Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Detailed Look at Mr. Hart's Plan for Kentucky Kingdom

Alright, I'm breaking my self-imposed ban on covering the soap opera that is Kentucky Kingdom because of one thing:  the full response by the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company (KKRC) to the State's RPF for operation of the park.

The company has uploaded the file onto their website, and it gives a very detailed look at what they have in store for the park, if they're allowed to.  And that is a huge, gigantic if, if there ever were one.

But whether it happens or not, it's still fun to see just what might be, if for no other reason than to mourn it if it never comes to fruition.

The park would have a May 2014 reopening, which makes sense as there's no way to get the place back up and running for next season.  An initial investment of $50 million would be used to reopen the park, fix it, bring all the park's rides back online except for one (more on that in a minute), greatly expand the water park and add a few smaller rides.

© KKRC 2012
It sounds like the KKRC's plan may be the only one submitted, and while there's a lot more to reopening the park than rides, that's our focus here.  From the report, here is a synopsis of the ride plan:

© KKRC 2012
•    Reopen the two intertwined wooden coasters (Twisted Twins) and the giant spill ride (Mile High Falls) that Six Flags closed.

•    Replace the rides that Six Flags removed from the park (the spectacular steel stand-up coaster Chang, the family Road Runner coaster, and the Superman Tower of Power giant drop ride) with rides of equal or greater value.

•    Restore all of the existing rides, with the exception of the shuttle loop coaster (Greezed Lightnin’), which is prohibitively costly to repair.

•    Dramatically increase the size of the water park, adding many new attractions, including three new slide towers with a total of 18 body, tube, and raft slides, as well as an 1,800-foot-long adventure river.

Yes, that's right, unfortunately even if the park reopens there is no hope for Greezed Lightnin'.  Bummer.  But, the park will work right away to open a replacement for Chang in 2015:

"The first order of business is to find a suitable replacement for Chang. Working with the industry’s leading supplier of cutting-edge roller coasters, KKRC is planning a spectacular new coaster that combines the best features of both Chang and the Hellevator. The price tag for the new coaster (including installation) will be $15 million. It will be the first new coaster introduced at Kentucky Kingdom in more than a decade and is expected to garner a great deal of attention in the media, both locally and nationally."

Additionally, the ride would come from B&M:

"This was proven in 1997, when the former Kentucky Kingdom (before its sale to Six Flags) unveiled Chang, the tallest stand-up steel roller coaster in the world at the time and built by one of the top roller coaster manufacturers in the world, Bolliger & Mabillard of Switzerland. (This is the same manufacturer that will supply the new coaster planned for installation at Kentucky Kingdom in 2015.)"

Hmm, sounds like an interesting ride.  I have to wonder what exactly they have up their sleeves.  A freefall and a coaster combination?  Perhaps one of B&M's vertical dive rides, like Griffon and SheiKra?  The only other hint of the ride can be seen in the layout of the new park:

© KKRC 2012
That's the new coaster in red.  Not much track to it, but it's really hard to tell exactly what's going on there.  On the left is the layout of the large water park expansion, sitting where about half of Chang was. 

As for existing rides to be brought back online, it'll be an expensive operation.  Twisted Twins will need $3.5 million for new track and trains, Mile High Falls and T2 both need heavy work, while Thunder Run seems to need the least repairs.

New rides listed are a Flying Scooters, a 135 foot tall swing ride, and a family wooden roller coaster.  The wooden ride isn't mentioned much in the report, but it is shown on the map of the new park:

© KKRC 2012
Not a big ride, but that doesn't mean anything as far as how much fun it could be.  Just think of the Wooden Warrior at Quassy - I'd stand in line for that over a great many larger wooden rides.

When all is said and done the park will have to spend over $10 million to get existing rides back in operation, and another $40 million on the new rides and large water park expansion.  After this initial investment the operators promise to invest at least $2.5 million each year to keep things moving.

So will this plan ever see the light of day?  I'm staying out of that part of this, but I do with the KKRC the best of luck in their plans.