Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Perhaps More Pixar for Paris

Wouldn't it be wonderful to spend New Year's Eve in Paris? Well I don't know about you but I can't! More like try to stay awake till 12 to see the ball drop! Hehe...

Anywho, WDSFans has been reporting on some new construction going on at Walt Disney Studios at the Disneyland Paris resort lately. It seems they've posted notice that they will be removing a lot of the forest area that currently resides inside the park's Studio Tram Tour path.

The site is now also reporting that the park very well may see a new Pixar themed area called Toy Story Playland. The area would be filled with highly themed flat rides, and be aimed at families with younger kids.

It's something the park still sorely needs, but why hasn't Disney done anything lately that's not themed to a Pixar franchise?

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Six Flags Darien Lake 2002

This week we journey back to 2002, when Darien Lake was smack dab in the middle of its Premier/Six Flags era.

Shipwreck Falls was the first major ride to be installed at Darien Lake since 1999, when [Superman] Ride of Steel made its appearance. The effects of the conspicuous "growth spurt" which had occurred at so many Premier/Six Flags parks of this era were beginning to be felt.

Judging from the minimalist approach which obviously was taken when designing this particular brochure, I'd have to say that the effects of the now notorious mismanagement had also extended to the print media department! For all that Darien Lake has to offer, this brochure simply does not do it justice. The average tourist picks up a brochure in the hopes of acquiring detailed information about the local amusement park. Unfortunately, tourists visiting western New York in 2002 learned as much about Six Flags' "Worldwide Thrills" as they did about Darien Lake.

Um... Where's the rest of the brochure? No really, where is it? Did I miss a page? Nope. Believe it or not, this really is the whole thing! One semi-detailed (not to mention half-hearted) description of Shipwreck Falls, and that's all he/she wrote. Sad, sad, sad.

But in the spirit of the holiday season, let us not dwell on the shortcomings of Six Flags Past. Let us instead focus on the progress which is evident in Six Flags Present and look ahead to the promise of Six Flags Future! Or in Darien Lake's case, let us rejoice in the enthusiasm and creativity of its new operators, the good folks at PARC Management, and have faith that they will restore the quality of both the park and its brochures! Now that's what I call a worthy New Year's resolution.

Six Flags New England '09 Details

Six Flags New England's full 2009 plans have been detailed in this news article, and while no big attractions are planned, the park will have some new offerings for guests.

As we already know, the park will transform their award winning Superman roller coaster by adding new trains, audio, and visual effects as well as a new theme and accompanying paint job.

The park also plans to add a 195 ft. tall thrill ride, the slingshot. This is one of those rides where two people sit in a sort of cage and bungee cords launch them up almost 200 ft. in the air. I'd expect this one to be a pay extra at the park.

The park is also adding a 'pop jet' fountain inside Thomas Town. This is one of those fountains where people and run through it and get soaked on hot days. This is the kind of addition that continues to give me hope for Six Flags as this is not something that they can advertise, or expect revenue from but are adding for the sake of the customers.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

La Ronde has a pretty nice webpage up for their new attraction for summer '09: The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor Live! The walkthrough / haunted / interactive attraction will debut at the Canadian theme park in June of 2009.

The attraction is technically on a world tour with La Ronde being it's second stop after starting in Australia. Sudden Impact Entertainment, who produced the attraction, has developed similar traveling shows for the first two Mummy movies as well.

The level of detail looks pretty neat, though the capacity is said to be 500-700 pph, which is not every impressive - still more than some coasters though!

Here's an Austrailan news segment that features lots of footage inside the attraction if you care for a sneek peak:

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dreamflight @ Efteling Video

This ride always intrigued me. I think I remember reading about it in Inside Track (any of you remember that magazine? Yeah, they got my money, too) and thinking that the ride looks Disney caliber and that alone caught my attention.

Oh wait, the details! The ride is at Efteling, which is in the Netherlands. It was built in 1993 and according to the ride's Wiki page, "In Dreamflight, the visitors fly through a dream world of forests, castles, fairies, trolls and other fairy-tale-like creatures and scenes. The visitors are seated in small open cabins hanging from the ceiling. The ride takes them past five different scenes in about six minutes: the Castle Realm, the Wondrous Forest, the Fairy Garden, Heavenly Strongholds and the Squelch Forest."

Basically, it's a total fairy tale ride that's unique and didn't rely on an already existing set of characters. Plus, it's really visually beautiful, even if trolls, fairies, and that sort of thing doesn't interest you.

Turn down the lights and go for a ride...

Is Decades Dead, Too?

