Monday, February 8, 2016

Is the Future of California's Great America Foggy Again?

In short: no.  But, the last ten or so years haven't been the most memorable in the history of California's Great America, that's for sure. After being fairly ignored and nearly sold during the planning and construction of the 49ers stadium, the park found some love once again with Cedar Fair's current management team after much strife.

That led to the green-light of Gold Striker, a highly regarded wood roller coaster, but not too much else with big wow-factor in recent years.

A rather outdated aerial of the park © Bing Maps
With the 49ers stadium up and running the park has found a way to coexist, however it seems that another important phase of its history will be coming soon.  The land the park is on is actually leased by Cedar Fair, and while it is a very long term lease they still do not own it.  The city will be selling the land for around $155 million in the near future, and that means it is possible for another developer to snatch up the land, offer Cedar Fair big bucks for the lease, take over, and bring and end to the park.

Granted, that's a very doomsday look at what could be, and probably not what will be.  This story helps paint that picture, detailing a much more positive outlook.  Firstly, Cedar Fair has first rights at purchasing the land, so if they choose not to buy it that might be a sign of disinterest in keeping the park.  Secondly, the park's general manager is quoted in the story saying that they still intend to expand and grow, regardless of who owns the land because of their air-tight lease.

We also know from Cedar Fair directly that they are working on a rezoning of California's Great America that might actually lead to not only bigger park growth, but also entertainment and retail projects adjacent to it.

So it seems the sun may be coming out after all, but we all know what high land value (or the promise of it) can do to a park depending on the operator.  Cough, AstroWorld, cough.  Let's hope not.

NewsPlusNotes January 2016 Poll Results

© Dollywood
January is the month each year we ask our readers which of the new U.S. roller coasters is their most anticipated.  It's always fun to see the latest scream machines that you guys just cannot wait to ride, and this year you made yourselves quite clear.

In the number one spot in our poll, with a dominating 40% overall, is Lightning Rod at Dollywood.  The new Rocky Mountain launched wooden coaster looks more amazing in each new photo that is released, and seen above, the park recently revealed the great looking trains for the ride.  Between the crazy elements and imposing structure, I'm not surprised Lightning Rod came out on top.

Our number two finisher was the Phobia Phear Coaster at Lake Compounce, a brand new Premier Rides launched attraction with 18.5%.  In third, with 17.4% was Valravn, Cedar Point's new B&M dive coaster.  Here are the full results:

SeaWorld Orlando's Mako finished in 4th place, followed by a tie for 5th place between Six Flags Great Adventure's Joker (formerly Total Mayhem) and the Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.

This month's poll, a rather silly one that's just for fun, is now live over on the left!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Cedar Fair Picks Up 7 Classic Flat Rides for Two of its Parks

Top Scan © Mondial Rides
Two of Cedar Fair's parks are going to get a slew of classic flat rides installed sooner than later, the L.A. Times reports.

Some time ago the Times featured a story about Cedar Fair officials heading to Europe to find classic used flat rides that would be installed in the company's chain of parks.

Mack Music Express © Ital
That mission, at least the portion taking place in Europe, is over and officials sat down again with the L.A. Times to go over their results.

Many might wonder why the company would be so interested in 30+ year old rides, however the article features quotes from Monty Jasper, Cedar Fair's VP of Safety and Engineering, explaining how many older rides were built with such quality that they will stand the test of time of given the proper maintenance and care.

The team ended up finding a total of seven rides to bring back, one in England, one in Germany, and five from a used rides dealer in Holland, the article reports.
 Wave Swinger © Zierer
Condor © Huss

The rides listed include a Mondial Top Scan, a Music Express from Mack, a Zierer Wave Swinger, and from Huss Rides a Condor, Breakdance and two Trokias.  All of the rides will undergo a complete refurbishment, including new paint and electrical systems, before being installed in their new homes.
Breakdance © Wiki

Jasper and his team are planning at trip to Japan in the near future to look for additional rides.  The country is filled with older amusement parks that may prove a gold mine for them.

This is all very interesting news, however what is ever better is that the article reveals which parks are receiving the used rides.

Worlds of Fun is said to be opening a Trokia and the Condor attraction for the upcoming season, which is surprising since they already announced a small Planet Snoopy expansion last Fall.

The story is a little less clear on when the remaining five rides will open (perhaps part of a 2017 expansion?), but they are headed to Carowinds.  The story says that the ever-growing Southern park will be home to the Breakdance, Trokia, Wave Swinger, Top Scan and Music Express.  Carowinds is already home to a great assortment of rides, but with growing crowds due to their large expansions, these new rides will help with overall capacity.

