Monday, May 29, 2017

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Opens New Wonder Woman Themed Thrill Ride

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Brand new extreme thrills are now waiting for guests at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, with the theme park having opened Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth to the public this holiday weekend.  The giant pendulum style ride has changed the park's skyline forever and fits in nicely with its Superman and Joker themed neighboring coaster rides.  The sheer size of the ride is intimidating, and it only goes higher once the ride cycle begins!

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
“Get ready for a thrilling, wild new ride that will exceed all expectations,” said Don McCoy, park president. “Imagine propelling through the air, while concurrently spinning and reaching great heights at the same time. We welcome this iconic Super Hero to our growing line-up of DC- branded attractions.”

Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth is able to seat 40 riders per ride cycle facing outward on a giant ring that sits at the end of the pendulum.  Once the cycle begins the ring starts to rotate as the pendulum starts swinging back and forth.

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
As the ride carriage swings higher and faster the extreme thrills begin, giving riders moments of weightlessness as they go.  The ride can reach speeds of approaching 70 miles per hour and reach 147 feet above the park.  The new attraction is themed after Wonder Woman, "the world’s most iconic female DC Super Hero" who is the "embodiment of justice, equality and peace; and a symbol of female empowerment, as she fights to seek for justice."

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Dorney Park Opens Second New Ride + Parkside Pavilion As Summer Season Begins

© NewsPlusNotes
This Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of the summer season, and Dorney Park was ready to celebrate with the opening of the park's second new ride for 2017, Kaleidoscope.  The first of the new rides - the Dodgem bumper cars - opened along with the park at the start of the season.

Located along the park's Main Midway next to the Coasters restaurant, the colorful Kaleidoscope features a custom paint job that was done as part of a full refurbishment of the ride.

© NewsPlusNotes
Kaleidoscope comes to Dorney Park from Europe, and is one of several classic flat rides introduced this year across the Cedar Fair chain of parks.  The ride mixes different shades of blue on the main ride arms along with red, yellow and green passenger cars - there are a total of 21.  The name Kaleidoscope was chosen because of the light package that has been added to the ride, at night it will look very much like a kaleidoscope as the arms spin.

© NewsPlusNotes
Know as a Trokia by trade name, this ride was manufactured by Huss.  Each of the 21 cars are able to seat two guests, and when the ride begins the cars spin counter clockwise on each arm while the base of the ride spins clockwise.  The three arms then extend upward, resulting in moments of low gravity as the cars spin up and over their peak during the ride cycle.

© NewsPlusNotes
Kaleidoscope has a low height requirement, just like the Dodgem bumper cars, with guests only 42 inches tall able to ride with a responsible 54 inch companion.  During opening weekend there were plenty of kids lining up to take a spin on the ride, and they certainly seemed to enjoy it by the time the ride was over!  It was also nice to see that this is a ride that smaller kids can ride with their parents, a mild thrill that's a step up from what Planet Snoopy offers.

© NewsPlusNotes
Another plus of this flat ride is that it has a really solid hourly capacity.  These always vary greatly in real life, but you can find this style of ride quoted at anywhere from 800 to 900 riders per hour at other parks.  That's sure to keep the line manageable during the busy summer months.

© NewsPlusNotes
Also up and running at Dorney Park is the brand new catering area, Parkside Pavilion.  We've seen the addition coming together over the last few months so it's nice to be able to check out the finished product.  The bottom line here is that groups have a really beautiful place to have a picnic at the park!

© NewsPlusNotes
Parkside Pavilion is capable of accommodating up to 2,500 people at a time, though it has partitions that can be utilized to break the sprawling space into different sections.  That allows different groups to have privacy as they relax and dine.

© NewsPlusNotes
Among many amenities offered in Parkside Pavilion, there is a full Chef's Kitchen in the center that is capable of making just about anything that groups want to have.  The menus are very customizable, which is a major upgrade from the park's old picnic offerings.  Seen in the photo above, there is also a small platform/performance area for groups to use, not quite a stage but great for award ceremonies and the like.

