Thursday, September 29, 2016

Major New Launched Coaster Headed to Blackpool Pleasure Beach in '18

© Blackpool Pleasure Beach
The trend of earlier and earlier announcements of new rides continues, this time for "Construction 2018" - a brand new, custom-designed Mack double-launched roller coaster at England's Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Obviously that won't be the final name of the new roller coaster, but until the park releases that the ride is just Construction 2018.  The coaster is billed by the park as having the "most interactions" at 15, involving 5 different rides at the park and two tunnels.  There will also be one inversion along the 3,740 feet of track.

The experience will start with a launch featuring a top speed of 50 miles per hour directly up onto a large air-time hill.  The ride twists and turns around the park's attractions until it hits another launch that will get the trains through the remainder of the course.  The maximum height of the ride is 88.5 feet and the largest drop is 82 feet.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach released this footage of the ride, both off and on-ride, showing all the elements packed into the layout.  It allows us to follow the track as the coaster interacts with rides like the Big One, Steeplechase, Big Dipper, Pleasure Beach Express and the park's Grand Prix.

Blackpool's Managing Director, Nick Thompson, commented that the park has "been working on this concept for five years now and are delighted to be able share news of our plans.  Construction 2018 will be fast, adrenalin fuelled and exhilarating but also smooth and comfortable – an entirely new ride experience."  The park is spending around $21 million (at a current conversion rate) to bring the massive new ride to life.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach looks like they have a winner on their hands, at least judging from the above video.  I can't wait to follow the ride's progress over the next year and a half!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

SeaWorld Orlando Adding a Variety of New Offerings for 2017 Season

© SeaWorld Orlando
Following up on the addition of the hyper roller coaster Mako, SeaWorld Orlando has announced a wide variety of new offerings for visitors in 2017.  First up is the addition of virtual reality to the park's popular Kraken roller coaster.  The first digitally enhanced coaster for the SeaWorld Parks, Kraken rides will travel far below the depths of the ocean on the attraction.  The journey will include "sea creatures inspired by extinct and legendary animals of the past, including the mighty Kraken."  Saying the ride will have "uniquely designed headsets," the park will incorporate them both mechanically and electronically into the coaster's trains.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Also inside SeaWorld Orlando, major renovations of the park's Dolphin Nursery will delight visitors and make the attraction more interactive.  The park will add "large-scale acrylic windows" to the exhibit so that visitors can see mother and baby dolphins in all new ways.

© SeaWorld Orlando
The Dolphin Nursery will include multiple viewing levels, both above and below the water's surface.  Improvements to the exhibit will also allow easier access for the park's extensive veterinary and animal care teams once the dolphin calves are born.  Educational components, such as digital displays and live educators will help visitors better understand dolphin behavior and conservation efforts to protect the animals.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Another addition will be a new end-of-day spectacle event known as Electric Ocean.  With plenty more details promised to come, the park is describing it as full of "lights and energy, offering guests a different kind of fun after dark."  Inspired by bioluminescent lighting in nature, the park will come alive with music and pathway entertainment that will change the atmosphere of the park.

But that's not all, believe it or not.  A new Seven Seas Festival will occur that celebrates food from Asian, Caribbean, South American and Mediterranean areas.  The unique food offerings will also be paired with local and seasonal craft brews.  That fits in perfectly with the park's new for 2017 dining location, the Flamecraft Bar.  It will fit nicely with the nearby existing SeaFire Grill in the waterfront area of the theme park, and offer a spot for a casual drink and a bite to eat.  Finally, the Nautilus Theatre will debut a "new experience" on Memorial Day weekend, running for the summer.  More details about the show's content will be released soon.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Starting this holiday season, and then continuing in 2017 as well, Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends will become a part of the park's Christmas Celebration.  Already a popular event during the winter months, visitors will now be able to meet Rudolph in several seasonal themed attractions.  Other characters that will be at the park include Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius.  The 2017 Christmas Celebration is promised to further expand the Rudolph themed fun.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Over at Aquatica, annual pass members will find a brand new Passmember Pavilion just for them that will open for Spring Break.  Featuring concierge service along with complimentary sunscreen, the Pavilion will have a private entrance to Banana Beach, special animals encounters throughout the day and other perks.

Sounds like a busy year for the Orlando SeaWorld Parks!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

New Roller Coaster - Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster - New at SeaWorld San Antonio in 2017

A brand new roller coaster, the first of its kind in North America, will open at SeaWorld San Antonio next summer.  Named Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster, the ride will be the first in the SeaWorld family to be themed around the company's animal rescue efforts.  Described as "combining the thrill of the sea with the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster," the new coaster will let riders "feel what it's like to race alongside SeaWorld's heroic animal care team and veterinarians as they spring into action at a moment's notice to help rescue animals in distress."

 “The new coaster promises a ride of a lifetime that’s also unique to SeaWorld’s mission,” said SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Carl Lum.  “Replicating an adventure limited to only a few trained professionals, Wave Breaker will launch riders into an exhilarating experience similar to going on an animal rescue mission.  The coaster is sure to thrill, but also brings awareness to the brave efforts of our animal teams as they join forces with organizations around the world to help ill, injured, orphaned and abandoned animals.”

