All things American Eagle!

General discussion about Marriott's GREAT AMERICA
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holydumb26
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All things American Eagle!

Post by holydumb26 » Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:29 pm

I think it’s really about time we get this forum up and running again!

Hey you Gurnee Nuts out there this past season was the amazing American Eagle’s 25th anniversary and it’s about time someone recognized it. Personally I believe among the other Marriott Rides, American Eagle, still reigns supreme. Currently I am in the process of creating a 25th Anniversary Silver Season American Eagle Tribute Video with memories from the last 25 years. I have only been alive for 18 years so I need you historians to help me out.

This is where I need your help, please contribute any and every photo and or memory you may have of this beast. If you’re a former American Eagle Ride Operator please share some of the wonderful memories the old Eagle has provided for us. Also please take advantage of the photo albums that Steven Wilson has provided for us.

Let’s keep this legal. Keep the POV’s and other on rides photos/videos to a minimum unless strictly allowed by Marriott’s or Six Flags Great America.

If you would like to contact me outside of this forum my email is kylesmith26@gmail.com

It’s time to get this forum up and running again lets do it buy contributing your American Eagle Photos/Videos/ Memories or anything else American Eagle! All contributions will be attributed and given credit for.

Thank You all so much for your help! Have Fun!

-Kyle Smith
:D
"he's to large to free himself in fact hes a monstrous animal now...and this ride is his cage!"

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holydumb26
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Post by holydumb26 » Sun Dec 10, 2006 1:57 pm

Wow so much for that idea!
"he's to large to free himself in fact hes a monstrous animal now...and this ride is his cage!"

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Glorfindel7
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Post by Glorfindel7 » Sun Dec 10, 2006 7:56 pm

I think some people are taking "time off" out of the forum because of the off season....

Anyway hoping this helps...

My very first ride on the American Eagle did not come until 1982, I did not make it to the park in 1981 due to my father coming down with a bad back on the day we were supposed to go :( (So naturally I missed the last season of a couple of great rides....)

In 1982 I remember it was sort of a damp day and I was in line for the ride, but the person I was with "chickened out" at the last second (his exact words to me "You don't want to go on this do you?" ).

We met my parents to ride the Sky Trek Tower. While we were on the ride my mom just happened to mention that she and my dad rode the American Eagle (naturally my friend definitely wanted to ride it after that... teenagers can't stand it when parents do something that they were not able to do... so we ended up getting in line to ride it almost immediately.)

I still remember the first time on the inital drop on the first hill after all these years... what a rush that was!!!!! I had ridden it many times but the first was DEFINITELY the best!

(Maybe this will start the thread for you :) )

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holydumb26
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Post by holydumb26 » Mon Dec 11, 2006 10:32 pm

Awesome thank you! Those awesome stories are what Im looking for!

Yeah the offseason is a real downer :(

Thats why I want to make a fun video about American Eagle!

Keep the cool stories and pictures coming
"he's to large to free himself in fact hes a monstrous animal now...and this ride is his cage!"

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BillK
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Post by BillK » Fri Jan 19, 2007 3:01 am

One rumor that I had heard from an op in college was that the Eagle was only designed to last for five years as it had originally been a stopgap until the Southwest area went in, so every year after that it was a maintenance race to keep it running.

Any truth to that?

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GreatAmerica4ever
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Post by GreatAmerica4ever » Mon Jan 29, 2007 11:00 am

I will never forget coaxing my brother to get on the American Eagle around 1985. I was 15 and he would have been 12. He never wanted to go on roller coasters because of the feeling you get when you ride the drops like on the Demon. I told him that because the Eagle is higher, you wont get that sensation.

He never forgave me after we got off the coaster that afternoon. He said he almost died because 'his stomach dropped'! He never went on a roller coaster with me again after my little lie!

I always think of him telling me this when I see the American Eagle.

