Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Busch Gardens Tampa Opens New Serengeti Flyer Swing Thrill Ride

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa has opened their new thrilling swing attraction, Serengeti Flyer.  One of S&S's Screamin' Swings, the ride is being billed as the "world's tallest and fastest ride of its kind."  Busch Entertainment has built several of these rides at different parks in the past 5 years, with each one coming in as just taller and faster than the previous instillation.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
In the case of Busch Gardens Tampa, the Serengeti Flyer will swing riders up to 135 feet in the sky at maximum reach.  The ride, which is located in a part of the park's 65 acre Serengeti Plain area, swings at a maximum speed of 68 miles per hour.  Riders are arranged in back to back rows of ten across two gondolas, allowing for a maximum of 40 riders to ride per cycle.



© Busch Gardens Tampa
"Thrills are in full swing at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay with yet another exciting record-setting ride for our guests to enjoy," said Neal Thurman, Park President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. "As the world's tallest and fastest ride of its kind, Serengeti Flyer joins a world-class portfolio of attractions, offering breathtaking views of the park and a one-of-a-kind experience for all our guests."

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Cedar Fair Announces Frist Phase of ESports Development at CP Sports Center

© Cedar Fair
The first phase of the planned Esports arena has been announced to open this coming May at the Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky, near Cedar Point.  The initial phase is greatly scaled back from the original plans that were released in 2021, but also note that they say this is just a first phase.  Perhaps they need to test the waters to see if interest is there for the larger project first.

The development opening in May will consist of a 1,000 square foot space in the existing building, not any type of actual physical expansion of the center.  Known as Cedar Point Esports, it will feature 32 "competative gaming setups against the backdrop of multimedia video displays that have the flexibility to connect for larger events."  The equipment will be "top-tier" professional and will allow for "practice, competition and extra-curricular play."  The plan is to create Northern Ohio's "premier immersive gaming experience for leagues, camps and clinics."

“Cedar Fair’s long-term strategy is focused on delivering immersive entertainment experiences that differentiate our parks and create an environment where guests want to come back again and again,” said Richard A. Zimmerman, president and chief executive officer. 


Cedar Fair is partnering with North Coast Entertainment to develop and run the facility as an amenity for the Cedar Point Sports Center.  It will be open to visitors and the public as well.  Cedar Fair does note that this first phase will "serve as the gateway from the existing Cedar Point Sports Center to the upcoming larger Phase II expansion.  Future plans for the development are likely to include food, beverage and a larger competitive space."

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Wildcat's Revenge at Hersheypark Photos + POV Video Update

© Hersheypark
While I've been hibernating the winter away, Hersheypark has been hard at work on Wildcat's Revenge, the Rocky Mountain Construction conversion of the Wildcat wooden coaster into a modern steel tracked thriller.  That's a dramatic introduction, sure, but the new version of the ride looks awesome!

© Hersheypark
The park released these images a while ago, and honestly has made much progress in the weeks since.  Crews did not wait long to start removing the Wildcat's wooden coaster track in order to build up new supports that will handle the crazy steel track they've designed.  The first major element to be constructed is the "world's largest underflip," the rise into which can be seen above.

© Hersheypark
The element comes directly after the ride's 140 foot lift hill/first drop and actually utilizes the former coaster's top-of-the-lift supports and the former first drop.  The new element is much taller that the ride's original lift hill, so RMC just built up the supports to match the harrowing height of the new underflip.

When Wildcat's Revenge was first announced the park did not release the full animated point of view ride video, but they have now!  Not much is really a surprise in this video as we already knew of the coaster's new layout, but it's always great to get extra excited for a new coaster via the ride's animation.  Take a spin below!

Monday, March 6, 2023

Classic Mindbender Schwarzkopf Coaster Has Closed for Good

© West Edmonton Mall
I am well aware that this news broke earlier this year and I'm just getting to it now, but I wanted to still throw a post up to honor Mindbender, which has permanently closed at the Galaxyland amusement park within West Edmonton Mall in Canada.  The coaster hasn't operated in the past couple years and it has been announced that instead of reopening the coaster it will be removed.

Mindbender opened in 1985 at the park, and was created by Schwarzkopf which many of us have a warm spot in our hearts for.  However, many of the designer's large rides have closed in recent years, and so sadly Mindbender is just another on the list.  It's not said yet exactly what will replace the coaster at the Galaxyland amusement park.  For now the park states:

"The iconic Mindbender has been the park’s premier thrill ride since the grand opening in 1985," said Lori Bethel of WEM in a written statement. "While the Mindbender will be missed, we are excited to announce that we are working on groundbreaking new plans for family thrills that will immerse our guests in an out-of-this-world experience."

