Sunday, February 28, 2010

The Amusing Ads Archive - Premier Rides 1997-98

This week's ad is more of a flyer of sorts, so we'll choose to think of it as a first cousin to a regular magazine advertisement. That work for you guys? Great!

Premier Rides was really getting in the groove of things in late 1997 - it had already opened several large rides at American parks, and a few more were planned to open (though just a weeeee bit late) for the 1998 season.

You know a manufacturer means business when they include math equations and a Leonardo Da Vinci quote on their ads!

Not many would argue that when Premier came on the scene their niche market was launched rides. Specifically, linear induction motors that sent trains rocketing from zero to some great speed in just a few seconds.

The company first put their toes in the launched ride waters when they opened the Flight of Fear coasters at Kings Dominion and Kings Island in 1996, also opening a similar ride in Japan.

After those rides were up and running Six Flags placed an order for some more unique rides - all launched, tall, and quite unique. The two Mr. Freeze rides went to Six Flags over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis, while the Chiller was constructed at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Sadly, all three rides were slated for a 1997 debut, but were pushed back to 1998 (for their first full season, at least) due to issues with the ride's launch systems.

Take note of the companies that Premier worked with to create rides: Force Engineering, Giovanola, Waagner Biro, and Werner Stengel. Talk about a dream team!

Premier had more to offer than just fast coasters - they also were able to make some crazy looking flat rides, indoor family coasters, and observation towers. The company's ride catalog has expanded greatly since then, with more coaster designs, flat rides, and other projects having been successfully completed.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Weekly Rewind 2.27.10

The interweb is growing! Both LEGOLAND Florida and Coney Island's Luna Park have launched their own web sites. (If you look closely, you'll note that Luna Park has also started a blog--and you know how much we love those.) Although both sites are pretty bare bones right now, I'm sure we'll see much more content added as these parks near their respective opening dates.

Another park nearing its opening date is Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, which is still on schedule to open in the second half of 2010. published a great article earlier this week which details many of the rides and attractions that will be featured at the park. And if you'd like an up-close-and-personal look at Ferrari World's record-breaking steelie, check out this video on

Sadly, the future of Ghost Town in the Sky is not so certain. The dozens of local businesses owed money by the financially embattled theme park had until February 23 to submit their votes in favor of either Chapter 11 reorganization or a complete liquidation of the park's assets, although I have yet to see any news of the outcome. Even in the event of reorganization, Ghost Town's 2010 season is in question due to a mudslide earlier this month which blocked the park's primary entrance road.

One park whose 2010 fate has already been decided is Fun Spot, whose web site has now been updated to state that the park will not open this year. It's beginning to look doubtful that the park will ever reopen.

If you love vintage park photos (and who doesn't), you'll get a real kick out of Rye Playland's 2010 Vintage Photo Caption Contest. Each Tuesday, a new vintage photo is posted to the park's Facebook page and fans are invited to submit witty captions in the form of comments. The park then selects one winner who receives a Playland tote bag as well as a print of that week's photo, complete with caption. Winners are also entered into a monthly drawing to win two free admission bands to the park.

Adventureland in Iowa went from winter wonderland to blazing inferno earlier this week, when the weight of the snow caused a partial roof collapse in one of the park's shops which ripped out electrical wiring and sparked a fire. Fortunately, no one was injured and the damage was limited to a one-block-long structure which housed various stores, game venues, and a restaurant. Park officials have stated that the incident will have no effect on Adventureland's ability to open as planned at the end of April.

In a day and age where hand-carved wooden carousel animals are (pardon the pun) a dying breed, carousel enthusiasts will surely grieve the loss of yet another company once responsible for such superb works of craftsmanship. Carousel Magic, one of two such companies based out of Mansfield, Ohio, has announced that it will be closing up shop due to a lack of business.

Alton Towers continues to tease its fans by posting occasional video snippets of its newest coaster, TH13TEEN, making test runs. And I do mean snippets--The clip above reveals little more than a fleeting glance at a train careening through the woods. If you'd like to torture yourself a bit more, visit the official THI3TEEN blog for even more photos and videos.

