Thursday, November 26, 2015

Scott & Carol Present: A Brand New Kentucky Kingdom Storm Chaser Photo Update

Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers! We wish you a wonderful day of enjoying time with your family and loved ones, and hope you have much to be thankful for.

On the way back from the IAAPA Expo a pit stop at Kentucky Kingdom was in order, as the park has been placing new track for Storm Chaser at a rapid pace.  This new sign hangs on the fence outside the park, advertising this amazing-looking new Rocky Mountain conversion coaster.

Kentucky Kingdom has utilized much of the structure from one half of Twisted Twins for Storm Chaser.  This photo shows the new bents that have been applied on top of the existing structure to fit the new ride's layout.  Before long this section will have the brightly colored running rails applied.

Here is a close up photo of those track pieces laying on the ground, waiting to be lifted into place.  You can see a stripe on the track where the wheels will make contact.

Storm Chaser begins with a 100 foot lift, seen here towering over the park.  After a quick 180 degree turn the ride fully inverts in a "Barrel Roll Dropdown," to use Kentucky Kingdom's term for the element.

Up close, the inversion that takes place after the lift looks impressive as ever!

Kentucky Kingdom also recently completed a full repainting of Storm Chaser's station - this bright color should help guests find the ride with ease!

After the trains race down the first drop the next element they encounter is this air-time hill, which looks like it will certainly have riders feeling weightless as they go over it.

Up next is the second of Storm Chaser's inversions, a 140 Degree Stall.  The train enters the turn and quickly banks to 140 degrees as it changes direction.

Here is the 140 Degree Stall from the exit side of the element.  It is going to be very exciting to see trains roaring through here!

Next up is an Off Axis Air-time Hill, you can see the track banking the opposite direction of the upcoming turn.  It will quickly twist back to the left for a diving turn.

While much progress has already been made on Storm Chaser, Kentucky Kingdom already has modified much of the rest of the ride's supports in anticipation of track.  In between the placed track in this photo you can see those supports waiting their turn.

Finally we will end with this look at the complete first third or so of Storm Chaser.  We can't wait to ride this one in 2016!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

New Video Footage of Chinese Wooden Built Martin & Vleminckx Coasters

Martin & Vleminckx, builder of traditional wooden roller coasters, had a great video produced for the IAAPA Expo, showing off their latest collection of rides that have opened in China.  With designs by The Gravity Group, Martin & Vleminckx have started to push the boundaries of traditional wood coaster design, including extreme banking and inversions.

Here's the video:

Pretty great footage, right?  The rides show off many of the interesting elements that have been incorporated into the layouts, including that reverse high-five element and the elongated corkscrew inversion we saw on Hades 360 at Mt. Olympus.  Some of the rides feature the inversion, while others do not - depending on park preference, no doubt.

While it opened back in 2012, the footage of the high-five on Dauling Dragons at Happy Valley is still as impressive as it was years ago.  It is great to see such continued success of both The Gravity Group and Martin & Vleminckx in China, hopefully we get one of their creations stateside soon!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Walibi Rhone-Alpes' New Gravity Group Wooden Coaster Layout, Construction + Train Photos

During last week's IAAPA Expo the full details of Walibi Rhone-Alpes' new wooden roller coaster, named Timber! and designed by The Gravity Group, were released.

© Walibi Rhone-Alpes / The Gravity Group
The new ride will be perfect sized for the entire family to be able to enjoy, which fits with the general offerings of the park.  A Vekoma Boomerang ride is the park's current extreme ride.  Timber's layout can be seen above, wrapping around the park's wild mouse style coaster.  That existing coaster will be heavily themed and part of a new area that will also debut next year with Timber as the star attraction.

© Walibi Rhone-Alpes
This recent construction photo (more available here) shows that plenty of progress has been made on the new coaster.  Timber's track will stretch 1,464 feet, and start with a lift to around 56 feet, and a straight first drop of 55 feet.  The two trains, each seating 12 passengers will be treated to eleven moment of air-time throughout the ride.

© Carol Holmes
As part of last week's IAAPA Expo, Walibi Rhone-Alpes and The Gravity Group joined to show off the amazing theming that will be on the front of the signature Timberliner trains.  The trains would certainly look nice blazing through the forest, removing trees as they go!  The attention to detail here is really amazing.

© Carol Holmes
Here is a wider view of the front car of the trains along with two special passengers from both Walibi Rhone-Alpes and The Gravity Group.

