Sunday, October 19, 2014

Remembering Cedar Point's Mantis

It is only a matter of hours until Cedar Point's Mantis stand-up roller coaster closes for the last time.  Already announced to be transforming into Rougarou as a floorless coaster in 2015, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the original Mantis announcement materials.

Many moons ago when new rides were announced we used to receive packets in the snail mail with materials from the Parks - that's probably a weird concept for many of you!  Above is the logo sheet that was sent by the park for use in publishing, however I scanned it in so it looks perdy.  As we all know, Mantis was originally announced to be named Banshee, but changed shortly thereafter.

While fact sheets are still utilized on websites these days, they also were printed and mailed once upon a time.  Here is Mantis' fact sheet, covering the basics of the ride.  Most of these statistics will stay the same when it becomes Rougarou, due to using the same layout.

And speaking of layout, the park also sent this look at Mantis' structure to give a visual impression of what was to come.  I'm sure many ride fans studied this image for days, excited to give Mantis a try the following Spring. 

Though not a part of the press materials when the ride was announced, the park did a nice spread on the coaster in the 1996 Getaway Guide, seen above.  They even included some neat sketches of the stand-up coaster trains, along with their color designs.

Hopefully everyone got to the Point to get in their final Mantis rides by now - if not you still have a few hours until it fades into history!

Two Inversions Now Complete on Holiday World's Thunderbird Launched Coaster

© Holiday World
Wasting no time with the construction of Thunderbird, Holiday World recently completed the launched wing coaster's second inversion.

What about the first?  Well that happened when I was away, but the highest point of the coaster - and first inversion - is also in place.  Seen above, the Thunderbird trains will launch into the Immelmann at 60 miles per hour, then flip upside down 140 feet in the sky.

© Holiday World
Just one week later the next big element on the ride was topped off, a 125 foot tall vertical loop.  Thunderbird's colors look beautiful set among the trees in the park - almost like it is trying to convince the trees to turn into a similar shade of orange!

© Holiday World
Here is one more shot of the newly completed vertical loop.  The track immediately after it passes high over the path of The Voyage, the mega-wooden coaster at the park.  The rest of the Thunderbird course will take place among the trees and feature two more inversions along with near-miss elements.

These photos come from Holiday World's Twitter feed, which you can find here.  Also if you haven't seen the fun "you control it" webcam that the park has up for Thunderbird, head over to their website to check that out, too.

Finally, here's a short video showing the topping of the vertical loop and other construction footage that Holiday World has released:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Carowinds Continues Fury 325 Construction

Hey, while the weather is nice why not get as much steel in place as you can?  Then again I suppose the winters aren't quite as bad for Carowinds - regardless - the park has placed plenty of additional Fury 325 supports in the past few weeks.  I'm still catching up from my trip, but saw a couple photos worth sharing.

© Carowinds
This peaceful early morning shot shows off all that has been completed so far.  After lifting the first piece of track into place, which appears to be for the station, the transfer track barn went up really fast.

Carowinds then moved to the other supports that make up the very end of the ride, which include the final brake run.

© Carowinds
Here is a closer look at the brake run with the transfer barn in the background, from the official Fury 325 website's construction photo gallery.  The track will slope downward after this, before completing a 180 degree turn to arrive back at the station.

With the park continuing to pour footers for the rest of the layout, it won't be long until we see more of Fury 325 rise toward the sky.

Friday, October 17, 2014

First Full POV of Twisted Colossus Released + New Details

© Six Flags Magic Mountain
The L.A. Times' Funland theme park blog got a major scoop in the form of the first full point of view video of Six Flags Magic Mountain's new Twisted Colossus ride.

The coaster, which is being converted from a wooden ride into a Rocky Mountain designed steel monster, only previously had video released that was a mix of on and off-ride shots.

When Twisted Colossus was first announced there was much debate about how the park would take two separate racing wood coaster tracks and convert them into one single 4,990 foot long steel track - but still have trains race and interact with each other on the course.

The new video answers that question nicely, explaining that the ride will need to dispatch a train every 110 seconds in order have the trains interact as designed.  Block brakes will allow multiple trains out on the course at the same time, so that as a train starts the second (green) lift hill another will just be starting up the first (blue) lift hill.

This means that each train will actually duel with a different train on each leg of the course, first with one that's already completed half the course, then with one that just started the ride.

© Six Flags Magic Mountain
The new point of view video also shows off the wacky track that has been designed for the trek toward the first lift hill.  No boring straight track to be found there!

Check out the new video, along with an article that is packed with new details, at this link.

"Evolution of Helix" Movie Shows Off Wild Early Coaster Designs

This year marked the opening of Helix at Sweden's Liseberg, a massive 4,500+ foot long launched coaster design by Mack Rides.  The coaster has received high marks so far this year, due to its innovative design and interaction with several other rides at the park.

Almost all major roller coasters go through several phases of design, but it is quite rare that any park will show off "what could have been."  However, that's exactly what Liseberg did, showing off the evolution of the design that became Helix.

Several years ago the park had decided on a tall mega coaster that would tower over the park's hillside, utilizing much of the same space as Helix now does.  The first design of that ride is seen above, and while the bulk of the layout isn't too inspired, look at that first drop!  Wow!

The park continued to tweak the mega coaster design, shifting things around a bit and adding more action to the ride.  That also meant going even higher than before (though no statistics for height are given).  Check out the first drop planned on this one, a twisting fall that looks a bit mouth watering.

Eventually the park decided that height wouldn't be the focus of their new ride, and added in two launch sections and covered even more of that hill with track... and eventually created Helix.  This neat video shows off that process, with the many changes in Helix's layout along the way.  Pretty cool stuff!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Efteling's New "Baron 1898" B&M Dive Coaster Looks Fantastic

Efteling, located in the Netherlands, has been working on a new B&M Dive Coaster, and has just announced the ride's name and theme.

The coaster will be called Baron 1898, which is a bit of an odd name but pays homage to the ride's theme and setting.  Along with the name announcement, the park has released this concept art of the beautiful station and lift/drop.

© Efteling (click for large image)
The theme park is known for the stunning theming that they build along with their rides and attractions, which is based on fairy tale themes and other mythology.  Baron 1898 will continue this trend.

© Efteling
The ride will be one of B&M's smaller dive coasters, a bit like Krake at Heide Park.  It will feature trains that seat six across in three rows.  You can see the general train design in the zoomed in concept art above.  The ride's supports appear to be custom designed to incorporate mine theming, and give the structure strong visual appeal.

Speaking of the ride's theme, it is based on Gustave Hooghmoed, who arrived in the area in 1890 and discovered and system of under ground tunnels.  He went in the tunnels to start a mining operation in search of gold and was confronted by Witte Wieven (White Woman from European mythology), who protect the ground and all that is contained in it.  The Witte Wieven quickly scared away the mine workers, leaving no one willing to continue the Baron's quest for gold.  The coaster will invite guests to check out Gustave's mines, shuttered since the workers left.

© Efteling
You can see those mysterious guardians of the mines reaching up toward the dropping train in the concept art - and while only art Efetling is so known for their theming that I wouldn't be a bit surprised if they are featured in the finished product.

As far as the coaster aspect goes, we really only know that the drop will be 123 feet, and the rest of the ride's layout is still a mystery.  I don't expect anything too big based off that drop height, but I'm sure there will be more than just a drop and brakes!

The park has started a video series about the development of the ride, seen below with subtitles in English.  Can't wait to see more about this attraction as it is released.