An amusement park on the former Astroland site isn't the only thing coming back to Coney Island this summer. For the first time in decades, the swinging cars on the world famous Wonder Wheel will light up when the sun goes down. A modern, Earth-friendly combination of solar panels and LEDS is being used to recreate the original 1920s lighting scheme. Charles Denson of the Coney Island History Project recently conducted a very interesting interview with D.J. Vourderis (grandson of park founder Denos Vourderis), who is heading up the effort. You can listen to the interview in its entirety on CIHP's web site.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Excitement Builds at Six Flags Great America

The Lake County News-Sun ran a nice article on Six Flags Great America's plan to rebuild the classic Little Dipper roller coaster today. The coaster was built in 1949 at Kiddieland park, and was purchased by Six Flags after Kiddieland closed forever last year.

The location of the Little Dipper was previously known, but it will take up the space formerly occupied by some climbing structures in the park's Bugs Bunny National Park section:

The article also narrows down the time frame for the ride's opening - the park is hoping to be able to unveil the ride in mid-May. With the purchase of the ride so late in last year, and this horrible winter - that's making some pretty good time.

Between the Little Dipper being added, the new Glow in the Park Parade, and the just announced Magiquest attraction, this looks to be a pretty great year for the park!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A Blast From The Past - The Gravity Group

While we're not going to far back in time, we are showcasing a very important event in the recent history of wooden roller coasters. In 2004, construction began on an interesting woodie located at Mt Olympus in the Wisconsin Dells. Hades was the first coaster built that was designed by a group of guys from Cincinnati under their new moniker, The Gravity Group!

With five coasters (and counting) in their arsenal and a new state of the art coaster car ready to roll this year, The Gravity Group has already achieved significant firsts. They were the first design team to use ninety degrees turns and two way tunnels on their layouts

The 2004 Gravity Group IAAPA postcard gave a sneak peek of Hades construction along with a catchy slogan

And, they were also giving away coasters!

In 2005 TGG postcard showed off the finished, awarding product. Winning the Golden Ticket for the best new ride of 2005, Hades continues the creative use of tunnels at Mt Olympus.

The next year at IAAPA, Hades had to share the limelight with The Gravity Groups 2006 creation. Raising up out of the hills of Southern Indiana, Voyage had coaster lovers making a pilgrimage to the new Thanksgiving section at Holiday World.

Both coasters lay claim to world records and demonstrate the companies willingness to push the limits of wooden coaster design.

With rides like Hades, Voyage, Ravine Flyer II, Boardwalk Bullet, Fireball and the recently announced Quassy coaster the future of wild wooden coasters and the Gravity Group looks very bright.

Six Flags Great America Announces Magiquest

Six Flags Great America, Gurnee, IL, has announced that they will bring Magiquest to the park this coming season.

If you haven't heard of Magiquest before it's described as a live, interactive game where guests use a wireless magic wand to explore an 8,000 sq. ft. themed fantasyland, exploring, interacting, and solving puzzles along the way.

Guests at a similar Magiquest location

The adventures located inside the attraction are filled with puzzles that are sure to stimulate the minds of players, as well as induce teamwork. The magic wands that are carried have the capability to unlock some 80 special effects along the way.

The storyline of the attraction is quite basic, defeat the Dragon and save the Princess, but there's plenty of pixies and other characters along the way to help out. These attractions have been a big hit at several locations already, and have a very promising future in the industry.

The new Magiquest will open in the County Fair section of Six Flags Great America this Spring. For more information on Magiquest, see their official website.

Worlds of Fun Announces Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights

Worlds of Fun has announced a new nighttime entertainment offering for the park's 2010 season: Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights.

The $1 million investment will feature some 2 million LED lights strung up over large parts of the Africa and Europa sections of the park. Guests will stroll through the canopy of lights and see inflatable Peanuts characters, along with live entertainers and plenty of themed music.

Similar in concept to the experience found at sister park Cedar Point, the display will be separated into five sections, all with a theme unique to the park. All sections will be some variant of summer-time fun, as baseball, catching fireflies, and roasting marshmallows are among the activities included.

