The Wonderland Years: Bounty’s Revenge

This column was originally published in The Central Western Daily on Tuesday 18th January 2014.

Bounty’s Revenge, known to Australia’s Wonderland staff as “360”, was a looping starship ride with a pirate ship shell. One of the original attractions when the park opened in 1985, it seated fifty passengers at the time, swinging backwards and forwards until it eventually went right over the top to a height of twenty four metres. It was also one of my favourite rides to work on because it required 3 staff. With the ride queue really close to the operator’s booth, plus the extra colleagues, it was great fun to operate if you liked to socialise and interact with the crowd, which I certainly did.

Microphone in hand, I’d give my safety spiel every ride cycle and then begin my banter with the riders. One of my favourite things to do was tell the passengers that they would receive a free set of steak knives if they kept their hands up throughout the ride. Of course, I had absolutely no control over the ship whatsoever. Besides the lap bar controls, the start button and the big red emergency stop button, the ride operator had no influence on how long the ride went and how many revolutions it made.

I was also certain that no-one believed a word I said, until I was called in to see my manager. Unable to control his laughter, he proceeded to give me a “serious” warning. It seems that a rider indeed visited the guest relations office to claim his complimentary steak knives and after a fairly lengthy period of confusion on behalf of the poor employee behind the counter, became quite irate when told he had been duped. I didn’t play that prank again, much.

The problem with pirate ships that go upside down is that riders tend not to listen to warnings about loose objects. Fortunately, in the early nineties, no one really had mobile phones, so the staff would take shelter under canopies or umbrellas from frequent showers of coins, cigarette lighters, sunglasses and once, an SLR camera. At best, the object landed in the ride pit and would remain there until I called a maintenance crew member to fetch it, but usually it would stay where it landed for weeks until a scheduled clean out. At worst, it landed in the lake and was never seen again.

Whoever got the job to drain the lake in 2004 when the park closed for good would have made a fortune in coins. My friend and former colleague Craig claims to have found $80 in change when rostered to clean the outskirts of the ride.

Occasionally we would have a rider who was a little too, well, rotund for the seatbelt. The solution was pretty simple: seatbelt extensions. The tricky thing for staff was to retrieve these extensions when the ride cycle finished. Being almost identical to the standard seatbelts, they were pretty hard to find. Of course, when they plummeted from a height of  twenty four metres and slammed into the platform, they were much easier to locate.

The worst thing about Bounty’s Revenge was cleaning up after a guest was sick on the ride. Affectionately known as a “protein spill”, it was not possible to toss kitty litter over the mess and call park services to sweep it up. Instead, we’d throw soapy water over the seats, tell all of the guests to move under the queue canopy and run the ride. Not many attractions have their own spin dry cycle!

Bounty’s Revenge is now known as Pirate’s Revenge and is located at the Sunway Lagoon theme park in Kuala Lumpur.

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Published in: Uncategorized on February 18, 2014 at 23:04  Comments (1)  
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  1. Gawd, I still occasionally have a flash-back to when I, either as the operator or loader, started this thing with someone sitting in front of the chest harness. Obviously the ride was stopped (e-stopped?) before it got up too much speed; but clearly three separate pairs of eyes, not to mention the fool who didn’t realise his uncomfortable posture might be symptomatic of an upcoming gravity lesson, didn’t pick this one up as soon as they should have!


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