Monday, January 21, 2019

Six Flags Great America Releases new Maxx Force POV Virtual Ride

© Six Flags Great America
While the original announcement of Maxx Force, an extreme launched roller coaster opening at Six Flags Great America in 2019, included plenty of animation it did not feature a full start to finish point of view ride animation.

This past weekend the park changed that when they released this video, showing riders just what a spin on Maxx Force will be like:

Maxx Force's intense layout will be covered in about 20 seconds from launch to brakes, and the ride will be North America's fastest launch coaster according to the park, hitting 78 miles per hour in less than 2 seconds.

The launch will be intense, and easily the most exciting part of the ride and it's main feature.  Maxx Force is being created by S&S Sansei Technologies, which has a long history of making intense compressed air-launch rides.  (Everyone remember Hypersonic XLC at Kings Dominion's launch?)  After the launch the trains will soar up into a pair of twisted inversions at 175 feet above the park.  The next inversion is said to be the fastest on any ride anywhere, and looks like an extended heartline/corkscrew roll.  A fake-out dive loop follows, and will lead downward into the final brakes.

Maxx Force is currently under construction at the park, with the first supports said to have recently gone up.  Once the park releases more coverage of the ride going up, we'll be sure to check in again.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Planning Documents Show Full Layout of Proposed 2020 Dive Coaster for SeaWorld San Diego

SeaWorld San Diego is moving forward with their exciting 2020 roller coaster project, a B&M dive machine.  The park recently went seeking approval from San Diego to build the attraction, which the park must do for anything taller than 30 feet.

A presentation was created by the park for the meeting, which is available publicly on the city of San Diego's website.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Before we get to the ride, here's how planning for SeaWorld San Diego's new attractions works, so long as they're taller than 30 feet.  The park was granted permission to build up to 4 attractions between 100 and 160 feet tall as part of their master plan (finalized in 2002) and it's also worth noting that Mako will only be the 2nd of these four rides.  So there's more opportunity for thrills at the park down the line.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Here is a wonderful aerial (updated with Electric Eel) of where in the theme park Mako will be located.  The area is currently parking lot, and is located behind Journey to Atlantis and next to Wild Arctic.  Visitors will pass through a long walkway that goes behind the water ride to get to a small plaza that will hold the entrance to Mako.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Here is how the corner of the park will look once Mako is built.  This also gives us a good look at the ride's layout, but there will be even better images in a moment.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Here is a profile view of Mako, showing the steep lift that will top out at 153 feet above the park.  The drop will head down 143 feet and up into a large Immelmann roll, as seen on many other B&M dive coasters.  The second element is interesting, a tall and heavily banked hammerhead turn.

© SeaWorld San Diego
This overhead layout should answer pretty much any question anyone has about Mako's layout.  The first drop leads directly into the Immelmann, then the neat looking hammerhead turn, then the track will rise into a barrel roll that swoops downward at the end.  A large flat spin comes next, followed by a highly banked 180 degree turn and up onto the brakes.

© SeaWorld San Diego
The park also created some visuals of how the ride will look on the skyline of the surrounding area, one of which can be seen above.  If you're wondering why SeaWorld San Diego keeps using the same teal-based color schemes for their rides, it's because they have to - keeping the rides colors that are similar to the sky was a part of the master planning agreement.

This looks like a wonderful addition to SeaWorld San Diego, can't wait to see the ride go up at the park later this year!

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Plans Leak for New Jurassic Park Roller Coaster at Islands of Adventure

Some major news broke yesterday for a new roller coaster project in the Jurassic Park section of Islands of Adventure.  Long rumored to be on the way, we just recently saw some games being removed and work walls go up in the section of the park for the new coaster.

Local news source WFTV9 broke news of the ride's layout yesterday with this article and the above photo.  The new coaster will utilize much of the area that was the long-closed Triceratops Encounter, but also zoom out in front of the Discovery Center and swirl around a landscaped area and under/over the bridge to the Lost Continent.

Orlando Park Stop has also released a layout of the coaster, which is a bit more detailed than the one up top.  The queue (and overflow queue) will be entered from the front side of the Discovery Center, changing what is often a quiet part of the park into a super busy one.  The ride's entrance looks to be right under the end of the ride's second launch, which is met by a (probably) giant top hat-ish element.

The ride looks to have two launches, actually, and at least one show scene.  Orlando Park Stop's story has more details on that, but after the first launch there is a lot of twisted track and one or two clear inversions.  Then comes the second launch which is expected to propel the ride at well over 70 miles per hour into the section of the track that skims past the front of the Discovery Center, into a the wooded area by the bridge, then skim over the central lagoon's surface on the way back to the station.