With the company's recent success with smaller family designs like Roar-O-Saurus at Story Land and the Wooden Warrior at Quassy Amusement Park, we have high hopes for this ride!

Monday, November 23, 2015

SeaWorld San Antonio Makes Aquatica a Separate Gate + Discovery Point Update

© SeaWorld San Antonio

It has been announced by SeaWorld San Antonio that starting in March of 2016 their Aquatica water park will become a separate gate, no longer an add on to the general theme park ticket.  The park cites guest feedback as the reason for the change, which will require a new entrance to be constructed.

The streamlined ticket options will include a $65 ticket for SeaWorld San Antonio, or a $40 ticket for Aquatica.  A season pass to either park will cost $102, or a combination pass valid at both parks will go for $135.

The change makes a ton of sense, previously having to buy a two park ticket meant the water park probably lost a great deal of visitors.  It was so greatly expanded that it is now a full day adventure, and guests can more easily decide to spend the day at one park or the other without feeling rushed.  By nature of the separate parks, the property may see an increase in two-day visits as well.

SeaWorld San Antonio's major expansion for 2016, Discovery Point, is well underway and now has plenty of new details available.

A brand new website for the attraction has been launched, which will reside within the border of the existing theme park.  The largest addition is the new Dolphin Lagoon, which is coastal themed and nearly twice as large as the previous exhibit.  Guests to SeaWorld San Antonio will be able to experience the new habitat as a visitor, but Discovery Point offers much more than that.  Additionally, Explorer’s Reef, home to the park’s shark, fish and coral reef aquarium, is located within the new realm and will "reopen with updates to help showcase ocean life."

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Visitors looking for an in depth experience can schedule a swim with dolphins, sea lions and beluga whales.  Similar to the offerings at the company's Discovery Cove in Orlando, the pay-extra swim sessions feature personalized interactions with the animals and a higher level of guest attention and care.

For more on Discovery Point, including the first in a series of construction updates, check out the newly launched official website.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Vision for Atlantic City Polercoaster Revealed

© Wallack Holdings
According to this news story, Joshua Wallack of Wallack Holdings has released the above and below renderings of his vision of a tower ride complex to be built along the Atlantic City, New Jersey shore.

The developers have leased a one acre plot of the former Sands Atlantic City casino site, part of a larger 18 acre undeveloped are that the resort covered.

The tower, if built, would stand 350 feet tall and contain both a roller coaster with vertical lift hill, and also a free fall drop tower.  The design above shows similarities to the one being built in Orlando, though that project is about 300 some feet bigger.

© Wallack Holdings
Atlantic City is really pushing non-gaming activities to draw folks back to the area, and giving some hefty incentives to developers to do so.  Hopefully that means that the Atlantic City Polercoaster has a real chance at happening.

Wallack Holdings says that the full plans are still being drawn up, but the development will also include a mojito bar and nightlife attractions.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Animal Kingdom Project News + An Aerial Look at Avatar

Among the many updates we've featured this past week from the IAAPA Expo, there were some other tidbits worth covering as well in the greater industry.  Some of them come from a pair of news items from Disney's Animal Kingdom.

© Disney's Animal Kingdom
The theme park has provided some more details and new concept art (above) of Rivers of Light, an all new evening lagoon show taking place in the center of Animal Kingdom.

"In “Rivers of Light,” a pair of mystical hosts come to the river bearing gifts of light. During the show, the hosts set out from the shore on elaborate lantern vessels for a dramatic dance of water and light to summon animal spirits. With the storytellers as your guides, the wonders of “Rivers of Light” builds to a stunning crescendo."

Also as indicated in the concept art, the park's Tree of Life will be involved in the show - probably using some neat projection mapping technology.  The park shared a new video of the an interview with Joe Rhode about the show, offering additional details.

© Disney's Animal Kingdom
Last week Animal Kingdom also announced a brand new restaurant, named Tiffins, will open in 2016 as well.  The restaurant will serve both lunch and dinner to guests along the waterfront with indoor and outdoor seating - meals will be inspired by the various locations that are represented in the park.  The exact location of the restaurant in the park was not revealed in the announcement, but is rumored to be in the Southern portion of Discovery Island, which may give views of the new Avatar area.

Speaking of Pandora - The World of Avatar, Orlando Park Pass recently took a helicopter tour over Animal Kingdom and grabbed some images of both Rivers of Light and Pandora.  I highly recommend following this link to their update, which includes information on what's being done at the park.  The area is looking really good so far!