Monday, August 13, 2018

Alabama Splash Adventure Breaks Attendance Record + Opens New FreeFALL Slide

© Alabama Splash Adventure
More good news coming out of Alabama Splash Adventure, as the park has reported that they had broken their own attendance record when they still had 17 operating days left in the 2018 season.  The park was reopened by members of the Koch family in 2014, meaning this was the property's 5th year of operations under them.

The park has continued to grow by adding several rides (including a Yo-Yo, Scrambler and Tilt-a-Whirl), a high dive show and a family water play area this year, but just recently yet another new attraction debuted in the water park - FreeFALL.  The giant water slide utilizes a slide tower that was already at the park, which had its older slides removed.  This new slide features a super steep drop and an extended run out area - perfect for thrill seekers.

The park has also noted on social media that this tower is able to support another water slide from it - you can actually see the support for that to the right of the tower.  While not a 2019 project, it will come on board one day.

This fall the park will also open on weekends in October for a family friendly fall festival, which is news and extends their operating season even longer.

After a year of such expansion for Alabama Splash Adventure, one might think it will be a quiet 2019 season... but you never know with these guys!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Liseberg Opens Valkyria - New B&M Dive Coaster

© Liseberg
After a couple of minor construction delays, Liseberg, located in Sweden, has opened their brand new B&M dive coaster, Valkyria.  The massive investment replaced the park's launched Intamin coaster, Kanonen, and follows last year's instillation of Loke, a giant pendulum ride.

Valkyria features a lift hill that stretches 154 feet into the sky, after which the trains encounter a 90 degree turn to the right.  As B&M dive coasters are known to do, the trains then are braked on the edge of the vertical drop, giving riders this view:

© Liseberg
The vertical drop extends down 164 feet, taller than the lift due to the tunnel that can be seen at the very bottom of this photo.  The trains soar through a giant Immelmann element, then up a highly banked curve and directly into a zero-g roll.  After a large helix, the ride then meanders through a heartline roll before curving into the final brakes.  Valkyria's total track length is 2,297 feet and the train hit a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.

Liseberg has released this official point of view video of a ride on Valkyria, why don't you take a spin!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Dorney Park August 11th 2018 Update

Despite another day of sudden torrential downpours, I wanted to stop by Dorney Park to see what was new with the park.  Here is what I was able to take note of between the passing thunderstorms!

© NewsPlusNotes
First, while we all knew this was coming, the park has put up signs confirming that Dinosaurs Alive! will be retired at the end of 2018 season.  For those who want to take one last trip through the exhibit to say goodbye, the park is offering buy one, get one tickets until the end of the year.

© NewsPlusNotes
Dinosaurs Alive! opened at the park in 2012, the same year that Stinger made its debut.  In that sense it's the full closing of an era as Stinger already made a trip to the recycling center, and now the dinosaurs are headed for extinction once again.  Personally, I would not expect to see any large attraction built on the Dinosaurs Alive! land in the future, but we can hope for a great wooded Haunt maze to happen again some day!

© NewsPlusNotes
Earlier in the season the park added a seating area in front of Meteor, as the general area was lacking enough space for people to eat.  As the summer as gone on the planters the park lined the area with have really filled out, making the space work even better aesthetically.  A small change, but a good one for guest comfort.

© NewsPlusNotes
August is always when the park looks its best in terms of landscaping, as all the plants have really grown in during the summer.  This is one example of the nice garden areas that the park has created.

© NewsPlusNotes
Despite all the rain we've had this summer, Cedar Creek wasn't nearly as high as I expected it to be.  The ducks seemed pretty happy with the shower that had just ended when I took this photo.

© NewsPlusNotes
With Cedar Point recently announcing the removal of their Huss Enterprise, one has to wonder if these rides are coming to the end of their lives.  Dorney has had their since the early 1980s, I believe, making it over 30 years of age.  It's always got a line when I see it though, so hopefully it sticks around a while longer.

© NewsPlusNotes
For those keeping tabs, there has been zero activity o the Stinger Field.  Healthy looking grass is all that is to be found here.

Moving on to Halloween Haunt preparations, the park recently made some updates to their Haunt website, showing what changes are in store this year.  It looks Cut Throat Island has been given the axe, and Trick or Treat is getting a new "Lights Out" overlay.  Grave Walkers has been renamed Necropolis, with some changes and improvements expected.  The Skeleton Crew show will not return this year, with Overlord's Resurrection moving into Hydra Plaza.

© NewsPlusNotes
After those changes, the rest of the existing haunts and scare zones will be back again this year for the 11th year of Halloween Haunt.  That includes Age of Darkness, which is currently being set up at the park on the Thunderhawk midway.

© NewsPlusNotes
The layout looks similar as in past years, with giant castle facades going up on the buildings in the area.  The 'torture chamber' area is also being set up, where we can find...

