Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Cedar Fair is Branching Out Into... Higher Education?

© Cedar Fair / BGSU
This past Friday Cedar Fair along with Bowling Green State University announced plans to construct a "first-of-its-kind" college campus in downtown Sandusky, just around the corner from Cedar Point.

The new five story building, seen above, will be home to a new resort and attraction management program that will accept its first students as juniors in the fall of 2020.  The building will be paid for by Cedar Fair, according to news sources, costing around $13 million, and go up on a vacant lot being donated by the city of Sandusky.  It will be one of the first new buildings to go up in the city in many years, and will also contain apartments for students.

The new management school has been planned for many years, and is now in its final stages with a new homebase announced.  Those entering the program will be afforded the opportunity to have paid internships at different Cedar Fair parks and resorts around the country, including Cedar Point.  The educational program will be administered by Bowling Green State University Firelands, one of the school's regional locations.

Students graduating from the program will receive a Bachelors in Science in resort and attractions management, known as RAAM by the university, and the final two years of the program will be spent at the new facility being built by Cedar Fair.

According to Bowling Green State University, the program was designed by "Cedar Fair and with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions in composing the curriculum and practicums to ensure they meet industry standards and prepare students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be successful in their jobs.  They will study such topics as finance and accounting, guest services, facilities management and food and beverage service—all in a resort or attraction context."  The university notes that this is only the 4th such academic program in the world, and the 2nd in the United States.

Not only is a degree in resort and attractions management is perfect fit for younger fans of the industry that want to make a career of it, but it's also an excellent way to get involved with Cedar Fair as well!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Check Out the Newest Aerials of Harry Potter Themed Coaster at Islands of Adventure

I've featured them here in the past, but if you're a fan of Orlando parks and you're not already following user Bioreconstruct on twitter, you're really missing out.  They periodically post great aerial photos of many Orlando area parks, along with excellent photos of construction projects that are otherwise hidden behind work walls.

This most recent batch of photos show off the new roller coaster that is being constructed at Islands of Adventure, on the site of the former Dueling Dragons, err, Dragon Challenge coaster.

There are a lot of great photos of the site in Bioreconstruct's twitter feed, and I'm only going to embed a couple of them here.  This shot is a wide angle of the entire ride, which shows the ever growing forest that is being planted on the ride's site, along with a massive amount of new theming going into place.

The new coaster remains mostly a secret, as Universal has only said it will be another trip into the world of Harry Potter, be family friendly and highly themed - and that little bit of information was released way back in July of 2017.

The most exciting development that these photos show is one of the coaster's trains now on the track, you can see that in Bioreconstruct's photo above.  The ride is heavily rumored to feature a trip into the Forbidden Forest along with Hagrid, with the ride vehicles themed as his motorcycle and side car.  That does seem plausible from the general look of the trains... but they are wrapped in plastic so plenty of details remain hidden for now.

If you click through all of the photos, especially the large versions, there are a ton of details to pick out.  The former Dragon Challenge station has been expanded and is receiving its final look as a stone building covered in moss, and what looks like Hagrid's hut has been enclosed with more theming added - just two examples. 

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Kennywood Places First Inversion on the Steel Curtain's Imposing Structure

© Kennywood
The Steel Curtain at Kennywood Park is going to have a North American record-breaking number of inversions, 9 in total, when finished and the park has proudly placed the first onto the growing ride.  Using favorable weather conditions (check out that blue sky!), Kennywood has been working quickly to get pieces of the ride's 220 foot tall structure into place.

© Kennywood
The first inversion of the nine that has been put into place is actually the last on the ride, and that's the cutback.  This element leads the trains into the final brake run, where riders can finally take a breath.  When finished, the Steel Curtain will offer inversions such as the Fake-Out Inverting Drop, Banana Roll, Sea Serpent, Dive Loop, Top Gun Stall and Corkscrew (along with the Cutback).

