Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all you NPN readers!  We're thankful for you, for without you guys we'd be publishing for the endless empty depths of the interwebs!

While I have plenty to be thankful for in my life, I thought it would be fun to take a purely personal look at some things I've been thankful for so far this year, industry related of course.  Here in no specific order is a lighthearted look at what I'm thankful for.

• Skyrush!  Hersheypark's top notch intensity monster gave most coaster - and Intamin - fans something to be thankful for this year!  I'm thankful to have the coaster and Hersheypark so close to me.

• Legoland Florida's successful first season, with the opening of the water park and several small expansions already underway.  Many thought the park was too out of the way to work, and I'm thankful that the opposite has proven true.

• The Magic Kingdom's New Fantasyland.  Whether it was designed to counter Potter or not, the level of quality and detail in the area is something that Florida Disney parks haven't seen in some time, thankfully.

• Verbolten!  We're all still a bit sad about the loss of the Big Bad Wolf, but I'm thankful that the debut of Verbolten has helped ease that pain.  Busch Gardens reimagined the coaster for the current century, and created a family thrill ride that's totally one of a kind.

• Since the announcements were in this year, I'm being sneaky and counting the addition of Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City and Iron Rattler at Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  The extreme wooden hybrid coasters are so highly anticipated I'm not sure I'm looking more forward to them or today's big turkey meal!

• I have acknowledge the 40th anniversary of The Haunt at Knott's Berry Farm, which thankfully has helped guide the way for haunts to pop up all across the country.  Like it or not the Halloween season is a major portion of most park's seasons now, and I think everyone should give thanks to Knott's for that.

• SUPERMAN Ultimate Flight! While the industry is constantly evolving, I was thankful to see a park work with Premier Rides to create an innovate coaster such as this.  When working with such a small space, packing as much of a punch as Superman does was quite a challenge, no doubt.

• Matt Ouimet's first year of leadership at Cedar Fair has given me plenty to be thankful for.  While not all decisions made this year can be attributed to him, such things as Luminosity and multiple technology upgrades across the parks are helping to bring the company into present day - which it really needed.

• The world's tallest free fall ride, at Six Flags Magic Mountain, I give thanks for thee.  I love freefalls, and taking one as tall as was done for Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom (400 feet) is an achievement of large proportions.

•  Ride removals... they're at times a sore subject, but this year I think that they were great moves pretty much across the board.  Putting Son of Beast out of its misery, removing tired (and ugly) rides like Disaster Transport, and ones that were troubled and didn't fit their park - ahem Perilous Plunge - were smart moves.  So thanks!

•  Disney California Adventure finished up a really extensive transformation that has taken it from mega-flop to big success.  Thankfully the days of the park being an embarrassment over - for that I'm sure we all will say phew!

• I'm all for preservation of certain rides, and when one gets some love that really deserves it, I'm thankful.  Such is the case with the upgrades done to sooperdooperLooper at Hersheypark this season.  A new train, brakes, paint and more have the coaster running as well as its opening day!

I shall stop there, as my appointment with a huge meal is quickly approaching.  What are you guys thankful for?  Be safe and enjoy!