Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hersheypark Hard at Work on New Water Roller Coaster + Boardwalk Expansion

© Hersheypark
The temperatures across much of the country may not have many people thinking of water parks, but that isn't stopping Hersheypark from working on their exciting expansion of The Boardwalk for 2018.

Despite the gray skies, the park has started to install pieces of their new water roller coaster, named Breakers Edge.  The attraction will be the area's first Hydromagnetic water roller coaster, designed by Proslide, that features Flying Saucer turns built into it.  Decked out on alternating purple and blue track, passengers will be launched uphill and down using magnetic technology, giving a thrilling water park experience that mimics a traditional roller coaster feel.

© Hersheypark
Now that pieces are starting to go up, we've also got our first look at one of Breakers Edge's flying saucer turns, being carefully installed in the upper image.  These tight turns will keep rafts on the side of the track as they plummet through them.  In total, this water roller coaster will feature three of these flying saucer turns, along with drops and a final enclosed section before the station.  And speaking of the station, the old station from Roller Soaker, a former roller coaster at the park, is being reused for Breakers Edge.

The expansion also includes the longest mat racing water slide tower in the world, Whitecap Racer, which has also been under construction since the fall season ended. 

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Six Flags Over Georgia Updates on Twisted Cyclone Progress + 2nd Train Reveal

One of five new Rocky Mountain Construction projects opening in America in 2018, Six Flags Over Georgia's Twisted Cyclone is a makeover of the park's Georgia Cyclone wooden coaster.

© Six Flags Over Georgia
Since the coaster closed at the end of the summer, Six Flags Over Georgia has been hard at work on getting the transformation from wooden coaster to steel hybrid ride underway.  First step on a project like this is to remove the original wooden track, and trim (or add) wooden supports where necessary to fit the ride's new layout.  This photo shows a big section of the coaster with its track fully removed.

© Six Flags Over Georgia
Once the supports are as desired to support the new ride path, the steel running tracks can be applied.  Six Flags Over Georgia has just started this process, seen above, of adding the cool blue steel track on the white supports.  The supports will be fully repainted a bright white before the coaster opens next year.

© Six Flags Over Georgia
The theme park also just revealed Twisted Cyclone's 2nd running train, featuring a bright red paint job with hot-rod themed front cars.  The first train, all in black, could be seen at the recent IAAPA convention.  Looks great!

Saturday, December 9, 2017

RailBlazer Going Up Fast at California's Great America

© California's Great America
It's a snowy Saturday in the Northeast, which is a perfect kinda day to check out webcams of roller coaster construction on the sunny West coast.  Checking in on RailBlazer at California's Great America, I loaded the webcam and saw the view above - the ride has gotten very tall very fast!  In fact, those supports on the far right will be the tallest on the ride, supporting the very top of the lift hill.

© California's Great America
The theme park also recently shared a much closer view of the supports that have been installed, seen here.  The lift hill will travel up on the right side of the photo, complete a 180 degree turn, then plunge down on the left.  You can see a support for the first drop that will have it banked steeply toward the ground, it will hit a full 90 degrees on the plunge.

Just as the construction week came to a close, California's Great America hit another milestone when the first piece of single rail track was installed.  Located on a turnaround under the lift near the end of the ride, you can see the bright orange color the park is using to accent the beige supports.  Stay tuned to the park's webcam and social feeds for more updates as RailBalzer goes up!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

More Views of Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom's Demolition + Tornado Moves On

© Raiders of the Lost Parks
Back in September we featured a Facebook site, named Raiders of the Lost Parks, that was selling the slides, equipment and other relics from Wildwater Kingdom, the closed water park that was the last remnant of the Geauga Lake campus.

At the time the site was trying to find a new home for the park's large slide tower - more on that later - but we had also picked up on the news that some attractions had found new homes.  For instance, the Proslide Tornado was headed to Camelbeach Waterpark in Pennsylvania.  That ride has made much progress on its exit from the park, with a full refurbishment taking place on site in Ohio before the ride was shipped out.

