Wednesday, August 16, 2017

California's Great America to Forge a New Path in 2018 with Railblazer Roller Coaster

Opening at California's Great America in 2018, Railblazer will be a innovative new single-rail coaster design that features a thin track and single-seat cars.  Designed by Rocky Mountain Construction, Railblazer will be the first coaster of its kind on the West coast, and only one of two in the world in 2018.

The ride's inline cars create an "extremely low center of gravity that amplifies every move and enables more dynamic turns and rotations than have ever been possible on a coaster."  The cars are in constant contact with the track, giving an extremely smooth ride with unobstructed views for passengers.

© California's Great America
Railblazer will feature tan supports and a burnt orange track that is set among rustic theming.  According to California's Great America, the "design spirit of the ride is reflective of an off-road adventure, with immersive sensory theming that embraces the great outdoors of the Bay Area and Central Coast."  As seen in the concept art released today, the ride will feature elaborate rockwork and be set partially over water as well.

© California's Great America
Riders will enter single seat, eight passenger cars (three trains in total) to start their journey on Railblazer.  After heading up a 45 degree lift hill to a height of 106 feet, the trains encounter a 180 degree turn then a 90 degree first drop with a maximum speed of 52 miles per hour.  The total track length of Railblazer is 1,800 feet.

© California's Great America
Elements on the journey include a total of three inversions - a large dive loop, a 180 degree stall, and a zero-gravity roll.  Other elements include a first drop that plunges into a rocky tunnel, an off-axis air-time hill, upward helix climb, and plenty of tight curves and drops.

“RailBlazer is a revolutionary roller coaster concept that will be an intense and exhilarating ride experience for our guests,” said Raul Rehnborg, vice president and general manager, California’s Great America. “In addition, it marks the company’s initial investment in the park following the City of Santa Clara’s approval this year of the new park master plan, and kicks off a multi-year transformation of California’s Great America into a world-class destination for everyone in the Bay Area and beyond.”

As with all the other announcements today, Railblazer's also included animation of the ride experience, embedded here.  With the approval of recent zoning changes for California's Great America, this ride should mark the start of a great expansion period for the park.  Exciting times ahead!

Twisted Timbers Hybrid Coaster + Winterfest Opening at Kings Dominion in 2018

Taking over the Candy Apple Grove section of Kings Dominion in 2018 is Twisted Timbers, a reincarnation of the Hurler wooden coaster that features track elements, including inversions, unlike anything the previous ride could provide.

Designed by Rocky Mountain Construction, this will be the second hybrid roller coaster opening at a Cedar Fair park in 2018.  Twisted Timbers will utilize some of Hurler's former wooden supports, but all new steel running rails will create a most twisted ride experience.

© Kings Dominion
The coaster is themed around an abandoned apple orchard that was closed years ago when a mysterious force ruined most of the season's harvest.  The ride explores those forces as passengers enter the orchard on a daring and thrilling journey.

Twisted Timbers will start with a climb up the lift, followed by a turn into a 109 foot barrel roll first drop which completely inverts riders on the way down.  From there the layout will be action packed and feature 3,351 feet of track with a top speed of 54 miles per hour.

© Kings Dominion
With much of the ride's layout remaining close to the ground, Twisted Timbers will feature a large amount of air-time hills.  From the start of the ride to the finish, there will be 20 different moments of air-time for riders to encounter.  The steel track will also allow the ride's turns to feature extreme banking, and three of them will actually be overbanked turns at more than 90 degrees.

© Kings Dominion
Including the first barrel roll drop, the ride will have three full inversions in all.  There will be a inverted stall element at the far end of the course, and also a heartline roll as well.  The above image also shows that the coaster's trains will made to look like an antique truck, a part of the deserted orchard theme.

This animated preview of the ride was released as a part of today's big announcement, giving a preview of what's to come on Twisted Timbers.  The ride will generally follow the same path as Hurler did, though all the elements are new and take full advantage of what the steel track offers.

Kings Dominion had one more surprise announcement today, and that was that Winterfest will begin at the park starting at the end of 2018.

