Announcing Paramount Canada’s Wonderland’s Largest Investment!
For the park’s 25th anniversary, the park announced its largest investment ever at approximately $15 million: The Italian Job: Stunt Track!
The ride was announced on August 12th, 2004. The park held a press event that included Mini Coopers driving around International Street. I wasn’t there to see it but the PCW Junkies, the family that owned the best Wonderland website there ever was, covered it in pictures so we all had the pleasure to see what went on that day.
For the remainder of the 2004 season, an information centre for the ride was situated on the left side of the floral flag as you entered the park, showcasing artwork and the ride animation. My pictures of that come later in this post!
The ride boasted many exciting features when it was first announced:
- The ride has three launches: Initial launch; Launch out of MCBR/warehouse scene; Boost out of the billboard.
- There were fire and water effects in the warehouse scene and the dip under the entrance bridge.
- The ride vehicles were styled to Mini Coopers.
- The vehicles had locking car doors that attendants would push closed as they came by the check restraints.
- The vehicles had running headlights and audio.
- The vehicles had vibrators that would simulate the cars driving down a staircase in the drop before entering the MCBR.
- The vehicles are able to “fish-tail” or sway side to side on the turns.
The animations for the ride showed the track as being yellow but was changed to dark grey before the track pieces began arriving at the parks. I recall hearing that they felt the yellow track “stood out too much”.
The entrance and exit to the ride were next to Minebuster’s entrance… It was a rather long trek to and from the ride… When Behemoth was added, the ride entrance and exit were relocated next to Behemoth’s gift shop.
Although I don’t ride it very often anymore, the ride has a lot of sentimental value to me. In 2005, I hosted my own enthusiast event with ERT on the ride, which I detailed last year in a blog post. And there was the tour last year of the ride during ACE’s Rollercoasters, Eh? annual event at the park.
Check out the press release, video animation, and my pictures of the park’s info centre for the ride down below!
Italian Job: Stunt Track Press Release
Paramount Canada’s Wonderland, VAUGHAN, Ontario (March 7, 2005) – Another Hollywood big-screen spectacular comes to life at Paramount Canada’s Wonderland with the addition of THE ITALIAN JOB: Stunt Track, a new multi-million dollar fast-track coaster experience for 2005. Based on the high-action finale of Paramount Pictures’ The Italian Job (2003) starring Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Mos Def, and Donald Sutherland, this new wild ride takes families on a high-speed stunt car adventure through movie sets and scenes inspired by the film’s climatic chase sequence.
Park guests experience what it’s like to be a Hollywood stunt driver and go behind the scenes of an action movie. Guests board their very own MINI Cooper S tricked out with audio special effects adding to the multi-sensory sensation of the experience. Once strapped into their custom stunt car, rubber meets the road as the MINIs peel out to begin their chase sequence. Drivers twist through a parking garage, dodge near-collisions, race down stairs, chase through tunnels and narrowly escape massive explosions triggered by gunfire from a menacing helicopter. Tires skid out one last time as the stunt cars crash through a billboard and splash down into an L.A. aqueduct concluding the chase sequence and their screen test trial as a stunt driver!
“This new stunt concept offers the perfect combination of Hollywood special-effects and coaster thrills,” mentioned Paramount Canada’s Wonderland’s executive vice president and general manager, Barry Jones. Jones added: “THE ITALIAN JOB: Stunt Track is an interactive family thrill ride designed for everyone that craves high-speed, hair-raising excitement.”
THE ITALIAN JOB: Stunt Track is scheduled to open in spring 2005.
Learning About IJ:ST at the Info Centre!
I may be mistaken but I don’t remember any other ride getting this kind of treatment for an announcement before. Although not quite as grand as Yukon Striker’s, it was certainly something you had to stop and look at with all of the artwork on display.
The info centre included movie screencaps that showed scenes that certain parts of the ride were inspired by. There were also 2D concept drawings of the billboard and parking garage sets for the ride, as well as 3D renderings of the ride vehicles. Up above, there was a TV playing the ride’s promotional animation video.
For a short while after the announcement, there was an actual Mini Cooper on display!
You best believe that 13-year-old me thought it would be cool to own a Mini Cooper at some point in life.