Sunday, August 31, 2014

Orlando Area Amusement Park Removing Rides

I think they're going to have to change this logo, pretty soon that is.  Old Town, located in Kissimmee, Florida - pretty close to the outside gates of Walt Disney World - has announced that they will be removing all of their amusement rides.

The park wrote on their Facebook page to acknowledge the change:  "Old Town has begun a new phase of growth and improvement. At this time, the classic amusement rides have been closed and will be removed from the property to make way for future expansions. The Go Cart rides, Laser Tag, Arcade, Rootin’ Tootin’ Shooting Gallery and The Haunt will all remain open for your families enjoyment."

If you've driven around the Kissimmee area, you might have spotted the giant rainbow colored sling shot that was at the very end of Old Town's property.  Old Town isn't just amusement rides, actually they were a smaller offering when compared to the massive amount of shops and restaurants on the complex.

The rides were located at either end of the property, above is the part that has frontage on the street.  There's the Sling Shot, a free fall, Ferris wheel, go-karts (staying), kiddie rides and a couple others.

The opposite end of the park features more kiddie rides, a Tilt-a-Whirl, Scrambler, and two roller coasters.  For kids there was a Wacky Worm, and bigger thrills could be found on a production model Zamperla Windstorm.  Unfortunately the announcement came too late to still try to get in a spin on these rides, as they were already closed for good when the park came clean about their plans.

Most of the rides were added after 2000, although the property started operating the shops and restaurants a couple decades before.  I can't say it is too surprising that they are ditching their rides - Fun Spot Kissimmee is literally the bordering property to the East of the park!

While browsing Old Town's webpage I noticed that the park map looked familiar, really familiar.  That's the exact style that all the Cedar Fair park maps are drawn in - odd!  I always figured that Cedar Fair had them drawn in-house, which is why I never saw any similar maps out there.

Alas, I guess that assumption was wrong.  I'm not sure who draws the Cedar Fair park maps, but apparently they are able to be hired to draw others.  Does anyone know for sure?  If you do, fill me in!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

More On Six Flags Over Texas' New Justice League Dark Ride

First Look at JUSTICE LEAGUE: BATTLE FOR METROPOLIS from Six Flags Over Texas on Vimeo.

We're all pretty excited for the pair of new Justice League interactive dark rides coming to both Six Flags St. Louis and Six Flags Over Texas in 2015.  With the rides now announced, Six Flags Over Texas has created a video that takes a look at the current construction work under way.

Embedded above, the video allows Park President Steve Martindale to highlight the features of the creation that will appeal to guests.  It also shows off the impressive addition to the show building that has been built over the retention pond of the park's river rapids ride.  The funky looking construction we saw earlier has now transformed into a smooth concrete pad for the building's expansion to take place on.

If you haven't seen it, Screamscape also has a detailed look at all the suppliers of the various parts of Justice League: Battle For Metropolis.  The companies that are involved in the project are very impressive, and combined have project catalogs that include some of the best attractions on the planet.  Very promising!  I would love to see the budget for these rides, but sadly Six Flags does not release that information.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Six Flags 2015 Announcement Round Up

Six Flags Great America will spend all of 2015 celebrating the park's 40th anniversary, having opened during the country's bicentennial in 1976.  The celebration will not feature any large new rides or attractions, but will carry on throughout the season and feature a host of special events.

"In 2015 we plan to celebrate our park's history and how it has grown to one of the premiere amusement parks in the country," said park president, Hank Salemi. "From the American Eagle to Goliath, and Whizzer to X Flight, the skyline of Great America has grown impressively over the last four decades."

To help celebrate, two of the park's original themed areas, Carousel Plaza and Hometown Square, will be renovated to bring back a retro feel.  Three classic children's ride will also return, fully refurbished to a new generation to enjoy.  The park will also hold weekly celebrations to honor each of the park's roller coasters.

