Move over, Disneyland. Step aside, Six Flags. Utah's Lagoon will be the second amusement park in the world to receive the new Top Eliminator Dragster ride.
The latest rage in thrill rides, the Eliminator will rocket down the raceway at 75 mph - powered by a 300-horsepower propane engine - producing 2.8 G forces.Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville will be the first amusement park to receive the Eliminator, now in production by Ogden's International Armoring Corp.
"We're delighted to have it," Lagoon spokesman Dick Andrew said. "It's fun to be on the cutting edge of a new attraction."
Lagoon, probably the nation's 30th largest amusement park, will have four Eliminators running on the park's northwest side, just west of the Paratropper ride. It'll have the room to install more too, if needed. Lagoon is purchasing a fifth dragster car to use as a backup, if one breaks down.
Like the Sky Coaster ride, it will cost an extra $15 to ride the Eliminator. This is not a high-capacity ride and, like the Coaster, the separate charge allows only those park patrons who use the attraction to pay for it.
Drivers will control the shifting, acceleration and some braking, though automatic braking kicks in eventually, anyway. Dragsters go down the track with a fin hooked into a button track, so steering is fixed.
"We're trying to give it the sense you're participating in a drag racing contest," Andrew said.
Lagoon believes the ride will be very safe but is adding at least one extra precaution of its own. While the Eliminator designers recommend a 50-inch tall height restriction for drivers, Lagoon is upping that standard to 54 inches - making it the park's most restrictive ride. (The speed water slides, Fire Dragon and Jet Star require riders to be 50 inches tall)
Since potential noise problems have been such a big concern to Farmington residents, special mufflers will be installed in Lagoon's version of the cars, and a 12-foot high grass berm will be built.
Andrew admits the $1.2 million price tag is a lot of money for Eliminator ($250,000 a lane), but he said that's actually lower than many amusement park rides cost these days. It's also not a high capacity ride where hundreds can use it per hour.
Mark F. Burton, president of Ogden company that's building the dragster, has ridden the prototype of the ride that's set up in Las Vegas.
"You're doing it all, but steering," he said. "It gives you a big charge . . . this is pure speed, acceleration and competition."
Top Eliminator Dragster
Maximum speed - 75 mph
Acceleration: 0-70 in 2.8 seconds
Forces on rider: 2.8 Gs starting and stopping
Number of lanes/dragsters: 4
Length of track: 195 feet for acceleration, 140 for breaking
Riders per hour: Approximately 60
Cost to ride: $15 for two trips, in addition to Lagoon's regular admission fee.