Friday, April 19, 2019

Scott And Carol Present - Copperhead Strike Pt 2


Copperhead Strike, Part II 


The queue appears to have no organization as you walk through the area, but when you consider it in its entirety, it all clicks, and the development team did a magnificent job of tieing it all together.



Steve was tasked with bringing it all together, and he graciously shared his take on the process of bringing this new attraction to life. He also revealed the reason there are no snakes throughout the queue.

The nice thing about this type of theming is that as it ages, guests will never know whether it started off that way, or just deteriorated to its present state over time. I'm sure some locals will be keeping a close eye on the decorations.


Having never seen a real still, this seems to be relatively accurate. It must have been really fun going out to get all the props for the extensive theming for Copperhead Strike. The one question Scott forgot to ask Steve was did they just do a highway cleanup or were various suppliers involved to help source all the items.


The end result is so much fun, and much of it can be experienced without waiting in line for the ride, so other family members have something else to do while they wait if they are not riding. Major props for all the creativity displayed in the area.



Scott doesn't like to watch much coaster previews before he gets to ride, so the pre-show in the shed caught him totally by surprise. You can't see it from outside, so you need to go to Carowinds to check it out.

So that was our day at Carowinds, by now there are lots of opinions everywhere about Copperhead Strike.  Ours is, we can't wait to get back to Carowinds and ride it again, and again, then we will ride Fury 325, and go back and ride it again. It was just that much fun.

Our thanks to all of the Carowinds team for their assistance in putting this together. You have a winner to kick off your season this year. See you soon!


Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Knott's Berry Farm Previews Details and Characters of Calico River Rapids


© Knott's Berry Farm
One of my personal highlights of the new-for-2019 roster of attractions, Knott's Berry Farm's renovation of their existing river rapids ride into Calico River Rapids has been detailed in two interesting articles from the O.C. Register.

One article gives an in depth look at the park's plans for Calico River Rapids, which will include nine new scenes along with around 20 animatronic characters when it opens.  As expected, one of the characters will be Bigfoot, who previously wasn't in the ride even thought the creature's name was featured in the ride's moniker.

The ride will now contain a theme that links it directly to Knott's Ghost Town, which features both the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride, both rich with backstory and plenty of animated inhabitants.  The news story gives exact details on how all three rides will be linked via story telling, and includes details of each of the ride's major scenes.

© Knott's Berry Farm
This second article from the O.C. Register provides a wonderful look at the creation of all the animatronic characters that will be settled along the route of Calico River Rapids.

All the animatronics are being created by Garner Holt Productions, which has provided a similar cast for Knott's other large themed attractions.  The company is well known in the industry for their high quality animatronics, having provided them for nearly all major theme park companies around the globe.

On Knott's new ride, the cast will include not only humans working to settle the wilderness, but plenty of animals including a raccoon, rattlesnakes, wolves, prairie dogs, a baby bear, grizzly bears, a fox and plenty more.  The story gives an awesome look at the process that goes into creating all these animatronics, from initial art design to the finished product.

Calico River Rapids at Knott's Berry Farm is scheduled to open this summer.


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Scott And Carol Present - Carowinds' Copperhead Strike! Part I




Copperhead Strike is the centerpiece for the new Blue Ridge Junction area of Carowinds. The seven acres of fun for the entire family also includes the Mountain Gliders and the Country Kitchen restaurant.


Vice President & General Manager Pat Jones welcomes one & all


A fireplace with rocking chairs helps bring out the "backwoods" theming of the new area. I wonder if a rocking chair will be a Fast Lane option on busy days when you just need to chill out for a time. The heat will be popular during cooler weather during shoulder seasons celebrations.


This was the dawn of a new era for roller coasters at Carowinds, one of the most exciting sunrises in recent memory. When you look at it, it just doesn't seem possible for there to be so much action in such a small area. 

MACK Rides is justifiably proud of their latest project. Thorsten had not even ridden it yet but he was smiling from the moment he walked into the park after he saw the finished project.


Here you can see a rollover transition coming out of a quick turn. Imagine riding it in the dark as the park is shrouded in Haunt fog!.



