Monday, June 30, 2014

Ferrari World Plans Expansion + New Rides

© Ferrari World
Ferrari World, located on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, has announced a large expansion project that will see new and renovated rides and attractions over the next three years.

The park is currently home to some impressive attractions located in a giant structure, seen above in a publicity photo from the park.  It is also home to Formula Rossa, an Intamin launched ride, which is still the fastest on the planet at 149 miles per hour.

The expansion will include new rides that have "est" features, meaning tallest, fastest, etc.  Well perhaps not fastest since they've already got that record for a coaster!  Specific rides are not named, but the park's manager said there will be seven of them - increasing the park's capacity by about 40% overall.

Three of the park's existing rides will be heavily renovated such that they will be like a new experience to park visitors.  Parts of the park will receive a new Italian inspired look, and food and beverage and retail options will be expanded and changed.  A ride reservation system looks to be planned, which is said to be "innovative" and "never-been-done-before."

Ferrari World originally opened in 2010 and was the first theme park to utilize the Ferrari theme.  A subsequent park has been announced adjacent to Spain's PortAventura theme park, opening in 2016.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Travel Channel Premiers New Coaster and Water Park Shows - Tonight!

The Travel Channel has created another season of Insane Coaster Wars: World Domination, a popular series that pits the best coaster rides in the world against one another.

The show premiers tonight on the Travel Channel, so get your DVRs set now!  Tonight's episodes feature:

Iron Rattler – Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, Texas)
Gravity Max – Lihpao Land Discovery World (Taiwan)
Mamba – Worlds of Fun (Kansas City, MO)
Superman la Atracción de Acero - Parque Warner Madrid (Madrid, Spain)
Outlaw Run – Silver Dollar City (Branson, MO)
Avalancha – Xetulul (Guatemala)
Phantom’s Revenge – Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA)
Insane Speed – Janfusun Fancyworld (Taiwan)

There's some interesting rides on this list, including a few from around the globe that we don't often see.

Also premiering tonight is the first episode of this seasons Xtreme Waterparks.  The third season of “Xtreme Waterparks” kicks off with an exclusive, one-hour behind-the-scenes special documenting the making of the world’s tallest water slide – Schlitterbahn’s Verrückt in Kansas City, Kansas. 

The massive water slide, standing 168 feet and 7 inches tall, hasn't yet opened to the public as planned.  It is expected to open soon, but until then this special will show all the challenges that went into designing and building such a massive attraction.  Sounds like an interesting show for fans of water park and rides in general!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

19th Roller Coaster Opens at Six Flags Magic Mountain

© Six Flags Magic Mountain
Beating their own current record for the most roller coasters in one park, Six Flags Magic Mountain has just opened their 19th - Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers.  The small family roller coaster has taken up residence in the park's Bugs Bunny World, which also received a freshening up from head to toe.

Hot Rod Racers was created by Zamperla, and is one of the manufacturer's "Family Gravity Coasters."  These can be found at many parks around the country, and feature a single helix after a 13 foot lift hill.  The new ride is now the 3rd kiddie coaster at the park, or the 4th if you count Road Runner Express, which is slightly larger.

With nineteen roller coasters, Six Flags Magic Mountain has really pulled away from the pack.  If you count the new Wonder Mountain's Guardian ride as a full coaster, then Canada's Wonderland comes in second with 17 coasters, and Cedar Point in 3rd place with 16.  Six Flags Magic Mountain has already announced the closure of Colossus, which would taken them down to 18 - but it is commonly believed that a new coaster will replace it and open in 2015.

Friday, June 27, 2014

California's Great America Announces New Multipurpose Facility

© California's Great America
For years Cedar Fair was unsure about the impact of having a brand new 49ers stadium built adjacent to their parking lot, and how the future of the park would be affected.  It actually painted a fairly dark future for the park, with a potential sale even announced (and then cancelled) at one point.

With new management at Cedar Fair came a new outlook for the park, and instead of giving up on it the plan became to invest and grow the park.  Now they've announced the new Great America Pavilion, a 18,000 square foot multipurpose facility that will host the Red Zone Rally pregame party for each of the 49ers home games.  In effect, the park has joined forces with the Stadium by creating a venue that will be quite busy on game days, when the theme park will be closed.

