Monday, June 30, 2008

A NPN Milestone

According to the post count, this is NewsPlusNotes' 1000th post! I figured this was a milestone worth recording in the history books ... or at least on the blog.

Whether it's evaluating a new Six Flags coaster, fixating on a new Cedar Fair park map, reading about a huge announcement at a Orlando theme park, or checking out old brochures and maps, I've had a great time creating these 1000 posts.

I'd like to say a hearty thank you to everyone who reads NPN, I'm continually astounded by the ever growing number of readers. NPN started as a little hobby and has grown into something I never imagined, and for that I say thanks!

3 Updates To Check Out

© 2008 RCPro

RCPro has a new gallery of Phantasialand photos that are amazing. The park is really beautiful, and I love how well themed everything is. Click here to check out the update.

Westcoaster also has an update for Knott's Berry Farm and Disneyland in case you wanted to check out what's new at those parks. Click here for that one.

Finally, IOACentral has a large update for both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure. Here's that link.

Sorry for the less than amazing update today, but NewsPlusNotes bought a house today, and I've been cleaning carpets all day!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dorney Park 6.28.08 Update

Another trip to the park, this time I went late in the day because I wanted to play around with taking night photos of the park. A lot of these are just that - night photos of Dorney Park, but there's a few update-ish things in here, too.

Wave Swinger - a photo that's taken at many parks ... but there's a reason for that - it's pretty!

The structure for Club Blood is not up yet, but they've put up some banners on the construction wall. Here's one that's specifically for Club Blood - I can't wait till this fall!

Here's another one that's a general ad for The Haunt. I added in a bigger version of one part to show that they're still saying that The Haunt after 6 p.m. is not recommended for kids!

Splash. It was still crazy humid last night even at 10 p.m., so White Water Landing still had riders.

I really like Hydra's station at night, the lightning is nice.

The Whip's lights were looking pretty great, not many bulbs out at all. I still love the new sign but it really needs to have some sort of lightning at night. It looks sorta silly like this...

I noticed that the 3 Point Challenge has gone back up to $10 a play, it was $5 earlier in the season. Not sure if that's just how they work it, changing the price when the crowds come. It still had a line to play though, and this was taken after 9 p.m.

Some night shots of the new for 2008 - and very often not working - Voodoo. The sign reminds me of holding a flash light under your chin in the dark and talking in a scary voice. But I'm weird...

So nice and calm in the Voodoo area - cause like I said it wasn't open. Didn't look like it had been for a while either, the train was just stopped on the launch track with no on working on it or anything. Is Cedar Fair regretting moving this ride yet?

The empty station all lit up at night. Revolution and Meteor were also down last night. Revolution is another ride that Cedar Fair should feel regret for dumping on Dorney Park.

But Laser was open! It had a long line, too, but that's because Voodoo was closed and it was operating with one train. Still, get those rides in while you can.

Ring Toss. It glows at night!

I just liked this shot.

The park had a pretty good crowd yesterday, they were in the overflow parking lot. Not sure if the economy is hurting the park at this point or not.

Party's Over!

Disney has announced that Pleasure Island will cease to exist in its current form near the end of September.

The news means that the 6 remaining night clubs on the island will be closed and either modified into something else or removed over the next couple years. Basically the middle island of Downtown Disney that was Pleasure Island will be shops, dining, and other entertainment like the rest of .

Who didn't see this coming, really? I never knew anyone who wanted to go to Disney World to go to themed night clubs. I can't help but think of the episode of Step By Step (90s family comedy tv show) where the family was in Disney World and the girls tried to win some Country Music contest at one of the clubs. Yeah, I wanted too much TV in the 90s.

I did see the comedy show they have there once, and it was indeed funny. And when I was a kid it confused me why Pleasure Island had new years' celebrations every night.

