Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Two Parks Announce Ride Removals Ahead of Future Expansions


As we head into the rest of the 2018 (and beyond) announcement season, we've had two more announcements of rides closing at two major parks.  The new rides are assumed to be departing in order to make room for 2018 additions.

© Six Flags Great America
First up, Six Flags Great America has revealed that the park's Top Spin, named King Chaos, will be closing for good after this Sunday.  The thrill ride opened back in 2004 as a part of the park's Mardi Gras themed area.  The park has recently been teasing about their 2018 addition online, using #ChasetheStorm2018, seemingly hinting toward a storm-themed replacement ride.

This news story has a bit of background on the ride, along with some speculation about what may be replacing it.  We will know for sure on August 31st, when the park (along with the other Six Flags parks) makes its official 2018 announcement.

© Dollywood
Also today, Dollywood announced that one of their water based attractions, River Battle, will close for good after September 4th.  The ride is an interactive splash battle style attractions, where passengers ride on slow-moving boats through a watery course filled with splashable opportunities.  Each riders has their own water blaster at their seat that allows them to blast targets along the route, and also other park guests outside the attraction, as they have their own water blasters as well.

River Battle opened in 2008, meaning when it closes it will have completed ten seasons at the park.  It was manufactured by Mack Rides, with eight boats that moved through a 500 foot long course.

The park's only comment, which can be read above, about the ride's removal is that it will be necessary for the park's future development... mainly to "prepare for opportunities" to bring to life "several unique and innovative ideas to help families create new traditions and special moments."

The ride is located in the Wilderness Pass themed area, which was built to make the park a full loop.  As one of the newer areas of the park, there have long been rumors that the Wilderness Pass section could be the jumping off point to a larger park expansion into undeveloped areas in the future.  We'll see!


Monday, August 21, 2017

New Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter Opening at Oaks Park in 2018



Oaks Park, located in Portland, Oregon, has announced the addition of a brand new Gerstlauer Euro-Fighter for the park's 2018 season.

According to the park's post on social media, the new coaster will stand 72 feet tall, have a beyond vertical drop of 97 degrees, feature 1,050 feet of track and have three inversions:  a vertical loop, an Immelmann and a heartline roll.  Riders will only need to be 48 inches tall to ride the coaster, which means that it will cater to a wide audience.

Example of a similar Euro-Fighter Coaster
The given statistics match up perfectly with the recently opened Hydrus at Casino Pier.  That ride has a layout that is the same as a Euro-Fighter 320+, only without the helix at the end of the ride.  It is a compact but thrilling attraction that features individual cars that seat eight passengers.

Oaks Park is holding a naming contest for their new coaster, with entries being accepted online through December 1st, 2017.  Click here for more information on the contest.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dorney Park Pre-Haunt X Update II


© NewsPlusNotes
Back for another look at Haunt development at Dorney Park - but first, after last week's 2018 capital announcement, the park has placed this large sign just inside the main gates showing off what's going on next year.  It has some details about the Tidal Wave Cafe, a large new restaurant headed to Wildwater Kingdom, along with information on the Pre-K Pass.

© NewsPlusNotes
Onto Haunt X developments, more and more banners have appeared around the park promoting the event.  I love the tag line - Collecting Your Fears for X Years!  Believe it or not, it is now less than one month away from opening night!

© NewsPlusNotes
This guy is featured on the promotional banners... who is he!?  We're thinking it has to do with the new attraction that the park is debuting this year, but we can't be totally sure.  Either way, I'm not sure exactly what he's serving up for Haunt X... but we can't wait to find out.

© NewsPlusNotes
And speaking of the new attraction, not much has changed since the last time we checked in on its progress.  I think the final changes will be additional details once the theme is announced and we're even closer to the start of Haunt X.  It shouldn't be long until those details are released.

© NewsPlusNotes
Elsewhere in the park other Haunt preparations are well underway.  The park's Haunt monster truck, which you can catch in many local Halloween parades, is proudly on display in front of the spinning Meteor ride.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Down on the lower midway near Possessed, Cut Throat Island is currently being installed.  The scare zone features a giant broken apart pirate ship that's crashed onto the midway, along with some addition prop buildings that in the past have contained a skeleton key room.

© NewsPlusNotes
One haunted house that never really goes away during the year is Urgent Scare, which was redeveloped last season to feature a new interior and theme.  This is continually one of the park's most popular haunted houses, located at the far end of the park beyond Stinger.