© Kennywood
This is also our first great look at the coaster's black track, which is pretty beefy looking.  The ride has been designed by S&S Worldwide, and will be one of the largest coasters the company has created in North America in some time.  The final product will offer 4,000 feet of track along with a top speed of 76 miles per hour.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Carnival Cruise Line to Open First Roller Coaster at Sea on New Mardi Gras Ship

© Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line is debuting a new ship in 2020 named the Mardi Gras, and it will include the world's first roller coaster at sea when it sets sail.  The design for the new ship can be seen above, and if you look closely at the larger image you can see coaster track spiraling around on the back of the ship.

© Carnival Cruise Line
The new attraction will be named Bolt: Ultimate Sea Coaster and will stretch along almost 800 feet of track at 187 feet above sea level.  The ride, which will be electrically powered and not rely on gravity, will give passengers unparalleled views of the ship and the open sea around them.  The ride's cars are capable of reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

© Carnival Cruise Line
"Bolt begins with an action-packed launch where riders can achieve race car-like levels of acceleration and culminates with a high-powered hair-pin turn around Carnival’s iconic funnel. Riders’ speeds are posted after the race, and just like land-based roller coasters, guests have their photo taken during the ride for a memorable keepsake. And since guests choose their own speed, each ride is unique."

© Carnival Cruise Line
As depicted in these images, Bolt will utilize motorcycle-like seats that give an open ride experience.  The coaster is one of Maurer Rides' Spike Coasters, which are just starting to show up at parks around the world.  The company has posted more information on Bolt on their website, available at this link.

The Mardi Gras ship will be based in Port Canaveral, Florida, in a brand new terminal.  The ship's first itinerary information will be revealed early next month.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment Breaks Ground on Brand New Orlando Headquarters

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Today SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment held a groundbreaking ceremony for a brand new, 40,725 square foot building that will be the its new headquarters when completed.  The three story building will be located not far from SeaWorld Orlando and will become a "shared home for ambassadors from the current Park Support Center and at the SeaWorld Orlando park."  It is targeted to open in the fall of 2019.

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
The ceremony included a few animal ambassadors, including several three-banded armadillos, which are known for their digging capabilities (perfect for a groundbreaking, you see!).  Other animals that helped include Mattie, a rescued bald eagle and Dunder, an Asian small clawed river otter.  Guests at the ceremony were able to interact with the animals and SeaWorld representatives were on hand to help them learn about them.

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Of course many dignitaries from SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment were on hand, along with Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Visit Orlando's George Aquel.  The Millennia Gardens Elementary School Eco Club, who grow lettuce that feeds rescued and rehabilitating manatees, were also on hand.

“Today is much more than the groundbreaking of a new building. It is about the foundation we are continuing to fortify and build upon as a company to extend and carry out our mission – to save species, learn about them, protect them, educate others about them, and help them flourish, both in our care and in the wild,” said John Reilly, Interim CEO of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

More Kentucky Flyer Construction Updates + New POV Video Released

© Kentucky Kingdom
As predicted, it wasn't long at all before Kentucky Kingdom started to place bents for their new family wooden roller coaster, the Kentucky Flyer.  The park has continued to keep us all updated on their social media platforms, releasing images as progress is made.

Just today, seen above, the park was working on another massive concrete pour, finishing up the foundation for the ride.  If you look closely in this photo you'll also notice that some bents for the coaster are also now in place in the middle of the ride.

To get a closer look at the now vertical Kentucky Flyer, the park created this construction update.  The clip is the second in what will be a series of updates as the coaster continues to rise at the park.  It shows that the bents that have been placed look to support two low sections of the ride, both on the stretch outward and on the return run.

Kentucky Kingdom also recently released a new point of view ride on the Gravity Group designed ride.  It's hard to tell if there are a lot of changes from the prior video, but this one looks a lot more polished and probably better represents the coaster's final design.

I also realized that I hadn't shared photos of the Kentucky Flyer's awesome trains!

© Kentucky Kingdom
There, now that is fixed.  Back at the IAAPA Expo the park, along with the Gravity Group and GravityKraft, debuted these slick trains for the first time.  The ride carries a light airplane theme, as we've seen in the promotional videos, so the plane-themed front car makes perfect sense.  I love the propeller on the front as well!