Anyway, please see Orlando Attractions Magazine's blog for tons of detailed info on the news, video interviews, and already concept art for Pleasure Island replacements.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I Love Indiana Jones Movies + Rides

So I finally went to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull today, and as I expected it to be it was awesome.

I know there's no 'official' connection to the ride at Tokyo DisneySea (Indiana Jones Adventure: The Temple of the Crystal Skull), but there are some similarities that can't be ignored. Lots of little things, and even the use of a vortex type thing in both ... well I won't say more in case you haven't seen it.

But what you can see is a great video of the ride at Tokyo DisneySea! It helps if you've been on the one at Disneyland to understand what's going on, but it's fun nonetheless.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Busch Entertainment Parks Safe?

Anheuser Busch has said that their method of fighting off a takeover bid by In-Bev will be based on reducing costs at the company, and not selling any smaller aspects of the operation.

This is fantastic news because that means that they do not plan to sell the theme park division! Instead of selling anything, they'll use an early retirement program among other tactics to cut costs to the point where the takeover would not make financial sense.

The fight may not be over, though, as many industry experts expect In-Ben to raise their offer to a level where Busch's board would have a hard time justifying saying no. Then again we'd have parks like Busch Gardens, Sea World, and Sesame Place in danger.

Only time will tell, but at least if Anheuser Busch stays as is, it looks like the parks will remain safe.

Kings Island Plays Hard Ball

Kings Island is currently located as part of the City of Mason in Ohio. Mason is now considering starting a 1-3% admissions tax on local attractions, with Kings Island being by far the largest of these.

The park has stated that if Mason decides to try to impose the tax, they will do everything they can to legally de-annex from Mason, and go to being part of Deerfield Township.

Now whether or not the park could easily do that, I have no idea. But this isn't' the first time a park as been 'attacked' through taxes by their local municipality. It's stupid - doesn't the park already bring in enough tax revenue as is? I don't think that these places should be hit with more taxes when they already contribute a lot.

An initiative like this has failed at multiple other parks in the country in the past few years, so hopefully this one will, too.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Daily Spin 6.26.08

Looks like Anheuser Busch will reject In-Bev's offer, but follow that with a company reorganization that could see the theme park division being sold off anyway. No good! Those parks are some of the best run out there... I wish they would stay with Anheuser Busch.

ThemeParkReview's forums are still proving to be the best place to go for assorted photo trip reports... two I took note of recently were this one of Canobie Lake and - finally - one from Elitch Gardens! I was starting to think no one had visited Elitch yet this year. Looks like their new dark ride attraction is far from being open, though.

Moving south, we find that Universal Studios has already started construction on their new Rockit coaster for 2009. They've begun to clear out the section of the park where the new coaster, and an amphitheater, will reside. OrlandoRocks has lots of great photos.

Cedar Fair is building the company's new headquarters in the middle of Cedar Point. The Morning Journal has an article about how the company came through with using local resources and labor to build the project. I personally think it's weird that they would build this in the middle of the park ... why not on that land they own on the way in? Well I don't work there so no bother to me!

Decades Music Theme Park is one step closer to reality, though they still have a long way to go. The proposed Arizona theme park got Senate approval for a bill that would help get financing in order so construction can start. This is the first time I've seen a photo of a model of the park, it looks fairly interesting, though the image is small.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Silver Dollar City 2009?

Silver Doller City recently sent out a survey about a possible new ride for the theme park. The above concept art comes from that survey.

Basically, it's just like Dollywood's new River Battle ride this year, only themed to Tom & Huck's Adventures... in fact that's the rumored name - Tom & Huck's Adventures. It's a Splash Battle style ride, where there are tons of water elements that boats encounter while on the 'river,' and riders have water guns to shoot at watchers and vice versa.

Nothing is confirmed just yet - but this thread at Silver Dollar City Fans mentions that a wall is up where the ride would go with teasers painted on it.