© Kings Dominion
Kings Dominion will be decked out in its holiday finest for Winterfest, "an immersive holiday experience in which the park will be transformed into a winter wonderland complete with uniquely themed areas, multitudes of Christmas trees, millions of lights, ice-skating, entertainment, food, crafts and hands-on activities."  Features of Winterfest will include a nightly tree lighting ceremony, the transformation of the park’s fountain on International Street into Snowflake Lake, an area where guests can enjoy ice skating in the shadow of the iconic Eiffel Tower and the tower itself will be converted into a 300-foot Christmas tree complete with a state-of-the-art light show as snow falls over the midway.

Visitors will also find special holiday themed live entertainment in more than a dozen shows, special holiday shopping areas and specially themed food treats.  Best of all, weather permitting, many of the park's rides and attractions will be open.

“2018 is going to be an amazing year for our guests,” said Gary Chadwick, vice president and general manager, Kings Dominion. “Twisted Timbers raises the bar for Kings Dominion’s high thrill level, and adrenaline junkies everywhere will crave experiencing its astonishing twists and revolutions over and over again. This, added to the immersive Winterfest seasonal event, will let our guests experience the park in an entirely different way, creating new family traditions. These investments demonstrate our continued commitment to position Kings Dominion as a dynamic world class destination.”

Dorney Park Plans New Pre-K Pass, New Restaurant in 2018

Today Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom announced their plans to add a new type of season pass, along with a new high-capacity restaurant in Wildwater Kingdom for the park's 2018 season.

Known as the Pre-K Pass, the park will offer a brand new season pass to children between the ages of three and five at no cost, yes, free!  Guardians must register their child online through the park's website, and as a bonus the 2018 pass will be valid for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Dorney Park vice president and general manager Mike Fehnel said, “We’re introducing the Pre-K Pass to help families with young children more easily and affordably enjoy everything that Dorney Park has to offer, in a way that considers the unique needs of this age group. The Pre-K Pass allows parents to save money as the entire family experiences not only the kid’s rides in Planet Snoopy™ but also roller coasters, thrill rides, shows and our fantastic water park.”

© Dorney Park

Dorney Park will also build a brand new, high-capacity modern dining facility within Wildwater Kingdom in 2018.   Known as Tidal Wave Cafe, the eatery will be based off of successful designs already implemented at other Cedar Fair parks in recent years, and also contain a Coca Cola Refresh station as well.  The building's design, seen above, is meant to allow a large number of guests to select their food from a cafeteria-style setting before paying and exiting.

Tidal Wave Cafe will feature dishes that are a part of the park's meal plans, which is quickly growing in popularity with park guests.  Menu items include hand-battered fried shrimp and chicken tenders, along with rotisserie chicken, delicious macaroni and cheese, and house-smoke pulled pork cooked in a brand new smoker.

© Google Maps
Tidal Wave Cafe is part of a multi-million dollar renovation of one part of Wildwater Kingdom.  In order for the modern and aesthetically appealing building to go up, two older food locations will be removed.  They are within the pink box in the aerial image above, and are Mariner's Munchies and the Rita's Italian Ice stand to the left of it.

Tidal Wave Cafe will also feature an expanded outdoor dining area where the red umbrellas are above - a portion of the berm next to the lazy river will be removed in order to expand seating.  The covered seating area in the upper left of the aerial, added in the water park's last major renovation, will also be slightly modified to accommodate both the new restaurant and seating areas.

Record Breaking New Coaster - Time Traveler - Opening at Silver Dollar City in 2018

In 2018 guests of Silver Dollar City will find a brand new attraction, named Time Traveler, that will be the world's fastest, steepest and tallest complete circuit spinning roller coaster.  The park has teased fans for months, and today revealed all the twisted details of the massive ride.  Custom designed for the theme park by Mack Rides, Time Traveler will feature magnetically controlled spinning vehicles that traverse 3,020 feet of track set in the mountainous terrain of Silver Dollar City.

The project is the largest in the history of the park, coming in at $26 million.

© Silver Dollar City
This schematic covers all of Time Traveler's major features, which are numerous.  The ride's station sits at the top of a large ravine, and is themed as the workshop of "a young scientist, inventor and clockmaker by trade, Charles Henry."  Mr. Henry is obsessed with the works of Jules Verne, and dreams of creating a machine that can defy time.  He has created a prototype machine that he is inviting residents of Silver Dollar City to try out, known as the Time Traveler.

© Silver Dollar City
The coaster starts after passengers board one of three, sixteen passenger trains.  Immediately out of the station, and seen above, the trains plummet down 100 feet at 90 degrees, reaching a maximum speed of 50.3 miles per hour.  The trains then navigate a dive loop - one of three inversions on the ride.