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Adventureland Iowa Announces New Spinning Roller Coaster for 2019

© Adventureland
Iowa's Adventureland theme park has announced a surprise roller coaster for the 2019 season, named Phoenix.  The coaster will be a spinning ride designed by Maurer Rides, standing about 50 feet tall and reaching speeds of up to 40 miles per hour.

The Phoenix will replace the Inverter, a flat ride was removed at the end of the 2017 season, according to this news story.  The ride will cost Adventureland $6 million and construction will start in February, 2019, with the ride scheduled for a June opening.

© Maurer Rides
From the given manufacturer, height, speed and the fact that Undertow at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is shown in the park's Facebook announcement, it looks like Phoenix will be one of Maurer's SC2000 rides.

There are already a handful of these spinning coasters in North America, and they are well received by park guests.  Adventureland is marketing the new coaster as a family attraction, considerably less intense than the Monster, the park's large Gerstlauer Infinity Coaster built in 2016.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Checking in on Yukon Striker Construction at Canada's Wonderland

© Grace Peacock
Cedar Fair's second large coaster project for 2019 is Yukon Striker at Canada's Wonderland, and the coaster's construction isn't too far behind Carowinds' Copperhead Strike, though the track isn't quite finished yet.  The theme park has made major progress on the ride's instillation however, and it doesn't look out of the question for all track to be up before the start of the new year.

The park's Director of Communications has shared a few photos of the ride on her social media, including the beautiful snowy shot above.  I love how tall and isolated Yukon Striker looks in the photo, as if it is protecting the park.

© Grace Peacock
Back with clear skies and no snow, you can see in this shot from last week that many of Yukon Striker's enormous elements are already in place.  After the 245 foot first drop the ride soars up into an Immelmann, not seen here, then up into the dive loop that is in the middle of the photo.  That leads to the back half of the ride, which returns using the steep drop from the mid-course brakes, also seen here.

© Canada's Wonderland
This wonderful wide-angle shot does picture the enormous Immelmann, and also the other elements that we saw above.  The rest of the layout will include a vertical loop - the first on a B&M dive coaster - another smaller Immelmann, and then after that second drop a hill and helix before the station.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Carowinds Places Final Piece of Copperhead Strike Track!

© Carowinds
An early holiday present to Carowinds, construction crews this week lifted the final piece of Copperhead Strike track into place.  The above photo is the final piece of track, along with some of the crew who have been assembling the ride.  The final piece was a part of the ride's giant inverted top hat element, which takes place right after the second launch.

© Carowinds
© Carowinds
The theme park has been showing off the ride in recent weeks, since it was nearing completion and there was quite a lot to see.  We already knew from all the videos and concept art that Copperhead Strike would be a twisted ride, but I think these photos speak for themselves on that point.  The ride's track twists and curls its way around, and looks amazing set in front of the fall colors of the parks trees.

Copperhead Strike's track extends 3,255 feet total, with two launches - one to 42 miles per hour and then halfway through the ride another that sends the trains blasting at 50 miles per hour.

© Carowinds
This shot is of the inverted top hat, the final elements to be constructed, when it was about halfway done.  Copperhead Strike will have 5 inversions in total, two vertical loops, the jojo roll right out of the station, a corkscrew, and the inverted top hat.

© Carowinds
The same time that track and supports have been going up, Carowinds has been busy building Copperhead Strike's station, queue and first launch building.  This photo is of the building that houses the first launch, which according to the ride's animations will have quite a bit of theming inside it.  Carowinds captioned the photo "What's in the barn?" - alluding to the events that will take place in here.  I love that the park is combining a thrilling ride with a pretty heavy storyline, helping to keep the "theme" in the "theme park."

Friday, December 7, 2018

New Details on Tokyo Disneyland's Stunning New Dark Ride + Massive Expansion

© Disney Parks
This week Disney Parks and Tokyo Disneyland have released new information and an amazing video showcasing the massive expansion under construction at the park, which will greatly expand Fantasyland but also give new attractions to both Tomorrowland and Toontown.  All the new additions are scheduled to open in 2020, and these new materials have fans quite excited, especially for the area's new dark ride.