Snoopy's Hot Summer Lights is being designed by RWS and Associates, and will officially debut on July 4th. The park opens for the year on April 17th.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Sabrina's Brochure Spotlight: Six Flags Over Mid-America 1993

Bugs was busting out the confetti in 1993, and he didn't need a 50th anniversary celebration to do it. This park did, however, need a 25th anniversary to prompt a name change from "Six Flags Mid-America" to "Six Flags St. Louis", and that wouldn't happen for another few years. Regardless of moniker, Six Flags' third park had blossomed into a well-rounded destination for "mid-Americans" seeking family fun by the '90s.

Wait, you mean to tell me that the whole "family friendly" spiel did not originate with the current Six Flags management team? As a matter of fact, it didn't. Today's Six Flags is merely returning to its roots, which include not only a family orientation, but some pretty unique rides as well. A perfect example is the Rush Street Flyer (bottom middle photo), a Chance Falling Star that was themed to resemble a historic trolley car from old Chicago. Appropriately, it's located in the park's "Illinois" themed area.

Long before the Boss and Evil Knievel, there was the Screamin' Eagle, Six Flags Over Mid-America's original woodie. It was one of four coasters at the park in 1993, and this collection was complemented by a wide variety of other rides and attractions as pictured here. A special treat was also made available to children during this time--an opportunity to have a meal with the wascally wabbit himself.

Ah, the paradox of good enjoyable to read, yet so difficult to scan. But I made a point of scanning the little flap attached to the bottom of this spread due to the Disneyland reference, as it is another comparison that's been resurrected by Six Flags in recent years.

With all that Six Flags Over Mid-America had to offer in 1993, Bugs would like to know why the heck you would even consider paying that silly old Mouse a visit. This brochure does a great job of showcasing many of those features, providing both detailed text descriptions and some wonderful photos. The aerial shot in the upper right-hand corner is an especially nice touch.

But this park is about more than rides and games. Featured prominently to the left of that gorgeous aerial shot is the Multi-Million Dollar Entertainment Series which made its debut in 1993. Among the new shows was a nightly fireworks and laser extravaganza called "Batman Nights". Little did guests know that in a couple short years, they would also have a thrilling new ride themed after the Caped would nearly every other Six Flags park!

This was also the year that Six Flags Over Mid-America's Halloween Fright Nights celebration morphed into Fright Fest, which featured treats for kids and tricks for older, more bloodthirsty guests.

The new Fright Fest event made for some late October evenings at the park, which is always appreciated by industry enthusiasts and Halloween enthusiasts alike. It was the beginning of yet another rich tradition at Six Flags Over Mid-America, and one which I hope to experience in person some day.

The St. Louis location was one of seven Six Flags properties in 1993. So if you did happen to defy Bugs and "go anywhere else", at least you had six other options which would have been pleasing in his eyes!

The Return of the Captain

Disneyland officially relaunched Captain EO yesterday to throngs of fans at the Anaheim, CA, theme park. The 3-D film, which originally debuted in 1986, is currently showing as a 'tribute' at Disneyland only. Captain EO at one time could be seen in parks in California, Florida, Paris, and Tokyo, but as of now only the California property has brought it back.

The 17 minute show will play at the park as long as it remains popular, according to Disney officials. For a neat video showing off the excitement surrounding the film's opening day, check out the Disney Parks Blog.

Holy Halfpipe!

© 2010 DLRP_bopazot

I knew that the RC Racer attraction in the new Toy Story Playland at Disney Studios Paris would be an Intamin halfpipe coaster style attraction, but I guess I didn't think it'd be so... orange? These photos of the ride being constructed on Mice Chat from user DLRP_bopazot really give you a great idea how the ride will stand out at the park.

Disneyland Resort Paris also released this nice concept art for all of the Toy Story Playland area just recently, which WDS Fans has uploaded:

I still can't say that I think this area really 'fits' with the latest round of Disney quality attractions being built, but at least it gives this small park more attractions and ride capacity.