After some ground-hugging maneuvers, riders hit the first of two LMS launches, this one speeds the trains up to 47 miles per hour in only 3 seconds.

© Silver Dollar City
The launch sends the trains up and over a large turn, then down into a 95 foot tall vertical loop, the first of its kind on a spinning roller coaster.  Upon existing the loop the trains soar through a descending helix and into a zero-g roll, then blast into the second LMS launch, this time going from 30 to 45 miles per hour in 3.5 seconds.  The ride ends with a giant wave turn before trains make their way to the final brakes.  The twisted nature of the ride will see it cross over itself a total of 14 times from start to finish.

“This coaster’s state-of-the-art controlled spin feature provides riders a unique thrill experience while still appealing to families,” said Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions. “Since Silver Dollar City’s opening day in 1960, guests have taken a journey back in time with unique and world- class experiences. We strive daily to continue that tradition through our rides, our festivals, our crafts and our food. That pursuit continues in 2018 with Time Traveler - a Revolutionary Coaster Ahead of Our Time.”
The park's animation of Time Traveler shows both on-ride and off-ride footage that covers the layout from start to finish.

© Silver Dollar City
© Silver Dollar City
Time Traveler has been under construction for some time now, and just recently Silver Dollar City started to install both track and supports for the coaster.  As a part of the announcement some photos of the current work were released, two of which are seen above.  The ride looks amazing so far, tucked away within the wooded terrain of the park.

Time Traveler will feature a 51 inch height requirement with individual lap bar restraints when it opened in Spring, 2018.

Cedar Point Announces Steel Vengeance - the World's Tallest, Longest and Fastest Hybrid Roller Coaster

The announcement that Cedar Point fans have been waiting more than a year for has finally happened, Steel Vengeance will forever change the park's Frontier Town when it opens in 2018.

The highly anticipated transformation of Mean Streak into a Rocky Mountain Construction designed hybrid roller coaster, featuring new steel track, will dominate riders with a plethora of exciting statistics and records.

© Cedar Point
Steel Vengeance will feature larger than life features, starting with a lift hill that climbs to 205 feet above the park.  The first drop will plunge riders down at 90 degrees, true vertical, 200 feet at 74 miles per hour.  The additional height (Mean Streak stood 161 feet tall) allows Cedar Point to claim the title of first hyper hybrid roller coaster ever.  Features of the 5,740 foot long track include the "world’s fastest airtime hill ever created on a hybrid roller coaster" at 73 miles per hour, a 116 foot outwardly banked air-time hill, and a total of four inversions.  The inversions include a 450-degree barrel roll, a first-of-its-kind Twisted Snake Dive, a corked barrel roll and a zero-gravity roll.

Riders will be treated to a monumental amount of air-time while on Steel Vengeance, totaling 27.2 seconds in all - according to the park this will be the most air-time on any coaster, anywhere.

© Cedar Point
“This is another roller coaster that only Cedar Point could build – tallest, fastest and longest of its kind with four inversions and the exciting movements the hybrid design can achieve,” said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. “There are so many unexpected moments on Steel Vengeance, it’s just plain twisted. It’ll be an extremely wild experience for our guests.”

The coaster will utilize three trains that provide a 2 minute, 30 second ride for a total theoretical hourly capacity of 1,200 riders.  Control systems for Steel Vengeance will be provided by Irvine Ondrey Engineering, their first project at Cedar Point.

According to the park, the back story of Steel Vengeance "will be told through three new outlaws who have banded together to “unsaddle” the reign of Maverick, FrontierTown’s low-to-the-ground, double-launching roller coaster."  The outlaws include "Jackson “Blackjack” Chamberlain, Chess “Wild One” Watkins and Wyatt “Digger” Dempsey."  The park promises to reveal more about these characters as the opening of Steel Vengeance draws closer.

This birds-eye view animation of Steel Vengeance gives a nice idea of both the dominating size of the attraction, along with some of the elements previously discussed in this story.  From start to finish, this coaster promises to thrill riders with one extreme element after another.

If you're ready to take a spin on Steel Vengeance, check out this point of view animation!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Universal Announces 2017 Showing of Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventures as its Last

While we all wait for mega-new-coaster-announcement-day tomorrow, Universal Studios Florida dropped some major news on fans of Halloween Horror Nights today.  The event's uber-popular Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show will be giving it's final performance this year, as the park shared on their Horror Nights website.

