Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gardaland's 'Oblivion - The Black Hole' Warped Theming Now in Place

Gardaland's Oblivion - The Black Hole, a brand new B&M Dive Coaster has been structurally complete for weeks now, but the park has just recently been finishing up the coaster's theming.  The ride gives a NASA-type feel, representing a trip directly into a black hole with unprecedented effects.  The ride's first drop does go below ground and into a tunnel, and that's where some of the cool theming has recently been applied.

© Gardaland
Here's Oblivion - The Black Hole's first drop, with some of the warped structures over top of it.  You see, the black hole that the trains dive into is so strong that it is slowly pulling all objects around it with its gravitational force.  That means that was previously standing straight is now bending as if being sucked into the black hole.

© Gardaland
This photo shows off many of the theming elements that have been applied at this point - including a water tower, TV antennas, windmill and even the nearby shrubs.  The park promises that even more will be added including a TV station van and part of a nearby roof.  It's a pretty cool idea, and the cartoon-like effect is pretty convincing!

© Gardaland
Here's an even closer look at some of the elements, you can really see the bent over shrubs in this shot as well.

Gardaland's webcam for Oblivion - The Black Hole shows that some additional features are already in place, in fact I think we can see that news van now in place as well.  The coaster features an Immelmann, air-time hill, helix and a zero-g roll before heading back to the station.  For more information on the new coaster, which is set to open this Spring, check out Oblivion's website.

Valleyfair Making Progress on 2015 Soak City Expansion

© Valleyfair
I complain about how cold it has been in Eastern Pennsylvania, but this is probably nothing compared to the temperatures this winter in Shakopee, Minnesota.  That hasn't stopped Valleyfair from working on their 2015 Soak City expansion, with the park even building a temporary cover over the work site just to be able to pour concrete!  Take that, snow.

The progress has led the park to now have most of the support structure standing for their new six slide tower which includes the Breakers Pipeline and Breakers Plunge. 

© Valleyfair
While the park assembles the tower structure, they've also started to receive the slide pieces themselves.  This picture is from several weeks ago, so I wouldn't be surprised if the slides are already started to be assembled on the ground while the tower is finished up.  When complete the new tower will offer four slides that start with a floor-dropping plunge, and another two high speed slides that start at a towering 90 feet above the ground.

Valleyfair fans have been able to keep up with the Soak City expansion via the park's live webcam, which shows work continuing on this sunny Saturday.  The new slide tower can be seen in the background, with the run-out area currently covered in snow.  The second Soak City addition, Barefoot Beach, can be seen in the lower part of the image.  This will be a children's play area, filled with spraying elements and other fun for little ones.

Hopefully the weather will break soon, and then we'll see slide pieces going up and work continuing even faster.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Disney Shares Some of Animal Kingdom's Avatar Tricks in New Update

© Disney
Another small Avatar Land reveal has taken place, once more on the Disney Parks Blog.  The new Animal Kingdom development is under heavy vertical construction at this point, so I suppose it makes sense to give fans some more information on the project.

The above concept art is a bit of a puzzle when you first look at it, what helps is to take notice of the little blue people on the ground, which gives us some scale.  So with that help we can gather that these are the huge floating mountains we've heard about, which will tower over the area (and apparently support themselves using some faux vines).  As for what exactly the background structures are is unclear, though I think the focus of this piece of art is the flower and plants that will be found in Avatar Land.

Disney also released this video, which shows some of the amazing plants that Imagineers have created for Pandora... the bioluminescent flowers are beautiful.  Not to mention the floor that glows as guests will walk over it!  If one of the goals of the Avatar project is to keep guests in the park longer this will be a home run - everyone will pack the area once the sun goes down to see this stuff!

Read more details in the original post from Disney Parks.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Everything is Awesome at Legoland Florida Resort

Even more in 2015?  Yes, even after building an entire resort and announcing a new land, the Legoland Florida Resort still has another trick up its sleeve.  The theme park has announced that it will be one of six Legoland parks and eleven Legoland Discovery Centers to premier a new 4D animated film based on The Lego Movie later this year.