© Raiders of the Lost Parks
All the fiberglass pieces were repainted, seen above, after being taken down.  It looks like the Tornado will retain its original colors, but looks fresh and new in its new home.  I haven't seen Camelbeach announce the new ride yet, so it's not clear if it will open in 2018 or later.

While the Tornado slide has been saved, the same fate was not in the stars for the 100 foot tall multiple slide tower that was one of Wildwater Kingdom's biggest features.  The author of the page notes that they contacted over 100 parks and sent bids to 19 of them, but no sale was made.  So sadly, the ride tower had to come down.  Here's a video the shared of part of the taller portion being pulled down.

And once most of the individual slides from the tower were down, the 100 foot tall main tower also had to come down.  Watch this one in full screen - that makes a heck of a noise when it lands!

© Raiders of the Lost Parks
When all was said and done the tower was reduced to a bunch of future-scrap metal on the ground.  Now, of course this is all pretty sad to see, but I'm happy that someone was there to document it for us.

And speaking of that, Raiders of the Lost Parks has also done several drone videos showing all parts of Wildwater Kingdom.  Scroll through their page to check them out.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Premier Rides Launches New Sky Rocket Roller Coaster in China

Another "high-thrill, high-tech launch coaster," designed by Maryland based Premier Rides, recently opened at Chimelong Paradise theme park in Guangzhou, China.  The Sky Rocket opened in time for the National Day holiday, a part of Golden Week, where plenty of visitors were enjoying its multiple launches, extreme elements and thrilling ride experience.

The coaster was commissioned by Chimelong Group, which runs many theme parks in China, and designed and manufactured by Premier Rides in Maryland - who then exported the ride to China earlier this year.

© Premier Rides
The Sky Rocket is the latest design in a series of roller coasters that started with Superman Ultimate Flight at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, featuring the latest-design launch system the industry has to offer, according to Premier Rides.  Aside from the train, the coaster has virtually no moving parts, making it both "reliable and maintenance friendly."

The coaster starts with a forward launch out of the station up to 65 feet until gravity takes over and trains fall backward and through another launch, this time hitting 82 feet.  After one more fall back toward the ground the final launch sends the trains up to the 164 foot maximum height at speeds of 62 miles per hour.

© Premier Rides
The train then slows on purpose so riders can take in the view, but soon moves through a "twisted heartline roll" with nothing between them and the ground below.  What follows is a "face-first vertical twisting drop, ending in an over the top loop where riders will experience the force of approximately 3 ½ Gs."

Jim Seay, president of Premier Rides, commented, “The theme park market in China is an exciting one and all of us at Premier are motivated to not only be part of that market, but to also set the industry standard by bringing in a world-class USA-made attraction for the Chimelong Group. The minds behind the Chimelong Group certainly wanted to make a statement with this ride and we are honored to be part of their formula for success.”

Monday, December 4, 2017

Ducati World Planned to Open at Mirabilandia in 2019

© Mirabilandia
Italy's Mirabilandia, a part of the Parques Reunidos family of amusement parks and attractions, has announced the addition of a brand new area themed to the Ducati motorcycle brand.  Officially named Ducati World, the expansion is planned to open in 2019.

Seen above in concept art form, the land will transport visitors into a world containing "a variety of attractions that will engage the public with a real motorcycling experience."  Listed attractions include a children's area, simulator, virtual reality and a roller coaster experience that mimics riding a Ducati motorcycle.  There will also be a showroom for the 90 year old Ducati brand, along with areas that inform of the history of the celebrated company.  Topping off the development will be both retail and food locations, all located within Ducati World.

© Google Maps
Ducati World will be built into an existing section of Mirabilandia, on its Northern end.  The aerial above shows the section, you orient yourself using the large Ferris wheel at the top and the edge of the park's center lagoon at the bottom.  It looks like much of what currently exists between those two landmarks will be cleared out for the expansion.