© NewsPlusNotes
Aside from upgraded food, which is a huge plus, Parkside Pavilion offers a really beautiful setting unlike anything seen at the park before.  Long gone are the feelings of being in a "grove" like you can find at the local community park, the vibe in the new area is substantially upgraded from that.  I think the photos here speak for themselves on that point.

We still have some exploring to do in the water park, with a major new food operation now open, and Cirque Imagine, a brand new live show, set to open later in June.  Stay tuned for more on those additions!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Universal Orlando's New Volcano Bay Water Theme Park Now Open

© Universal Orlando
Over the past two days visitors to the Universal Orlando Resort had their first chance to experience the rides, slides and relaxation of the all-new Volcano Bay water park.  The grand opening festivities included an "authentic, South Pacific dedication ceremony commemorating the opening of Volcano Bay featuring special performances by an array of authentic Maori entertainment, ranging from water dancers to "Haka" war dancers."  Before the ceremony ended the mighty Krakatau volcano at the center of the park, standing 200 feet tall, erupted for all to see.

© Universal Orlando
Described as a "next-level water theme park," Volcano Bay combines "spectacular storytelling and incredibly immersive guest experiences with innovative technology exclusively designed for Universal to give visitors a fun-filled, hassle-free experience with their friends and family."  A top-notch collection of slides and attractions await visitors, along with a plethora of amenities that are offered to make a day at the water theme park the as relaxing as possible.

© Universal Orlando
"Universal's Volcano Bay sets a new standard on every level – from the attractions to how our guests experience them," said Tom Williams, Chairman & CEO – Universal Parks & Resorts. "Our new water theme park is the perfect complement to the rest of our incredible destination.  It provides our guests with spectacular entertainment experiences and innovative technology that helps them enjoy more of what matters most – connecting with each other and having an amazing time together."

© Universal Orlando
Volcano Bay is spread out over 25 acres - with several reserved already for future expansion - offering attractions that range from mild to wild.  The focal point of the park is Krakatau, the center volcano on property, which spews both water and fire throughout the day.  When darkness falls the volcano's massive waterfalls transform into lava flows through some of Universal's creative magic.  The volcano not only towers over the park, but the entire Universal Orlando resort.

One of the park's biggest attractions is the Krakatau Aqua Coaster, featuring four-person canoes that slide upward and downward in and through the volcano, ending with a plunge through a waterfall.

© Universal Orlando
Thrill seekers will surely line up to take on the Ko'okiri Body Plunge slide, which takes place from a platform way up near the top of the Volcano.  A trap door start plunges sliders down at 70 degrees over 125 feet onto a long run-out area adjacent to the wave pool.  Also starting from the same tower are the Kala & Tai Nui Serpentine Body Slides, which also start with a trap door fall and then twist through the center of Krakatau to the splash pool below.

Several other water slides, ranging from body slides to multi-person raft experiences, also await visitors.

© Universal Orlando
Those looking for a break from the thrills will want to head over to the Waturi Beach area, a giant sandy beach that sits at the front of the wave lagoon in front of the volcano.  The lagoon is capable of creating waves in multiple directions and strengths.

Two river attractions can also be found in Volcano Bay - the Kopiko Wai Winding River is slow moving and features a trip into the Stargazer's Cavern under the volcano, and the TeAwa Fearless River has a much faster pace, featuring churning rapids and choppy waves that mix relaxation with thrills.

© Universal Orlando
Volcano Bay's designers did not forget attractions for kids who visit the park, offering more than two areas just for them.  The two largest are Tot Tiki Reef, meant for smaller guests with spraying fountains and tikis.  Runamukka Reef was once a coral reef below the ocean, but is now an expansive interactive play area that is sure to keeps kids busy for hours.

All visitors to the park will use TapuTapu, a wrist band smart device, to make ride reservations, activate secret fun inside the park, open lockers, make cash payment and more - the park has fully embraced new technology on this point.  Guests can also rent very beautiful cabanas or private lounge areas complete with a lock box, or upgrade to Universal Express to skip the waiting period on several popular attractions.

