Wednesday, October 21, 2020

California Releases Strict Rules for Parks Reopening During Pandemic


© CDPH & CAL OSHA
All California theme parks have stayed shuttered during the pandemic, with only some opening in order to have special food and retail festivals or operate as zoos.  While parks in some parts of the country opened as early as June, there have been no rides operating in California since March, or so.  Recently the parks across the state have urged the California Governor to release a plan so that they know when they will be able to open the gates again, and now the plan has been released.  You can read the full document here, but in short, parks in California won't be reopening any time soon.


The plan features color coded stages related to positive COVID-19 test results and cases rates per county.  Purple (Widespread) is the worse, followed by Red (Substantial), then Orange (Moderate) and finally Yellow (Minimal).  These follow the larger reopening plan that the state has had in place for some time, and the risk matrix for each stage is below.


© covid19.ca.gov
No parks are allowed to open at all in counties in both the purple and red stages.  Starting in the orange stage "small" parks (overall capacity less than 15,000) can open but on at a maximum of 500 guests or 25% of capacity, whichever is less.  That's a severe restriction that would make operations unprofitable for nearly every park I can think of.  Plus, in the orange stage, these parks cannot open indoor attractions and visitors can only be from the same county the park is located in.  The logistics of checking that operationally seems like a nightmare as well.


If a county gets to the yellow stage then a park within it can operate at 25% of maximum capacity and all indoor locations in the park can only have 25% capacity.  That would allow parks to open in similar ways that others around the country already have, as there are also a full set of rules related to face masks, cleaning, social distancing, etc.


© covid19.ca.gov
The catch is that currently less than 10 counties in California are in the yellow stage, none with parks in them.  Less than 15 counties are in the orange phase, which would come with the strictly limited attendance, and they don't have parks in them anyway.  So all the bigger parks, like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, Legoland, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, California's Great America and a multitude of others, are currently stuck in purple or red stages.


Essentially, this means that under the Governor's current plan we won't see any of these parks open any time soon, especially with COVID-19 cases surging across the country once again.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Worlds of Fun Ready for Racers on New Riptide Raceway at Oceans of Fun in 2021


© Worlds of Fun
Much like we saw last month with Carowinds showing off their brand new mat racing water slide, Worlds of Fun is giving fans a preview of their new for 2021 attraction at Oceans of Fun, named Riptide Raceway.  According to the park, Riptide Raceway is the longest mat racing water slide in the world, with each of the 4 slides stretching 486 feet in length.


The park has created an entire blog post dedicated to showing off the construction of the attraction, which was originally supposed to open in 2020.  Oceans of Fun did not get to open this year, but now the park is able to show off the colorful attraction as fans wait for their turn to slide in 2021.

 

© Worlds of Fun
The feature even includes a look back at the construction of the new slide tower, which replaced the park's older Diamond Head attraction.  There's some neat aerial drone footage of the slide being constructed from back in March, a snip of which can be seen above. 


Starting next summer visitors will be able to race one another down the brightly colored tubes, featuring twists, curves and a horizontal loop on each - complete with a finish line at the end that will determine the winner!


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Planet Coaster Console Edition Arriving on Xbox this November


© Frontier Developments
So it looks like we may be in for an extra-boring winter (at least for those of us not in warm climates) with less parks remaining open and the pandemic still in full swing.  That means more time at home... and Frontier Developments has a great way for many of us to burn through many hours: Planet Coaster Console Edition.


The popular theme park development and simulation game is coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S starting on November 10th, 2020.  The game has been popular on PC for some time now, but there is an even greater audience of people who might casually (or obsessively) play the game on consoles... especially on those short, cold winter days.


© Frontier Developments
In the game you're able to build your dream theme park from the ground up, select all rides, attractions, stores, food, scenery and more.  Then you get to operate it and make sure that visitors are happy, making improvements along the way.  There's also a sandbox mode where you can spend time creating the coaster of your dreams.  Those of you who spent days playing Rollercoaster Tycoon know what I'm talking about!


