American Coaster Enthusiasts

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American Coaster Enthusiasts
ACE Logo 2017.png
Founded1978
Location
Members
over 6,500
Websitewww.aceonline.org

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.[1] Dues paying members receive the quarterly magazine RollerCoaster! and bi-monthly newsletter ACE News.[2] 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.[3]

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 Coaster Classic and ACE Roller Coaster Landmark statuses.

History[edit]

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 [4]

Structure[edit]

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.[2] Other goals include promoting the conservation, appreciation, and enjoyment of roller coasters and their place in history as architectural and engineering landmarks.[1][5]

ACE is governed by an executive committee of five officers and six 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 six directors are appointed by the president and approved by a majority vote of the remaining officers.[6] The Regional Representation Director, oversees a system of ACE regions, which sponsors events and publishes regional websites and newsletters.

ACE Regions

  • California Northern
  • California Southern (including Hawaii)
  • Canada (except British Columbia)
  • England (including Ireland and the United Kingdom)
  • Florida
  • Heart of America (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and southern Illinois)
  • Michigan
  • Mid-Atlantic (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia)
  • Midwest (Indiana, Kentucky, parts of West Virginia)
  • New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont)
  • New Jersey
  • New York City
  • New York State (except New York City)
  • North Central (Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota)
  • Northwest (Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington)
  • Ohio Northern
  • Ohio Southern
  • Pennsylvania Eastern
  • Pennsylvania Western (including parts of West Virginia)
  • South Central (Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas)
  • Southeast (Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee)
  • Southwest (Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming)
  • Western Great Lakes (Wisconsin and northern Illinois)

Events[edit]

The national organization sponsors the annual Coaster Con convention, international tours, seasonal conferences, and a conference focused on coaster preservation.

Coaster Con[edit]

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.

