March 2012 – Bloomington, Minn. – Twists and turns, sensational speeds, and thrills, thrills, thrills! Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe recently unveiled Dutchman’s Deck Anchor Drop, a stainless steel spiral tube slide system designed by German ride manufacturer Josef Wiegand. This new attraction slots into the corner of Nickelodeon Universe adjacent to The Flying Dutchman Ghostly Gangplank Ropes Adventure Course, and does so with the help of engineers and architects from Krech, O’Brien, Mueller & Associates.
Based on the Flying Dutchman character from Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants series, the spiral slide system is two intertwining tubes that begin at 56 and 35 feet in the air. The two tubes twist and turn downward, giving riders a curvy, high-speed slide.
“Our role was to both determine how to best support the overall structure – a complicated engineering task given the attraction’s position in the park – as well as to develop the look for the queuing area and some of the neighboring elements leading up to the ride,” said Steve Iaria, AIA, KOMA architect and project lead. “We’ve been heavily involved with Nickelodeon Universe since it was first announced in 2007, so it’s been exciting to play a role in its continued development.”
Working closely with Mall of America, Nickelodeon, Josef Wiegand and PCL Construction, KOMA devised a column support system that was partially supported by MOA’s second floor. “We weren’t able to tie in to the ground – the most stable foundation – because of the proximity of the ride to some of the other attractions,” said Matt Van Hoof, PE, KOMA structural engineer. “We had to take a more creative approach to providing support for the columns. Fortunately, the weight of the attraction was reasonable, and it’s a mostly stable structure – one without moving parts – meaning we didn’t have to contend with the tremendous forces we see with some of the other rides in the park.”
The attraction itself features a stainless steel, tubular form that wraps around the overall structure several times, creating an impressively long, winding slide. Clear acrylic and LED lights help create a visually impressive scene, especially as the park lights dim in the evening hours. Van Hoof said, “The sheer height of the structure and the length of the slide tubes are likely to elicit oohs and aaahs from those making the trip to the top of the structure.”
Iaria continued, “A project like this can be tricky in that we need to take all the various pieces of the puzzle, bring them together and ultimately make them come to life in a coordinated whole. We’ve done it before at MOA, but each project is different and has it’s own challenges. And there are inevitably a great number of details that, taken together, make a significant difference in the overall look of the attraction area.”