Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Scott and Carol Present - Son of Beast Destruction

It seem like only last year when we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower at Kings Island to take some before pictures of Son of Beast construction.

The first tunnel of Adventure Express is at the base of Son of Beast and the final lift tunnel for Adventure Express is in the lower right of the photo. 

The crane has knocked down most of the "Rose Bowl," the nickname given to the large helix before the loop

The pullout of the first drop on the right and the return helix after the loop is on the left. The pullout led into the "Rose bowl" helix. You can see some of the many thousand of footers still in the ground.

The last part standing of the first helix. The trains traversed the inside track first and then outside before the loop. In the original configuration there was a kicker wheel before the loop because the trains were supposedly able to stop there in case of block violations. Since there was no way to safely evacuate guests from that height, Son of Beast only operated in 2 train mode with the second train stopped on the ready track outside the station.

Not much care is taken in destroying the coaster

A pile of debris. Currently pieces of wood marked with a placque and bolts are being marketed by Kings Island. There should be enough to go around.

This was the turn after the 50.1 ft first drop out of the station leading to the lift hill. On Son of Beast the onride photo was taken as the train climbed the lift hill.

The lift hill with the Eiffel Tower in the back ground from the Kings High School stadium. By next spring you will see Windseeker on the left and Diamondback's lift hill framed between the two attractions. For many reasons, this grand experiment failed, but hopefully much was learned from its troubled life. It was enjoyable watching it being built and sad witnessing its destruction.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Aerial Antics: Hersheypark's Skyrush

While there are no Bird's Eye or 45 Degree views yet of Hersheypark's blockbuster 2012 coaster, Skyrush, I did notice that Google has updated their overhead images.

It was last April that some supposed plans for the ride surfaced on these inter-webs we love so much, and from those I decided to play around and see if I couldn't come up with how the ride might fit into the Comet Hollow section of the park.

Here's what I made:

The purple was just to make the prints stand out over the image of the park.  It wasn't perfect, but I must give myself a bit of a pat on the back because here is how the ride turned out:

© Google
It is still pretty amazing to think of how they had to squish the ride into the park, yet I think a part of that led to the ride's above average intensity level.  If you want a tall ride and you have a small space for it, things are likely to get pretty wild!

If you look real close you can even see a train zooming around the track!

Here is a link to Google's aerials of Hersheypark, if you like.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

From The Vault: Six Flags St. Louis 1997 Brochure + Press Release

Six Flags St. Louis had big news for the park's 1997 season, they would be premiering a huge new launched coaster, one of the first of its kind.  Exciting news, but a pretty disappointing reality followed for the park that year.

The new ride was Mr. Freeze, the Coolest Coaster on the Planet.  The ride utilized a LIM launch to get the trains blasting out of the station at 70 miles per hour.  Those LIMs proved to give the park a bit of difficulty, however, and in the end Mr. Freeze ended up being the park's big 1998 attraction.

But the ride sure did have some nice concept art!  The ride has a 218 foot tower that the trains head up, until gravity slows them to a stop.  Then they fall backwards and repeat the course backwards.  It is weird to write "trains" when speaking of a shuttle coaster, but due to a track switching mechanism in the station Mr. Freeze manages to run two trains at once.

Wait!  Unfold one more sleeve of this brochure and there's even more to that concept art!  The ride was placed in DC Comics Plaza, which if memory serves correctly was created as a small area around the ride's entrance.  Also note that the entire coaster was built on the island created by the park's river rapids ride.  Cool.

It is good that since Mr. Freeze was a flop in 1997 that the park already had a big selection of rides and attractions in existence.  I like the continued comic book style used here, consistency is our friend in life. 

I miss some of the types of things you used to find at Six Flags parks - take for instance the stunt show it looks like they had at the Sherwood Forest Theater.  Pretty hard to find a good stunt show at any Six Flags parks these days.  There's a bit of a focus on theme present in the brochure that's very hit or miss at the park these days also.

