Saturday, July 14, 2018

CraZanity - World's Tallest Pendulum Ride - Now Open at Six Flags Magic Mountain

Standing an amazing 170 feet tall, which is taller than the majority of roller coasters out there, Six Flags Magic Mountain's new thrill ride, CraZanity, is now open to visitors.  A ride of this magnitude is sure to draw thrill seekers to the park, which also offers a plethora of roller coasters as well.

© Six Flags Magic Mountain
“Six Flags is known world-wide for the biggest and best thrills bar none and the record-breaking CraZanity ride delivers a crazy, high adrenaline experience very different from anything else we have in our unparalleled thrill ride arsenal,” said Park President, Neal Thurman.

CraZanity is a pendulum style ride, where 40 riders sit along a giant ring-shaped gondola at the base of the ride - facing outward with their feet dangling.  The gondola then starts to swing left and right as it spins, gaining momentum and reaching higher and higher.  Eventually the ride is swinging up to 170 feet in the air at 75 miles per hour!

© Six Flags Magic Mountain
CraZanity also features a brilliant light package for when the sun goes down, seen above.  It is the main focus of a renovated Boardwalk themed area within Six Flags Magic Mountain.  The area also includes all new shopping, games and dining along with refreshed attractions such as the popular bumper cars.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Harley Quinn Spinsanity Opens This Weekend at Six Flags Over Texas

© Six Flags Over Texas
Opening this Saturday, July 14th, Harley Quinn Spinsanity is sure to give visitors to Six Flags Over Texas a thrill unlike any that can be found in the Southern U.S.  Standing an impressive 70 feet tall, the giant thrill ride closely resembles a gyroscope that rotates on three different axes with riders in the center of the action.

© Six Flags Over Texas
Harley Quinn Spinsanity is the second ride of this type to open in North America this year, with the first having opened a few weeks ago at sister park Six Flags Great Adventure.  The ride is known for its "unpredictable, gravity-defying flips, twists and turns."  At Six Flags Over Texas, the new attraction is located inside the Gotham City themed section, along side rides themed to other characters such as The Joker, Catwoman and The Riddler.

© Six Flags Over Texas
“As the company’s flagship park, Six Flags Over Texas is home to a long list of industry firsts and we are thrilled to unveil our newest innovation,” said Park President, Steve Martindale. “Harley Quinn Spinsanity is like no other ride we have ever built, and our guests are going to be amazed by the height, the size and the incredible features of this attraction. We take great pride in continuing our legacy of one-of-a-kind thrills for all ages.”

The attraction's triple box design features a gondola with 24 riders at its center, seated back to back in two long rows.  Shoulder harnesses secure riders in place with their feet freely dangling below them.  The ride's movement along three axes creates the ability to rotate forward, backward and sideways simultaneously, resulting in a dizzying effect.  As if the ride doesn't garner enough attention on its own, it features a brilliant light package that will make it the center of Gotham City once the sun goes down.

Here is some promotional footage of Harley Quinn Spinsanity that was released by Six Flags Over Texas:

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Celebrate Autism Awareness Week with Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom

Running July 16th through July 22nd, Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom will celebrate Autism Awareness Week - benefiting the Autism Society of America (ASA) through Cedar Fair Charities, Inc.

The park holds the annual event to focus on "community integration, equal access and as a fundraising initiative for ASA."  Special tickets can be purchased for the event through this link, and for each ticket redeemed the park will donate $2 to the ASA.  The park will also offer additional opportunities to donate while in the park, with donation boxes placed throughout the property.

© Dorney Park
During the week Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom will hold special sensory friendly shows that stay within a consistent decibel level of 85-88 and feature no flashing lights.  These shows include Charlie Brown's Jungle Journey, Schroeder's Sing-along and Franklin's Dance Party in Planet Snoopy, and the 4 pm showing of Cirque Imagine will also be sensory friendly.

A special Autism Awareness Week guide to the park will be available at guest services, which outline the park's sensory-friendly shows, rides and attraction, along with first aid and quiet/calming areas and gluten-free dining options.

Dorney Park also has a Multi-Sensory & Calming Room located in the Family Care Center inside of Planet Snoopy.  The space has "tools for family members, or care-givers, to intensify or reduce sensory stimulation in a controlled environment.  Dorney Park also offers free Sensory Packs, which are available to sign-out, daily, from Guest Services and the Family Care Center. Dorney Park’s Sensory Packs include items that will reduce stress or sensory triggers such as noise reducing ear-muffs, shoulder weights, fidget toys and more." 