© Parques Reunidos
As for the new pair for racing roller coasters being added, this slide from Parques Reunidos's recent annual report is telling.  It would appear as though the new coasters are actually going to be a pair of powered "spike coasters" from Maurer Rides.  The first one of these opened last season at Skyline Park in Germany to mixed reviews, generally due to extremely low capacity and a short ride time.  The rides advertise that the speed at which you move is controlled by riders, and you can check out a POV video of the short experience here to get a better idea of what will be constructed.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Shanghai Disneyland Shares Details of New Toy Story Land Expansion

© Shanghai Disneyland
Shanghai Disneyland is currently hard at work on their first major expansion since opening in June of 2016.  A new section of the park is being created, named Toy Story Land, featuring rides and attractions themed after the popular film franchise.  The aerial view above shows all that will be built, including three new attractions along with dining and retail locations.

© Shanghai Disneyland
Visitors will feel as if they've shrunk down to the size of the Toy Story characters and entered a larger-than-life world.  Filled with bright colors and elaborate theming, Toy Story Land will also have a dedicated space to meet with the film's characters.

Above is art for Rex's Racer, a half-pipe style ride where guests sit in a giant RC Racer car as it moves back and forth up the half-pipe track.  Trixie, the triceratops featured in the movies, is the host of the new ride.

© Shanghai Disneyland
Another attraction will be Woody's Round-Up, where Woody has set up a herd of ponies that are each pulling a cart that riders sit in.  As the ride begins the ponies do a square dance, with riders following behind as they move through giant turn tables.

Finally, the Slinky Dog Spin will race riders around in a giant circle, seated within the coils of his giant slinky body.

The land will also feature the Toy Box Cafe, featuring meals for hungry guests, and a souvenir shop named Al's Toy Barn.  The expansion is set to open in 2018 at Shanghai Disneyland.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Sesame Place Takes Oscar's Wacky Taxi Vertical in New Photos

© Sesame Place
Sesame Place's brand new family wooden roller coaster, Oscar's Wacky Taxi, was just announced in September but is already going vertical at the park.  Shortly after the new Gravity Group design was announced the park released the above concept art, which we haven't featured here yet.  The ride's press release mentioned that the ride would have a green structure and highly themed cars, both of which an be seen here.  No word yet on if the street theming will be a part of the ride, or was just for the art.

© Sesame Place / Jeff Davis
An employee of the park has shared a couple construction photos of Oscar's Wacky Taxi,  the first of which is seen here.  True to their word, the ride's supports are green, which will accent the yellow taxi cab themed trains.  This coaster will feature steel supports with traditional wooden track, which makes the supports able to go up very quickly.  This section is for the 180 degree turn that takes place at the top of the lift hill, before the first drop.  That also means that this section of Oscar's Wacky Taxi is also the tallest, topping out somewhere around 40 feet.

© Sesame Place / Jeff Davis
The second photo that was shared was taken just inside the park's main plaza area (so open for parade viewing) to give perspective of the now-standing coaster.  The turnstiles are on the far left of this photo, and obviously that's the coaster sticking up on the right.  That means that my prediction of the ride's positioning within the park was pretty spot on, reference this post for what I mean.  Sesame Place is open through the holiday season, so we should be seeing some additional photos before the winter really sets in!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Kings Dominion Shares New Twisted Timbers Construction Photos

Kings Dominion fans rejoice, the park has released a new batch of construction photos of Twisted Timbers, the park's new roller coaster for 2018.  Rising from the structure of Hurler, a wooden coaster that opened in 1994, Twisted Timbers will be an extreme steel track ride that is high anticipated.

© Kings Dominion
The blog post on the park's website, available here, has a great deal of photos showing recent track instillation progress on the ride.  We saw some shots not too long ago of the barrel roll first drop being built, but here is a wide perspective of the finished product.  After a 111 foot lift hill, trains will slowly complete a 180 degree turn before rolling into this beautiful combination barrel roll and first drop.

© Kings Dominion
Elsewhere throughout the ride's structure plenty of track pieces are now in place.  From large air-time hills (which there are many of!) to this barrel roll, the ride is coming together quickly.  The ride's track, just as with the other Rocky Mountain Construction rides, features quick banking and directional changes, and the park has shared the photos to prove it.  Much of the ride also stays close to the ground, which I would think would make construction work even easier and faster.

