Designed to be what in the park industry is known as a "weenie", the Giant Wheel was the larger than life draw at the far end of Dream Street, bringing guests from the entrance plaza into the heart of the Enchanted Forest.

The Giant Wheel was purchased after having served as the centerpiece of the Holland Tulip Festival, and at the time it was the World's Largest Ferris Wheel. The ride promised to offer spectacular views from above the tree tops over the entire park.

The strategy of the Enchanted Forest was to preserve as much of the heavily forested property as possible, so the bare minimum number of trees were removed around the future site for the ride. The parts all arrived from Europe and assembly began. The first pieces installed were the two massive footers which were designed for portability but had to keep the wheel stable with ballast in the steel frames. The two footers were held at the proper distance for the ride's assembly with a steel frame between them to keep them at the proper distance apart as well as to insure they remained parallel to one another during assembly. Once the footers were in place the legs were assembled on the ground and raised into position with a crane.
With the first leg installed and held in place with a cable, the second leg was raised with the crane and the two were joined at the center of the ride, creating one side of the "A" shape to support the central hub.
The ride was equipped with built in service steps and railings allowing workers to climb the structure safely. The steps lead to a platform at the top for easy assembly and maintenance of the Giant Wheel's hub. With the legs in place, everything was bolted together and secured.
The second set of legs went together the same way, and with the four legs in place the hub was hauled into the center connecting the two sides. The massive hub carries all the weight of the ride as well as creating the electrical connections for the rides lighting. Definitely not a job for those with a fear of heights!
Once the hub was in place the spokes and outer ring were assembled piece by piece and the wheel advanced section by section temporarily secured to the legs. The frame of the wheel is strong but light weight. Without the weight of the cars, moving the structure was relatively easy as assembly continued. When the wheel was a complete circle in the tradition of construction an American Flag was placed at the highest point to signal the project had topped out. 
With assembly of the structure complete the four motors were installed on the legs, and the elaborate floral lighting strips were attached to the spokes. All of the electrical wiring was now being installed so the motors could move the wheel as the cabins were being installed. The operator's booth was also put in place at the base. One of the final things to be done was the placement of wood planking around the foundation to disguise the steel boxes.

Update Coming Soon! 
Original Spotlight:  March 14, 2012; Updated September 10, 2023.  GAH Reference #:  SHOP-1974-007