Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Park at OWA Building New Mystic Mansion Dark Ride

© Sally Corporation
Going into its third summer season The Park at OWA has announced a brand new dark ride, created by Sally Corporation and named Mystic Mansion.

According to Sally, the new ride will be a variation of their popular Ghost Blasters attraction, which has been installed in around 10 parks to date.  The Park at OWA's version will feature "the best scenes and gags of past versions, plus the addition of a few new surprises.  Four-passenger ride cars will take riders through 13 whimsical and spooky rooms of the haunted mansion, all rendered in glowing, surrealistically colorful ultraviolet paint."  As with other Sally Ghost Blaster rides, passengers will blast ghosts for points (there will be upwards of 90 targets), creating an interactive and competitive aspect during the 3 minute ride.

The park wanted to build an indoor dark ride for a way to allow guests to enjoy an air conditioned attraction, giving them a break from the sun.  A dark ride, especially one from Sally, is a great way to accomplish this.

© The Park at OWA
“We knew we wanted an indoor attraction, something engaging and fun for families. When we decided on an interactive dark ride, there was no better choice than the specialists at Sally,” said Director of OWA Marketing/PR, Kristin Hellmich.  “Of course we want quality, something that will stand the test of time, but what we’re really after is having park guests leave with a memory that they will want to relive, time and time again. And that’s what you get with a Sally ride."

Also new this summer at the park will be a non-rider pass, allowing visitors to enter the park with groups but not pay to ride.  Paying guests will be given wrist bands.

At the greater OWA destination, a brand new Paula Deen restaurant, candy shop, competitive gaming center along with a 400 seat theater showing Legends in Concert, will open this year.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Fun Spot America Orlando Working on New Interactive Water Play Expansion for Summer 2019

© Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America Orlando has been teasing fans for a couple weeks about a new development that they are working on.  This past Friday the park let everyone know that a large new interactive water play area will open this summer at the Orlando location.

These concept art drawings show the interactive water pad which is being created by Aquatic Design & Engineering.  The expansive area will be a popular respite during the hot summer months in the Florida sun!  Fun Spot America Orlando has long talked of building a water park, and perhaps this is their first step in that process.

© Fun Spot America
There will be a total of 30 different interactive features when the project is complete, and guests will have unlimited access to them all under Fun Spot America's all-day arm band pass.

“We are excited to begin this next phase of our development plan and adding this amazing interactive water feature is the first step we have been working towards for some time now. We have had some very productive planning meetings working towards this new attraction and our fans have been very engaged with us along this journey. Orlando and central Florida is an amazing and beautiful area and we are very thankful to be a part of such a great community.” said John Arie Jr, CEO/Owner at Fun Spot America.

© Fun Spot America
“When we approached the design for the interactive water feature, we took Fun Spot’s motto of ‘Safe-Clean-Fun’ to heart,” said Josh Martin, President and Creative Director of Aquatic Design & Engineering. “Not only is this water feature a fun way to beat the heat for any member of the family, but it also exceeds the highest levels of safety and sanitation.  The nearly 4,000-square-foot interactive water feature includes state-of-the-art slip-resistant soft flooring, and it uses environmentally-friendly, advanced UV Ray technology to disinfect the water without harsh chemicals.”

The water play area will also use motion sensors to conserve energy, turning on the water features only when there are guests nearby.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

New Infinity Racers Slide Tower Opening at Schitterbahn Galveston This Summer

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
A pair of record-breaking head first mat racing water slides will open this summer at Schlitterbahn Galveston, the water park has revealed.

Called Infinity Racers, the slides will be individually named Orbiter and Galaxy and be themed after outer space and the great men and women of the NASA program, according to Schlitterbahn Galveston.

The multi-million dollar investment is planned to open in June of 2019.

© Schlitterbahn Galveston
This layout shows the individual paths of both Orbiter and Galaxy, each start at 75 feet above the ground.  Mat racing slides are traditionally much smaller than this and features a few mild hills on the way down, but Schlitterbahn Galveston has sized-up the slides to a full 696 feet long.