© SeaWorld San Antonio
The roller coaster is inspired by how jet skis glide across the water at high speeds, and will utilize a design by Intamin using fully themed cars - the first time they are being employed in North America.  Intamin previously created Jet Rescue for Sea World in Australia (unrelated to SeaWorld San Antonio) which gives a good idea of how the new ride may look.  Riders will be in a "straddled seating" position that is depicted in the concept art above.

Wave Breaker:  The Rescue Coaster will utilize two different electromagnetic launches to send the trains moving at a maximum speed of 44 miles per hour.  The track will extend 2,600 feet long and hit a maximum height of 61 feet above the ground.  The trains will have eight coaches each seating two riders for a total of 16 riders per cycle, with a theoretical hourly capacity of 886 riders.  Best of all, the ride comes with a low 48 inch height requirement so many members of the family can ride.

The loading area and queue for the ride will be across from the Penguin Plaza.  Once the trains depart the station most of the ride will take place over the park's central lagoon, adding to the theme of the coaster.  The above video has some flashes of ride animation in it, along with a quick look at half the layout - but it seems the park will just leave the full ride track as a tease for now.

The park promises more updates via their social media soon, but for now check out the Wave Breaker website for more.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Howl-O-Scream Turns Up The Scares in Tampa Bay

Back for another year of bone-chilling thrills, Busch Gardens Tampa's Howl-O-Scream is now open for its 2016 season.  The event is billed as "Tampa Bay's premier Halloween event," drawing thousands of thrill seekers each fall to test their fright limits.

This year the event will run for 21 nights, giving visitors over 300 acres of "terrifying horrors and merciless roaming hoards" to explore.  This year the event has seven different haunted houses, with two of them being brand new.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
The first of the two additions is named Motel Hell, whose name probably gives away a lot about its theme!  Set in a super creepy deserted motel, the park is promising that nightmares will become reality for those who dare to enter.  "The paranormal presence of its former owners still lurks on the untouched property, mysteriously preventing the brave souls who are attempting to tear it down. Guests who dare to enter will find themselves face-to-face with their worst nightmares and inescapable fate."

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Also new this year is The Black Spot, a bit of a mysterious maze that centers around pirates - mainly Saw Tooth Silas.  The story goes that he was a pretty bad guy, and once he decided that a person was to be removed from his crew, they were sent to The Black Spot - and never seen from again... at least not in one piece.  The maze allows guests to enter Saw Tooth Silas' world and the results of his terrors.

While the mazes are always going to be the big draw of Howl-O-Scream, Busch Gardens Tampa has worked to make the entire park a bit more scary in 2016.  The property will now have Inescapable Roaming Hordes of monsters and ghouls which will freely roam the park, proving that no area is truly safe.  Essentially this makes the whole place a scare zone, keeping visitors on their toes!

All the fun also comes with the park's rides such as the brand new Cobra's Curse and the face-first free fall, Falcon's Fury.  For more on the event, click here.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Doomsday Destroyer + New DC Villain Themed Land Premier at Movie World

For the start of their summer season, Movie World on Australia's Gold Coast, has opened a new themed area and thrill ride.  A part of the DC Comics Super-Villains Unleashed area, the new ride is named the Doomsday Destroyer.  The park's new expansion will allow visitors to "embark on a journey with some of the most iconic DC Super-Villains in an interactive themed area, where it's good to be bad."

© Movie World
The star attraction of the area is Doomsday Destroyer, a "monstrous looping ride like nothing else ever seen" at the park.  Rider are seated in floorless cars, some facing other passengers, and then looped up and around in a giant circle to nearly 70 feet above the park.  The ride goes up to 23 miles per hour and gives riders a 2.4 negative g-force, according to Movie World.  The above photo shows that the ride (which appears to be from Zamperla) received a nice theming package.

“There has always been a focus on DC Super Heroes at Warner Bros. Movie World but this new precinct will showcase the Super-Villains from the DC Universe,” said the park's General Manager, Greg Yong.

Another neat element of the Super-Villains Unleashed precinct are the "interactive elements where guests can assist Super-Villains such as The Joker and Lex Luthor in their mission to cause mass destruction throughout the park with the use of innovative RFID technology." 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Parts Arrive for Major New Roller Coaster at Casino Pier

I've heard no previous rumors about a major new roller coaster being built at New Jersey's Casino Pier, but it would seem fairly certain that one is happening for 2017.  That's a nice surprise, no doubt!

© Shorebeat / Daniel Nee
Parts for a new coaster have already started to arrive on site at the park, featuring lime green track and a brilliant blue support color.  The above photo is from a Shorebeat news article that detailed some of the efforts Casino Pier is undergoing to expand.

It sounds like the park has been working on a land swap deal with Seaside Heights that would allow them to build additional boardwalk space to the North of their current operations - which were rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy destroyed much of the park in 2012.

As for the roller coaster, it's being reported by RCDB that it will be a Gerstlauer custom-designed "Infinity" ride.  The track and supports also match the style of these rides, and also make it seem like there will be a vertical lift hill.

A ride of the same style opened this year at Adventureland, the Monster.  While I would expect Casino Pier's to be a bit smaller than the Monster, there's still a lot of potential for an interesting ride to go up.  I can't wait to find out more!