I hate to be such a Negative Nancy, as it's really not my style, but there's a lot of stinky news coming out lately thanks to our dumpy economy!

Decades Theme Park, under planning for Arizona, looks like it's future may be in jeopardy now as well. Arizona's first and only theme park is dependent on investment money to allow government bonds to be issued to pay for the rest of the project.

The recent failure of Hard Rock Park in South Carolina is now drawing questions to the Decades park project, asking if the park is really feasible since Hard Rock Park couldn't pull it off.

The project is by no means canceled, but it's also not progressing very far. Looks like we may have to just stay tuned (for years) to see what comes of this one.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

A Future For The Golden Nugget?

Amusement Today is reporting that an unnamed buyer has purchased the track and trains for the Golden Nugget Mine Ride, which is currently SBNO on one of Morey's Piers.

According to Jack Morey, "As we realized that the Golden Nugget was not viable for Morey’s Piers, we began looking for an appropriate person within our industry who might be capable of reusing the tracks and trains. Now, I am very thrilled to say that this ride will be placed in the most capable of hands. However, this person requests that we not divulge their identity as of yet, and we will honor that request."

This is pretty exciting! It's certainly better than the entire structure going to the wrecking ball. Now the real question is who purchased it?

Poll Reminder

Just a reminder - the current poll ends in a few days. Get your votes in now!

With the economy in the tank - we may see many more Six Flags 'transformations' in the coming years, let us know what ride you think deserves one now!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Discovery Kingdom's Holiday In The Park

Theme Park Village has posted a nice pictorial look at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's 2008 Holiday In The Park celebration.

The theme park is all decked out for the holidays, and has quite a number of special events for the event as well. These holiday events all look so pretty!

Check it out.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

From all of us at NewsPlusNotes, to you and yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

Be sure to scroll down and check out Scott & Carol's review of Silver Dollar City and Dollywood's Christmas Events, and Sabrina's latest brochure!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Scott & Carol Present: A Smoky Mountain Christmas

When you head east from Branson to Dollywood outside of Knoxville, you experience another dose of down to earth holiday cheer. Dollywood has won Golden Tickets for other things but today we are interested in the one they won for Best Christmas Event.

From the illuminated butterfly out front to the lights on the train, it’s a feast for the senses in the Smoky Mountain Christmas. A relative newcomer compared to Silver Dollar City, this is the eighteenth version of their popular Christmas festival. One of the many good things about Christmas in amusement parks is the smells travel farther. The extra greenery evokes memories of real trees from Christmas past and fresh cuts wreaths on the front door.

Lights are everywhere, in keeping with the Hershend tradition. With dedicated employees whose purpose is to unpack the lights, even that is a huge task. The lights begin to appear when school starts, but they aren’t publicly lit until November. A wonderful treat is the way some trees a strung with lights of just one color, so you can easily see its structure in the dark. Even the train shines brightly through the park, because the engine and all of the coaches are covered with lights. Every architectural detail of the buildings is accentuated by lights, and the effect is dazzling. It’s no wonder you hear all the different accents that represent many miles of travel to enjoy Smoky Mountain Christmas.

New this year is the Polar Express simulator attraction at Dollywood. The theater has been refurbished into 4-D capability and a wild ride awaits eager families inside. With Dolly’s old tour bus parked right outside and snowflakes spiraling down to the ground, wide ranging interests are covered right next to each other. The ride makes wish you held on as the train plunges down the mountain and across the lake. You can even smell the aroma of hot chocolate as it is served in the movie. With a newly produced ending, this is a very popular ride. For riders who either are to short to use an action seat, or who want a more sedate ride, benches right down front are built in to accommodate them. This allows everyone to bring back old memories of Christmas through the eyes of a child.

Something slightly more sedate is the “Babes in Toyland” show. This award winning show is another, albeit recent, tradition at Dollywood. The mishaps that occur during the show and the props are spectacular. The finale results in standing ovations on a regular basis but we won’t spoil the secret here. This year guests can get their picture take with the cast members and props. The same spirit from out west is shared with everyone as we heard a cast member say “It’s nice to be able to bring a smile to someone the way the world is right now. We can tell they’re not thinking about anything else, and that’s good.”

And that thought is how we remember Smoky Mountain Christmas at Dollywood. A place where everyone can walk around enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the Christmas season, and forget about how tough things are outside in the world. We all need an escape now and then, and that is what theme parks are made to do. Help us push our problems away as we listen to the wandering carolers, explore Santa’s work shop, or visit the North Pole on the Polar Express. Or, maybe ride a roller coaster!