© NewsPlusNotes
This cool looking dragon, which if you remember was one of the creatures from Dinosaurs Alive! that was fatally injured in a storm, and the repurpose for Haunt.  So in at least one way the attraction will live on at the park even after it closes this fall.

© NewsPlusNotes
Both Steel Force and the path to Dinosaurs Alive! were closed due to the storms, so this is the best photo I could get of a new facade going up inside Necropolis. 

© NewsPlusNotes
Apologies for this photo, but it's the only other one I got of the new Necropolis facade going up and it's focused on Revolution's queue rails, and not the facade.  Still, it gives a bit more detail on the structure.

© NewsPlusNotes
Finally, before heading out just as another storm rolled in, I noticed two small structures being built behind Tourist Trap - perhaps these are more of the small stand-alone Skeleton Key rooms for this year?

That's all for now, plenty more to come as the park moves out of the summer season and into the fall!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Six Flags Great America Hard at Work on Teasing New for 2019 Project

Something new is on its way to Six Flags Great America in 2019... and the park has started a series of "Road to Glory" teaser videos leading up to the announcement at the end of this month.

Above is the first video, which features a water park visitor and his race crew... I say race crew since they are dressed like that and the video features some graphics that are seemingly race themed.  The visitor gets sun lotion sprayed and heads off on his mission, "up there."

The second video, above, has now been released and in it we see the visitor and his crew sending him down the park's Dive Bomber trap-door drop water slide.

The crew times him on the slide, and after telling him he can "do better," they make a very clear point to show that the time registered exactly 2 seconds.  I'm not sure exactly what that means, but they were very specific in showing that.  We will have to wait and see what kind of hints the third video gives us!

© Six Flags Great America
As for where this project is going, it would appear as though the park will be utilizing the space they gained when they removed the Pictorium earlier this year.  The structure appears on the 2018 park map, so one has to wonder if its removal was a last minute decision.

Either way, it's a large plot of land that is now open, which is nicely demonstrated above.  It's also located adjacent to the most recently developed part of Hurricane Harbor, and with the theme of the videos it would seem that a new water attraction is on the way.

Unless that's a red herring?  Stay tuned to find out.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Six Flags Great Adventure to Hold New Food & Brew Festival Starting August 16th

© Six Flags Great Adventure
New this summer, Six Flags Great Adventure will soon debut their new Food & Brew Festival, which will feature "delicious treats, an expansive variety of craft beer, cocktails and live entertainment."

The festival will start on August 16th and run through August 19th, beginning each day at 12 noon and running until 8 pm.  It will be held inside of the theme park, with most stands spread throughout the Lakefront themed area.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
A big part of the new festival will be tasty treats that can be purchased at the different stands.  There will be a "myriad of tastes ranging from specialty mac & cheese, a variety of kabobs, pulled pork and short rib sandwiches to strawberry salad, seafood gumbo and tacos, plus pickles and gourmet milkshakes."  That's quite a wide variety of food, and certainly a bit of something for everyone.

To go along with these dishes will be more than 40 IPAs, lagers, ciders and seasonal craft beers - or if that isn't your style there will be specialty cocktails and frozen drinks available at the bars.  These drinks will also be available at the park's new Ale House, located on Main Street.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Any Food & Brew Festival wouldn't be complete without live music, and this event will feature plenty of that.  There will be more than 12 "Jersey Shore rock, country, jazz and blues" bands performing over the course of the festival.  These include acts such as "Williams Honor, Ned Ryerson and the Groundhogs, Matt O’Ree Band, Billy Hector & the Midnight Horns and many more."
To learn more about the new Six Flags Food & Brew Festival, check out Six Flags Great Adventure's website.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Cedar Point to Retire Witches' Wheel for "Future Expansion"

© Cedar Point
Cedar Point recently took to their official blog to announce that the park's Huss Enterprise, named Witches' Wheel, will be retired before the end of the 2018 season.  While fans of the ride may be disappointed, the park did mention that the ride is being removed to make way for "future expansion," though no more details were given on that front.

The Witches' Wheel opened at Cedar Point in 1977 and according to the park has spun more than 24 million riders in the air.  That's a lot of spinning if you think about it!

© Google Maps
Witches' Wheel is located just inside the resort entrance gates and to the right, also along the Gemini midway.  It was not changed much when that midway underwent heavy renovations in 2014, and its corner-location makes it sit on some prime real estate.

The aerial above shows the ride's location in the pink box - it is pretty tucked in between Gemini and the start of Magnum's lift/final turns.  So I'm not sure I can see this being a part of a much larger expansion, though the area would be prime for a tall/modern thrill ride.  The location gets a ton of foot traffic, especially these days with resort guests coming and going, and we know that the park likes to make a statement with their entrances!

No word on any official announcement date from the park, so stay tuned.  Until then, you can still take a spin on Witches' Wheel until its final day, September 3rd, 2018.