The pavilion will be located on the edge of the park's property, facing the parking lot with the 49ers Stadium beyond it.  The Red Zone Rally parties will start three hours before game time, and feature cheerleaders, flat screen TVs throughout, live entertainment, various food options and plenty of other activities.

The Great America Pavilion can also be used as an event center, hosting various parties or corporate events on non-game days.  The facility can be separated into three sections, or be utilized as one large space.  That's a pretty smart way for the park to have a new revenue stream as well!

It's great to see the park essentially still get a piece of the pie on game days, and work hand in hand with the 49ers franchise. 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Scott And Carol Present - Goliath at Six Flags Great America

We arrived in the dark, to better bring you pictures of the sun rising over Goliath, symbolizing the dawn of a new coaster at Six Flags Great America. Unfortunately, it was so cloudy you couldn't even see the sun and the threatening weather ruled the day. It didn't really matter, everyone was excited to finally ride the latest Rocky Mountain Coaster wooden hybrid coaster that they refused to let anything dampen their spirits.

Hank Salemi, park president, welcomed people to the grand opening after daylight, and just before the sky opened the faucets. The park has something to crow about since Goliath breaks three existing world records for wood coasters.

 The Gladiators arrived to provide a nice visual for the television crews.

But here are the real Gladiators of Goliath, the Rocky Mountain Construction Goliath installation crew. These are the guys who braved one of the worst winters in Gurnee's history and just like the mailman, they delivered!

Here is an overall aerial view of Goliath from Sky Trek Tower. This was the original design of the lift hill, not a change. Artistic license was used in the creation of the simulation so it did not show the correct structure.

We took our first ride with Alan Schilke, lead designer of Goliath and many other coasters. He talks about the challenges of perfecting the layout for Six Flags Great America's new roller coaster, and one of the downsides of being a coaster designer.

A new sign guides riders to the redesigned station, leftover from Iron Wolf. Oncoming riders have a great view of the train climbing the lift, and they will see how fast it goes through the course. Goliath has polyurethane coated wheels which give it a different sound than a traditional wood coaster, but they sure make the ride smooth.

The lift hill of Goliath reaches 165 feet skyward, and it goes below grade to complete the 180 foot drop. We showed how deep the tunnel was here, on a construction tour last winter.

The 85 degree first drop with a nice blue sky the Saturday prior to Media Day. We took some pictures during the commercial/B-Roll shoot. Riding in the back seat is the most intense spot on the six car train. With only lower body restraints, every rider on the train has a great view of the many unique elements of Goliath.

You can see the brightly painted "Topper Track" throughout the structure as it twists and turns along the 3,100 feet of track. The train is exiting the tunnel as it heads back towards the station.

The over banked turn after the first drop gives riders a preview of things to come. The first pass through the tunnel is just before the track rises up towards this turn.

The Spacely Sprockets Rocket family roller coaster in the foreground is a good training tool for those not tall enough to tame the airtime of Goliath. Conveniently located just around the corner, it makes it easier for families to regroup after their rides.

You can see the cameraman in position to shoot the zero-g stall video as the train roars by going approximately 50 mph. The top speed of Goliath is 72 mph, at the bottom of the first drop. The compact layout is evident in this shot because you can see three separate pathways for the train.

After traversing the over banked turn, on the decline the riders experience another radical change in orientation. The elements seem to flow into each other, without any pauses, changing east, west, north, south, up, and down, almost as quickly as you read through the different options. 

Here is the top of the dive loop... 

and here is the down side, but thrill seekers won't find anything down about this element! 

After the dive loop the trains heads up to the zero-g stall, a great feature of Goliath.

Fred and Suanne, owners of Rocky Mountain Construction, recently announced they are doubling the size of their track manufacturing plant, to better serve the industry. They also had high praise for the crew who built Goliath.

With live shot cameras on the front, and on ride videos set for the middle, there was lots of media interest in Goliath. With the longest drop and fastest speed of any type of wooden coaster, national attention was given to the opening of this new rollercoaster.

