American Coaster Enthusiasts
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American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) is a non-profit organization focusing on the enjoyment, knowledge, and preservation of roller coasters as well as recognition of some as architectural and engineering landmarks. Dues-paying members receive the quarterly magazine RollerCoaster! and bi-monthly newsletter ACE News. Amusement parks have also invited members to exclusive ride events at amusement parks as well as sneak peek events at new roller coasters under construction.
The organization maintains an online database of roller coasters including ride specifications and archives of published news articles. The club also recognizes historically significant roller coasters with the Coaster Classic and ACE Coaster Landmark statuses.
Organization founders Roy Brashears, Paul Greenwald and Richard Munch met at a roller coaster riding marathon event promoting the 1977 movie Rollercoaster at the Rebel Yell roller coaster (now called Racer 75) at Kings Dominion amusement park in Doswell, Virginia. The three discovered they shared the same passion for roller coasters and decided to form a club that would allow others that shared the same interests to join. They organized Coaster Con I the following year at Busch Gardens Williamsburg theme park in June 1978. On the final day of the event during a business meeting, the name American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) was chosen as the club's name. Coaster Con events have been held annually ever since.
The organization is almost entirely run by volunteers, with the exception of an independent contractor who runs certain day-to-day operations regarding mailings, receipt of event payment/membership dues and merchandise. ACE members are required to pay annual membership dues that are available in individual, couple, family and corporate packages. The organization fulfills one of its primary goals of providing education through its publications. Other goals include promoting the conservation, appreciation, and enjoyment of roller coasters and their place in history as architectural and engineering landmarks.
ACE is governed by an executive committee of five officers and seven directors. Four of the officer positions are directly elected and one indirectly elected by the club's membership. These officers are the President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary and Immediate Past President. The seven directors are appointed by the president and approved by a majority vote of the remaining officers. The Region Director, oversees a system of ACE regions, which sponsors events and publishes regional websites and email newsletters.
- California Northern
- Canada (except British Columbia)
- Eastern Great Lakes (Ohio and Michigan)
- Heart of America (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and southern Illinois)
- Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia)
- Midwest (Indiana, Kentucky, West Virginia)
- New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont)
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Central (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota)
- Northwest (Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)
- Other Countries
- Pacific Southwest (Arizona, Hawaii, Nevada and southern California)
- Pennsylvania Eastern
- Pennsylvania Western
- Rocky Mountain (Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming)
- South America
- South Central (Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas)
- Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee)
- Western Great Lakes (Wisconsin and northern Illinois)
The national organization sponsors the annual Coaster Con convention, international tours, seasonal conferences, and a conference focused on coaster preservation.
Coaster Con, usually features one to as many as six theme parks where exclusive ride time is made available to members on selected coasters outside of times when the park is open to the public. Coaster Con also features photo and video contests, carnival games competitions, as well as an annual business meeting, banquet (with presentations, awards, industry keynote speaker, and auction to benefit ACE's funds), workshops, discussion groups, displays, and memorabilia sales tables.
|Past Coaster Con events|
|1||1978||Busch Gardens Williamsburg (known at the time as Busch Gardens, The Old Country)|
|4||1981||Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags AstroWorld, (Houston, TX), Fair Park, (Dallas, TX)|
|6||1983||Elitch Gardens, Lakeside Amusement Park (Denver, CO)|
|7||1984||Crystal Beach Park, Canadian National Exhibition, Seabreeze Amusement Park, (Rochester, NY)|
|8||1985||Lincoln Park (Dartmouth, Massachusetts), Rocky Point Amusement Park, (Warwick, RI) Whalom Park, (Lunenburg, MA), Mountain Park (Holyoke, Massachusetts)|
|9||1986||Six Flags Over Georgia, Lake Winnepesaukah (Rossville, GA)|
|10||1987||Six Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California's Great America (Santa Clara, CA)|
|11||1988||Geauga Lake, Cedar Point, Boblo Island Amusement Park|
|12||1989||Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Clementon Lake Park (Clementon, NJ)|
|13||June 1990||Six Flags Over Texas, Wonderland Park (Texas) (Amarillo, TX)|
|15||June 1992||Kings Dominion|
|16||June 1993||Worlds of Fun, (Kansas City, MO) Joyland Amusement Park (Wichita)|
|17||June 1994||Belmont Park (San Diego), Six Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California's Great America|