The slides will be built out of a pairing of Schlitterbahn and WhiteWater West, containing enclosed slide sections from start to final splashdown.  The paths will feature unique sections of slide that let multi-colored light into each side in alternating patterns.  The main colors of the slide are "deep space blue, event horizon green and astronaut ice cream pink."

The new slides will be built on the top of an existing tower that already has three slides currently coming off of it - a great way to save costs and space!

Clementon Amusement Park to Expand with New Ride Package in 2019

© Clementon Amusement Park
New Jersey's Clementon Amusement Park has announced a big expansion for 2019 that will see the addition of 4 new family rides.

Marketed as bringing back "old fashioned family fun," the additions will be four "retro ride favorites."  All of the rides will be family oriented, with some a bit more thrilling than others.
The additions, as explained in this video from the park, include a Dragon Coaster (a smaller ride for kids and families), a Pirate Ship, Tilt-a-Whirl and Scrambler.

These attractions, at least the flat rides, are common staples at amusement parks and fairs across the country, and are generally loved by all.  The Tilt-a-Whirl will be perfect for smaller kids and their families, with the Scrambler a step up from that and finally the Pirate Ship giving some bigger swinging thrills.

The Dragon Coaster, while a small model, is greatly needed as the park's only other coaster is Hell Cat, a rough and tumble traditional wooden roller coaster that opened in 2004.  Small kids who aren't ready for Hell Cat are sure to enjoy a trip on the Dragon Coaster.

© Google Maps
I haven't seen any information about where in Clementon Park the new rides will be located.  The park is quite small and densely packed, though there are a few existing open spaces that could be filled without moving into the parking area.  The park is heavily trafficked for its picnic facilities, and I think the four new rides will help keep guests occupied on cooler days when the water park isn't a viable option. 

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Details of Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Revealed by Universal Orlando

© Universal Orlando
After recently finding out the official name of the long under-construction attraction at Islands of Adventure, which is Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure in case you've forgotten, this week also saw the release of more details of the ride.

The park released the above concept art for the ride, which mirrors the awesome aerials we've been following for months from Bioreconstruct on Twitter.  The journey will take place in the forbidden forest outside of Hogwarts Castle, where riders will join Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class, and board enchanted motorbikes that look very similar to Hagrid's.  Riders will be seated two across, one on the motorcycle and one in the side car.

The journey will be intended to safely show off all of the magical creatures in the forbidden forest, but of course not everything will go to plan during the roller coaster ride.  Universal Orlando has confirmed that along the way you'll see Fluffy the three-headed dog, Cornish Pixies, Centaurs, and the Devil's Snare.  There will also be a creature in the ride that's never been featured in the Harry Potter films, but it is being kept a secret for now.

Other facts released about the ride include the planting of 1,200 trees in the area of the ride to fully recreated the forbidden forest, that the ride will go both forward and backward, and that it will have a top speed of 50 miles per hour.

Check out the video embedded below for more about Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure.

Aquatica San Antonio Opens New Ihu's Breakaway Falls Thrill Slides

© Aquatica San Antonio
It may be chilly in many parts of the country, but in sunny Texas Aquatica San Antonio, located next door to SeaWorld San Antonio, has already opened their new thrill water slides, Ihu's Breakaway Falls.

The tower, which conts three separate slides, green, orange and blue, can be seen above standing around 8 stories above the water park.

© Aquatica San Antonio
Ihu's Breakaway Falls is the tallest multi-tower drop slide in all of Texas, as the giant banner seen here advertises.  The three body slide paths contain one typical slide start, with guests sliding down into the chute.  The other two feature drop chambers where riders enter and "as the door closes, they cross their arms and give a thumbs up in preparation for their drop – not knowing when the floor beneath them will disappear.  Facing each other, riders watch as fellow riders fall. A fter dropping in, riders descend at 20 -24 feet per second into a spiraling speed slide before racing into a final splashdown."