Of course, a project this big has to include fireworks for the first public riders, a fitting tribute to the explosive end of Granny's still operations. After the ceremony, we had a few moments with Pat from Carowinds.



Stay tuned for Part II, with more details behind Copperhead Strike.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Elitch Gardens Premiers Meow Wolf's Kaleidoscape + Grand Opening Next Weekend


© Elitch Gardens
A highly anticipated new attraction in 2019, season pass holders got their first look this weekend at Elitch Gardens' new Meow Wolf's Kaleidoscape dark ride.

The ride takes visitors on an immersive journey through art landscapes unlike any other dark ride has in the past.  Above and below are two shots that give an idea of the feel of the ride.  It is an explosion of beautiful lights, art pieces, sound and lots of curiosities to look at around every turn.

© Elitch Gardens
Also known as the world's first artist-driven dark ride, Kaleidoscape will transport riders' senses with "to other-worldly motion, deep sound, wild color and interactive moments that create an immersive world around them."  The ride opened for the first time ever this weekend, which was a special season pass holder event at the park.  Next weekend the general public will get to take the first spin on Kaleidoscape.

If you won't be able to take a trip to Elitch Gardens any time soon but want to see what a trip on Kaleidoscape is like, Attractions Magazine has just the point-of-video video for you!


Saturday, April 13, 2019

Knoebels' 2019 Season to Feature New Tumbling Timbers Ride + More Changes


© Knoebels
Knoebels' 2019 season is set to start on April 27th, just a couple weeks from now.  The park is adding a brand new ride for this season, though it isn't expected to be ready until later in the Spring.

Named Tumbling Timbers, the spinning flat ride is going to give a dizzying experience to many fans of the park.  The ride is one of SBF-Visa's Mini Breakdance attractions, which spins riders in several direction on a large turntable.  The Knoebels instillation will feature theming that will match the look and feel of the classic amusement park.

Check out this video of an example of the ride:

For a small family thrill ride, Tumbling Timbers is going to pack a bit of a punch!  Also keep in mind that in this video the seats are empty, and when full, they will make the individual cars rotate even more.

Knoebels is going to install the new ride back by Fandango, according to their website.

The park will also be replacing their fan-favorite Downdraft flat ride with... another Downdraft!  The original ride had reached the end of its life and since Knoebels' knows that their visitors love it, they ordered up a brand new version of the ride.

Knoebels has also been advertising that their already delicious food line-up will be improved this year.  The park plans to offer treats such as gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches and a chicken waffle sandwich, among others.


Thursday, April 11, 2019

Dorney Park to Feature Monster Jam Thunder Alley Limited Event in 2019 + Dominator's New Look


© Dorney Park
Another exciting announcement was made by Dorney Park today regarding a second limited time special event taking place at the park this year.  The park will host Monster Jam Thunder Alley this fall, running each day the park is open September 14th through November 3rd.

The event, created in partnership with Feld Entertainment, will take place at three Cedar Fair parks this year, starting in May at Cedar Point, moving to Kings Dominion in July, and then Dorney Park in September.  Feld Entertainment is well known as a top-notch producer of live entertainment, creating shows and interactive experiences such as Disney On Ice, Marvel Universe Live and the Jurassic World Live Tour.

© Dorney Park
Monster Jam Thunder Alley will take over much of the lower Possessed Midway at Dorney Park.  It will be a mix of interactive experiences and entertainment, along with a unique way to see famous monster trucks such as Grave Digger, Max-D, Megalodon, Zombie and El Toro Loco.  The popularity of Monster Jam is ever-growing, with their arena tours selling tens of thousands of tickets at performances across the country.

Cedar Fair CEO Richard Zimmerman said "Partnering with Feld Entertainment brings together two of the world's premier entertainment companies. The combination of our shared capabilities will enhance our ability to deliver an even broader and more immersive guest experience.  The opportunity to bring Monster Jam Thunder Alley exclusively to our parks represents the first installment of our strategic collaboration and is another demonstration of Cedar Fair's commitment to delivering unique guest experiences, while also introducing our parks to Monster Jam's legion of worldwide fans. We look forward to further collaboration on additional compelling entertainment and experiences."

