Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Clementon Park Announces Big Wave Bay

New Jersey's Clementon Park and Splash World has announced the largest expansion in the history of their water park, Big Wave Bay.

The massive new wave pool is set to debut this Memorial Day weekend when the amusement park opens for its 105th consecutive year.  Clementon Park was purchased by an investment group led by former Six Flags executives Kieran Burke and Gary Story in late 2011.  This will mark the first large investment the team has added to the park under their ownership.

Big Wave Bay will cover 23,000 square feet and provide rolling waves that guests are sure to enjoy.  The expansion also includes new restrooms, changing rooms, and ten 20 foot shade structures for guest comfort.  Two already popular food locations will be renovated and expanded to provide better service and new menu options, and a Tiki Bar will set up shop to provide adults beverages along with a big screen television.

Big Wave Bay logo and art courtesy Clementon Park

“The addition of Big Wave Bay marks the fifth, and most sensational, major attraction introduced at Clementon Park and Splash World in the last five years,” said David Dorman, the Park’s General Manager. “The changes have been truly transformational. If a family has not been here before, or not visited in a while, they will be wowed by improvements.”

Another perk for guests will be a new set of cabanas available for rent, to be set up on the top of the Cove Restaurant, providing views of both Big Wave Bay and Lake Clementon.

Big Wave Bay will be provided by Aquatic Development Group.  It will be located in the center of the park, between Laguna Kahuna and the Funnel Cake Factory.  The park's Samba Tower and Kite Flyer will be relocated as part of the expansion.

This sounds like a perfect addition for Clementon Lake, and hopefully just the start of even more expansions under their new ownership.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Views of Six Flags Great Adventure's 2012 Progress

© 2012 Flyin Phil

I recently posted about all the changes that are taking place at Six Flags Great Adventure in 2012, and now thanks to Flyin Phil we get to see some of them!

Phil has posted a new update of aerial shots taken of the park, where we get to see some of the construction going on in Adventure Alley, the park's new area that will contain four rides.  Looks like mostly foundation work is going on at this point, but I have a feeling the new rides will go up quick once they are started.

Head over to Flyin Phil's blog to check out the series of photographs.

More on Frontier City's Wild West Water Works

© WhiteWater West

In addition to the recent announcement of Frontier City's Wild West Water Works, which included some neat concept art, WhiteWater West, manufacturer of the attraction, is sharing some news as well.

The custom themed AquaPlay RainFortress will be the largest attraction of its class in Oklahoma when it opens.  "When we decided to expand with the new attraction, we chose WhiteWater to conceptually design and manufacture Wild West Water Works because we knew their team would bring our ideas to life," states Stephen Ball, Frontier City's General Manager.

Theming elements on the tower will include items such as a saloon and windmill, all under the general theme of the great American wild west.  The attraction will come in at a height of 52 feet, featuring multiple levels of play, a 1,000 gallon tipping bucket themed as a barrel, 200 interactive elements, and 8 water slides.

Per the park's official website, proper swimwear will be required to take part in the fun, so bring your bathing suits!

Invertigo... no Stinger... no, Invertigo?

© Kings Island

The painting of Invertigo at Kings Islands is just about compete and the ride now looks quite Stinger-ish.  Yes, the colors are the exact same, making the rides, which are already clones of each other, even more similar!  The final step could be changing Invertigo's name.

Here is Stinger for comparison.  All kidding aside I'm really glad that Cedar Fair is still spending the bucks to paint so many rides at all the parks each off-season.  Keeps them looking shiny and new!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Aerial Antics: Dollywood and Holiday World

While there are no bird's eye views available, two parks that have long been missing from our Aerial Antics series recently received some updated maps on Bing which, as they say, is better than nothing.

First up - Dollywood.  The park that's set among the Smokey Mountains has always had some fuzzy, poor quality aerials available, alas no longer is this the case.

