Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lakemont Park Announces Major Renovations + Summer 2017 Closure


Lakemont Park and The Island Waterpark, located in Altoona, Pa, has announced that they will stay closed for the summer of 2017 in order to perform significant renovations to the park.

The park is well known for having one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still in operation, Leap the Dips, which dates back 1902.

The park plans to remove some of the older rides for attractions such as a "new miniature golf course, batting cages, playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and expanded picnic areas," according to a post from the park on Facebook.   The park will keep and renovate many of the existing rides and attractions, including the roller coasters, water park, paddle boats, train, go-karts and antique cars.

Lakemont Park will reopen on November 17th, 2017 in time for their popular holiday themed Lights On The Lake event.  In coming years the park will have more of a community park feel, with attractions operating with individual fees and no gate admission.  The park hopes this leads to more guests being able to visit, due to the free general admission.  After the holiday season operations, the park is planning to reopen again in May of 2018.

In addition to Leap the Dips, the park also has Skyliner, a 1987 PTC designed wooden roller coaster.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Patriot Opens at California's Great America April 1st


© California's Great America
No fooling around, the brand new Patriot roller coaster at California's Great America will open to the public on April 1st, the theme park has announced.

Patriot will be the first floorless roller coaster at the park, and represents a conversion of the stand-up Vortex coaster.  All new floorless trains have been installed on the ride, along with a renovated station area and a cool new blue and white paint scheme.

So far Patriot looks to be running through its 1,920 feet of track at a good clip, as seen in this testing video that California's Great America released:

The conversion of the trains from stand-up to floorless is sure to give Patriot a much more comfortable riding experience that will appeal to a broader range of visitors.  The coaster features a 91 foot tall lift hill, speeds of 45 miles per hour and two inversions - a vertical loop and a corkscrew.

Patriot will start giving rides to the public on April 1st, but the park will open for the 2017 season this coming Saturday, March 25th.


Monday, March 20, 2017

Full Point of View Ride Video of InvadR Released


Set to open to visitors on April 7th, many fans of Busch Gardens Williamsburg are anxious to take their first spin on InvadR, a brand new wooden roller coaster.

To make the time go faster before the opening date, the theme park has released a new point of view video of the ride:

The video was filmed during recent test runs of InvadR, and shows off the zippy family-friendly ride.  The coaster uses the landscape of the park to its full advantage, something that can really be seen in this video.  Fans will also note the recently announced tunnel on part of the first drop, leading down to another covered tunnel at the bottom of the plunge.

InvadR features a 74 foot first drop that sends the trains at a speed of 48 miles per hour over the 2,218 feet of track.  The video shows that the coaster's trains, which came from sister park Busch Gardens Tampa where they were used on Gwazi, keep their speed throughout the ride and even into the final turn.

Looks like InvadR will be a great ride, perfect for families to ride together!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Reveals New Attraction for Park's 2018 Season


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Although the park just opened for the season this weekend, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has already spilled the beans about what they have planned for 2018.  Not named quite yet, the park is going to be introducing the first ever motion simulation that will have riders wearing individual virtual reality headsets instead of viewing one large screen.

The attraction will be located within the Ireland themed section of the park, and use the existing motion simulator hardware that was most recently called Europe In The Air.

At the same time as the announcement the theme park released this preview video, explaining more about their plans.

The theme of the new attraction is based around the two worlds of Ireland, the one we're able to see and the one that contains mythical creatures - for instance you can see both a dragon and a fairy in the logo up top.  More on this interesting and first-of-a-kind ride as it develops. 


Saturday, March 18, 2017

Knott's Berry Farm to Retire Boomerang Roller Coaster - For Major New Addition?


© Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's surprised everyone on social media yesterday by announcing that their Boomerang roller coaster will close forever on April 23, the end of this year's Boysenberry Festival.

Boomerang opened at the park in April of 1990, lasting 27 years and at least three different color schemes while at the park.  Boomerang is a standard model of the same name produced by Vekoma, featuring a vertical loop and boomerang element that are taken both forward and backward.

Boomerang is located within Knott's Boardwalk themed area, which experienced a major renovation a few years ago after Perilous Plunge was removed in favor of a new family coaster and two flat rides.

© Bing Maps
As for why Boomerang is being removed, Knott's is not saying yet.  If we look at an aerial of the park it appears as though a pretty large area might be being cleaned out, possibly for a 2018 attraction.

The green box contains Boomerang, which opens up a big space on its own.  Below it on this outdated map is Perilous Plunge, but that area has been heavily renovated so I don't see it being touched now.  The orange area is Rip Tide, which has also been removed and replaced with grass.

The park has had some issues with Sky Tower, in the red box along with a few games, and while only rumored could we also see that ride removed this year?  Also of note is that the former stage, in yellow, has been opened up, and replaced to where the blue X is.

Just to the north of Sky Tower is where the Boardwalk Barbecue is being rebuilt from the ground up, so that's a space that won't change.

Even if they use just the land from Boomerang and Rip Tide they have a nice space, add in Sky Tower and it's eve bigger - and if you say travel over the wide midway to where the old stage was, well we could see something really big coming.  Stay tuned!


Friday, March 17, 2017

Ferrari Land Names Europe's Tallest Coaster Ahead of Park Grand Opening



With less than a month until its grand opening, PortAventura Resort's new Ferrari Land theme park has revealed the name of their massive new roller coaster, Red Force.

The ride will be one of the highlight attractions at the resort's third theme park, standing an impressive 367 feet tall.  Designed by Intamin, Red Force will rocket riders from zero to 112 miles per hour in only 5 seconds.  The trains will climb the vertical tower, slow as they pass over the crest, then drop back down toward the ground.

To celebrate the ride, the park has released this new promo video of the coaster:

Riders will be able to take on Red Force, along with the park's other offerings, starting April 7th.  Other park attractions include a free-fall and space shot attraction, several racing simulators, a family-friendly whip ride, play areas and of course a very elaborate set of Ferrari-inspired race cars that travel over a winding 1,870 foot long track.

Coaster fans, however, will want to get in some repeat rides on Red Force, no doubt.  The coaster - which is similar in design to both Cedar Point's Top Thrill Dragster and Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka - will be the 5th tallest on the planet and the tallest in Europe when it opens.