© Legoland Florida Resort
The new movie will aim at entertaining families using a combination of film and in-theater effects, drawing from the star power of the mega-hit The Lego Movie.  "Using elements such as wind, water, smoke and special lighting effects, the larger-than-life experience brings the film’s main characters, Emmet and Wyldstyle, back together with their friends for another awesome adventure."

The film will be exclusive to the Legoland theme parks and Legoland Discovery Centers, and is a combined effort of Merlin Entertainments, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group.

“We’re excited to be partnering with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and The LEGO Group on such a, dare I say, awesome, adventure,” says Merlin Entertainments Chief Executive Officer Nick Varney. “Emmet and Wyldstyle have become immensely popular at our theme parks and Discovery Centers across the globe and bringing this new 4D movie exclusively to our guests continues our Merlin philosophy of creating memorable family experiences.”

No official premier date has been set for the new movie, so stay tuned to each park for more information later in 2015.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Fury 325's Impressive Night Look + First Rider Auction

© Mike Fehnel
Carowinds' General Manager has taken to Twitter once more to show off the latest Fury 325 developments, and this time around we've been able to see the giga coaster's impressive lighting scheme.

The entire lift hill is aglow with green LEDs, making the already hard-to-miss coaster stand out even more.

© Mike Fehnel
The lights do not stop there, however, as they are also found in the station area as well.  The honeycomb shape is carried on throughout the queue and station, from the shade covers to the air-gates.  Here we see more LEDs in the honeycomb shape serving as a grand entrance back into the station at the end of the ride.

© Mike Fehnel
This last photo shows the ride from a distance, glowing green from all the lights.  Looks fantastic!  Check out more photos as you scroll down via this link.

Carowinds has also announced details of the Fury 325 first rider auction, which will benefit the Cam Newtown Foundation and is planned to take place on March 25th.  Seats on the first three trains will be auctioned off, with 100% of the proceeds being donated.  There's already a great deal of bids in place, and the auction will close at the end of the day on March 15th.  Great fun for a great cause!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Cedar Point Announces Additional Enhancements for 2015 Season

© Cedar Point
With the addition of Rougarou, the transformation of Mantis from a stand-up to floorless coaster, already announced, we may have assumed Cedar Point was done with 2015 announcements.  Happily, we were wrong!

At this past weekend's Winter Chill Out enthusiast event, which raised $27,000 for Give Kids The World, the park made several more announcements.

Seen above is concept art for the changes that were revealed for the Wicked Twister Midway, which is getting an overhaul for this season.  Moved from elsewhere in the park, Calypso will be renamed the Tiki Twirl and be located near Wicked Twister's entrance area.  A new neighbor to maXair, the park's famous Dodgems will also be moved along the pathway.  In order to fit the Dodgems, the kiddie version of the same attraction will be moved and incorporated into Planet Snoopy and renamed as Joe Cool's Dodgem School.  The entire area also appears to be receiving new planters, light fixtures and other cosmetic improvements.

As part of the changes, Sir Rub-A-Dub's Tubs (a children's water ride) and the Turnpike Cars (located near Raptor) will be retired.

© Cedar Point
Visitors with a sweet tooth will love a newly announced candy store, located next to the Pagoda Gift Shop, named Sweet Spot.  The new store "will feature fresh fudge, caramel apples and other mouth-watering treats," with "large front windows along the Main Midway will allow guests to watch the candy-making process."

© Cedar Point
Cedar Point is also hard at work with the final renovations to the historic Hotel Breakers, which will totally transform the resort.  Just announced, and seen above, are new outdoor fire pit areas that will serve as both a gathering and resting site for guests.  This will be a wonderful place to hang out and warm up between coaster rides in both the early Spring and Fall seasons!

2015 has shaped up to be a season full of exciting changes for the park!  Season Pass holders will be able to check out some of the additions (like Rougarou) on a newly announced Season Passholder Preview Night on Friday, May 8th from 7 to 10 p.m.