Congratulations to the resort on the new park, I can't wait to experience it - hopefully sooner than later!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cedar Point Shores Water Park Opens This Weekend

© Cedar Point
One of several large projects Cedar Point has underway will open to guests for the first time this weekend.  Cedar Point Shores is the result of reimagining, expanding and modernizing the existing separate-entry water park that has sat next to Cedar Point for many years.

The work has made the existing park bigger and better than ever, with a fresh theme that embodies the history of Cedar Point as a staple destination on Lake Erie.  Spread among 18 acres near several of the resort's hotels and Cedar Point itself, it also borders a big stretch of the beach and Lake Erie just beyond.

"This is a unique time in Cedar Point's history. As the park evolves with the latest and greatest attractions, we will never lose sight of how we started," said Jason McClure, vice president and general manager of Cedar Point. "Cedar Point Shores is a direct nod to our past as it existed on the Lake Erie shoreline. Only today, new and exciting thrills are available right alongside the beach that has, and still continues to bring families together."

© Cedar Point
Cedar Point Shores has 17 water attractions, something for each member of the family - and several of them are brand new in 2017.  Seen in the photo up top, Point Plummet are 4 new thrill slides that start with trap-door free falls, plunging sliders straight down into the slide.  Built on the same tower is Portside Plunge, a pair of tube slides that end with giant drops into the pool below.

Kids also have plenty new fun waiting for them at the park in both Lemmy's Lagoon and Lakeside Landing.  Between the two there are numerous play areas, small slides and plenty more to keep kids of different ages happy in the summer sun.

Cedar Point Shores is also packed with new amenities, food and beverage and retail options.  Crystal Rock Cafe is a large new dining establishment, Beaches & Cream will offer various ice cream creations, Schooner's Bayside Bar has relaxing adult beverages, and the new Sandals Souvenirs and Sundries is a new retail location.  All new lounge chairs, bright colors on all the slides, upgraded cabanas for rent, lush new landscaping and more changes have also been completed.

For more information on Cedar Point Shores, check out the park's website.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Parques Reunidos the Latest Theme Park Operator to Make China Expansion Plans

It seems that lately there's a continual flow of stories about a plethora of theme park companies making plans to expand into China.  From Six Flags' parks that are ready for construction to SeaWorld's recently announced plans, everyone is eyeing the country as the next great place to develop new parks and resorts.

We now have news that Parques Reunidos has entered into a "strategic agreement" with a Chinese company to develop new parks and indoor entertainment centers there.  Working with Harves Century Group, which the press release names as "one of the principal privately owned real estate development companies in China," Parques Reunidos will assist in creating parks across China.  The pair will be working with the investment arm of the China Development Bank, so it would appear as though there will be no lack of funding for the projects.

The partnership will see Parques Reunidos assist with "preliminary consultation phase of projects, through the consultation on design, construction, and attraction procurement, all the way to the management and operation of the future parks."

© Parques Reunidos
Parques Reunidos is already one of the largest theme, water and family entertainment park operators on the planet, with locations spread across the globe.  The company owns many parks, while having similar management agreements on many others.  They've been named as operators on several new parks, such as Bollywood and Motiongate in Dubai, and Dragon Park in Vietnam.

In the U.S. the company owns properties such as Kennywood, Dutch Wonderland,  Lake Compounce, Idlewild, several water parks and more.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Take a Spin on Six Flags Fiesta Texas' New Thunder Rapids Water Coaster

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is gearing up for the grand opening of their new water coaster, Thunder Rapids.  The ride, which can be seen above in a photo from the park, is located in the White Water Bay water park section of the theme park, and is included in general admission.

Built along the backside of the park's giant Texas-shaped wave pool, Thunder Rapids features a ridable lift up to three stories in the air, then both downhill and uphill sections along 942 feet of slide.  Rafts are propelled along the course using "water jet propulsion technology" as they zip through tunnels, tight turns and dips.

Thunder Rapids will open this coming weekend for a special season pass-only preview.  Saturday and Sunday will see the new attraction open for Gold pass holders only, then Monday is for all pass holders.  The ride's grand opening for the public will be on June 3rd.

Ready to take a ride?  Six Flags Fiesta Texas has released this new point of view video.  Enjoy!