Tokyo Disneyland released this drawing of the expansion, along with a key to understand what is being added:

© Tokyo Disneyland
The largest part of the expansion is a new part of Fantasyland themed to Beauty and the Beast.  The area's main dark ride will be named the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, but the area will also feature the Village Shoppes, a retail area, La Tavern de Gaston and LeFou's, both food establishments, along with the large Fantasyland Forest Theatre.

In Tomorrowland, a new family spinning ride named The Happy Ride with Baymax (how adorable!) will open in a structure bordering Tomorrowland and the Fantasyland Expansion.  Toontown will also open Minnie's Style Studio, a new highly themed character meet and greet area.

The total expansion is costing $665 million, and the dark ride is a massive $284 million on its own.

Disney Parks released a new video all about the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast, and it's getting a ton of attention all over the internet:

Watching the entire video makes it pretty easy to understand why people are going nuts for this new ride.  It's the first time that Beauty and the Beast is being made into a full dark ride, and it looks like they're going all out on it.  The animatronics alone look amazing, and the trackless dancing tea cups that serve as ride vehicles look equally wonderful.  In true Tokyo Disney fashion, the ride looks to be some of the best that Imagineering can create!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Morey's Piers Building Runaway Tram - New Family Coaster - for 2019

© Morey's Piers
Morey's Piers has announced the addition of a brand new family roller coaster for 2019, named the Runaway Tram.  The Wildwood boardwalk is known for the tram cars that run up and down it, and if you're ever been there then you've certainly heard the famous warning to watch out of them.

The new coaster plays on those classic trams, and will send guests on a ride on one that has gone a little wild - but not too wild.

© Morey's Piers
Morey's Piers isn't giving a lot of details about the ride at this point, but did release a bunch of nice concept art on their website.  Above is an aerial of the entire ride, and as a family coaster do not expect any big drops, fast speeds or extreme thrills.  The ride features a gentle, curving first drop followed by some twists and turns before arriving back at the station.

© Morey's Piers
Roller Coaster Database is reporting that the Runaway Tram ride will be a mirror image of the Flying Eagle, which just opened at Legoland Billund this year.  That ride was created by Zierer and stands around 36 feet tall and features just under 1,000 feet of track.  The compact coaster will fit well among the other rides and attractions piled up on Morey's Piers.

The family nature of the ride is not really a surprise given the fact that Morey's just retired their famous Flitzer coaster this past fall.  The new coaster might not be as thrilling, but will still keep smaller riders happy in summer 2019.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Busch Gardens Tampa's Tigris Track Arrives + The Ride Goes Vertical!

© Busch Gardens Tampa
In the past couple weeks Busch Gardens Tampa has made exciting progress on Tigris, the park's new launched roller coaster for the 2019 season.  The ride will be the tallest launched roller coaster in the state of Florida when it opens, featuring three launch sequences that hit a top speed of more than 60 miles per hour.

Standing 150 feet at its maximum height, Tigris will tower over the park when it is completed.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
These photos, taken last week, show the first sections of Tigris track showing up at Busch Gardens Tampa.  The coaster's track will be the bright orange color seen here, set atop black supports - continuing the tiger theme.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Now just yesterday the park has already taken Tigris vertical, placing the first piece of track and supports in place.  How wonderful to see the theme park so anxious to get the ride built and opened!  It looks like this section of track is located just after the station area, where the three launches, two forward and one backward, will take place.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
This view shows not only the track in place, but also the foundation work underway for the station area - you can see that in the back of the photo.

One of Tigris' highlight elements is a slow heartline roll that takes place at the top of the ride, slowly inverting riders around 150 feet in the sky!  Look forward to more photos of Tigris going up soon!

Monday, December 3, 2018

IAAPA Expo: Legoland Florida Provides Details of New Flying Attraction

© Legoland Florida
We already know that Legoland Florida is hard at work building a brand new themed area, The Lego Movie World, which will open in spring 2019 and feature a real-life trip into the setting of The Lego Movie.

At the recent IAAPA Expo the theme park revealed more information on the area's marquee attraction, known as The Lego Movie Masters of Flight.  After entering downtown Bricksburg, visitors will see the large show building for Masters of Flight towering over the area.  It can be seen in the upper left portion of the above concept art, and is made up to look like a giant dog.

