Sunday, June 23, 2019

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Late June 2019 Update


© NewsPlusNotes
The summer season has set in at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, and while the amusement and water parks are operating at full speed the property is also preparing for their upcoming festivals and making other improvements.  This past weekend featured probably the best weather we've seen thus far in 2019, and we enjoyed a beautiful evening at the park - let's take a look at what's going on.

© Dorney Park
But first - I was excited to see my first Pass Perks reward hit my inbox a couple weeks ago.  I got a free Fast Lane Plus ticket, which was valid for around two weeks after I got notified.  Now all jokes about Dorney not having long lines for the coasters aside, their water park is packed most sunny days, and this bad boy would let you skip all those legitimately long lines.  A big benefit in my opinion.  Plus, a Fast Lane Plus ticket sells for anywhere from $55 to $70, so this Pass Perk has quite a lot of value to it.  Excited to see what my next one will be.

© NewsPlusNotes
Dorney Park is continuing to get ready for Grand Carnivale, which starts on July 20 - less than a month away!  The center of the party atmosphere will be along the Main Midway, and the park is continuing to prepare the area for the festivities.  The new light/sound poles have been equipped with a bunch of new lights, in addition to speakers.  There are also new speakers in some of the flower beds along the walkway.

© NewsPlusNotes
Even more lighting is showing up in the flower beds as well - these uplights are certain to makes the trees looks beautiful once the evening sets in.  The new stage (seen in the far background of this photo) is all ready to go, with new steps installed for performers.

If you haven't checked out coverage of Grand Carnivale at Kings Island or Kings Dominion, there's plenty out there and the event looks even better than I expected!

© NewsPlusNotes
The park had installed a ton of new electrical boxes to support all the lights and glitter behind Grand Carnivale, and has now installed signs on the boxes to make them a bit more useful and easier on the eye.  Most of them are advertising the park's new free Wifi, and their new mobile app.


Speaking of, the park now has the mobile app version that we've seen in use at many Cedar Fair parks in the past few seasons.  That means it includes wait times for the largest attractions, above is a screen shot from my visit this weekend.  Generally the estimates were pretty accurate with only a small exception here and there - a great way to plan your day when at the park!

© NewsPlusNotes
Now that summer is in full swing, the park has expanded their live entertainment schedule as well.  This year the largest show is at Center Stage, named Hot Rhythm Nights.  Other shows include Chart Toppers on the midway stage, The Tidal Waves and Krank Up The Kingdom inside Wildwater Kingdom, and three different family shows featuring Snoopy in Planet Snoopy.

© NewsPlusNotes
I caught a little bit of Hot Rhythm Nights at Center Stage, and the live band combined with some talented performers made for one of the most entertaining shows in a few seasons.  Worth checking out if you want to get off your feet for a bit while at the park.

© NewsPlusNotes
Lastly for this trip - if you stop by the Whip you may notice something new had been added to the center of each turntables.  That's right, the park has created special birthday cake decorations to help celebrate the Whip's 100th anniversary!

© NewsPlusNotes
Here is a closer view of the birthday cake, like I said there is one at each end of the ride.  The classic attraction is receiving a ton of attention for it's 100th anniversary, much deserved in my book.  It's so awesome to see the park go all out for their classic ride.  And if you're wondering why the birthday cakes look a little generic... that's absolutely on purpose.

© Dorney Park
Reference this photo of the Whip, which had birthday cakes installed on its turntables back in 1984 when Dorney Park celebrated their 100th anniversary.  So not only is it cool that Dorney Park is further celebrating the Whip's 100th anniversary, but they even connected it to the park's 100th anniversary!  Neat.

That's it for this run, stay tuned for more Dorney Park updates throughout the season.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Intamin's Latest Blitz Coaster - Taiga - Opens at Finland's Linnanmaki


© Linnanmaki
The Earth can't have enough Intamin Blitz Coasters in my opinion, and thankfully another one opened a few days ago in Finland at Linnanmaki.  Named Taiga, the coaster features beautiful blue track with black supports and two launches - the fastest of which hits 66 miles per hour.

Even better, the ride takes full advantage of a large sloping hillside over its 3,622 feet of track, with swoops and dives down below the main portion of the ride.

© Linnanmaki
Taiga has beautiful bird themed trains, the front of which is seen here.  The bright colors of reds and oranges contrast nicely with the cool track colors.

The ride starts with a launch out of the station and up into a dive loop, then down the hill side through a series of twists and turns.  The next launch, the fastest of the two, takes place next sending the trains up a twisting top hat to 170 feet in the air.  The rest of the layout has another dive loop, an Immelmann, some high-speed direction changes and an in-line twist finale.

The below video from YouTube channel Ride Review features an excellent on-ride of Taiga, along with plenty of off-ride shots as well.


Friday, June 21, 2019

Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Now Zooming Through the Forests of Islands of Adventure


© Universal Orlando
Easily one of, if not the most anticipated attraction of 2019 is now in daily operation at Islands of Adventure, a part of the Universal Orlando Resort.  Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure is a new family roller coaster adventure that takes up the location of the former Dragon Challenge coasters within the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade, and takes passengers on a fast motorbike ride through the Forbidden Forest.

The ride had a massive grand opening ceremony, seen above complete with some magic, featuring stars of the Harry Potter movies including Tom Felton, Evanna Lynch, Warwick Davis and more.  The crew were some of the first to venture into the Forbidden Forest for a magical journey along with Hagrid.

