Cyclone Roller Coaster Coney IslandIt was recently announced that Great Coasters International has been chosen to renovate the legendary Coney Island Cyclone. According to the Amusement Today article, GCI was chosen because of their “proven track record of renovating existing coasters while maintaining each coaster’s identity.”

Cyclone’s identity is very, very important. The 80-plus year old roller coaster is a historic and prestigious ride that’s likely one of the most well-known roller coasters on the planet. Even with the cyclone clones out there, the original has loads of character thanks to its advanced age, old school trains, and location. They Cyclone’s uniquely rough and intense ride made my trek out to Coney Island in 2009 worth it.

I found my rides on Cyclone fun and challenging. I enjoyed them, but definitely experienced a considerable amount of roughness. After a brief self assessment, I convinced myself that at 30 I had nothing to prove by riding in Cyclone’s likely torturous  back seat. Yes, the Coaster Critic is aging. 🙂

Here’s more from Amusement Today:

Since this is both financial and labor intensive, CAI concluded that breaking the project into phases will allow us to keep the Cyclone open during our operating season and stay within budget constraints,” continued Ferrari. “The Cyclone’s track replacement is expected to be completed within four to five years. As part of the final phase, we are looking into either refurbishing or replacing the Cyclone’s trains. Plans are not final, however, our vision is to keep the trains similar to the original design. When we are finished, the track and other ride systems will be state-of-the-art and will also meet current ride standards.”

Amusement Today

How will GCI balance the changes meant to improve Cyclone without the ride losing its identity? It sounds like a tall order, but I’d have to think if anyone can do it, GCI can. I’m by no means a roller coaster designer or engineer, I just report on my experiences. I’ll be on the lookout for specifics on exactly how the rehab project progresses. Also, if anyone knows of a list of past GCI rehab projects, feel free to share it. I couldn’t find one.

Read my full Coney Island Cyclone at Astroland review.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think of the Cyclone rehab project? Leave a comment below.

About The Author

Founder of My favorite coasters are B&M hypers and gigas. I'm also a huge fan of terrain roller coasters.

11 Responses

  1. Cade

    This will be really cool when it is refurbished. I rode it two years ago when I went up to New York two years ago. I agree that it was rather rough, but I also found it to be very fun. I think its nostalgia added to its fun just because it is so popular.

  2. Prof.BAM

    I may be heading out there in the next year or so, so I hope that it will be reopened when I go. Don't replace the trains!!!

  3. Quil

    I'm sort of afraid of what might happen to the Cyclone if GCI screws this up, but I have high hopes for how much the ride might be improved if they don't.

    • MBrilhart

      I know what you mean dude. I'm scared too. If they alter anything in the layout besides replacing the wood, I'm going to flip out. The little bump under the lift hill right off the fan turn over the que "cage" that has a decent bit of lateral G's isn't present in any of the "clones" and is unique because I have a feeling it's a fluke placement of the track and isn't in the original blueprints, but it's a memorable spot, and one I'm worried they will replace. Please GCI, don't give me a reason to hate you guys.

  4. Adam

    its a disgrace what they're doing to coney island they're completely ruining it. i 100% think that this will ruin the cyclone. after my last visit this past summer with the rediculous prices and the card swiping entrance to the cyclone i didnt really want to go back but now i might never go back unless somehow this will be a good decision and make the ride better, which i doubt, i will go back but for now i consider it a disgrace.
    oh and last time when i went to the cyclone and i got on i asked one of the guys who looked familiar where gerry was (the man who operated the cyclone for many years) and he said "the guys from luna park paid him to retire and take over one of the last great things about coney island." after i took the first ride and i got back to the station i took out a $5 and asked one of the guys for a re-ride and he said i have to go off and buy another 8 credits . i was extremely disapointed. still i think this GCI rehab will just make it worse if they're gonna rehab it they should just replace each piece and make it almost identical to how it is now, but i guess nobody cares about classic old fashioned coasters anymore.

    • The Coaster Critic

      I hadn't heard of the card swiping and credits system. I remember using cash a few years ago when I went. Hopefully it helps with overall ride ops. Maybe it allows for quicker seating and loading. It is a bit weird to pay for another ride from the train. It added to the charm, but it might not be the most efficient way to run a coaster. Just a thought.

      • Adam

        they just added the card system to it last year when luna park took over they use it for all of their rides. and the cyclone surprisingly never has a line despite its fame so it didnt really change the efficiency last time i went they ran the ride probably every 15 minutes because they had to wait for full capacity and you cant even sit next to someone on the ride if your over 13 for some reason so it was wierd not banging into anyone but also cool that i slid side to side. my sister's roommate is coming for a visit this summer and she wants to go to coney island so im gonna give them the grand tour.

  5. Alex Liebensfeld

    While I'm glad GCI is giving the Cyclone some attention, I'm very skeptical over the project. Part of what gives the Cyclone its identity is the old trains and mechanisms. It's a token of the past, retaining its simple drop-down lapbar and manual lever dispatch. GCI better be careful about what they do to the Cyclone.

    There's no doubt that the project will cause quite some controversy.


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