If you just can't wait, here is the POV, courtesy of Six Flags Great America. Our thanks to Katy, and the rest of the Six Flags Great America crew, for their assistance on both 6/14/2014 and Media Day. Also Alan, Fred, and Suanne, for talking with us and graciously answering our questions, no matter how strange they seemed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Adventureland Long Island Announces New Roller Coaster for 2015

Adventureland in Long Island, New York, isn't a park we have covered much here on NewsPlusNotes, but that's certainly going to change with today's announcement of a new coaster for 2015.

The for-now nameless ride is being designed by Mack Rides, and will be one of their spinning coaster models.  Other examples of spinning rides by Mack include Sierra Sidewinder at Knott's Berry Farm and Twist at Le Pal in France.  Adventureland is not quite ready to release all the details on their new ride, but did post the coaster's layout:

Looks like a custom layout to me!
The new ride will be the park's tallest and fastest coaster, and will replace Hurricane, currently the Adventureland's largest roller coaster.  That means that the new ride will be at least 50 feet tall, and move faster than 35 miles per hour.  The new ride is being designed for the whole family, and will have a 42 inch height requirement.  The two trains will each be made up of several individual cars that each spin freely during the course.

Adventureland is holding a naming contest for the new coaster.  While you can enter your own suggestion, they've also listed some choices they came up with including Turbulence, Boomerang, The Rotator, Mantis, and the Jester.  A couple of those names are a bit familiar!

The Hurricane will close at the end of the season and be dismantled as work on the new ride begins.  Hooray for new custom Mack rides in the U.S.!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Six Flags New England Retiring Cyclone This Summer

Time to get in your last rides on the Riverside Cyclone!  To be correct, the wooden roller coaster is currently just known as the Cyclone, the Riverside part was dropped after the park was 'flagged' after the 1999 season.

Six Flags New England released the above video this morning, urging guests to get in their final rides before the Cyclone closes for good on July 20th.  The park isn't saying exactly why the ride is closing, though we've seen this pattern before with other Six Flags wooden coasters that received the Rocky Mountain transformation.  The rides have typically closed mid to late summer, with work starting shortly thereafter.  Iron Cyclone has a nice ring to it, at least.

The Cyclone in its current form is pretty rough, to be brutally honest.  The coaster opened in 1983 and had some serious modifications done over the years, including a shortened first drop.  SFNE Online has a nice write up of the coaster's past, including photos of the changes made. 

Until the park says for sure what the plans for the future are, make sure to stop by the park - soon - and take one last spin!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Arthur Themed Dark Ride/Coaster Opens at Europa Park

I have absolutely no idea what is going on during Europa Park's latest ride, but I still think it looks like fun!  Pretending to be small must also be "in" right now, as Arthur - In The Minimoys Kingdom shrinks down riders to the size of the teeny little characters, much like we saw yesterday on Ratatouille.

The combination roller coaster and dark ride features a brand new ride system designed by Mack, who also owns Europa Park.  The ride system features cars that hang below the track, each seating four riders with their feet dangling.  The trains are powered throughout the ride, but also utilize more traditional roller coaster sections in certain spots.  The cars are also able to be turned to face certain scenes, almost like an inverted omnimover of sorts.

While I'm not familiar with the Arthur film series, visitors to Europa Park are, so the giant bees, rats, spiders, and other characters probably make a lot more sense.  But just taking in the high level of theming that the attractions features is enough for me, honestly.  Europa Park's list of must-see attractions keeps growing, including 2012's Wodan Timbur Coaster, designed by Great Coasters International, and Blue Fire.

Six Flags Branded Parks to Open in China

Much like their April announcement of a Six Flags branded park for Dubai, Six Flags Entertainment has created another new partnership that will see new Six Flags branded parks open in China.

This time around they're working with Riverside Investment Group to open "multiple" branded properties in China over the next decade.  No more specifics of where in China, or a potential opening date of any park, were released.

"Our international expansion strategy is focused on finding the right partners in the right markets, and Riverside Investment Group will be the perfect strategic partner for us in China," said Jim Reid-Anderson, Chairman, President and CEO of Six Flags Entertainment. "We are honored to be working with this world-class organization as we continue taking the Six Flags brand to growing markets outside North America."