I'm a fan of these rides so I say good choice, Silver Dollar City! Plus Dollywood's theming on their River Battle was cute - so I can only guess that this ride would have nice theming as well.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

'Terminator' Coaster @ Magic Mountain

So apparently at a recent ACE event CEO of Six Flags, Inc., Mark Shapiro, let the cat out of the bag and mentioned that Six Flags Magic Mountain will be adding a Great Coasters International wooden coaster for 2009.

Okay that was sorta already known, but certainly not confirmed. However, what was news to me is that he said it'll be themed to the Terminator franchise!

There is some sense in there, though. Terminator: Salvation is set to come out in 2009 starting Christian Bale instead of the Governator - so there will be a very current media tie in for the ride.

But still! A wooden coaster themed to the Terminator? I don't see it. At all. Six Flags' tie in to the Dark Knight worked because Batman was already all over the parks and it was indoors and themed. Evel Knievel made no sense as a wooden coaster but at least the man was thrill seeker so in a vague sense there's a connection.

But Terminator and a classic style wooden thriller? I don't see it. Do you guys? Leave a comment...

Oh and that makes GCI up to three wooden coasters for the U.S. next year, Magic Mountain, California's Great America, and Worlds of Fun - with a 4th on the way. They're so hot right now!

Disney Family Flix At Valleyfair!

Interesting. I missed this, obviously, as it started in June, but Valleyfair! is hosting Disney Family Flix at Valleyfair! each Tuesday in June, July, and August at the park.

Each Tuesday one film will be shown twice in the park's Galaxy Theater. The movies are free with admission to the park.

This is a very interesting combination. It says that it's sponsored by Valleyfair! and Radio Disney. I'm not really sure what to make of this - I suppose it's an interesting idea ... but don't people go to parks for more outdoor type activities?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Sea World San Diego Update

© 2008

WestCoaster has a great update for Sea World San Diego that shows off all sorts of cool stuff at the park.

They cover the new Sesame Bay of Play children's area that's new for 2008, a behind the scenes look at the animals at the park - and a peak at the area of the park that will be home to a new roller coaster in 2010.

Check it out!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Old Mr. Freeze Concept Art

© Jack Rouse Associates

Check out these cool pieces of concept art that I came across on Jack Rouse Associates' website. They're for the Mr. Freeze coaster at Six Flags St. Louis. Like most concept art, they are more elaborate than what was actually built, but I still love that Six Flags parks had nice theming like this back in the day.

© Jack Rouse Associates

The above one of the station view is especially cool. Don't get me wrong, I think that station as it was built is pretty neat, too. But this concept art is awesome...

Holiday World has the Friendliest Employees

This is a cute story and really proves why Holiday World has the friendliest employees. Last summer, a little boy was eating a chocolate covered apple at the park and spit out what he thought was an apple seed into the trash.

Well, his mommy realized that what he spit out was the first baby tooth that he had lost! That's where park employee, Lauren Wahl, comes into the story. The boys mother asked for assistance in locating the tooth, and Lauren donned her gloves and started digging through the whole trash can until the tooth was safely located.

For her efforts, Lauren was recently given the state's Hoosier Hospitality Award. Congratulations to Lauren and to Holiday World for hiring such wonderful people to staff the park!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

New Kings Island 2009 Photos

© 2008 + Dane Thomas

KICentral has some new photos of the 2009 coaster construction site posted. They should really think about announcing this soon - this section seen above is seriously looks like it is ready for steel to go up!

I wonder if the ride will have a unique name or a 'Cedar Fair' already used name.

Gerstlauer's New Flat Ride

Gerstlauer has been creating some awesome, unique roller coasters in the past few years, and now they've moved on to making a pretty awesome, unique looking flat ride.

And this one looks like it would make me vomit, a lot. It's called Sky Roller, and Coasters And More has a ton of fantastic photos of the ride in action, currently set up at the German Museum Munich.

Basically, the ride part of the tower goes up about 70 ft., spins, and each rider can then control their car using their own 'wings' - this allows them to flip around and all sorts of other vomit inducing movements.

