Sunday, October 23, 2016

New Star Trek Themed Custom Mack Coaster Completed at Movie Park Germany

© Movie Park Germany
Movie Park Germany has already completed the vertical construction of track and supports for their new launched coaster, Star Trek: Operation enterprise.  Although the ride won't open until 2017, the theme park moved quickly and while there is still plenty left to do, visitors are already excited by the coaster's looming presence.

The ride's layout is pretty compact and most of it can be seen in the above image.  The track on the far left is the initial launch (with a back spike tower not seen in the left of the photo).  After that is a non-inverting top hat element, and then a steep plunge toward the ground.

© Movie Park Germany
The trains will then head up into the giant element seen here, behind the park's entrance plaza fountain.  Riders enter the element on the left above, inverting then coming right side up, only to invert and dive again.  We've seen similar elements on other coasters so while this isn't a first (that I can tell, anyway) it's certainly a pretty cool looking element!

© Movie Park Germany
Subsequent to that high flying element is a quick turn directly through one of the park buildings, several other high speed turns toward the ground and a final heartline roll / corkscrew into the brake run.

I haven't encountered any released statistics on this Mack designed coaster yet, so I'm not sure how fast the train will be maneuvering through the layout.  I'm sure we'll find those out soon, though.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Elitch Gardens Building 17 Story Star Flyer Ride for 2017 Season

© Elitch Gardens
A brand new thrill ride, a part of an overall $4 million in investments, has been announced for Denver's Elitch Gardens' 2017 season.  Named Star Flyer, the giant swing ride will offer spectacular views of Denver and the Rocky Mountains to riders as they swing around over 17 stories above the ground.

Star Flyer will be manufactured by Funtime, which also calls the brand of ride a StarFlyer.  The ride will seat a total of 48 passengers per cycle, swinging them upward in seats suspended by chains, to more than 170 feet in the air.  Riders will hit a maximum speed of 50 miles per hour while on Star Flyer.

Star Flyer will be Elitch Gardens' 7th new attraction in the past six years, and is planned to be ready for the park's sneak preview weekend starting on April 22nd, 2017.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Minions Invade Universal Studios Japan in 2017

© Universal Studios Japan
Set to open within the first half of 2017 at Universal Studios Japan is Minion Park, the "world's largest Minion" themed area - packed full of the antics of the characters of the Despicable Me film franchise.

Minion Park will offer visitors several "themed facilities, including a toy store, sweets factory and hotel."  All of the new locations will have been fully taken over by the lovable Minions, who seem to cause a bit of trouble wherever they go.  The new land, seen above in concept art, features other notable structures such as Gru's House, all centered around a central park area.

The star attraction of the new area will be Despicable Me Minion Mayhem, a new simulator ride that replaces the Back to the Future building.  The ride, already popular at both Universal Studios Florida and Universal Studios Hollywood, sends guests on a wild 3-D adventure into the Despicable Me world.  After entering through Gru's House and entering his laboratory, riders become a part of his latest plan for world domination and actually become one of his minions.  The ride vehicles then take flight, flying off on a hilarious journey that features "realistic sensations along with a series of unexpected surprises."  The attraction features a giant dome screen standing over 65 feet tall along with a "state-of-the-art high definition laser-projection system."

While not detailed in the press release for the Minion Park expansion, the existing rides also feature a fun Minion dance party when the ride is over - hopefully to be included in Japan as well! 

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ghostbusters 5-D Opening at Heide Park in 2017

© Heide Park Resort
An all-new interactive dark ride attraction named Ghostbusters 5-D will open at the Heide Park Resort in 2017, it has announced.  The German theme park will be one of the first to offer an interactive attraction based on the Ghostbusters franchise, and is excited to bring the new ride to park visitors.

Riders will be equipped with Laser Proton guns as they board the ride 8 passenger ride vehicles and set out on a quest to help save the park from some not-so-nice ghosts including the infamous Slimer.  The dark ride will take place within a haunted warehouse building, and riders (moving in a vehicle themed as Ecto-1) will also be quipped with a ghost trap and 3-D glasses.  I'm not sure from the press release if riders will gain points for the ghosts they blast, but that might be a safe bet based on the popularity of that being added to dark rides these days.

The Ghostbusters franchise should prove popular for the park; and being that they are a part of Merlin Entertainments, it is possible that we could see other similar rides pop up in the future.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disneyland Paris Resort Announces 25th Anniversary Celebration

© Disneyland Paris
Beginning April 12, 2017, the Disneyland Paris Resort will kick off a celebration in honor of their 25th anniversary, offering visitors new attractions, shows and more.  While no major brand new rides were announced, the park will be offering several renovated ones that will provide new experiences to riders.

© Disneyland Paris
Many fans of the park are excited to see Star Tours: The Adventures Continue come to the park after successfully operating at several other Disney properties.  This means that the final version of Star Tours will close, to be replaced with an all new 3-D version of the ride with multiple destinations for riders to experience.  Locations to be visited on the new attraction include the "worlds of Jakku, Hoth, Tatooine," and even the famous Death Star - all picked randomly so as to encourage repeat rides.

© Disneyland Paris
Adding a bit more Star Wars to Disneyland Paris, Space Mountain will be changed into Star Wars Hyperspace Mountain, another retheme already popular at the several parks.  Riders will blast off into the world of Star Wars on a high speed trip through the galaxy.  The concept art above shows trains with no over-the-shoulder restraints (which I believe it currently has), but that might just be artistic liberty.  We shall see.

© Disneyland Paris
Live entertainment offerings will round out the additions for the 25th anniversary celebration.  Disney Illuminations, concept art for which can be seen above, will debut and feature projections, fireworks and other special effects in front of and on Sleeping Beauty Castle.  The show will be conducted by Mickey Mouse, and feature characters from films like Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Disney Stars on Parade will also open at Disneyland Paris, offering all new floats, music and more.  Other new shows like Mickey Presents "Happy Anniversary Disneyland Paris" and The Starlit Princess Waltz will also open for the celebration.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kings Dominion Confirms Hurler Replacement for 2018

Many fans of Kings Dominion have been wondering what will happen with Hurler, one of the park's wooden roller coasters, which closed at the end of the 2015 season.  Many expected news on the ride's future with the park's 2017 capital announcement, however that didn't happen.  But now we know that Hurler will not ever be returning, at least in its current form, via this video the park shared on social media.

The video makes it pretty clear that Hurler's time at the park ended in 2015, even showing one of the coaster's trains alongside its grave (marked 1994-2015).  The video then goes on to wish that the ride rests in piece... but then the words "for now" and the year 2018 come up.

The park had teased a possible conversion of the ride in the past when it sounded like it would be done in 2017... and of course the involvement of Rocky Mountain Construction and their steel track was on everyone's mind.

Next year's Planet Snoopy expansion is fairly small project all things considered, perhaps the park is saving up their capital expansion pennies for a big new coaster in 2018?  Sure seems that way.  Stay tuned!