Are people in China even aware of what Six Flags is?  I'm no expert but isn't even Disney working hard to get their characters into the lives of Chinese residents?  If Disney is fighting that battle I can't imagine many people will find much existing value in the Six Flags name... though I'm sure several expensive marketing studies would prove me wrong.  Maybe.

New parks are popping up in China left and right, so it at least seems plausible for these parks to see the light of day.  Hopefully using an American brand for the park also means no copycat Chinese knock-off manufacturers will be used for coasters and rides!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ratatouille: The Adventure Now in Previews at Walt Disney Studios

After being under development and construction for what seems like eons, Ratatouille: The Adventure has finally opened for special media and employee previews.  Located in the corner of the Disney Studios Park in Paris, Ratatouille is a blockbuster new attraction that aims to bring interest and turnstile clicks back to the floundering park.

The ride also comes along with a new highly themed dining experience, Bistro Chez Remy, where guests dine in a setting that makes them the size of Remy himself.  Oversized props cover the restaurant, with Christmas lights hanging above among giant flowers and leaves.

The actual Ratatouille attraction features trackless vehicles, a technology that Disney has used on several high profile additions around the globe.  Video never gives the best representation, and in this case it lacks the 3-D glasses, but here we go:

I had read that the ride would utilize video screens, but I will admit that I didn't expect quite so many of them.  Hardcore fans of the park are griping about that, but if you consider the direction of most new blockbuster rides... well they all use screens pretty heavily.  Only the Japanese Disney parks seem to buck that trend.

But putting that debate aside, I think this Ratatouille attraction looks fun, fits for the whole family, and is something the park needs.  Does it seem like something that will transplant well to other parks?  Maybe, maybe not.  But I do hope it gives the Disney Studios Park the kick it needs to see continued expansion.

Ratatouille: The Adventure officially opens on July 10th.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Carowinds Celebrates Summer with New Ride Opening

© Carowinds
Just in time to celebrate the official first day of summer (and happy summer to you all!) Carowinds' Boomerang Bay water park has opened two new attractions, Dorsal Fin Drop and Surfer's Swell.

The pair of new water slides each offer a totally different experience, both starting from a platform four stories above the ground.  Surfer's Swell stretches 263 feet long and sends riders down a steep drop and into a giant wave wall, giving them a hint of zero gravity as they slide up and down.

© Carowinds
Dorsal Fin Drop, which features 351 of slide, is a traditional bowl style ride.  After a long curving drop that allows riders to pick up speed, the rafts enter a giant circular bowl and speed around the outside as they begin to slow.  A final drop into the splash area brings the ride to an end.

The first riders of the new slides were members of a swim lesson club, sponsored by Carowinds, held at the University City YMCA, a branch of the YMCA of Greater Charlotte.  "When the slides were announced in September 2013 they didn’t know how to swim, and never could have imagined themselves swooshing down the exciting twists and curves of Carowinds new slides."

© Carowinds
The new slides are just a part of this year's expansion, which also includes a massive new food facility, Harmony Hall.  The indoor food court will feature live entertainment and will be opening soon.

“Cedar Fair noted the growth in Charlotte and across the Carolinas, and saw an opportunity to grow our park as well”  says Bart Kinzel Carowinds VP and General Manager adding “there are a lot of plans in the works to better serve our guests across all areas from infrastructure to new rides, it’s an exciting time.”

Sounds like some exciting plans are in the works for Carowinds, we can't wait to see what they have planned for the future of the park!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Ragin' Cajun Ready to Spin at Six Flags America

This weekend marks the opening of Six Flags America's 9th roller coaster, Ragin' Cajun.  The ride is the last attraction to open in Six Flags America's new Mardi Gras themed section.  Earlier this spring the park opened the French Quarter Flyers, a new set of Larson Flying Scooters, along with several renamed, repainted, and refurbished existing rides.  The new area also features themed food and retail locations.

Ragin' Cajun is a spinning wild mouse style ride, where the individual cars twirl as they navigate the track.  Six Flags America has not yet had a spinning roller coaster, so Ragin' Cajun represents a new type of thrill for its guests.  The ride stands around 43 feet tall and has 1,378 feet of track.  The coaster originally operated at Six Flags Great America from 2004 through 2013.

