The Rotor ride was a standard production model ride produced by Chance Rides, and was a staple of carnivals, amusement parks and theme parks throughout the country. The ride provided a mild thrill as it used centrifugal force to hold riders to the walls, and dropped the floor beneath them.
Great Adventure added the Rotor in 1975 and it was relocated twice while at the park until its removal at the end of the 2005 season. Most parks have also removed their Rotor rides as they have become harder to get replacement parts for as well as falling out of favor with park guests as wilder and more spectacular rides have been introduced.
The Rotor ride was added as part of the Fun Fair expansion of the park
in 1975, where a new section of flat rides was created to add additional
capacity to the park after the first season's complaints of long lines
and lack of attractions.
The ride which was designed as a portable attraction was located in a then wooded and undeveloped area which would later become home to the Freefall ride, and next to what would be the site of the Americana Music Hall.
When it was originally setup in the park, the ride featured its standard lighting and ramps, and the mechanical heart of the ride remained mounted on its original flatbed truck frame which protruded through the park's perimeter fence.
For the 1983 season, the Rotor was relocated across the park between the
Seafood restaurant and the Splashdown flume on the site of the former
Great Adventure Railway right of way. The new location featured an
earthen hill which replaced the old metal ramps originally featured.
A nautical theme was given to the ride with the addition of rope queue lines and fishing nets added to the viewing platform handrails.
The round shape of the Rotor gave it the feel of a lighthouse as part of the vaguely nautically themed section of the park.
With the 1991 addition of the Adventure Rivers section of the park, the Rotor was renamed the Typhoon, and given further theme elements in the form of fish decals applied to the viewing platform area.
In addition, the rides original roof was replaced, with the old lighted supports and morning glory style canvas top being replaced with a larger, more rigid canvas structure which covered more of the ride structure and offered better protection from the elements.
At the end of the 1995 season, the Typhoon was disassembled in preparation for the introduction of Skull Mountain in 1996. The ride was carefully taken apart in preparation for its next move across the park to the Frontier Adventures section where it would re-open in the spring with a new name and new look.
In spring of 1996 construction was well underway for the Rotor's return to a new area of the park, this time becoming the Taz Twister in Frontier Adventure section of the park.
This move was part of the Time Warner ownership of Six Flags when efforts were being made to give attractions and sections of the park definite themes and to help promote Time Warner owned characters. The section of the park once known as Hernando's Hideaway was incorporated into the existing Western section of the park and given the new name Frontier Adventures. The Taz Twister was built into a hill like its previous incarnation as Typhoon, but given a vibrant southwestern paint scheme.
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The Rotor was one of the more unique rides in the park with height restrictions, with not only a minimum height requirement, but also a maximum height. This maximum height restriction was necessary due to the open top of the barrel and was required for safety reasons.
For the 2005 season, the Taz Twister was rehabbed receiving a fresh coat of paint, a new canvas roof and new rubber mats for the interior walls. The area around Taz Twister was spruced up as well, with the vacant ride pad next to it becoming home to the relocated Tweety Carousel, and the bank of the creek receiving long overdue maintenance of the landscaping, and revitalization of the overlooked area.
No sooner had the rehab of the ride and the area been completed then plans were made to remove the Rotor permanently and revamp the entire area with the new El Toro wooden rollercoaster and the Plaza del Carnaval section of the park.
Some modifications to the Rotor over the years included removal of the
original illuminated letters. The holes that the wiring for
the letters was run through could still be found in the front panels of
the years after the sign's removal.
The concrete pit created to house the ride mechanical components was enclosed with additional panels to protect the lower areas from debris.
The outer decoratively embossed panels of the Rotor concealed the ride's in drum. Doors in the inner and outer drum had to be manually aligned by the ride's operator for loading and unloading. The ride operator was given a bird's eye view to be able to watch the guests aboard the ride as well as to align the doors from above.
For many park guests, the best part of the ride was watching from the observation platform around the top of the drum. The platform could be accessed from twin staircases on each side of the ride, which were separate from the ride operator's private stairs.
With the start of September and the beginning of Fright Fest preparations, the area around Taz Twister was closed to the public and dismantling of the ride began. Disassembly of the ride took place over the following weeks as site preparation went into full swing for the construction of El Toro. The location of the Taz Twister is now home to the heavily banked turn-around section.
After the steel ride structure was removed demolition of the concrete
foundation and surrounding berm began. The hill was leveled
and the dirt used to fill the pit where the ride used to stand.
The ride was removed from the park, with no plans to return in a new location, and the ride parts appear to have been removed from park property.