Keeping Up With The Cams

As our off-season (mercifully) creeps toward an end, I've been keeping track of several of the large projects going on at various parks this year via webcams. You probably have, too, but just in case let's review some of them.

Intimidator 305 at Kings Dominion is standing tall over the Virginia countryside. They've been performing the pull through with a couple of the ride's trains - so full ride testing should be starting soon!

Up in the snowy North La Ronde is currently progressing with vertical construction of their still unnamed Vekoma SLC coaster. Even with all that snow they're making headway!

Shoot the Rapids, Cedar Point's new flume style attraction, has completed both of the ride's lifts and drops. That first hill is taller than I imagined!

The other Intimidator, this one at Carowinds, has already been testing all three trains. They've also got the ride's entrance, station, and queue looking pretty finished as well! And check out that shiny new paint job on the Flying Ace Aerial Chase!

Anyone know of any other good webcam views I've left out?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Joris En De Draak Update from Efteling

Efteling released this photo of their new dueling wooden coasters, Joris En De Draak (George and the Dragon) earlier this month after the rides reached their highest point.

The Great Coasters International designed rides now stand 72 ft. tall, and replace the park's former wooden ride, Pegasus.

For more recent photos of construction, as well as a video, check out this thread. The new attraction is scheduled to open this summer at Efteling.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Aerial Antics: Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

I've been to Southern California a few times, but never Northern California. If I had, I'd probably have visited this week's Aerial Antics park, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. So many trips to plan! So many lotteries to win!

I think it's pretty awesome to have a coaster shoot right over the entrance plaza of a park - but Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has a really weird main gate area. It's surrounded by park on, well, really four sides because part of Medusa sticks out oddly. Wouldn't it have made sense to move it out further at some point and use that area for more park? Just sayin'.

The coaster shown here is half of Vertical Velocity, the uniquely modified Intamin Impulse ride. When it was built it was taller than allowed by the city, and eventually had to be modified. That meant taking a vertical tower and making it at a 45 degree angle, which makes the ride a true one-of-a-kind.

Part of the 'new era' of Six Flags parks includes Thomas Town, which was added to Discovery Kingdom a few years ago. All aboard!

Here is a great example of 'old' Six Flags - a huge, custom and expensive ride sitting in the middle of a former parking lot where the paving wasn't even removed. Medusa is a B&M floorless ride, the only one to feature a "sea serpent" double inversion. It's a very impressive looking ride, it's always just looked awkward in its location at the park.

The majority of the park is covered in beautiful trees and foliage, and features a wide variety of other coasters and flat rides. The park's Boomerang wasn't always those colors, though I must admit I think they suit it well.

It wouldn't be fair to cover this park and ignore its history as a marine life park, I mean heck it was originally known as Marine World! Not only can you go on fast rides here, you can relax and take in some of the numerous animal exhibits the park offers. Above we see two of the sea life theaters, just a couple of many such facilities around the park.

We'll wrap up our tour with this shot of the park's only wooden coaster, Roar, and the park's latest scream machine, Tony Hawk's Big Spin.

No wait there's more! Can you guys name what two coasters can be seen here in the park's lot? Leave a comment!

If you are interested in seeing Bing's aerials of the park, click here.

Battle For Kentucky Kingdom's Rides Begins

Kentucky Fair officials have filed a lawsuit against Six Flags in order to keep them from taking rides from the property, and Six Flags has filed a law suit against the Fair Board saying the rides are theirs and they can take what they want.

I guess we all should have seen this one coming, but with the first mediation in the suit scheduled for April 14th, don't look for much to be taken from the park any time too soon. It's a shame that the park closed, and it's going to be an even bigger shame for it to sit empty a long time while everyone sues everyone else!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Amusing Ads Archive - Morgan 1997

Morgan had the need for speed, and if you were one of several Cedar Fair parks in the mid to late '90s that was a really good thing. That was the period when Cedar Fair contracted with Morgan for three large hypercoasters, first Wild Thing at Valleyfair!, then Steel Force at Dorney Park, and finally Mamba at Worlds of Fun.

