Saturday, August 19, 2017

Great Pumpkin LumiNights Opening at Dollywood This October



Dollywood will be bringing an all new family-friendly nighttime event to the theme park this October named Great Pumpkin LumiNights.  The event will mark a new tradition of celebrating the Halloween season at the park, complete with thousands of glowing pumpkins lit up in the park's Timber Canyon themed area.

Regarding the addition, Dolly herself said that "we think Great Pumpkin LumiNights will become just as popular with families as our Smoky Mountain Christmas festival.  I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of new family traditions made this October!”

© Dollywood
The Great Pumpkin LumiNights celebration will focus on presenting "thousands of intricately-carved pumpkins" and "harvest themed displays" throughout Timber Canyon.  Visitors can explore the area and find tons of special decorations, one of which can be seen in the concept art above.  There will be plenty of unique harvest games and attractions, all themed like only Dollywood can.

© Dollywood
Since the event will feature so many carved pumpkins, the park will have several Master Carvers on site to show off their skills.  Guest can watch them daily and learn the process of making intricate designs like the ones featured in the event.  That way visitors can make their own carvings when they get home!

Dollywood is well known for their various food options, and that will continue during Great Pumpkin LumiNights with special treats offered such as pumpkin funnel cakes, caramel apple sundaes and candy corn cotton candy.


© Dollywood
Some of the different activities offered during Great Pumpkin LumiNights include a glow maze, pictured above, for kids, glow face painting, a "Pumpkin Boogie" dance party and friendly costume characters that families and meet and take photos with.

Great Pumpkin LumiNights will run at Dollywood on select nights from September 28th through October 28th, 2017.

Click here for more information, and check out the preview video below:


Three New Attractions Coming to Canada's Wonderland in 2018



© Canada's Wonderland
Canada's Wonderland is once again expanding its already considerable flat ride offerings in 2018 by adding two more, one thrilling and one for families, along with an addition in the water park.

First up is Lumberjack, a 75 foot tall inverting thrill ride.  Passengers are seated with their legs dangling below them on two giant axe-themed pendulums.  Each pendulum is able to rotate 360 degrees independently of the other, looping riders as if they were on a traditional roller coaster loop.

I haven't seen the park confirm yet, but it looks like Lumberjack will be one of Zamperla's Hawk rides, several of which are located around the country.


© Canada's Wonderland
The second new ride will be aimed at families, and is named the Flying Canoes.  Not much detail on the new ride was released by Canada's Wonderland, they only described it as an "interactive family ride that will allow riders to control their journey of flight in two-person canoes."  From the concept art it looks like the canoes will move and up down as the attraction spins, perhaps the interactive element is that riders can control them?

Finally, Canada's Wonderland's water park, Splash Works, will see the children's pool area (a part of Splash Island) doubled in size with the addition of all new spray features. 


Friday, August 18, 2017

Valleyfair to Build New Looping Thrill Ride - Delirious - in 2018


© Valleyfair
Valleyfair has announced that Delirious will be looping park visitors starting with their 2018 season.  The new thrill ride will stand 70 feet tall and send riders seated on a train up and through the large loop at high speeds.

Delirious will be manufactured by Larson, one of their popular Giant Loop rides.  The ride will be capable of completing ten rotations in under a minute, so this ride is sure to satisfy thrill seekers!

© Valleyfair
The new attraction will join the recently developed Route 76 themed area, which was home to this year's addition - a giant swing ride named North Star.  Delirious will be placed near the entrance to Steel Venom, where the park's Tilt-A-Whirl currently is.  That ride will be moved out into a currently open section of Route 76, giving Delirious prime space.

© Valleyfair
The entire Route 76 area, who's theme is meant to "bring guests back to the classic ambience of Valleyfair when it first opened in 1976," will be enhanced as well.  New enhanced lighting for the area, depicted in the above concept art, will be added, along with additional shade structures, seating and gathering areas.

"Delirious is a great addition to the retro family road trip feel of Route 76,” said Brad Marcy, general manager, Valleyfair. “The additional atmospheric enhancements to the area will allow our Twin Cities neighbors to not only relive memories of visits to Valleyfair, but also create new family traditions and enjoy the ‘best day’ experience that we strive to give everyone."


Thursday, August 17, 2017

Carowinds Celebrates 2018 with Planet Snoopy Expansion and New Pre-K Pass



Carowinds is continuing their expansion path and focusing on families with children in 2018, announcing the conversion of Planet Snoopy into Camp Snoopy, with all new rustic theming and the addition of six new attractions.  As with several other Cedar Fair parks, Carowinds will also start to offer a Pre-K season pass that is free for children ages three through five.

© Carowinds
© Carowinds
Carowinds' children's area was originally converted into Planet Snoopy in 2010, a few years after Cedar Fair purchased the park.  The transformation of the area into Camp Snoopy will feature a "natural looking midway that celebrates the beauty of the Carolina wilderness."  The concept art released by the park confirms that as with both current and former Cedar Fair Camp Snoopy areas, this new one is sure to be beautiful.

© Carowinds
Spread throughout Camp Snoopy will be six new attractions.  The addition of these will create the need for some older rides to be retired, and two will be moved to other locations within the park.  These include the Carousel and a set of Larson Flying Scooters.