|18||June 1995||Carowinds, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, (Myrtle Beach, SC) Myrtle Beach Pavilion|
|19||June 1996||Lakeside Amusement Park (Denver, CO)|
|20||June 1997||Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg|
|21||June 1998||Kennywood, Idlewild, Sandcastle Waterpark (Homestead, PA)|
|22||June 20–24, 1999||Six Flags Fiesta Texas, (San Antonio, TX) SeaWorld San Antonio|
|23||June 18–23, 2000||Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, (Louisville, KY) Holiday World & Splashin' Safari|
|24||June 17–22, 2001||Hersheypark, (Hershey, PA) Williams Grove Amusement Park, (Mechanicsburg, PA) Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, (Allentown, PA) Philadelphia Toboggan Company, (Hatfield, PA)|
|25||June 16–21, 2002||Six Flags Magic Mountain, (Santa Clarita, CA) Adventure City, (Anaheim, CA) Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, CA)|
|26||June 15–20, 2003||Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA)|
|27||June 20–26, 2004||Cedar Point, (Sandusky, OH) Memphis Kiddie Park (Brooklyn, OH), Geauga Lake (Aurora, OH)|
|28||June 19–24, 2005||Six Flags Great America, (Gurnee, IL) Little Amerricka, (Marshall, WI) Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, (Wisconsin Dells, WI)|
|29||June 18–24, 2006||Disney's Animal Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista, FL), Disney's Hollywood Studios (Lake Buena Vista, FL), Old Town (Kissimmee, FL), Magic Kingdom (Lake Buena Vista, FL), Cypress Gardens, (Winter Haven, FL), Busch Gardens Tampa Bay (Tampa, FL)|
|30||June 17–23, 2007||Kings Island, (Mason, OH), Stricker's Grove, (Ross, OH) Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (Santa Claus, IN), Beech Bend Park (Bowling Green, KY)|
|31||June 15–20, 2008||Six Flags Over Georgia (Austell GA), Wild Adventures (Valdosta, GA)|
|32||June 21–26, 2009||Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO), Worlds of Fun (Kansas City, MO)|
|33||June 20–25, 2010||Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA), Idlewild and Soak Zone (Ligonier, PA), Conneaut Lake Park (Conneaut Lake, PA), Waldameer Park (Erie, PA)|
|34||June 19–22, 2011||Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX), Sandy Lake Park (Carrollton, TX)|
|35||June 17–22, 2012||Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN), Carowinds (Charlotte, NC)|
|36||June 16–21, 2013||Six Flags New England (Agawam, MA), Canobie Lake Park (Salem, NH), Palace Playland (Old Orchard Beach, ME), Funtown Splashtown USA (Saco, ME)|
|37||June 15–20, 2014||California's Great America (Santa Clara, CA), Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Vallejo, CA), Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (Santa Cruz, CA), Gilroy Gardens (Gilroy, CA)|
|38||June 21–26, 2015||Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ),Storybook Land (Egg Harbor Township, NJ) and Morey's Piers (Wildwood, NJ)|
|39||June 19–23, 2016||Six Flags St. Louis (Eureka, MO) Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (Santa Claus, IN)|
|40||June 18–22, 2017||Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, Texas), ZDT's Amusement Park (Seguin, Texas) and SeaWorld San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas)|
|41||June 17–22, 2018||Six Flags America (Woodmore, Md.), Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.) and Kings Dominion (Doswell, Va.)|
|42||June 16–21, 2019||Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA) and Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, CA)|
|43*||June 20–26, 2021||Hersheypark (Hershey, Pennsylvania), Dutch Wonderland (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom (Allentown, Pennsylvania), Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, Pennsylvania),|
|44||June 19–24, 2022||Cedar Point, (Sandusky, Ohio) and Kennywood, (West Mifflin, Pennsylvania)|
|Upcoming Coaster Con events|
|45||June 18–23, 2023||Dollywood, (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee) and Carowinds, (Charlotte, North Carolina)|
*Note: These events were delayed one full year due to COVID-19. A virtual Coaster Con known as "Coaster Con at Home" was held on the same dates.
ACE Coaster Classics
The ACE Coaster Classic award was developed during a period when changes in the design, equipping, and operation of wood coasters threatened to erase these time-honored experiences and rituals. The award is designed to recognize coasters that still adhere to these principles while allowing riders to safely experience the thrill of the classic wooden roller coaster ride. To be eligible for ACE Coaster Classic status, the coaster must meet the following criteria:
- Traditional lap bars that allow riders to experience so-called airtime, or negative G's, the sensation of floating above the seat, must be installed. Individual, ratcheting lap bars do not meet this requirement.
- Riders must be able to slide from side-to-side in their seats. A coaster with any restraint or device that restricts this freedom, like seat dividers between riders, does not meet this requirement.
- Riders must be able to view upcoming drops and thrills. A coaster with headrests on every seat or the majority of seats that restrict this view does not meet this requirement.
- Riders must be free to choose where they sit. A coaster where riders are assigned seats before boarding does not meet this requirement.
The amusement park or theme park operating a coaster that is recognized as a Coaster Classic is usually presented a custom plaque. The plaque typically states:
THE AMERICAN COASTER ENTHUSIASTS RECOGNIZES THIS COASTER AS AN ACE COASTER CLASSIC.