The release will come in a standard and deluxe edition, the deluxe will contain two sets of additional rides that can be installed in your park.  Both are already available for pre-order now.  Check out this trailer for the release:




Saturday, October 17, 2020

Six Flags Great America to Present Holiday In The Park Lights! in 2020


© Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America will open this winter for a special edition of their holiday celebration, this year called Holiday In The Park Lights!  The focus on adding the word lights to the event name comes from the fact that the park is still not allowed to operate as a typical theme park, so there will be no rides operating this year.


Instead, the 2020 edition will entertain visitors with "a walk-through light extravaganza along with shows, holiday-themed photo ops, and delicious treats."  As 2020 as taught us over and over, something is better than nothing, folks.


© Six Flags Great America
There are more details that will be released by the park as the event draws closer, but one thing is for certain - there will be tons of lights at Six Flags Great America.  The park is advertising that they will have 2.5 million of them, covering the park head to toe.  All the live entertainment offerings will be held outdoor, and all of Six Flags' existing covid-19 safety protocols will be in place as well.  


Holiday In The Park Lights!  will begin on November 27th and run on certain days through December 27th.  Reservations are required, and already available, so be sure to schedule your date well ahead of time.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Kings Dominion Shows Off New-for-2021 Coconut Shores Waterpark Expansion


© Kings Dominion
Kings Dominion did not get to open in 2020, but that doesn't mean that the park didn't finish their new-for-2020 water park expansion, named Coconut Shores.  In a new blog post the park is showing off the construction that went into the transformation, along with the finished product.  Kings Dominion is now advertising Coconut Shores as the park's new-for-2021 attraction.


There are actually two new attractions within the expansion.  There's the huge family water play structure seen at the top of this article, named Lighthouse Landing.  Featuring more than 200 interactive elements and 8 small waterslides, Lighthouse Landing will keep guests busy for hours near year.  Additionally, the park built Sand Dune Lagoon, a kid-sized wave pool with a maximum depth of 24 inches and gentle rolling waves.


© Kings Dominion

The park is proud to show off this aerial shot of the finished product, with Sand Dune Lagoon on the left and Lighthouse Landing on the right.  The expansion was placed on top of what was the park's original wave pool, and you can see that the new items fit nicely in the old pool's footprint.  The park is even featuring some photos of lucky testers who got to play in the new area for quality assurance!


© Kings Dominion
In addition to the new attractions, Kings Dominion is also making other improvements in Soak City.  They've taken the time to totally re-coat and repaint Pipeline Plunge, one of the park's huge slide towers.  The finished product is seen above, with bright colors added to the mix - previously the tower was all dark colors so the new look is really nice!


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Night Of A Million Lights to Sparkle at Give Kids The World Village Starting November 13th


Give Kids The World Village
Give Kids The World Village may be on a temporary hiatus due to the pandemic, but the imaginative organization has come up with a safe way for families to celebrate the holidays - all for a great cause.  The Village will be holding their first ever Night of a Million Lights, a walk through holiday light spectacular that will delight visitors starting November 13th.

 

The event will run through January 3rd, 2021, meaning there will be 53 nights of fun at the Village during Night of a Million Lights.  The property, which stretches over 84 acres, will feature more than one million holiday lights, nearly coating the grounds head to toe.


© Give Kids The World Village
There will be 33 decorated villas that will be accessed through a 150 foot long lighted tunnel, more than 50 "larger-than-life holiday-themed wireframes, some spanning more than 40 feet," a giant glowing gingerbread arch and space themed decorations celebrating Henri's Starlite Scoops.  The park's Towne Hall, seen above in concept art for the event, will host Santa from its balcony, along with the property's ambassadors Mayor Clayton and Ms. Merry.


Those looking to get involved, whether on a personal or corporate level, can adopt a villa and decorate it however they'd like - and it will be a part of all 53 nights of the event!

 

© Give Kids The World Village
Tickets to the event are already on sale on the Give Kids The World website.  Each ticket grants access to explore all the lights and decorations, along with voting for a favorite villa, socially distant family activities and most of the property's attractions.  There will also be complimentary hot cocoa and ice cream!


