Saturday, September 27, 2014

Aerial Antics: Kentucky Kingdom's Chang + New 2014 Aerials

I noticed some recently updated aerials of Kentucky Kingdom and thought it might be fun to take a look at the transition of Change into water park expansion, over the course of 5 years or so.

Chang was built at Kentucky Kingdom in 1997, as the largest stand-up coaster at the time.  Built by B&M, the ride eventually had three different paint schemes while at the park.  First there was a bold all yellow look, then came lime green track with purple supports, and finally royal blue supports with yellow track once more.  The above photo is of Chang still at the park, sporting its third and final color scheme.

At the end of the park's 2009 season it was announced by then-owner Six Flags that Chang was being removed in favor of a water park expansion, to be named Bonzai Beach.  The park even went so far as to hang a banner in front of the ride announcing the expansion.  However, suddenly in the winter of 2010 Six Flags essentially ditched the park, announcing it had no intention of opening it again.

Chang had already been removed at that point, which left a graveyard of footers and not much else where the ride once stood - seen above.  This is how the site sat for years while failed negotiations took place to reopen Kentucky Kingdom.  Chang then opened at Six Flags Great Adventure as the Green Lantern in 2011.

When Ed Hart and company finally got a lease in place to reopen the park, the heavy work quickly started in 2013 to make that once announced water park expansion a reality.  Granted it isn't the same that was planned by Six Flags, but more water park is exactly what ended up replacing the home of Chang.

On the most recent aerial images available, you can see the final product, known as the Hurricane Bay Beach Club.  The expansion contains a fast water adventure river, family style wave lagoon, some extremely tall speed slides, a twisted family raft ride, and another slide tower with multiple slide styles.

I guess in a sense the promise that Six Flags made to expand Hurricane Bay came true, just 5 or so years later and not on their dollar!

The updated views also allow us to see the air-time machine known as Lightning Run, along with a new set of Larson Flying Scooters.  Next year a new pendulum ride will fill the rest of the open space behind the Scooters.

Check out the updated views on your own from Bing.