The event has quite a legion of followers, and the show itself has a significant cult following as well.  It has played at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights for 26 years, each year presenting a comical look at pop culture as Bill and Ted work to save the world from various forces of evil.  Fans are sure to want to visit this year for the finale to the duo's epic adventures.

© Universal Studios Florida
The performance has long called the theme park's Fear Factor stage as its home, with an elaborate set each year created for the show.  No firm reason was given for its retirement, though rumors suggest that a combination of an upcoming redevelopment of the Fear Factor stage along with a possible desire to move away from the "edgy" content of the show are big contributing factors.

Universal Studios Hollywood ran the show for several years before controversy over its content led to its sudden cancellation in 2013.  That park has since replaced it with Jabbawockeez, a hip hop dance crew.  Consumer tastes are a bit different on either coasts, so it remains to be seen what kind of live entertainment will join the Orlando event in the future.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 has already announced several mazes based on popular franchises, including American Horror Story, Saw, The Shining and Ash Vs. Evil Dead.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Waldameer Continues Water World Expansion in 2018 + New Family Ride

© Waldameer Park
Shortly after opening their new-for-2017 attraction, Waldammer Park has spilled the beans on their planned expansion for 2018.  The park will build a new water slide in their water park, Water World, along with a family ride in the amusement area.

The expansion will cost the park around $1 million, which is on top of the $2.5 million they spent on additions this year.

Water World will open a new bowl style water slide, popular in water parks for many years now.  The slide will be one of Proslide's Cannonball 30 slides and will depart from one of the park's existing water slide towers.  Passengers will ride in two person tubes down a curving drop and into a large bowl where they spin around and round before existing in the center.

Coming to the amusement park will be a Zamperla manufactured Samba Balloon Ride, in which kids and their parents can both ride together in fanciful hot air balloon baskets.  The balloons rise and fall as they rotate, providing an exciting but gentle ride.  The attraction will be placed near Kiddieland.

© Waldameer Park
Also the park just recently opened their new for 2017 attraction, a giant water play structure named The Battle of Lake Erie.  Filled with small slides, different levels and tons of interactive water features, guests are already loving the addition.  Waldameer has spent several seasons expanding Water World, starting with the addition of a wave pool a couple years back.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Taking a Guess at Valleyfair's Looping Addition for 2018 Season

It seems that not only the four Cedar Fair parks that are adding coasters will be announcing additions this Wednesday, but all of them.  Valleyfair tweeted today that in four days we will find out their 2018 addition that will "turn things upside down."  The tweet, seen above, also featured a bit of what looks like blueprints for the addition.

It's hard to make heads or tails of what's going on in the image, with the top portion perhaps being the queue or some adjacent structure.  The bottom is even more vague without more context.  However...

© Larson International Inc.
I was browsing rides that seem possible and came across this schematic of a Larson Giant Loop, an attraction that most certainly turns things upside down.  A recent popular instillation at many Six Flags parks, the Giant Loops pack a thrilling punch in a small space.  Looking closer at the diagram revealed an interesting similarity to Valleyfair's image.

If you look closely at the supports for the base of the Giant Loop, it looks pretty similar to the shapes on the right of Valleyfair's image.  Here, allow me to rotate Larson's schematic for a comparison.
There.  Looks pretty close, eh?  Now this could be a coincidence, you just never know.  If it does turn out to be a Giant Loop then the park will have a nice thrill ride to advertise for the 2018 season, when many expected a water park expansion to materialize.  That might still be a couple years off, however, and one of Cedar Fair's recent conference calls seems to hint that Valleyfair's big expansion was pushed back a few years while they study the park's market a bit more.

Either way we will find out on Wednesday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

SeaWorld San Diego Wins Approval for New 2018 Roller Coaster - Electric Eel

© SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego will be electrifying guests with a brand new roller coaster, named Electric Eel, in 2018 thanks to a final approval from the California Coastal Commission.  The thrilling coaster will be a second phase to this year's new Ocean Explorer themed area, aimed at older guests looking for a high-intensity experience.  This year's additions in Ocean Explorer were aimed at younger guests, so the attraction will help to round out the offerings of the land.

The ride was previously announced but SeaWorld San Diego did not have approval to build the ride at the time.  With final approvals in hand, major construction on the ride can begin right away.

