Saturday, March 17, 2018

California's Great America RailBlazer Update + Another Removal Announced

© California's Great America
California's Great America will open in one week for the start of their 2018 season, and while RailBlazer won't be ready for guests the park is happy to show it off in a new blog update.

The main structure of the ride was completed some time ago, but the park has been hard at work on all the theming that will surround the coaster, as well as the station and queue.  These photos, shared on the blog post, give us a look at that work underway.  The above wide angle photo shows the entire construction site, with the giant dive loop looking wonderful in the California sun.

© California's Great America
As depicted in the concept art that was released for RailBlaser, California's Great America is adding considerable theming around the base of the coaster, including a waterway and elaborate landscaping.  This photo shows off several of the large stones and boulders being formed, in various levels of completeness.  The addition of the rocks that the track will move past (and through, as with the base of the first drop) will work to make the ride seem even faster than the given top speed of 52 miles per hour.  The ride's theme revolves around an off-road adventure through the California wilderness, and things are looking great so far!

The theme park promises that an opening day for RailBlazer will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

The blog post also revealed that the park's amphitheater style show structure, the Peanuts Playhouse is being removed.

© Google Maps
If you add in the space that the amphitheater took up along with the already removed Endeavor looping ship and the Loggers Run flume ride, it creates two big patches of space.  These areas seem ripe for a massive water park transformation, including new slides, name and theme.  The water park renovation was mentioned plenty in the planning documents for the park's rezoning, so this is no surprise.

© Google Maps
However, if you take it one step further you can also consider the space that Snoopy's Splash Dance took up - that was also announced as removed.  Plus, the park has unofficially announced that 2018 is the last year for the go-karts.  Suddenly you have an absolutely massive area to play with.  This leaves two kiddie rides and the park's kiddie/family coaster, Woodstock Express, off in the corner by themselves so I would wager those won't be around much longer either.  The bottom portion seems like it would be the station area for the expected hyper coaster, but time will tell.

Exciting times for the park, that's for sure!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Scream Machine - Backward Thrilling Riders at Six Flags Over Georgia

The brand new Rocky Mountain Construction conversion coaster, Twisted Cyclone, isn't the only new thrill at Six Flags Over Georgia this year.

For a limited time, visitors can ride the famous Great American Scream Machine wooden roller coaster with backward trains, giving an all new thrill to a classic attraction.  The coaster, currently known as Scream Machine - Backward, has been a staple ride at the theme park for more than 4 decades, and while it has had backward trains in the past, it has been many years since the park turned them around.

© Six Flags Over Georgia
The turned-around trains are drawing a lot of attention to the park, and if you check out this news story you will even see quotes from our own Scott & Carol who were at the park for a special preview this week.

The Great American Scream Machine features a 105 foot lift hill and more than 3,400 feet of traditional wooden track.  It was built by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and opened in 1973 as one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the world.

Being able to ride Scream Machine backward will be a limited time event, though the park hasn't published an official end to the program as of now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Silver Dollar City's New Time Traveler Coaster is Now Open!

© Silver Dollar City
Today marks the official grand opening of Time Traveler, Silver Dollar City's brand new roller coaster.  The ride is billed by the theme park as the "world’s fastest, steepest and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster," and represents a massive investment in Silver Dollar City by owner Herschend Family Entertainment.  Time Traveler is a unique spinning roller coaster, designed by Mack Rides, which features a large initial drop along with two separate launch sections.  More than two years were spent in the planning and construction of the $26 million attraction.

© Silver Dollar City
Time Traveler begins with the vertical plunge that is seen above, right out of the station - which is perched on the side of one of the park's many hills.  The drop is 100 feet high and has a true vertical, 90 degree drop that gets the cars moving at 50.3 miles per hour.  The cars use a controlled spin that starts as they move out the station, so riders may encounter this drop both forward, backward, and every way in between.

Immediately after the drop Time Traveler's trains head into a dive loop, the first of the coaster's three inversions.

© Silver Dollar City
Soon after the ride's first launch takes place after a brief  pause.  That launch uses linear synchronous motors to send the train along at 47 miles per hour, through a large overbank turn, then down into the second inversion - a 95 foot tall vertical loop.  Before the end of the ride Time Traveler heads through another LMS launch of 45 miles per hour, a zero-g roll and plenty of twists and turns.

The controlled spinning nature of the cars means that no two rides on Time Traveler will ever be exactly the same, giving fans of the coaster a reason to ride over and over.  “This coaster’s state-of-the-art controlled spin provides riders a unique thrill experience while still appealing to families,” said Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions.

