakWood Support StructureMajaland Kownaty Poland2019Operating[29]
Texas StingraySteel Support StructureSeaWorld San Antonio United States2020Under construction[30]

References

  1. Great Coasters International - rcdb.com
  2. Marden, Duane. "Wildcat  (Herseypark)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  3. Marden, Duane. "Roar  (Six Flags America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  4. Marden, Duane. "Roar  (Six Flags Discovery Kingdom)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  5. Marden, Duane. "Gwazi  (Busch Gardens Tampa)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  6. Marden, Duane. "Lightning Racer  (Hersheypark)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  7. Marden, Duane. "Ozark Wildcat  (Celebration City)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  8. Marden, Duane. "Thunderhead  (Dollywood)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  9. Marden, Duane. "Thunderbird  (PowerLand)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  10. Marden, Duane. "Kentucky Rumbler  (Beech Bend)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  11. Marden, Duane. "Renegade  (Valleyfair!)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  12. Marden, Duane. "Troy  (Toverland)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  13. Marden, Duane. "American Thunder  (Six Flags St. Louis)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  14. Marden, Duane. "El Toro  (Freizeitpark Plohn)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  15. Marden, Duane. "Prowler  (Worlds Of Fun)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  16. Marden, Duane. "Apocalypse The Ride  (Six Flags Magic Mountain)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  17. Marden, Duane. "Joris En De Draak  (Efteling)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  18. Marden, Duane. "Wood Coaster  (Knight Valley)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  19. Marden, Duane. "Wodan Timbur Coaster  (Europa Park)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  20. Marden, Duane. "White Lightning  (Fun Spot America Orlando)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  21. Marden, Duane. "Gold Striker  (California's Great America)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  22. Marden, Duane. "Python In Bamboo Forest  (Nanchang Sunac Land)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  23. Marden, Duane. "Jungle Dragon  (Happy Valley Chongqing)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  24. Marden, Duane. "Heide: The Ride  (Plopsaland De Panne)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  25. Marden, Duane. "InvadR  (Busch Gardens Williamsburg)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  26. Marden, Duane. "Mystic Timbers  (Kings Island)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  27. Marden, Duane. "Great Desert-Rally  (Happy Valley Chengdu)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  28. Marden, Duane. "Wicker Man  (Alton Towers)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  29. Marden, Duane. "Unknown  (Majaland Kownaty)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  30. Marden, Duane. "Texas Stingray  (SeaWorld San Antonio)". Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
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