Thursday, January 17, 2019

Worlds of Fun Gives New For 2019 Restaurant a Rename Ahead of Season Opening

© Worlds of Fun
Near the end of last summer, Worlds of Fun announced a brand new restaurant being built for 2019, at the time named the Boathouse Grill.  The location was announced to feature Kansas City BBQ along with other delicious meals, and the expansive location (over 9,000 square feet) would have patio seating for more than 300 guests.

The theme of the Boathouse Grill was meant to pay homage to the park's original three boats that could be found on the property, one of their signature design features upon opening.

Worlds of Fun just recently released via an official blog post that the overall theme of the restaurant will remain, however it has been renamed:

© Worlds of Fun
Now known as the Cotton Blossom BarBQue, the restaurant will focus its theme on one of the park's original boats, which was not surprisingly named the Cotton Blossom.

The boat was an icon of the park, and the blog post details its history at Worlds of Fun - it originally was used on the set of a movie and purchased from MGM's Backlot via auction.  The park has narrowed the focus of the theme to better explore the history of the park, honoring it as well.

Make sure to check out the park's post on the change for some additional historical detail and images, along with a current construction image of Cotton Blossom BarBQue.  It is wonderful to see the park focus on their history with this addition!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Posts Construction Photos of Two New-For-2019 Attractions

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The 2019 season at Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA will be filled with soaring swings and swooshing toboggans as visitors enjoy two new attractions, one at each park.

With the parks now closed until Spring, the property has shared some photos of construction work on the additions.  Above is the work site for Finnegan's Flyer, Busch Gardens Williamsburg's new S&S designed Screamin' Swing.

The ride will be located just next to the bridge that visitors use to enter Ireland, and riders will swing out over the water below.  The top photo shows the ride's massive foundations being poured, and gives a great look at how Finnegan's Flyer will be situated in the park.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The foundations for the ride are extra tall due to the ride being located with the level of the Ireland area, with a big drop off to the water below.  Finnegan's Flyer will seat 32 riders on two pendulum arms that swing back and forth at a speed of up to 45 miles per hour.  At the maximum height of each swing, the arms can reach up to 80 feet above the ground.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Over at Water Country USA, the work for the Cutback Water Coaster is well underway.  The ride will use the site of a former family slide, which has been removed already.  The aerial photo above shows the site of the new water coaster, with the former slide totally gone.  The new attraction will utilize the old one's station platform, along with the conveyor that lifts rafts to the top.

When completed, the Cutback Water Coaster will be the only RocketBlast style water coaster on the East coast.  Using a special water propulsion system, rafts seating 4 passengers will be above to go not only down hill, but also up hill, much like on a traditional roller coaster.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
One of the interesting design elements of the water coaster will be the five separate saucer-shaped turns.  Most of the slide has already arrived at the park, and the saucer features are waiting to go into place (above).  The saucers will be bright yellow and orange, with the rest of the slide featuring blue and white.  In addition to the saucers, Cutback Water Coaster will feature several tight turns, quick drops and 850 feet of slide in total.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Hersheypark Shares New Maps & Images of 2020 Chocolatetown Project + Heavy Work Begins

© Hersheypark
To coincide with the official groundbreaking on the massive Chocolatetown expansion at Hersheypark, the property has also updated their website to give us new views of the $150 million addition.

Set to open in 2020, the project is so large that the park has already started construction on it.  It seems the theme park will be using a temporary entrance during the 2019 season as the current one will be demolished by then.

The above aerial image shows the entire Chocolatetown expansion, and you can also make your way through the area and see what will be built using the park's new interactive map.

© Hersheypark
Another bonus from the new images that have been added are some additional views of the new roller coaster that will anchor Chocolatetown.  What is expected to be a B&M hyper coaster, themed to Hershey's candies, will feature brown track and silver supports.  A major part of the coaster, a helix near the end of the ride, will surround a giant fountain in the middle of the park entrance plaza.

© Hersheypark
Images of Chocolatetown from afar show the entire layout of the coaster, which is very much in line with many of the other B&M hypers out there.  The ride will have a steep first drop (expected to be above 200 feet) a huge air-time hill, a hammerhead turn around, then many smaller hills, a helix or two and then the brakes.

© Aaron Bond via Facebook
Hersheypark just had the groundbreaking for Chocolatetown recently, and since then has started major demolition work inside the former entrance area.  Work had already begun previously, but now things have kicked into high gear.