The amusement park also offers Autism training to members of its staff each year through Lehigh County to ensure quality services are provided to all of their visitors.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hersheypark Announcing 2019 Attraction August 2nd + A New Coaster in 2020?!

© Hersheypark
Hersheypark has been pretty consistent each summer with giving some sort of tease about their plans for the following year... and 2019 is no exception.  No puzzles this year, just a website for the "top secret" project for 2019, which allows visitors to enter to win all sorts of prizes including season passes.

The theme of the page and some of the text are where most of the hints are.  Those who enter the contest will be a part of the "agent trainee program," due to their "love of chocolate and peanut butter."  All very secret mission sort of graphics as well.

© Hersheypark
There are also these little characters strewn about the page as well, which looks like the residents of ... whatever the new ride is.

If I had to take a guess I'd say that this looks like some sort of interactive dark ride, but Hersheypark already has one!  So that would lead me to believe that Reese's Xtreme Cup Challenge, a Sally designed shooting dark ride that opened in 2006, may be rethemed for 2018.  (here's some video of the ride from Sally)

In the ride, teams themed to chocolate and peanut butter (links to the text on the teaser page) battle it out for the highest points during the extreme sports themed ride.

I also noted that the image at the bottom of the page is titled "phasers," which seem to most commonly refer to "pulse energy" blasters used in the Star Trek series.  Would make sense if the new ride continues to be a shoot-at-targets-for-points style of ride!  Luckily we only have to wait until August 2nd to find out!

© Hersheypark
Moving on to 2020, we already knew from recent planning meetings that Hersheypark wants to use the former golf course land to start a big expansion, with a whole new entrance gate going in.  Today Pennlive released some plans that give a good look at the 2020 expansion, and appear to include a pretty big new roller coaster.

Above are the plans.  If you're familiar with Hersheypark, you can see how the new entrance will be very close to the tram drop off, just below Chocolate World, and North of where it is currently.  The much more open area (which is badly needed) contains all the buildings you would need along with a circular one that looks like it could have a ride in it.  You can even see the old Hersheypark pinwheel logo in the pavement!

But at the bottom of the expansion is the outline of what looks quite like a roller coaster path, and the image also has a footer plan that lets us see even more.

© Hersheypark
Here is the plan that Pennlive released with my markup, showing the path of the coaster.  The station building is clearly visible, even with transfer tracks located right next to it as we would expect.  The ride appears to go out for a long way in a straight path, cutting through the middle of the former golf course land and passing over the creek a few times.  There's a turnaround, more straight track, then a helix.  The track then curves off toward the new entrance, and appears to swoop around a giant fountain that will be just inside the new turnstiles.  The ride then meanders over the new midway before a turn back to the station.

© Hersheypark
This second image Pennlive published is a zoomed in section of the new entrance.  This is the image that was just clear enough to make out some text, which is how you can be sure that the fountain is a fountain, etc.  If you look close you again can see the new ride's footer path through this area.

© Hersheypark
Here is the same image with markup of the ride's path, based off the footers visible.  You can see how the ride will swoop and do a full helix around the water fountain, then cross over the midway before the final brakes and station (which would be just south of the image).  You can also see the cutoff pathway that will lead to the ride's queue and station.

Granted we can't be sure, but this layout seems to feature an awful lot of design elements we've seen used on B&M hyper coasters in the past, but that's just a guess on my part.  While the layout is pretty clear, the manufacturer is not, so that will remain a mystery for now.  Exciting developments for sure!

Monday, July 9, 2018

Universal Orlando Previews New Cinematic Celebration Lagoon Show

A series of preview performances of Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration have started to take place at Universal Studios Florida.  Since the performances are part of a technical rehearsal, there is no set schedule of when the show will run, but many lucky guests have already been able to enjoy the experience just before the theme park closes for the day.

The 19 minute long Cinematic Celebration features 120 different fountains in the park's central lagoon, some of which can blast water well over 100 feet in the air.  There are 7 large water screen that feature projections of sequences from many of Universal's hit properties, including Jurassic World, the Minions, Fast & Furious, Harry Potter and plenty more.  The fountains are capable of a plethora of color combinations, and the entire background of the park becomes a set for projection mapping during the  performance.  Plus, there's fireworks and other special effects strewn throughout the performance.