Twisted Timbers will be Kings Dominion's 13th roller coaster, and with other rides like Intimidator 305 at the park, it is sure to remain a must visit for ride fans!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Giant New Waterslide - Raja - Opening at Noah's Ark Waterpark in 2018

© Noah's Ark Waterpark
Noah's Ark Waterpark, located in Wisconsin Dells, WI, and advertised as America's largest waterpark, will open a large new waterslide in 2018 named Raja.

The slide is cobra themed, hence the name, and will feature sliders coiling their way down from heights of 65 feet up into a enormous cobra-themed wave wall.  The wave wall comes complete with a menacing cobra head, fangs and all.

“Noah’s Ark has a rich history of bringing some of the world’s most innovative attractions to the Waterpark Capital of the World,” said Mark Whitfield, Noah’s Ark General Manager. “Raja will be no exception to that tradition and we believe that our guests will find it to be one of the most thrilling experiences of their summer.”

© Noah's Ark Waterpark
The new slide is truly snake themed head to toe.  Raja will be decked out in alternating red and white snakeskin patterns, and feature two separate paths to the bottom.  Passengers will race each other in tubes through two separate helices, before encountering a steep 37 foot drop that leads into the wave wall with a giant cobra head overlooking it.  The path of the slides stretches 335 feet long, making it the largest slide of its kind.

Raja will be featured prominently at Noah's Ark, located along Wisconsin Dells Parkway and adjacent to the Flash Flood ride.

Manufactured by Polin, Raja will only be the second slide of its kind in America.  The first was King Cobra at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in New Jersey, which stands 56 feet tall, has a 25 foot drop and 256 feet of slide.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Another New For 2018 Coaster, Blackpool's Icon, Heads into Vertical Construction Phase

© Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The crop of new-for-2018 roller coasters around the world is an exciting bunch, and one of the standouts is Icon, opening at Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

The extremely custom designed Mack Rides launch coaster will twist its way throughout a large section of the classic seaside amusement park, interacting with several rides and buildings along the way.  It was announced some time ago, with plenty of lead time built in to construct such a complicated but thrilling addition.

© Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Now, we've finally entered the exciting construction phase of Icon where track and supports have started to be placed.  Granted it's not a ton of track just yet, seen above, but it's wonderful to see the ride standing.  Featuring gray track with black supports, the finished ride will feature 3,750 feet of track including two separate LSM launches.

Features on Icon include a layout that includes heavily banked turns and little straight track, aside from one huge air-time hill and the launches of course.  There will be two inversions found on the ride, a giant Immelmann after the second launch and a heartline roll.

The layout is so twisted that it might be easy to forget what the ride will offer as we watch it be constructed, so check out the video below for a nice refresher.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster Standing Tall at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

© Jeffrey Siebert
Announced as the world's first single rail roller coaster, Six Flags Fiesta Texas' Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster will be one of two of the same type of ride to open in 2018.  Regardless of which technically opens first, the rides are highly anticipated by coaster fans as they represent an all new type of steel roller coaster, capable of giving a smooth ride with extreme maneuvers in a small space.

At Six Flags Fiesta Texas, construction is moving along quickly on the coaster, fabricated by Rocky Mountain Construction.  Above is a photo that the park's president shared of the single rail track that has arrived at the park.  This track represents the "golden lasso" aspect of the Wonder Woman theming, though the entire ride will take visitors into her world.

© Jeffrey Siebert
This view, also shared by the park's president, shows the spider web of bright red supports that are now in place for Wonder Woman: Golden Lasso Coaster.  The ride, featuring cars that seat 8 passengers individually, stands 113 feet tall and features a 100 foot first drop that dives at a 90 degree angle.  The highest supports that can be seen in the foreground of this photo are for the top of the lift, where a swooping 180 degree turn takes place before the drop.

The rest of the 1,800 feet of track includes three inversions, tight twists, an elevated s-curve, air-time moments and more.  You can check out some additional construction photos via this link.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

'Tis The Season for Holiday In The Park at Six Flags Great Adventure

© NewsPlusNotes
Now in its third season at Six Flags Great Adventure, Holiday In The Park is back - brighter and merrier than ever before.  The annual celebration of the holidays is now running at Six Flags Great Adventure, giving visitors more ways to have holiday fun this year with expanded areas (13 in total!), new entertainment and more.