Browsing some Hersheypark fans groups on Facebook reveals plenty of photos of the work.  Looks like most of the buildings are going to be quickly smashed to bits.  Above is a photo from a gallery on Hersheypark Connoissuers, and here is another aerial gallery (drone footage, not posting here as I can't be sure they were taken legally).

© Hersheypark
One last thing I wanted to mention.  If you're still curious about how the new entrance will fit over the existing one, then make sure to scroll down on the new map page the park debuted.  It has several images, like the one above, showing just how the park's entrance facilities will change in 2020.  Pretty neat to play around with!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Coasting for Kids Returns Even Bigger and Better in 2019

© Give Kids The World Village
The ever-wonderful Coasting For Kids fundraising event, which benefits Give Kids The World Village, is scheduled to be back and bigger than ever before in 2019.

This year the coaster riding event will spread to 14 parks, with events taking place on different dates across the country.  The first scheduled event will be at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which will take place on March 23rd, 2019.

Coasting For Kids is the ultimate way to raise funds for the 84 acre non-profit "storybook" resort near Orlando, Florida.  Give Kids The World Village hosts sick children and their families for the ultimate no-expense trip to the theme park mecca known as Orlando.  Besides the parks, the Village itself has a ton of special attractions, restaurants, activities and more that are highly themed and often created by theme park designers themselves.

© Give Kids The World Village
This year those interested can register online and collect donations toward their day of riding at:  Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Frontier City, Six Flags America, Six Flags Darien Lake, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Six Flags Over Georgia, Six Flags Over Texas, Fantasy Island, Indiana Beach, Kennywood, Legoland Florida, Quassy Amusement Park, Sesame Place and Story Land.

Each of the parks are still wrapping up their event details, except for Busch Gardens Williamsburg, which is already open for registration.  Keep a close watch on the event's website for details on additional park events, and even if you can't register you can still support a team!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Silver Dollar City Retires River Rapids Ride for Large New 2020 Project

© Google Maps
Silver Dollar City has confirmed that the park's river rapids ride, named the Lost River of the Ozarks, has been removed from the park.  The attraction opened in 1982 and cost around $2 million to build, one of the park's larger attractions at the time.  It has been a favorite of guests since then, featuring a trip through the woods along with a pretty long indoor section.

The ride can be seen in the above aerial map, most of the ride can be seen to the right of the lake in the center of the image.

The theme park isn't ready to say just what they're working on yet, but one thing is for sure - the ride and some of the area surrounding it is already a giant plot of dirt.  Check out this new video to see what I mean:

You can pretty easily compare the aerial footage of the park to the image up top to see just how large an area has been cleared out.  It appears there is one small section of the Lost River's former building standing, basically a part of the facade and that's about it.  The rest is some nice flat land, which I'm sure we will see more work on soon.

Midwestinfoguide has been keeping regular tabs on the work that has progressed as the ride was removed, and just posted another update from the ground on the park's last operating day of the season.  The area does appear a bit larger than it really is because the lake has been drained, but this is still a very large area for the park to reconstruct.  I can't wait to see what they have planned!

Monday, January 7, 2019

New B&M Dive Coaster - Mako - Opening in 2020 at SeaWorld San Diego

© SeaWorld San Diego
Everyone has to love a surprise announcement!  That's just what SeaWorld San Diego did this past weekend when they announced a brand new roller coaster named Mako for the park's 2020 season.  The ride will be one of B&M's dive coasters, featuring a vertical first drop to start the ride, and is already being marketed by the park as "California's tallest, longest and fastest dive coaster."

Behind The Thrills first gave us a look at the ride's concept art, up top, over the weekend.  Their story features plenty of photos from an event the park had where the ride was announced.  The park also plans to spruce up other areas of the property in the coming years, including the Shark Encounter and Penguin exhibits, according to the site.

© SeaWorld San Diego
Back to the coaster, the park released some additional statistics today.  First, the coaster will be located behind Journey to Atlantis, in what is currently a section of the parking lot.  Mako will stand 153 feet tall and feature a 143 foot first drop.  It will have almost 2,500 feet of track, and hit a top speed of 60 miles per hour.  Elements on the ride include a "barrel roll, Immelmann loop, a hammerhead turn, and a flat spin."  Mako will utilize floorless trains that have three rows of six riders.

Planning and approvals for Mako are going to start soon, so expect more details and probably a full layout to be released before too long.  For now, the coaster seems most comparable to Liseberg's Valkyria, at least in terms of B&M dive coaster height and length.

It sounds like this is the first of many exciting announcements that SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment have planned for 2020!