Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Holiday In The Park Headed to Six Flags Great Adventure in 2015



Visitors to New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure will have a new way to celebrate the holiday spirit this year when the park debuts their Holiday In The Park celebration.  Running from November 21st on weekends and select dates through January 3rd, 2016, the event will feature "glittering lights, dazzling holiday entertainment, delicious seasonal treats, Santa’s village, animals and many popular rides" as part of the festivities.

Six Flags' Holiday In The Park celebrations can be found at several other parks across the country, and are quickly growing in popularity.  The addition at Six Flags Great Adventure will create a 2015 season that will run all the way from Easter weekend through the New Year.

© Six Flags
Six different areas of the park will be transformed into holiday wonderlands, each offering a look at the different holiday traditions of the world.  The areas will feature decorations strung from top to bottom, including light shows, towering festive trees, food vendors offering treats and more.

“Holiday in the Park will be a winter spectacular on every family’s must-do list and is included with every season pass and membership,” said Six Flags Great Adventure President John Fitzgerald. “We have invested years of research into making this the most incredible and immersive seasonal experience it can be, combining holiday traditions with thrills that are uniquely Six Flags.”

© Six Flags
The park will feature several live entertainment programs during Holiday In The park, including a meet and greet with Santa where kids can have their photo taken.  There will also be live carolers, a brand new stage production and a nightly tree lighting ceremony.  Best of all, each night will end with a touch a magic - the park intends to make it 'snow' regardless of whether it is in the forecast or not.

For ride fans the park has more good news - the plan is to have nearly 30 rides open during the event.  A complete list is not yet available, however Adventure Seaport, SkyScreamer, Parachutes, Tea Cups, Big Wheel and the Carousel are specifically mentioned.  Roller Coasters will be operating as well, including Nitro, Batman The Ride, The Green Lantern, Superman Ultimate Flight and the indoor Skull Mountain and The Dark Knight rides.  All rides, of course, would be operating weather (and temperature) permitting.

Six Flags Great Adventure will be releasing more details of the event as the year progresses on their website.  Stay tuned!


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Sesame Place Celebrates 35th Anniversary with New Parade, Rides and More


Pennsylvania's Sesame Place is celebrating its 35th Birthday this year, and is planning a celebration to honor it that will last all Summer.  The 14 acre park originally opened in the Summer of 1980, and now offers visitors a selection of both water and dry rides, live entertainment and a famous recreation of Sesame Street's most popular locations.

Sesame Place is going all out for its 2015 birthday celebration, adding new rides, a parade and also plenty of special decorations for the event.

The park's entrance will welcome guests will a birthday makeover, including bright balloons, garland, and a giant birthday cake (seen here).  The park's famous Sesame Street character topiaries will also be decorated for the birthday party, as well.

Special photo spots will be built for guests to have their photos taken with the characters, always one of the highlights of a visit to Sesame Place.


The character parade at the park has been around for many years, however it is being renovated for 2015 to become the Neighborhood Birthday Party Parade.  The parade features three performance stops that focus on "letters, numbers, and friendship along with energetic contemporary and classic Sesame Street tunes."  The parade will also feature special birthday decorations such as "sparkly cupcakes" and a new song.  The interactive experience is a ton of fun for families and their kids, and will be performed twice most days, once in the afternoon and again in the evening.


The past few seasons Sesame Place has added a handful of temporary rides to the park in the early and late season when the water attractions are closed.  This year the park has purchased three brand new children's rides, all specifically themed for the park.  Drawings of them can be found above, and it appears as thought they are Zamperla attractions.  Sesame Place will place the rides in the area near the Count's Splash Castle prior to Memorial Day, and also again in the Fall and Christmas seasons.  The three new rides will bring the park's total mechanical ride count to 14 - impressive since most of us remember when the park added its first!

Other changes at the park in 2015 include upgraded amenities, such as a total renovation of Elmo's Eatery - now featuring a new menu, more seating and table service.  For more information on the park's 35th Birthday season, visit Sesame Place's official website.


New Simpsons Area Opens at Universal Studios Hollywood


© Universal Studios Hollywood
Many Universal Studios fans were impressed when the company's Florida park opened a real-life Springfield in 2013.  The expansion brought into reality many eateries and other buildings that we've seen countless times on the Simpsons, creating a vibrant and fun atmosphere outside the park's ride of the same name.

Now, Universal Studios Hollywood has just opened (soft opened, technically) their take on Springfield, an even more ambitious version of the famous fictitious town.  This one's big, quite large actually - with one main structure that is housed in a multitude of Simpsons facades, some including extra effects and goodies.