The official kickoff for the show will take place once these rehearsals are completed, scheduled to be during this summer.  For now, if you can't get to the park to watch the show there are plenty of videos of it showing up on YouTube.

The below video, from Orlando Experience, features one of the performances where many of the special effects - including fireworks - were used.  Check it out!

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Kennywood's Latest 2019 Puzzle Released + Win a Chance to Ride First

© Kennywood
Kennywood has moved into the second phase of their puzzling teaser campaign for their new for 2019 attraction, this time offering up a word search that links to the earlier scratch card.  With the new puzzle fans can look for words that explain the 9 numbers that were revealed in the first phase of the challenge.

It's a bit tricky though, as there are many more than 9 words to be found in the search, so obviously there are some fake-outs in here too.

© Kennywood
Here is the actual word search, you can download a better version directly from Kennywood's website for the puzzle.  I won't ruin it by sharing all the items that I've found (it seems there are more than 20 at least), but some of the more interesting ones are lift, columns, inversion, suspended, trex, and airtime.  Remember though, only 9 of the words that are in here will correctly match up with the 9 statistics released previously.

So, why do we care?  Well for starters because teaser campaigns are fun!  And secondly, the first 12 people who submit the correct entry will be a part of the "ultimate new ride experience," which includes being one of the first to ride the attraction in 2019.  You can submit an entry each day through July 16th!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Toverland's New B&M Wing Coaster - Fenix - Opens This Weekend + New Onride Video

© Toverland
Fenix, a part of the brand new themed area named Avalon, will see its grand opening this weekend at Toverland, located in the Netherlands.  The giant B&M wing coaster, with brilliant blue track and beige supports, has been steadily testing at the park for weeks now, ahead of guests getting their first rides in.

Avalon features Fenix and also a boat ride with an indoor section, and as Toverland is known for, elaborate theming throughout the land.  Riders on Fenix will be treated to three inversions, a 131 foot lift hill, maximum speeds of 59 miles per hour, and 2,667 feet of track.

Ahead of the opening, the park has released a new point of view ride on Fenix:

Fenix features a selection of elements that we have seen used on B&M wing coasters in the past, but definitely features a unique layout.  The speed hill after the first twist-and-dive drop looks like it may give some air-time, but we won't know for sure until the first rides.  The pacing of the ride looks strong, with little lag between elements.

It's amazing to see how much Toverland has grown over the past ten or so years, from an indoor amusement park to what is quickly becoming a sprawling outdoor theme park.  Their attractions keep getting better with each addition, I can't wait to see what the future holds for the park.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Energylandia Shares Test Footage of Massive New Hyperion Roller Coaster

Happy 4th of July, everyone!  Hope everyone is out celebrating this Independence Day at their favorite amusement park!  Today's story isn't about an American attraction, but this new coaster looks noteworthy enough that I think our readers will be quite interested in it.

Poland's Energylandia has finished up major construction of their new hyper roller coaster, Hyperion, and released some early test videos.  Embedded below, the videos show off what looks like a top notch ride experience, featuring a great variety of elements and a ton of speed.

Here is the first video, which is all off-ride footage of one of the very early test runs.  Hyperion is an Intamin designed "Mega Coaster," standing 253 feet tall.  The trains feature 4-across seating like those on B&M rides, but with the two middle seats up higher than those on the outside.  That's similar to Skyrush at Hersheypark, however the Hyperion trains have floors under the outside seats, while Skyrush does not.

Hyperion's trains plummet down a 262 foot first drop into a tunnel, and hit a maximum speed of 88 miles per hour.  The total track length is 4,757 feet.  As we well know, Intamin hyper rides are some of the best on the planet, so Hyperion could be the next chapter in that legacy.

Just today Energylandia released this point of view footage of a ride on Hyperion.  The air-time looks like it will be incredible on the 2nd hill, along with what looks like an extended slow-float hill after the first speed section.  The ride's latter section is filled with fast turns and elevation changes, and there even appears to be some sort of splash element constructed for just before the final brakes.  Also of note is the ride's twist and dive element that replaces a traditional helix as the mid-course turnaround.

Shouldn't be too long now until Hyperion opens to the public, then we will get an idea of how this coaster rides!

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Visitors Enjoying New Pandemonium Ride at The Great Escape

© The Great Escape
The Great Escape has added a thrilling new flat ride for 2018, named Pandemonium, to the park's line up of attractions.  The new ride opened earlier in The Great Escape's season, so it has already been thrilling visitors to the park for weeks now.