A new children friendly water play area will be built at The Great Escape in 2015, named Buccaneer Beach.  The addition will be a full renovation of the park's popular children's area, Noah's Sprayground.

"The refreshed and re-themed pirate adventure will feature pop jets, splash pads, children’s slides and water elements offering endless water park fun. The expansion to the upper water park will include new pool deck space and increased shaded water park seating."

“We are thrilled to rejuvenate this beloved family attraction in Splashwater Kingdom,” said Eric Gilbert, park president, Six Flags Great Escape Resort Properties. “The introduction of Buccaneer Beach is in direct response to our guests’ feedback and will breathe new life into this historic area of our beautiful water park.”

Located near Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags White Water will debut an extreme new slide in 2015, named Dive Bomber.

Standing over 100 feet tall, the trap-door release slide features a plummet of nearly 90 degrees at 40 miles per hour.  To replace the park's Cliffhanger slide, Dive Bomber will be the tallest attraction ever built at Six Flags White Water.

It is not totally clear if this is one slide or multiple, but I'm sure that will be revealed later as construction progresses.

Get ready for Halloween all summer long at La Ronde next year.  The park's 2015 attraction is Maison Rouge - Labyrinthe de la Terreur - or a straight translation of Red House - Labrynth of Fear.  The permanent haunted house features a pretty sick looking clown as its mascot, and appears to be taking place in a large carnival tent.

"The carnival has been gone for decades, leaving behind ruins and decay. The house is still standing, but it is in disrepair and haunted by evil spirits. Clowns, once friendly and funny, went crazy and insane. Initially, the house tour is fun, but it ends in blood. Visitors can use different corridors leading to many parts, but soon they realize that this house is a maze of fear and darkness which they must escape."

The attraction is being advertised as having different paths you can take to get through, making it have a higher repeat visit value.  It will be designed by ACME Scenic Services of Montreal, who have a very impressive resume.

Finally, Six Flags Mexico has announced SkyScreamer, a high in the sky swing ride.  Standing 242 feet tall, the ride will feature red, white, and green - the colors of the Mexico flag.  Many of the promotional shots of the ride show the beefy tower that was used on the 400 foot versions of the ride, however I think that's just for media purposes.  I would expect the tower to be similar to the one at Six Flags Great Adventure, for instance.

SkyScreamer, like its counterpart at other Six Flags parks, will spin riders around in a nearly 100 foot circle at 35 miles per hour.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Two Six Flags Parks Announce New Justice League Themed Dark Rides for 2015

Two exciting announcements were made today: Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis will both build a brand new interactive dark rides in 2015 named Justice League Battle for Metropolis.  The new-age dark rides will be fully immersive, utilizing 3-D glasses for riders and motion based six-passenger vehicles.

As guests enter the queue they are filled in on the back story of the attraction.  The Joker and Lex Luthor are planning to fill Metropolis with laughing gas, and even worse they've managed to capture Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Green Lantern.  Riders must board a vehicle equipped with their own laser "stun gun" and enter Lex Corp. in order to save the good guys and thwart the villains.

© Six Flags
The ride will allow riders to blast at targets and bad guys throughout the ride, creating an interactive and competitive scoring aspect to the attractions.  Six Flags will be working with several big industry names on these rides.

Sally Manufacturing will create the animatronics for the ride, Pure Imagination will work on the 3D graphics for the ride film, the gaming aspect will be done by Alterface, and the "first-of-its-kind, fully programmable, multi-DOF (degree-of-freedom)" motion based vehicles will be manufactured by Oceaneering.  It is especially promising to see Oceaneering creating the ride vehicles, which are capable of full 360 rotations, since they have an extensive background in creating some of the most advanced ride systems on the planet.

At Six Flags Over Texas the attraction will span nearly 20,000 square feet, using a new space built over the retention pond of the park's river rapids ride along with a former simulator building.  Six Flags St. Louis will use the building that previously was home to a Scooby Doo themed dark ride, I would assume removing the existing boat transportation system in favor of the Justice League ride system.