© Aquatica San Antonio
Here is a close up view of the drop chambers, this lucky rider is anxiously waiting for the floor beneath them to drop out!  Also note in the background how far you can see from the top of the tower!

"We are really pleased that guests to Aquatica San Antonio can experience this thrilling drop-tower so early in the 2019 season, giving them more reasons to visit the park again and again,” explained Carl Lum, SeaWorld & Aquatica San Antonio Park President.  “Ihu’s Breakaway Falls is an amazing addition to the already impressive line-up of rides and experiences at Aquatica San Antonio.”

© Aquatica San Antonio
The view of Aquatica San Antonio from the top of Ihu's Breakaway Falls, around 80 feet in the air, is quite impressive - as seen in this photo from the park.  Aquatica has seen great expansion in the seasons since it opened, and is now a playground of bright tropical colors with multiple thrilling family slides and attractions.  For more on Aquatica San Antonio, click here.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Lagoon Amusement Park Already Working on New Coaster for 2021

© Fox 13 Salt Lake City
It seems that Lagoon Amusement Park, in Utah, is always working on some project, whether big or small, and usually completing the task in-house.  That was certainly the case with their massive roller coaster Cannibal, which opened in 2015, an impressive ride with a 208 foot vertical lift, a 116 degree first drop and several inversions along the course.

The park has moved on to their next big project, which appears to be another large roller coaster, for 2021.  This news story spoke with the park about the expansion, but they're not giving much away about it yet.  In fact, most assumed the ride would open in 2020 but the park made it pretty clear that the soonest we will see this open in 2021.

Aerial footage of the construction site shows a work area that's about as big as Cannibal's, with some large footings going into place.  Really the only other thing that Lagoon would confirm is that the ride will be very different form Cannibal, and a one of a kind in the world.

Lagoon trademarked the name Primordial for some sort of attraction, and many think the ride under construction will be it - though only the park knows for sure.  One thing is for sure, for footings for something that looks more like a building than a coaster already going in this must be a rather large project! 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Bay Beach Amusement Park Building 100 Foot Tall Ferris Wheel for 2019

© wbay.com
Green Bay, Wisconsin's Bay Beach Amusement Park is well known for its recreation of the famous Zippin Pippin wooden roller coaster, but in 2019 it's adding some more gentle thrills to the ride lineup.  The unique municipal amusement park along the shore of the Green Bay of Lake Michigan is building a 100 foot tall Ferris wheel that is the start of an even larger project.

The ride recently started to be built at the park, as the image above and this news story from WBAY.com show.  Formally known as The Big Wheel, it will give amazing views of Green Bay when it begins operation this summer.

© Bay Beach Amusement Park
The Ferris Wheel will be the start of an renovation to the property that will eventually lead to visitors being able to swim in the bay - something that hasn't been available in almost 100 years.  The wheel will be located at the base of a 450 foot long pier that will extend into the bay, seen above, offering even more picturesque views of the water.

© Bay Beach Amusement Park
Bay Beach is hoping to be able to then open a 1,000 foot long sand beach by 2020 that will allow for swimming in the lake, and plenty of other summertime fun.  This drawing shows how the new Ferris wheel will be an integral part of the plans.  Fundraising for the remaining money needed to complete the beach project are ongoing, with more information available here.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Scott And Carol Present - Construction Photos of Kentucky Kingdom's Kentucky Flyer


We met up with Sam, who arranged for the rain to pause, so we didn't get soaking wet during our tour. He has a long history with the park as a Louisville native and regaled us with park stories during our tour.     


From high above on a water slide, you can see the construction crew tracking the first drop. Just beyond the canopy over the station, you can see the transfer track. Kentucky Flyer will have two (2) trains.


Even the crossover section has lots of airtime to thrill you and not-so-young alike. This gives a great view of some of the twelve moments of airtime on the ride.