SFAFans has a new photo gallery of the ride, along with some video of it in action.  Check that out at this link.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

2015 Construction at Holiday World Picks Up, Digs Down

Like many, I have been following the daily updates on 66DaysAtSea, Holiday World's teaser site for their 2015 project.  That leads me to starting at an awful lot of clouds, leading me to believe that the park is building a giant moon bounce for next season.

Nah, not really.  As the new clues come each day I find myself looking hard at what's being given to fans, but honestly I haven't made too much progress.

Perhaps being at the park to actually see what is going on would help?  That's exactly what a writer for the Dubois County Herald did, and one of the photos they reported is quite revealing.

Most of the construction work is currently focused on the giant open area extending upward from the water slide tower seen in the aerial above.  The photo I'm speaking of pretty clearly shows what I would wager are roller coaster footers being dug, complete with wire frames and a cement truck on site.

So it looks like the moon bounce theory doesn't hold any water, but speaking of that the park has still kept the lagoon from Giraffica in place, along with the ride's station.  To be reused for the 2015 project, perhaps?

Until we get more answers we will just have to keep checking out, and certainly keep an eye on the work going on Holiday World!

Zoombezi Bay Debuts New Baboon Lagoon Water Park Expansion

Ohio's Zoombezi Bay water park, a part of the Columbus Zoo, has built an exciting new themed water play structure for its 2014 summer season named Baboon Lagoon.  The attraction has taken up home in the water park, which occupies the former home of Wyandot Lake amusement park, in a new development that also features interactive pools and plenty of new lounge space.

Baboon Lagoon is a massive WhiteWater AquaPlay RainFortress, complete with animal theming that makes it a perfect match for the Columbus Zoo.

© WhiteWater
The $4.5 million attraction opened to guests on May 17th, 2014.  Baboon Lagoon is surrounded by a heated wading pool and features more than 90 interactive play elements, 9 water slides and a tipping bucket capable of dumping 1,000 gallons of water on visitors below.

When Zoombezi Bay asked for some unique theming for their play structure, WhiteWater was happy to provide.  Said John P. Gannon, General Manager of Zoombezi Bay, "we are thrilled to introduce Central Ohio to the most exciting multi-level play structure that the area has ever seen. WhiteWater was able to theme the structure to our unique requests. Zoombezi Bay is owned by The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium; and as such; we wanted a structure that was full of animal surprises. WhiteWater’s design studio can make whatever a park’s unique needs call for”.

Baboon Lagoon features sixteen life-sized baboons and the giant octopus that can be seen in the above photo.  All custom created for the park, the process of creating the sculptures began with giant blocks of Styrofoam that were carefully carved by hand.  After being treated, painted, and assembled, the giant creature took up residence carefully holding onto the side of the structure. 

Zoombezi Bay opened in 2008 along with the small amusement park Jungle Jack's Landing, both of which exist where Wyandot Lake was.  The parks, along with the Columbus Zoo, make a giant entertainment and educational complex.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Scott And Carol Present - The Little Coaster that Roared into Story Land!

Story Land is a park unfamiliar to most coaster enthusiasts. While it has had the Polar coaster for years, the addition of Roar-O-Saurus has made the park a mandatory stop for everyone who enjoys wooden roller coasters.

With the official title of Assistant General Manager, Jack has the unofficial title of park historian. As keeper of the traditions for Storyland, he is the go to person for great park stories.
These genuine German dolls provided the inspiration for Story Land. Currently in the conference room, the park is looking at options to put them on display for everyone to enjoy.
If you follow the Roar-O-Saurus signs you will soon come across this gem of a family wooden coaster.  The height of 40 feet really stands out in Story Land.

This rather large dinosaur, just outside the entrance to Roar-O-Saurus, is animated and actually moves the branches of the tree as it "feeds.

One of the many unique elements of Roar-O-Saurus is this high speed turn inside the lift hills support structure with a prehistoric onlooker who seems frozen in time.
The beautiful blue sky and fluffy white clouds provide a wonderful back drop as the six car Timberliner train descends the 38.5 foot 1st drop.

This close-up of the 1st drop shows the wide variety of coaster riders, with their  respective array of varying expressions, enjoying the ride.