While not the same story line or exact same ride system, you can check out the first Justice League dark ride that was created in Australia.  If the Six Flags rides are similar, patrons in Missouri and Texas are in for a treat next year!

Larson Giant Loops to Debut at 4 Six Flags Parks in 2015

© Six Flags
Scott and Carol previously detailed the additions to Six Flags Great Adventure below, and their main new ride is the same that is going into three other parks in 2015.  The team at Larson must have been pretty happy when this contract was signed!

The Giant Loop, as the manufacturer calls it, is a 72 foot tall circular ride that completes several full rotations both forward and backward during the experience.  Riders sit facing back to back, which means that most of the 24 passengers look directly at other riders during the inverting.

© Six Flags
The new attractions all have different names at the different parks - Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has named their Dare Devil Chaos Coaster, Six Flags America went with Bourbon Street Fireball, Six Flags Great Adventure the Looping Dragon, and Six Flags Over Georgia The Joker Chaos Coaster.

Six Flags Over Georgia is expanding their Gotham City themed section to add the Joker Chaos Coaster.  They are also building a second ride, a classic Tilt-A-Whirl named Harley Quinn Spinsanity.  Overall the 2015 expansion will cost the park in the multi-million range.

At Six Flags America, the new attraction will be added to the brand new Mardi Gars themed area.  The Bourbon Street Fireball will fit perfectly with the section's other new or refreshed attractions.

The Larson Giant Loop comes with an optional lightning package that will look great at night, hopefully the parks add that on.  Elitch Gardens added a Giant Loop this season, named the Brain Drain - check out coverage of that ride here.

Scott And Carol Present Six Flags Great Adventure 2015

Six Flags Great Adventure, the world’s largest theme park, plans for more thrills and chills in 2015. The 510-acre theme park, which was recently voted America’s second best theme park by USA TODAY readers, debuts Looping Dragon, and expands its notoriously scary Fright Fest Halloween festival.

Looping Dragon is a one-of-a-kind steel looping coaster experience, which is  unlike anything else at Six Flags Great Adventure. Riders board unique forward and backward cars which face one another, then they rocket up one side of a massive, seven story tall 360 degree loop, only to swing back again like a pendulum.

Soon, the Dragon builds enough momentum to reach the very top of the loop, leaving riders suspended in a complete upside-down inversion high over the Golden Kingdom section of the park.

Then, the Looping Dragon lives up to its name with a mind-bending series of 360 degree loops, even reversing direction halfway through the loop for more high-adrenaline disorientation!
In addition to Looping Dragon, Cabana Cove at Hurricane Harbor will also receive up-grades, guests can enjoy the delicious smell and taste of freshly-grilled food when Six Flags Hurricane Harbor debuts its new, outdoor grill. This open-air kitchen will feature giant turkey legs, hot dogs, hamburgers and Mexican-style steak. The park will also introduce an upgraded Cabana Cove, with new, luxury cabanas surrounded by a lush, tropical landscape.
For more information about upcoming 2015 Six Flags rides and attractions, including a video highlighting the new rides and attractions, visit

Twisted Colossus Opening at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 2015

The return of Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain will be mighty, filled with new elements and twisted track that is unlike anything the old wooden coaster could offer.  In 2015 Six Flags Magic Mountain will open Twisted Colossus, the "world's longest hybrid coaster," offering nearly 5,000 feet of track for passengers to encounter.

The rides begin with a 128 foot tall lift hill, followed by an extremely steep first drop taken at 80 degrees.  While the images above appear to show the ride as a racing coaster, technically it is only one track with two lift hills.  The park can time the dispatch of the rides, along with the dual lift hills, to have two trains run at the same time and interact along the course.

The ride's path will include two inversions, a Top Gun Stall where the train briefly hangs upside down, and a zero-g roll.

The coaster will also borrow an element from the Gravity Group, creating the first steel track hybrid "high five" element.  The two trains out on the course of Twisted Colossus will soar by each other during a heavy bank that will make it appear as though riders could reach out and touch those on the other train.