The turnaround will obviously generate some strong laterals, hence the extra support. By using a steel support structure, the park can save money on maintenance and lots of space.

It might not be the tallest drop, but since Kentucky Kingdom wanted a bluegrass version of Wooden Warrior, you know this is just the beginning of a ride with loads of airtime.

The outbound leg rise high above the return track. Notice how instead of going just up and down, there will be changes of direction mixed in with the airtime. Our thanks to Sam, and Kentucky Kingdom for whetting our appetites on this dreary day. We can hardly wait for 4/28/2019 for the park to open.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

As Parks Grow, Alabama Adventure + Splash Adventure Gain Separate Identities

The past 5 years have seen great development at Alabama Adventure Amusement Park & Splash Adventure Water Park.  So much that the two parks will now have their own names, logos and identities (seen above) - which differs from the previous combined name of Alabama's Splash Adventure.  However, the parks will remain a two parks for the price of one combination, with one ticket giving admission to both parks.

The park will open in May for its 6th season under the Koch family's leadership, and they have quickly built back up the offerings on the amusement park side since taking over.  With 5 new rides added last year, and another one this year, the park now needs its own identity due to all of its offerings.

And they're not stopping in 2019, as they've already decided to add 10 days to the park's operating season and have announced something new for both Splash Adventure and Alabama Adventure.

© Alabama Adventure
Crews are hard at work digging footers for Splash Adventure's all-new Twister water slide.  The slide will twist around last year's addition, the FreeFall water slide, which can be seen in the photo above.  Containing several tight curves and bright colors, the Twister slide will be another thrilling addition to the water park.

© Alabama Adventure
The big new ride at Alabama Adventure this year is seen here, named The Galleon.  The swinging ship ride is a classic at many amusement parks, and will give a family-thrill that is a big of a step up for the flat rides currently at the park.  Alabama Adventure is now up to about 15 flat rides for families and children, and of course the star of the park remains the Rampage wooden roller coaster.

In 2019 the park is also expanding and beautifying and repaving several of their walkways, performing track improvements on Rampage to keep it running smooth and fast, bringing back the high-dive show from last year, and adding 120 new large size lockers.

© Google Earth
Also interesting to look at, this image from last April (via Google Earth) shows how much of the park has been brought back to life so far.  There's still plenty of room for more additions as time passes, but you can see they've removed most of the log flume's foundations, though the shoot-the-chutes and river rapids rides are still sitting untouched - for now.

Six Flags Great Adventure's Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth Ready to Rise

© Six Flags Great Adventure
After a cold winter (which may not be over quite yet...), Six Flags Great Adventure is getting ready to rise Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth at the theme park.  Work has continued on the footings for the mega-attraction throughout the cold months, and now as we see in these photos from the park, ride parts have arrived on site.  That means that they'll soon be stood up to support the massive swinging pendulum ride.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth will feature a bright color scheme of red, blue, white and gold, all the colors of Wonder Woman herself.  The ride will be one of the tallest pendulum rides in the world when it opens later this year, swinging riders to a maximum height of 172 feet in the air.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
These massive footers will support the ride, which will be located right at the entrance to the Metropolis themed part of the park.  The ride will swing to dizzying heights on the same spot that the park's Freefall once stood.  Once up and operating Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth will seat 40 riders per cycle in a giant circle on the base of the pendulum, and in addition to hitting over 17 stories in the air, the riders will hit speeds of 75 miles per hour.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Full Copperhead Strike POV Has Arrived + Ride Opens in 2 Weeks!

Here it is ladies and gents, the full point of view ride on Carowind's new double-launch roller coaster, Copperhead Strike!

The park teased us a bit earlier with a video of half of the coaster's layout, but now we have the entire ride to experience... digitally.  The ride's track gets extra twisted after the second launch, which accelerates the trains to 50 miles per hour - enough speed to go through the inverted top hat element.  Another vertical loop, along with many high-speed twists, turns and dives, finish out the 3,255 feet of track.