Electric Eel will stand 150 feet tall and feature multiple launches and a top speed of 62 miles per hour.  The coaster will be manufactured to Premier Rides, one of their popular Sky Rocket II models.  After the multiple launches riders will enter a heartline roll that completely inverts them 150 in the air.  The trains will then dive downward into a non-inverting loop before completing the circuit.

The theme park has agreed to use colors on the ride that will help it blend in with the sky, and also not illuminate it above the 60 foot level. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Wins Approval for 315 Foot Tall New Attraction

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has received approval to build a 315 foot tall attraction, according to news reports.  The local county's Board of Supervisors approval a height limit waiver to allow the attraction to be built, which the theme park applied for just recently.

There's no word on what the new ride will be, though there are a limited amount of attractions out there that reach heights of 315 feet.  Naturally a roller coaster comes to mind, though coasters of that size are quite costly and might not be a part of SeaWorld Entertainment's current plans.  The park already has a free fall, so that leaves other tall structures, for example a swing ride, as more likely possibilities.

© Google Maps
The planning documents that the park submitted when requesting the height waiver only give a few clues about the project.  First, the approximate location of the ride is shown, just South of the Fiesta Italy themed area, in a currently open area (see map above).  The documents also refer to the project as "Busch Gardens Madrid."  Spain has been a long rumored addition as a themed land, but has never come to fruition.  That begs the question of whether the land will finally be built, but it could also just be the park's name for a singular new ride that's meant to throw us all off.

The park has three years to build the attraction from the approval of the height waiver, and has already announced a new virtual reality simulator experience for 2018, so the earliest this ride will open is 2019, it would seem.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg's current tallest ride is Mach Tower, the 246 foot tall free fall ride added to the park in 2011.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hersheypark Announces Multiple Attractions for The Boardwalk in 2018

© Hersheypark
Today was the big reveal for Hersheypark, which announced the addition of two large new water slide attractions for The Boardwalk in 2018.  One of the additions, Whitecap Racer, will be a giant mat racing slide and the other, Breakers Edge Water Coaster, a high-tech water thrill coaster.

As depicted in the concept art above, both new attractions will sit in the back of The Boardwalk, utilizing some previously undeveloped space along with some ground formerly occupied by Roller Soaker.  The additions are planned to open on Memorial Day weekend, 2018.

© Hersheypark
The most thrilling of the two additions is the Breakers Edge Water Coaster, which uses hydro-magnetic technology to blast rafts both downhill and uphill, much like a traditional roller coaster.  The park says that the water coaster will be the first of its kind in the world with flying saucer turns, seen above.

The ride will utilize the former loading station of Roller Soaker, and carry about 600 passengers per hour through a one minute and thirty second ride.  Breakers Edge Water Coaster will feature purple and blue slide sections, with bright green accents.

© Hersheypark
Whitecap Racer will be The Boardwalk's second new attraction, a giant set of mat racing slides that tower 70 feet over the park.  The attraction features six separate lanes for guests to race down, and two different sets of horizontal loops that each lane slides through.  The attraction will be the longest of its kind in the world when it opens, according to Hersheypark.

Both new additions are being provided by ProSlide Technology, and both have a 42 inch height requirement.

For more on the expansion, check out Hersheypark's page along with the video below.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Dorney Park Haunt X Pre-Season Update

We are still about 5 weeks away from the start of Halloween Haunt X at Dorney Park, but the park is already working hard on setting up for the event.  While no formal announcements have been made yet, it appears as though we may be getting up to three new attractions this year, which is pretty exciting!

The first of which is actually a former attraction, Club Blood.  The park has put up the sign seen up top near the arcade building, which has housed Chamber of Horrors (wax museum theme) for the past three Haunts.  That would lead me to believe that Chamber of Horrors might be done, with Club Blood ("Under New Management") making a return.  I'm curious who the "new" management is, though!

Club Blood was a long running haunt (2008 through 2011), located in the building behind White Water Landing.  It was replaced by Desolation, which in turn was replaced by Blood on the Bayou last year.

Age of Darkness is already under construction, showing that it will return again for Haunt X.  The walls for the scare zone/maze hybrid attraction are already going up in the area near Thunderhawk, but still only in backstage areas.  You can see the dragon that the park created if you look above the bordering fence.

