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A lot of you may already know that the GIANT Wheel, an Intamin double wheel, has been removed for 2005, as part of the transformation of Carrousel Circle to Founder's Circle in honor of M.S. Hershey.

The GIANT Wheel was constructed in 1972 and opened to the public in 1973 as part of a massive plan to transform the park into Hersheypark, the major theme park we know of today.

The ride was basically a tripple or double arm design. While Intamin was the ride broker that bought many rides from European companies in the 1970's and 80's, their history as a manufacturer has been significantly shorter. The multi arm ferris wheels, in addition to the two earlier "bent arm" designs at Astroworld and Magic Mountain (as well as every gondola sky ride, such as Hershey's defunct sky ride that operated from 1974 to 1992, starting with the 1964 World's Fair sky ride which now operates at Six Flags Great Adventure, through the 1980's and all those safari monorails) were manufactured by the Von Roll corporation, a company that now focuses on transportation systems.

Hersheypark was not the only park to receive such a ride, several other U.S.A. parks have supplied us with their once famous ferris wheel-type rides: The Zodiac at Paramount's Kings Island (Intamin Double Wheel similar to Hershey's), the Tripple Wheel at Paramount's Great America and Sky Whirl at Six Flags Great America, both opening in 1976 with both parks. But the fete of the disappearing Intamin ferris wheel in the U.S. began in the 1980's when PKI removed Zodiac. However, the ride was shipped overseas to Wonderland Sydney. In April 2004, the park announced that it would be closing for good, the fate of Zodiac remains, today, unknown. The PGA Tripple Wheel was the second victim of removal when the park announced that the Vekoma Invertigo inverted boomerang coaster would be built in the spot in 1998. In 2000, Sky Whirl at Six Flags Great America carried its last guests, only to be replaced the following year with Deja Vu.

Now comes September, 2004. Hersheypark announces that the world's first freefall tower coaster, Turbulence, will be added adjacent to Hersheypark's famous carousel and the entire area would be refurbished in honor of M.S. Hershey. What does this mean for GIANT Wheel? Emails poured into the park with the response of "Yes, the GIANT Wheel will be removed from the park altogether after the Halloween Season of 2004". A television short is even produced by a local television station reporting on its removal and replacement. GIANT Wheel is, indeed, getting replaced by a new coaster. The main reason leading to its removal, the lack of parts, as well as the gears that operated the two wheels, which were in terrible shape. This is one of the reasons why Hersheypark could no longer find the parts for it, since Intamin never really made them to begin with.  Another factor is that rides built by Schwarzkopf and Giovanola are also often inaccurately credited to Intamin because they handled the contract.

Now that it is was reported that the original plans, which called for the Turbulence coaster, have been cancelled, what does this mean for the area in which this famous ride used to stand? Two former Hersheypark classics, Starship America and Balloon Flite will return to make up for the loss of this ride. The GIANT Wheel is, now, being replaced by two former classics, a sweet end to a horrible mess!

So what does this mean for us, Hersheypark enthusiasts? All we have left now is memories....memories of our past experiences of a beloved Hersheypark icon that will, indeed, be deeply missed.

Goodbye GIANT brought all of us good memories and great ones at that. May you rest in peace with all of Hershey's other retired rides. You will be missed!

GIANT WHEEL 1973-2004.......A  once- famous beloved Hersheypark icon! 




Coming soon.....send in your favorite GIANT Wheel memories, via email, and they will be posted here!

Be sure to include your name and why you miss this ride.


Scroll down and enjoy these photos of this once famous Hersheypark icon.








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