Also, if you haven't been paying attention to the calendar, Carowinds and Copperhead Strike open to the public two weeks from today!  The wait is almost over!  Even better, if you're a season pass holder you can get your first rides in on the new coaster one day early, on March 22nd!  The park will be open for a Season Passholder Preview Night that day from 6 pm to 10 pm!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando to Open March 27th + New Concept Art

© SeaWorld Orlando
Today SeaWorld Orlando announced that their new themed area, Sesame Street, will open to the public for the first time on March 27th - just 20 days from now!  The brand new addition is filled with rides, interactive attractions, entertainment, dining options and more, all based in the colorful world of Sesame Street and its characters.

Visitors will be able to interact with several famous Sesame Street residents, including Elmo - through his window which is pictured above - along with Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Abby and plenty more.

© SeaWorld Orlando
The sprawling six-acre addition will bring to life family sized rides such as Elmo's Choo Choo Train, pictured here, along with a roller coaster named Super Grover's Box Car Derby, Cookie Drop, which bounces guests high in the sky, a gentle spinning ride that gives aerial view of the area, named Abby's Flower Tower, and more.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Sesame Street at SeaWorld Orlando will feature plenty of interactive elements, including both wet and dry play areas for kids.  Above is the Rubber Duckie Water Works, filled with pop jet fountains and other exciting elements.  The 123 Count-Around Playground is a dry play area that's billed as the "coolest playground on any street."  Those looking to explore the entire Sesame Street area might want to invest in one of Elmo's Interactive Light-Up Bubble Wands, which will let them "magically" interact with the area and its characters through "special-effects, hidden surprises and exclusive content".

Families will also love the award-winning Sesame Street Party Parade, which will be the first parade ever held at the park.  The famous Sesame Street Characters will be on board colorful floats and will invite guests to get up and sing and dance along with them during the parade.

© SeaWorld Orlando
All this fun is sure to make visitors hungry, and Sesame Street will feature a new food truck section filled with healthy meal choices.  There will also be a signature beverage stand, all of which can be seen in this concept art.

For anyone looking to take home a souvenir from Sesame Street, Hooper's Store will be an essential stop along the way.  Filled with plush characters, clothing and more, the store will also feature several photo spots unique to SeaWorld Orlando.

Monday, March 4, 2019

New Potter "Dark Arts" Projection Show Coming to Both U.S. Universal Studios Resorts

© Universal Studios
A brand new nighttime projection mapping show has been announced to open this year at both Universal Studios Hollywood and Islands of Adventure, both of which are home to Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade themed areas.

The new show will again utilize the amazing Hogwarts Castle as the base for the experience, and will be called Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle.

According to Universal Studios, "this exciting all-new light projection experience will cast a mesmerizing display unleashing eerie creatures and villains upon the stone walls of the castle. Illuminating the darker side of the Wizarding World, this spectacle of music and lights will unleash some of the eeriest creatures and darkest wizards of the Harry Potter series, cast ominously against the stone walls of the castle."

While this certainly sounds like something that would fit in rather well with the Halloween and Fall season, the premier date for the attraction at both parks has not been revealed yet.  The production will feature some of the most fearsome creatures from the Harry Potter series, including the highly feared Dementors and Death Eaters, but also the Acromantula, Mountain Trolls, and Thestrals.

These baddies will try to take over the Castle, and eventually "the chilling visage of the Dark Lord, Voldemort," will appear to finalize the takeover... only to have one of the wizarding world's most effective defensive charms cast to protect it.

Stay tuned for more details on when you can experience the Dark Arts at Hogwarts Castle at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Hollywood.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Book Review: Always Cedar Point by H. John Hildebrandt

© H. John Hildebrandt
Looking for a short review?  If you're a fan of Cedar Fair and especially Cedar Point, this book is an absolute must-have.

Now, for a bit more detail.  I actually finished up reading Always Cedar Point, A memoir Of The Midway by H. John Hildebrandt some time ago, after tearing through it rather quickly.  The book deserves a brief review here, so that others are aware of it.