As for the hardware of the new Jurassic Park coaster... it is highly rumored to be a launched coaster from Intamin, similar in design to Taron at Phantasialand.  If you're unfamiliar with that ride, check out this video as a nice introduction.  The ride also features two launches, and somewhat shorter trains that allow for tighter turns and quick elements.  It also features the top-notch theming that Phantasialand is well known for, but the ride experience alone puts it near the top of many coaster fans' top lists.

With a layout leaked, work walls up and games and other structures being moved I'm sure we'll hear something official from the park soon.  Perhaps not too many details, similar to how they've sat on the new Harry Potter details for what feels like a decade, but at least acknowledgement that the attraction is on the way!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Worlds of Fun Gives New For 2019 Restaurant a Rename Ahead of Season Opening

© Worlds of Fun
Near the end of last summer, Worlds of Fun announced a brand new restaurant being built for 2019, at the time named the Boathouse Grill.  The location was announced to feature Kansas City BBQ along with other delicious meals, and the expansive location (over 9,000 square feet) would have patio seating for more than 300 guests.

The theme of the Boathouse Grill was meant to pay homage to the park's original three boats that could be found on the property, one of their signature design features upon opening.

Worlds of Fun just recently released via an official blog post that the overall theme of the restaurant will remain, however it has been renamed:

© Worlds of Fun
Now known as the Cotton Blossom BarBQue, the restaurant will focus its theme on one of the park's original boats, which was not surprisingly named the Cotton Blossom.

The boat was an icon of the park, and the blog post details its history at Worlds of Fun - it originally was used on the set of a movie and purchased from MGM's Backlot via auction.  The park has narrowed the focus of the theme to better explore the history of the park, honoring it as well.

Make sure to check out the park's post on the change for some additional historical detail and images, along with a current construction image of Cotton Blossom BarBQue.  It is wonderful to see the park focus on their history with this addition!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Posts Construction Photos of Two New-For-2019 Attractions

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The 2019 season at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA will be filled with soaring swings and swooshing toboggans as visitors enjoy two new attractions, one at each park.

With the parks now closed until Spring, the property has shared some photos of construction work on the additions.  Above is the work site for Finnegan's Flyer, Busch Gardens Williamsburg's new S&S designed Screamin' Swing.

The ride will be located just next to the bridge that visitors use to enter Ireland, and riders will swing out over the water below.  The top photo shows the ride's massive foundations being poured, and gives a great look at how Finnegan's Flyer will be situated in the park.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The foundations for the ride are extra tall due to the ride being located with the level of the Ireland area, with a big drop off to the water below.  Finnegan's Flyer will seat 32 riders on two pendulum arms that swing back and forth at a speed of up to 45 miles per hour.  At the maximum height of each swing, the arms can reach up to 80 feet above the ground.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Over at Water Country USA, the work for the Cutback Water Coaster is well underway.  The ride will use the site of a former family slide, which has been removed already.  The aerial photo above shows the site of the new water coaster, with the former slide totally gone.  The new attraction will utilize the old one's station platform, along with the conveyor that lifts rafts to the top.

When completed, the Cutback Water Coaster will be the only RocketBlast style water coaster on the East coast.  Using a special water propulsion system, rafts seating 4 passengers will be above to go not only down hill, but also up hill, much like on a traditional roller coaster.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
One of the interesting design elements of the water coaster will be the five separate saucer-shaped turns.  Most of the slide has already arrived at the park, and the saucer features are waiting to go into place (above).  The saucers will be bright yellow and orange, with the rest of the slide featuring blue and white.  In addition to the saucers, Cutback Water Coaster will feature several tight turns, quick drops and 850 feet of slide in total.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Hersheypark Shares New Maps & Images of 2020 Chocolatetown Project + Heavy Work Begins

© Hersheypark
To coincide with the official groundbreaking on the massive Chocolatetown expansion at Hersheypark, the property has also updated their website to give us new views of the $150 million addition.

Set to open in 2020, the project is so large that the park has already started construction on it.  It seems the theme park will be using a temporary entrance during the 2019 season as the current one will be demolished by then.

The above aerial image shows the entire Chocolatetown expansion, and you can also make your way through the area and see what will be built using the park's new interactive map.