© West Edmonton Mall
The coaster stands 145 feet tall and features a drop of 127 feet.  The highlights of the ride are the typically nutty forces found on Schwarzkopf rides, plus three vertical loops that are lined up nicely (above).  The coaster hit speeds of 60 miles per hour and had an advertised maximum g-force of 5, which is another telltale sign of a fun Schwarzkopf coaster.  Hopefully you were able to experience this attraction!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Sesame Place Philadelphia Adding New Water Play Area + New Themed Area

© Sesame Place Philadelphia
A summer of brand new fun is on its way to Sesame Place Philadelphia in 2023 with the addition of a new water play area and a brand new themed section.  As if that wasn't enough, the park is also adding a new live show featuring the Sesame Street characters plus an enhanced meet and greet with everyone's favorite - Big Bird.

© Sesame Place Philadelphia
The new water play area is named Bert & Ernie's Splashy Shores, a fun area where kids can splash and play the day away.  There will be "tipping water buckets, spraying jets, a water curtain, a water bobble and a spraying water tower" among other fun activities.  The area will come with shaded seating as well, so the whole family can hang out during the day.

© Sesame Place Philadelphia
Also new is Big Bird's Beach, a new "tropical-themed land" dedicated to "splashy water fun."  The area was previously known as Twiddlebug Land and has now been "colorfully transformed and creatively updated."  Big Bird's Beach includes water slides, a family-sized wave pool, a spray and play area and plenty of shaded seating.  The land will feature favorite existing attractions such as Elmo's Surf 'n' Slide (family raft ride), Abby's Splash & Spray Garden, Rosita's Seaside Slides (family water slides) and Little Bird's Bay (family wave pool.)


Sesame Place Philadelphia will also feature new and updated live entertaiment this season.  A new show, Welcome To The Party!, will open, featuring Elmo, Abby, Grover, Rosita and Cookie Monster as they put on a show to welcome their new friends to Sesame Street.  The show will be featured in Abby's Paradise Theater.  There will also be an enhanced meet and greet with Small Talk with Big Bird, where guests can interact and chit-chat with Big Bird before getting their photo taken with him.


Sesame Place Philadelphia plans to have all the new and modified attractions ready for guests by Summer 2023.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Dorney Park's 2024 New Coaster Gets Planning Commission Approval

© NewsPlusNotes
On Thursday night Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom received approval from the South Whitehall Township Planning Commission for its proposed "steel roller coaster" for 2024.  A look at the best-guess layout from the footing plans released can be seen up top, as we speculate that the coaster will be one of B&M's smaller Dive Machine rides.

Standing 162 feet tall, the new ride won approval to take up the space formerly used by the Stinger coaster, plus a little bit more.  We did some analysis on the plans in an early post, so we'll reference them here.  The park's General Manager, Jessica Naderman, pointed out during the meeting that the park is "not growing or expanding in any way" with the addition of the ride, and they are working with a "reputable ride manufacturer" for the new coaster.  The park is using "noise mitigation" to help make the ride quieter, and do not expect increased traffic or attendance levels as a result of the ride.  In fact, the General Manager pointed out that they hope to get back to pre-pandemic attendance levels soon, and this ride might help them do it.

© Dorney Park
As with so many South Whitehall Township planning meetings over the year, there was some contention with the commissioners, this time in the form of speaking about sidewalks and the park.  The Township requires sidewalks now (not in the past) and wanted to tie the coaster's approval to the park adding sidewalks along Route 222.  The mess that is pedestrians the Route 222 is a long, sad (there have been deaths) story and it's been not dealt with for far, far too long for a sidewalk to suddenly make things safe.  

And that's not really the park's fault, at least in my opinion.  The park is more than willing to help and put in sidewalks but smartly pointed out that the road in front of the park, the public bus stop, people crossing to hotels - all of it needs to be figured out correctly and done properly and SAFELY.  And they did say they'll put in a side walk as seen above, but they don't even own the land needed to do it, the PA Department of Transportation does.  

In the end the request to add sidewalks was "decoupled" from the coaster's approval, and the park will be required to work with the Township, PennDOT and others to move toward a solution.  They did note that in the past a bridge over the road, a tunnel under the road and more were considered and all shot down - not by the park but by PennDOT.

I believe the coaster still need the approval of the Board of Commissioners, but typically the tough part is the Planning Commission, so fingers crossed on the project!  The ride will also head to the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission this week.  Until we hear more, here's our animation of what we think the coaster will be like one more time!