Mr. Hildebrandt worked at Cedar Point for 40 season, rising through the Marketing department and eventually being the park's General Manager for 9 seasons.  That, to say the least, gives him a ton of interesting facts about Cedar Point, gathered (and documented rather well) into this book.  Really, if you're a fan of Cedar Point and are always looking for interesting stories of the park's history as well as little known facts, this will be a gold mine for you.

Granted, as a memoir this book is not only about Cedar Point, but also quite a bit about Mr. Hildebrandt's career at Cedar Fair.  That includes a lot of personal history as he started at the park never thinking he would eventually run it for nine years.  There's also a lot to glean about the company during the Dick Kinzel years.

Once you get into the parts of the memoir that cover his time at the park, you won't be able to put it down.  I purchased the book right after it came out and after it arrived had it done within days.  All sorts of details are hidden throughout the book, and it's fascinating to see things such as park attendance, alternate ride names and which rides were a success, and which a flop.  I'd share some of the details but that feels inappropriate as clearly Mr. Hilldebrandt put in a lot of time and effort into this book (it clocks in a 430 pages!)

As a Dorney Park local it's also interesting to note that Mr. Hildebrandt was the General Manager of the park for a year before he went back to Cedar Point, so I even got a taste of those details in the chapter about his time at Dorney.  Cool stuff, indeed.

To learn more about the book and its author, check out it's website, and to make it easy here is a link to the book on Amazon.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

New Details Emerge for Busch Gardens Tampa's Massive 2020 Rocky Mountain Coaster

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Last night Busch Gardens Tampa held their 60th Anniversary Celebration Kickoff, and it included some new details and a brief preview of their new for 2020 roller coaster.  There is still a lot being kept secret about the coaster, but we do know that it will be breaking records, and the concept image released by the park (up top) makes it look pretty massive.

Here is the teaser that the park released:

As the tweet says, the Rocky Mountain Construction conversion of Gwazi into a new steel-track ride will be "North America's tallest hybrid, and the fastest, steepest hybrid coaster in the world."  From the wording used by the park and the concept art, it appears as though the new ride will use one track, not two like Gwazi did. 

Currently North America's tallest hybrid ride is Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point, which reaches 205 feet in the air.  That means that the Gwazi transformation (using #2020Rising on social media since a name has not been revealed yet) will have to stand at least 206 feet tall.  The park's release only confirms that their new ride will feature "a maximum height of more than 200 feet tall."

The title of steepest hybrid will require moving beyond Steel Vengeance's 90 degrees, meaning Busch Gardens Tampa's ride will technically go beyond vertical.  Finally, being the fastest will also have to beat Steel Vengeance's 74 mile per hour top speed.

No other real details have been released yet, but we can tell the ride has at least one inversion from the concept art.  The park says that the coaster will "feature all-new thrill elements, as well as restored elements of Gwazi."

Naturally the park will release more on the coaster as the opening draws closer - plus with crews already working on removing Gwazi track we'll be able to see the ride come to life in the coming months.

New Details Emerge for Busch Gardens Tampa's Massive 2020 Rockly Mountain Coaster

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Copperhead Strike Comes to Life at Carowinds + Be a First Rider

© Carowinds
Full scale testing of Carowinds' new double launch roller coaster, Copperhead Strike, has started at the park.

Ahead of the theme park's season opening on March 23rd, the coaster has begun the first of many test runs.  Happily for us, Carowinds' was quick to share both on-ride and off-ride footage of the experience, up through the ride's second launch.

Check it out:

Looks like a blast!  Copperhead Strike features an initial launch, which can be seen in this video, that will send the trains from zero to 42 miles per hour in 2.5 seconds.  Riders then encounter a vertical loop, followed by a great looking air-time hill.  The twisted course then takes over, with trains maneuvering through a tangle of track.  When the ride is finished, passengers will have made it through a total of 5 inversions spread over 3,255 feet of track.