The ride, which looks to be a Freestyle from Chance Rides, seats 24 passengers at a time, facing outward on a giant ring.  The ring rotates quickly while it is elevated and spun at the same time, creating a wave-like motion that riders experience as they go.  The motion can be a bit disorienting, but is perfect for thrill seekers!  Freestyle rides are more common at fairs and other traveling events, so it's interesting to see one installed at a Six Flags-owned park.

This video of the ride shows Pandemonium in action, and by the looks of it the riders are enjoying it!  This smaller, but still very thrilling, flat ride looks like a perfect fit for a park the size of The Great Escape.

At night, the ride really glows with an "electrifying light package that hypnotizes onlookers as they follow all the twisting, twirling motions" of Pandemonium. 

Monday, July 2, 2018

Kennywood's 2019 Project Scratch-Off Card Almost Fully Revealed!

© Kennywood
It was just in the beginning of June that Kennywood started to tease their big 2019 attraction, sharing the above scratch-off card.  At the time they said that one square would be revealed each week, however since then they have revealed double that amount, and now there is only one square left.

Project 412, as Kennywood is calling it, now has eight clues revealed, but why the advanced reveal schedule?  Perhaps the announcement was moved up significantly, something that most fans of the park wouldn't have a problem with!

Looking at the "ride detail" clues that are revealed, let's take a guess at what some of them could mean.  The project is expected to be a new roller coaster, so we will base guesses off of that.

220 - Perhaps a total height above the park, or perhaps the longest drop?
24 - This could be the total number of passengers per train? Six cars of 4 riders each.
50 - A tough one, the only thing I could guess is a height requirement of 50 inches?
9 - Another tough one, perhaps $9 million total cost?  Might be a bit low, however, if this ride is as large as it sounds.
197 - Perhaps the total drop, or depending on if they use the park's hills the total height?
120 - Maybe the ride length in seconds, or a two minute long ride.
3 - Probably either three inversions or other key elements.
75 - The ride's top speed, which seems possible given the large height/drop.

It's fun to guess, and at the rate the park is going maybe we won't have to guess for all that much longer!  While you wait, keep up to date with construction photos of Project 412 in this gallery from Kennywood Connection.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Toy Story Land Celebrates Grand Opening at Disney's Hollywood Studios

© Disney's Hollywood Studios
This weekend is the premier of a major, 11 acre expansion to Disney's Hollywood Studios - a part of Walt Disney World in Florida - named Toy Story Land.

Themed as Andy's backyard from the famous Toy Story films, visitors encounter a world filled with seemingly giant toys and other objects assembled to create the rides and buildings, as guests are now the size of a toy.

In addition to two new attractions, Disney's Hollywood Studios' popular ride, Toy Story Mania, has been given a new entrance that is a part of Toy Story Land, officially incorporating it into the area's offerings.  A new dining location, Woody's Lunch Box, has also been built, featuring classic American dishes along with treats like old-fashioned soda floats.

© Disney's Hollywood Studios
Arguably the most exciting addition to Toy Story Land is a brand new roller coaster, Slinky Dog Dash.  Guests ride in an extended version of Slinky himself, and the coaster (created by Mack Rides) features two separate launches.  Designed for families the ride is by no means as intense as some launched coasters, but a perfect fit for Toy Story Land.  Plus, it has a low 38 inch height requirement.

Here is a great video from Sharp Productions showing off ride and on ride footage of Slinky Dog Dash! 

© Disney's Hollywood Studios
The final new attraction in Toy Story Land is Alien Swirling Saucers, a gentle whip-style ride with guests being pulled behind the adorable Aliens that are perpetually mesmerized by "the claw."  The attraction features two separate sections that allow for higher capacity.

For more on Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios, check out the theme park's official website.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Carowinds Starts Teaser Campaign for 2019 Expansion

Some interesting new teasers have been posted by Carowinds on Twitter today, showing off what appear to be two signs posted on a construction wall inside the theme park.  Until now it was clear that some construction work was underway at the park, but one of the two signs now confirms the link between the work and the 2019 season.

© Carowinds
Here is the first photo the park shared, which isn't too large of an image but is all about the Byrd Farm Expansion that is taking place.  While pending approval from the Great Carolina Agricultural Department, the graphic advertises that "sweet corn" will fill up the area in 2019.  It also mentions a list of construction partners, some of which are familiar.  For instance, the name of one of the companies links back to characters the park created for an expansion project just a couple years ago.