When inside riders will sit on a new triple-decker couch and go on a flying journey through the many worlds of The Lego Movie.  The attraction has been created by Brogent Technologies, which is known for creating flying theater attractions around the globe.  Specifically, Masters of Flight will be the company's first ever instillation of their m-Ride system.  The attraction will load passengers facing away from the giant 20 meter tall dome screen, turning them around for a huge reveal of the world before them.  The vehicles are capable of several degrees of movement, allowing for a true feeling of flight during the ride.  Other special effects, such as wind, mist and smells will be used to further enhance the experience.

Scott and Carol were able to get a ton of great information on The Lego Movie Masters of Flight attraction during Legoland Florida's press conference at the IAAPA Expo.  The park even had a model of the attraction to show how some of the mechanics of the ride will work.  There are also some great tidbits about the development of the ride, and whether or not it could show up at other parks in the future.  Plus a surprise announcement for the Legoland Florida Resort at the end.  Check it out above!

Sunday, December 2, 2018

IAAPA Expo: SeaWorld San Diego Reveals Tidal Twister Lead Car

© SeaWorld San Diego
Also revealed during the recent IAAPA Expo was the lead car for Tidal Twister, the first-of-its-kind version of a SkyWarp ride that is opening at SeaWorld San Diego next year.

The attraction features two trains that duel on a single track, and feature both forward and backward motion.  The ride experience utilizes a "unique horizontal design," with "twists, banks, turns and curves" all along a tight horizontal track.  Highlights of the ride include a "dynamic zero-g roll and exhilarating airtime."

The reveal of the lead car design for Tidal Twister took place in the middle of the IAAPA show floor, and Scott and Carol were on hand for the presentation.  Check out this video for the big reveal, along with plenty of information from both SeaWorld and the attraction's designer.

Tidal Twister at SeaWorld San Diego is scheduled to open in the spring of 2019.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

IAAPA Expo: Sally Corp. + PortAventura Reveal New Sesame Street Themed Dark Ride

© PortAventura
The recent IAAPA Expo featured plenty of new announcements, including a reveal of a new Sesame Street dark ride - the first of its kind in Europe - to be built next year at PortAventura.  To be located in the existing Sesamo Aventura themed section, the new ride will feature animatronics and other theming designed by Sally Corporation, a leader in dark ride adventures.

The new attraction will represent a large expansion of the Sesame Street themed area at PortAventura, contained in a brand new 14,000 square foot building.  The nearly six-minute ride will be part of a 15 minute adventure when the pre-show is factored in.

During the attraction riders will join Detective Grover on a mission to investigate a mystery that's taking place on Sesame Street, and the ride features more than 2,000 physical and virtual clues to uncover.  It sounds as though riders will be able to use some sort of technology to gather these clues, as the ride is labeled as interactive and will feature a hall of fame scoreboard.

Other technology inside the ride includes 8 different projector screens that include 4 projection-mapped screens on dimensional sets with practical target integration, 1 ninety-degree curved screen with animatronic and show element synching, and 2 one hundred eighty-degree curved, fully immersive screens allow guests to fly through Count’s Castle and dive down into Oscar’s Trash can. 

Scott and Carol were able to capture the entire announcement for the new Sesame Street dark ride at PortAventura during the IAAPA Expo.  The end of the announcement features the reveal of a full sized Big Bird animatronic, check out the video above!

Friday, November 30, 2018

Footers Galore For Kentucky Kingdom's New Kentucky Flyer Wooden Coaster

© Kentucky Kingdom
We have some new photos from Kentucky Kingdom of the park's current work on the Kentucky Flyer, a family-sized wooden roller coaster opening at the park in 2019.

The new coaster will zoom along the backside of Hurricane Bay, the property's water park.  The station will be located just beyond the park's picnic area, and the layout will extend out along the top part of the park from there.

These photos show that a big portion of the ride's footings are already in place!  You can clearly see the out-and-back layout style coming together here with footer-attachments (my made up terminology) in two rows along the path.