Plus, they're rather recent!  Here we see the large hill that the park circles around with some blue track snaking its way across it.  Yes, that's Wild Eagle going up!  The lift, drop, and first two or so inversions were in place when this was taken.

How beautiful is Thunderhead from the sky?  The twisted, terrain hugging wooden coaster was added to the park in 2004 by Great Coasters International.

So much of the park is covered in trees that there's not all that much to see, which from a visitors point of view is fantastic news.  However, one of the more recently renovated areas is the Country Fair, which features plenty of spinning rides for all ages.  The park's amazing train ride circles the area, almost keeping guard of the park.

Here's a link to the aerials of the park on Bing.

Now, Holiday World.  The last aerial I had seen was black and white, and quite out-dated.  Now, like Dollywood, we still lack bird's eye views, but have some very updated images to play with.

Here is the ride that got all of our attention back in 1995 when it opened, The Raven.  The coaster winds through the trees, pokes out to fly over the lake, then dives back in for the finale.  It also serves as a rather nice welcome sign as guests park!

Splashin' Safari has become one of the most popular water parks around, and here we see their original water coaster, Wildebeest, being joined by a new friend.  The large construction area to the right of the ride is for Mammoth, which will steal the record for world's longest water coaster when it opens this year.

You guys may be wondering what in the world this image is of, but if you look for a minute you'll understand why I had to grab so much real estate.  That's because, well, the Voyage covers a lot of real estate!  The 6,642 feet of track takes guest from inside park proper all the way out into the woods on one of the wildest rides around today.

Here is a link to the aerials of Holiday World on Bing.  Happy flying!

A Goliath Nears Completion

© Six Flags New England

The Goliath has risen at Six Flags New England, and the park's skyline will forever be changed.  In a set of photos just recently posted by the park the nearly completed ride is being shown off.  And rightfully so, Goliath's impressive size simply can't go unnoticed.

These photos also nicely show us how the ride is fitting into the section of the park that it will call home.  Needless to say the ride's cobra roll will be easily visible from many sections of the park, including the main street entrance area.

Curiously, it should also be noted that the one tower that's just about complete has been painted all green, both track and support structure. 

A Park Concept Art Gold Mine

If you have some time you want to see disappear, then here's the perfect link for you to loose yourself in for a while.  It is the Flickr account of Robin Hall, and while I don't know much of his specific history it's pretty clear that he's spent a lot of time in the industry designing some of our favorite rides and attractions.

There's really a gold mine of content hidden among his many photo sets.  For instance, are you curious to see what an early version of Cedar Point's Camp Snoopy might have looked like?

Marine World, now Six Flags Discovery Kingdom once had some big plans proposed.  A Jungle Cruise, new entrance, detailed master plan, new rides, simulator and more!  The Ghost Ship haunted house attraction is especially interesting, along with the proposed Doom coaster.

Another gallery covers the drawings for a park named Knott's Landing in Sacramento.  I had never heard about this one until now!

The amount of content from Knott's Berry Farm is amazing.  Everything from GhostRider plans to a slew of never built attractions are pictured. I could go on and on about some of the concepts that were drawn up, but the photos speak better for themselves. Be sure not to miss the master plan for the resort that was created.

In addition, there's even some Camp Snoopy at Mall of America, Magic Mountain, and Warner Bros. Movie World Madrid work, too!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Look at Cedar Point's Luminosity

Cedar Point recently had an off season tour for Coasterbuzz members which included a nice presentation covering the park's $6 million new nighttime spectacular called Luminosity.

The above images are from this video of the presentation, which also includes some goodies from the park's General Manager, John Hildebrandt.  The show is much more elaborate than I previously imagined, and I'm so happy to see that new company CEO Matt Ouimet's influence is playing out here.

Luminosity will require a total renovation to the Iron Dragon midway, turning it into Celebration Plaza.  The plans for the area can be seen above, but include the removal of the current Iron Dragon queue, replacing it with a gigantic stage.  The entire area looks to have a distinctly non-Cedar Fair look to it.