© Carowinds
This is the second image that the park posted, an advertisement for barns built by the Miami River Lumber Company, which was also the company used to tease Kings Island's Mystic Timbers and then used in the coaster's back story.  The text gives more hints, possibly red herrings as well.

For instance, one line says "our lumber is obtained by means of vengeance."  This is seemingly a reference to Cedar Point's makeover of Mean Streak into Steel Vengeance.  The very bottom also reads that the company is out of Southern Yellow Pine until next season, which is a wood that is commonly used in wooden roller coaster construction.  There are even more hints in the text if you look hard enough.

© Bing Maps
Carowinds currently has heavy construction work going on in the area inside the pink outline seen here.  The former home of the park's shoot-the-chutes, along with a small water park play area has been joined to land that once held the station for Thunder Road to create a big space to work with.  Seemingly, this is where the 2019 additions will go.

For some photos of the work that has taken place thus far, check out this gallery from Carowinds Connection.  There is plenty of speculation out there as to what the park is building, and it is fun to see them now teasing the project, which looks like it could be a new themed area in addition to at least one large new ride (or a big addition to the Crossroads section). 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Waterville USA to Retire Cannonball Run Wooden Coaster

© Waterville USA
Waterville USA, located in Alabama, has announced that they plan to retire their wooden roller coaster, named Cannonball Run, at the end of the 2018 season.  The park, as the name would imply, is mainly focused on water park attractions, but also includes a small selection of family rides along with the coaster.

Cannonball Run is a medium sized wood coaster that opened in 1995 and was built by Custom Coasters International, a long defunct company that built more than 30 wood coasters during the 1990s and early 2000s.

© Waterville USA
Cannonball Run stands 65 feet tall and features a track length of 1,700 feet with a top speed of 43 miles per hour.  It features one Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters train with five cars.  The layout, most of which can be seen in the above photo from the park, features a series of air-time hills on the trip out and back, with a traditional 180 degree turn in the middle.

© Google Maps
As for why the roller coaster is being removed, the park's owner just stated that they are making room for new attractions.  Since the coaster borders the edge of the parking lot for most of the trip, it doesn't appear (at least in the aerial above) that too much room will be gained from its removal.

Riders will have until September 16th to get their final rides on Cannonball Run.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

New Pendulum Thrill Ride - Tigeren - Opening in 2019 at Djurs Sommerland

Large pendulum thrill rides, available from several ride manufacturers, are proving to be a hot ticket in the amusement industry over the past few seasons.  Several of these rides have opened each season in parks across the globe, and it looks like the trend will continue in 2019.

Djurs Sommerland, located in Denmark, has announced the addition of Tigeren to the park's Wild Asia themed section for 2019.  The ride will be one of Intamin's Gyro Swings, which hits speeds of up to 62 miles per hour and a maximum swing angle of 120 degrees.  At the top of that swing the highest part of the pendulum will be around 147 feet in the air, according to the park.

This animation of Tigeren shows just how tall the ride will be, and it will indeed tower over all of the park's existing roller coasters.  When Crazanity opens this summer at Six Flags Magic Mountain it will be the tallest pendulum ride at 172 feet, not that the 147 feet of Tigeren is any less impressive!

Djurs Sommerland continues to expand on a regular basis, with two new family rides opening in 2018, and a unique Intamin suspended inverted ride, DragonKongen having opened in 2017.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Ohio's Zoombezi Bay Waterpark Opens New "Otter Banks" Expansion

© Zoombezi Bay
The Zoombezi Bay Waterpark, located adjacent to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Ohio, has opened a brand new themed section called Otter Banks.  The expansion contains three brand new attractions that offer fun from mild to wild, leaving no member of the family left out.

The attractions also offer some unique items not found in many water parks in the U.S., which is interesting to see.  The above image shows the entire Otter Banks area, which has been built on previously undeveloped land behind one of the park's main slide towers and near the wave pool.

Here are some photos of Otter Banks that the water park shared earlier in the year, when it was still under construction:

© Zoombezi Bay
The largest additions are the Sandpiper Splash Drop Slides, the blue and green body slides that can be seen above.  The fast slides empty into a deep pool below, but allow sliders to fall between 4 and 6 feet to the water below as they exit the slide.  The park notes that the pool is deep, and that Sandpiper Splash Drop Slides are for strong swimmers only.  Many parks have removed slides of this type through the years, so it is neat to see a new set open.