All proceeds from the event will support Give Kids The World's mission to provide wish vacations for ciritically ill children and their families.  To date, the property has hosted 176,000 families from all 50 states and more than 76 countries.


“Children with critical illnesses face countless appointments, treatments and hospital stays, and they are often told ‘no’ due to the limitations of their illness.  We feel privileged to give wish children and their families a week of ‘yes’ where they can forget their worries, experience joy, and spend priceless time together,” said Give Kids The World President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. “We look forward to sharing some holiday joy with the community while making it possible for future wish children to have their wishes fulfilled.”


Saturday, October 10, 2020

Universal Studios Japan's Super Nintendo World to Open in Early 2021


© Universal Studios Japan
Delayed due to the pandemic, Universal Studios Japan has announced that Super Nintendo World will officially open in "early" 2021.  That puts the highly anticipated attraction at opening just about a year later than expected.  The park was moving toward a grand opening when the pandemic struck, forcing plans to be pushed off indefinitely.


But now we know that guests can soon take a trip on a fantastic Mario Kart dark ride, bounce along with Yoshi on a family adventure, visit both Princess Peach and Bowser's castles and other classic locations from the series of games.  Visitors will also be able to purchase a Power Up Band that they can wear which will allow them to track points (among other special features) as they explore the interactive features of Super Nintendo World.


© The Sankei Times

The Japanese media recently features some amazing aerial photos of the expansion, and there is such an amazing amount of detail contained in the photos.  Super Nintendo World features multiple levels packed into a tight space, overflowing with interactive features and details at every turn.  You can dig through them on your own but this is going to be a very stunning place to explore when it opens next year!


Wednesday, October 7, 2020

The Marine World Experience at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom to Host Boo 2020! This Fall


© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom reopened earlier this summer as The Marine World Experience, with only the park's animal related attractions open.  Like other theme parks in California, they're not allowed to open any rides, but instead could utilize their zoological attractions to operate during the pandemic within State guidelines.


The park did not announce that they would host a Hallowfest event like several other Six Flags parks, but have now revealed that they will be holding Boo 2020! instead.  The park is describing Boo 2020! as "a monster mash up that combines the Marine World Experience with themed activities for the entire family in a safe environment."

 

Listed activities at the event of course include the park's animal exhibits, but also family fun like a Trick-or-Treat trail that has pre-bagged candy and treats for kids.  There will also be a daily Kids' Halloween parade for those 8 years old and younger.  The park will have plenty of special Halloween themed treats for sale as well, including a Funnel Scream Cake, Scare-acha boneless wings, Zombi Takis, Ghostly Grape Drinks and Candy Monster Dippin' Dots.


There will be special ways for guests to learn more about the animals that the park cares for, and special Boo 2020! versions of the park's Dolphin and Sea Lion Shows, along with a new Halloween Bash and Ghoul School productions.


Boo 2020! will take place on Saturday and Sundays in October 17th through November 1st.


Monday, October 5, 2020

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi Construction Hits Milestone of 40% Completion


© SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
Developer Miral and SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment have sent out news that their joint project, SeaWorld Abu Dhabi on Yas Island, has reach a milestone in construction with 40% of the structure standing.  The project is slated to "bring the next generation of marine life theme parks" to the popular Yas Island, already a major destination in the Middle East with Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi.  SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be the first dedicated marine research, rescue, rehabilitation and return center in the UAE, supporting cutting edge global conservation efforts.


The new indoor theme park is slated to be completed near the end of 2022.


The park has been designed in conjunction with SeaWorld's "more than 55 years of experience in marine research, conservation, and animal welfare.  "SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will feature purpose-built habitats and ecosystems that will house different species together, as they are in the wild.  Once complete, the marine life theme park will offer unique immersive experiences that engage visitors from the UAE and around the world, broadening their knowledge and appreciation of marine life."  While an attraction roster is not yet available, once can easily see a large roller coaster running around the outside of the enormous structure.

© SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
When finished, the park will feature "six distinct realms which tell a unified and immersive “One Ocean” story showing the interconnectivity between all life on Earth and our oceans."  It will feature "one of the world’s largest and most progressive indoor aquariums, an immersive ride that takes guests on a thrilling and visually stunning journey from Pole to Pole, and countless interactive exhibits."