© Kentucky Kingdom
Designed by The Gravity Group, the Kentucky Flyer will stand 45 feet tall and have 1,280 feet of track.  The ride extends beyond the park's current boundaries, with the turn around taking place on some land reserved for future expansion.  This aerial photo shows the ride's layout snaking its way across the back of the park, cutting through the land berm that had been created, and then the turnaround footings being poured on the right of the photo.  From the ride's planning, we now know that much of the empty space in the back by the turn around is land the park can use in the future.

© Kentucky Kingdom
With so much of the footings in place, that means that vertical construction can't be too far away, and this photo would certainly seem to indicate that.  We've got workers starting to cut wood pieces, perhaps for the station area, which often goes up first on wooden coasters.  I wouldn't be surprised to be sharing photos of some significant vertical progress on the Kentucky Flyer in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mall of America Planning One of the Country's Largest Indoor Waterparks

© Mall of America
Mall of America, located in Bloomington, MN, has long been filled with attractions and other adventures that draw guests along with the seemingly endless array of retail stores.  Recent plans show that the Mall now wants to get wet by adding a nearly 250,000 square foot indoor waterpark, which would make it one of the largest in the country.

The mall's owner, Triple Five Group, is working with the City to create a plan where the waterpark would be owned and operated by a non-profit organization, allowing for cheaper construction and taxes on the development.  The project comes with a massive price tag of between $230 and $250 million, and also includes a new hotel adjacent to it.

The waterpark would be filled with cutting edge slides and attractions, and because of its size, is expected to have one of the largest offerings anywhere.  It is planned to be located on one of the complex's current surface parking lots, and will connect to the mall directly.

© Mall of America
The Mall of America has long had a theme park located in the center of it, currently named Nickelodeon Universe.  As this news story about the new waterpark points out, in the world of online shopping, malls are looking for more ways to draw visitors than just stores, something owner Triple 5 has long understood.  The company's Mall of Edmonton features both a theme and water park, and their latest project, The American Dream in New Jersey, will also feature both an theme and water park when it opens.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sesame Place Already Working on Mystery 2019 Attraction

© Sesame Place
Although it seemed like all the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties have already revealed their plans for 2019, there is one park left that just started teasing - and that's Sesame Place.

The park released this video to let guests know that work is going on at the park:

For now the park is only saying that something "new and exciting" is coming to the park in 2019.  However, the above video does show the park's famous Sesame Street, a recreation of the actual street from the show, behind construction walls.  The park's website also confirms that work is underway there:

"Please note: The current Sesame Place Neighborhood will be under construction during A Very Furry Christmas. Guests can still enjoy photo opportunities with Sesame Street friends throughout the park and at 1-2-3 Smile with Me!"

The street in front of the facades is a busy place and used heavily for the daily parade and other activities.  Here is a look at that area:

© Bing Maps
The facades that are under construction are near the top of the image.  Perhaps they are just receiving a makeover for next year, which could coincide with a new set of these buildings going up at SeaWorld Orlando right now.  And maybe a new attraction is going elsewhere in the park?  There is a decent sized open area near the Carousel.

It's definitely a mystery for now, but it sounds like the park plans to tell us more soon, perhaps after their holiday event is over.  It is great to see the park expanding again after building a roller coaster this season, I would have expected an off-year!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Six Flags Great Adventure's 4th Annual Holiday In The Park is Their Biggest and Brightest Ever

© NewsPlusNotes
Six Flags Great Adventure has once again packed all the dazzling lights, holiday merriment, thrilling rides and delicious food they can find into their annual Holiday In The Park event.  Back for its 4th season at the theme park, this one ranks as their largest and brightest ever, with more than one million twinkling lights strewn across the park.

© NewsPlusNotes
During Holiday In The Park, Six Flags Great Adventure is made up of 13 different themed areas, with names such as Main Street Christmas, Whimsical Wonderland, Polar Point and Holly Jolly Christmas.  Each area has its own feel, with color patterns of lights supporting the theme - along with special live shows, delicious food, rides and other attractions.

© NewsPlusNotes
To celebrate its 4th season, Holiday In The Park has added a newly themed section, new live shows, even more operating rides than ever before, a brand new holiday mirror maze and more.