© Dorney Park
One of the most exciting aspects of Monster Jam Thunder Alley will the ability for park guests to ride in the back of a monster truck, free of charge.  Using an all new, 10 passenger Grave Digger or Megalodon truck, the park will build a freestyle course on the site of the former Stinger roller coaster.  The trucks will "tackle the most obstacles on any ride truck track ever built," giving an exciting and one-of-a-kind experience to passengers.  While the rides are free with park entry, due to limited capacity visitors will be able to reserve their ride experience for an additional fee.

© Dorney Park
Aside from the monster truck rides, the event will feature numerous interactive experiences as well.  The popular monster trucks will be on display for visitors to take photos with, sit in, and marvel at their incredible size.  There will also be a Garage Experience, which allows visitors to touch and see what makes the trucks work, such as their 1,500 horsepower engines.  Guest will be able to "turn an enormous 645-pound tire on an axle, see how oversized shocks absorb punishing landings, and crank the gears inside of a real transmission!"

Other interactive elements include a Pit Stop Play Area for kids, featuring miniature die-cast monster truck replicas that they can race, and a build-a-truck section with wood kits of the trucks available for purchase and assembly.

Monster Jam Thunder Alley will also include special food, beverage and retail offerings while it is at Dorney Park.

© Dorney Park
Another improvement that Dorney Park has made, and if you live near the park might have already noticed, is all-new LED lights on Dominator.  The park is already exploring unique color combinations on the 200 foot tower, such as the blue/purple combination seen above.  The tower is currently blue at night to celebrate autism awareness month.

© Dorney Park
The combinations of colors that the park can make are endless, and they're already experimenting and planning for the upcoming season's events.  The above combination is a test for Grand Carnivale, featuring green, purple and gold.

© Dorney Park
Another mock up here is a bit of a more sinister look, which alludes to the fall's annual Halloween Haunt.  The tower is even able to make lightning effects which will fit in really well as fog rolls over the park!

Stay tuned for more details about Dorney Park's 2019 season - the largest of the park's announcements may have been revealed, but there's still plenty of smaller changes to learn about, such as the park's new free wifi and a fresh look for Steel Force's lift hill.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Universal Studios Hollywood Opening Secret Life of Pets Themed Dark Ride in 2020


© Illumination Entertainment
Finally we can take another major addition to a Universal theme park off the "rumor" list and put it on the "confirmed" one.  Today Universal Studios Hollywood announced that they are building a new dark ride themed around The Secret Life of Pets film franchise in 2020.  The ride will be called The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash! and take up the space formerly occupied by the Globe Theatre.

The park has not released any concept art with today's announcement, but did give fans the premise of the ride.  The ride will be set in New York City and themed around a pet adoption day, with passengers playing the role of stray puppies on a mission to find a forever home.  They will join popular characters from the movies along the way, including Max, Snowball, Gidget, Chloe and Duke.  Of course, the trip to the adoption event is filled with an "array of challenges" that will have to be overcome before the end of the journey.

As for the ride itself, we know it will be an indoor dark ride experience, and Universal Studios Hollywood states that it will "blend live, dimensional and animated characters with hyper-realistic media as guests zip along a track aboard ride vehicles through bustling New York City streets towards the Pet Adoption event."

© Illumination Entertainment
“We are thrilled to be able to bring another exciting Illumination movie-based ride to our guests,” said Karen Irwin, President and COO, Universal Studios Hollywood. “The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash!’ will capture the essence of the popular film and invite our guests to live vicariously through some of their favorite characters as they embark on a one-of-a-kind experience only available at Universal Studios Hollywood.”

The attraction's location in Universal Studios Hollywood will put it right next to both Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and Super Silly Fun Land, also themed around Illumination Entertainment films.  Plus, The Secret Life of Pets 2 will open this June, keeping the franchise fresh before the ride opens next year.


Tuesday, April 9, 2019

New Aerials of Hagid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure Show Impressive New Details


© Universal Orlando
Definitely one of the year's most highly anticipated attractions, Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure is getting closer and closer to its June 13th opening date.

With the weeks clicking down quickly to that important date, Universal Orlando is putting the finishing touches on the ride's highly themed layout, a process we have all been watching closely for months now.