Or, like I probably would, you could not mess with the wings and just enjoy the view! Gerstlauer has some additional photos and a video on their website if you want to check it out.

So who in the U.S. will build one of these? They're probably pretty bad on capacity ... but certainly unique!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Worlds of Fun 2009

In case anyone was still doubting that Worlds of Fun was indeed adding a GCI Wooden Coaster in 2009, CoasterCommunity has posted some photos of a rather large delivery of wood that has shown up at the park.

The stacks of lumber look exactly like those I've seen at pretty much every wooden coaster construction site before.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Kings Island's 4th of July Event

Kings Island in Ohio is really pulling out all the stops for this year's 4th of July celebration at the park.

The park is following up their recent Robbie Knievel jump with a tightrope walk performed by Rick Wallenda, the grandson of the late Karl Wallenda, who in 1974 completed a tightrope walk at Kings Island that set a world record.

Rick will do two separate walks at the park, the second of which, if completed, will measure some 2,000 feet in length. All of this will transpire over the amusement park.

Kings Island will also again have the retro characters and the Hanna Barbara gang out to greet guests, along with an air show, skydivers, and grand 4th of July fireworks display - the largest in the park's history.

The park is really stepping up their game with special events this year!

Wild West World Sold Again!

Wild West World, the defunct theme park in Kansas, has been purchased in another bankruptcy auction by AHG Group, LLC. The previous owner, Amusement Holdings, failed to close on the property by May 30th so it went up for bid again.

The new owners, who are an investment company, already are planning on getting the park reopened as quickly as possible, not even ruling out reopening this summer.

The company is said to be in talks with a possible amusement operator for getting the place back open, but declined to say who the operator would be yet.

Here's hoping that the new owners actually follow through. Unlike the previous buyer these guys certainly have the cash on hand to get the place open! This is turning into another soap opera story - I just hope one with a happy ending.

Go Ride Evel Knievel!

Six Flags St. Louis has put out a fancy online press release to announce that Evel Knievel, the park's new wooden coaster, is now open to the public.

You can check out the release here. They have a great video on there, which includes some nice shots of the ride in action as well as mixed in POV footage.

The trains for this ride are totally awesome, as well. Keep those GCI wooden coasters coming, Six Flags!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Maximum RPM On Ride Video

© 2008 Hard Rock Park Blog

Hard Rock Park Blog has posted a ride review and on-ride video of Maximum RPM at Hard Rock Park.

The ride looks really short, but the music is a lot of fun! Click here to check out the info via HRPBlog.

The Great Escape Lodge's Johnny Rockets

© 2008 TGE Source

The Six Flags Great Escape Lodge recently opened a Johnny Rocket's restaurant, and The Great Escape Source was there to check things out.

The site also has an update for the park's new Wiggles World, as well as a larger gallery of photos taken at the park.

Click here to check out the photos.

Daily Spin 6.18.08

The sale of Kennywood Entertainment, including Kennywood Park, Idlewild Park, and Lake Compounce to Parques Reunidos was finalized on June 7th, according to this article. For a while it seemed as though the sale might not take place, alas, the deed has been done. Let's hope that the new operator doesn't mess up this collection of traditional amusement parks.

Geauga Lake appears to be having a rough start to their season ... I wonder why? Here's a great trip report from over on CoasterBuzz. We'll have to see if things pick up or not when the kiddies are out of school (so like now).

Check out photos of Pony Express at Knott's Berry Farm's pretty much completed tunnel over at AmericaCoasters. Tunnels on rides are great, and this one helps this short ride end with a bang.

SM2 Designs was invited to California's Great America's media day, and has pictures of the park's new Endless Summer ice skating show in this gallery. One move that Cedar Fair did right with the former Paramount Parks was to bring back these ice shows.