The show will have 25 live dancers, three drummers, two cirque style performers, live singers, DJs, themed sections, pyro, blasting current tunes, and more.  The plaza will be the hub of the event, but more of the park will be involved.  Millennium Force, the Giant Wheel, and Power Tower are getting new light packages, and the entire midway from the entrance gates to Corkscrew are getting light towers, embedded lights in the concrete, and other festive additions.  It is all about atmosphere.

There's plenty more detail available on the show and changes to the park, you can check them out in the video from user OhioCoasterMan.  For construction photos and other assorted off-season views, check out this link.

I'm pretty excited to see how Luminosity turns out, also because Mr. Ouimet previously said that its debut at Cedar Point is a test of sorts, and if successful this could (will) be rolled out to other parks.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye to Snow White

The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World has announced that the final trips into Snow White's Scary Adventures will take place on May 31st, 2012.  The closure was previously disclosed, but without a solid date.  The attraction is being retired to make way for an indoor meet-and-greet for the Disney Princesses.

Snow White's Scary Adventures opened with the park in October, 1971, and originally took guests through Snow White's story as if they were the character.  In 1994 the ride underwent some major chances to clarify the point of view, but remained one of the darker rides that could be found at the Magic Kingdom.

If you haven't had the chance to experience the attraction, here is a video:

The date for the ride's demise also comes with confirmation that the first new section of New Fantasyland, to be called Storybook Circus, will open in late March.

One half of the new double Dumbo attractions, the Great Goofini and the Fantasyland Railroad station will open at that time.  More of Storybook Circus will open later this year.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Six Flags Great Adventure Preps for 2012

Six Flags Great Adventure is getting ready for a huge 2012 season, one that will be full of new attractions aimed at the entire family.  In a recent news story the park's President, John Fitzgerald, speaks about the plans the park has for this year.

On top of the recently announced mega-slide for Hurricane Harbor, known as King Cobra, the theme park will also have a new section named Adventure Alley.  The park's new star ride is SkyScreamer, a 240 foot swing ride, along with three family attractions.

Bumper cars named Fender Benders, a family spinner named Air Jumbo, and a scrambler aptly named Deja Vu will also populate the new area, which was formerly a rather sparse part of Fantasy Forest.  (check out a recent promo video from the park) The selection of family rides is being well received as something the park needed to focus on before moving on to the next big ride.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kentucky Kingdom to Reopen as Bluegrass Boardwalk in 2013

The former Kentucky Kingdom theme park, once a part of the Six Flags family, quite literally received a new lease on life today when the Kentucky Fair Board approved a new lease with Bluegrass Boardwalk Inc.

Revitalized rides and attractions, alongside new ones, a friendly clean atmosphere, free amenities such as sunscreen and soft drinks, and plenty more are what will greet guests to Bluegrass Boardwalk when the 57 acre amusement and water park opens in 2013.

The team behind the park's revival are several Koch family members, owners of the Holiday World theme park.  At the vote today, Dan Koch, Holiday World President, promised the park's reopening could bring 800 seasonal jobs, as well as 25 full time positions.

Bluegrass Boardwalk will be operated with the similar style and care that has made Holiday World a success on so many levels. “We’re bringing our business model of exceptional safety, cleanliness, friendliness and value for families,” says Natalie Koch.

“We can’t wait to get started!” says Bluegrass Boardwalk’s Dan Koch. “We’ve got a lot of work to do to get the park reopened in just 15 months, but we’ll get it done. We’d like to thank the Fair Board for putting their faith in us and the community at large for their tremendous cheers of support.”

The company will renovate and expand the park using private money, up to $20 million in investments will bring the park up to date.  Possible sales tax incentives could be applied for, but public money will not be utilized in the reopening.

