Wonder Mountain’s Guardian


Wonder Mountain’s Guardian begins with a perilous climb up the side of Wonder Mountain then plummets into its core traveling through five different layers of this dimensional world. Riders will encounter mythical creatures as they navigate 1,000 feet of coaster track through a desolate forest, underground lake and Draconian City. The quest culminates as riders enter the dragon’s lair for the ultimate battle with a heart stopping finale that will shock thrill seekers of all ages.


Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. Like the giga coaster, hyper coaster, and 300′ tower ride, I would not have imagined something like this coming to Wonderland 10 years ago. I think this is a fantastic addition to the park. It’s another unique attraction that anyone can ride so I think 2014 will be a great season for them in terms of numbers (as if that has ever been a problem before).

There have been a lot of complaints that there aren’t many details and artwork with the announcement. As someone who likes to know everything about Wonderland, I totally understand what they’re doing. The best thing that can happen is no one having a clue about the ride going into the mountain on opening day next year.

I do hope they take this opportunity to add some theming to Thunder Run’s queue. I haven’t been to the park in a while, so I hope they haven’t replaced the thumping heartbeat with the queue TVs that play pop songs. Thunder Run’s queue doesn’t move very quickly so I think telling a story in the queue using signs, props, maybe even video would be a great renewal for the ride.

I’m kind of confused how the Guardian will play into Thunder Run though. I would assume it’s the same dragon we’re talking about (Herman) so I don’t know. That’s kinda why I want them to start telling a story over at Thunder Run, to see what they come up with.

I’m also very intrigued by the fact that Wonderland’s own engineering teams will be working on the coaster track for this ride. It really shows how big Wonderland has become, to be able to do things on their own, in house (thankfully keeping my beloved Sledge Hammer alive even since HUSS abandoned them).

It pains me to say, but I’m not so sure I’m going to renew my pass since I never make it out to the park that often anymore. I skipped the 2012 season pass and bought a 2013 pass at the end of the year to get the one free 2012 visit. I will probably do the same thing again.


Meet Frank 1.5

I’m happy to present a new video showing off some changes to Frank, my Arduino robot:

Here are the changes to him since the first video:

  • The LED is almost never off. The songs may do its own thing with it, but it transitions between red, green, and blue as he roams about.
  • A couple of switches were added so I didn’t have to plug wires into the breadboard to power things on. Unfortunately, I only have two switches so I couldn’t add one for power to the Arduino board.
  • More tape everywhere to keep things on him better.
  • He can now sing the Canadian national anthem. I thought that made sense since he now wears a Canada flag pin.
  • I replaced a lot of the prototyping breadboard wires with my own hand-cut wires. It reduces the amount of extra wire piled up on him.
  • The biggest improvement is that Frank now checks both of his sides while he’s roaming. Before, if he was heading toward a wall on an angle, he wouldn’t pick it up and would roll right into it. Now, he’s a bit more cautious and I haven’t had any similar problems.

So there you have it. I think the only thing to do now is replace everything cardboard on him (except his head for some character) with a more durable material. Only then would I bring him up to 2.0.

Thanks for reading!

Frank’s shaving

Just thought I’d quickly mention… The PLC elevator simulation has been stressing me out. I’ve had to redo portions of the code over and over and it’s just bleh right now. I’m rusty with my ladder logic so I’ve been sidetracking myself with Frank and Cities in Motion 2. Anyways…

Watching Adafruit’s Ask an Engineer streams every week (well, I only started watching them a couple weeks ago) always get me in the building mood. I figure it was a good time to give Frank a little love because I always feel awkward just sitting there watching an hour long stream.

Most of the clean up was just cutting down wires and replacing some of the tape. Some additional tape on the undercarriage components have done him well. The speaker was almost always hanging off but now it’s much more secure. I replaced a lot of the prototyping jumper wires with my own cut wire. It still looks like a mess, and probably always will given his small size, but it’s better than before.

Personal touches are what make Frank so lovable! Frank was involved in a nasty collision with a door, and it wasn’t pretty. He almost lost his original smile because of the rough shape of his head, but I kept that layer of the cardboard and reinforced it with new pieces behind it. Frank is also proud to be Canadian.


There were a few other things I wanted to clean up but would require a soldering iron, and I don’t have one that I really want to use… I have two cheap irons that don’t have power adjustment or even a proper stand so…

The next thing to do is to work on the code. There are a couple of things I want to do to make Frank a little more smarter and efficient, along with adding some extra songs to his repertoire.

Thanks for reading!

A look at Cities in Motion 2

I posted an image from Cities in Motion 2 earlier on this blog, but now I have a video for you!

I’m not a full fledged transit geek. I don’t go out of my way to ride buses or subways, nor do I go out to take videos of them. I know some model names here and there, but not many of them, and I don’t care for vehicle numbers. I do, however, really enjoy riding transit vehicles when I can, and just watching them. There’s something about them that interests me.

Anyways, enjoy this quick look at the terminals of my newest sandbox map. I covered about 1/3 of the relatively small map with bus routes and one above ground subway connecting three of the four terminals. I was surprised there wasn’t a lot of lag yet because the lag starts to set in quickly as I add more routes.

Labels! My hands hurt!

I got my labels taped onto the panel. Unfortunately the only clear tape I had in the house was wide tape you use to close boxes. After failed attempts of trying to cut it straight to fit in between the buttons and lights, I gave up and just started tearing random pieces to stick the labels on. Not my neatest work, but at least they won’t blow away when I mindlessly blow away the dust that accumulates on this thing.

IMG_20130809_110416Also, programming has barely started. BRB.

Banshee @ Kings Island

My first coaster post here, and it’s not even about my home park. Go figure.

After all of the buzz in the past few weeks about what was going on at Kings Island in Mason, Ohio, the details of their new coaster was finally revealed tonight at an unconventional press conference. Banshee, the world’s longest inverted roller coaster, will open in April next year. Even though it’s most likely (like 99.9%) I won’t ride it any time soon, I’m still super excited for them. I loved following all of the Paramount Parks as a kid, and I can’t help but continue under Cedar Fair’s care.

I can’t stop telling you how much I love the logo, even though I’m the worst at handling even slightly creepy things.

I was watching a live stream of the announcement and they really praised B&M as a company and for their reliable rides. Even though other parks have said the same, I can’t help but think it’s a jab toward Mondial and their Windseekers. Poor Windseeker.

Despite becoming sort of the cookie cutter entrance for new major rides, I really do like this style Cedar Fair has developed. A large planter with a sign, large plazas, and striking station buildings. Too bad the style didn’t come about in time for Behemoth and Diamondback, which got typical overhead signs at the entrance. I guess the Intimidators are really what got this large dedicated plaza idea going.

At first, I wasn’t too fond of the colors, but after seeing some of the promotional material, it makes a little more sense. The train color still kind of bugs me though.

So yeah, that’s all I’ve got to say on this now. Congrats, Kings Island!

An elevator to heaven?

Yeah… I messed up.


This is the new panel layout. Originally, there were buttons to request to go up or down on each floor… even if you were on the third level, you could request to go up. I only realized the problem with this once I started the program. Now, instead of thinking I’m standing outside of the elevator waiting for the cabin to come, I’m thinking I’m standing inside controlling it, which would make more sense. Now I have three extra buttons, which would normally be things like the open and close door buttons, and an alarm and emergency phone. I figure it would be more fun to throw in some errors I can trigger manually (and there will still be the timers that will cause errors). I haven’t fully figured them out, but possibilities include something in the way of the door closing or an overweight cabin.

I’m glad I caught this before I went any further. Also, the flowchart isn’t helping.