No. Dates Host parks
Past Coaster Con events
I 1978 Busch Gardens Williamsburg (known at the time as Busch Gardens, The Old Country)
II 1979 Kings Island
III 1980 Kennywood
IV 1981 Six Flags Over Texas, Six Flags AstroWorld, (Houston, TX), Fair Park, (Dallas, TX)
V 1982 Hersheypark
VI 1983 Elitch Gardens, Lakeside Amusement Park (Denver, CO)
VII 1984 Crystal Beach Park, Canadian National Exhibition, Seabreeze Amusement Park, (Rochester, NY)
VIII 1985 Lincoln Park (Dartmouth, Massachusetts), Rocky Point Amusement Park, (Warwick, RI) Whalom Park, (Lunenburg, MA), Mountain Park (Holyoke, Massachusetts)
IX 1986 Six Flags Over Georgia, Lake Winnepesaukah (Rossville, GA)
X 1987 Six Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California's Great America (Santa Clara, CA)
XI 1988 Geauga Lake, Cedar Point, Boblo Island Amusement Park
XII 1989 Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, Clementon Lake Park (Clementon, NJ)
XIII June 1990 Six Flags Over Texas, Wonderland Park (Texas) (Amarillo, TX)
XIV June 1991 Kennywood
XV June 1992 Kings Dominion
XVI June 1993 Worlds of Fun, (Kansas City, MO) Joyland Amusement Park (Wichita)
XVII June 1994 Belmont Park (San Diego), Six Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, California's Great America
XVIII June 1995 Carowinds, Family Kingdom Amusement Park, (Myrtle Beach, SC) Myrtle Beach Pavilion
XIX June 1996 Lakeside Amusement Park (Denver, CO)
XX June 1997 Kings Dominion, Busch Gardens Williamsburg
XXI June 1998 Kennywood, Idlewild, Sandcastle Waterpark (Homestead, PA)
XXII June 20–24, 1999 Six Flags Fiesta Texas, (San Antonio, TX) SeaWorld San Antonio
XXIII June 18–23, 2000 Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom, (Louisville, KY) Holiday World & Splashin' Safari
XXIV June 17–22, 2001 Hersheypark, (Hershey, PA) Williams Grove Amusement Park, (Mechanicsburg, PA) Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, (Allentown, PA) Philadelphia Toboggan Company, (Hatfield, PA)
XXV June 16–21, 2002 Six Flags Magic Mountain, (Santa Clarita, CA) Adventure City, (Anaheim, CA) Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, CA)
XXVI June 15–20, 2003 Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA)
XXVII June 20–26, 2004 Cedar Point, (Sandusky, OH) Memphis Kiddie Park (Brooklyn, OH), Geauga Lake (Aurora, OH)
XXVIII June 19–24, 2005 Six Flags Great America, (Gurnee, IL) Little Amerricka, (Marshall, WI) Mt. Olympus Water & Theme Park, (Wisconsin Dells, WI)
XXIX 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)
XXX 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)
XXXI June 15–20, 2008 Six Flags Over Georgia (Austell GA), Wild Adventures (Valdosta, GA)
XXXII June 21–26, 2009 Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO), Worlds of Fun (Kansas City, MO)
XXXIII June 20–25, 2010 Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA), Idlewild and Soak Zone (Ligonier, PA), Conneaut Lake Park (Conneaut Lake, PA), Waldameer Park (Erie, PA)
XXXIV June 19–22, 2011 Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX), Sandy Lake Park (Carrollton, TX)
XXXV June 17–22, 2012 Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN), Carowinds (Charlotte, NC)
XXXVI June 16–21, 2013 Six Flags New England (Agawam, MA), Canobie Lake Park (Salem, NH), Funtown Splashtown USA (Saco, ME), Palace Playland (Old Orchard Beach, ME)
XXXVII 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)
XXXVIII June 21–26, 2015 Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ) Morey's Piers (Wildwood, NJ) Storybook Land (Egg Harbor Township, NJ)
XXXIX June 19–23, 2016 Six Flags St. Louis (Eureka, MO) Holiday World & Splashin' Safari (Santa Claus, IN)
XL June 18–22, 2017 Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, Texas), SeaWorld San Antonio (San Antonio, Texas) and ZDT's Amusement Park (Seguin, Texas)
XLI June 17–22, 2018 Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, Va.), Kings Dominion (Doswell, Va.) and Six Flags America (Woodmore, Md.)
XLII June 16–21, 2019 Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA) and Knott's Berry Farm (Buena Park, CA)
XLIII[7]* June 20–26, 2021 Hersheypark (Hershey, Pennsylvania), Knoebels Amusement Resort (Elysburg, Pennsylvania), Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom (Allentown, Pennsylvania), Dutch Wonderland (Lancaster, Pennsylvania)
Upcoming Coaster Con events
XLIV[8] June 19–24, 2022 Kennywood and Cedar Point

*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.[9]

Awards[edit]

ACE Coasters Classics[edit]

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:[10]

  • 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.

Coasters awarded[edit]

As of 2022, there are 30 coasters worldwide with ACE Coaster Classic status; 20 in North America, 9 in Europe, and one in Australia.[10]