Here a young rider flys through the bowels of Roar-O-Saurus. She appears to be either having a good time or trying to eat a bug?

The second half of the coaster's double-down has these young ladies holding on tight.

The fun has just begun, stay turn for part two, where we venture to the more hidden aspects of Roar-O-Saurus. A big thank you to Jack for being on guide on the adventure, including the great construction photos he provide that helped us get through the winter! 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Is Fury 325 Headed to Carowinds in 2015?

Last winter Cedar Fair trademarked the name "Fury" for a new amusement park ride, and now they've modified that slightly and trademarked "Fury 325" - also for an amusement park ride.

The connection to Carowinds comes from the addition of the 325 to the name.  It's no secret that Carowinds is planning a very tall ride next year, over 300 feet from what we've seen leaked out so far.

I wondered when "Fury" came out if it was for additional Halloween Haunts - since Carowinds had one with that name - but now with the number added a coaster makes more sense.

We've seen Cedar Fair add numbers to names that indicate height before, all the way back to Magnum XL-200 and more recently Intimidator 305.  This new coaster would fit in with the others just fine, even if Fury 325 might take some getting used to.  I would think most patrons would simply refer to the coaster as Fury, though, if this pans out to be true.

If the new coaster does stand 325 feet tall it would make it the 5th tallest on the planet.  Now we just need to start to see some footers poured at the park!

Monday, June 16, 2014

A New Plan to Save Conneaut Lake Park?

With a sale of the land that sits under Conneaut Lake Park looming, some action has been taken in order to give the park a future - a future that could see the park as a successful part of the community year-round.  Conneaut has had a very troubled story over the past decade or so, and currently faces being sold to pay nearly one million dollars in back property taxes.

The first step was having all current members of the Trustees of the Conneaut Lake Park board resign, which was approved by the local courts last week.  Four new Trustees were appointed, all a part of the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County (EPACC) and they will seek non-members to also join the board so they remain a minority.

But what of all those back taxes?  The new Trustees hope for an agreement to freeze the amount now due, put down $100k on the spot, pay all taxes currently and then promise the funds from the insurance settlement of the Beach Club fire to the tab.  That won't cover it all, but successful operations and the sale of unneeded land could get the tab paid within four years.

With the taxes under control, the organization would then focus on a 10 year, $12.5 revitalization plan that could make the park function as a community events area alongside an amusement park:

As you can see by looking closely at the map above, the plan (here is a link to the full pdf) does not include expanding the amusements much - but if the key to even keeping them around at all is to expand the land's use, well then by all means.  The water park, which is small and fairly sad, looks to be removed.

Additions that would make up the $12.5 million would include a new Beach Club, Performing Arts Center, Dreamland Expo Center, new Midway, and around $2 million on the amusements.

As far as who will be paying for all that - the group plans to use a combination of grants, public and private funds.  So even if the County's lawyers approve the plan, there's no guarantee any cash will show up to get the plan done.  But hey - at least there's something new on the table that might work, right?  It's certainly better than the black hole the park has slowly been falling into.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Medusa Steel Coaster Opens at Six Flags Mexico

Yesterday's opening of Thunderbolt in Coney Island was exciting, but it wasn't the only new for 2014 coaster to open that day.  Six Flags Mexico also took the wraps off of Medusa Steel Coaster, allowing the public to ride for the first time.

Happily for those of us who couldn't just jump on a plane and head to Mexico, the park has released a point of view video for us to check out.  You ready for this one?

When we saw testing video of Medusa Steel Coaster last week, we got the idea that this Rocky Mountain conversion was tearing through the course - but wow.  The new steel tracks follow the old wooden coaster's layout very closely, and comparing duration from top of the lift to brakes, the new version shaves nearly ten seconds off the ride time!  That's a substantial amount of time on a relatively short coaster track - a considerably higher average speed for sure.

I'm anxious to hear how people feel this new conversion ranks among their favorite rides - from the video (and granted it is just a video...) it would appear as this is one heck of a ride!

Just for fun, here's the old wooden version of Medusa.  It's sort of fun to compare the two.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The New Thunderbolt Coaster Opens in Coney Island

© Luna Park
The wait is over, the brand new Thunderbolt roller coaster is officially open in Coney Island!  Riders were able to take a spin on the first custom designed coaster to open in decades in Coney Island starting this morning.