© Silver Dollar City
According to Silver Dollar City, Christian von Elverfeldt, CEO of Mack Rides, was on site for the grand opening of Time Traveler. “The car is the most advanced roller coaster car in the industry, featuring a free-spinning rotation on a launched roller coaster,” said von Elverfeldt. “For the utmost comfort, an on-board magnetic brake limits the rotation speed to allow the most enjoyable ride experience.”

Silver Dollar City was careful to preserve as much of the beautiful mountainside as possible, and planted two or three trees for each one that had to be removed for the ride.  The first drop plunges riders down into the mountainous terrain, and the track then weaves and twists through the mountainside.  In total the twisted layout crosses over itself 14 times from start to finish.

If you want a preview of what a ride on Time Traveler is like before you head out to ride, check out this point of view video that the theme park released:

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

World's Tallest StarFlyer Ride Now Standing in Orlando

The Orlando area has another exiting attraction under development, the world's tallest StarFlyer - standing an impressive 450 feet tall.  The ride was constructed over the past week, and it was also just announced that it will open to the public on May 11th.

The StarFlyer is located in a development near the Orlando Eye ferris wheel named The Vue at 360.  The complex is being developed by Unicorp National Developments, and a building at the base of the ride will have several features like an ice cream shop.

Twitter user bioreconstruct has taken great care to cover all the latest projects in the Orlando area, and the StarFlyer has been no different.  These photos, which came from the user on Twitter, show the now standing ride towering over the landscape.  StarFlyer has a very nice decorative top piece, as seen here.  Be sure to browse more of bioreconstruct's tweets for more photos.

When it opens, the StarFlyer will take 22 riders up to around 400 feet in the air and swing them in circles at 60 miles per hour.  Needless to say the view from the top will be spectacular, considering the tower is 50 feet higher than the neighboring Orlando Eye.

This ride is also now taking the record for the tallest of its kind, at least when counting the decorative pieces at the top.  Similar tower rides at Six Flags parks have hit the 400 foot mark.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Six Flags Fiesta Texas' Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Testing Video is a Must Watch

Six Flags Fiesta Texas has started testing their brand new single rail roller coaster, Wonder Woman Golden Lasso. And, WOW.  SFFT Source shared video of one of the test runs on Instagram, and I think it speaks for itself:

A post shared by SFFT Source (@sfftsource) on
I don't know about you guys, but I'm totally amazed by the speed that this Rocky Mountain Construction-designed ride has!  The first time I watched this and it completed the 180 degree turn at the top of the lift I noted that it appeared to be running quickly, and it just intensifies after that point.

I imagine that the negative forces at play on the riders near the back of the train will be totally wild on that first 90 degree drop.  The rest of the elements then run in quick succession as the train appears to continue to gather speed!  By my timing, it's about 31 seconds from the time the last car crests the lift hill until it hits the final brake run.  Removing a couple hundred feet of track length for the brakes, station and lift, that is in the neighborhood of an average speed of 35 miles per hour.  That might not be a huge number on its own, but considering the tight track layout that Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster has, and the single passenger, open trains, this looks to be quite a thrilling experience.

No word yet on when the new coaster will open, but hopefully if testing continues successfully it won't be too much longer now!

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Six Flags Mexico's Wonder Woman Coaster Nearly Complete

© Six Flags Mexico
We haven't heard much from Six Flags Mexico regarding their new Wonder Woman Coaster since it was announced at the end of last summer.  I suppose that's because it was just recently that the coaster started to be built at the park, and now as seen above it is nearly complete.

Wonder Woman Coaster will be the 7th S&S Free Spin coaster when it opens, joining five others at Six Flags parks in North America.  The ride's unique paint job, matching the Wonder Woman theme, can be seen above.  The ride's rails are a golden colors, with alternating red, white, and blue supports - and the red and blue supports form a large "W" if you look close enough.

Six Flags Mexico also posted this short video clip of the ride under construction, with only a few rails on the top layer of the ride still to be installed.  The lighting isn't the best, but it does show off the various dips and curves that the Wonder Woman Coaster offers riders.

The S&S Free Spin coasters stand 120 feet tall and feature individual cars that rotate riders' seats during the course to create multiple inversions.  This also means that no two rides are exactly the same due to the random nature of the cars interacting with powerful magnets along the ride path.

The Wonder Woman Coaster will be Six Flags Mexico's 9th when it opens at the park.