The total ride time of Twisted Colossus will be nearly 4 minutes, which is quite a bit longer than most similar rides and by far the longest of any current Rocky Mountain ride.

This preview of the coaster makes it a bit easier to understand how Twisted Colossus is actually one track that looks like a traditional racer!

The ride will be located in a new themed section of Six Flags Magic Mountain, named the Back Alley.  The park describes the new section as a place "where guests can expect the unexpected through whimsical experiences in entertainment, food and retail."

Click here to learn more about Twisted Colossus from Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Six Flags New England's Wicked Cyclone Opening in 2015

The 2015 Six Flags capital announcements have taken place, and the brand new Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England looks to be one of the chain's strongest additions for next year.

The park has announced the Rocky Mountain transformation of Cyclone, creating a new ride experience that "will offer the ultimate in thrills and adrenaline combining the extreme characteristics of both steel and wood to build the first hybrid roller coaster to hit the East Coast."

Gone will be the coaster's wooden track, replaced with new steel running rails that will provide a totally smooth experience.  Six Flags New England is also touting that Wicked Cyclone will have more air-time than another other ride in New England.

Riders will encounter a 109 foot lift hill, 3,320 feet of track and speeds of up to 55 miles per hour on Wicked Cyclone.  The twisted layout will include the first ever 200 degree stall element and two zero-g rolls.  Another new element, a Double Reversing Bank Airtime Hill will be the first of its kind and debut on Wicked Cyclone.

Six Flags New England has released this video of the new coaster, showing off much of the ride's elements.  Also of note is the ride's 78 degree first drop, which should provide some amazing air-time if you sit toward the back of the train!

The Wicked Cyclone's layout is quite compact, giving riders no chance to catch their breath during the experience.  One element after another, this will be one exciting ride - I can't wait to see how it turns out!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Legoland Florida Hotel Update + New Resort Map

Legoland Florida, now officially known as the Legoland Florida Resort, is hard at work on their new hotel, slated to open next summer.  That means the Legoland Hotel will be open in less than one year's time, allowing guests to stay on property and enjoy Legoland Florida for multiple days.

The hotel has started to accept reservations for summer 2015, with rates for the themed rooms starting at $249 per night.  The five story Lego themed hotel will have 152 rooms and suites.  Naturally, the resort will also be filled with a plentiful amount of Lego play areas as well.

Reservations for the new hotel can be made via this link.

The Legoland Hotel has been under construction since last November, and the park recently held a "topping off" ceremony when the highest part of the property was constructed.  Emmet, from "The Lego Movie" can be seen above helping to place the Merlin flag during the ceremony.  You can get a peek at the L-shaped hotel in the background of the image.

The Legoland Hotel is located adjacent to the entrance to Legoland Florida, making it literally steps from the theme park's entrance.  The Hotel will include an outdoor pool and restaurants like a kid-size buffet.  Guests of the hotel will receive exclusive early entry into the theme park and nightly entertainment.

Seen above is what one of the resort's many themed rooms will look like.  Families can choose from one of three popular Lego toy lines as their room theme: Pirate, Kingdom or Adventure. All rooms include two separate sleeping areas, with a queen-size bed for grown-ups, and a separate sleeping area for up to three little ones, complete with a bunk bed, pull-out trundle bed and their very own TV!

The Legoland Florida Resort also released this new park map, showing the addition of the hotel in the lower right.  As you can see it couldn't be any closer to the park unless it was actually in the middle of it!  With the recent addition of a Chima themed area, and the water park operating as well, the park has really grown in size.

For more information on Legoland Florida, check out their website.

Work Well Under Way on Lagoon's 2015 Roller Coaster

Lagoon, located in Farmington, Utah, has been quietly working on a brand new roller coaster for some time now. Construction has kicked into high gear with plenty of vertical structure already in place.  One of our readers was kind enough to send in some photos of the work on the ride, shared below.