One haunt that is definitely new this year is replacing the Mansion House Hotel, which ran from 2010 through 2016.  We've seen a giant facade going up all season long, and it now looks like it is in the final stages of construction.  I must say that some of the architecture the park has used is reminding me of how some row homes in San Francisco look.  Who knows if that turns out to be a true hint, or if I'm just reaching.

Either way there's definitely a new indoor maze going up behind those walls, the theme for which is still a mystery.

Our last clue to a returning haunted attraction is this campsite that's been set up next to Revolution.  The sign says "Welcome Back Campers" with the name Camp Cudie next to it.  That was the name of the camp setting for Backwoods, which ran in the forest behind Steel Force's station before the dinosaurs moved in.

I'm interested to see if that's where this maze will return, as it was one of my all time favorites the park has done.  One could also speculate that it would take over the field directly behind the tent in the photo, but (I didn't get a photo) they've already started setup for Grave Walkers again this year.

The return of at least two former attractions could be in honor of the 10th anniversary of Haunt at the park.  Stay tuned for more as we get closer to Haunt season!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Silver Dollar City's 2018 Coaster's Surprising First Element Installed

Getting closer to the big reveal, Silver Dollar City is continuing to pump out new teasers for their 2018 new coaster.  The one embedded above is one of the latest, featuring a quote from Jules Verne with part of what looks like a flying contraption under it, along with plenty of gears in the background.  Another teaser recently shared asks fans "what can fly without wings?"  It certainly seems that the ride will have an elaborate theme and back story, in addition to some thrilling elements.

Speaking of those, the track for a vertical, or nearly vertical, plunge directly out of the ride's station was just installed toward the end of the week.  Check out this video:

Even with the park's thick tree cover obscuring the entire drop, it's obvious that this new coaster is going to have one heck of a start.  Previous aerial photos showed that at the base of what would be this drop is an area that's being reinforced with large retaining wall blocks.  Perhaps there will be some sort of theming element at the base of this super steep drop?

Can't wait until August 16th to find out!  Keep tabs on the park's website until then, it seems that a bit more has been added to it, though I'm not sure if it's a clue or just slick web design.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Six Flags Fiesta Texas Announces New Wonder Woman Themed RMC Single Rail Coaster for 2018

In a surprise announcement today, Six Flags Fiesta Texas revealed their plans to build the Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster, described as the world's first single-rail roller coaster manufactured by Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC).

The coaster will open in 2018 on the site of the park's shoot-the-chutes ride, which is being removed to make room for the coaster.  Much anticipation has gone into seeing which park(s) would be the first to announce a RMC Raptor design, which is what the company is calling their coaster of this style. The ride's three trains will each have eight cars, with each car seating one rider.

The ride's track is only 15.5 inches wide, and requires less supports than most coasters, which gives Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster a unique look:

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Featuring bright yellow single-rail track and equally bright red supports, the coaster is sure to attraction attention.  It starts with a 113 foot tall lift, then a quick 180 degree turn into a 100 foot long, 90 degree first drop.  The ride's top speed will be 52 miles per hour.

The first element is a large dive loop that dives down toward the pond that will be under much of the ride, left over from the shoot-the-chutes.  Then the trains navigate a large S-curve hill, a curving upward climb and then an s-curve section.  Diving down once more, riders fly through several twists, two more inversions (called a 180-degree stall and a zero-g roll) along with several curves and airtime hills.

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
To help increase capacity on the coaster the park has announced that it will feature a moving loading station platform.  The ride will feature theming that is obviously centered around Wonder Woman and her story, featuring "tropical landscaping, Greek architecture, and even Steve Trevor’s crashed plane."

In addition to the ride's official announcement, Six Flags Fiesta Texas gave an exclusive story to U.S.A. Today, in which they talk more about how open and free the trains will be (the concept video shows over the should strap-like restraints) and smooth the ride will be.

We also have a concept video that the park released, showing off the ride in action.  Make sure to check it out embedded below.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Heard On... Cedar Fair's 2nd Quarter 2017 Conference Call

Today Cedar Fair announced their results for the 2nd quarter of 2017.  The quarter ended with $393 million in revenues, a new record for a 2nd quarter, $5 million higher than last year.  The quarter also had a 2% rise in attendance, and a 1% increase in out-of-park revenues.  The operator doesn't sound overly happy with the results, even though they seem pretty good.  The conference call gave some additional details, let's take a look.