© Hersheypark
Another bonus from the new images that have been added are some additional views of the new roller coaster that will anchor Chocolatetown.  What is expected to be a B&M hyper coaster, themed to Hershey's candies, will feature brown track and silver supports.  A major part of the coaster, a helix near the end of the ride, will surround a giant fountain in the middle of the park entrance plaza.

© Hersheypark
Images of Chocolatetown from afar show the entire layout of the coaster, which is very much in line with many of the other B&M hypers out there.  The ride will have a steep first drop (expected to be above 200 feet) a huge air-time hill, a hammerhead turn around, then many smaller hills, a helix or two and then the brakes.

© Aaron Bond via Facebook
Hersheypark just had the groundbreaking for Chocolatetown recently, and since then has started major demolition work inside the former entrance area.  Work had already begun previously, but now things have kicked into high gear.

Browsing some Hersheypark fans groups on Facebook reveals plenty of photos of the work.  Looks like most of the buildings are going to be quickly smashed to bits.  Above is a photo from a gallery on Hersheypark Connoissuers, and here is another aerial gallery (drone footage, not posting here as I can't be sure they were taken legally).

© Hersheypark
One last thing I wanted to mention.  If you're still curious about how the new entrance will fit over the existing one, then make sure to scroll down on the new map page the park debuted.  It has several images, like the one above, showing just how the park's entrance facilities will change in 2020.  Pretty neat to play around with!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Coasting for Kids Returns Even Bigger and Better in 2019

© Give Kids The World Village
The ever-wonderful Coasting For Kids fundraising event, which benefits Give Kids The World Village, is scheduled to be back and bigger than ever before in 2019.

This year the coaster riding event will spread to 14 parks, with events taking place on different dates across the country.  The first scheduled event will be at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which will take place on March 23rd, 2019.

Coasting For Kids is the ultimate way to raise funds for the 84 acre non-profit "storybook" resort near Orlando, Florida.  Give Kids The World Village hosts sick children and their families for the ultimate no-expense trip to the theme park mecca known as Orlando.  Besides the parks, the Village itself has a ton of special attractions, restaurants, activities and more that are highly themed and often created by theme park designers themselves.

© Give Kids The World Village
This year those interested can register online and collect donations toward their day of riding at:  Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Frontier City, Six Flags America, Six Flags Darien Lake, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Over Texas, Fantasy Island, Indiana Beach, Kennywood, Legoland Florida, Quassy Amusement Park, Sesame Place and Story Land.

Each of the parks are still wrapping up their event details, except for Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which is already open for registration.  Keep a close watch on the event's website for details on additional park events, and even if you can't register you can still support a team!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Silver Dollar City Retires River Rapids Ride for Large New 2020 Project

© Google Maps
Silver Dollar City has confirmed that the park's river rapids ride, named the Lost River of the Ozarks, has been removed from the park.  The attraction opened in 1982 and cost around $2 million to build, one of the park's larger attractions at the time.  It has been a favorite of guests since then, featuring a trip through the woods along with a pretty long indoor section.

The ride can be seen in the above aerial map, most of the ride can be seen to the right of the lake in the center of the image.

The theme park isn't ready to say just what they're working on yet, but one thing is for sure - the ride and some of the area surrounding it is already a giant plot of dirt.  Check out this new video to see what I mean:

You can pretty easily compare the aerial footage of the park to the image up top to see just how large an area has been cleared out.  It appears there is one small section of the Lost River's former building standing, basically a part of the facade and that's about it.  The rest is some nice flat land, which I'm sure we will see more work on soon.

Midwestinfoguide has been keeping regular tabs on the work that has progressed as the ride was removed, and just posted another update from the ground on the park's last operating day of the season.  The area does appear a bit larger than it really is because the lake has been drained, but this is still a very large area for the park to reconstruct.  I can't wait to see what they have planned!

Monday, January 7, 2019

New B&M Dive Coaster - Mako - Opening in 2020 at SeaWorld San Diego

© SeaWorld San Diego
Everyone has to love a surprise announcement!  That's just what SeaWorld San Diego did this past weekend when they announced a brand new roller coaster named Mako for the park's 2020 season.  The ride will be one of B&M's dive coasters, featuring a vertical first drop to start the ride, and is already being marketed by the park as "California's tallest, longest and fastest dive coaster."