We can be sure that there will be plenty of developments between present and the park's grand opening, but we look forward to the rebirth and transformation of the park!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Paint 'n' Play with Goofy at Tokyo Disneyland

© Tokyo Disney Resort

I'm not sure what to make of this, really.  It is an announcement from Tokyo Disneyland about a new 'attraction' opening at Tokyo Disneyland on August 24th, named Goofy's Paint 'n' Play House.  But what is it?  I'm not totally sure.

"Located in Toontown, Goofy's Paint 'n' Play House lets guests have fun helping Goofy redecorate his room in a unique and toony fashion with what seems like real paint.  Groups of guests work together to colorfully paint a room in Goofy's house using special paint applicators called Toontone Splat Masters.  These tools are easy to use: guests simply aim at the wall or furniture they want to color and activate the applicators."

It looks like 8 people at a time can go in and "paint" the room, using different themes to boot, such as beach and jungle.  Do these Splat Masters really shoot a liquid, or is this a light technology trick of some sort?  I'd lean toward the latter.  I usually look to other use of technologies on a small scale at Disney Parks before they launch a larger application of a specific technology for hints, but I admit I'm lost on this one. 

If anyone knows more feel free to chime in, or I guess we will find out come August!

A Glimpse of Verbolten's Trains

If you guys are as excited to see the highly themed, very cool looking trains that have been created for Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Verbolten, then check out a sneak peek of one that was recently delivered to the park at BGWFans.

As has been announced by the park previously in a video update, the coaster will have five trains, each with its own style and color.  Each of the trains will taken riders deep into the Black Forest on an adventure that's aimed at the whole family.

The park is going to have a hard hat tour of Verbolten on March 1st, so I'm sure we will see plenty of goodies come out after that!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Miracle Strip Opens New Sea Dragon

I have to admit, I love cheering for the new Miracle Strip at Pier Park amusement park.  We've been covering their additions and changes for a while now, and the park recently opened their refurbished Sea Dragon, similar to the original that operated at Miracle Strip park.

This specific ride was purchased in Joplin, MO, and then went through a head to toe update including mechanical systems and paint.  The new Miracle Strip currently has several rides, including a Scrambler, Ferris wheel, Carousel and more - some of which are originals from the park's first incarnation.

The park at one point showed interest in purchasing the Starliner from the closed Cypress Gardens, but hasn't been able to pull it off yet.  Perhaps one day they'll be able to bring that coaster 'home.'

Heide Park Completing Krake Theming

© Heide Park

If you remember last season when Krake, a B&M dive machine, opened in Germany's Heide Park many fans were disappointed that the base of the vertical drop did not contain the elaborate theming that concept art has previously shown.

There were rumblings that the design didn't work out and had to be scratched during construction, but the park has made good on that original art this offseason.

Seen above is a massive crushed ship structure, being pulled down to the depths of the ocean by the Krake's tentacles, that is now waiting for riders at the base of the drop.  The theming quality looks quite elaborate in a series of photos the park has shared, no doubt that this will greatly enhance the ride.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sea World San Diego Manta Update

I love these peppy little update videos that Sea World San Diego has been making during Manta's construction. The latest entry, embedded above, takes a look at the ride's grand entrance area coming together.

This is also our first look at the dive through the bridge that also serves as the entrance to the Manta plaza - looks great!  Sea World also shows off a model of the massive rock work that will be featured as part of the entrance, which is sure to look impressive when complete.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Weekly Rewind 2.19.12

Canada's Wonderland has shared some photos taken from the top of Leviathan's lift.  Take notice of the fact that the Drop Tower, which is really tall, looks tiny.  

Fare thee well Jaws.  Universal Studios Orlando has wasted no time at all in turning the former Jaws attraction into dust.  Check out how sad the sharks look sitting amid rubble!

Micechat's latest In The Parks column has a great interview with the new General Manager of Knott's Berry Farm, Raffi Karprelyan.  Check it out to hear about his plans for the theme park, and the possibility of a new dark ride!