SeaWorld Abu Dhabi will be the first SeaWorld park to be built in over 30 years, and is an exciting development for all parties involved.  The park will also focus on providing "impactful education and learning opportunities for its visitors," including a new research center that will "serve as an advanced knowledge hub for researchers, scientists and marine conservationists to better understand and protect the region's marine life and ecosystem."  SeaWorld Parks have already helped 37,000 animals in need, and the new location will also increase their efforts.


© SeaWorld Abu Dhabi
SeaWorld Abu Dhabi's construction, seen above from the air, has passed 40% completion as of today.  This includes more than 50% of the needed concrete poured, the heaviest 50-ton steel column installed and acrylic for the exhibits fitted into place.


The project has been underway for several years now, with major construction milestones being reached within the past year.  As the project gets closer to an opening date we're sure to learn more about its attraction offerings, including that large roller coaster!


Sunday, October 4, 2020

Sesame Place Introduces Not-Too-Spooky Halloween Drive-Thru Experience


© Sesame Place
Parks are continuing to come up with creative ways to keep their guests entertained while COVID-19 is still a threat - and we're seeing a lot of that ingenuity during the all-important Halloween Season.  Another park that has come up with a way to stay engaged with their fans is Pennsylvania's Sesame Place, which starts the new Halloween Drive-Thru on October 6th.

 

Staying socially distanced is continuing to be a key element of safety this fall, and Sesame Place has created a new drive-thru experience that allows families to get a taste of the park while remaining distanced from others.  Visitors stay in "their own vehicle, journey through a family-friendly, Halloween-themed experience including a special soundtrack, festive d├ęcor, millions of lights and everyone’s favorite furry friends dressed up in costume on their Halloween-themed floats!"  Each child will receive a bag of candy as well upon exiting the property.

 

© Sesame Place
Visitors will experience tons of festive decorations and character interactions (while remaining in the vehicle) as they move through the park, the map of the event is found above.  Guests also have the option to pre-purchase snacks, beverages and unique souvenirs that can be picked up upon arrival.  All interactions outside the vehicle require face masks and social distancing.


© Sesame Place
Pass members will receive a discount on the Halloween Drive-Thru at Sesame Place, and general tickets start at $35 for a carload.  The event runs each Tuesday and Wednesday night in October from 6 pm until 9 pm.


Saturday, October 3, 2020

Universal Orlando's Volcano Bay to Close for 4 Month Winter Break


© Universal Orlando
While Universal Orlando seems to be experiencing an attendance bump due to their Halloween celebration, which includes two of their frightening haunted houses, the resort has announced that its water park, Volcano Bay, will close for 4 months this winter.


A sign of the times, one would assume.  With lighter attendance at the resort on weekdays and at times with no special events running, it does make sense to keep the water park closed during the colder months.  Granted colder months in Florida are still warmer than most, but perhaps the resort doesn't see there being a proper return on operating this winter.


The park will close after November 1st, and is scheduled to reopen "on or before" March 1st, 2021.  That will see the park closed for a 4 month period. 


© Universal Orlando
In the frequently asked questions about the closure the park notes that they are closing to allow for attraction maintenance, and do not mention reduced demand or the pandemic.  They also state that they do not plan to start closing every winter, but that future operational updates would be shared if needed.  Universal Orlando pass holders who have access to Volcano Bay will be granted a two month extension or they can switch to a two park pass and get a partial refund for the Volcano Bay portion.


The immersive water theme park initially opened in May of 2017.


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Islands of Adventure Announces New VelociCoaster for Summer 2021


© Universal Orlando
While it is no surprise that the park has been working on a new roller coaster, Islands of Adventure has finally given out some official information on their new thrilling roller coaster for Summer 2021, the Jurassic World VelociCoaster.


The ride has already changed the Islands of Adventure skyline with its towering top hat element, and though the main track for the coaster is in place work is still continuing on additional landscaping, theming and other technical work.  Most recently fans of the park saw crews doing the train clearance pull through, though the coaster trains were wrapped for safety.