© NewsPlusNotes
It's hard to see unless you're climbing up to Steel Force's station, but Grave Walkers is also coming together nicely.  The mix of outdoor scare zone with an haunt-like crypt area features tons of giant headstones in an elaborate graveyard setting.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
There has also been much development on Age of Darkness in the past couple weeks.  Major set pieces of the castle are now in place throughout the area.  This one is another mix of outdoor scare area with a special bypass into the dungeon that's filled with all kinds of ghouls.

Be sure to keep an eye on Dorney Park's Halloween Haunt X website for coming updates as we get closed to the annual scare fest!


Saturday, August 19, 2017

Great Pumpkin LumiNights Opening at Dollywood This October



Dollywood will be bringing an all new family-friendly nighttime event to the theme park this October named Great Pumpkin LumiNights.  The event will mark a new tradition of celebrating the Halloween season at the park, complete with thousands of glowing pumpkins lit up in the park's Timber Canyon themed area.

Regarding the addition, Dolly herself said that "we think Great Pumpkin LumiNights will become just as popular with families as our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.  I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of new family traditions made this October!”

© Dollywood
The Great Pumpkin LumiNights celebration will focus on presenting "thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins" and "harvest themed displays" throughout Timber Canyon.  Visitors can explore the area and find tons of special decorations, one of which can be seen in the concept art above.  There will be plenty of unique harvest games and attractions, all themed like only Dollywood can.

© Dollywood
Since the event will feature so many carved pumpkins, the park will have several Master Carvers on site to show off their skills.  Guest can watch them daily and learn the process of making intricate designs like the ones featured in the event.  That way visitors can make their own carvings when they get home!

Dollywood is well known for their various food options, and that will continue during Great Pumpkin LumiNights with special treats offered such as pumpkin funnel cakes, caramel apple sundaes and candy corn cotton candy.


© Dollywood
Some of the different activities offered during Great Pumpkin LumiNights include a glow maze, pictured above, for kids, glow face painting, a "Pumpkin Boogie" dance party and friendly costume characters that families and meet and take photos with.

Great Pumpkin LumiNights will run at Dollywood on select nights from September 28th through October 28th, 2017.

Click here for more information, and check out the preview video below:


Three New Attractions Coming to Canada's Wonderland in 2018



© Canada's Wonderland
Canada's Wonderland is once again expanding its already considerable flat ride offerings in 2018 by adding two more, one thrilling and one for families, along with an addition in the water park.

First up is Lumberjack, a 75 foot tall inverting thrill ride.  Passengers are seated with their legs dangling below them on two giant axe-themed pendulums.  Each pendulum is able to rotate 360 degrees independently of the other, looping riders as if they were on a traditional roller coaster loop.

I haven't seen the park confirm yet, but it looks like Lumberjack will be one of Zamperla's Hawk rides, several of which are located around the country.


© Canada's Wonderland
The second new ride will be aimed at families, and is named the Flying Canoes.  Not much detail on the new ride was released by Canada's Wonderland, they only described it as an "interactive family ride that will allow riders to control their journey of flight in two-person canoes."  From the concept art it looks like the canoes will move and up down as the attraction spins, perhaps the interactive element is that riders can control them?

Finally, Canada's Wonderland's water park, Splash Works, will see the children's pool area (a part of Splash Island) doubled in size with the addition of all new spray features. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

Valleyfair to Build New Looping Thrill Ride - Delirious - in 2018


© Valleyfair
Valleyfair has announced that Delirious will be looping park visitors starting with their 2018 season.  The new thrill ride will stand 70 feet tall and send riders seated on a train up and through the large loop at high speeds.

Delirious will be manufactured by Larson, one of their popular Giant Loop rides.  The ride will be capable of completing ten rotations in under a minute, so this ride is sure to satisfy thrill seekers!

© Valleyfair
The new attraction will join the recently developed Route 76 themed area, which was home to this year's addition - a giant swing ride named North Star.  Delirious will be placed near the entrance to Steel Venom, where the park's Tilt-A-Whirl currently is.  That ride will be moved out into a currently open section of Route 76, giving Delirious prime space.

© Valleyfair
The entire Route 76 area, who's theme is meant to "bring guests back to the classic ambience of Valleyfair when it first opened in 1976," will be enhanced as well.  New enhanced lighting for the area, depicted in the above concept art, will be added, along with additional shade structures, seating and gathering areas.

