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The Giant Dipper rollercoaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

Having a classic park with a classic carousel is a big enough draw for a coaster history nerd like I am to make the pilgrimage to Santa Cruz but there was one more reason I have been needing to get out here.  You see in Santa Cruz is the home of the classic Giant Dipper rollercoaster.

The Giant Dipper rollercoaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

The Giant Dipper has reigned supreme at the Beach Boardwalk since trains started to roll around the coasters 2,640 feet of track back in 1924.

The Giant Dipper rollercoaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

Using as little space as possible the Giant Dipper's station is squeezed between the coasters turnaround above you and a midway game below.

The Giant Dipper rollercoaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

A huge plus for those of you who love a classic coaster is that with a curved station modern fin brakes can't be added to the Giant Dipper.  It still uses the same skid brake design that the ride opened with ninety-five years ago.  Part of the curve is also the transfer track so one of the Giant Dipper's trains can be stored when not in use.

The Giant Dipper rollercoaster at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz, California

Another wonderful classic feature to the Giant Dipper is there are no queue gates in the station.  You just line up and when a coaster stops riders get off and you get on.  Having queue gates would just slow down the Giant Dipper's clockwork like process and kill capacity.



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Paul B. Drabek