This preview clip that the park released gives us a great look at what is in store when the Jurassic World VelociCoaster opens next year.  It includes a look at the ride's trains (super slick) and some animated footage of the finished product.



VelociCoaster will be Florida's tallest and fastest launch coaster, themed around the famous raptors in the film franchise.  Featuring an original storyline, the ride "expands upon the thrills, dinosaurs and environments fans have seen on the big screen. Guests will join the original cast of the films – Chris Pratt as Owen Grady, Bryce Dallas Howard as Claire Dearing and BD Wong as Dr. Henry Wu – as Jurassic World unveils the next evolution of its “carnivore expansion”: the VelociCoaster, where riders embark on a high-speed chase and feel the rush of the hunt while racing alongside a nimble Velociraptor pack."

 

The level of theming on the ride, which guests can see each day at the park as it is created, looks to be nearly unparalleled.  As far as statistics go, the coaster stretches over 4,700 feet of track, has a maximum height on the top hat of 155 feet and utilizes two launches, the fastest of which will send trains at 70 miles per hour in just 2.4 seconds.  While not included in the announcement, the coaster has been created by Intamin.

 

© Universal Orlando
The plunge from the top hat element will be at 80 degrees, and the coaster has multiple inversions.  Two referenced in the press materials are the barrel roll over the park's lagoon and an inverted stall element that sends riders upside down over 100 feet of track.  The park advertises a total of 12 seconds of airtime throughout the ride.


The Jurassic World VelociCoaster has been highly anticipated for many months now, as eager fans have watched each new piece of track put into place.  Universal Orlando promises more details and information on the ride in the coming months.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Six Flags Great Adventure's Hallofest Is Now Underway


© Six Flags
Still offering Thrills By Day and Chills By Night, Six Flags Great Adventure's Hallofest is temporarily replacing Fright Fest in 2020 and serving up safe fall fun for all.  The event is currently underway at the theme park, operating on Fridays through Sundays all the way until November 1st - plus some weekdays the week of Halloween.


Visitors to the park who are familiar with Fright Fest will still find many familiar activities and scares, though Six Flags' comprehensive COVID-19 safety plan remains strictly in place.  This includes mandatory face masks, temperature screenings, social distancing, increased sanitization standards and more.


© Six Flags Great Adventure

During the day visitors to Hallofest will enjoy attractions such as the Trick-or-Treat Trail, a hay bale maze, Pumpkin Patch Lane - featuring tons of decorations, pumpkins and hay bales, and the beautifully decorated Scarecrow Street - the festive name of Main Street during the event.  There is even a roving magician who is sure to entertain visitors.  Families will also love the ability to check out special food treats such as caramel apples and funnel cakes made with Snickers candy.  Yum.

 

© Six Flags Great Adventure
After 6 pm the park will feature an array of spooky attractions, all keeping COVID-19 safety precautions in mind.  In total there will be four scare zones, three live shows and three outdoor haunted mazes.

Scare zones include Scarecrow Street After Dark, when the park's Main Street takes a chilling turn in the area surrounding the orange fountain, District 6 Unearthed, features fog, lights, sirens and ghouls in a gritty area that mutant villains have taken over, Lady of the Lake Cemetery, filled with fog and the undead near the Great Lake, and ClownTown, where Movietown becomes inhabited with plenty of wicked clowns and their tricks. 


The Emergence is the production that sets off the creepy fun at 6 pm, with a horde of ghouls emerging into the park from a different location each night, PrimeEvil Percussion is a pulse-pounding percussion show and Street Cirque features performers in the streets showing off awe-inspiring talents.


Haunted Mazes, which require a special Hallo-Maze ticket, include Mama's Farm, a nightmarish homestead of half-human, half-animal mutants, Apocalypse, deep in the woods guests will find what happens if you come too close to scavengers, Wicked Woods, a fan favorite that takes guests on a dark walk into the night, and Reflections of the Dead, the park's mirror maze which is filled with not human actors but special effects and lighting tricks.


