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Winter at the Boardwalk | A Peek Behind-the-Scenes

Giant Dipper Station
Freshly painted Giant Dipper Station.

You might be wondering, what happens at the Boardwalk during the wintertime? After the holidays, when rides are closed during the week, it may seem like there’s not much going on at the park. To the untrained eye, it may look quiet along the ‘walk, but behind the scenes, there’s much more to the story. Our operations and maintenance teams are working hard to provide important updates and scheduled upkeep to ensure the best guest experience that the Boardwalk can offer. From ride safety to cosmetics, a team of highly skilled technicians are on the job ensuring that everything is running smoothly and looking top-notch.

Ride Maintenance
Removal of Rock & Roll (top); Carpentry work in Logger’s Revenge Station (bottom left); Maintenance on Tornado (bottom right)

With safety being one of our top priorities, the Boardwalk maintenance teams are working diligently to clean, repair, and repaint, ensuring that our wonderful rides and attractions exceed the highest standards. Between the salty air and natural elements, the park takes a beating throughout the year. General upkeep and attention to detail are a high priority. During most of the winter, the Boardwalk runs on limited-operations model in which some rides and areas of the park are closed to guests. This allows for ample time to repair and execute the needed work. Teams of skilled technicians have an opportunity to make the necessary adjustments, repairs, and replacements to get the park ready for our guests in the upcoming season. Did you know there is a 32,000-square-foot basement dedicated to workshops for the various specialty trades that make up our Maintenance Department? This space allows the teams – plumbing, painting, fiberglass, landscaping, carpentry, ride mechanics – to do much of the work onsite so we experience as little downtime as possible. We also have talented teams for Arcade and Games Maintenance and Entertainment Technology hard at work making sure all aspects of the guest experience are seamless. Everything has to be in tip-top shape for our February 10th deadline when the park transitions back into full operation!

Riptide moved to a new location to make room for Surge, a new ride for 2024.

Typical winter upkeep includes repainting, moving ride locations, safety testing, operational adjustments, replacing and checking lights, and other electronics or software modifications. Our teams are committed to ensuring that every piece of equipment meets or exceeds the highest safety standards set forth by state rules and regulations. This winter has been even busier with preparations for the much anticipated new rides coming in 2024: Surge & Dream Wheel! Some reconfiguration was needed to make space: Riptide was moved, and we said goodbye to Rock & Roll and Cliff Hanger after 20 years. But, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk will once again be home to a beautiful and exciting Ferris wheel, the third Ferris wheel to operate in Boardwalk history. Just under 65′ tall, the Dream Wheel will offer stunning views of Monterey Bay, Downtown Santa Cruz, and the Boardwalk. The rides maintenance crews have also re-tarred the ever-popular Cave Train tracks and completed some important carpentry work in the Logger’s Revenge station.

Painting the Giant Dipper Station
Boardwalk paint crew hard at work giving the Giant Dipper Station a fresh coat of paint.

With this year being the Giant Dipper’s 100th Anniversary, the Boardwalk’s paint department and outside contractors collaborated on a full-scale repainting project for this ride and it is looking better than ever. The tracks and the building exterior are sporting a bright new shiny coat of red and white. 

Maintenance in Neptune's Kingdom
Cleaning arcade games (left); painting Neptune’s Kingdom entrance (top right); touch-ups in the mini golf course (bottom right)

Both the Casino Arcade and Neptune’s Kingdom are back open after some significant renovations in January. During the temporary closure, arcades and maintenance crews implemented major deep-cleaning, updating, repainting, cable management, and general upkeep. With the heavy traffic that these game rooms see throughout the year, these updates are critical in making them one of the best arcade attractions in Northern California. MyBoardwalkCard systems have been updated to ensure more efficient transactions and the Captain’s Game Deck is now sporting a high-tech digital pinball leaderboard. Buccaneer Bay Mini Golf Course has been re-painted & touched up to keep the fun going. Prior to its current setup, this full-scale indoor attraction was once known as The Plunge, a giant heated salt-water pool that was widely popular from 1907 to the late 1960s. During that era, you could enter for around 25 cents, rent a towel, and even rent a bathing suit! 

The rides and arcades are back open and ready for you to enjoy. Bring your friends and family, and we hope to see you at the Boardwalk!



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