Okay.  Now I think the use of the concept are is overkill.  Three times in one brochure is really hammering it home!  But yes, the park did have plenty of other rides to keep you busy while you check in to see if Mr. Freeze is running.

And one last related Vault item, here is the park's press release regarding the new ride:

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gold Striker Update From California's Great America

© California's Great America
We haven't forgotten about you, Gold Striker!  The new GCI wooden roller coaster at California's Great America is steadily making headway, with a significant portion of the ride now standing.

If you check out some recent photos taken inside the park, all that progress can be seen.  California's Great America has started to build the ride's turn which pokes out at the adjacent midway, and has closed the observation tower that the lift hill and first drop will wrap around.  This way, they can start to pour footers in the area, which will be the tallest part of the ride.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Scott And Carol Present - Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood

Kennywood once again presents Phantom Fright Nights, a PG-13 recommended  celebration of all things Halloween and scary.

For safe passage, we joined with Marie Ruby to show off her creation. She is the creative force behind the entire Phantom Fright Nights event. She wasted no time establishing with the monster who was in charge.

Our in depth look was in Mortem's Manor, the most popular haunted attraction nearly every year. Totally designed in house, it is wonderfully spooky and beautiful maze.

Look at those wonderful candlesticks. They were handmade by one of the makeup artists. It's good they are bolted down, because they are one of the best accent decorations we have seen this year.

This chandelier shows the detail that Kennywood produces in their attractions. There are 30 live actors in Mortem's Manor and thy make extensive use of "scare bays" to startle guest with a bang and their sudden appearance.

Sitting on the throne in the Manor, he has a special surprise for guest who interupt him. Don't say we didn't warn you.

The actors costumes and make-up are second to none, and they really enjoy their work.

In case you didn't already know, Kennywood Park is a National Landmark by itself and has some separate rides inside that are also National Landmarks.

This is the actual theming for Gory Park. It was amusing to see park employees resisting the urge to pick up the trash as they walked by, you could watch them pause and head towards a piece on the ground, and then shake their heads and walk on by.

Two actors who were residing in Gory Park. They spent more time posing for pictures with guests than they did scaring anybody. They was a line waiting for them everytime we passed by.

Even the signage is replaced for the season. The only "non-scare" zones in the entire park are located by the restrooms. Many guests hung out there for a while to gather more courage to once again venture forth into the fog.

A prime example of the wonderful lighting used throughout Phantom Fright Nights to transform the entire park.

The Haunted Ark was decked out with lots of UV sensitive pictures and the traditional scenes were covered over. A scattering of pirate fossils distracted guests while live pirates seemingly appeared from nowhere, eliciting screams from unwary guests. Watch out for the air cannon, and no I wasn't drunk, it's hard to walk on the rolling deck.

Some more of the general park theming. Fog, lights, and monsters everywhere. It was the best overall atmosphere we experienced the entire Halloween season. Well done Kennywood!

Where else but in Death Valley Ghost Town can you find a fossilized horse and rider?

The fog drifts through the carousel, itself one of the National Landmarks of Kennywood Park.

Villa of the Vampire seemed to have the best actors the night we attended. The corridor of skeletons, complete with live actors mixed in was frightful, and the dining table scene was, well, just wrong. Too many live actors in there for flash photography, if you dare to visit, you'll understand.

Actors are everywhere throughout Kennywood. You never know who is around the next turn in the path but if you dare to keep moving forward you are bound to find out.

Some of the statues in the Kennyville Cemetery are actually live actors. They have many places to hide amongst the plentiful tombstones and extensively themed mausoleums. The greeter has wonderful make-up and performed a extensive pre-show that incorporated all the required safety regulations.

Do you see the actors in this picture between the tombstones? We didn't either until he/she moved, and if Carol wasn't wearing her camera on the strap, she could have dropped it. Instead of just shining it into your eyes, the lighting is used to create shadows for the actors to hide in, a very effective technique.