© Six Flags Great Adventure
The park's massive thrill ride collection is also open during Hallofest, which includes the park's mega lineup of roller coasters.  With the sun now setting much earlier each day, that means coaster rides in the dark!


For more information on Hallofest or how to make a reservation, check out Six Flags Great Adventure's official website.


Sunday, September 27, 2020

Busch Gardens to Launch Halloween Harvest Starting October 1st


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is rolling right along with their special event series, proving that they can keep their guests engaged and interested even during these unprecedented times.


The park is still only allowed to host no more than 1,000 people at a time, but that hasn't stopped it from already hosting several special events, and now they've announced their latest: Halloween Harvest.  The park is celebrating daytime family fun and even some creepy chills at night in their latest event.  During Halloween Harvest the park will open limited sections including Italy, Fest Italia, Oktoberfest, Ireland, Scotland and Sesame Street Forest of Fun.

 

There will be plenty of fall activities, a selection of thrill and tame rides open (a total of 15), tons of food and beverage treats and more.  This is also the first time that Sesame Street Forest of Fun will be open this year, a large children's area - plus one of the activities listed is contactless trick-or-treating!


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Since the event is called Halloween Harvest it only makes sense to have a little spooky involved, right?  Busch Gardens Williamsburg will feature "roaming Ghouls & Goblins in select areas of the park," however there are no official scare zones or haunted houses.  Sounds like just a taste of a normal Halloween event, but I have no doubt that people will still enjoy it.


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
A significant change from the park's past events this year is the addition of a third time slot during Halloween Harvest - but only on Saturdays.  Past events only had two different times to visit throughout the day.  On Saturdays the park will have Halloween Harvest sessions from 10 am until 2 pm, 3 pm to 7 pm and again from 8 pm until 12 am.  The roaming ghouls will be out from 5 pm until 9 pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and from 8 pm until 12 am on Saturdays.


Reservations and ticket purchases already went on sale for Halloween Harvest, which starts October 1st, and it looks like Saturday slots are already sold out!  But watch for cancellations and the like.  If you're interested in going check out the park's website for more information.


Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Tokyo Disneyland Will Open Additions Including New Beauty and the Beast Dark Ride on September 28th


© Tokyo Disneyland
Tokyo Disneyland has announced that it will open several new additions that have been built at the park on September 28th.  The large expansion will see new attractions in Fantasyland, Tomorrowland and Toontown.  We first heard about the expansion plans back in 2016, and now it is time for visitors to be able to enjoy all the hard work that was put into the addition.


Tomorrowland will see the opening of The Happy Ride with Baymax, a spinning ride that's themed around the characters of Big Hero 6.  Minnie's Style Studio will open as a new way to interact with Minnie and friends, sure to be a smash hit for visitors.


© Tokyo Disneyland
The largest and most exciting addition is the Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast dark ride, which features trackless technology as guests enter a retelling of the famous story.  Riders sit in large tea cups that move through the giant show scenes, dancing around each other and set pieces while the story unfolds.  There are plenty of really slick looking animatronics in the ride as well, including a dancing Belle and Beast that really amaze.


If you want to check out a video of the ride's preshow along with full on-ride footage, watch below!




Sunday, September 20, 2020

Closed-In-2020 Cedar Fair Parks Detail Extra Pass Perks for 2021


© California's Great America
When several Cedar Fair parks decided that they would not be able to open in 2020 they announced that season pass holders would be getting some extra benefits out of their Pass Perks program in 2021.  It was designed to be an extra benefit to pass holders who didn't get to visit their park this year, but at the time no real details were given.


I noticed that now some of the parks that weren't able to open are listing more specific benefits for next year, and they are pretty nice.  Pass Perks debuted at the parks a couple seasons ago, and after a visit to the park, season pass holders sometimes get an e-mail with a free perk, like a food treat, steep discount on retail, etc.


California's Great America has stepped that up a bit with their 2021 program.  Season pass holders who purchased before August 4th will receive a monetary credit on their pass that they can use freely (with some restrictions) in the park.  Silver level pass holders will receive $25, Gold and Platinum will receive $35. 