Trokia ©

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Darien Lake Planning New Water Slide + Ride of Steel Train for 2016 Season

© Darien Lake
Darien Lake's Splashtown water park is getting bigger again in 2016, as the theme park is planning to build a $1.5 million racing water slide for this Summer.  The park recently approached their local planning board to obtain the necessary approvals, and those documents shed light on what is in store.  Above is a sample drawing of one of Proslide's Kraken Racer slide towers that shows what to expect.  The six-lane mat racing slide features a twisted section before a final hill into the runout.

These colors are just example ones, however, as the photo in this more recent news story indicates a much brighter rainbow scheme.

© Darien Lake
The planning documents also include a couple aerial views showing off where the new racing slide will be located.  Splashtown has seen a significant amount of expansion in the past 5 years, greatly improving offerings and consolidating them into one area.  The new slide will be at the far end of the water park, helping to even out crowds.

© Darien Lake
Here is another view of the new attraction's location.  It appears to be replacing a separate entrance that was used for Splashtown, I'm not totally familiar if that was the case but it's certainly taking over that area!  The ride's name will be revealed this coming week.

Darien Lake will also be purchasing a brand new train for their Ride of Steel coaster, per the above linked news story.  It will replace the trains from when the ride opened in 1999 and provide a more comfortable ride experience.  It sounds like it will literally only be one train seating 36 riders, so it looks like two-train operation on the ride is still not happening.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

World's Tallest Water Coaster - Massiv - Opening at Schlitterbahn Galveston in '16

Schlitterbahn Galveston has been promising the reveal of something big for quite some time now, and today they made good on that promise.  The new attraction that is coming is named Massiv (named after the German word for massive), which will be the world's tallest water coaster when it opens.

Schlitterbahn will build Massiv in partnership with WhiteWater West, and the water coaster will feature white, green, red and one translucent "belly of the beast" curve.

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
Here is what Massiv will look like when completed, featuring 923 feet of water coaster track with an undisclosed height - however the park is happy to confirm it will be the tallest in the world.  The layout features four separate uphill blast sections, and a first-of-its-kind triple down element into the final splash area.  Riders will be in one or two person rafts that they will carry up the 123 steps to the very top.

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
“We are thrilled to be bringing this iconic ride to Galveston Island,” said Ron Sutula, General Manager for Schlitterbahn Galveston Island. “It’s a massive anniversary present to all our guests, and is going to be a blast to ride!”  The exact height of Massiv will be revealed later this Spring, and an official opening date will come once the ride is built and tested.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Let's Take a Look at Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Self-Leaked 2017 Ride Plans

I'm not sure that I can recall ever seeing a major park purposely leak its own ride plans before, so this update from Busch Gardens Williamsburg comes as a bit of a surprise.  The park actually uploaded a large set of blueprints for its 2017 attraction onto their official webpage today - however - not everything on it is able to be read when zoomed in, and even though I've seen a few ride plans in my day only some items are clear to me.

The whole file can be downloaded at this link, but here are some things I noticed worth pointing out.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Here is the site of the new ride, which places it in and around the park's log flume and train tracks, in the New France section.  This is an area of the park that hasn't been touched in some time, so it is great to see ride development take place here.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
This appears to be the ride's 'station' area, at least I'm assuming this is a station since the print only refers to it as a proposed structure.  However the winding pathway that can be seen around it would work as a queue, and it would enter/exit right into the heart of the New France area.  The building on the left (look for the "ar" in the "Gardens" watermark) is labeled as the train station, and if you focus on that you can really get a sense of the area in this image:

The brown building on the upper left is the train station, so the ride 'station' as I'm calling it would then be just below and to the right of it, very close to the path of the flume.  Also note the size of the 'station' buildings in comparison to the train station.  The next image shows us a bit more, which confirms that the ride's path will then move downward into the wooded area seen below.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
And here that image is.  The green box is the 'station' that we identified earlier.  Before I drew the red lines I noticed what, to me at least, looks like the curves of a ride in this print, perhaps indication a direction of travel.  You'll have to make the image bigger and look closely, but if you do your eyes may see the same thing.  The red that I've added traces some of the more obvious markings that look like a travel path to me.  I could make a few more assumptions about the type of ride we're looking at based off of these markings, but I'd rather play along with the park for now.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Finally, this one is even more vague but this really looks like a trench of some sort to me, it is included in the ride's plans but I can't place exactly where it goes.  It's very similar to how the trenches looked on the Cobra's Curse plans, which is why I'm going with my gut on that one and calling it a trench.

It's quite interesting to see the theme park release details like this so soon, so now I'm even more excited to see where they go with this as time goes by!