Behind The Thrills first gave us a look at the ride's concept art, up top, over the weekend.  Their story features plenty of photos from an event the park had where the ride was announced.  The park also plans to spruce up other areas of the property in the coming years, including the Shark Encounter and Penguin exhibits, according to the site.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Back to the coaster, the park released some additional statistics today.  First, the coaster will be located behind Journey to Atlantis, in what is currently a section of the parking lot.  Mako will stand 153 feet tall and feature a 143 foot first drop.  It will have almost 2,500 feet of track, and hit a top speed of 60 miles per hour.  Elements on the ride include a "barrel roll, Immelmann loop, a hammerhead turn, and a flat spin."  Mako will utilize floorless trains that have three rows of six riders.

Planning and approvals for Mako are going to start soon, so expect more details and probably a full layout to be released before too long.  For now, the coaster seems most comparable to Liseberg's Valkyria, at least in terms of B&M dive coaster height and length.

It sounds like this is the first of many exciting announcements that SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment have planned for 2020!

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Kentucky Flyer Construction Races into the New Year

© Kentucky Kingdom
There is always a major slow-down on park construction projects around the holidays and the end of the year, but now that we're past that hump parks are kicking work back into high gear.  Such is the case at Kentucky Kingdom where the park is placing more and more structure for the Kentucky Flyer wooden roller coaster each day.

The Kentucky Flyer will be Kentucky Kingdom's new family sized wood coaster, designed and built by The Gravity Group.  Featuring a 45 foot drop and a 35 mile per hour top speed, the coaster will be just thrilling enough for the whole family to enjoy.  Like other Gravity Group family wood coasters, we all expect the Kentucky Flyer to be filled with zippy transitions and plenty of air-time pops (12 in all according to the park).

But back to construction, the amusement park released their first construction update video of the new year:

The middle section of the ride continues to grow, with more hills and valleys in place.  The ride will feature steel supports and traditional wooden track, stretching over 1,280 feet long.  The video points out that all concrete foundation work is now complete, meaning that the structure can go up even faster than ever.  Looking great so far!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Busch Gardens Tampa Celebrates 60th Anniversary With a Whole Year of Fun

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa is gearing up for a special year in 2019, celebrating the 60th anniversary of the theme park.  We already know that the park is currently building Tigris, which will be Florida's tallest launch roller coaster and hit speeds of around 60 miles per hour when it opens.  But, to help celebrate the anniversary the whole year, Busch Gardens Tampa is planning a series of special events and celebrations for all visitors.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Firstly, the park will honor a old tradition all season long by offering all guests, of age of course, up to two free beer samples during their day at the park.  The promotion honors the park's history as opening as a beer garden, and guests can enjoy their samples at either the Serengeti Overlook Pub or the Garden Gate Cafe.  Busch Gardens was once known widely for their beer samples, having a brewery on site didn't hurt that, and we're sure that guests will enjoy the "year of beer" as the park is calling it.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
In order to keep the festivities going, Busch Gardens Tampa will blanket the whole year with festivals and special events, with something going on all 52 weeks of the year.

The events cover a wide variety of themes, some surrounding holidays such as Howl-O-Scream and Christmas Town, while other focusing on food and beverage, like Bier Fest and the Busch Gardens Food & Wine Festival.

Other celebrations include the Safari of Fun kids weekends, a special visits from Guy Harvey and Jack Hanna and Summer Nights, complete with extended park hours and dance parties.  To learn more about all the events and their details, click here for more.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

New Sing On Tour Theater Attraction Opening at Universal Studios Japan

© Universal Studios Japan
A brand new theater style attraction, named Sing On Tour, will open in 2019 at Universal Studios Japan, the theme park has announced.

Universal will once again work with Illumination, the studio behind the popular Sing film, to create the original attraction.  The experience will be located within the Minion Park themed section of Universal Studios Japan, based off the Despicable Me franchise - also from Illumination.

As for exactly what the attraction will be like, well that remains a little vague.  We know it will be inside a new performance area, named the Illumination Theater, and obviously feature the characters from Sing as they perform.  The press release literally says it will be an "all new super real musical show attraction," pretty hysterical.  The only other description of the show reads that "the stars of the film break through the two dimensional world to sing the hit songs from the movie in a dramatic live show sure to make musical history, promising to become one of the most entertaining shows in Japan."

The new Illumination Theater will feature leading edge production quality, and to me this sounds a lot like the DreamWorks Theater at Universal Studios Hollywood, which is currently showing a Kung Fu Panda themed attraction.  But hey, maybe we'll all be surprised and it'll be a show like at Check E. Cheese's, ha!

Sing On Tour at Universal Studios Japan is scheduled to open in the spring of 2019.