•  Cedar Fair also gave an update on July, the 1st month of the 3rd quarter - which had strong results.  Revenues for the month were up $4 million over last July, with a 2% increase in attendance.  For the first 7 months of the year, revenues are up only $1 million, and attendance is up 62,000 to 15.1 million.

•  This year's big capital projects are well received.  Kings Island's new wooden coaster and the return of WinterFest are projecting the park to have their best year in their history.  The water park expansions at Cedar Point and Knott's have been well received and resulted in longer guest stays, and both water park expect to post record attendance.  Kings Dominion's Planet Snoopy expansion and Pre-K pass have them on track to post their best attendance in 10 years.  The Pre-K pass will roll out to more parks next year.

•  Across all the parks, this year's upcoming Halloween Haunt festivities will feature 120 haunted attractions, more than 40 live shows, and 5,000 monsters roaming the parks.

•  Sales of season passes and similar all-season benefits (food, beverage, photos) are up 10% over last year, which was the best year ever.  The company has beat their record and sold more season passes this year than ever before.  This also created an increase of $20 million of deferred revenue that will be recognized throughout the end of the year.

•  The outdoor sports complex near Cedar Point has been a big success in its first year.  They have booked more than twice the amount of tournaments that they expected.  They're in negotiations for the indoor expansion at the Cedar Point location, and in talks for a second location.

•  WinterFest, as previously announced, will come to Worlds of Fun and Kings Island this year (joining California's Great America), and is expected to generate 500,000 visits among the parks.

•  When asked about the closure of Wildwater Kingdom in Ohio, the company mentioned that it did just over 200,000 visits per year.  It also had no big impact in loss of revenue, and an even smaller impact in EBITDA.

•  With regard to capital expansions, the company is sticking to spending about $130-$140 million per year now.  New sports complexes or hotels would be on top of that amount.  In general terms, they plan for about 9.5-10% of revenues for the figure of further out yearly capital expansions.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Glenwood Caverns Opens Unique New Underground Free Fall Ride

© Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park
One of the most unique thrill rides of 2017 has finally opened, and that's the Haunted Mine Drop at Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.  The attraction is being billed as the first ever to drop riders underground.

The park has created a highly themed free fall experience perched at the edge of Iron Mountain, offering great views before guests enter the spooky formerly-abandoned mine.  The attraction's story line has riders entering the mine for their first day on the job at the Glenwood Mining Corporation, which is now open again after a mine accident that took place more than a century ago.

The queue contains plenty of authentic props, signage and special effects like a Pepper's ghost illusion that tells the true story of the mine.  After boarding the mine vehicle riders drop 110 feet down, in darkness, through a real mine shaft that the park dug.

Glenwood Caverns hired Stan Checketts, a well known creator of many thrilling rides, to design the free fall hardware for the attraction.  Creative Visions, based in St. Louis, created the storyline and special effects.

For more views of the Haunted Mine Drop, check out this news story along with this piece from Theme Park Insider.  Congratulations to the park on opening such a unique ride!

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Australia's New DC Rivals Hypercoaster Almost Complete in New Updates

Scheduled to open this October, which is the start of the busy season in Australia, Movie World Gold Coast is hard at work on finishing up construction of the DC Rivals Hypercoaster.  The impressive design from Mack Rides will tower of the park at 202 feet in the air, featuring a bright shade of pink track.

When the ride was announced a significant amount of track was already standing, and in the weeks since things have progressed even further.  The latest photos show that major elements of the ride, such as the non-inverting loop, giant camel back hill, and many of the speed bumps on the return trip are already complete.

© Movie World Australia
Another exciting element that is now complete is the ride's first drop, which features a 90 or so degree right hand turn on the way down.  The drop looks extremely steep, as is common on similar rides with a turning first drop, as seen in recent photos posted to Parkz.  The very top of the lift hill shows the trains plunging under the laughing Joker - perhaps that element will be added soon.

Even more recently the actual lift hill has started to rise to meet the already-in-place first drop.  Both Gold Coast Theme Parks as well as Parkz have photos of the lift heading upward - it looks like it will only be a few days until the track is complete!  I'm excited to see this ride testing, the combination of height, speed and quickly changing elements makes this coaster have a ton of potential in my book.  And if that's your sort of thing, it will have a seat that's permanently turned backward on each train!