Five of the six additions will be rides that kids and parents can both experience together.  From the park's press release on the expansion they are:

Camp Bus: Buckle up on the wacky camp bus and take a ride that will lift guests into the air and back down to the ground in smooth extensions.
PEANUTS™ Trailblazers: Get behind the wheel of a Jeep-themed vehicle and burn rubber on a small, round speedway.
Kite Eating Tree: Ride along in a kite vehicle that travels up and down a tree.
Pig Pen’s Mud Buggies: Take a trip in a “mud buggy,” where guests will rotate around the popular Pig Pen character while bouncing on a bumpy ride.
Woodstock Whirlybirds: Spin around in an oversized birds nest on this classic ride.

© Carowinds
The sixth addition will be known as Beagle Scout Acres, an 8,000 square foot play area.  The area will be divided so that children of different age groups can play in sections designed just for them.  Small kids "will be able to gather in a fenced-in toddler area with lots of hands-on activities, a new play hill will be an open area for guests to enjoy slides and climb on a turf covered mound, and playground wood structures will have hands-on interactives, slides and plenty of things to climb."

“The expansion of our kids’ area along with the introduction of the Pre-K Pass puts Carowinds as a top destination for families,” said Pat Jones, Carowinds vice president and general manager. “The new Camp Snoopy area joins our world-class attractions such as the record-breaking Fury 325 giga coaster and the massive Carolina Harbor water park in offering features that meet the needs of guests ranging from three to 23 to 93, providing unique opportunities for creating family memories.”


New HangTime Coaster to Drop into Knott's Berry Farm in 2018



Last night had one more announcement in store for coaster fans, and that was the addition of HangTime at Knott's Berry Farm for summer 2018.  The theme park will build the new thrill coaster in the Boardwalk themed section, on the plot of land taken up by Boomerang along with several other buildings.

HangTime will be one of Gerstlauer's "Infinity" roller coasters, featuring blue track with gray supports and a vertical lift to 150 feet above the park. 

© Knott's Berry Farm
This concept art shows the features of HangTime, including the vertical lift tower.  Once the cars reach the top they will move onto a piece of track that is angled toward the ground at 60 degrees.  They will be held there for several seconds, after which the trains will plummet down at a beyond vertical angle of 96 degrees.  This drop sequence is leading Knott's to market the ride as the first "dive coaster on the West coast."

The drop will send the cars along the 2,198 feet of track at 57 miles per hour.  Features of the layout include a total of five inversions, including a cobra roll and the second "negative-g stall loop" in the Western hemisphere - this element is described as giving riders the "sensation of floating."

© Knott's Berry Farm
HangTime will feature three trains, each consisting of four rows of four riders, so a total of sixteen passengers per cycle.  It will feature elaborate lighting at night, similar to the very impressive display that can be found on the Monster at Adventureland.  The lights placed along the track are able to transform the ride into different colors to match it to special events during the year, and also follow the trains course through the layout.  Needless to say, this will be a ride that must be seen and ridden after the sun goes down.

No animation of the ride was available at the time of its announcement, but the park promises to have one later in the year.  With ground already cleared, the work of digging foundations for HangTime will start in just a couple weeks.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

California's Great America to Forge a New Path in 2018 with Railblazer Roller Coaster



Opening at California's Great America in 2018, Railblazer will be a innovative new single-rail coaster design that features a thin track and single-seat cars.  Designed by Rocky Mountain Construction, Railblazer will be the first coaster of its kind on the West coast, and only one of two in the world in 2018.

The ride's inline cars create an "extremely low center of gravity that amplifies every move and enables more dynamic turns and rotations than have ever been possible on a coaster."  The cars are in constant contact with the track, giving an extremely smooth ride with unobstructed views for passengers.

© California's Great America
Railblazer will feature tan supports and a burnt orange track that is set among rustic theming.  According to California's Great America, the "design spirit of the ride is reflective of an off-road adventure, with immersive sensory theming that embraces the great outdoors of the Bay Area and Central Coast."  As seen in the concept art released today, the ride will feature elaborate rockwork and be set partially over water as well.

© California's Great America
Riders will enter single seat, eight passenger cars (three trains in total) to start their journey on Railblazer.  After heading up a 45 degree lift hill to a height of 106 feet, the trains encounter a 180 degree turn then a 90 degree first drop with a maximum speed of 52 miles per hour.  The total track length of Railblazer is 1,800 feet.

© California's Great America
Elements on the journey include a total of three inversions - a large dive loop, a 180 degree stall, and a zero-gravity roll.  Other elements include a first drop that plunges into a rocky tunnel, an off-axis air-time hill, upward helix climb, and plenty of tight curves and drops.

“RailBlazer is a revolutionary roller coaster concept that will be an intense and exhilarating ride experience for our guests,” said Raul Rehnborg, vice president and general manager, California’s Great America. “In addition, it marks the company’s initial investment in the park following the City of Santa Clara’s approval this year of the new park master plan, and kicks off a multi-year transformation of California’s Great America into a world-class destination for everyone in the Bay Area and beyond.”

As with all the other announcements today, Railblazer's also included animation of the ride experience, embedded here.  With the approval of recent zoning changes for California's Great America, this ride should mark the start of a great expansion period for the park.  Exciting times ahead!