Sea Challenge is an inflatable obstacle course that puts two participants head to head as they race through the course, which takes place over and in the water.  The race finishes with a slide down the last obstacle into the pool below.  This is another pretty unique attraction for a water park, and looks like a lot of fun.

Finally Otter Banks also includes Sand Dollar Shores, a zero-depth entry play area that includes cascading water falls, basketball hoops, and more.  Perfect for smaller kids, the area also allows parents to relax along the shoreline as the kids play.

For more on Otter Banks, check out Zoombezi Bay's website.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Noah's Ark Waterpark Opens Raja - World's Largest King Cobra Slide

© Noah's Ark Waterpark
Billed as the largest King Cobra waterslide on Earth, Noah's Ark Waterpark has officially opened their new attraction, Raja.  Created by Polin Waterparks, the King Cobra style slide is only the second in the United States, with the other being at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Raja stands an impressive six stories tall and features two separate parallel paths that twist through turns right after leaving the boarding area.  The slides cover 335 feet long and riders can hit a maximum speed of 32 miles per hour while on Raja.

© Noah's Ark Waterpark
The end of the slide is the most exciting, when riders, each seated in tubes, head down a very steep 37 foot drop.  They then slide up directly under the menacing head of a giant cobra, water spraying from its fangs.  They then oscillate back and forth in the u-shaped trough, before coming to a stop and exciting the slide.

Raja has been built right along Wisconsin Dells Parkway, giving those passing the park an enticing view.  The park also shared this video chronicling the building of Raja, along with on new on-slide footage.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Pixar Pier Welcomes First Guests at Disney California Adventure

© Disney
This weekend marks the opening of Pixar Pier at Disney California Adventure, which is a reimagining of the Paradise Pier area which opened along with the theme park.  Obviously, everyone's favorite Pixar characters have moved into the land, creating four Pixar-themed "neighborhoods:" Pixar Promenade, Toy Story Boardwalk, Incredibles Park and Inside Out Headquarters.

The area's main attractions have been rethemed to the popular Pixar franchises with the exception of Toy Story Midway Mania, which already nicely fits in with the Toy Story Boardwalk area.  The section's large Ferris wheel is now called Pixar Pal-A-Round, featuring new colors and character themed gondolas.

© Disney
The largest attraction of the area has always been the large launched Intamin-designed roller coaster, formerly named California Screamin', now called the Incredicoaster.  A perfect them considering that Incredibles 2 is smashing the box office right now!  The ride has received a light retheme to include the main characters from the films.

Disney California Adventure released some footage of the various theming elements that have been added to bring the Incredicoaster to life.

Although Pixar Pier is opening this weekend, it's not quite finished yet.  Coming later this year and in 2019 are several additions.  The park's classic Carousel will be rethemed to Jesse's Critter Carousel, with Western themed Toy Story additions.

© Disney
Next year the Inside Out Headquarters area will gain an attraction lifted from A Bug's Land, once it closes this summer.  Known as Emotional Whirlwind, visitors will ride in balloons themed to various emotions.  Later this year the area will also open Bing Bong's Sweet Candy Tears, a sweets shop featuring a plethora of items to choose from.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

SeaWorld Orlando Shares Infinity Falls Construction Update + New Concept Art

© SeaWorld Orlando
Although the summer season is now underway, the brand new river raft ride, Infinity Falls, isn't quite ready to open at SeaWorld Orlando.  While everyone patiently waits for the large attraction to open, the theme park recently held a tour of the ride's construction site, which shows that plenty of progress has been made in recent weeks.

Above is some of the new concept art that SeaWorld Orlando has released for Infinity Falls.  The art shows off the entire ride and surrounding area, and highlights different aspects of the rapids, new food and retail offerings, and more.

© SeaWorld Orlando
It looks like SeaWorld Orlando has changed some of the ride's concept for the main plunge, removing one of the large decorative towers at the top of the drop.  This art shows the one tower that is still in place, with a few smaller ones alongside the ride's mid-course lift hill.

Several of the ride's main statistics were also released with the tour, including a river length of 1,520 feet, a 5 minute ride time, hourly capacity of just over 1,000 riders, a 30 foot lift and a 40 foot drop.  Each raft will seat 8 passengers and riders must be 42 inches tall to journey down Infinity Falls.

For more photos and video of the Infinity Falls, check out both Attractions Magazine and also Orlando Theme Park News.

