Sunday, June 2, 2019

Flat Ride Feature: Bayern Kurve

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Photo courtesy zigazou76 on Flickr
Today, we're starting a new series on Bayern Kurve Blog. On Flat Ride Feature, I hope to show various flat rides - famous and obscure - from parks all around. I figured that, being that it gave this blog its name, what better ride to start off with than the Bayern Kurve, a classic ride of which there are only a couple remaining in the country? We'll cover some of the ride's history and the experience itself before seeing what examples remain operational.
Bayern Kurve was invented in 1965 by legendary amusement ride designer Anton Schwarzkopf, famous for several other flat rides as well as some very intense roller coasters. (Kennywood's former Laser Loop among them) Kennywood, the park most famous for a Bayern Kurve, has actually had four different versions of the ride for various time periods since 1968, with the current ride being added in 1994. It was actually removed for refurbishment from 2005-2008, before returning, much to Kennywood's credit, in 2009.

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Photo - Wikimedia Commons
Ride Experience
Well known for its thrilling ride experience, Bayern Kurve is a ride unique in the world of flat rides. Riders are sitted in a semi-circular train that sits on a circular track, which is inclined in the back part of its layout. The train picks up speed before tilting, which creates a banked sensation on the cars as they speed around the track. The banking is made possible by the electrical pickup that is in the center of the ride and connects to the center of the train. At max speed, a loud horn is also blasted, and the ride has a recognizable "chugging" sound as it circles around. Together, this makes a very well-known sound for the ride.

 For scenery, some parks rethemed their rides to different themes, but by far the most popular is a bobsled/winter theme. There is often a ring of characters around the ride platform, with paintings of chalets and mountains. A lighted sun sits above the line of mountains, as well.
Below, there are lighted pines and a row of icicles. Olympic rings are incorporated in various places throughout, often being on the front of each car. European models, of which I have included a couple photos of in this article, are decidedly more flashy, with all kinds of amazing scenery pieces ranging form pine trees to full fountains. Give it a Google sometime if you get a chance.
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Photo Courtesy Thom Watson on Flickr

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Photo Courtesy pladys on Flickr
Remaining Examples
There are only two operational Bayern Kurves in the country. Kennywood's is arguably the best-preserved of the two, but California's Great America operates a simpler version titled Berserker. Unique to this ride is its use of a tunnel. This necessitates the removal of the electric pickup "extension cord" in the ride's center, so this attraction likely uses a bus-bar of some type. The picture above is the ride at CGA. Also notable are a handful of elaborate rides that still travel on the European fair circuit, as stated before.
I hope you've enjoyed this round-up of Bayern Kurve rides. They are rare today, so if you find yourself at Kennywood or California's Great America, be sure to take a ride!


Melissa said...

The Sleighride at Darien Lake, my home park growing up, was ALWAYS a must-do! I just checked their web site, and was happy to see that it's still there.

I was so bummed when the Bayern Kurve at Kennywood was closed due to rain during my visit last year.

Andrew said...

Yes, Bayern Kurve is totally different from those "Himalaya" and "Flying Bobs" rides (which I like, too!), and that's what makes it fun. Hope you're able to ride one someday!

I hope to get to Darien Lake in the future.

TokyoMagic! said...

There used to be one of these (or a variation of it) at a park here in So. California, Six Flags Magic Mountain. It was called "Swiss Twist." I was NOT happy when I found out that they had removed it and replaced it with nothing! Unfortunately, Magic Mountain has lost a lot of it's original flat rides and "spinners" over the years.

By the way, I also named my blog after a ride!

Andrew said...

It's a pet peeve of mine when parks replace good rides with nothing, too.

I only learned about TDL's 'Meet the World' in the past month or so. I had heard about the idea of putting it into Epcot, but I had no idea that it actually existed!

Andrew said...

Did you ever see Meet the World in person?

TokyoMagic! said...

Unfortunately, by the time I finally got to Tokyo Disneyland for the first time, Meet The World had already closed. The building was still there and the fountain in front of it was still working. The next time I went to Tokyo, they were using the lobby of the attraction for something seasonal, so I was able to go that far into the building.

Even though I never experienced the attraction in person, I have a fascination with it, because I LOVED the Carousel of Progress and America Sings and like them, Meet The World used a revolving theater. I guess it was actually a rotating theater, since the audience sat in the center of the theater, rather than on the periphery of it. I also love Meet the World's theme song, which was written by the Sherman Brothers. In addition to that, I really like attractions that are filled with Audio-Animatronics. I hate it that the parks are slowly getting rid of those type of attractions, like Meet The World, The Mickey Mouse Revue, Horizons, World of Motion, and Universe of Energy.

Andrew said...

Thanks for sharing these memories. I also love the theme song of Meet The World! It's pretty sad that we will probably never see a new Audio-Animatronic show again. That is, until I become president of the Walt Disney Company! :)

Chuck said...

Keeping our fingers crossed on your election... :-)

TokyoMagic! said...

I'd cross my fingers, toes, arms, legs and anything else, just to make that happen! ;-)

Andrew said...

Aw shucks, don't get too ahead of yourselves now! :)

Mason F. said...

The kennywood Bayern Kurve is GONE. :(