That doesn't mean that attractions that have already become classics were left out, as all the favorites have returned.  Pictured above in the background is the park's towering LED tree, which plays a show titled Holiday Magic: A Celebration of the Season every half hour.  The tree's lights become a festive look at the holidays along with appropriate music and perhaps even a bit of snow.

© NewsPlusNotes
The classic light displays in certain parts of the park have already become staples of the event, and happily they are there to see again this year.  Polar Point's beautiful blue lights, stretched high on the bases of the mature trees located in the area, are always my favorite and can be seen above.  There are twinkling icicle lights hung high at the top of the trees, and the whole area glows in the pretty blue light.

© NewsPlusNotes
Another section that always gets a lot of attention from fans is seen here, Gingerbread Junction.  The trees are decorated as giant candy canes, with projections on the side of buildings and the ground below.

This is one of the many places at Holiday In The Park where visitors can meet with costumed characters and have their photo taken - for instance Dot & Drop Gingerbread live in this area.  Elsewhere in the park you can also catch up with the Snow Queen, Peppermint Princess, towering Toy Soldiers and the Poinsettia Princess.

© NewsPlusNotes
Another returning favorite are the many fire pits located throughout the park.  They are also popular places for guests to purchase pre-made smores making kits, a great treat for a chilly night.  The above fire pits were located in the Holiday Memories section, but there are also plenty within the Merry Marketplace as well.  The marketplace is back again this year with towering white lights, special vendors and specialty food and beverage.

© NewsPlusNotes
No trip to a holiday themed celebration would be complete without a visit to Santa, and Six Flags Great Adventure just so happens to have Santa's House on property again this year!  Located in the North Pole area, Santa and his elves are happy to greet kids and have his photo taken with them.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
A new attraction for this season's Holiday In The Park is the Holiday Craze Mirror Maze.  The experience is a bit disorienting but an awful lot of fun, and packed with scenes of Santa's helpers getting ready for the season.  Plus, there's even a holiday dance party half-way through the attraction, featuring the one and only DJ Jingle Jangle.  The maze has a nominal fee to enter, but everyone passing through it when we were there was having a blast!

© NewsPlusNotes
A wonderful escape from the night air and a way to fill empty stomachs, the park's new Holiday Feast is a home run.  Located in the building next to Skull Mountain, the Holiday Feast offers all the traditional food you could desire, such as turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the fixings.  There is no way that anyone is leaving the restaurant hungry, that's for sure.  A wonderful addition to the park's event that I hope is able to return in coming seasons.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Also new this year is a brand new live show, named Wonder: A Cirque Spectacular.  Located in the Showcase Theatre in the Holiday Heroes section, the show contains many different styles of acts that keep things moving from start to finish.  There are some talented singers and dancers that take the stage in between acts, and performances include a juggler, aerialists, a magician and trampoline act, among others.  It's certainly a show not to miss at this year's Holiday In The Park.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Six Flags Great Adventure has also added a new themed area to this year's event, called Deck The Halls.  Located near Superman Ultimate Flight and the Green Lantern, the area features larger than life iconic images of the holiday season.  The towering displays include the giant ornament seen above, so massive that guests can walk through the center of it!

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Deck The Halls features additional displays including the massive stack of holiday presents and smaller gifts spread throughout the area.  The new decorations are perfect for family photos and selfies, and many guests were taking advantage of that when we checked out the area.  There are also plenty of life-size photo ops built into the area as well, making it a perfect spot for documenting your trip to the park.

© NewsPlusNotes
Six Flags Great Adventure is know for its many thrilling rides, and more than 30 of them are open during Holiday In The Park, quite a feat when you think of the cooler temperatures during this time of year.  For 2018 two more rides have joined the park's lineup, including the Parachute Training Center (above), and all-new Cyborg Cyber Spin.  As you can imagine, the view from the top of of the tower is breathtaking!

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Between all the special holiday activities, live shows, thrilling rides, delicious treats and Santa, Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday In The Park is one event that really makes the season shine.  We thank the park for having us out to see all that is offered this year!

To learn more about the event and plan your own trip, click here for the park's official website.