Sunday, December 21, 2014

Pair of New Slides Underway at Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas

© Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas
The slide tower that was delayed from the 2014 grand opening season of Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas is currently being built at the water park, and what a complex it is!  Above is the framing for the bottom portion of the Wild Surf slide, a unique creation from Polin.

The rafts will depart the slide tower in the background, meander down a relatively calm path and then drop into the giant half-pipe from the left.  The rafts will seat several riders per trip, and that weight will help them to soar high up the opposite wall, across what the park describes as "the world's largest man-made wave."

© Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas
The angle of the entry drop will allow the rafts to cover the length of the half-pipe, crisscrossing over the wave as they go.  Each trip will take them back up one of the giant wave walls, until finally heading into an exit tunnel.

The yellow and teal slide that you can also see in the above photo is the Beach Blanket Banzai, a more traditional family raft slide.  It will be intertwined with Wild Surf, and both slides utilize the same start tower and exit area.

The new slides join the list of attractions at Cowabunga Bay Las Vegas, which include several other slide towers, a giant wave pool, lazy river and more.  The park's 2015 season is scheduled to start at the end of March.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

New Fireman's Landing Updates from Silver Dollar City

Silver Dollar City is still hard at work creating an all new themed area for 2015, Fireman's Landing.  The park has started to update the project's official website with photos of the work as it is moving along.  Considering it isn't even the new year yet, the area is looking rather good!

© Silver Dollar City
This photo looks like a bit of an older one, but it shows off the Firefall really well.  The 80 foot free fall ride will be partially enclosed at the lower portion - which only the framework for can be seen in this image.  The park's website also shares a short video of the tower being lifted into place a while back.

© Silver Dollar City
Since the new area is replacing an aging family play house, a brand new one is going up in its place called Station No. 3 Firehouse Play Place.  This more recent photos shows that the structure is now mostly enclosed with works starting on the facade.  The photos the park has uploaded also give a view of the inside of this expansion structure.

Check out more on the project here!

Friday, December 19, 2014

The End of Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa?

© Google
There have been rumors swirling for some time now that Gwazi's days at Busch Gardens Tampa are numbered.  It seems the recently announced cost-cutting measures at the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties may have accelerated the plan to take the pair of wooden roller coasters into retirement.

The news was broken today by Screamscape, which reported in the morning that they had received word that Gwazi would be closing February 1st, and later in the day confirmed that news with Busch Gardens Tampa.  The final date of operation may change, according to Screamscape, with an official announcement from the park forthcoming.

Gwazi, consisting of a Lion and Tiger side, opened in 1999 as one of Great Coasters International's largest projects to date.  The pair of wood coasters dueled throughout the ride, including first drops that pass one another and other moments of interaction between the trains.  The ride was never known for being smooth, and seemed to deteriorate over the seasons.

© Great Coasters International
Millennium Flyer trains replaced the coasters' original PTC trains in 2011, which made some improvement - but apparently not enough for the park.  Some time in 2012 the Tiger track was closed (in hindsight for good) with the loading station covered for access to the Lion track boarding area.  The ride operated only one side since, limping along until what was predicted to be an eventual permanent closure.  And that turned out to be right on the spot.  The ride's maintenance, size, Florida's weather - there were a lot of contributing factors to Gwazi's demise it seems.

Screamscape's story points out that it may be some time until the rides are demolished, and as you can see in the aerial above they cover a lot of real estate at the theme park.  Hopefully when the storm clouds eventually leave SeaWorlds Parks something amazing can take the ride's place.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Casino Pier Expanding in 2015 with New Rides + A Coaster for 2016

New Jersey's Casino Pier is continuing to rebuild after being mostly destroyed in 2012 during Hurricane Sandy, and is planning its largest year of regrowth yet for 2015.

The seaside park was able to reopen in mid-summer 2013 after rebuilding their lower boardwalk, and added a handful of new rides to the lineup in 2014.

For next year one new ride will come online, named Shore Shot.  The ride will be a 125 foot tall Double Shot style free fall attraction.  The park created a video announcing the attraction, which has quite the 'Jersey Shore' feel to it!  Riders will blast up the tower at 45 miles per hour and then back down, bouncing up again several times.

© Casino Pier
Casino Pier's adjacent water park, Breakwater Beach, will also see many changes next year.  Above is concept art of the changes coming to the water park, where one entire end has already been bulldozed in anticipation of the expansion.

First will be a brand new 36 hold miniature golf course, and partially under it will be a greatly expanded go-kart track.  The new course will be much longer and feature modern attributes.

For comparison purposes, here is the current water park on the left, with the new plans lined up on the right.  The park will add a new wave pool (they did not have one previously) and also two new slides on the tower in the upper right.  One slide appears to be a drop-capsule speed slide, and the other is described as a "serpentine."  The back of the wave pool will be incorporated into the landscaping and water falls of the miniature golf course above it, which sounds quite pretty.  The food and beverage outlet that can be seen in the current aerial has been demolished and will be replaced by an all new outlet elsewhere in the park.

For 2016, Casino Pier is already planning another huge expansion, having submitted a request to expand the boardwalk Northward, making more room for rides.  Two of the attractions listed for the new space are a large Ferris wheel and a roller coaster - no details on what style of coaster though.  It's wonderful to see the park continue to thrive after Sandy attempted to ruin things!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Italy's Newest B&M Coaster Now Complete

Garadaland has completed the trackwork for their latest Bolliger & Mabillard roller coaster, a dive coaster with an as-yet unknown name.  There's probably more information on the ride and its theme available on the park's website, but I don't speak Italian and thus have no idea what's going on in these videos!

Anyway, crews had installed the lift, first drop, initial tunnel and a teeny tiny Immelmann a while ago, but there was still some mystery surrounding the rest of the ride's layout.

© Gardaland
These new photos have been released by Garaland and show off all the 'goods' that the ride has to offer.  After the bite-sized Immelmann, the trains will hop over a very nicely sharp looking air-time hill... with the hopes that it really will give a good amount of air! We shall see on that one.

The trains will then navigate a very tight helix, remaining suspiciously high off the ground while in the heavily banked element.  Then, as many predicted, the ride will have a second inversion - what appears to be a corkscrew that is almost stretched out enough to be called a heartline roll.  A quick final turn and the brakes are next.

© Gardaland
Here's the real beauty shot, the ride's full layout from some location above the ground.  You can see a great keyhole 'near miss' element being installed after the Immelmann, as well. 

The ride is fairly short, and estimated to be around 140 feet tall... nothing huge but still a great idea for a park of Garaland's size.  I personally love the vertical dive on these B&M rides, and even though it's not 200+ feet tall I think it'll be a great thrill.  Wish a smaller U.S. park would build something similar!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Quassy Gets Frantic - New Ride Now Testing

Quassy Amusement Park is super excited about all their additions for the 2015 season, but especially Frantic, a new inverting thrill ride.

The park has actually already set up the ride in its new home at the park, and just recently got the ride up and running:

It was great that the park filmed the ride in action during the evening - this really shows off the amazing light package that Frantic has.  The entire midway surrounding the ride will be lit up at night!

Frantic is a "Twist'n Swing 360" made by VISA International, and will take riders on full 360 degree rotations while spinning them at the same time.  The ride is capable of running a non-inverting ride program as well, though the park expects that guests will want to head upside down!

Quassy Amusement Park will also add the Collidoscope kiddie bumpers cars next year as part of their 2015 expansion.