The Forest at Granite Park, the theme park being built in Fresno, California plans to open its first phase this fall, probably in October according to this article. This is the new park that purchased the former Lightning Bolt coaster and Flume rides from the defunct MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park in Las Vegas. I can't wait to see these rides operate again.

Finally, Theme Park Reivew has some nice grand opening coverage for Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney's California Adventure. Click here to check that out. Looks like a fun ride - but maybe not one I personally would wait hours for.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More Geauga Auction News

I know there has been a lot of Geauga posts today and yesterday, but it's not every day that a former major amusement park's remains are auctioned off...

Anyway - the Geauga Lake Today forums are the place to go to find out what went down today. Lots of good info on there, like:

• Villain, Double Loop, and Matterhorn were sold for scrap.
• The Skyscraper (sky tower) was also sold for scrap
• Three water slides went to Schlitterbahn for their new Kansas City property, along with the park's SkyCoaster
• The Cornhole game sign went for a surprising amount!
• The 3rd party who bought the Big Dipper for that mystery person also purchased Wolf Bobs.
• Several other flats like the Bounty, Starfish, and Time Warp were sold, not known yet to who.

Another big piece of information that WKYC is reporting is that the person who purchased the Big Dipper plans to use it as a "nostalgia piece" with no plans of operating it again. Is someone putting it in their back yard?! Odd...

Finally, the Norton auctioneer said in front of the crowd that ACE was offered the Dipper for free and Carole Sanderson, a former ACE president yelled back that that information was false, to which the Norton guy asked for her to be removed from the auction (she wasn't removed).

Hello, drama! The WKYC article has more on that verbal exchange.

Does anyone care to *not* get mud on their face during all of this!??

Here's a video of The Big Dipper to watch while you ponder all this info...

Big Dipper Sold... Maybe?

Today was the auction of the remaining amusement rides at Geauga Lake, and it looks like the Big Dipper was sold for $5,000 to a company local to the park who for now remains a mystery.

This article says that a 3rd party attended the auction to place the bid on behalf of this company, and that since Cedar Fair has to approve the buyer they wanted to remain nameless for now. Apparently Cedar Fair has until 5 p.m. today to approve or deny the purchase.

Regarding why the Big Dipper's sale has to be approved, Cedar Fair talkinghead Robin Innes said, ""It's a very special ride. We want to make sure it has a proper home."

Umm, excuse me, bue we're not that stupid. They'd have done better to keep their yappers shut than to try to shove b.s. like that down our throats.

Hopefully more info and who the actual buyer is will surface later today.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Geauga Lake Auction Photos

© Outside_Looking_In 2008

Here's a link to a Flickr set of photos taken today at the preview day for the Geauga Lake Amusement Park auction, which starts tomorrow.

Be warned, a lot of the photos are pretty sad. It's weird though, in some shots it looks like the place could reopen tomorrow - and in others it looks like a nasty wasteland.

© Outside_Looking_In 2008

^ Care to go take a dip? Yeah, me neither...

Great Evel Knievel Pics

© 2008 Coaster101

Coaster101 has a new set of really fantastic photos of Evel Knievel the ride at Six Flags St. Louis. The placement in the park is really pretty, but then again these wooden GCI coasters are pretty anywhere...

Check out the photo update here.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

That Is El Loco

© 2008 Indiana Beach

So Steel Hawg at Indiana Beach is pretty much done being constructed, and well - now I understand why S&S is calling this type of ride El Loco.

Honestly though, all I keep thinking about it how much this ride might hurt with the shoulder harnesses and possible head banging and such. It's certainly a crazy thing to look at, though!

A couple more pics.

Street Legal Bumper Cars

Thanks to one of our readers for pointing this out - a mechanic in San Diego has been transforming old Bumper Car shells into street legal, gas powered vehicles.

While I wish that more parks would be using these classic ride parts for actual bumper cars (ahem, Dorney Park) - this is a pretty awesome idea!

Check out more photos via Jalopnik.