Monday, November 24, 2014

Foundation Work on Knoebels' Impulse Well Underway

It was way back in February that Knoebels surprised us all with the announcement of Impulse, a new for 2015 steel roller coaster.

With the park's announcement so early in the year, the addition got lost in the shuffle a bit during the late summer announcements.  However, Knoebels has been hard at work preparing the site for the new ride, and have been doing an excellent job documenting the process.

The park is actually adding new time lapse videos each and every day of the Impulse construction site, above is a shot from yesterday morning.  The work site is already dotted with footings, both already complete or just getting underway.  Located right along the Knoebels' entrance road, Impulse will make an immediate impression on visitors next year.

Impluse is being built by Zierer, and will feature a 98 foot vertical lift, following by a vertical drop.  The eight passenger trains will encounter a cobra roll, vertical loop, and heartline roll along with plenty of other twists and turns.

Check out the park's website for Impulse so you can stay up to date on the ride's construction!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Merlin Entertainments Ready to Expand Orlando Operations

Head of Marketing for the Orlando Eye, Todd Andrus.
Yesterday we took a look at the new StarFlyer ride coming to I-Drive in Florida, which will be located in an extension of the greater I-Drive 360 complex.

One of the larger tenants of I-Drive 360 is Merlin Entertainments Group, which is opening the Orlando Eye observation wheel, a Madame Tussauds and Sea Life Aquarium as well.  During IAAPA the company revealed a massive Lego model of the new complex, spanning nine feet across and eight feet tall.

The model, seen above in all its glory, will be placed into Legoland Florida's Miniland U.S.A. - Legoland Florida is another one of Merlin Entertainments' Orlando area properties.  It would be natural to expect to see plenty of cross promotion between the two attractions in the future.

The Orlando Eye will stand 400 feet above the ground below, giving unparallelled views of Central Florida.  Located in the building below the wheel will be Madame Tussauds Orlando, filled with lifelike wax figures of celebrities from film, television, sports, history and pop culture.  The Sea Life Aquarium will feature immersive underwater experiences with fish, rays, sharks and more using floor to ceiling displays, bubble tanks, touch pools and a 360 degree underway tunnel.

© I-Drive 360
Construction on the Orlando Eye is will underway, as seen in this recent photo from I-Drive 360.  Some tenants of the complex are already open, including Carrabba's, Yard House and Outback.  The observation wheel and other attractions are headed for a Spring 2015 grand opening.

The Return of the True Looping Water Slide?

A water slide with a real vertical loop once existed at New Jersey's Action Park, but it didn't last long.  Many years later the AquaLoop was created by WhiteWater, however that loop was not a true vertical one.

Now, a recent company to enter the slide manufacturing business (though they've worked on the structural side for many years), named Avalanche Waterslides, has created a modern take on the vertical loop slide.

© Avalanche Waterslides
Named the Skycalibre, the vertical loop slide will actually utilize a rider vehicle so that there's no direct contact between the rider and the fiberglass slide.  This is how riders are able to safely navigate the loop, says Avalanche Waterslides.

The ride stands 90 feet tall and starts with a truly vertical 45 foot plunge which feeds directly into the 30 foot loop.  The rider vehicles will hit a cool 50 miles per hour and those on board will experience up to 6 gs according to Avalanche.

I have to wonder if it won't be a bit difficult to get an insurance company to cover this style of ride, though the manufacturer's website seems confident there will be no safety issues at all.  They have built a full test model, after all.  The ride is listed at $1.4 million, potentially manageable for a smaller park. 

Saturday, November 22, 2014

World's Tallest StarFlyer Coming to Orlando in 2016

Mixed among this past week's many IAAPA related announcements was one of gargantuan proportions, namely the world's tallest StarFlyer ride to be built in Orlando.  The StarFlyer will be a part of Vue at 360, which will be a dining/entertainment area located adjacent to the new I-Drive 360 complex.

The StarFlyer will smash the current 400 foot record by twenty feet, swinging riders 420 feet above the ground below.  Looks like Six Flags will have to go a bit higher if they want the record back!  Riders will be seated in pairs on one of twelve seats, for a total of 24 riders per cycle.  Tickets for a ride are expected to be around $10.

The StarFlyer, and Vue at 360, will be just North of the I-Drive 360 complex, which will have the Orlando Eye observation wheel.  You can see that new development under construction above, the shopping center (contain a steak house, dinner show and more) above it will become Vue at 360.

The entire complex is just south of Universal, and just North of SeaWorld, smack dab in the middle of the busy tourist trap along International Drive.

There's a chance the new ride could open at the end of 2015, but probably in early 2016.  The StarFlyer will be manufactured by Funtime.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Scott And Carol Present - AirSurfer From Ride Entertainment Group

The AirSurfer offered by Ride Entertainment is a new way for guests to soar above any type of attraction. With almost unlimited theming options, guests do not have to ride a surfboard, though that would be the best element of cool for their participation. The ability to use an onboard battery powered electric motor to climb up hills adapts the AirSurfer to any terrain.

Adam Sandy and Andy Greenberg, the "A" team from ride entertainment explained how utilizing proprietary turning technology, unlimited course layouts are available. A soft blocking system keeps riders safely separated and the motor recharges the battery during braking similar to the systems used in Formula One racing cars.

Here is their presentation.

Here is the animated ride experience. Notice how guests are attached with an ASTM harness.

With an estimated capacity just under 100 people per hour, AirSurfer is projected as an  up charge attraction that can utilize any terrain, such as zoos, water parks, or any spot where stimulating vertical imagery can give guests a new perspective on the attractions. Adam and Andy are ready to help anyone "catch the wave," with AirSurfer.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scott And Carol Present -The IAPPA 2014 Hall of Fame and Applause Awards

IAAPA inducted two of its legendary industry veterans into the IAAPA Hall of Fame. Bob Cassata, creator of Bob’s Space Racers, and Dick Knoebel, recently retired from Knoebels Grove.

Bob Cassata created his first game in on the Daytona Beach Boardwalk but he named his company after the first Apollo Lunar Mission. He has continued to develop games, the embedded diagnostic and accounting software, but most important thing they had in common is that they are fun to play. He improved the reputation of game operations, and his games were the first to be installed in an amusement park.

Richard “Dick” Knoebel grew up in the amusement business. His parents established Knoebels Grove in 1926, and until his retirement, Dick never left the business. He has created living history by moving famous rides, like the Rocket from Texas, recreating the Twister from Colorado, and most recently, the Flying Turns. Knoebels Grove is a living amusement history park where you can still grab the brass ring, and walk through the woods on a gravel path in the shade. Good fun and good food are the hallmark of this eastern Pennsylvania park, and the next generation is continuing the legacy. 

The French theme park Puy du Fou is the recipient of the 2014 Applause Award, presented by Liseberg. Puy du Fou has created a new business model, consisting only of extravagant shows based on French history.  For daring creativity, this park has no peers, for everyone thought they could not prosper with this type of entertainment offering. Instead, they are expanding into new countries, and doing it their way.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners.