Vekoma Rides, the Dutch roller coaster specialist, is celebrating the opening of Phoenix, a custom suspended family coaster at Deno’s Wonder Wheel Amusement Park on Coney Island in the US. The ride, which opened over the 4 July weekend, is a 372-metre version of the coaster. It is 20.73 metres tall and reaches speeds of 53 kilometres per hour.
Phoenix is a compact ride with a footprint of 78.2 x 31.2 metres, yet provides a fun and memorable experience that guests will want to repeat. One highlight is a near-miss with the Wonder Wheel itself, where they will experience a curve with a 3.4G downforce.
Rising like the Phoenix
Thanks to the unique layout of the coaster, visitors can walk underneath while riders enjoy soaring high, turning and manoeuvring. It has an open seat design and restraint system for comfort and safety, with an extra flying sensation provided by dangling feet and an unobstructed view downwards.
DJ Vourderis, whose family owns and operates the park, says:
“We wanted to do something that would sit under the Wonder Wheel [the iconic Ferris wheel which is an official NYC landmark] and be worthy of it — and be worthy of Coney Island. We didn’t want a cookie-cutter coaster.
“I haven’t seen tight turns like this in a family coaster, ever…it feels a lot faster than 34 miles per hour, with all the near-misses.”
This is the biggest investment in the history of the park and was inspired by the Vekoma suspended family coaster at Dollywood, Dragonflier.
The Vourderis family has named it “The Phoenix” in the wake of the global pandemic:
“This is a place for us to heal,” says DJ Vouderis of the park, also noting that the 101-year-old Wonder Wheel was built following the Spanish Flu. “There was a lot of risks back then, too, to build during a pandemic, but people believed in Coney Island…This is going to be the start of our Roaring ’20s.”
Earlier this year, Vekoma also announced that it is working with Fårup Sommerland in Denmark to bring a new coaster to audiences in 2022 – Fønix. Once open, this will be the largest and fastest roller coaster in the country, measuring 40 metres tall and reaching heights of up to 95 kilometres an hour.