And for those curious, here is a photo from ThrillGeek that shows what the main drop and surrounding area looks like as of right now.  Neat to see a large drop like that on a river rapids ride, not too many feature such an element.

Last but not least, Twitter user Bioreconstruct took to the skies again this past weekend and shared plenty of aerial views of Infinity Falls.  Click through to their Twitter feed to see more.

While a bummer that the ride isn't ready yet, I have to say that it looks really wonderful so far and SeaWorld Orlando is obviously taking the time needed to get it done right, with plenty of theming, rockwork, heavy landscaping and more going into the project!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Party Into the Night at SeaWorld San Antonio's New Electric Ocean Celebration

© SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio is excited to present their new nighttime celebration, called Electric Ocean, which premiered this past Friday, June 15th.  The event, which "transforms the park into a sea of glowing color and energy," was well received last year at SeaWorld Orlando and San Diego and is now taking up residence at SeaWorld San Antonio.

“When the sun goes down, our park comes alive with a celebration of illumination, featuring vibrant night shows with exhilarating performances,” said Carl Lum, SeaWorld San Antonio park president. “Immersed in exotic worlds of light, music and incomparable special effects, our guests can experience their favorite SeaWorld rides and attractions in a whole new way – lit by the Electric Ocean glow.”

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Electric Ocean allows visitors to experience the park in a new light once the sun goes down, with special entertainment, glowing decorations and tons of energy.  The park's hours have also been extended to allow guests more time to experience all that Electric Ocean offers, even offering night rides on the park's coasters.

Each night's event is capped with IgNite, a spectacular fireworks show that lights up the sky over the park.  The show also utilizes the park's central lake, and is backed by a unique soundtrack of electronic dance music.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
The park's party atmosphere is exemplified in the Electric Ocean Party Zone, filled with "Latin beats, glow zones and an interactive atmosphere."  There is also a Deep Sea Silent Disco where guests pick their own tunes via headphones and dance together in silence.

Shamu's Celebration: Light Up The Night is another returning fan favorite with original music, high-energy production elements and a celebratory atmosphere.  The show features the park's famous orcas and takes place in Shamu Theater.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Electric Ocean's entertainment roster does not end there, as there are other shows such as Sea Lions Tonite, a "hilarious, off-the-wall parody of a trip to SeaWorld through the eyes" of the park's sea lion superstars.  Seen above is HydroPower: Xtreme FX, a water ski stunt show that features "non-stop action, including unique stunts and comedy capers" along with a live rock band and plenty of pyrotechnics.

For more on Electric Ocean at SeaWorld San Antonio, check out the park's website.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Brand New DreamWorks Theatre Featuring Kung Fu Panda Now Open at Universal Studios Hollywood

© Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood has completed another transformation inside the park, this time turning the former Shrek 4-D theater into the all-new DreamWorks Theatre featuring Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest.

Obviously based on the popular Kung Fu Panda franchise, the theater "takes guests on a thrilling journey that fuses captivating storytelling with state-of-the art visual effects for a highly engaging experience."  The film takes place on the morning of The Emperor's Great Feast of Heroes, when Po goes on a perilous mission to deliver the Liquid of Limitless Power to the grand palace, taking visitors to the theme park along with him.  Throughout the experience visitors will encounter "raging rapids, river pirates, awesome magic" and, of course, Kung Fu.
© Universal Studios Hollywood
Having officially premiered on June 15th, the attraction's opening ceremonies featured a plethora of DreamWorks Animation characters from films including Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, Trolls and Shrek.  The ceremonies also included a martial arts demonstration, which can be seen above in a press image.

As for the attraction, it is described as a multi-sensory experience, using the "first-ever integration of interior projection mapping designed to engulf guests in 180 degrees of immersive adventure. Developed by the innovative team at Universal Creative, this never-before-adapted technique depicts a series of immersive and visually dynamic scenic designs that will transform within the interior space and enhance the story. With detailing that is so precise, it will be near impossible to realize the projected imagery is a mere illusion."

The film is coupled with high-end cinema projectors and 360 degree surround sound, and even the plush seats pivot to keep up with the 180 degree action.  In theater effects such as wind and water are also utilized.

Early reviews of Kung Fu Panda: The Emperor's Quest are glowing, highlighting the advanced technology that has taken this type of theater experience to the next level.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration Announced for Universal Studios Florida

© Universal Orlando Resort
The long rumored new nighttime fountain show for Universal Studios Florida has finally been announced, and it will be called Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration.

