Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Beech Bend Park Opens Giant Proslide Designed Slide Tower in Splash Lagoon

Located in Kentucky, Beech Bend Park and its Splash Lagoon water park has opened its exciting 2016 addition, a large Proslide-designed slide tower featuring four different experiences for riders.  The addition of the slides represents an investment in the park that cost millions of dollars, adding much innovation and capacity to Splash Lagoon.

© Beech Bend / Splash Lagoon
This photo from the park shows the splash area for all four slides.  One of the slides, the Cyclone Saucers, is touted by the park as the first of its kind to open in North America.  That slide (in green) features tight enclosed turns that riders, in individual tubes, navigate through.  The enclosed sections open up into giant open-air "saucer" sections that features equally tight turns that sliders whiz through.

© Trevor George via Vimeo
Here's a nice aerial look at the overall slide tower.  The other slides (Riptide, Tidal Wave, and Polynesian Plunge) all offer different experiences.  One of them is a traditional bowl slide, another features Proslide's popular "Tantrum" mini-tornado elements, and finally the third a massive wave wall that riders slide up after a large drop.  This view comes from neat drone footage featured on the park's website.

The brightly colored addition came online just as the hottest part of the summer kicked in, perfect timing for the park!  Also new this season is Spinning Out, a family sized roller coaster with spinning trains.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Guardians of the Galaxy Taking Over California Adventure's Tower of Terror in 2017

Last night Disney Parks dropped a bomb and revealed that the rumors are true - the Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure will be replaced with Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! in mid-2017.  The last rides on Tower of Terror will take place in early January of 2017.

For months there has been talk around the interwebs that Disney was looking at bringing in the powerhouse Guardians franchise to the west coast, with much of the talk centered around an overlay of the Tower of Terror.  When complete the famous hotel will have scattered all of its ghosts and will look like this:

© Disney
Described as a "comically high-energy, rocking new adventure," Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout will be set in a giant building kept by The Collector, formally known as Taneleer Tivan.  The Collector is proudly showing off all his artifacts, which now include the Guardians themselves - held captive in giant display cases.  However, Rocket has escaped and asked riders (VIP helpers) to free the Guardians.  The actual ride takes place on a gantry lift and still will utilize the same ride system as Tower of Terror, but with all new special effects and a rocking soundtrack.  The ride cycles will all have different programs so each experience is a bit different.

© Disney
This look at the queue for the made-over ride shows that no remnants of the hotel theme will remain when the work is done.  Instead guests will peruse The Collector's display as they wait, which of course will include the Guardians.

Joe Rhode is in charge of the project, and is dropping hints that plenty more Marvel related attractions will eventually spring up in the Hollywood section of California Adventure.  He gives a lot more description about the new attraction in the below video.

The summer opening of the ride will tie in perfectly to the second Guardians of the Galaxy film, which will open just before it.  And to be perfectly clear, this change only applies to the California version of the ride, not the original Tower of Terror in Florida.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Cedar Fair Testing the Waters for All Season Fast Lane Plus

Fast Lane and Fast Lane Plus have become a popular staple item for many who visit Cedar Fair's parks - I know it was for me during a recent Cedar Point trip - and now it appears as though the company is testing an all season version of the pass.

The first park that I can see that is offering season long Fast Lane Plus is Dorney Park, where it is currently selling for $99.  Dorney Park offers Fast Lane Plus, where you can skip most of the wait for an attraction, at 20 rides and 5 popular water attractions in Wildwater Kingdom.  The new add-on gives each season pass holders a single Fast Lane Plus wrist band each time they visit this year.  I don't see it listed on the website, but I'm going to assume that this will not work for Haunt attractions, since that's known as Fright Lane during that season.

Granted you may not associate Dorney Park's rides with long lines, but remember that this would get visitors past the long lines in the water park every time they go.  That means that families that visit often and spend the day at the water park wouldn't have to partake in most of the waterslide lines.

We've seen Cedar Fair test many new ideas at a single park before rolling it out across the system, so if this is a hit and it spreads next year, would you purchase it?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Play Along with Carowinds as they Tease the Park's 2017 Expansion

Another expansion teaser campaign kicked off this week, this time around we have a fairly elaborate story coming out of Carowinds that will lead to their 2017 announcement on August 18th.  The theme park is acknowledging that some news leaked earlier in the year about some classic flat rides that were said to be headed to the park, but poses the question as to whether the news was 100% accurate and if there's more to the story.

For the teaser campaign the park has focused in on their Mayor, Earnest Lee Higginbotham, and his quest to be elected into office again for another 4 year term.  The Mayor has nabbed the help of his 3 friends to create a news hotline that you can call and hear about their plans.  The Higginbotham Hotline number (seen in the image above) lets you hear the Mayor's side of things, but his friends also offer their thoughts and "subtle clues" are embedded in all four recordings.

The park is urging fans to spread the word on social media using #VoteFourMore up until the announcement.  More clues will come with new recordings on the phone line, and guests of the park can unlock hints while on property via the park's app.

I've noticed that the number 4 is used quite a bit in all this, four more years in office, a total of four people doing recordings, and even the hashtag could have a double meaning of four more rides... perhaps.  Could just be a distraction - either way call the line and see what clues you can pick up on!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Must-Read Interview with Cedar Fair's Rob Decker

If you're looking for some great reading about Cedar Fair, A.V. Club has a very informative question and answer interview piece published with Rob Decker, the company's Senior VP of Planning & Design.

The questions cover a ton of ground, offering insights into many aspects of the company's design process.  Everyone loves to wonder what will be new at the park next year, and this story gives a bit of a look into the process.

Take Valravn for example, Rob talks about how the park selected the center of the park to build it in and just why they did that.  As for future additions, he notes that the next three years will be "pretty serious," and while not totally clear it seems like he's speaking specifically about Cedar Point in that regard.

Other parts of the interview cover the emphasis on technology and rides, including the use of virtual reality on existing attractions.  But on the opposite hand, Rob points out that he's wondering if a back-to-the-basics approach might serve guests of modern times well.  To that end there is also plenty of talk about the efforts to obtain, refurbish and install classic flat rides that have been plucked from around the globe.

The article is definitely a must-read for any fan of Cedar Fair, or really parks in general.  Check it out at this link!

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kings Island's Big 2017 Reveal to Take Place Next Week

Kings Island has spent most of the summer teasing about its 2017 capital expansion, expected to be a large new ride, and now we know that we do not have to wait much longer to hear the details.  The park will announce the new ride on July 28th at 10:00 pm, and visitors that day will be able to stay and hear the good news at the park.  The nightime announcement remindes me of what the park did for Banshee a few years back, another clue that this is a pretty substantial addition.

The above teaser for the announcement was posted on social media, keeping up with the hints that have been centered on the woods adjacent to the Rivertown area.

Kings Island's homepage features this image along with a countdown clock - only 8 days left as of this writing! - and this one takes us in a bit of a different direction, stating that "nature is taking over."  I would have guessed some sort of animal theme up until this, and honestly this one could still fit with an animal but all the roots in the photo make me there there's more to it.  I love a mystery!

Kings Island Central put this image up on Twitter, looks like the media invite that was sent out for the announcement.  This one is closer to the fallen tree clues seen earlier; a classic truck with some timber in the back of it.  The actual invite also features an obvious timber theme on its background.  The old-time looking truck does seem out of place, though, so who knows.

Stay tuned!