Although it's really a complete copy of the approach of Montu in regard to style of ride, color, and especially theming, I'm still pretty interested in Parc Asterix's Oz'Iris.  Airtimers has some new concept art showing off what the final product will look like.

Have you ever checked out Imagineering Disney?  If not, I'd recommend it for any Disney Park fan.  This recent post takes a hard look at the never built Rhine River Cruise at Epcot Center's Germany Pavilion.  Great stuff.

The amount of new photos being taken of Shambhala at PortAventura is amazing, but I'm not complaining.  The ride will be done before you know it, and be sure to pay attention to the one-of-a-kind turnaround.

Chance Rides recently delivered a brand new C.P. Huntington Locomotive, and refurbished two others, at the Toledo Zoo.  The trains are used on the park's Safari Railroad, and the refurbishments involved a complete disassembly and rebuild, new paint and brass trim.  Lookin' good!

Six Flags has released its 4th quarter earnings - a mix of both the good and bad.  Increased revenues and attendance, but a larger loss for the quarter than in 2010.  Here's some highlights.

Sounds like negotiations between Bluegrass Boardwalk and the Kentucky State Fair Board are going well, if this article is any indication.  Reports are now that the former Kentucky Kingdom could reopen in 2013.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Photo Update: Hersheypark's Skyrush!

A trip to Hershey must include checking in with 'the girls!'

Hersheypark is only a little over an hour from me, but I wanted to wait to check out Skyrush until the ride was almost complete.  That said I was drawn to the land of dairy milk and chocolate in order to see the 200 foot giant they've been building!

Thankfully for fans of the park Skyrush is being built in an area of the park that has a nice path bordering it off property.  While taking photos I saw no less than 4 other folks milling around just observing, and a handful of cars either stop or slow just to look up in awe at the new coaster!  Needless to say, Skyrush is drawing quite a bit of attention from Hershey inhabitants.

Before we get up close and personal with the ride, I wanted to check out the holding area for ride parts - picked pretty clean at this point.  There were only about 10 track pieces still sitting across from the park, and even less supports.

Back at the construction site, I have to admit that seeing the ride in person is equally impressive, if not more so, than seeing the photos online.  Here we see Skyrush's steep 50 degree lift crossing over the Comet, and the 85 degree first plunge heading directly down toward the ground.  The ride does a quick swoop at the base of the drop, coming really close to the ground as it turns.  This part is going to be intense, no doubt on that.

Following the ride's pullout, you're sent flying into a beautiful mess of track that hovers over the creek below.  In this shot you'll cross on the second highest point of the ride, the large camel hill seen stretching right to left across this image.  With its relatively low height and the massive drop before it I foresee plenty of air-time on this element!

You'll then move into a ground-hugging high speed turn, the entrance to which can be seen in the middle of this image on the right and will swoop toward us on the track at the bottom.  This track interacts with another of Skyrush's turnarounds, both of which are still missing a couple pieces of track.  Aside from some track pieces that will be used in the brakes-to-station area these are the only unfinished areas of the coaster.

Up and over the train will head on the large hill seen in this shot.  Again, I'm sure we can all expect that there will be plenty of air on this one just before the trains swoop around another low curve to head back in the opposite direction.

Let's take a brief pause to marvel at the beautiful yellow Intamin track set against a wonderful blue sky.  The ride sticks out in the area like a sore thumb, but in a good way.  A really good way.  The walking path that will go along the ride and creek is going to be an amazing place to take photos and video this Summer.

Alright, after that second low turn the train flies up into this overbank element, where the track turns slightly but banks a bit past vertical at the same time.  We've seen versions of the element on other Intamin rides, and this one should provide equally unique forces as well.

Hopefully I haven't lost you yet on the track segments we're following, after the previous overbank the train will dive down into another low turn around, seen incomplete in one of the images above.  It then hits Skyrush's first small air-time hill, only this one does a quick snap direction change in the middle.  Twisty air-time will ensue I'm sure.

