Spinning "flat rides" have long been a popular part of attraction lineups at theme parks and amusement parks around the world. The simple spinning ride has been upgraded with new twists as it evolved from ground level "Scrambler" type rides to "octopus" style rides where its arms undulate up and down. Variations and enhancements have provided further twists such as individual spinning cars for a totally random ride experience.
|The land to the left of the Yum Yum Palace was initially a show area when the park opened in 1974, home to "The Happening" show with its trampoline and singing acts. The show lasted just one season and then served as an area for overflow dining tables, and in 1976 made way for the relocated Pretty Monster ride which was moved as part of the park's realignment of many attractions for better traffic flow.
In its new home, the Pretty Monster became the Dream Street Dazzler. The ride was an older model Schwarzkopf Monster ride with 20 ride cars fixed to the ends of the sweeps on each of its five arms. As part of Great Adventure's new additions for 1978, the first under new owners Six Flags, the old Dream Street Dazzler was replaced with a brand new Schwarzkopf Monster II ride which was bigger with a higher capacity.
Although the Dream Street Dazzler ride was removed, its decorative entrance sign remained displaying the old Dream Street Dazzler name. Park press releases and poster maps designated the new Monster Spin ride as MoMo The Monster- a named borrowed from Six Flags Over Georgia where it was used for their more traditional Octopus ride seen on the right.
By the end of the 1978 season, the Dream Street Dazzler sign was removed, and after a couple of seasons the ride's name officially became the Monster Spin. A new Monster Spin entrance sign was added and all park literature featured the new name until the ride's removal. Even so, most guests just referred to it as the Monster or the Octopus.
|Each of the Monster
Spin's five arms supported five cars, upping
capacity from 40 to 50 guests per cycle. In addition, each car could
swivel independently for a totally random ride experience depending on
the balance of the load in each car. Quite often cars with one larger
rider and one smaller rider would wildly spin.
The ride, like its predecessor, featured the spinning motion of a Scrambler with the arms spinning clockwise around the central base. From the end of each major arm a five armed subassembly rotated counter clockwise, and at the end of each of those arms the individual cars could freely spin.
After an abrupt burst of humming motors, the ride's rotation began and a curved central column in the center of the ride would begin to spin in the opposite direction of the arms. A large hydraulic piston would then raise a center ring up a curved track on the center column, lifting the arms. As the ride and the center column spun, the arms would undulate up and down creating a dynamic ride experience. At the end of the ride cycle the hydraulic piston would lower again, and the arms would all return to ground level. Once the ride stopped the lap bars were released automatically allowing riders to exit and the next riders to board.
Monster Spin required one ride operator and generally ran with one or two attendants to help expedite the loading/lap bar checking, and unloading process. Sometimes the lap bars would stick and attendants would have to manually release them at the end of the ride cycle by pressing down on a small foot pedal near the car's doorway.
|The location of the
Monster Spin near the center of the park
and its appeal to a wide variety of guests made it a favorite of many.
As a mass produced ride, it could be found in other parks as well,
including the Boardwalk in nearby Point Pleasant where a twin version of
the ride operated at the same time.
The ride's look was somewhat menacing with its black modern industrial look. It was a unique contrast to its fanciful neighbors, the Yum Yum Palace and the Carousel.
The Monster Spin's lighting package was fairly generic, with the ride's arms and cars all covered in an array of lights which all had lenses like those found on car headlights. The cars featured white lights around the front and sides, and red lights on the rear.
During the 1985, the Monster Spin remained closed as components of the ride were overhauled. It was expected to open late spring 1985 but delays kept the ride closed until the 1986 season opener.
|Despite the Monster
Spin's popularity it was removed after the 1987 season as the park
reduced ride capacity due to sagging attendance. The site sat
vacant for several years often being used for temporary shows. For
the 1996 season, the park added the Enchanted
Tea Cups ride in the same location.
The Monster Spin's pieces were moved to the park's bone yard. The center covering for the mechanics of the ride was used several season as a fire cauldron as part of the park's annual Fright Fest event. One of two ride cars was pulled out of the bone yard so it could be featured as part of Great Adventure History's temporary museum in the park in 2014 and 2015.
Despite the popularity of the ride model, very few are still in operation. A sister ride, the East Street Crawler, still operates today at Six Flags Great America as "The Lobster".
|Original Spotlight: July 1, 2008; Updated: March 12, 2011, January 22, 2022. GAH Reference#: RIDE-1987-001