© Universal Orlando
Riders enter Hagrid's Magic Creatures Motorbike Adventure through the same castle that Dragon Challenge used, however the similarities between the rides end there.  The queue has been totally renovated and now features different scenes depicting Hagrid's work area and classroom, along with some nifty special effects.

The coaster utilizes trains (click above to see larger) that have both a motorbike and side car seating arrangement, allowing riders to experience the attraction in two styles of seats.  Soon after leaving the station the adventure begins with one of seven different launch sections, the most on one coaster in the world according to the park.

© Universal Orlando
Naturally a ride about Hagrid, the Forbidden Forest and Magical Creatures should include all three items, and this one sure does.  Between blasting on all those launches (which hit a top speed of 50 miles per hour) there are plenty of characters and creatures, including a full sized animatronic of Hagrid, seen above.

Since many are looking to experience the ride for the first time with no spoilers I'd prefer not to document the entire experience, but it looks like a ton of fun filled with lots of twisty track segments (5,053 feet of track in total, quite long), a 17 foot freefall plunge indoors, a 65 foot tall, 70 degree vertical spike and a host of special effects.

From the reviews, its sounds like Islands of Adventure has a home run on their hands!

For those too curious to wait for their own trip into the Forbidden Forest, here is an on-ride point of view video of the attraction from The Potter Collector.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Six Flags Great Adventure Opens Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth + New Solar Power Status


© Six Flags Great Adventure
Six Flags Great Adventure is having an exciting start to its summer season, announcing that they have completed two major projects that have further transformed the property.

Up first is Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth, the park's towering new pendulum thrill ride.  Seen above, the ride stands "a staggering 17 stories tall" and "reaches speeds of up to 75 miles per hour as it spins and swings to breathtaking heights."

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth has taken up residence within the park's Metropolis themed area, joining the ever popular Justice League Battle for Metropolis and last year's fan favorite, Cyborg Cyber Spin.  The attraction was built on part of the land that formerly occupied the park's classic freefall attraction, and has opened up the area wonderfully allowing visitors to easily see the ride swing up to an amazing 172 feet in the sky.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Up to 40 riders can take a spin on Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth per cycle, experiencing an amazing feeling of weightlessness when the ride is at the top of its swing.  Its top speed of 75 miles per hour is faster than many of the park's popular roller coasters, in fact only Kingda Ka and Nitro beat it.  The ride's floorless seats (note all the legs kicking the sky in the above photo) make for an even more free feeling for riders.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Six Flags Great Adventure has also announced that they have finished their project with KDC Solar to make the park run nearly all on solar power.  The park and the company combined efforts to create New Jersey's largest net metered solar project, and that makes the theme park one of the first in the world to be solar powered.

“This is a thrilling day for our company. This project represents a giant step toward becoming a net-zero carbon facility,” said Six Flags Great Adventure Park President John Winkler. “Clean energy is right for the environment and our future, and we look forward to decades of environmental stewardship with our partner, KDC Solar.”

© Six Flags Great Adventure
The project includes a separate solar energy field along with panels covering other areas, such as Hurricane Harbor's parking lot and the employee parking area.  It is capable of making enough power for the park and the net metering system also allows power to be exported to the power grid around the park, supplying nearby homes and businesses.

The project was a long time in the making and it is wonderful to see it reach completion!


Monday, June 17, 2019

The Park at OWA Opens New Mystic Mansion Dark Ride


© Gulf Coast News Today
The Park at OWA has completed another ride expansion, opening their brand new dark ride named Mystic Mansion.  Visitors to the Mystic Mansion ride in special Ghost Tracker Vehicles as they blast their way through the mansion, which is naturally filled to the brim with ghosts.  The family attraction was added to the park to further diversify its offerings, and also to give visitors a break from the sun inside an air-conditioned building.

© The Park at OWA
Before riding through the mansion visitors are greeted by Professor Phearstruck who explains "the history of Mystic Mansion, its curse and who haunts it now."  The main ghost of the attraction is Boocifer, and riders blast at ghosts throughout 15 different scenes as they chase him down.  As they blast the ghouls they accumulate points, allowing the riders to see who in the vehicle comes out with the most points.  That interactive aspect makes the Mystic Mansion a great attraction to ride over and over - to improve your score!

This article from the Gulf Coast Today News has additional details on Mystic Mansion.  The ride was created by Sally Corp., one of the industry's top dark ride creators.

If you'd like to take a trip inside the Mystic Mansion, check out the point of view video below, released by the park.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Kennywood Finishes Track Instillation for The Steel Curtain


© Kennywood
Good things come to those who wait, and while we've all been waiting for The Steel Curtain to open at Kennywood the park hit a big milestone on the ride's construction this past week.  The final piece of track was installed, seen in the photos from the park, completing the 4,000 feet of track.  The final piece was a part of the inversion that takes place right after the lift hill at 197 feet above the ground.  That inversion is now the tallest one in the world.

© Kennywood
Designed by S&S Worldwide, The Steel Curtain is sure to be a true thrill machine once it opens this summer - though no opening date has been announced as of now.  It is the centerpiece of a new themed area at Kennywood, known as Steelers Country and themed after the football franchise.   The area will feature the coaster along with other interactive games, activities and food and beverage areas.

© Kennywood
The Steel Curtain's completed layout is an imposing structure over Kennywood.  The ride stands 220 feet tall, making it the tallest roller coaster in Pennsylvania.  Riders will spend a decent amount of time upside down while on the ride, as The Steel Curtain will feature the most inversions on any coaster in the U.S. - a total of 9.

With track complete and testing right around the corner, we're looking forward to The Steel Curtain taking its first riders!