"Delirious is a great addition to the retro family road trip feel of Route 76,” said Brad Marcy, general manager, Valleyfair. “The additional atmospheric enhancements to the area will allow our Twin Cities neighbors to not only relive memories of visits to Valleyfair, but also create new family traditions and enjoy the ‘best day’ experience that we strive to give everyone."


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Carowinds Celebrates 2018 with Planet Snoopy Expansion and New Pre-K Pass



Carowinds is continuing their expansion path and focusing on families with children in 2018, announcing the conversion of Planet Snoopy into Camp Snoopy, with all new rustic theming and the addition of six new attractions.  As with several other Cedar Fair parks, Carowinds will also start to offer a Pre-K season pass that is free for children ages three through five.

© Carowinds
© Carowinds
Carowinds' children's area was originally converted into Planet Snoopy in 2010, a few years after Cedar Fair purchased the park.  The transformation of the area into Camp Snoopy will feature a "natural looking midway that celebrates the beauty of the Carolina wilderness."  The concept art released by the park confirms that as with both current and former Cedar Fair Camp Snoopy areas, this new one is sure to be beautiful.

© Carowinds
Spread throughout Camp Snoopy will be six new attractions.  The addition of these will create the need for some older rides to be retired, and two will be moved to other locations within the park.  These include the Carousel and a set of Larson Flying Scooters.

Five of the six additions will be rides that kids and parents can both experience together.  From the park's press release on the expansion they are:

Camp Bus: Buckle up on the wacky camp bus and take a ride that will lift guests into the air and back down to the ground in smooth extensions.
PEANUTS™ Trailblazers: Get behind the wheel of a Jeep-themed vehicle and burn rubber on a small, round speedway.
Kite Eating Tree: Ride along in a kite vehicle that travels up and down a tree.
Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies: Take a trip in a “mud buggy,” where guests will rotate around the popular Pig Pen character while bouncing on a bumpy ride.
Woodstock Whirlybirds: Spin around in an oversized birds nest on this classic ride.

© Carowinds
The sixth addition will be known as Beagle Scout Acres, an 8,000 square foot play area.  The area will be divided so that children of different age groups can play in sections designed just for them.  Small kids "will be able to gather in a fenced-in toddler area with lots of hands-on activities, a new play hill will be an open area for guests to enjoy slides and climb on a turf covered mound, and playground wood structures will have hands-on interactives, slides and plenty of things to climb."

“The expansion of our kids’ area along with the introduction of the Pre-K Pass puts Carowinds as a top destination for families,” said Pat Jones, Carowinds vice president and general manager. “The new Camp Snoopy area joins our world-class attractions such as the record-breaking Fury 325 giga coaster and the massive Carolina Harbor water park in offering features that meet the needs of guests ranging from three to 23 to 93, providing unique opportunities for creating family memories.”


New HangTime Coaster to Drop into Knott's Berry Farm in 2018



Last night had one more announcement in store for coaster fans, and that was the addition of HangTime at Knott's Berry Farm for summer 2018.  The theme park will build the new thrill coaster in the Boardwalk themed section, on the plot of land taken up by Boomerang along with several other buildings.

HangTime will be one of Gerstlauer's "Infinity" roller coasters, featuring blue track with gray supports and a vertical lift to 150 feet above the park. 

© Knott's Berry Farm
This concept art shows the features of HangTime, including the vertical lift tower.  Once the cars reach the top they will move onto a piece of track that is angled toward the ground at 60 degrees.  They will be held there for several seconds, after which the trains will plummet down at a beyond vertical angle of 96 degrees.  This drop sequence is leading Knott's to market the ride as the first "dive coaster on the West coast."

The drop will send the cars along the 2,198 feet of track at 57 miles per hour.  Features of the layout include a total of five inversions, including a cobra roll and the second "negative-g stall loop" in the Western hemisphere - this element is described as giving riders the "sensation of floating."

© Knott's Berry Farm
HangTime will feature three trains, each consisting of four rows of four riders, so a total of sixteen passengers per cycle.  It will feature elaborate lighting at night, similar to the very impressive display that can be found on the Monster at Adventureland.  The lights placed along the track are able to transform the ride into different colors to match it to special events during the year, and also follow the trains course through the layout.  Needless to say, this will be a ride that must be seen and ridden after the sun goes down.

No animation of the ride was available at the time of its announcement, but the park promises to have one later in the year.  With ground already cleared, the work of digging foundations for HangTime will start in just a couple weeks.


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.