ACE salutes this park for maintaining this coaster as an American treasure in its purest form. We congratulate you for the use of traditional materials, methods and equipment, which are fundamental to the classic wooden roller coaster experience.
ACE commends this park for operating this coaster in the traditional manner so that future generations may enjoy its classic thrills and its enduring popularity.
It has been noted, however, that most coasters usually have disqualifying ratcheting lap bars, seat dividers and headrests to prevent people from trying to stand up during the ride. For example, Rolling Thunder at Six Flags Great Adventure had buzz bars which meet traditional lap bar Coaster Classic requirements, but it is not a classic because of headrests and seat dividers being added in 1981 to prevent people from standing up during the ride.
As of 2023, there are 30 coasters worldwide with ACE Coaster Classic status; 20 in North America, 9 in Europe, and one in Australia.
Another 13 coasters were awarded ACE Coaster Classic status; 12 in North America and one in Europe. However, due to subsequent changes to the coasters, the awards have been rescinded.
|Blue Streak||Cedar Point||United States||May 23, 1964||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Coastersaurus||Legoland Florida||United States||November 26, 2004||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Ghoster Coaster||Canada's Wonderland||Canada||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Legend||Arnolds Park||United States||1927||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Montaña Rusa||La Feria de Chapultepec Mágico||Mexico||October 24, 1964||Unknown||Unknown||Demolished 2022|
|Rollo Coaster||Idlewild and Soak Zone||United States||1938||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Starliner||Cypress Gardens||United States||Unknown||Unknown||Demolished 2008|
|Wildcat||Frontier City||United States||April 20, 1991||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Woodstock Express||Kings Island||United States||1972||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Woodstock Express||Kings Dominion||United States||1974||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Woodstock Express||Carowinds||United States||1975||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
|Zippin Pippin||Bay Beach Amusement Park||United States||Built 1912, 1915, or 1917; relocated 2010||Unknown||Unknown||Operating|
In 2002, ACE introduced the Roller Coaster Landmark program to recognize coasters of historic significance that may or may not qualify for ACE Coaster Classic status.
|Batman: The Ride||Six Flags Great America||United States||May 2, 1992||June 20, 2005||Operating|
|The Beast||Kings Island||United States||April 14, 1979||October 2, 2004||Operating|
|Big Dipper||Geauga Lake||United States||1925||Never presented||Demolished 2016|
|Big Dipper||Camden Park||United States||1958||May 12, 2019||Operating|
|Blue Streak||Cedar Point||United States||May 23, 1964||June 20, 2022||Operating|
|Blue Streak||Conneaut Lake Park||United States||1938||June 24, 2010||Demolished 2022|
|Cannon Ball||Lake Winnepesaukah||United States||May 1967||May 20, 2017||Operating|
|Classic Coaster||Washington State Fair||United States||1935||September 7, 2013||Operating|
|The Comet||Great Escape||United States||Built 1948; relocated 1994||September 13, 2009||Operating|
|Comet||Hersheypark||United States||1946||June 22, 2021||Operating|
|Coney Island Cyclone||Luna Park||United States||June 26, 1927||June 29, 2002||Operating|
|Corkscrew||Silverwood Theme Park||United States||Built 1975; relocated 1990||August 27, 2011||Operating|
|Cyclone||Lakeside Amusement Park||United States||May 17, 1940||August 2, 2003||Operating|
|Dragon Coaster||Playland||United States||1929||August 8, 2009||Operating|
|Giant Dipper||Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk||United States||May 17, 1924||May 5, 2007||Operating|
|Giant Dipper||Belmont Park||United States||July 4, 1925||April 23, 2010||Operating|
|Great American Scream Machine||Six Flags Over Georgia||United States||March 31, 1973||May 21, 2017||Operating|
|Jack Rabbit||Seabreeze Amusement Park||United States||1920||August 15, 2015||Operating|
|Jack Rabbit||Kennywood||United States||1920||June 21, 2010||Operating|
|Kiddy Coaster||Playland||United States||May 26, 1928||July 28, 2018||Operating|
|Leap-The-Dips||Lakemont Park||United States||1902||May 26, 2002||Operating|
|Legend||Arnolds Park||United States||June 8, 1930||August 6, 2006||Operating|
|Loch Ness Monster||Busch Gardens Williamsburg||United States||May 20, 1978||June 17, 2003||Operating|
|Magnum XL-200||Cedar Point||United States||May 6, 1989||June 21, 2004||Operating|
|Matterhorn Bobsleds||Disneyland||United States||June 14, 1959||Not yet presented||Operating|
|The Riddler Mindbender||Six Flags Over Georgia||United States||March 31, 1978||June 17, 2008||Operating|
|Montaña Rusa||La Feria Chapultepec Mágico||Mexico||October 24, 1964||April 22, 2017||Demolished 2022|