The Thunderbolt starts with a vertical lift and soon after that a vertical drop.  The individual trains, seating three across with three rows, head through a large vertical loop, heartline rolls, air-time hills, and other tricks during the ride.  The coaster represents a new style from manufacturer Zamperla and was designed to fit an extremely long, narrow plot of land.

To celebrate the opening, Luna Park has released a new point of view film of the ride:

Since the coaster just opened today there are only a few reviews coming in so far, but they all sound positive.  I can't wait to head over to Coney Island to take a ride myself.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Knott's Berry Farm Celebrates Calico Mine Ride + Camp Snoopy Openings

Knott's Berry Farm is officially reopening the Calico Mine Ride tomorrow, though it started previews yesterday during a big media and pass holder event.  The dark ride has been closed for about six months while a total restoration took place, repairing the physical attributes of the mountain and trains but also bringing the characters, lighting and special effects into modern times.

Here is a nice movie of the new version of the Calico Mine Ride.  All the animatronic characters look great, and there's many more of them than ever before.  The cavern scene at the top of the ride also looks fantastic with its new paint, and I love the way they reveal it out of total darkness.  While hard to capture all the effects since the trains is zooming along, the explosion finale looks to have some great special effects in use as well.

Several sites have published some nice coverage of the ride's opening, including Knott's NetworkMice Chat, and Inside The Magic.

© Knott's Berry Farm
This weekend also marks the official reopening of Camp Snoopy, which has also be refreshed for its 30th anniversary.  Three new rides have been added, all with appropriate theming.  I especially love the inclusion of Pig Pen on his own ride, I'm not sure I remember seeing that character have his own attraction elsewhere!

Camp Snoopy also received all new walkways, restored buildings, new landscaping, renamed rides and plenty more.  The area was ready for some work, and it received what was necessary plus a great deal above that.  Many kudos to Knott's for restoring both the Mine and Camp Snoopy.

Plus, there's already rumors of a new dark ride in the park's Boardwalk for 2015 - could we see the Wonder Mountain's Guardian technology utilized here?  Can't wait!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Thrill Ride "Over The Falls" for Martin's Fantasy Island

© Martin's Fantasy Island
A new thrill ride, named Over The Falls, is Martin's Fantasy Island's new for 2014 attraction, and this one is by no means a family ride!

The trade name of Over The Falls is Speed, and is manufactured by KMG.  KMG makes a huge variety of flat rides for fairs and other attractions around the globe, though most of them are in Europe.  Speed is one of their more thrilling rides, built for speed and height - and the 55 inch minimum height requirement proves this one is not meant for the kiddies.

The photo above gives a good idea of what goes on - four people each sit at the end of the two arms, which extend around 130 feet in the air when vertical.   The arms then spin like a giant windmill, with the passenger cars able to freely spin while they twirl.  At maximum speed the arms are able to do thirteen revolutions per minute, creating g-forces of up to 3.5 for riders.

Martin's Fantasy Island is creating an interesting selection of flat rides for their guests, having a few rides already that you don't often come across.  The park removed their log flume this past winter and placed Over The Falls in part of its former plot.  While the new ride is exciting, it is always a bit sad to see a log flume bite the dust!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Incredible New Goliath Photos from Rocky Mountain

© Rocky Mountain Construction
Epic.  That's what this new gallery of photographs of Goliath at Six Flags Great America is.  Rocky Mountain Construction has shared some incredible views of the new wooden coaster from the air, vantage points that we'll never really see unless on the coaster, and in some cases not even then.

Above is the plunging first drop, into what appears to be an awfully tiny tunnel from up so high.  The steep drop (180 feet at 85 degrees) looks to be one of the best around.

© Rocky Mountain Construction
Here's one that must have been taken from a crane, positioned under the Inverted Zero-G Stall.  Off in the background you can also see the track flip into a dive after a 180 degree roll.  Goliath will be fast and furious, no doubt, sending trains through these elements quickly.  How many more days until it opens?

For the full gallery, make sure to head over to Rocky Mountain Construction's page.