Each ride changed the landscape of their respective park like no ride had before, and for some really began a new era in attendance and revenues. Morgan went on to build the record smashing Steel Dragon 2000 in Japan, pushing the heights of coasters to over 300 ft.

The company itself eventually merged with Chance, and is now known as Chance Morgan. They haven't built many coasters since, but still have a full catalogue of them on their website. Just look at some of those never built hyper coaster ideas they have!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Weekly Rewind 2.20.10

Magic Springs has announced that live shows will be a part of the park's 2010 season for the first time. The expanded live entertainment offering will include a show named "Bob the Builder - Live at Magic Springs." Anyone interested in auditioning may get those details here.

The L.A. Times' Funland Blog has concluded their poll of the top U.S. wooden and steel coasters. After tons of votes, and some fun campaigning by the parks, you can see the results here.

Adding to the list of amusement and theme parks that have Google Street Views available is Hershey Park. You can take a spin around the park and see all that makes up this chocolate lover's paradise here.

Wild Adventures has finally announced the names of the new rides at the park this year, and has used local High School mascots as inspiration. The family coaster will be named the Viking Voyage, the scrambler is the Whirling Wildcats, and the flyer ride Falcon Flyers. They've also planted over 400 trees and removed 350 tons of concrete to make the park greener, and added a large interactive water fountain.

The more I see of these themed splash battle type rides, the more I want one at a park closer to me. They look like fun, and if done well they really add character to a park. Silver Dollar City's Splash Battle was recently filled up, and with its theming and paint applied is really starting to shine. I must make a pilgrimage to that neck of the woods - sooner than later!

Spring can't be that far off when new park maps start popping up on the net. Recently California's Great America and Kings Dominion added their 2010 additions for our eyes. Looks like CGA (and rumor says other Cedar Fair parks, too) will have a Rock Band Live show this year.

The large water park expansion at Nashville Shores is well underway, as seen in this news video. The new attractions will consist of a large lazy river and wave pool. Crews have been dealing with this wintry weather even in Nashville, but plans are still for the rides to be ready for this summer.

S&S Worldwide Inc has announced plans for a third installment of their 4-D coaster, this time to Dinosaur Park in China. While no layout or exact plans were revealed, the ride is said to stand 250 ft. tall, and hit speeds of 80 m.p.h. It is scheduled to open in 2011.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Six Flags New England 2010 Improvements

Six Flags New England has lined up a selection of new attractions, entertainment, and in park improvements for the 2010 season.

The main new attraction will be in the park's Hurricane Harbor water park, where Mr. Six's Splash Island will debut. The 16,000 square foot play area will feature a covered pint sized wave pool, and an interactive 150 ft. long lazy river.

The park already had a junior size wave pool, so I'm leaning toward this being a refurbishment of that one, formerly known as Monsoon Lagoon. The lazy river sounds new, and will feature plenty of interactive elements along the way such as tipping coconuts and water curtains.

The section will also contain 10 new luxury cabanas that parents can relax in while the kids party with Mr. Six.

Other improvements will take place at the park as well, such as a brand new Johnny Rockets location in Hurricane Harbor. 2010 will also mark the return of the Glow in the Park Parade to Six Flags New England. The nighttime spectacular will contain new floats that were not at the park when it previously ran there.

For more information on what's new check out the park's official website.

Snoopy Arrives at Kings Island

I just hope he's not cold out there! Warmer days are coming Snoopy, we promise. Kings Island starts it's 2010 season on April 17th.

Darien Lake Proposes $7 Million Water Park Expansion

Darien Lake recently proposed a new $7 million water park expansion to the Genesee County Planning Board, which recommended approval of the project.

The additions would consist of a new lazy river, a FlowRider surfing attraction, and a 50 ft. high "Mach 6" water slide. It's not clear from the article, but either the expansion would be called Pirates Cove or the entire water park would be renamed that.

If approved at the next round of local hearings, and if the park moves forward with it, the new area will take up a portion of the existing parking lot and be designed by Aquatic Development Group. No date was mentioned for the area to open, though a 2011 debut would make sense to me.