Worlds of Fun unleashes sleek new GCII ProwlerTim Baldwin
Amusement Today, June 1, 2009


If one word were to summarize Worlds of Fun's new Prowler wooden roller coaster, that would be it.

The Prowler logo features cat-like eyes and paws, and the feline aspect couldn't be more aptly fitting to this wondrous new woodie. Its setting in the back wooded area of the Kansas City theme park works particular magic by secluding the coaster in mystery, as well as serving as the appropriate atmosphere for a jungle cat.

Vice President and General Manager Frank Wilburn feels the placement spot is right on. "We knew we wanted it in the back of the park," says Wilburn. "We used to have Zambezi Zinger here. We're pleased to have a big ride in this part of the park." Wilburn feels the parks traffic flow will be improved with the installation.

Among towering coasters on the park's skyline, Prowler may be a bit understated in terms of profile, but such modest stature works to the ride's advantage. The design of the ride keeps the bulk of the layout close to the ground. After a first curving drop from a height of 85 feet, the track cuts through the lift and tears through the trees, out of view from the awaiting public. The majority of the ride skirts the landscape like a cat in pursuit of its prey - leaping and darting with each pounce. The continual directional changes deliver an exhilarating out-of-control feel to the coaster experience.

Making good use of the terrain, the total elevation change of the entire ride is 102 feet. Further growth of the wooded area will only add to the ride's mystique in the years to come.

"I knew it was going to be great," says Clair Hain of Great Coasters International, Inc. (GCII) of Sunbury, Pa. Hain knew the wooded area would be a key factor in the ride's success. "To keep a low profile and all the's a hybrid - an out-and-back and a twister."

Hain speaks the truth. Known for their convoluted and tangled super-twisters, GCII rarely has the opportunity to develop out-and-back designs. With Prowler, the stretched layout is laced with continuous curves, but with a minimum of GCII's traditional crossovers. With Prowler, the company has expanded their portfolio by virtually reinventing the out-and-back concept. The maintained pacing coupled with the directional changes gracefully and smoothly keeps riders off balance and hopping through airtime filled speed bumps. The engineered thrills are expertly crafted.

Cedar Fair CEO Richard Kinzel declared the coaster fantastic upon exiting his first ride. "It's everything we wanted it to be," Kinzel smiles. "It's just a great ride."

Bob Dean, president of Leisure Labs, LLC, the sales force for GCII, remarked, "We're really pleased to be extending our relationship with Cedar Fair." Prowler is GCII's second woodie with the theme park chain, following Valleyfair's 2007 installation of Renegade. Dean is excited about this particular installation. "It's an out-and-back of a whole different kind. It's exceeded everybody's expectations."

General Manager Frank Wilburn spoke highly of GCII. "They were good to work with. Their work ethic was amazing. They had a tough timeline and they were out there in the snow, and all the weather conditions. Everything we looked for in a ride, they put in." Prowler is the park's seventh coaster.

Wilburn notes, "It's a completely different ride at night. I love it. It is pitch black!"

Reproduced with permission.