As Schlitterbahn opened Friday, workers continue to make adjustments to get their record-setting water slide to function properly. Worlds of Fun has always delayed opening its latest mega ride.
Schlitterbahn officials admitted this week that Verruckt is "not behaving properly," but deny online reports that test dummies went airborne.
"I can tell you no test riders have gone airborne on the Verruckt," said park spokesman Layne Pitcher.
However, Pitcher said they are having to adjust the second hill on the slide after sending test sandbags down the nearly 168 feet.
Safety nets are being put over parts of the slide but Pitcher said that was always the plan.
The original plan had been for the 17-story-tall ride to open Friday, but the opening has been delayed until June 5. Pitcher said the park is on track to make the opening.
Some park goers didn't hear about last week's announcement. They were disappointed to arrive Friday and learn the ride wasn't operating yet.
Park officials have refused to detail why the delay occurred or all the changes being made, saying adjustments are a normal part of the ride preparation process.
"It is a one-of-a-kind ride with a one-of-kind process. It is going to be epic when it does open," Pitcher said. "It is expected to have to make adjustments as we go along because it is a one-of-a-kind thing. Nobody has ever done anything like this before. Most of the time when you have a ride like this somebody else has built it and tested it and done everything before it comes out to a property like ours."
Riders will hit speeds of 60-to-70 mph in a four-man raft.
He said the second hill "has a slightly different profile now," as part of the adjustments needed to get the raft safely down the ride. Jets that were to propel riders up the second hill are part of the adjustments.
"It is not just one thing that we are working on. There are a lot of different moving pieces on a ride like this. Everything has to move in concert," Pitcher said. "We purposefully push the ride to the limits and we are just making sure those limits are what we want them to be."
Once the ride opens, Pitcher says riders will have a thrilling and safe adventure.
"Safety is paramount for us," he said. "We want guests to come out here and have a great time and be safe."
The reports of test dummies going airborne has some riders thinking twice about making the hike to the top of Verruckt. Others say they are still looking forward to a wild ride.
"I hope they're making it safe because it looks dangerous," said park goer Veronica Muth. "It's kind of intimidating."
Teresa Ausberger looks forward to riding it and is OK with the delay.
"I'd rather it be safe so it's OK," she said.
"I've been looking forward to this ride since it came out," Logan Opat said. "I still plan on being one of the first ones down it. I'm not looking at anything that might scare me. I know my decision won't change."
Also this week, Worlds of Fun said their new 301' tall tower SteelHawk will not open on Saturday.
"Our maintenance team has done a great job of keeping on schedule despite wind and rain. It's particularly amazing considering the height of this ride. It's unfortunate the weather did not cooperate every day, which has delayed our extensive commissioning process. We expect the ride to open soon," said Frank Wilburn, vice president general manager, in a news release.
SteelHawk takes riders up 301 feet on a steel gondola and rotates 27 mph for a 60-second flight. SteelHawk provides riders with views of the city and the feeling of free flight.
The ride was previously at Knott's Berry Farm, a theme park in California. At that time it was called the Windseeker. While at Knott's Berry Farm, the Windseeker was shut down because it didn't pass state standards.
The ride malfunctioned twice in 2012, most dramatically when a frozen brake left 20 riders stranded for several hours until they could be safely brought down. No one was injured.
Worlds of Fun park officials say they'll do everything they can to make sure those problems don't happen in Kansas City.
Oceans of Fun, which included Predators' Plunge, Sharks' Revenge, and Hurricane Falls, will open on Saturday as planned. Worlds of Fun is now open daily. For more information, visit worldsoffun.com.
Servicemen and servicewomen, veterans, police, firefighters and EMTS get in free at Schlitterbahn this Memorial Day weekend when they show identification while their immediate family members get discounted tickets.
KCTV5's Amy Anderson, Erika Tallan and Jamie Oberg contributed to this report.
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