|Montezooma's Revenge||Knott's Berry Farm||United States||May 21, 1978||June 20, 2019||Operating|
|Phoenix||Knoebels||United States||Built 1948; relocated 1985||October 8, 2005||Operating|
|The Racer||Kings Island||United States||April 29, 1972||June 18, 2007||Operating|
|Racer||Kennywood||United States||1927||June 21, 2010||Operating|
|The Raven||Holiday World||United States||May 6, 1995||June 23, 2016||Operating|
|Racer 75||Kings Dominion||United States||May 8, 1975||June 20, 2003||Operating|
|The New Revolution||Six Flags Magic Mountain||United States||May 8, 1976||June 16, 2002||Operating|
|Roller Coaster||Lagoon Amusement Park||United States||May 28, 1921||July 30, 2005||Operating|
|Runaway Mine Train||Six Flags Over Texas||United States||August 1966||September 9, 2006||Operating|
|Sea Dragon||Columbus Zoo and Aquarium||United States||1956||July 16, 2022||Operating|
|Screamin' Eagle||Six Flags St. Louis||United States||1976||June 21, 2016||Operating|
|Swamp Fox||Family Kingdom Amusement Park||United States||1966||April 29, 2016||Operating|
|Thunderbolt||Kennywood||United States||Built 1924 (as Pippin); rebuilt 1968||July 27, 2014||Operating|
|Thunderbolt||Six Flags New England||United States||1941||August 2, 2008||Operating|
|Thunderhawk||Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom||United States||March 30, 1924||June 23, 2021||Operating|
|Whizzer||Six Flags Great America||United States||1976||August 10, 2012||Operating|
|Wildcat||Lake Compounce||United States||1927||August 1, 2008||Operating|
|The Wild One||Six Flags America||United States||Built 1917 (as The Giant Coaster);
rebuilt 1932 and 1963; relocated 1986
|June 18, 2018||Operating|
|Wooden Roller Coaster||Playland||Canada||1958||July 11, 2009||Operating|
|Yankee Cannonball||Canobie Lake Park||United States||1930||June 20, 2013||Operating|
Golden Age Coaster
The Golden Age Coaster award, a prequel to the Roller Coaster Landmark award, was established to recognize significant roller coasters that were built during the 1920s. Giant Dipper at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, and Giant Dipper at Belmont Park (San Diego) both received the Golden Age Coaster award in addition to the Roller Coaster Landmark award.
ACE takes an active role in the preservation of endangered roller coasters. Since 1985, the club has either directly or indirectly helped save more than half a dozen. One of the most notable include the Phoenix located at Knoebels Amusement Resort in Elysburg, Pennsylvania. The wooden coaster was relocated from Playland Park in San Antonio, Texas. Another that the organization saved was Leap the Dips, the world's oldest operating roller coaster, located at Lakemont Park in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In addition to preservation, some parks have also sought the opinions of ACE members regarding roller coaster installations, such as Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point and roller coaster design, as was the case with The Legend and The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.
- ^ a b Munch, Richard (1982), Harry G. Traver: Legends of Terror, Mentor, Ohio: Amusement Park Books, p. 176, ISBN 0-935408-02-9
- ^ a b Cartmel, Robert (1987), The Incredible Scream Machine, A History of the Roller Coaster, Fairview Park, Ohio: Amusement Park Books, p. 191, ISBN 0-87972-341-6
- ^ Seltz, Amanda (December 7, 2013). "Coaster enthusiasts get sneak peek of 'Banshee'". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- ^ Rutherford, Scott (2000), The American Roller Coaster, Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing Company, p. 120, ISBN 0-7603-0689-3
- ^ Nash, Bishop (May 14, 2019). "Roller coaster lovers honor area theme park's small, vintage charm". Williamson, West Virginia: Williamson Daily News. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- ^ "Constitution and Bylaws". American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). Retrieved April 15, 2020.
- ^ "Coaster Con 43". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
- ^ "Coaster Con 44". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
- ^ Ringas, Elizabeth (August 2020). "Coaster Con at Home: A Huge Success in Connecting ACEers While Apart". ACE News. Grand Prairie, Texas: American Coaster Enthusiasts. XLII (6): 15.
- ^ a b c d "ACE Coaster Classic Awards". American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). Retrieved April 15, 2020.
- ^ Stojanovic, Barbara (May 29, 2019). "Linnanmäki: Helsinki's playground is open and waiting for visitors". Foreigner.fi. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
- ^ "ACE Roller Coaster Landmarks". American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). Retrieved April 15, 2020.
- ^ "A Blast From The Past - Magnum XL200 At Cedar Point". News+Notes. October 29, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
- American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) (Official website)