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Mr. D.T.
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Post by Mr. D.T. » Mon Jan 29, 2007 9:13 pm

That sounds like a surefire lesson on telling you that lies are never good and consequences always result. :oops:
"Park Base to Unit 100 and all base stations please be advised.....we have the 4 O'Clock 1085. A. 1.4; B. 23.5; C. 28.7; D. 5.1. The temperature is 77 degrees.

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WestBurbs14
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American Eagle, 1981

Post by WestBurbs14 » Wed Oct 03, 2007 11:06 am

The first I heard of the American Eagle was in a newspaper story sometime during the 1980-81 off-season. It had a photo of an artist's rendering. I remember how impressive the ride structure was at first. On closer examination, however, it seemed odd that the first hill was the only notable feature.

The turnaround looked good until I realized that the steep hill went up, not down, and that the spiral seemed overly long. Between the first drop and the turnaround, there were very minor hills in each direction. And as my brother, Dave, pointed out, the twin spiral before the brake run was impressive until you realized that because of the twin tracks, you only rode one of the spirals.

Nonetheless, I thought it was best to judge the ride from the actual ride experience than from a picture. Our household got a mass-marketed coupon envelope that included a discount for GA admission, so prodded by the ending date of that offer, Dave and I made a trip to the park. Dave was 26 and I was 19.

Since we came in from the south along the tollway, our first view of the Eagle was from the road. To this day I think the structure is visually impressive. Many years later when I was flying into O'Hare from Dallas, we approached O'Hare from the southwest and flew over and past the airport all the way to Lake Michigan before turning around and approaching the runway. While we were still heading northeast toward the lake and the plane was a few thousand feet high and maybe five miles south of GA, I could clearly see the white mass of American Eagle wood.

After Dave and I entered the park, we made our way to the Eagle. The line used much of the queue under the circus tent, but it seemed to move at a decent pace. I'm guessing we waited close to an hour to board.

We saw something interesting when we were on the queue bridge that crossed the park service road. We watched two guys get out of the line. The trouble was that they were in a section of line adjacent to the service road, and when they hopped over the railing onto the road, they unwittingly exited the park. It was somewhat amusing to watch them walk along looking for a place to get back onto the midway while gradually realizing there was no way to do it. I can’t blame them for being confused. It seems like the park should have put some landscaping or walls with paintings of park attractions or something along the queue to separate it from the backstage area.

The whole day it looked like there was a threat of rain, particularly as my brother and I reached the loading area. Luckily the rain held off and we got our ride in.

I remember little of that actual first ride other than that it confirmed what I'd suspected: good first drop, bland everything else. I was hoping it would somehow be more than that, so I was disappointed. One problem was that less than a week before, I'd ridden the Beast at Kings Island, which other than the mid-ride chain lift was exciting from beginning to end, sometimes horrifyingly so.

The Eagle just did not give Beast-sized thrills. While the latter had a decent first drop, accentuated by the miniscule-looking tunnel entrance, it followed it up by a good second drop, many twists and turns, and a screaming-through-hell finish. The Eagle couldn't match that combination of thrills.

One of the things that bugged me Eagle-wise was the recycled name. In 1976, Six Flags St. Louis heavily promoted the Screamin' Eagle on Chicago TV. I went on that ride in '76, and it was thrilling and well paced. It seemed that GA took that name, made it less creative, and slapped it on a ride layout with a big first drop and not much else.

I remember reading an interview of a famous coaster designer - I think it was John Allen, but I could be wrong - who complained about the emphasis on coaster stats over pacing and features. He’d had an inquiry from Marriott to do the Eagle, but he refused because it wasn’t going to be a good coaster – just the next one to be tallest and fastest. He was right.

That day in 1981, Dave and I decided to give the Eagle a second chance. After having our expectations lowered, we enjoyed the second ride a bit more than the first. Still, today I like it far more for the beauty of its structure than for the actual ride experience it delivered.