The new show will take place on the central lagoon of Universal Studios Florida each evening starting this summer, a more specific date has not been announced.

Universal Orlando's Cinematic Celebration will "bring thrilling and fun moments to life inspired by characters from popular Universal Orlando experiences and blockbuster films," including Harry Potter, Jurassic World (seen in the concept art up top), Fast & Furious, Despicable Me and many more.  The show will be projected on giant water screens in the lagoon and utilize 120 separate dancing water fountains.  Projection mapping will transform the entire waterfront of the park's buildings into scenes that blend into the show.

Universal Studios Orlando is currently transforming a large part of their Central Park area that borders the lagoon into a dedicated viewing area for the new show.  Multiple levels of standing room are being built to accommodate visitors that will no doubt start lining up early to see the show.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Tokyo Disney Resort Unveils Massive Expansion for Tokyo DisneySea in 2022

© Oriental Land Co.
Oriental Land Company has announced that they have reached an agreement with Disney to build an all new themed Port inside Tokyo DisneySea along with a new hotel, all scheduled to begin operations in 2022.

The expansion, costing roughly $2.3 billion, appears to be the final version of major additions planned for Tokyo DisneySea, which date back an announcement in 2014 that were clarified in 2015 that a new Frozen themed Port was coming to the park.  The plans were eventually reconsidered, with a new Soarin' attraction announced while final plans were drawn up.

Now, the company has released details of their plans for Tokyo DisneySea, which will expand into a much larger area than previously planned.  The resort already is hard at work constructing a large addition of Tokyo Disneyland's Fantasyland area.  Also of note, the licenses between Oriental Land Co. and Disney have been extended another 30 years, all the way through 2076.

© Oriental Land Co.
The brand new, 8th themed Port at Tokyo DisneySea can be seen in concept above, and is based around "magical springs that lead to a world of Disney fantasy," and will include areas based on Frozen, Tangled and Peter Pan.  It will be bordered by a brand new hotel that is themed to the Port, and accessed from a pathway between the Arabian Coast and Lost River Delta areas.

© Oriental Land Co.
Interestingly, Peter Pan will be a major part of the new Port, featuring both Captain Hook's ship and Skull Rock.  It will have two attractions, the first of which will see riders flying "over the jungles of Never Land in a battle with Captain Hook and his crew of pirates."  In the story, Captain Hook has kidnapped John, Wendy's brother, and visitors go with Peter Pan to save him by floating down the river with the Lost Boys.  Tinkerbell sprinkles a bit of her magic, and suddenly riders are flying through Never Land "on an unprecedented adventure that features iconic music and dynamic 3D imagery of the characters of the film."

The area's second ride lets visitors enter Pixie Hollow, to see Tinker Bell and her friends.  The area will also have a restaurant inspired by the Lost Boys and their hideout, and will feature views of Never Land while they dine.

© Oriental Land Co.
Tangled with be featured heavily in one section of the Port as well.  Rapunzel's tower will stand over the area, along with a forest setting and a restaurant set in the hideout of the thugs that appear in the film.  The area's attraction will be a boat ride through Rapunzel's "best day ever," following her journey to the lantern festival with Flynn.  The press release states that the ride will see "countless flickering lanterns illuminate the attraction's climactic scene while Rapunzel and Flynn sing an iconic song from the film."

© Oriental Land Co.
Frozen, at long last, will be the third theme of the new Port.  Downsized from originally being an entire new Port, the village of Arendelle will rise at the park.  Set after Queen Elsa has "embraced her magical power to control snow and ice," the castle gates are now open and welcoming visitors.  The area's ride will tell the story of Elsa and Anna, via a boat ride.  The attraction will tell their journey to get to the current happy era, and of course feature many songs from the film.  A new restaurant will open that is set inside Arendelle Castle, sure to be a popular dining location.

© Oriental Land Co.
This is a concept of the new hotel that will be built with the project, which is be inside the park and rise up from the magical springs that the Port is based on.  The Port's theme will be further explained through a retail location on the hotel's first floor that faces the park.

The hotel will have 475 rooms and offer deluxe and luxury accommodations, in fact the luxury rooms will be the "finest accommodations in Tokyo Disney Resort."  The hotel will have two restaurants of its own, a lobby lounge and a dedicated parking area.

Oriental Land Co. is dedicated to expanding and growing the resort, and they definitely are putting their money where their mouths are with this expansion!