Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Legoland Florida Shows off Preview of New Beach Retreat Resort

The Legoland Florida Resort has released some preview images of their latest resort, the still under construction Legoland Beach Retreat.  The new property, located just across from the theme park, is set to open in mid-2017.  It joins the Legoland Hotel as the property's second hotel, and further expands its presence as a multi-day vacation spot.

© Legoland Florida
The new resort carries a beach theme and combines "the fun of surf and sand with the creativity of Lego building sets while offering picturesque lake views from nearly every sun-kissed corner."  The new resort is being developed right alongside Lake Dexter and will feature 83 themed bungalows, each with two separate units for a total of 166 rooms.  Each of the units will sleep up to five guests.

© Legoland Florida
The bright colors and obvious beach theme give the interior of the bungalows a cheery feeling, seen above.  There is a separate kids area that features bunk beds to add to the feeling of a retreat.  Each room also comes with its own shaded patio that expands the footprint of the bungalows as well.

© Legoland Florida
The Legoland Beach Retreat will offer plenty to keep families busy, and that's not even considering the theme park next door.  The property will feature several play areas where kids can "slide, swing, jump and climb."  There will also be a large themed swimming pool that comes with an expansive beach section.

The resort's clubhouse will be topped with a decorative Lego lighthouse, and will contain a pool bar and buffet restaurant, as well as a Lego play area.  A breakfast buffet will be open to those staying at the property so they can charge up for their day of adventures.  More details on additional amenities will be released soon.

The new resort comes as Legoland Florida will be opening their all-new Lego Ninjago World, including an innovative new dark ride.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Family Fun Arriving at Kings Dominion in 2017

This past weekend Kings Dominion held a special announcement inside the park to show off what they have planned for their 2017 season.  The focus will be on families next year, with the headlining changes taking place in Planet Snoopy.

© Kings Dominion
After this expansion is complete the 14 acre Planet Snoopy will have a total of 20 rides, three of which will be brand new:

•  Kite Eating Tree – On this family ride, guests will be propelled to the top of the tower and bounce down to the platform as they experience sensations of weightlessness.
•  Sally's Sea Plane – Kids and their parents are in store for an adventure with a trip on Sally's airplane. Take a trip round-and-round on this giant plane as it rotates and rises into the air.
 •  Peanuts™500 – Pick your car and rev up the engine with the Peanuts™ crew on this fun car ride that is the perfect size for your little racers. Start your engines and hit the track in race cars designed for parents and children to ride together as they move in a circle and whip around the corner on a closed track.

The three new rides have been successfully installed at other Planet Snoopy areas at Cedar Fair parks, so they're already proven to be crowd pleasers.  Planet Snoopy will also see a brand new event space be built, along with upgrades to the area's food and beverage offerings.

Kings Dominion will also introduce a Pre-K Pass that allows kids ages 3 through 5 free admission all season long.  Parents can register them on the park's website for the pass, and even get a free visit this fall.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Dorney Park August Update - Haunt + 2017 Views

The summer is now in its last leg, meaning that attentions at the park turn full force to both Haunt prep and now also planning for all of Dorney Park's recently announced 2017 additions. Let's check out what's going on.

The park's annual Haunt hearse display is out front of the security checkpoint, but if you take the stroll over to it you can see this year's attraction logos on the back.  As they've done in recent years, the new additions to Haunt are only question marks... for now.

Returning mazes include Mansion House Hotel, Trick Or Treat, CornStalkers, Grave Walkers, Chamber of Horrors, and Blackout.  Scare zones shown are Cut Throat Island, Age of Darkness and CarnEvil.

That means that Desolation has been retired, though we've expected that.  It also means the Asylum is missing, the facade of which we saw get repainted earlier in the season.

These signs advertising all the new attractions for Dorney Park's 2017 season have popped up all over - this is just one example of the larger ones.  I'm glad the park is so happy to promote the expansion... we all love new rides and shows, but some of the other changes (Parkside Pavilion I'm looking at you) really have a huge significance for the future of the park.  It's great the capital for all of them came together at once!

On the park's Main Midway this sign for Kaleidoscope has gone up in the area that the Screamin' Swing occupied until this year.

This photo is intended to show the midway now, compared to an aerial view to help folks locate just where Kaleidoscope will go up.  I was missing around with aerial views of the Trokias at Kings Dominion and Cedar Point, wondering how the park will fit the ride in the available space.  It will be quite close, and I'm assuming that the lockers in the area will have to be moved.  The positioning of the Wild Mouse on an angle is the complicating factor in my opinion.

Over toward Talon, a similar sign has gone up for Dodgem, the park's new bumper cars.  This shot shows the ride's future home - we will have to say goodbye to the clean views of Thunder Canyon but I'm a-okay with that!  Just to the left of this photo is the arcade and just to the right is the entrance to Talon.  I think we might see some midway changes here to accommodate the rectangle layout of the cars, but that's just a guess.

Since the worksite is in a backstage area, there's not much to show for Parkside Pavilion, the large new catering area going up in 2017.  But, this is the walkway that will lead to the area's entrance, fairly secluded but will create a significant amount of new foot traffic in the area.  The restrooms that are back at the end of the park will be incorporated into the new facility.

Back to Haunt work, here is the progress on the new maze's facade - this is the park-facing side of the former Desolation building.  You can start to get a feel for the theme of the maze here - it has quite a New Orleans feel to it.  I'm sure the park will make the name and theme of this maze official before long.

