Wednesday, March 4, 2015

First Fury 325 Run Complete + Official POV Video

Congratulations to Carowinds on the successful first test run of Fury 325, which took place late this afternoon.  The ride, of course, completed the track without issue, marking the start of the exciting testing phase that will last until the coaster opens later this month.

Best of all, the park filmed the early test run and that means we now have an official point of view video of the coaster!

Designed as a coaster that is meant to show off extreme speed of the ride, Fury 325 appears to deliver.  And it's worth noting that all rides speed up after they break in, meaning there's even more in store!

There are a lot of highlights to this ride, including the unique turn around which plunges down under this bridge...

Which looks like an incredible head-chopper moment!  I love that the park decided to use the honeycomb shape again here in the tunnel - I can't wait to see what they have planned for this area at night.

Carowinds, and Fury 325, are scheduled to open for the 2015 season on March 28th!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

NewsPlusNotes February 2015 Poll Results

Last month we did a throwback poll, asking our readers which of the new-for-2005 (aka 10 years ago) U.S. coasters was your favorite.  It was a rather close race for most of the month, with Six Flags Great Adventure's Kingda Ka coming out on top with 31.28% of the total vote.  Still the world's tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka provides a sense of speed and height that few others can match.

Right under Kingda Ka's toes in the number two spot is SheiKra at Busch Gardens Tampa, which gathered 29.30% of the votes.  This impressive B&M diving coaster stands tall over the Florida theme park, dropping riders vertically downward from 200 feet in the air.

Third place went to Hydra at Dorney Park, which totaled 27.31% of the poll.  Another B&M ride, this one is a floorless model that features seven inversions.  Here are the full results:

This month's poll is now live, and we're going into a different direction to see which theme park chain - Six Flags or Cedar Fair - is heading in the best direction with regard to dark rides.  Vote over on the left!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Knoebels' Impulse Reaches Highest Point!

© Knoebels
Last week Knoebels topped out Impulse, the park's new for 2015 roller coaster.  The absolutely striking colors of the ride, in addition to its steel track and inversions, have forever changed the park's skyline - for the better!  Here we see the recently completed vertical lift hill that rises to 98 feet above the ground, and the 90 degree drop that immediately follows it.

© Knoebels
The base of the lift hill can be seen here, with the ride's vertical loop in the background.  As riders begin their ascent they will pass directly under the entrance to Impulse' final inversion, a heartline twist.  Hopefully different trains will pass one another at this point, which would be pretty neat if the timing is right!

© Knoebels
This wide angle shows off most of the track and supports that were installed as of the end of this past week.  The lift, drop, cobra roll, vertical loop, heartline roll and helix finale were all in place.  This only leaves the 180 degree turn after the vertical loop and a helix before the roll yet to be installed - and at the pace this ride has been going up that'll be done in no time!

That final helix looks like it could give some great g-forces!  I just love the coaster's colors, especially set against the picturesque mountain background.  If you click over to the Impulse website and watch the timelapse video from the 26th you can watch as the lift track and supports go up.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

$1 Million Expansion Planned at Martin's Fantasy Island in 2015

© Martin's Fantasy Island
Two new rides, one brand new to the park and one a replacement for an existing model, will be built at Martin's Fantasy Island in 2015.  The projects will set the amusement park back a cool $1 million, and should be ready in time for the start of the park's 54th season in May.

Brand new in 2015 is the Rock 'n Roll Musik Express, a classic amusement that spins riders in a circular, undulating path at high speeds.  Even better, the Rock 'n Roll Musik Express will travel both forwards and backwards, upping the thrill level.  To top out the experience there will be high-energy music played during the ride cycle and a brilliant lighting package that will have the ride glowing at night.

The park will also replace their current kiddie free-fall ride, named Jack and the Beanstalk, with a newer version.  The original opened in 2004 and has been popular at the park ever since, but this new version will have a rotating ride carriage as well.

Both the Rock 'n Roll Musik Express and the new Jack and the Beanstalk ride are planned to open with the property on May 9th.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Gardaland's 'Oblivion - The Black Hole' Warped Theming Now in Place

Gardaland's Oblivion - The Black Hole, a brand new B&M Dive Coaster has been structurally complete for weeks now, but the park has just recently been finishing up the coaster's theming.  The ride gives a NASA-type feel, representing a trip directly into a black hole with unprecedented effects.  The ride's first drop does go below ground and into a tunnel, and that's where some of the cool theming has recently been applied.

© Gardaland
Here's Oblivion - The Black Hole's first drop, with some of the warped structures over top of it.  You see, the black hole that the trains dive into is so strong that it is slowly pulling all objects around it with its gravitational force.  That means that was previously standing straight is now bending as if being sucked into the black hole.

© Gardaland
This photo shows off many of the theming elements that have been applied at this point - including a water tower, TV antennas, windmill and even the nearby shrubs.  The park promises that even more will be added including a TV station van and part of a nearby roof.  It's a pretty cool idea, and the cartoon-like effect is pretty convincing!

© Gardaland
Here's an even closer look at some of the elements, you can really see the bent over shrubs in this shot as well.

Gardaland's webcam for Oblivion - The Black Hole shows that some additional features are already in place, in fact I think we can see that news van now in place as well.  The coaster features an Immelmann, air-time hill, helix and a zero-g roll before heading back to the station.  For more information on the new coaster, which is set to open this Spring, check out Oblivion's website.

Valleyfair Making Progress on 2015 Soak City Expansion

© Valleyfair
I complain about how cold it has been in Eastern Pennsylvania, but this is probably nothing compared to the temperatures this winter in Shakopee, Minnesota.  That hasn't stopped Valleyfair from working on their 2015 Soak City expansion, with the park even building a temporary cover over the work site just to be able to pour concrete!  Take that, snow.

The progress has led the park to now have most of the support structure standing for their new six slide tower which includes the Breakers Pipeline and Breakers Plunge. 

© Valleyfair
While the park assembles the tower structure, they've also started to receive the slide pieces themselves.  This picture is from several weeks ago, so I wouldn't be surprised if the slides are already started to be assembled on the ground while the tower is finished up.  When complete the new tower will offer four slides that start with a floor-dropping plunge, and another two high speed slides that start at a towering 90 feet above the ground.

Valleyfair fans have been able to keep up with the Soak City expansion via the park's live webcam, which shows work continuing on this sunny Saturday.  The new slide tower can be seen in the background, with the run-out area currently covered in snow.  The second Soak City addition, Barefoot Beach, can be seen in the lower part of the image.  This will be a children's play area, filled with spraying elements and other fun for little ones.

Hopefully the weather will break soon, and then we'll see slide pieces going up and work continuing even faster.