Wednesday, July 17, 2019

A Preview of Grand Carnivale At Dorney Park - Event Opens July 20th!

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We've been patiently waiting for the "ultimate cultural celebration" that is Grand Carnivale to premier at Dorney Park, which happens Saturday, July 20th, and now we're only a few days away!  After getting a taste of the festivities at a couple other Cedar Fair parks, our anticipation of the event has hit a true peak.  To that end we checked out the park as they are in their final days of preparation for Grand Carnivale in order to give a preview of the event to our readers.

Walking up to the park, Grand Carnivale makes itself known immediately.  The main entrance plaza is decked out in its finest, with giant beads, colorful flags and special signage all over.

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The fun continues immediately once you enter the park, with decorations and signage present all over.  Unlike we saw during the celebration at Kings Dominion and Kings Island, Dorney Park's Grand Carnivale is presented in a more condensed area, a benefit in my book.  The amount of decorations the park has already put in place along the main midway is giving the area a bright and shimmering appearance - there's seriously something to look at no matter which way you turn.

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Entertainment is a central part of Grand Carnivale, and there are separate stages and performance areas found all over.  This main one is located on the backside of the Antique Carousel, but stages can be found stretching all the way to bordering White Water Landing's lagoon.

The above stage is by far the largest and most elaborate that the park has created, and it's impressive all on its own!  It still isn't totally finished, but when it is it will be the location of the Grand Carnivale Opening Ceremony, featuring the King & Queen of Carnivale.  That performance will officially start the festivities, including the opening of food and craft tents, the Adventure Club and more.

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Each of the countries being celebrated during Grand Carnivale (China, France, Germany, India and Italy) have their own food stand.  This is Italy's which is located just beyond the Antique Carousel.  Each of the countries attractions, entertainment and food are clustered together, with decorations and theming throughout.  As you move down the Main Midway you encounter other countries, next is China, then India, and France and Germany share the area in front of White Water Landing's lagoon.

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The stage that went up over the former water fountain/planter looks like it is going to be homebase for the entertainment related to India.  You can see some new decorations that have been added to this area to liven up the stage a bit.  It was a hot day at the park when I took these photos and the stage was still serving as a nice place to rest.

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Also scattered throughout each of the themed sections are Adventure Club stands.  Visitors can partake in the Adventure Club Challenge, which is filled with clues and puzzles that can be solved in order to gain acceptance to the club.  There will be printed Adventure Club guides available at the stands that tell you where to go, and you can start at any country.  Each task that is completed earns a stamp in their guide book, and completing all tasks earns you an Adventure Club Badge.

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Here are some shots of the far side of the Grand Carnivale celebration, sorry the sun wasn't really agreeing with me taking photos!  You can see many food tents set up in the area for Germany and France around here, along with tons of new seating.  There's actually new seating located all along the walkways for guests to sit and eat and relax.

The food is an important part of Grand Carnivale, with each country offering several tastings.  Groups of six tastings can be purchased for $30, or each item can be purchased on its own.  The items offered all correspond to the host country, with authentic foods and desserts offered at each.  There are a lot of tasty sounding items, such as China's Emperor's Chinese Spare Ribs, complete with a sweet sticky sauce, and Italy's Roman Suppli, which are fried rice balls stuffed with cheese and pepper and doused in marinara.

Those with a sweet tooth will love the Banana Baji, a batter dipped fried banana in India, Apple Strudel from Germany, and France's Profiteroles, which are delicate cream puffs, among others.

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As covered earlier each area has their own entertainment stage or area, this one here belongs to France.  Shows are varied with a ton of performers, again each themed to their home country.  For instance, Germany will have polka and accordion players, France will have mimes and magic, and Italy will have authentic puppetry performances.  There's going to be a ton of live entertainment all throughout the evening, so be sure to look for different performances while you're at the park.

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When these photos were taken the park was already heavily decorated, but there was still a lot more to come.  This look inside the Good Time Theater shows that there was still an abundance of decorations that would be heading into the park before the premiere.  And this was only part of what still needed to go out!  I can't wait to see the finished product.

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The Theater is also a massive staging area for the performers in Grand Carnivale, and there are a lot of them no question.  This rack is holding onto the fancy head pieces that just some of the performers wear, all bright, colorful and full of energy.

