Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Puss In Boots Coaster Announced for Universal Studios Singapore

© Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore has confirmed that they are building a new family suspended roller coaster, named Puss In Boots' Giant Journey.  The new coaster will carry on the Shrek theme found in the park's Far Far Away area, and will include Puss' friend Kitty Soft Paws.

© Universal Studios Singapore
The park released these photos of the ride under construction, but very few other details and no formal concept art for the coaster.  As far as theming goes, the press release only mentions that the ride takes place "in a giant's castle now overgrown by a magical beanstalk" and that it should be completed by the end of the year but no opening date has been announced yet.  I would take a wild guess that the track will be themed as parts of the beanstalk, going off the green color.

Earlier rumors of the coaster being created by Zamperla have yet to be confirmed, but that spiral lift hill does look very similar to the company's Volare coasters.  Hopefully more information on the coaster is released soon, perhaps some hard numbers on the ride's measurements.

© Universal Studios Singapore
Also a part of the announcement was a new stage show, The Dance For The Magic Beans.  Featuring both Puss and Kitty, the show will last for 20 minutes and open in September.  The characters will be available as a meet-and-greet after the conclusion of the show.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Six Flags Fiesta Texas - Rocky Mountain-ing Into 2015?

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Since we last saw Six Flags Fiesta Texas starting to tease about the park's 2015 addition the park has stepped it up a notch.  Just a couple days after our initial post, the park launched a giant balloon that hovers over the Rockville section of the park.  The light bulb-looking balloon is over the park's Motorama car ride, something we pondered the removal of last week, emblazoned with the park's logo on one side and "2015" on the other.  Later, the park sent out this tweet focused on the fact that the balloon is at 92.5 feet in the air.

Parks usually don't do such fun teasing for a small addition, so suddenly they have our attention even more than before.

Now an even bigger hint has appeared - the park mentioned needing a snake wrangler named MK Bozer to help with an infestation in Rockville.  Not surprisingly, there's a truck parked in Iron Rattler's queue that belongs to Mr. Bozer, and his phone number is on it.  210-697-5476.

Calling it gives you a message from the company, stating that they are too busy for new work, as they are working to keep Iron Rattler free of "nasty snakes."

Things get interesting when they mention that "some new urban renewal project in Rockville" has stirred up a bunch of snakes around Motorama.  Having just returned from the Goliath and Medusa projects at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Mexixo, the snake wranglers now have to deal with this new challenge. 

Wait, what?  They really just named two Rocky Mountain Construction projects, and also are hinting at a new 92.5 foot ride for 2015?  Could Six Flags Fiesta Texas be the first park with not one but two Rocky Mountain creations?  Things have gotten very interesting...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Viewing: Movie Park Germany's New Lost Temple

Movie Park Germany has opened a highly themed new attraction for the busy Summer season, named The Lost Temple.

The attraction utilizes both indoor and outdoor queues to set up the journey that guests are about to go on.  Once inside the attraction building riders head down deep into the earth on a quick moving elevator, then begin to explore the underground temple.  Once the pre-show is complete riders board a large jeep and head out into the rest of the temple - and naturally all goes wrong and there are plenty of angry dinosaurs involved.

The actual ride utilizes a motion based vehicle and several giant domed screens that the action takes place on.  In concept this is similar to what Universal Studios Hollywood did with Kong, and very well done all around.

Check it out below!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Family Splash Area Opens at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park

Water Oasis, a brand new $2 million splash and play area, has opened at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park.  The expansion not only gives families a way to cool off on a hot California day, but also continues the park's theme of including education into its attractions.

© Gilroy Gardens
Water Oasis contains three separate sections along with plenty of shaded rest areas for visitors.  Above is a look at Oasis Lagoon, a zero entry pool that has a maximum depth of 18 inches at the far end where two small slides are.  The pool is lined with relaxing chairs so parents can rest and watch their kids safely at play.

© Gilroy Gardens
Above is the Splash Pad, filled with a "forest of oversized trees and flowers, all spraying water as kids interact with them."  The giant flowers dump water on those below, or sore it up in their giant petals until they burst, raining water down around them.