Not much is official about the ride yet, so take all of this as rumor for now.  When the park makes the ride, rumored to be called Cannibal, official then we will have all of our questions answered.  For now, the ride is rumored to utilize a dual-elevator lift system that is similar to what was on Pilgrims Plunge at Holiday World.  I believe the base of that lift is on the far left of the above photo, with already assembled lift sections waiting placement on the right.  The red roof is covering what would be the station and part of the pre-lift and brakes for the ride.

Lagoon received a height variance of 208 feet a couple years ago, so we would guess that is the coaster's maximum height.  Lagoon, much like with their family coaster BomBora, is constructing this new ride in-house using several key contractors for ride systems and components.  One of the most important aspects, the ride's track and supports, are being manufactured by Intermountain Lift, Inc.

In the photo above, you can also spot a below grade trench that has been dug, with track poking out one end of it.  This is rumored to be the base of the ride's first drop, which would be longer than the lift due to that below grade section.

Here is another close up shot of the track coming out of the below grade section.  While not too much is know about the track's layout, there are expected to be several inversions and an extremely steep first drop.  The cars on the new coaster would be individual, allowing the tight turns and inversions that will be found on the ride.

That's much to Sid for sending in the photos, we look forward to seeing more soon!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Worlds of Fun Announces New Water Park Addition for 2015

Next year there will be plenty of new ways to splash in the summer sun at Worlds of Fun's Oceans of Fun water park.  Just announced for the 2015 season is the addition of Splash Island, a 4,200 square foot water play area being added to the property.

Set to open on Memorial Day weekend, Splash Island is designed to allow families to enjoy the attraction together.

"It's exciting to add an attraction for a third straight season," Worlds of Fun vice-president and general manager Frank Wilburn said. "We've seen many successes combining Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun into one park for one price, and with our guests looking for more activities that could be shared by the whole family we've addressed those desires in a major way."

© Worlds of Fun
Splash Island will feature a large assortment of water play items spread throughout the space, including water jets that blast up from the ground.  Over-sized tulips and other flowers will cascade water downward, and frog and turtle characters will also shoot out water at guests.  Commonly known as a splash pad in the industry, the area will be able to handle a large amount of guests, increasing Oceans of Fun's overall capacity.

Splash Island will be built located near Coconut Cover, another of the water park's areas geared toward children and their families.

© Worlds of Fun
Other changes will be seen on one of Oceans of Fun's oldest attractions, the Buccaneer Bay.  Previously visitors have been able to take kayaks and canoes out on the water, and next year a set of swan shaped paddle boats will join the fleet.

"The swan paddle boats will provide our guests with another layer of unique experience and continue to add value to the overall guest experience at Worlds of Fun," Wilburn said.

The addition of Splash Island marks the third splash pad we've seen announced so far for Cedar Fair parks in 2015.  Already announced are similar attractions at Canada's Wonderland and Kings Dominion.

Aerial Antics: Hunting Down Two Face: The Flip Side

Thanks to one of our readers, Chris, who must also dabble as a private eye, we have a special Aerial Antics today.

After hearing that Two Face was shipped out of the country after being removed from Six Flags America, Chris went hunting through aerial images to see if he could track down the ride.  Knowing it was shipped out of Wilmington, Delaware, he went searching, and...

See anything of interest in this shipping port?

Yes!  He actually found aerial images of the pieces of Two Face sitting in a shipyard, waiting their journey across the sea.  In my opinion Chris must be one of the most patient people on Earth to have found this, and for that I thank him.

Two Face, a Vekoma Invertigo (inverted boomerang) coaster was shipped to Italy, where it is scheduled to reopen at Movieland Park in 2015 as Diabolik Invertigo.  Two Face: The Flip Side operated at Six Flags America in Maryland from 1999 until 2007.  It spent the next seven or so years sitting around in pieces, until a buyer was finally found.

Thanks again to Chris for sharing his find, here's a link that should get you to the maps if you want to check it out!

