Sunday, June 26, 2016

Hersheypark Begins Teasing New For 2017 Attraction

Time to get excited for a new for 2017 attraction at Hersheypark!  While we have no firm details on what the addition will be, the theme park has started their teaser campaign on social media, promising weekly updates like they did leading up to the Laff Trakk reveal two summers ago.

© Hersheypark
This is the image that came with the first teaser that confirmed that a new attraction is coming.  At first glance it doesn't appear to include much in the way of hints, I even played with the colors to see if there was anything in the background pattern.

However, the "2017" may be telling, depending on how much meaning there is behind the number 1.  Not only is the 1 slightly lower than the other numbers, as if it were dropping, but it's also the shape of a tower ride by nature.

A big free-fall ride has been rumored as something that Hersheypark would like to add for years now, could 2017 finally be the one?

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Joker Thrills Riders with New Coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Rocky Mountain Construction is continuing to turn up the heat at amusement parks across the world in 2016, with a total of 4 projects coming to life this summer.  We've covered several of them already, but one that's already successfully opened that we missed is the Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

The ride represents another wood coaster conversion, utilizing much of the structure from Roar! (a 1999 Great Coasters design) to bring the Joker to life.

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
The new coaster features "twisted purple and green track; crazy, unexpected maneuvers; and frenetic, one-of-a-kind elements" that are unlike any ride in the Northern California market.  While Roar! was a traditional wooden coaster with no inversions, the Joker features several upside-down elements due to the use of steel track.

“This is a stand-out among extreme coasters,” said Don McCoy, park president. “I’ve never seen this kind of anticipation by the public for any new ride and it doesn’t disappoint. The experience adds tremendously to the park’s status as Northern California’s most thrilling theme park.”

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
The tone of the experience is set when visitors arrive at the Joker, with the station and queue serving as a giant funhouse.  Guests enter through the open mouth of a giant clown face, and the area has other theming adornments like oversized chattering teeth.   The ride begins with a traditional lift hill to 100 feet above the park, and of course the first drop is up next.  The ride quickly dives at a steep 78 degree and turns at the same time, hurtling the trains at 53 miles per hour into the first ever "step-up under-flip inverted roll."

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
The rest of the 3,200 feet of track features extreme curves and banks, along with a zero-g barrel roll and 180 degree stall - both of which invert passengers.  In total Six Flags Discovery Kingdom says that there are 15 separate moments of air-time to be found during the ride.  Much like we've seen on other Rocky Mountain trains, the face plate of the Joker is elaborate - seen above - featuring the villain himself with a huge grin on his face.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has shared this great footage of the Joker in action - check it out below!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Frozen Ever After Debuts to Huge Crowds at Epcot

© Disney
This past week a brand new dark ride opened at Epcot in Disney World that's themed around the adventures of the popular Frozen movie, named Frozen Ever After.  It's been a while since an original dark ride like this opened at the park, and that and the still-strong popularity of Frozen created some wild wait times - up to 300 minutes - on opening day.

The ride is located in the Norway pavilion, and replaces the classic Maelstrom attraction.  Frozen Ever After uses the former attraction's ride system and much of its layout, with some minor changes to the queue and loading area that allowed for a couple additional scenes.  The ride takes guests from Arendelle up into the world of Frozen, including the willow woods and Elsa's ice palace.  The tone of the ride is upbeat and is not a retelling of the movie.  Instead, it's just a visit to the Frozen world where riders get to see their favorite characters via the use of animatronics that look similar to those that opened in the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

The changes in the Norway pavilion also include a brand new dedicated meet and greet area for the Frozen characters, bringing many more square feet of space to the Norway themed area.

It hasn't taken long for many videos of Frozen Ever After to appear online, but one of the first I saw hit the web from Attractions Magazine is still one of the best - obviously this is a giant spoiler so only hit play if you want to experience the ride!