This is your first and last view of Phantom Fright Nights at Kennywood. A touch of the macabre in front of the classic entrance, a sobering reminder of dark things to come. A big thank you to Jeff and Marie, along with what seemed like hundreds of actors who helped bring you this report. As you can see, we saved the best for last this year, but you still have one more weekend to enjoy it for yourself if you live close enough to Pittsburgh.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Cedar Fair Names New Official Beverage Sponsor

Coke fans rejoice!  Cedar Fair has announced that Coke will be the official beverage sponsor of the entire chain of parks.

Technically the "official refreshment beverage" will be Coke starting in January of 2013 - and this is no short term deal, as the two companies have agreed upon a 10 year contract.

"Coca-Cola beverages will be made available to park guests throughout Cedar Fair's regionally dispersed network, which encompasses 11 amusement parks, 6 waterparks and 5 hotels, including Cedar Point.  Guests will have the opportunity to purchase the beverages at a broad array of venues throughout the parks, including restaurants, mobile carts and vending areas.  Products will include Coca-Cola®, Diet Coke®, Sprite®, Coca-Cola Zero™, PowerAde® and Dasani® bottled water, along with energy drinks, teas and juices."

The agreement will also be leveraged through marketing campaigns, helping to spread the word of the Cedar Fair properties via marketing initiatives such as tv, radio, the internet, movie theaters, and social media.

With the switch of Cedar Fair from Pepsi to Coke I do believe that basically the greater theme park world of North America now belongs to Coke.  Six Flags, SeaWorld Parks, Disney, Universal - they're all Coke as well.  Bring on the Freestyle machines!

Coast Rider Coming to Cedar Fair?

Cedar Fair has trademarked the name Coast Rider for a new amusement park ride.  It's weird how it rhymes with Ghost Rider so much, at least if this ride is destined to be built at Knott's Berry Farm.

We know that Knott's has something up its sleeve for next year, with the recent removal of Perilous Plunge.  They've been quiet about what their plans are, but many of us are hoping they break the news after their Halloween season concludes.

But if Coast Rider is for Knott's, will it purposely be a play on Ghost Rider, just like a Boardwalk version of the wooden ride?  Strange.  I look forward to the official word from Knott's.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Iron Transformation Has to Start Somewhere

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Baby steps... and this first baby step that Six Flags Fiesta Texas took is quite an important one.  The first pieces of new track are in place for the Iron Rattler, the totally transformed new-for-2013 version of the park's famous Rattler wooden coaster.

Seen above in an image released by the park today, the new track is quite low to the ground and located up where the formed triple helix was once located.  Perhaps a bit more red-orange than just the orange color seen in the promotional video, the new track will add a punch of color to the quarry walls as it plunges down, over, and even through them.

When completed next year, the Iron Rattler will feature a 171 foot first drop and send trains soaring along at an impressive 70 miles per hour - and also include a complete barrel roll.

Lake Winnepesaukah Building Water Park for 2013

Tennessee's Lake Winnepesaukah shared some exciting news today when they revealed plans to add an all new water park section for the Summer 2013 season.  Located on the west side of the park near the Cannon Ball wooden roller coaster, the five acre water park will open with a large selection of rides and attractions and represent a multi-million dollar investment in the property.
Click image for a much larger version
“We have looked for the right opportunity to expand Lake Winnie and give our guests even more reasons to come back and more ways to have fun,” said Talley Green, Lake Winnepesauhak's Public Relations Director. “Within a 250 mile radius our customer base continues to increase, enhancing tourism in the Chattanooga area. After researching various water parks for a number of years, we are thrilled by the plans that have been developed by our award-winning team of designers.”

The new water park will be a part of the park's general admission fee, and will be accessible via the amusement park's main gates.   Next Summer guests will find a lazy river, wave lagoon, flume body slides, enclosed tube slides, a children's splash park, and even side-by-side racing slides waiting for them when they visit.

The overall park will contain retail shops, concessions, and a full changing facility along with both covered and uncovered lounging spaces.  The water park is being designed by architect Christopher M. Jones of Florida, and Aquatic Development Group out of New York.

Congratulations to the park for such an impressive expansion!  I would bet the water park will be a smash success during the hot Tennessee summers.