Thursday, August 21, 2014

Scott And Carol Present - Fury 325 at Carowinds in 2015

Today Carowinds in Charlotte NC announced the world's tallest, fastest giga coaster, Fury 325. Designed and manufactured by Bollinger and Mabillard, Fury 325's  wild, daring and spontaneous ride will simulate the flight of a hornet, and looking at the layout this hornet seems really ticked off.
Riders will board one of three 32-passenger open air trains and begin their ascent to the top of a 325 foot tall lift hill. The immense hill is followed by an exhilarating 81 degree first drop. Fury 325 will then race into a massive 190-foot tall barrel turn and a high speed S-curve reaching speeds of up to 95 miles per hour.

Just above the front entrance, riders experience an astonishing 91 degree over banked horseshoe turn, and then take a sharp dive underneath a pedestrian bridge, swarming at full force into the back half of the ride, through a high speed banked curve, camel back hill and an intense double helix maneuver. The ride finishes by racing through two more high speed camel back hills before hitting the brake run.
Fury 325 does not let up during its three-minute and 25-second ride along 6,602 feet of steel – it’s full throttle all the way and impossible not to feel this ride’s penetrating sting.

Part of a planned $50 million dollar multi-year investment, Fury 325 will help to bring new life to founder Pat Hall’s original vision for Carowinds. The park will be revamped from top to bottom to celebrate Carolina culture including new rides and attractions, signature Carolina food offerings and entertainment..

Opening in Spring 2015, Fury 325 will also be the centerpiece of a new 8.2 acre main entrance plaza that includes a state-of-the-art ticketing and season pass processing area and expanded guest service facilities, Those who can’t wait until Spring 2015 to experience Fury 325 can take a virtual ride here
We are very excited that Carowinds is adding another coaster, to their already stellar lineup of Bollinger and Mabillard machines, Vortex in 1992, Afterburn in 1999, and The Intimidator in 2010. 

Scott And Carol Present - Carowinds 2015 Announcement

 In August 2013 Cedar Fair announced a multi-year expansion plan for Carowinds, crediting the rapid growth in the Charlotte region, park executives said the area was ready for “record breaking attractions!"
photo courtesy of Carowinds

This photo shows Vice President and General Manager Mike Fehnel, at the podium, preparing for the tomorrow's announcement, which will be the  biggest announcement in Carowinds history.
Enthusiasts and special guests are invited to the parks Harmony Hall Marketplace tomorrow, August 21 at 11am to hear the news.  If you can't make it to the park, the event will also be live streamed here. You will find a countdown clock if you check this link out before 11AM August 21st 2014. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Memories of Dorney Park's 130 Years - Part 1

130 years is a rather long time, and for an amusement park to operate continually all those seasons, well, that's quite an accomplishment!

The 2014 season marks the park's 130th anniversary, and early in the year the park shared with me some fantastic images they dug up from the archives.  Many of these have been used in the park as part of their celebration, but they're such an amazing look back that I wanted to share some here.

Here they are, in no particular order - we will jump around the decades so hold on tight!

We will start with a look at The Coaster, now known as Thunderhawk, back in the 1920s.  You can tell it was the '20s as the ride had not yet been reconfigured into the more twisted layout it has today.  That took place for the 1930 season.  The ride's station building was looking pretty magnificent if you ask me, an ornate look that was later replaced with Alfundo.  Trust me, we'll get to Alfundo later on.

Also of note is the fact that this postcard has the name "Joy Ride" at the top - I do not believe that was what the ride was being called at the time, rather that's just a general term for the adventurous ride.

If we go back to 1923, the winter time judging from that snow on the ground, we can see The Coaster being constructed.  With only the lift hill completed at this point, there was plenty more to finish.  If you look closely you can see the park's operator, Robert (Bob) Plarr standing at the very top.  This was around the time that Bob took over the park, so I'm sure he was rightfully proud of the park's big addition.  The Coaster was designed by Herbert Schmeck and built by the Philadelphia Toboggan Company.

The facade on The Coaster's station building changed many times throughout the years, and while undated this one look pretty 1950s in design to me.  With signs advertising both The Coaster and the famous Skooter bumper cars, the building still hadn't seen Alfundo take over.  This "front" view of the building faced the original entrance to the park, which is now an employee only gate - so today you couldn't even really see this side of the structure much from inside the park.

This photo of The Coaster reminds us of something we could see today.  Then again, if you look at how those cars are literally parked up against the track of the coaster - well never mind!  Can you imagine pulling up and parking alongside the ride with no giant fence or other barrier in between the two?

Bouncing back to the station for the Skooters and the Coaster, here she is all decked out in her Alfundo finest.  The structure was redesigned with the giant Alfundo juggling at the top by legendary dark ride designed Bill Tracy.  Mr. Tracy actually designed a handful of rides for Dorney Park, though sadly none of them can still be experienced today.