The third section is known as Water Journey, a shaded play area with a focus on education.  Water Journey "encourages young guests to play with water and explore how it moves through the landscape.  Kids pump water into a system of rivers and streams inset in the ground, while a collection of colorful water wheels, gates and dams allow them to explore how water moves through the waterways."

© Gilroy Gardens
According to this story on the expansion, Gilroy Gardens currently sees around 350,000 guests a year, and wants to build that to 600,000 in time.  The park already has plans for the future and with smart, family-friendly additions like Water Oasis, that future seems bright.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Six Flags Posts Mixed 2nd Quarter 2014 Results

Six Flags announced their 2nd quarter 2014 results earlier this week, and while not all bad one item quickly made many investment headlines.

The company recorded record revenues in the quarter of $377 million, generated by higher per guest spending, which was up $4.21 per visitor.  The increase came from both admission revenue and in-park spending on food, retail and amenities.

That news seemed to be quickly overshadowed by the fact that overall attendance for the quarter was down 8% - something the operators blamed on residual effects of the harsh winter.  Extended school years and shortened break periods ate away at visitors, said Six Flags.  Attendance came in at 8.2 million visitors for the quarter.

If you look through both the 2013 and 2014 news releases for the 1st and 2nd quarters, you can actually better piece together how the year is going, at least attendance-wise:

So year to date things are down over 10%, but when you look at that number in terms of guests it is 1.1 million - a bit shocking, really.  So the question is, why have all those people not headed out to their local Six Flags park this year?

Well, the late opening of several big rides at Six Flags parks could be playing a part, or perhaps price increases aren't sitting well with customers.  The third quarter of each year, with heavy-hitting summer months of July and August, will be the big test for Six Flags.  Competitor Cedar Fair will released their 2nd quarter numbers on August 5th, which should make for an interesting comparison as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Holiday World Announces Launched Wing Coaster - Thunderbird - New For 2015

The 66 day wait is over!  Holiday World has announced Thunderbird, a brand new B&M launched wing coaster - the first of its kind in the Nation.

Thunderbird will utilize LSM technology to blast riders out of the station at a top speed of 60 miles per hour - in 3.5 seconds.  The trains will feature seating on the outside of the track, with nothing above or below riders.  The coaster will have two trains, each with five rows of cars that seat four guests (a total of 20 riders per train).

The park has decided to heavily theme the ride's station and associated buildings, an example of which can be seen here.  The park will be working with PGAV Destinations on the ride's theme - this is also the company responsible for theming several structures throughout the park in 2014.

Once Thunderbird launches trains out of the station they will enter a 140 foot tall Immelmann inversion.  If you've been watching the construction cam that the park set up, the ride will actually be launching toward the existing park, meaning the trains will be coming toward the camera.  This was something that I didn't expect, I kept thinking the coaster would head outward first, away from the camera's view.

Immediately after the Immelmann, Thunderbird sends riders through a giant vertical loop, 125 feet tall at the top.  At the exit of the loop the track passes directly over the Voyage's path, creating a neat interaction between the two coasters.

Twisting above the ground and through the trees, Thunderbird then heads into two large turns, an Overbanked Horseshoe followed by an Overbanked Elevated Spiral.  The turns move in opposite direction, the first turning to the right, and the second to the left, keeping riders slightly disoriented.

Before you're able to figure out which way is up, Thunderbird flies through a large Zero-G Roll, moving toward the back of the park into another wooded section.  The track begins to hug closer to the ground, increasing the sensation of speed.

For the ride's finale, Thunderbird soars through a dilapidated barn, completing a Carousel turn and a final 360 degree In-Line Roll.  The barn will serve as a "keyhole" element, appearing to come extremely close to riders twice.

After 3,035 feet of track, Thunderbird then hits the brakes and makes its way back toward the station.  In case we lost you during all that, here is a great look at Thunderbird's layout from Holiday World:

This fly-around video also gives a great perspective of the action to be found on Thunderbird:

Thunderbird represents a $22 million expansion, the largest in the park's history, and will open in the Spring of 2015.

Holiday World has launched an entire website dedicated to Thunderbird, with plenty of additional facts, photos, and videos.  Soar on over to check it out!