Intamin rides are known for being designed for some crazy air if a park desires it, and the next and final traditional camel back looks like it'll do just that.  A upward swooping turn takes the train up alongside the Comet once more, where the brakes are waiting to slow the train.  A final turn around Comet's station will bring Skyrush back home.

The old and the new!

I doubt I need to blather on about how great Skyrush looks, the photos show this on their own.  2012 is a busy year for new coasters (for which we are grateful) but it already looks like for diehard coaster fans Skyrush has the potential to be at or near the top of the bunch!  I simply cannot wait to take it for a spin.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Turning Tides at California's Great America

Now that the park is a "keeper," California's Great America seems to be gathering much attention inside the Cedar Fair chain of parks.

The cloud of uncertainty that hung over the park for the past two years has lifted, and with it went a feeling of doom and gloom that has been replaced by gallons of fresh paint and rumors of a major new attraction.

As for that paint, well, it seems the park is being spruced up left and right.  Cedar Fair parks have been seeing ride repaints each off season on a regular basis for years now, but CGA was left out of that - until now. 

The Columbia Carousel gets some tlc © California's Great America

This off season both the Flight Deck and Demon coasters are receiving shiny new paint jobs.  Both will retain their previous colors, with Demon black and red, and Flight Deck just a solid black.  Both coasters should really shine once completed, no longer shades of gray and pink.

As seen in the photo above, the park's double-decker Columbia Carousel is also receiving some very detailed new paint.  These projects not only help keep rides in their best shape, they also go a long way for showing customers that the park committed to being around.

But you're all thinking of that rumored major new ride, right?  The Funland Blog is reporting that the GCI wooden coaster that was to open in 2009 has been brought back to life, possibly to open as early as 2013.  The coaster would wrap around the park's observation tower during its first drop, then continue to twist and turn around in a tangled web of track.

Sign me up for a ride if it happens!  Glad to see the park getting some attention.

Scott and Carol Present - A Look at Legoland Florida Part 2

After a bit of a delay, we finally bring you part two of our visit to Legoland Florida, hope it was worth the wait.

Even going through the queue allows for opportunities to burn off youthful energy by spinning the propeller, which can create a slight breeze for the rest of the line.

A standard Vekoma family inverted coaster, the aircraft theming adds a lot to the experience. Surprisingly, no leather flight helmets were available. If they are in the future, you heard it here first!

A nice aerial view, again from Island in the Sky, of the Flying School roller coaster in light blue in the background, and the Test Track roller coaster, darker blue, peeking out behind the trees.

These front seat rider took a while to totally let go on the coaster...

...but before they came back to the station they were enjoying the experience with reckless abandon. This obviously will not be that last coaster they experience together, Dad looks like he needs a few more rides.

The hugely popular Aquazone Wave Racers let you drive, and dodge water blasts all while you are cooling down form the Florida sun. A great combination.

Albert Einstein, the famous physicist, presides over the Imagination Zone.

Some creative minds design buildings and then test them on shaker tables to see how well they perform during simulated earthquakes.

While other build race cars and see whose car is faster.

There still is a water ski show, but now with Lego characters.

Much more difficult than your average jump, the kids seem to cheer louder with the new costumes.

The only Banyan tree in the continental United States still watches over the gardens.

An aerial view of miniland, where you can travel around the world in just 2 hours. Some Florida landmarks, such as the Kennedy Space Visitor Center and the Daytona International Speedway are included, along with Vegas, San Francisco, and international landmarks.

The Mall at Washington DC is one of the more recognizable landmarks.

Here is the view from outside the Island in the Sky. A really great place to watch the water ski shows, especially with the colorful costumes. Legoland Florida is mainly targeted towards families with age 2 to 12 year olds, but there is enough to do for the entire family.

Many thanks to Jackie Wallace and the entire crew at Legoland Florida for their hospitality. We will be back.