© Carowinds
© Carowinds
This video also gives us a peek at the ride's launch house, which is filled with theming that compliments the storyline of the ride.  These images, from the video, show a ton of theming that is already in place, though things don't look totally complete at this point.  I love that Carowinds has created such a full backstory for the ride, and I can't wait to see all that takes place in this building just before the first launch!

If you're excited and want to be one of the first to ride Copperhead Strike, Carowinds is auctioning off the first three trains of riders to benefit Make-A-Wish Central and Western North Carolina.  The event will take place on March 21st, a couple days before the park opens for the season.  Bids can be made for a pair of seats at a time, and the highest bidder will get one of the first rides on the coaster!  To make your bid and learn more about the auction, click here.

© Carowinds
Finally, the park just shared a really neat aerial fly-over of Copperhead Strike.  Check out the video here!

Monday, February 25, 2019

New Dining Options + Signature Festival Opening at Cedar Point in 2019

Cedar Point already announced their largest addition for 2019, Forbidden Frontier, some months ago, but has revealed even more being added to the park this year.

The announcements coincide with the park's annual Winter Chill Out event, an off-season tour of the park for fans that benefits A Kid Again.  Each year the event raises tens of thousands of dollars for the organization, $60k this year alone, and the park usually offers some announcements to go with the backstage goodies.

New in 2019 is the park's signature special event, the Frontier Festival, which replaces and builds on the former Brew & BBQ event.  The "immersive Old West, sunflower-inspired street festival with local artisans, kids’ crafts and games, continuous live entertainment and wild food and drink to sample and savor" will run June 7th through June 30th from 4 pm to 10 pm.

The Frontier Festival's live entertainment includes the Bluegrass Jamboree and local bands on the Gossip Gulch Stage - plus line and square dancing lessons will be available at the Hubbub Hoedown.  Visitors can purchase tasting cards to try items such as "two-meat barbeque, baked beans, bison chili, pulled pork sliders, fire roasted chicken drums, smoked wings, toasted sunflower vinegar slaw, smoked brisket, wild strawberry shortcake, peaches & cream and more."

On top of the entertainment and tasty eats, there will be activities such as "the Flower Patch – an opportunity for kids to choose their own flower and decorate their own flowerpot; the Junkyard Jamboree – where guests can make their own music on antique metal items; and the daily Balloon Stampede – where kids can stomp on balloons for prizes."

Cedar Point also announced two major changes to the park's dining operations.  Those who participated in Winter Chill Out got a look at these changes, embedded above is one of many views of these projects that hit social media.  CP Food Blog posted this image of Hugo's Italian Kitchen, which will replace the Midway Market along the main midway.

© Cedar Point
Hugo's Italian Kitchen will offer "traditional Italian fare like hand-made pastas, fresh pizzas baked in a large open-flamed brick oven, chicken parmesan sandwiches, salads, meatball sandwiches and fresh desserts."

Also announced was the mystery project that is taking up the space formerly occupied by Witches' Wheel along the Gemini Midway.  An expansive new restaurant, named BackBeatQue, is currently under construction.

Blending live music and shokehouse barbeque, BackBeatQue will be a "new rock ‘n’ roll and Motown-inspired eatery will serve smoked brisket, rotisserie chicken, pork platters and fresh perch. Southern sides like okra, cornbread muffins and house-made mac & cheese will also be available."

The development will come with a large outdoor dining space where guests can eat, relax and enjoy the sounds of the BackBeat Quartet.

For more photos of all the new projects, as well as some awesome photos from backstage at Cedar Point, check out coverage from Pointbuzz, CP Food Blog, ThemeParkArchive, and the Sandusky Register.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Renovated Entrance Area + New "Play" Pavilion Headed to Epcot

© Disney
Epcot, one of Disney World's four theme parks, is already seeing a large amount of development that has been announced in the past year or so.  A Guardians of the Galaxy themed indoor roller coaster is currently being built, along with a brand new lagoon show on the horizon, the Ratatouille ride in the France pavilion, and a space themed restaurant for Future World.