Guests can wonder into Krusty Burger, peek in Herman's Military Antiques, watch the nuclear plant have a brief meltdown, or grab a donut at Lard Lad's or a beer at Duff's.  There's some different offerings in Hollywood not found in Florida, and plenty of additional details as well - though food and beverage offerings remain the goal of the structures.  One could spend plenty of time just exploring the facades, especially if they're a fan of the series.

The size of the structure comes from the need to create a back-end of sorts to the under construction Wizarding World of Harry Potter, helping to seal off that land from the rest of the park while creating a fun new space.

To check out a tour of the new area, including great shots of all the jokes and gags, Inside Universal is offering up a fantastic photo set.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Scott And Carol Present - Hooray for Dollywood's 30th Anniversary!



As always Dollywood kicked off their season with a Season Pass Holder/Media Day. The opening show in the Dolly Parton Celebrity Theater is always the must see event and there was even more reason to attend this season. 


Of course Miss Parton herself, makes an appearance and as usual Dolly makes a grand entrance! She has 30 new things for this year, but we are most excited about the return of the Showcase of the Stars and finding out the details on the mentioned first ever New Years Eve event. She also mentioned they have been visited by approximately 75 million guests during the last 30 years.

Dolly is her unpretentious self, and she really connects with her people, in this case the season pass holders. She also talked about her new website, dollyparton.com, the new home for everything Dolly.


Guests were treated to a wonderful video presentation showcasing Dollywood's highlights from the past thirty years. The crowd cheered some of their favorite memories from days gone by.


The big thing is the new hotel and Dolly mentioned the DreamMore Resort in the video and we did drive by it on our way to Dollywood. The is no way to miss it with this huge sign advertising when the resort opens. This will be "The" resort to stay in Sevier County starting this summer. We can't wait to see the inside, Dolly said that everything wasn't revealed in the previously released information. Another opportunity to create family memories worth repeating in eastern Tennessee.


Construction is moving along and the resort is currently accepting reservations for August 2015.  It dominates the Middle Creek Parkway on the drive into Dollywood and Splash Country and is reminiscent of southern mansions.


Several different acts were showcased from Festival of Nations, and we will include them in a different story. But Dolly had one more surprise in store for the season passholders and the media in attendance, a grand Tennessee finale.


Our thanks to Dolly Parton and the fine folks at Dollywood for a wonderful day! We hope your 30th season is the greatest year ever! That reminds us, we need to go back to the Gristmill for cinnamon bread, we forgot to get some.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Adventureland's Turbulence Coaster Now Complete


© Adventureland
We didn't see much over the Winter month's about Adventureland's (on Long Island, New York) new roller coaster, Turbulence, however the ride is now complete.

The park has released a few photos of the custom design ride, including the one of the completed track (above) just a few days ago.  The ride's electric color scheme makes it nearly impossible not to notice, something I'm sure the park is happy about.

© Adventureland
This photo was from a week earlier, when all of the ride's lower track was set, and just the lift hill and crown needed to be put into place.  The ride's first drop dives downward and then immediately up into a large wave turn, seen prominently in the first photo.  Turbulence is manufactured by Mack Rides and is one of their custom spinning coasters.  There's only a handful of these around the globe, including Sierra Sidewinder at Knott's Berry Farm and Space Fantasy at Universal Studios Japan.

© Adventureland
Adventureland also shared this photo of the ride's cars, which have been delivered to the property.  Turbulence will have two trains, each with three cars - each car seats four riders, two forwards and two backwards.

In anticipation of Turbulence's opening, Adventureland has started a first-rider event, with proceeds going to charity.  Read more about that, and Turbulence, at this link.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Gerstlauer "Infinity" Coaster Opening in Finland



Finland's PowerPark will open "Junker" this Summer, a brand new Gerstlauer designed Infinity coaster.  What is an Infinity coaster?  Well I didn't know either, but apparently it is the company's line of coasters that are like The Smiler at Alton Towers - meaning quite twisted, using individual cars and a lift, launch, or both!

Junker will just use one launch, sending cars toward an inverted 131 foot tall top hat at over sixty miles per hour.  The rest of the ride gets a bit convoluted, so perhaps take a look at this layout first:


This comes from Coasters and More - a great European site that always has some of the best news and images around.

So the coaster will complete the inverted top hat, then dive into what looks like a Norwegian Loop at first glance, but it isn't.  It is actually a dive loop immediately followed by a fat-looking vertical loop.  And interesting mix!  After another climb and brief pause, the trains dive into a cut-back, another dive loop, a corkscrew and a final helix before the brakes kick in.  The track spans over 2,800 feet from start to finish.


In addition to a new page for Junker with a press release, there are two webcams that have been set up to see the coaster going up.  Although it was night when this was taken, you can still see that a significant amount of Junker is up!  With a very unique layout and a newer ride system being used, this could be one of the sleeper hits of the year.