Giant Dipper (Belmont Park)

Roller coaster in the United States
Watch the on-ride POV
Giant Dipper
Belmont Park
Location San Diego, California, USA
Coordinates 32°46′17″N 117°15′06″W / 32.771343°N 117.251764°W / 32.771343; -117.251764
Status Operating since July 4, 1925
Rider height 50 inch minimum
Designer / calculations Prior and Church Company
Type Wooden
Track layout Double Out and Back
Propulsion Chain lift hill
Height 73 feet
Drop 60 feet
Top speed 55 mph
Length 2600 feet
Inversions 0
Duration 1:45
Rolling stock
Manufacturer Prior and Church Company (1925-1990)
Morgan (1990-present)

Giant Dipper is a wooden roller coaster located at Belmont Park in the Mission Bay area of San Diego, California, USA. The ride was designed by Frank Prior and Frederick Church. Giant Dipper is considered a coaster landmark; having been first opened in 1925.


Originally the idea of John D. Spreckels, this coaster was built by a crew of 100 to 150 people in two weeks as the centerpiece of Belmont Park (originally known as Mission Beach Amusement Center at the time). It reportedly cost $50,000 to build including the two 18-passenger trains and featured 2,600 feet of track. It opened for business on July 4, 1925.[1] The coaster became very popular in the 1940s and 1950s (in the 1950s, it was renamed "Roller Coaster"). But by the late 1960s, it had fallen into disrepair. It closed in 1976.

In the early 1980s, people began calling for the demolition of the coaster, as it had become a home for local transients. A date for the demolition was set, but a group of citizens calling themselves the "Save the Coaster Committee," headed by Tim Cole,[2] intervened and had the ride designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1987. It is one of two large wooden scaffolded roller coasters with structural integrity that remain on the West Coast.[3]

A few years later, the San Diego Seaside Company was formed to restore the coaster to operation. $2 million was spent on the restoration. New trains, manufactured by Morgan, seated 24 riders per cycle in six four-person cars. The name was reverted to Giant Dipper The attraction was due to reopen on August 7, 1990, however, its opening was delayed due to a broken sprocket. Giant Dipper finally reopened on August 11, 1990.[4] The response was so strong that a second train was eventually added to the coaster.



Color scheme

Bordeux track and white supports.


6 cars per train. In each car, riders are arranged 2 across in 2 rows, for a total of 24 riders per train.



  3. National Park Service website
  4. "Giant Dipper Ready to Roll Today". The Los Angeles Times. August 11, 1990. p. 312. Retrieved November 13, 2020.

External links