A new batch of aerial photos have been posted on Orlando Parkstop this week, and they have excited fans drooling more than ever before.  The park has made good on the promise of making the coaster's layout set in a fully grown forest, as more and more trees have been packed into the layout to the point where it is almost hard to see details... but not impossible.

You'll have to click through to see the high resolution aerial photos, but needless to say they're impressive.  You can see more uncovered animatronic characters (the "creatures" that are featured prominently in the ride's name), along with other recently added details like new props, signs and more.  The level of detail on Hagrid's attraction is stunning, especially considering most of it will be passed at a fast rate since this is a many-launch roller coaster after all!


Sunday, April 7, 2019

PortAventura Opens Sesame Street Themed "Street Mission" Interactive Dark Ride


© PortAventura
Spain's PortAventura theme park has opened their new Sesame Street themed interactive dark ride, named Street Mission, and it looks really good!  Not that there really was ever any doubt as all of Sally's dark rides are entertaining for the whole family, but the combination of the Sesame Street characters along with modern dark ride technology has really paid off.

© PortAventura
The new attraction is located in a building within the SesamoAventura, and the theming on the outside of the area matches the inside - and that's a very good thing.  Riders travel through a themed queue and there is even a full preshow area complete with an animatronic Detective Grover, who explains the mission.  (which happens in Spanish, but the ride is pretty straight forward regardless)

© PortAventura
Passengers eventually board vehicles like the one above, themed to a taxi cab, that will take them through the streets of the town on the Street Mission.  Each rider gets a blaster, which looks like a remote control of some sort, so they can hunt down clues on the journey.  You see, Detective Grover is investigating who took a giant cookie, and riders hunt down cookie crumbs as clues along the way.  The blaster sticks are how you pick up clues, which award points, and in the end whomever on the vehicle has the most points wins.

Take a look at this video of the entry area, queue and on-ride:

The ride combines many animatronics along with projection screens, trackless vehicles and the interactive blasting aspect.  Sally Corporation, who created the ride, notes that this is the first time that Sally and Jim Henson's Creature Shop have worked to create Sesame animatronics, and the first time Sesame Street puppeteer's performances have been used to direct CG animation sequences.  The technology includes 8 projection screens ranging from 30 to 70 feet wide, 4 projection mapped screens built into dimensional sets (very cool), a 90-degree curved screen with animatronic and show elements synched, and 2 180-degree curved screens that allow flying sequences through Count's Castle and into Oscar's Trashcan.

The new ride is sure to be a smash hit at PortAventura, and congratulations to the park and Sally on a wonderful ride.  This would be beyond perfect for SeaWorld's growing Sesame park sections, and Sesame Place as well.  Fingers crossed!


Saturday, April 6, 2019

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to Combine Popular DC Rides Into New DC Universe Themed Area


The park's new DC Universe © Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has announced its plan to combine many of their existing DC comic themed rides along with the brand new Batman: The Ride into a new area, named DC Universe.

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
The decision makes an awful lot of sense when you look at the DC comic themed rides at the park that are located close to one another.  Already at the park are Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth, a giant spinning pendulum ride, Superman Ultimate Flight, the first Premier Rides Sky Rocket II, Harley Quinn Crazy Coaster, the first Skyline Attractions SkyWarp, The Penguin Ride, a spinning water ride, and The Joker, the Rocky Mountain Construction transformation of Roar.

Also to join the new DC Universe, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom is renaming Vertical Velocity, an Intamin shuttle ride, into The Flash: Vertical Velocity.

“We take great pride in bringing our guests innovative, new experiences every season,” said Park President Don McCoy. “DC Universe is the biggest park expansion in recent decades. This newly branded area brings together DC’s most iconic Super Heroes and Super-Villains for a thrilling, one-of-a-kind experience. And our Members and Season Pass Holders can enjoy free, unlimited visits to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, Hurricane Harbor Concord as well as Six Flags Magic Mountain and all Six Flags theme parks across the country.”