The Skooter bumper cars are an attraction many of us have a distinct memory of, whether it be the sounds of the electric snapping, the smell of the old building, or perhaps the cars' impacts themselves.  The Skooters were Lusse bumper cars, known for their heavy body designs that allowed for some really great bumps!

Here is a view that the post cards up top could have been based off of, though this is a real photo.  Dorney Park grew as a trolley park, like so many, and it's pretty neat to see the trolley lines running through the park like this - complete with the overhead cables and all!  You can also see that the trolleys actually ran directly through The Coaster's structure if you look close enough.

This shot was taken looking back at The Coaster's lift hill, with the park's entrance tower in the back left and the Mill Chute ride seen on the right.  The coaster had been redesigned when this was taken, since you can see the track off to the right as well.

Castle Garden was an enormous hall that featured live music, dances, roller skating, and more.  I actually wrote about it years ago, and eventually the building burned to the ground.  For those not familiar, it was located along the park's lower lake, where the go-karts most recently were.  If you looked at this space today, Steel Force's giant helix would be roaring through this area.

This last photo for today is of an early turnpike style ride, which I never knew existed at Dorney Park.  The cars appear to have been driven freely through a confined course.  It's hard to even place where in the park the attraction was located, but it reminds me a lot of the Auto Race ride at Kennywood.  If anyone knows more, fill me in, please?

Stay tuned, there are plenty more photos to come!

All photos © Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Most Confusing 2015 Clues Award Goes to Six Flags Great Adventure

I think the title of this post says it all - Six Flags Great Adventure has me thoroughly confused as to what their 2015 attraction clues are hinting at.  Which is fun!

The first clue is shown at the top.  We have some stuffed animal dragons, a letter O or a zero, not sure which, and finally a small water wheel that looks to be a part of a water play area.

The dragons, aside from being dragons, don't seem to mean too much to my brain.  The O or zero is equally vague, unless it refers to a loop.  And the water wheel, well that could indicate some sort of water attraction I suppose.  Still, tying the three of them together makes things extra difficult.

Now clue number two has been posted, above.  We have three little dragon statues - so perhaps dragons will be used in the name or theme of the new attraction?  We then have a piece of fabric (a shirt, perhaps) that says Loops For.  That's also a second potential hint at an inversion, maybe?  Finally there is a Superman Domo with... I can't tell what wrapped around it.  That one I'm clueless on, aside from maybe something near will be near the park's Superman coaster?

These are really big guesses on my part, but I sorta dig the park being extra confusing with their hints.  Makes it more challenging!

I will be traveling for the rest of the week, so look for fewer posts.  I have a couple set to publish in my absence, and hopefully I can cover the rather huge announcement planned for Thursday!

Falcon's Fury's Soft Opening at Busch Gardens Tampa

After delays that kept the ride closed for the Summer, Busch Gardens Tampa has finally been able to let the general public on the 335 foot tall Falcon's Fury drop tower.

The ride had unannounced soft openings this past weekend, in anticipation of the full opening - date to be released by the park for that soon.  Embedded above is the most recent Falcon's Fury Webisode, giving a neat look into the mechanics that make the ride work.

BGT Fans was on hand during the previews, and captured some fantastic shots of the cars plunging toward the ground, with riders facing down of course.  Check out their update, including video of the ride in operation, at this link.

Falcon's Fury is the country's tallest freestanding drop tower, and the only one in the world that plunges riders down face-first.  The seats quickly turns upright toward the bottom of the tower, providing a comfortable stop to the fall.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Six Flags Fiesta Texas' 2015 Balloon Loses Altitude + Quick Coaster Image

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
So many strange things are happening at Six Flags Fiesta Texas - first a giant balloon appeared above the park with the park's logo and "2015" on it, and how that balloon seems to have taken a sharp dive downward.

The park tweeted this photo today, of the balloon just a few feet above the ground, right next to a bridge/tunnel that was a part of the park's now-permanently closed auto ride.  The park isn't saying exactly what this means, but one might guess that a new ride (coaster?) could make good use of that tunnel!

Just this evening the park's Twitter feed shared this image, with no additional information given.  Clearly it is a coaster, and appears to be a Roller Coaster Tycoon created version of a S&S El Loco ride.  The tweet was only live for brief amount of time, and has now been deleted.

An S&S El Loco being added to the park seems unlikely, however, there could be a hint in the ride's manufacturer.  S&S has already said that they've sold and will open one of their new 4-D Free Fly coasters next year at a major park, and may have pegged Six Flags Fiesta Texas as the recipient.

Hang in there and we will continue to watch for new clues!