© Carowinds
At Carowinds, Silver pass holders will receive a $35 credit, and Gold and Platinum pass holders will receive $50!  Kings Dominion will have the same levels as Carowinds, Silver pass holders will receive the $35 credit, Gold and Plantinum will receive $50.  Valleyfair, which also did not open in 2020, does not have detailed information up yet, and Canada's Wonderland, which is still in limbo with regard to 2020, also does not.


This is a really nice benefit for pass holders, especially since it's not the park's fault that they couldn't open.  Consider that for a family of 4, even at the lower levels, will start the season with a total of $100 - $140 to spend.  That's a couple meals or quite a bit of shopping if they choose.


Thursday, September 17, 2020

Silverwood Theme Park Announces New Stunt Pilot RMC Coaster for 2021


© Silverwood Theme Park
Today Silverwood Theme Park revealed what they have planned for their 2021 season, and it was a wonderful surprise!  The park is going to build one of Rocky Mountain Construction's Raptor roller coasters.  Named Stunt Pilot, the coaster will honor the park's former tradition of offering visitors an air show each day while at the park, something that was retired in 1996.


Each day visitors would "watch vintage airplanes loop through the air and perform death-defying maneuvers at breakneck speeds," and in 2021 they'll be able to experience that for themselves on the new coaster.


© Silverwood Theme Park
Decked out in bright red supports with white single rail track, Stunt Pilot will feature the same layout as we've seen on other operating RMC Raptors to date.  That means the ride will stand 106 feet tall, featuring a top speed of 52 miles per hour over 1,800 feet of track.  The single rail coaster design utilizes cars that seat guests individually, low to the car's center line which gives a smooth and thrilling experience.


Riders will head through three different inversions while on the ride, adding even more thrilling elements to the attraction.  The coaster will feature two, ten person trains.


© Silverwood Theme Park
Stunt Pilot will be built in an open area in between the far end of the Tremors wooden coaster and the park's log flume.  The coaster will join similar rides already open at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and California's Great America, with another planned for South Dakota's Wild Water West.  Also opening next year is the Jersey Devil Coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, the largest Raptor track coaster to date.


Stunt Pilot at Silverwood Theme Park is scheduled to open in the summer of 2021.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween Celebration Starts September 25th


© Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm is continuing their summer of special food, beverage and retail events with the announcement of their third installment - Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween.  The fall, and to some degree Halloween, themed event will focus on appealing to families and offer outdoor experiences that keep the park within California's current COVID-19 guidelines.  There will be a plethora of foods to try (each separate admission ticket comes with tasting cards) and also special retail available from craft vendors. 


© Knott's Berry Farm
Those fans that are bummed to be missing out on Knott's Scary Farm this year will be happy to see that the park is still decorating, only this time for Knott's Taste Of Fall-O-Ween.  The park's decor will celebrate fall and Halloween but without a big focus on scary as there will be no haunted houses or scare zones - this is a family friendly food and retail event only.


Kids will be happy to know that they will be able to do some Trick-or-Treating with in the Camp Snoopy themed area of the park.  And yes, they're allowed to come to the park dressed in their costumes!


© Knott's Berry Farm
Since each admission ticket comes with a tasting card (5 for adults and 3 for minors), there will be a ton of food and beverage options to choose from at the event.  Spread out over 28 different locations throughout the park, there are items listed such as Pastrami Tater Tots, a Graveyard Funnel Cake, Headless Meatball Sandwich, Pumpkin Spice Churro Sticks and plenty more.


Knott's Taste of Fall-O-Ween will start on September 25th and run Friday-Sunday until November 1st, 2020.  As with the past events this summer, guests need to purchase a tasting ticket online and schedule their reservation in advance.


Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Universal Orlando Will Test a "Halloween Seasonal Experience" at Both Parks This Weekend


© Universal Orlando
While Halloween Horror Nights may not be happening this year at Universal Studios Florida, that doesn't mean that the resort can't celebrate the season a little after all!  They have announced that they will be testing a new "halloween seasonal experience" at both Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure this weekend, September 19th and 20th.  Best of all, the fun will be included with regular admission to the popular Orlando theme parks.