Memories of Dorney Park's 130 Years - Part 3

We're back again today with even more photos from the history of Dorney Park's 130 years.  Hopefully you guys are enjoying the ride!

This view is of the parking lot entrance from the 1940s, or so.  It is especially interesting to me because it shows that the park's Rocket ride was originally located over yonder, and later moved next to The Coaster and the Mill Chute.  It is amazing to think of how different this area looks today!

The Whip is still operating at Dorney Park, which makes it a wonderful connection to the park's past.  This shot was taken from Dorney Park Road of The Whip - take notice of how there is nothing up the hill behind the ride aside from fields!  The curved roof of the ride has been maintained through to current day, as well.

Fascination is a wonderful game, one that you can find at some older parks like Knoebels today.  Dorney Park used to have Fascination as well, in what I think looks like one side of the Dorney mansion.  This photo appears to be from the 1970s, if the style of clothes on these visitors is any indication.

Another popular game - and one that is still around today - is Skee Ball.  This photo looks to be a bit older than the one of Fascination, showing even further how the popularity of the game has lasted.  Skee Ball is almost like Fascination on a grander scale, with players standing instead of sitting.

On Dorney Park's lower lake, where Hercules once roared and adjacent to Castle Garden, the park's Show Boat used to give leisurely cruises to guests.  The small paddle wheel boat included a draw bridge that allowed the vessel out of the docking area and into the larger lake.  It was covered to protect riders from the sun, and that combined with the cool water gave a relaxing break from the hectic park.

The Show Boat was equally popular at night, when the boat and park's lights came on.  This is a beautiful shot of the Show Boat out on the lake, with the parking tower, The Coaster, and even the Alfundo entrance sign shining behind it and reflecting in the water.

Going way back, to the turn of the century, here we see the original Dorney Park mansion house.  This old structure was the inspiration for one of Dorney's most popular Haunt mazes in current times, but back around 1900 was a simple easting establishment.  The banner above the door names it the Dorney Park Restaurant, and advertises ice cream.

Dorney Park's Cuddle-Up ride was one of the Philadelphia Toboggan Company's more popular rides, aside from roller coasters of course.  Dorney Park's was originally unthemed and featured nine cars sitting on several turn tables.  As the ride went the cars would twirl, appearing to nearly collide, but safely pass one another as they spun.  Eventually the ride was fully enclosed, and operated with disco lights and loud music - known as the Meteorite at the time.  Later the park added arctic theming to the outside of the ride, including fake penguins and a polar bear, pumped up the air conditioning, and renamed the ride the Iceberg.

Not all of Dorney Park's former amusements were extremely thrilling, take for instance this tall sliding tower that the park used to have.  Kids could climb up to the top and slide their way down the circular path on a mat.  If you look close at the bottom left of the photo, you can spot a part of one of the park's former kiddie coasters, as well.

Dorney Park has had a Tilt-A-Whirl for as long as many can remember.  Here is a photo of the ride from many decades ago, complete with clown images on the top border surrounding the ride.  The park has since replaced their older Tilt-A-Whirl with a newer version, but the location has stayed the same for ages.

I said at the start of this series that we would be seeing more of Alfundo, and I'm making good on that promise now.  Here we see the park's famous clown mascot out on his Alfundo car, with some pretty ladies in tow.  He used to ride around the park in this vehicle greeting guests.  It's okay to think it's scary looking... the general perception of clowns have definitely changed in our society from being funny and friendly to scary.

This photo was taken of Alfundo visiting some friends at the senior living center that's just down the road from the park, probably during the '70s.  Alfundo was recognizable all over the greater Lehigh Valley area, and while today would make kids turn the other way he was great free advertising back in the day!

I was trying to lower the number photos I would use in this pictorial celebration of Dorney Park's 130 years, but I've given up on that idea as I keep wanting to feature more!  So watch for at least one, probably two more posts in this series - soon!

All photos © Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom