Thursday, December 12, 2019

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Opens to Rave Reviews at Disney's Hollywood Studios

© Disney
Disney's Hollywood Studios, a part of Disney World in Florida, has officially opened their blockbuster new dark ride, Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.  The trackless attraction is already heading to the top of many park fans favorite ride list, and after watching many spoiler videos of it we can understand why.

The last major component (for now) of the Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge themed area at Disney's Hollywood Studios, it goes without saving that Disney has saved the best for last.  The rest of the area opened a couple months ago and while the immersive land is heaven on Earth for fans of Star Wars, the latest ride is the cherry on top.

Rise of the Resistance is an amazing trackless dark ride, like we've seen Disney do in the past (mostly overseas), but there's a whole lot more to it than just that.  I don't want to force spoilers onto anyone, so we'll leave it at that, but between tons of special effects, elevation changes, animatronics, projections, simulations and more, the ride checks all the boxes as one of the best around.

And it is drawing the crowds to prove it.  Disney is using a virtual queue via phone app that allows guests to check in as soon as the park opens, then know when they can ride later in the day.  And the ride reservations are 'selling out' within an hour of the park opening on a daily basis.

The attraction's opening in Florida will be joined in California at Disneyland on January 17th, 2020.

If you can't make it to either park, below is one of the best on-ride videos I've seen as it gives nice perspective of the inside of the ride.  Check it out only if you do not want to be surprised the first time you ride!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Cedar Point Details a Plethora of Additions and Changes for 150th Anniversary in 2020

© Cedar Point
Today was Cedar Point's big announcement of many of the attractions and additions they have planned for 2020, which is the park's 150th anniversary.  Today also marks 150 days left until the park opens for the 2020 season, a fitting day to make all these announcements.

And there were a ton!  The park has a massive amount of things going on to celebrate the park's 150th, they're really pulling out all the stops.

Up top is concept art for the park's new ride for 2020, a relaxing journey named Snake River Expedition.  The boats will once again return to the waterways of the park, though the central lagoon is now known as Snake River.  The custom designed boats will take passengers on a journey that features a full story-line, with Trapper Dan needing help to smuggle some precious cargo.  There will be live actors, special effects and more along the route, which is scheduled to open on May 9th, 2020.

© Cedar Point
Cedar Point is also going to debut Celebrate 150 Spectacular, which is both a parade, nighttime extravaganza and street party - running each night June 12th through August 16th.  The park seems to be taking the success of the chain's Grand Carnivale, which features similar elements, and bumping it up a notch.

There will be 12 custom floats - some rather gigantic as seen above - that will honor pivotal aspects of Cedar Point's history.  The parade comes with more than 100 performers and an original score.  The end of the parade marks the street party which will feature "performances, dancing, pyrotechnics and music throughout the night."

© Cedar Point
Everyone has been wondering what will go inside the former Town Hall Museum, which will be known as just Town Hall in 2020.  The inside has been totally cleaned out and will now feature an interactive timeline of the park's history.  The concept art above shows what some of the inside will look like, much more vibrant and modern.  The park says it will feature "rotating artifacts and displays that feature ride logo development and blueprints, concept renderings, scale models, breathtaking photography and more."  Sounds like a great place to explore and a wonderful addition to celebrate the long history of the park.

© Cedar Point
There will be many changes in food and beverage offerings for the park's 150th anniversary celebration.  Here we have a drawing of French Quarter Confections, a brand new building going up at the front of the park, replacing the existing Sweets stand an Bayou refreshments.  It will offer items such as fudge, funnel cakes, cotton candy and new waffles on a stick.  It will even have a chocolate fountain!

The park is also bringing back the original juice slush containers, the ones shaped like the fruit they are flavored as.  They will be available at the the C.P. Juice Co. near the Scrambler.

© Cedar Point
Located along the main midway, the popular Corral restaurant will be torn down and rebuilt from the ground up.  Featuring two inside serving areas, the new restaurant will allow for faster service.  The menu will feature "hand-breaded chicken tenders, gourmet pizza with a focaccia crust, cheddar cheese, jalapeno or classic hot-dog-on-a-stick and the famous mozzarella cheese-on-a-stick."

The Mac Shack, featuring everyone's favorite comfort food mac & cheese bowls, will also be added near Toft's ice cream.

© Cedar Point
A new promotion the park is holding will offer guests a Ticket Of A Lifetime, should be they lucky enough to win.  During the season there will be 150 of these tickets given out, and each one grants the holder free entrance to the park for their life.  Plus, they get to award the same to three of their friends!  People can win from in park events, but also during online events and more - all starting in February (with more details on the way soon).

Those are a lot of changes, but there is even more planned!  The park's retail division is stepping up with a ton of exclusive merchandise (many limited edition and collectible) for the 150th.  The Pagoda Gift Shop will be renamed Celebration Central and feature all the goods in one central place.  The park is also starting button trading, with unique buttons being released each week - the only way to get the is the trade with employees!

© Cedar Point
Fans of the park may also make a permanent impression on it by purchasing a customizable brick that will be placed on the main midway as part of Legacy Walk.  Sales will start soon, and space is limited so everyone expects these to go fast!

That's a ton of stuff, but really there is even more we didn't cover here!  To read more details check out the park's blog post on the announcements, and be sure to watch the video below from the live stream announcement!

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Six Flags Great Adventure's Polar Coaster Challenge a Chilly Success

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Yesterday was the first Polar Coaster Challenge that Six Flags Great Adventure has held, and the event was a smash success with more than 300 participants coming to the park from 9 different states and even Canada.

Seen in the photo above, the park offered coaster fans a chance to ride Nitro, which hits 80 miles per hour, in only a t-shirt and shorts on a chilly December day.  Thankfully at least the sun was out!

© Six Flags Great Adventure
The event was held to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey, and in the end 348 guests took their chilly ride - some more than once!  The guests ranged in age from only 8 all the way up to 65, I guess that a wide variety of folks like to freeze their buns off on coasters for a good cause!  Make sure to look some of the riders faces in the larger version of these photos, they're pretty hilarious!

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Here's a group shot of many of those who survived the Polar Coaster Challenge, which according to Meteorologist Dan Zarrow featured a real-feel temperature of about 17 degrees with the coaster in motion.  The Polar Coaster Challenge was just one of many fun events the theme park is holding to celebrate Holiday In The Park, which is current running through January 1st.  With so much success at yesterday's event I wouldn't be surprised to see it return next year!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Busch Gardens Tampa Tops Off Iron Gwazi With Dizzying New Photo

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa has topped off Iron Gwazi's 206 foot tall lift hill, and to mark the occasion released the above photo capturing the moment the purple track was placed.  The ride is the tallest Rocky Mountain Construction coaster in North America, and one of the most highly anticipated new rides of the 2020 season.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
With the apex in place fans of the park are able to see just how stunningly tall the ride looks as it towers over the park.  The ride uses a steel lift hill that doesn't require an awful lot of supports, making the first drop look even more precarious.  The ride's 206 foot first drop is 91 degrees, yes one degree beyond vertical, and the trains will be propelled to 76 miles per hour as a result of it.

Midway Mayhem has shared some additional photos of the ride with the lift hill being completed.  Check them out below!

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Ambitious Plans Revealed for The London Resort Theme Park

The long planned theme park to be located just outside of London, England, has once again pushed forward with ambitious plans to open by 2024.  The development, currently known as The London Resort, was first heard about back in 2012, when it was tied heavily to Paramount Pictures, even using the word Paramount in the development's name at the time.  The project stalled several times, eventually breaking ties with Paramount, only to hook up with them again a couple years ago.

© The London Resort
Developers are hoping to start construction on the expansive theme park, which is really just one part of the master plan, within the next two years.  While the latest concept artwork for the theme park can be seen above, the larger plans include two theme parks, a water resort, entertainment village and more than 300 hotel rooms spread out over more than 500 acres along the Thames river.  The park looks to include some interesting rides, including a handful of roller coasters.

© The London Resort
This latest round of news comes with a more detailed look at the current plan for the theme park, which also includes announcing the property's themed lands - detailed on the schematic above.  The park has partnerships with BBC, ITV Studios and Paramount Pictures to use their intellectual properties throughout the park's rides and attractions.

The park also hopes to be one of the 'greenest' parks on the planet, with an overall goal of zero net emissions.  All of the rides, attractions, restaurants and retail of the park will be built with sustainability in mind.

© The London Resort
Much of the park will be located under cover as a protection from weather.  As for the lands and attractions that The London Resort will offer in its first theme park, the project's press materials detail them as such:

"The entrance to The London Resort will be via a grand plaza that leads visitors and hotel guests through ‘The High Street’. Full of shops, restaurants, hotels, a Convention Centre and a first-class waterpark.

Visitors can start their journey in The Studios, a gritty, modern-day warehouse district that practically roars with the exhilarating thrills of big, blockbuster features.  A winning combination of explosive action, high-octane car chases and high-stakes espionage.

Just to the north lies The Woods, an enchanted realm where springtime reigns eternal and the boundary between reality and fantasy dissolves. Here, the young and young-at-heart will be invited to step through the pages of a storybook and embark on adventures that put a fresh spin on beloved bedtime stories, fables and fairy tales.

© The London Resort
"From the Woods, the journey continues through the ages into The Kingdom, an immersive realm of swords, sorcery, dragons & legend. This is England as a dark and ancient land, a place of threatening and imposing castles and mystical Arthurian legends.

To the north lay The Isles, a land of giant creatures, mythical beasts and adventures at the crossroads of imagination and reality.  Fantastic jaw dropping architecture will combine with magnificent rides and 21st century technology.

The past begins to blend with the future in The Jungle. Ancient ruins of a mysterious long-lost Mesoamerican civilisation are seen pushing up through treetops. Here, an overgrown environment, brimming with ancient secrets, surprising discoveries and strange mystical artefacts will be transported to the present by inquisitive explorers – young and old.

The final land, dedicated to futuristic experiences, alien encounters and big thrill rides, The Starport is a bustling 23rd century landing zone. It will launch visitors into thrilling science-fiction adventures that are out of this world, leaving them mesmerised at things that should be impossible but are not."

With plans for the park coming together rapidly, it isn't totally clear if the park already has funding in place, or if that's still being generated.  Past issues with the project also revolved around government approvals and public approval of the project.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

More Concept Art Revealed for Luna Park's 10th Anniversary Expansion Season

© Luna Park
During this year's IAAPA Expo both Zamperla and Luna Park presented an exciting look at all they are building for the property's 10th anniversary in 2020.  Scott & Carol attended the Expo and filed a video report from the announcement along with the press release, if you missed that check it out here.

The property is expanding onto new parcels of land next year, and in total there will be 4 new rides along with a handful of redeveloped public spaces.

© Luna Park
Here is a look at the new developments, along with the existing parks, well part of them.  Half of the Scream Zone area can be seen here on the far right, and Luna Park proper to beyond that.  The new areas being developed are in color, and include expansive new public areas on what was parking lots or dead end streets, along with a large new area filled with rides.  The new public spaces will serve to help make all of Luna Park's offerings feel more cohesive, and make those sections much, much easier on the eye.

© Luna Park
The largest plot of land will be home to two new rides, The Super Flume Ride and a Junior Coaster - with final names pending.  You can see both in this art, the junior coaster will go up and over the flume ride, creating some neat interactions between the two.  The flume will feature 12 boats, two drops and panoramic views of the ocean.

© Luna Park
The Junior Coaster will run two trains, the theming detail of those can be seen in the concept art above.  Obviously from the name there is no intention of this being a large thrilling roller coaster, instead its rolling hills and drops will be suitable for a large section of the family.

© Luna Park
Luna Park will also debut a new Ropes and Adventure course next year.  The original concept art released months ago had the 4 story structure further back from the boardwalk, but it has been moved up so that those on the course can have an even better view of the beach.  The course includes four level of climbing along with zip lines.

Zamperla will also debut a brand new attraction next year in Luna Park, called Big WaveZ, the first instillation in the world.  Big WaveZ is an interactive water ride that "transports guests into the lair of the Roman mythical god Neptune.  Sensors on the passenger vessel allow guests to interact with a temperamental Neptune as well as influence the movement of the ride."  Those watching the ride can also interact via a touch screen platform, making each ride unique and ensuring that no passenger leaves dry.