During the day there will be two haunted houses open, we're assuming these were built and prepared in case Halloween Horror Nights was able to happen.  They will be available to all guests who can book a entrance time through the resort's app using their Virtual Line feature.


The first of the houses is named Revenge of the Tooth Fairy, based on the concept that the "innocent traditions of the tooth fairy hide a darker ritual.  All children must give up their baby teeth to the goblinesque tooth fairies or pay a gruesome price.  Step into an old manor that has been overrun by yellow-clawed fiends who extract teeth by force.  It’s an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

 

© Universal Orlando
The second haunted house is named Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives. In the attraction, Frankenstein's "Bride is stepping out of the shadows to bring him back.  And there’s nothing she won’t do as she sharpens her brilliance by experimenting on unsuspecting victims."  Both houses are sure to please the throngs of guests who rush the park each year to get terrified - if nothing else 2020 has taught us that a little fun is better than none.

 

Islands of Adventure will also get in on the fun by offering Trick-or-Treating for guests aged 12 and under.  There will be specially marked (look for the pumpkin!) retail stores within the park that are offering treats for those who coming knocking.  And for fun all over the resort, Universal Orlando is allowing visitors to come dressed up in their Halloween finest!

 

While this is officially marked as a "test," one has to believe that if it is a success they will offer this throughout the rest of the Halloween season.


Monday, September 14, 2020

Busch Gardens Tampa Details Attractions for This Year's Howl-O-Scream


© Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa has added more details to their website for this year's Howl-O-Scream event, taking place from September 25th and running select nights through November 1st.  The event is one of the few large scale Halloween events that are still taking place this year, so it's nice to be able to see what the park will offer visitors.


They previously released that this year's Howl-O-Scream will not feature any indoor haunted houses, instead focusing more on scare zones, socially distanced live entertainment and an overall spooky atmosphere.  Limited attendance, only outdoor attractions and a focus on social distancing are key components of the event which has been designed with safety in mind.


© Busch Gardens Tampa
In total there will be 10 different Scare Zones and Haunted Trails, as the park is calling them.  As a special bonus, 4 of these attractions will be brand new.  These include The Junkyard, a trip through a scary "scrap site," The Escape, with menacing escaped penitentiary inmates, Lycan Landing, a campsite overrun with werewolves, and The Shortcut, a seeming easy pass through a cemetery that turns sinister.


These new experiences will join 6 returning favorites: Dia De Los Muertos, Hell on Wheels, Deadly Toys, Manic Midway, Little Nightmares and First Fear.  As previously announced, the super popular Fiends Show will move outdoors to a spacious area to allow plenty of distancing.  Visitors will also be able to check out Busch Gardens Tampa's thrill ride collection, getting in rides in the dark.


Howl-O-Scream will take place on 18 nights in total.  With limited capacity, the park urges those interested in visiting to make reservations as soon as possible in order to select their date.


Sunday, September 13, 2020

Six Flags Darien Lake + The Great Escape Announce Plans to Stay Closed in 2020


© The Great Escape
Two Six Flags Entertainment properties, The Great Escape and Six Flags Darien Lake, have announced that they will not open at all for the 2020 season.


Both of the parks are located in the state of New York, which has not allowed outdoor amusements to open as part of their COVID-19 reopening plan.  While not confirmed by Six Flags, it would seem as though the parks were holding out to possibly be able to offer a Halloween or Christmas operating calendar to its visitors.  Alas, that wasn't meant to be this year.


The Great Escape posted that they have been able to assist the local community while closed through donating approximately 900 surgical masks to Glens Falls Hospital, giving free WiFi to local SUNY Adirondack students who used the Johnny Rockets parking lot as a safe remote location for online education and using the freezers and refrigerators from the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Waterpark to keep food fresh for the local Washington County Office for the Aging.


All Great Escape season passes, and add-ons, have been extended through the end of the 2021 season.


© Six Flags Darien Lake
Six Flags Darien Lake, who rejoined the Six Flags family not too many years ago, also set up a page to announce that they will not operate in 2020.  Their information is a bit more brief than the Great Escape's, however they do also note that their 2020 season passes will be also extended through the 2021 season.