From Scott & Carol, have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year.

Scott & Carol Present: Twas The Night Before An Old Time Christmas

General Manager of all the Hershend Branson properties spoke at the kickoff for the Old Time Christmas media event just outside of Branson he said, ”With all the troubles on everyone’s minds right now we wanted to create a place where they could come to have their spirits lifted, if only for a little while.”

At Silver Dollar City they have done much more than that for Christmas 2008, they have created a sparkling wonderland suitable for the whole family. While receiving accolades as one of the top five light displays in the United States, in Branson family values rule throughout the winter holiday celebration, giving memorable experiences to all age groups.

This is the twentieth year for the winter festival that started out as “12 Days of Christmas.” Now it is so large that it begins just after Halloween and continues through the New Year. With about one million lights for every ten acres, no surface is overlooked for a view that has to be seen instead of described. The lights start going up in late summer, because this is a mammoth undertaking. The impressive display is just the tip of the iceberg, for there is a whole lot more than meets the eye at Silver Dollar City.

The Hershend properties always have great food, and believe me, Carol and I have sampled most of it. If you still remember Grandmas holiday feasts, you have some idea of what eating at Silver Dollar City is like. Remember how she always had both ham and turkey, so do they. Not only will they cook it for you, you can also learn how to cook it your self at the Culinary Craft School. Debbie Dance Uhrig is the Master Craftsman of Culinary Arts at Silver Dollar City and she has called upon her Master Craftsman compadres to provide an amazing kitchen where she teaches seasonal techniques to improve the style of kitchen tables everywhere. Even dad will be rewarded if he signs mom up for a class while taking the kids on the rides, because he will still get to eat the good food later. As you pass by on the midway, the aromatic smells beckon you inside. Preregistration is recommended, as the classes fill very quickly.

Once the kids are tired, everyone can enjoy the some of the many shows throughout the park. The kids can help build Frosty and watch him come to life during the show. If Broadway is more your style, the Silver Dollar City production of “A Dicken’s Christmas Carol” will thrill everyone

A fully utilized set complete with flying spirits and spooky specters, the songs and action belie the fact that the crew requires only two weeks of group rehearsals to pull it together. Here is a quote from a local attendee, “I’ve been waiting two months for this show. Let’s hit a few rides and catch another performance.” His two young children both agreed this was a good idea. If you go, line up early to get inside, because The Opera House is packed for every performance.

Once you’ve seen the static light displays throughout the park, you can stake out a good spot for the Holiday Light Parade. Somewhere above eighty thousand lights are marched through the park twice each evening. The best places are where you can see the floats coming down the hill in the darkness.

Santa closes out the parade, but the show is not over. In the Square a computerized fifty foot tall Christmas trees sparkles and flashes in time with the music. Even the lights strung on the nearby trees get in on the action, with synchronized switching of their strings. There is so much to do you’ll want to come back tomorrow, just to relive the wonder in your eyes as you remember once again how much fun it all was. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Hershend New Year.

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Michigan's Adventure 2005

Between the massive woodie in the background and the signature Cedar Fair "2 Parks for the Price of 1" tag line, the unsuspecting tourist might be led to believe that this charming little park in Muskegon, Michigan was born and raised a corporately owned thrill park. Not so! In the beginning, Michigan's Adventure--formerly "Deer Park"--was little more than a petting zoo with a few rides thrown in for good measure.

Michigan's Adventure boasts the most colorful (and I daresay the most beautiful) Arrow Corkscrew still in operation. This extra burst of color really gives the ride a personality of its own and sets it apart from its other well-worn brethren. The enthusiast lot may be rather bored with this model, but it truly is a perfect fit for Michigan's Adventure and stood as the park's only inverting coaster until the introduction of the transplanted Thunderhawk this past summer.

(And by the way... Is it just me, or does anybody else find it frightening that the raft in the upper left-hand photo looks like it is about to capsize??? I'm not sure if that was a wise photo choice for a brochure!)

It's fitting that there is an entire section of this brochure dedicated to children. While Michigan's Adventure is large enough to satisfy the thrill-hungry, it is still small enough to retain the charm of a traditional, family-oriented park.

The ever popular ProSlide Tornado made an appearance at WildWater Adventure in 2005. It was a great addition to the well-established water park, which welcomed its first guests back in 1991.

I honestly think that this is the first time I have ever touched a computer on Christmas Eve. But I had a couple hours to kill between the various rounds of holiday festivities, so why not? Consider it my gift to you! I wish all of you a warm and wonderful holiday season!