"The DC Universe themed area will also offer a host of new food, shopping and entertainment options. Guests can satisfy their inner super hero or super-villain at The Daily Planet, The Joker Funhouse Shop, or the new Batman-themed retail store. For those super appetites, Quick Quenchers Refill Station, and Big Belly Burger, featuring mobile ordering, will be ready with hot, delicious food and icy cold beverages. Members of the Justice League will also be on hand for meet-and-greet and photo ops throughout the day."

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
New for 2019, the theme park is building Batman: The Ride, an S&S Worldwide 4-D Free Spin coaster.  Standing 120 feet tall and featuring a vertical lift hill, the ride uses individual cars that will invert riders at least six times.  The course includes two beyond 90 degree drops and moments of weightlessness.


Thursday, April 4, 2019

Take on Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa Starting April 19th


© Busch Gardens Tampa
Tigris, Florida tallest launched roller coaster, will officially premier at Busch Gardens Tampa on April 19th, the theme park has announced.

The coaster has been seen lately with test riders on it, leading to speculation that the ride will open soon, and it turns out it will!  The park will be able to offer visitors a thrilling new ride well before the summer season, which is a huge benefit for them.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Tigris features multiple launches that take the trains up to 150 feet above the park at a maximum speed of more than 60 miles per hour.  A sure highlight of the ride experience is a slow heartline roll that fully inverts riders at the maximum height of 15 stories above the park.

To announce the grand opening date of Tigris, Busch Gardens Tampa released a new promotional video showing the coaster in action.  Check it out below and happy riding!


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Nagashima Spa Land Shares New On and Off Ride Footage of Hakugei (White Whale)


© Nagashima Spaland
Everyone is always quite excited when a new Rocky Mountain Construction roller coaster opens, and especially when it's a steel conversion of a wooden roller coaster.

Nagashima Spa Land, in Japan, is the latest park to open one of these rides, and theirs is a very large one.  Hakugei, translated into White Whale, recently opened and the park has shared some great footage from both on and off the ride.

The coaster is the White Cyclone reborn, the wooden version of the ride opened in 1994 and was designed by Intamin.  Hakugei improves upon the old ride's statistics, offering a 180 foot tall lift hill, just over 5,000 feet of track, several inversions and a top speed of 66 miles per hour.

Instead of talking on about the ride, which has beautiful blue track and white supports, check out the video below to see all it offers!


Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Scott & Carol Present Dollywood's Festival of Nations & Progress on Wildwood Grove



Lizt Alfonso Dance Cuba kicked off the media day activities with their high-energy fusion of Caribbean and Hispanic cultures. When you watch them perform in the Celebrity Theatre, it is not hard to believe that they have been performing together for over twenty-five years.


And after this stimulating kickoff, then it was time for Dolly, the reason that most of the people came to the park that day anyway.  She loves her fans and they love her back with equal enthusiasm.


Dolly loved her new dress, she said this is her attempt to look Cuban.  She also said one of her favorite things about Dollywood is the various costumes and cultures she brings to the Smokies with Festival of Nations.


What do you expect when you walk into a theatre with drums everywhere? Well, it's not going to be a quiet and laid back performance, in fact when you mix a lot of children with drums, you get some interesting syncopated rhythm patterns before the show even starts.


Drumstruck is billed as the first interactive drum-theatre experience. They weave both West African rhythms with South African culture and music.


This combination from the media presentation and the Drumstruck show gives you a little taste of the experience. It starts off fast and doesn't let up until the conclusion!


They showed a short video about Wildwood Grove and you can see that and more at the Dollywood  Wildwood Grove section found here.


Remember Flit and Flutter from last August? 


Both of them have come to life after painting the leaves on the Wildwood Grove tree.


The live action versions Flit and Flutter, ambassadors for Wildwood Grove were introduced and the countdown for the opening of Wildwood Grove was started.  Nothing like a little added pressure for the project team.


The Dragon Flier is looking really good from the train, especially before the leaves fill in the trees. This family suspended roller coaster from Vekoma should please young and old alike.


An amazing amount of vertical construction has been finished since last fall but the weather has not been kind to the project crews this year. Dollywood is sticking by their announced date of May 10, 2019, for the opening of Wildwood Grove. Let us all hope for good weather for now, and especially for May 10th. We hope to see you in line.