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All those performers need costumes to put on a good show, and the Theater is also the holding area for those.  There are racks and racks of outfits in this area, these photos only show some of them.  They looked like they were clustered by country, and all of them were even more elaborate than I expected.

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They are all specially made for Grand Carnivale, and not only match the theme of their country but also continue the bright and festive vibe the decorations have. 

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There is one major component of Grand Carnivale that we haven't covered yet, and that is the Spectacle of Color Parade.  Taking place each evening as the sun sets, the parade features extravagantly decorated floats, street performers, and a unique soundtrack created specially for it.

During my visit to the park the temporary staging area for the parade, located outside the gates beyond Good Time Theater, had a few of the floats already on property.  Above is a giant elephant made of drums that guests and performers can both enjoy.

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Here is the giant Jules Verne Airship, which will glow brilliantly in the dark (all the floats will, for that matter).  The lighting of the photo makes it hard to tell, but the airship is covered in lights.  There will be a total of 9 floats in the Spectacle of Color Parade and it will last in the neighborhood of 30 minutes.

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Here we have the parade's lead float, known as the King of Carnivale.  That's because this guy is the king, as if that wasn't obvious from the crown.  The main section of this float also contains a small trampoline that performers stay on during the route, bouncing and entertaining the crowd as they go.

While on the subject of the parade's route, it will begin at the Good Time Theater, travel through Planet Snoopy, head around the Wild Mouse and travel down the Main Midway and back.  There will be a few parade stops during the route where performers can interact with park guests, since all the floats have interactive elements built into them.

In the end each of the 5 featured countries will have their own dedicated float, plus the King in the lead, and three traditional Mardi Gras-styled floats in the back.  Each day some lucky park guests will be picked to ride these floats, and yes, there will be beads thrown!

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At the end of the parade several of the floats will remain on the midway to add to the environment as the Grand Carnivale Street Party begins.  The festivities go until the park closes, with even more special live entertainment, booming music, a dance party, special lighting and more.

An event of this level has never been done at Dorney Park before to my knowledge, and we think the crowds are going to be amazed at all it has to offer.  Grand Carnivale at Dorney Park starts this Saturday, July 20th, and will run each night through August 11th.  See you there!

Monday, July 15, 2019

Hersheypark To Announce New 2020 Coaster on July 24th + Coaster Goes Vertical

© Hersheypark
Hersheypark will announce their brand new roller coaster, opening in 2020, on July 24th and you can be there to see it!  The park will allow the first 500 guests in line at 10:30 am at the Chevrolet Music Box Theatre inside to watch the announcement live.  The park also shared the above photo, blurry we know, but quite obviously a view from the front seat of the car looking down the first drop toward the ground.

The ride has been well known about for a while now, and is expected to be a B&M Hyper Coaster themed around Hershey's candies.  We don't know the exact statistics of the attraction though, those will certainly come when the park announces their 15th roller coaster in just over a week.

© Hersheypark
You can get a refresher on the layout of the new coaster in many of the images that Hersheypark has shared of Chocolatetown, for instance the one above shows the entire layout.  True to B&M hyper style, the ride features a tall first drop, several large air-time hills, and a helix around a water fountain that is central to the park's new entrance.

Just in the past week the ride has actually gone vertical, with the track for the final part of the brake run being installed.  To get a view of the chocolate brown track in place, check out this video.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

SeaWorld San Antonio Heads Deep Into the Ocean With New 2020 Teaser

© SeaWorld San Antonio
SeaWorld San Antonio may be hard at work on an accelerated schedule building their new for 2020 attraction, but the park is just starting to tease fans with the details of the new ride.  The park's media department has sent out the below teaser for the ride, which seems like the first of many that we will see:

The clip begins with the camera heading below the surface of the ocean... way below the surface.  Sunlight is quickly blocked from view as the bubbles fade and the water turns dark.  Sounds of a submarine echo are heard as a couple of bioluminescent creatures swim by, though it's too dark to make out exactly what they are.  Aside from the park asking us all to stay tuned, we haven't got much else to go on.