Most of Age of Darkness is already standing - here is the exit from the mini-maze section of the scare zone.  Much of Grave Walkers is also up, though obscured by a fence so a photo would be most uninteresting.  CornStalkers was never really fully taken down after last fall, so that's getting more prep for this year's event as well.

That's all for now, stay tuned for more Haunt and 2017 updates!

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Cedar Fair Pulls the Plug on Ohio's Wildwater Kingdom

© Wildwater Kingdom
Cedar Fair has announced that Wildwater Kingdom, located on the remains of SeaWorld Ohio, will close for good at the end of the 2016 season - which is September 5th.  The park's closing will be the final chapter in the Geauga Lake/Six Flags/SeaWorld Ohio story.

The company posted a statement about the decision:

"Cedar Fair has been working cooperatively with both Bainbridge Township and the City of Aurora to redevelop the entire property into what will best benefit the surrounding communities. After examining its long-range plans, Cedar Fair has determined that the time is right to begin this transition and will continue to work together with community leadership in the positive future development of the property."

© Wildwater Kingdom
The history is a bit long to detail here, and has been done by other sites many times over, but Wildwater Kingdom is the result of a long and twisted story that involved several theme park operators.  Geauga Lake operated from 1887 until 2007 under several ownerships, including both Six Flags and Cedar Fair.  SeaWorld Ohio opened in 1970 across the lake from Geauga Lake, and was sold to Six Flags for the 2001 season.  After Six Flags combined the two parks into one and ran into financial trouble, they were sold to Cedar Fair in 2004.  Cedar Fair worked to turn the former SeaWorld Ohio side into a brand new water park (Wildwater Kingdom), which continued operating after they closed Geauga Lake for good in 2007.  Wildwater Kingdom made it another 9 operating seasons on its own.

The water park has a huge slide tower (seen above), large wave pool, Tornado slide, plus a water play structure.  Surprisingly, none of these items were included in any announcements for other 2017 Cedar Fair parks, so it remains to be seen if they will be relocated in the future, or sold.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

New Rides, a New Entrance and WinterFest Headed to Worlds of Fun in 2017

Worlds of Fun has announced four in-park projects for their 2017 season, including two new rides, a brand new entrance to the park, and the addition of WinterFest.

© Worlds of Fun
The first ride is named Mustang Runner, and is a classic Huss Trokia ride.  The ride will give a disorienting experience as the main arms turn one way, while the rider gondolas go the other.  With this ride announced, we can now count that there will be a total of three classic Trokia rides going into Cedar Fair parks in 2017.

© Worlds of Fun
The second new attraction will be named Falcon's Flight, and is another Huss ride, this time a Condor.  Pictured above, this tower ride stands around 100 feet in the air and has four arms that each have six falcon-themed gondolas on it.  The gondolas and the main carriage both spin independently of each other, creating an experience like a Scrambler, only high in the sky.

Worlds of Fun's main entrance will also be totally renovated for 2017, though no details about the changes planned - or if it will even stay in the same place - were released today.

© Worlds of Fun
Finally, we now know the third location that will be adding WinterFest in 2017, and that is Worlds of Fun.  The park gave limited details since it is still so far away from the event's opening, sharing only the above concept art showing a beautifully decorated section of the park.  The event is said to include "14 favorite holiday characters, spectacular light displays, ice skating, and festive live entertainment.  WinterFest will run for six weeks beginning November 24, 2017 at Worlds of Fun.

New Themed Area, Four New Rides + WinterFest Come to Carowinds in 2017

Continuing their mega-expansion, Carowinds has announced another large set of changes for the park's 2017 season, including an entirely new themed area with four new rides.  The park will also debut WinterFest at the end of next year, significantly extending their operating season.

© Carowinds
The announcement of the new area, named County Fair, fits perfectly with the teaser campaign that the park has been running the past few weeks.  All the residents of the campaign now seem to have a 'home' to live in come 2017.  The concept art above shows the festive yet slightly eclectic feel that the new County Fair themed area will have.

© Carowinds
And this aerial view lets us see just where in the park the new area will set up home.  It appears as though it will take over the Carolina RFD section of the park - it will also include the Carolina Cobra in the mix.  However, the coaster will be repainted and renamed to become The Flying Cobras, themed after "an air show featuring the daring aviation maneuvers of The Flying Cobras."

© Carowinds
This day / night view of the County Fair shows how great an example of placemaking the expansion is.  The company already revealed that they were obtaining classic flat rides from around the globe, and here is a great use of four of them.  The most thrilling ride will be Electro-Spin, seen in the upper right of this drawing, a Top Scan ride that will flip and spin riders high in the air.  Also seen prominently in the center of this image is Do-Si-Do, a Trokia ride that will spin and lift visitors.  The new colors of The Flying Cobras can be seen on the left.

© Carowinds
A classic swing ride, called The Zephyr, will also be set up in the new area.  This art shows the fourth ride to go up in County Fair, named Rock 'N' Roller, a music-blasting good time known at many parks as a Musik Express.  The rides selected offer a mix of wild (Electro-Spin) to the family friendly Zephyr, offering fun for the whole family.  Several existing food and beverage locations within the area will also be rethemed and offer new menus.

© Carowinds
Starting next November, WinterFest will also make its return to Carowinds.  The holiday celebration will features tons of lights around the park, including a signature 70 foot tall tree.  There will be special live entertainment, almost a dozen shows to be exact, real reindeer to visit with, ice skating, a huge variety of food and shopping, and of course Santa!  On top of all that there will be a selection of rides open as well, weather permitting.  More details on WinterFest will be released as we get closer to its opening.