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Demonlover13
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Post by Demonlover13 » Fri Oct 12, 2007 7:56 pm

I'm a new rider to the eagle. I just rode it for the 1st time about 3 weeks ago. It..... was..... amazing! I was so scared. I was cursing all the way up the lift hill but after the first drop, I realized it was ok!
I need a great day this year, or 2, or 30!

kylesmith26
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Post by kylesmith26 » Wed Oct 17, 2007 11:47 am

WestBurbs you bring up some interesting points. This past season I really got to understand all the workings of the American Eagle very well. For me the wooden giant has always been a fantastic display of a ride. For the ride itself I have always thought it was one of if not the best rides I have ever ridden.

This past summer I finally made it out to Kings Island to ride the Beast and the Racer. Which are both amazing rides themselves for I was very impressed. Still something about Eagle tickels me more than both of those coasters. That would have to be the Barrel (for you who call it the Helix its the portion of the ride that is on the Western most side of the ride that is out by 94) and the cross over after the barrel. When you get that perfect race you will know the true fun that Eagle can be. When you get that race that is Blue about 2/3 ahead of red going into the Barrel not trimmed up top. Then they both slowly race until they both come barreling out the the Barrel into the cross over that is a true race on Eagle. It has to be one of the most amazing elements on a Wooden Racing Coaster.

The problem with it though is that if both trains are dispatch at the sametime you will not get that element.

If you really think about it all Figley-Wright and Intiman really did was take The Beast and The Racer and combine them to make one kick ass rollercoaster. I really wish I could have ridden the ride back in its first couple seasons. But even 26 years later its still giving amazing rides with good airtime and cross overs. I love the Eagle! :D
Holler!

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Demonlover13
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Post by Demonlover13 » Wed Oct 17, 2007 12:06 pm

I got the perfect race on red train.
I need a great day this year, or 2, or 30!

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WestBurbs14
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KyleSmith26's Eagle Comments

Post by WestBurbs14 » Thu Oct 18, 2007 3:42 pm

KyleSmith26:

I'm glad you like the Eagle. Even I don't think it's all bad.

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Demonlover13
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Post by Demonlover13 » Thu Oct 18, 2007 5:44 pm

I still must say the viper has a better layout but I love the old rickety feeling you get going around the huge helix.
I need a great day this year, or 2, or 30!

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Post by benzo41190 » Wed Dec 05, 2007 9:27 pm

I think one of the most classic moments I have in the park is a good race in the helix at night. I love the "electricity" in the air from the riders on both trains. The competitive feeling between the red and blue side is also fun and without it it wouldn't be a "classic" ride. Going around the helix and waving to all the cars on I-94 and yelling to the riders on the other train. After the first half it gets so loud and out of control that everyone is just yelling and laughing from all the excitement. As you get to the bottom of the helix the airtime seems to make everyone go "ugh" and then the great cross over as everyone gets to say bye on last time.

Then the airtime hills passing the massive lit up first drop and you feel carefree and happy. And you go threw the last helix and it makes everyone raise there hands while coming into the brake run excited to see who has won. Then of course as both trains come to a stop, the yelling and laughing at the other train saying "loser" or "hahaha we beat you" and other remarks. As the trains come into the station the Op yelling "how was your ride" and everyone responding with a yell. No matter who old or young everyone was, they come back with a smile. You walk of the ride happy and going in the long path looking back at the lit up structure and you are just happy. At that time you walk back onto the midway and you feel the humid summer air back on your body and the rest of the night is a very relaxing time.

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Post by Cheesehead Dave » Fri Dec 07, 2007 2:03 pm

I think one of my most memorable rides was during an AM test ride. There was a layer of fog on the ground that was so think, that going over the crest of the hill, you could not see the ground (or the rest of the park for that matter), and the track just seemed to disappear into nothingness.
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(1990-Demon, 1991-Power Dive/Cajun, 1992-Loggers, 1993-Eagle, 1994-Space Shuttle, 1995-Iron Wolf)

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