Sunday, August 28, 2016

New and Expanded Kids Water Area Opening at Michigan's Adventure in 2017

Families with small kids will have more ways than ever before to enjoy the day at WildWater Adventure in Michigan's Adventure next season, a result of a renovated and expanded children's play area.  The work will be completed in time for the start of the water park's 2017 season.

© Michigan's Adventure
The area of focus within WildWater Adventure will be the Half Pint Paradise space.  The area already includes several small slides for kids, but next year all new ones, 7 in total, will replace the existing slides.  The area will also see the instillation of a new Splash Pad, complete with fun theming, like "water play features shaped to reflect a sailboat navigating through fish, a sea serpent, and other sea creatures."  Along with these interactive features, there will be dumping buckets, bubbling geysers and more in the Splash Pad.

© Google
The changes will include some rearranging of existing areas of the water park.  Above is a look at the area - toward the top of the image is the current Half Pint Paradise, and down toward the bottom is the large water play structure known as Beach Party.  The area between them will be renovated to connect the two more easily, forming a large area dedicated to kids and families.  There will also be additional seating and cabanas added as well.

The entrance to Funnel of Fear, the large pink and yellow Tornado slide, will be relocated as part of the changes to make navigation even easier for visitors.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Two New Thrilling Attractions Coming to Canada's Wonderland in 2017

Both Canada's Wonderland and its water park, Splash Works, will receive new thrill experiences in 2017, the park has revealed.  The additions include a towering water slide and a unique thrill ride that is sure to challenge even the bravest of riders.

© Canada's Wonderland
This is Soaring Timbers, a twirling flat ride that will be the first of its kind installed in North America.  Soaring Timbers features "two massive rotating gondolas that swing riders through sweeping arcs while rotating 360 degrees."  Canada's Wonderland is home to a very impressive lineup of flat rides, and this addition will further cement them as a leader in that genera.

Soaring Timbers will be a Mondial Inferno, a flat ride that I honestly never heard of until now.  The ride's smooth movements look like they provide a very disorienting experience.  Here is some footage that Mondial has showing an Inferno in motion:

To see more about the new ride, check out Mondial's website for their Inferno attraction.

© Canada's Wonderland
The second addition will be in Splash Works, a new water slide tower named Muskoka Plunge.  Standing 60 feet tall, the attraction features four separate body slides that all start with drop chambers, allowing the floor to fall out from beneath riders as they plunge downward.  The slides' layout includes a series of s-curves that will be taken at a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour.

No official word yet on where in the park the two new attractions will be located.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dorney Park's 2016 Halloween Season to Feature New Haunts + New Family Fun

Dorney Park will expand their annual Halloween season events with several new attractions in 2016, both family-friendly and super scary, the park has announced.  The 9th annual Halloween Haunt will open on Friday September 16th and will feature 8 mazes, 4 scare zones, 25 rides, live shows and over 500 "gruesome creatures."  This year will also see expanded family friendly fun with The Great Pumpkin Fest, which will open on Saturday September 17th.

© Dorney Park
New this year is Blood on the Bayou, an indoor maze that replaces the former Desolation haunt.  Blood on the Bayou will force visitors to "discover the dark secrets that trouble the monsters of the French Quarter," complete with "mindless demons trudging through murky waters in search of their next victim."

The haunt has been successfully introduced to other Cedar Fair parks in the past, and typically features a unique open layout and a high level of theming.  The park is preparing for Blood on the Bayou to be one of their scariest haunts ever.

© Dorney Park
The park's second new haunt is named The Ward, and this is a not just a light retheme of the Asylum, but a totally new maze.  The maze still takes place in a hospital like setting, only now due to an "impending state sale," the "orderlies have some loose ends to tie up."  Sounds like the patients aren't the ones to worry about any more!  The park's site also notes that The Ward will feature inhabitants that are especially fond of getting up close and personal with visitors - be warned.

Both the ever-popular Blood Drums and Skeleton Crew live shows will return, along with a new addition - The Awakening: Power Struggle.  Described as "a battle of words and wit between those who wish to rule," the show will "determine the creature who will control the reign of terror" that evening.

Halloween Haunt IX will also see two new Skeleton Key rooms added to existing attractions.  These rooms are available only to Fright Lane key holders, and add an even more personal level of terror.  These new rooms will debut in the Mansion House Hotel and Cut Throat Island.  Additionally, this year the Blackout maze will be open to all guests whereas it was formerly only for Fright Lane visitors.  In total, this year's Fright Lane passes will work at 8 different haunted attractions and there will be a total of 6 Skeleton Key rooms.

© Dorney Park
While the nighttime scares of Halloween Haunt are a great time, families can also find plenty of scare-free fun during the day at the all new Great Pumpkin Fest.  This year will see the addition of Franklin's Monster Mania, featuring both the Funster House and Monster Foam Machine.  The Great Pumpkin Fest also features dressed up Peanuts characters, trick-or-treat stations, a foam pit, petting zoo, Halloween decorating areas and live entertainment.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!," the park will also show the classic special during the event.

Looks like there's plenty of fun in store for this fall at Dorney Park!

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!