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Old Posted Jul 4, 2009, 10:43 AM
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Neverland's coaster: Dragon Wagon Kiddie now resides in Coney Island

Jayden Richardson on a Ride named Dragon Wagon in Dreamland amusement park in Coney Island.

BY Jeff Wilkins
Saturday, July 4th 2009

A big piece of Michael Jackson history is now in Coney Island.

The Dragon Wagon Kiddie Coaster at Coney Island's Dreamland Park was part of Jackson's private amusement park at Neverland Ranch before quietly arriving in Brooklyn.

"We got really lucky landing this one," said Dreamland's president, Anthony Raffaele.

The kid-sized coaster features a grinning dragon that loops behind a gray castle adorned with gargoyles resembling dancers from Jacko's "Thriller" video.

Its journey began last April when Dreamland, on the former site of Astroland, struggled to find enough rides to fill the park for its inaugural season.

"To get spectacular rides, the right quality rides, was proving difficult," said John Strong, who owns Dreamland's freak show.

Strong, 50, asked his friend and former boss Earl "Butch" Butler, CEO of California-based Butler Amusements, to lend a hand.

Butler agreed to send four rides to Dreamland including the Dragon Wagon coaster he bought at an auction at Neverland last September.

"It was quite the experience," Butler said of the auction, held to pay off some of the pop star's debts. "He had so much stuff on his ranch. Everything was made with such care and detail."

Now that a part of Jackson's legacy is in place in Brooklyn, New Yorkers couldn't be happier.

"It's amazing this was actually at his house," said Bronx native Vivian Lopez as her son Jaden, 7, and daughter Tatyannah, 5, went for a spin on the coaster.

Dreamland will play Jackson's music and attach his photos to the ride this holiday weekend in tribute to the late star.

Tatyannah Lopez and her brother Jaden Lopez on ride that used to be at Michael Jackson's home Neverland.
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