“Holiday in the Park at Six Flags Great Adventure not only delivers thrills, but world-class entertainment for all ages,” said Park President Neal Thurman. “This one-of-a-kind festival allows families to get away from the hustle and bustle of the season and create new traditions to enjoy for years to come.”

© NewsPlusNotes
After entering the park through the peacefully decorated Main Street Christmas, you'll soon come this 52 foot tall Christmas tree that performs a special light show named Holiday Magic: A Celebration of the Season.  The show takes place on the tree's surface through ever changing lights, combined with snow flakes in the air and a stirring music soundtrack.

Here is a little clip of the show, taken near the end.  The light displays on the tree are impressive even when the show is not being performed (which is about every half hour), but even more magical when accompanied by music.

© NewsPlusNotes
Everyone who visits Holiday In The Park will want to make sure they stop by to see Santa himself, and that's possible at his home in the North Pole section.  The trees here are lined with beautiful multicolored lights, presenting a truly festive atmosphere.  Kids age 8 and under can head inside and have their photo taken with Santa, and next door to his home they can write a letter to him and visit with talking reindeer at the North Pole Village.

© NewsPlusNotes
One area that I wasn't able to check out in past years is the Merry Market Place, which beckoned me from afar with its brilliant white lights.  The section features different food and beverage locations, shops, and many warm fire pits that allow for S'mores making.  If you need a little boost to keep you warm, the brand-new Yuletide Brews is a perfect choice, serving spiked hot chocolate and other tasty treats.  It was quite popular when we visited, a bit hit with visitors.

© NewsPlusNotes
Holiday In The Park is filled with live entertainment, some of which runs the course of the event and some for a more limited time.  Our visit included a special bonus of being able to check out the performance of the talented Holiday Express, an organization whose mission is to spread holiday cheer through various volunteer programs.

Elsewhere in the park visitors can line up to have their photos taken with special characters, such as the Peppermint Princess, Snow Queen, Poinsettia Princess and even giant toy soldiers.  Kids will also love The North Pole Research and Development show, featuring Mrs. Claus and Gizmo who discover what's new for Christmas 2017 via magical surprises and inventions.

© NewsPlusNotes
There are many gorgeous sights at Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday in the Park, but this image of the totally covered facade of Skull Mountain, located in Poinsettia Peak during the event, is breathtaking in person!  The park drapes the entire front of the building in strings of crimson lights, shimmering in the darkness.

The ride inside is open as well, along with nearly 30 rides and attractions in total.  These include some of the park's big rides like Nitro, the Joker, Batman: The Ride and Superman: Ultimate Flight.  It may be a bit cold on some of the coaster rides, but it's awesome to be riding big coasters in the Northeast in December!

© NewsPlusNotes
With each turn into a new section of the park, there's amazing new displays to see.  This tree, for instance, is located within the Holiday Memories section.  This section features several of the park's bigger rides, along with Mistletoe Moments, where you can take some great holiday selfies.  Another live show can be found here, named Holiday Harmonies with Hotsy Totsy.  The 1950s style trio covers many popular holiday songs, located not far from warm fire pits and tasty food treats.

© NewsPlusNotes
New this year is the Holiday Heroes section, which is located in the area surrounding the new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis ride (which is open for the event).  The section has a red, white and blue theme along with some classic new decorations for the Justice League building.  You can also pick up some tasty treats at Munchopolis and Metro Grill while in the area admiring the lights.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
The Showcase Theater is located within Holiday Heroes, and it's home to the all-new live show called Spirit of the Season: A Holiday Celebration.  The song and dance show features a cast of super-talented performers that cover everything from holiday classics to modern hits and everything in between.  The show makes a perfect break for exploring, and allows guests to warm up and enjoy a spectacular performance.  If you're lucky, you just might get to see some snow falling during the finale, too!

© NewsPlusNotes
Elsewhere in the park, among the roars of Superman: Ultimate Flight and the Green Lantern coasters, Treetop Summit offers this gigantic tree formed off the park's parachute ride tower.  Many of the trees in the area are decked out in blues and greens that match the colors of some of the big attractions that are open.