But wait, there's more!  Additional changes for Epcot were revealed this week.  The park's entrance area will see the Leave A Legacy display moved to outside the park's gates and replaced with beautiful gardens and a "reimagined" fountain (see concept art up top).  The area will be much more open and feature plenty of green space, and honestly, seems like it is reverting back to how it was when the park first opened.

The park also plans more changes between Spaceship Earth and the Worlds Showcase promenade, but those will be detailed at a future time.

© Disney
Also announced this week was a brand new, not-yet-named, "play pavilion" that will be built in the long closed Wonders of Life pavilion.  The park describes the pavilion as a space that "will include first-of-their-kind experiences devoted to playful fun, inviting guests into an innovative, interactive city bursting with games and hands-on activities.  Guests at Epcot will interact with their favorite Disney characters in an energetic metropolis unlike anything ever seen before in the park."

That leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but the concept art for the attraction, shown above, makes it look visually impressive at the least.

These two developments, along with all the others previously announced, will be displayed in a new Experience Center that will be within the park.  That is planned to open its doors later in 2019.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Name + Opening Date Released for Islands Of Adventure's New Coaster

© Universal Orlando
This past week - finally! - saw some news break regarding the new launched family roller coaster that we have been watching be built at Islands of Adventure for months now.

The attraction will be called Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure.  That's a long name, and the acronym HMCMA doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, so I think most will just call the ride Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure, or with the general public, the "Hagrid coaster."

The announcement came with few details.  For one the full concept art up top was revealed, similar to a teaser version from a couple months ago, only this time showing the ride vehicle on the tracks, the ride's station building, and at least one magical creature.  As expected, the train will consists of cars that feature a motorcycle style seat along with a sidecar seat.

Second, the ride will have its grand opening on June 13th, 2019.  Of course we all know that major Orlando park attractions pretty much never open without a preview period, so I'd expect to have riders on it at least a couple weeks before that date... if not longer.

As for as the gritty details of the ride, well we'll have to wait on those.  The park's description of the ride is equally brief, acknowledging again that it is their most themed coaster to date.  They also say that you'll be able to, "for the first time ever, join Hagrid as you fly far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle on a thrilling roller coaster ride that plunges into the paths of some of the wizarding world’s rarest magical creatures."  The park promises more details as the opening date draws closer.

Hopefully you've all been following Bioreconstruct's aerial photos of Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, like the one above, as many details are becoming visible on the heavily wooden ride site.  If not, follow that link and make sure to check them out!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Dollywood Offers a Look Inside Park's All-New Wildwood Grove Themed Land

© Dollywood
Dollywood is hard at work on their largest expansion ever, the 5-acre, $37 million Wildwood Grove themed land.  Set to open in May, most of the area's rides and attractions have already been installed and work is continuing on adjacent buildings, landscaping, and other special features.  When complete, Wildwood Grove will offers visitors 11 attractions set in a beautifully themed grove filled with unique surroundings including the massive Wildwood Tree, filled with hundreds of glowing butterflies.

© Dollywood
Fans of the project have probably been keeping tabs on the construction via the park's webcam, available on the Wildwood Grove website.  A shot of the cam can be seen above, with all of Wildwood Grove visible.  Guests will enter the area right by Mystery Mine's entrance, encountering rides and attractions as they move deeper into the land.  One of the largest rides in Wildwood Grove is the green and black roller coaster you can see in the upper left, a family suspended coaster named DragonFlier.

© Knox News
Dollywood just held a construction tour of Wildwood Grove, showing off all they have completed thus far.  The Knox News has a feature story on the expansion, along with an expansive photo gallery of the area - one photo from the gallery is seen above.  Check out the full story and photos at this link.

Wildwood Grove looks like it's going to be quite beautiful when it is finished, as the park is spending heavily to cover the area in new trees and other landscaping.