However, it has been discovered (click here for more on that) that SeaWorld Entertainment has copyrighted the name Abyss for something in the nature of a "theme park ride."  Now that we've seen the teaser heading down into the dark bottom of the ocean, Abyss sure seems to fit nicely!

But then again we've always seen SeaWorld Entertainment copyright several possible names for their big rides, then finalize their choice later on.  So the park could still have more tricks up their sleeves!

Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Steel Curtain is Now Open at Kennywood

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Today Kennywood has officially debuted The Steel Curtain, the park's towering and twisted new roller coaster.  Themed to the Pittsburgh Steelers football franchise, the ride sits as the prominent centerpiece of Steelers Country, an entirely new themed area at Kennywood.  The area celebrates everything Steelers related, with interactive activities, food, retail and more.

But folks looking for thrills will certainly find The Steel Curtain to be the most desirable attraction in the area, especially since it stands a massive 220 feet over the park.  It's pretty hard not to notice with its bright gold supports and sleek black track.

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Not only is The Steel Curtain tall, but it's also very twisted, featuring a total of 9 inversions throughout the course - a record for North America.  Watching new coverage from those at the park also shows that the ride moves fast - and keeps its speed way up until the final brakes.  That means a thrilling set of inversions with little break in between them.  However at 4,000 feet of track the ride doesn't look short by any stretch of the imagination.

To hold you over until you get out to Kennywood to experience The Steel Curtain in person, the park has released a brand new point of view movie of the ride.  Take a spin below!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Jurassic World - The Ride Now In Previews at Universal Studios Hollywood

© RyanThemePark via YouTube
Jurassic World - The Ride is still listed as "coming soon" on Universal Studios Hollywood's website, but the ride has finally entered preview mode which means that we've been able to get our first look.  And some lucky folks have even had their first rides... and that means videos are available!

Consider this a light spoiler about the ride, however I'm not going to go into details of the changes made in the attraction - but they look great!  I admit that I was a bit unnerved to hear that the popular Jurassic Park ride would be undergoing major changes, however mostly for nostalgic reasons and not practical ones.  But now having watched many point of view videos of the ride, I admit it looks like a wonderful change that will better suit the expectations of the general public of 2019.

In fact, there's more changes that I anticipated.  We knew the main lagoon was transformed to being indoors, and that did pan out, but several other parts of the ride had major changes as well.  The indoor section at the top of the lift has been totally renovated, and while rather dark on most movies you can tell it's a totally different environment and theme than the 1995 version of the ride.  And for the better!

I'm excited to see if Universal decides to pull the trigger on making the same changes at Islands of Adventure in a couple years, or keeps the existing ride and expands upon Jurassic World in their new theme park.  Regardless of what happens in Florida, visitors to the park in California have a slick new attraction to enjoy!

The daytime point of view movies of the ride are great, but I think this one of it at night, from Ryan ThemePark on YouTube, really shows off how nice the ride looks.  Take a look if you want to see all that Jurassic World - The Ride has to offer!

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Teasing Theme of 2020 New Coaster

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
At this point, the exact plans for Busch Gardens Williamsburg's 2020 new coaster are not much of a secret, unless of course you've purposely ignored all the coverage of them (click here for those spoilers if you like).  That doesn't mean that we know exactly everything about the new ride, such as its official name and theme.

To that end, the theme park has been teasing about the attraction, with one of the biggest reveals seen up top - and that's the announcement date of 7/30/19.  Just three weeks from today!

There have been three teasers so far, each featuring a short phrase about a mythological god (and planet, by chance), all with ties to Roman history.  Fitting since the ride is expected to become a part of the Italian themed section of the park.  The above teaser states "rise with the power of Neptune’s trident and plunge deep into the raging sea," for instance.

Each of the teasers feature a flag with a logo that's related to the mythological god being named, but not much else.  All of the descriptions, like "run messages to the gods on Mercury’s lightning fast wings" and "escape Pluto’s twisted Underworld and be immortalized in the garden of the gods" elicit the idea of a fast and twisting ride, which certainly seems like exactly what is on the way.

With various gods being referenced one would think the ride's name would be all encompassing of mythology in general, but that remains to be seen.  They could take a left turn and keep naming planets, for all we know!  Make sure to follow the park's socials for more clues before the announcement at the end of the month!