© NewsPlusNotes
It's hard to miss the lights of Gingerbread Junction, which features giant trees that appear to be peppermint twists.  Beautiful!  This is also the home to Dot and Drop Gingerbread, who are happy to meet with guests for photos.  The land also has special holiday themed games to play, such as Knock The Elf Off The Shelf and Reindeer Roundup.

© NewsPlusNotes
My absolute favorite section of Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday in the Park is Polar Point, where the beautiful blue lights snake up all the trees, with gently falling icicle lighting hung at the top.  The area is even bigger this year, and this photo doesn't even show the whole section.  For scale, you can see the lights of two flat rides in the background, rather small compared to these towering trees.

This video gives an idea of how peaceful the section is, which will also feature all new arctic globe lights that will be great for holiday photos.  Polar Point also is home to the Big Wheel, the park's Ferris wheel, and while we didn't get to take a spin I can only imagine how beautiful the view is from up top.

Also, the Polar Bar, within Polar Point, serves turkey legs, hot chocolate and more.  If you're really hungry for a full meal, I suggest stopping in at Granny's Country Kitchen in the North Pole, as they serve fried chicken, mashed potatoes, hot turkey platters and more - perfect comfort food for the holidays!

© NewsPlusNotes
Between the holiday shopping, special food an beverage treats, one million plus lights and other displays, towering thrill rides, and overall charm, Holiday in the Park has something for everyone.  The event takes place on select days through January 1st, 2018, see the park's website for dates and times.  It helps to dress warmly, of course, though the park has plenty of fire pits and other ways to warm up throughout the evening!

Also watch out for the upcoming special Snow Day event at Holiday in the Park, where guests can take part in the world's largest snowball fight!

Many thanks to the park for having us out to check out the event!

Friday, November 24, 2017

New Thrill Ride Announced For Magic Springs' 2018 Season

© Magic Springs
A towering new thrill ride will open at Magic Springs in time for the 2018 season, the amusement and water park has announced.  Known as Brain Drain, the ride will be a Larson / ARM Super Shot free fall tower, known as one of the most intense free fall experiences out there.  It will stand 120 feet over Magic Springs, blasting riders downward at more than 45 miles per hour.

Magic Springs has been steadily expanding their water park in their most recent capital additions, but the amusement park side has not seen a new ride added in many years.  Brain Drain will certainly fill that void!

© Magic Springs
The photos that the park released are of similar Larson / ARM tower rides, which as exemplified in this photo have some amazing light packages for once the sun goes down.  No doubt that Magic Springs will use their new Brain Drain ride as an in-park billboard, beckoning riders from afar.

Many other similar Larson / ARM drop rides can be found throughout the country, such as StratosFear at Knoebels and Drop Zone at Kemah Boardwalk, and if you've been on one of these before then you know why the ride's addition is so exciting for Magic Springs!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Holiday World Announces $3.5 Million Expansion for 2018

© Holiday World
Holiday World & Splashin' Safari has announced a $3.5 million capital expansion plan for 2018 that will see changes made in both parks, including a significant new attraction in the water park.

“We’re adding a fun elephant-themed water-play area for younger children,” says park president Matt Eckert. “When we discovered the Swahili word for elephant is Tembo, we named our new slide complex Tembo Falls and the junior wave pool Tembo Tides.”

Seen in concept art above, the new area will have two distinct attractions, both aimed at kids under 54 inches tall and their families.

© Holiday World
Tembo Falls is the water slide complex seen on the left of the above aerial view of the expansion.  There will be a total of eight new water slides added, each for kids.  There will be a variety of slide types added, including "twisters, a helix, a mini-bowl and two racing slides."

Kids will also love Tembo Tides, a junior sized wave pool that will have various spray features included in the shallow end of it.  Guests will also want to check out the new Riverside Retreats, described as "mini cabanas" in the water park.

Elsewhere in the amusement park will be all new live entertainment, including a "stunt show, musical magic show and a strolling brass band."  Various track improvements will be made to the Voyage wooden roller coaster, and an electric car charging station will also be added.

Along with the announcement came this video showing off the various additions, check it out below!