Coaster Park Country Opened Awarded Status
Big Dipper Camden Park  United States 1958 Unknown Operating
Blue Flyer Blackpool Pleasure Beach  United Kingdom 1934 Unknown Operating
Blue Streak Conneaut Lake Park  United States 1938 May 29, 1993 Demolished 2022
Classic Coaster Washington State Fair  United States 1935 Unknown Operating
Comet Waldameer Park  United States 1951 Unknown Operating
Cyclone Lakeside Amusement Park  United States May 17, 1940 Unknown Operating
Cyclone Luna Park, Coney Island  United States June 26, 1927 Unknown Operating
Cyclone Williams Grove Amusement Park  United States 1933 Unknown Closed 2005
High Roller Valleyfair  United States 1976 1996 Operating
Hochschaubahn Wiener Prater  Austria 1950 Unknown Operating
Hullámvasút Vidámpark  Hungary 1926 Unknown Closed 2015
Jack Rabbit Kennywood  United States 1920 Unknown Operating
Kiddy Coaster Playland Park  United States 1928 Unknown Operating
Leap-The-Dips Lakemont Park  United States 1902 Unknown Operating
Lil' Dipper Camden Park  United States 1961 Unknown Operating
Little Dipper Six Flags Great America  United States Built 1950; relocated 2010 Unknown Operating
Meteor Little Amerricka  United States Built 1953; relocated 2003, 2007 Unknown Operating
Montaña Suiza Parque de Atracciones Monte Igueldo  Spain 1928 Not yet presented Operating
Nickelodeon Streak Blackpool Pleasure Beach  United Kingdom 1933 Unknown Operating
Nightmare Joyland  United States June 12, 1949 Unknown Demolished 2015
Roller Coaster Great Yarmouth Pleasure Beach  United Kingdom 1932 Unknown Operating
Rutschebanen Tivoli Gardens  Denmark 1914 Unknown Operating
Scenic Railway Luna Park, Melbourne  Australia 1912 Unknown Operating
Sea Dragon Rides At Adventure Cove  United States 1956 Unknown Operating
Teddy Bear Stricker's Grove  United States 1996 Unknown Operating
Thunderbolt Kennywood  United States 1924 Unknown Operating
Tomahawk PortAventura Park  Spain March 17, 1997 Not yet presented Operating
Vuoristorata Linnanmäki  Finland July 13, 1951 2001[11] Operating
Wooden Roller Coaster Playland (Vancouver)  Canada 1958 Unknown Operating
Zach's Zoomer Michigan's Adventure  United States July 22, 1994 Unknown Operating

Rescinded awards[edit]

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.[10]

Coaster Park Country Opened Awarded Rescinded Status
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 2021
Rollo Coaster Idlewild and Soak Zone  United States 1938 Unknown Unknown Operating
Rutschebanen Dyrehavsbakken (Bakken)  Denmark 1932 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

Coaster Landmark[edit]

In 2002, ACE introduced the Roller Coaster Landmark award. The award is designed to recognize coasters of historic significance that may not qualify for ACE Coaster Classic status.[12]

An ACE Roller Coaster Landmark Award plaque for Magnum XL-200, the world's first hypercoaster
The ACE Roller Coaster Landmark Award awarded to The Racer at Kings Island
An ACE Roller Coaster Landmark Award plaque located outside The Comet at Great Escape
An ACE Roller Coaster Landmark Award plaque for the Great American Scream Machine at Six Flags Over Georgia
Coaster Park Country Opened Awarded 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 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 2021
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
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[edit]

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.[10]

Preservation[edit]

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 wooden 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[13] and roller coaster design, as was the case with The Legend and The Voyage at Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Munch, Richard (1982), Harry G. Traver: Legends of Terror, Mentor, Ohio: Amusement Park Books, p. 176, ISBN 0-935408-02-9
  2. ^ 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
  3. ^ Seltz, Amanda (December 7, 2013). "Coaster enthusiasts get sneak peek of 'Banshee'". Dayton Daily News. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  4. ^ Rutherford, Scott (2000), The American Roller Coaster, Osceola, Wisconsin: MBI Publishing Company, p. 120, ISBN 0-7603-0689-3
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Constitution and Bylaws". American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  7. ^ "Coaster Con 43". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  8. ^ "Coaster Con 44". Retrieved May 11, 2020.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ a b c d "ACE Coaster Classic Awards". American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  11. ^ Stojanovic, Barbara (May 29, 2019). "Linnanmäki: Helsinki's playground is open and waiting for visitors". Foreigner.fi. Retrieved May 20, 2020.
  12. ^ "ACE Roller Coaster Landmarks". American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE). Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "A Blast From The Past - Magnum XL200 At Cedar Point". News+Notes. October 29, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2019.

External links[edit]