Attractions Magazine has also shared a neat video showing Frozen Ever After and Maelstrom at the same time.  It's pretty cool to see how so much has changed, but you can follow the ride paths just the same.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Massiv - World's Tallest Water Coaster - Now Open at Schiltterbahn Galveston

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island has opened the world's tallest water coaster, aptly named Massiv, to eager riders.  Massiv, German for the world massive, represent a large investment into the Texas water park that is sure to turn heads of both visitors to the park and those passing by.  Featuring slide pieces in green, red and white, the towering attraction stretches nearly 1,000 feet long and gives riders a coaster-like experience including four uphill sections.

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
Much secrecy went into keeping the actual height of Massiv from the press for many months, even as construction of the slide was finished.  Just recently park officials (seen above) had the ride measured by Guinness World Records to verify that its height - 81 feet, 6 and three quarter inches - makes it the tallest of its kind in the world.

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
The water coaster's thrills start after a climb of 123 steps to the very top, where riders launch in a double tube down the first drop.  The 135 segments that make up Massiv include several steep plunges, tunneled curves and a translucent helix section.  The finale of the ride is a triple-down plunge toward the splash pool, touted by the park as the first on a water coaster.  Additionally, the uphill sections do not have a net 'cage' around them like other water coasters (thanks to a new slide design), giving riders an unparalleled view of the action.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

New Views and Details of Universal's Volcano Bay Released

Universal Orlando has revealed some of the first specifics of their new water theme park, Volcano Bay, including descriptions of some of the park's main attractions.  The park will feature slides from mild to wild, 18 in total, and should be open by the start of June in 2017.

© Universal Orlando
The entire park is themed around the ancient Waturi islanders, located somewhere in the sunny Pacific.  The islanders' home is a water play land, made of up four themed sections - The Volcano, Wave Village, River Village and Rainforest Village.  Universal says that visitors will not have to carry tubes to the top of rides, there will be a wide variety of food and beverage offerings that exceed typical water park offerings and a large water-based transport system will help eliminate long lines.  More details of the entire plan to eliminate lines on the slides will be explained in coming months.

The star of the new park is a 200 foot volcano, named Krakatau, which features a 125 foot tall, 70 degree trap-door speed slide that actually travels under the wave pool before the run out.  The Volcano area also includes two more trap-door slides and a mat-racer that ends in "underwater sea caves."

© Universal Orlando
Waturi Beach will be a large multi-directional wave pool complete with sandy beaches to lounge on, located right at the base of Krakatau.  Other attractions described on the new website for Volcano Bay indicate a wide variety of slides - everything from twisting tube and body slides to family raft and even North America's first "saucer ride."  There will also both a lazy and a not-so lazy rivers for guests to enjoy and use as transportation.  A signature attraction found only at Volcano Bay will be released later.

This new promotional clip also shows off much of the beautiful grounds of Volcano Bay, and even more views of the different attractions that will await guests.  The park looks like it will be wonderfully themed and a must-visit for those at the resort.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Six Flags Looking to Expand into Saudi Arabia

Multiple news sources today are reporting that Six Flags Entertainment is fostering a partnership that will lead to an investment in branded theme parks in Saudi Arabia. 

The company has been on a recent push to increase their revenues from foreign licensing deals, having already announced them for parks in Dubai, China and Vietnam.  The information released on the possible Saudi Arabia project is very brief, with some sources making it sound like Six Flags will invest their funds - however I would wager that the park would simply be another licensing arrangement.

Saudi Arabia's economy has long been dependent on oil, but in recent years they've begun to push for "economic diversification," including increased tourism to bring new visitors in and also keep residents from traveling to other countries.

The location is an interesting one as Saudi Arabia is known for gender separation in public places, and morality police on the streets.  This could make for interesting theme park dynamics - will there be a roller coaster for males only, or dark rides only departing with female passengers?  I'm not sure how a water park could possible work, either, despite the high temperatures making it a great fit.  Park designers, usually a duty for Six Flags under the deals, will certainly have their work cut out for them!