THE TURN OF THE CENTURY will always be my favorite ride at MGA (Gurnee). I first rode it in October of 1977 (age 12) and loved it. Here are a few distinct memories from my first ride:
1) This was my first big roller coaster, and I was pretty nervous!
2) I was unprepared for the speed run the cars took as they crested the little drop at the top of the lift hill.
3) I still remember the sound of the wheels as they came around the top, headed for the big drop.
4) I sat near the middle during that very first ride and can still recall the feeling as the cars plummeted over the big drop.
5) Loved, loved, LOVED the two bunny hills! Wild airtime.
6) As we came around the far-end corner and headed toward the corkscrews I can remember being really scared. Loops, corkscrews etc. were new on roller coasters and I was convinced these would be the most insane, craziest, hair-raising, fear-inducing moments of my young life. And then---poof---they were over and it wasn't really anything. I realized the two bunny hills were more thrilling than the corkscrews!
That first time my family and I visited MGA (Gurnee), it was a cold, cloudy and blustery October day. In fact, the forecast the day before said rain was possible and I remember my Mom and Dad saying, "If it's raining in the morning, we're not going." That terrified me! I woke up several times that night and looked out the window. (We lived in Beloit, Wisconsin.) When I woke up that Saturday morning, it was cloudy and cold with a stiff breeze, but no rain! We were going! I had my friend Chuck with me and my sister had her friend Kelly.
When we got to the park one of the first things I remember is seeing the cars doing some practice runs on THE TURN OF THE CENTURY. I was still in the parking lot and when the trains went down the first drop I couldn't see the bottom---this made the drop seem even bigger, which in turn made me even more nervous. After all, this was going to be my first BIG roller coaster!
We had such a great day, thanks in big part to the cold weather. I remember them announcing there were only 2,000 people there during the entire day, which meant we could ride just about everything non-stop! Willard's Whizzer and TTOFC were the only two big coasters then, and we rode them over and over. I also remember riding Orlean's Orbit. My Mom and Dad took a few pictures that day, and my favorite shows us upside down on the second corkscrew on TTOFC. Another picture shows the four of us, in big heavy jackets. It was cold that day!
And now, for a little more TURN OF THE CENTURY news! Last night I was looking through lots of old photos and ran across a box of negatives. As I held them up to the light I realized they were from MGA (Gurnee) form either '78 or '79, with several of them taken of TTOTC! In fact, one picture I took in the front seat as we went down the first hill---and it turned out great! I don't know who still develops negatives, but I plan to take them in somewhere to get developed. (I don't know whatever happened to the original photos I had developed.) After I get them developed I'll scan and post 'em.
All about the rides at Marriott's GREAT AMERICA and post-Marriott rides, too
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