Sunday, October 22, 2017

News Story Details Transition of Cedar Fair CEO Position + Other Tidbits



Cleveland.com published an interesting story this weekend about the transition of outgoing Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet and incoming CEO Richard Zimmerman... profiling both to some degree and giving some interesting hints toward future projects.

First, the story answers one question that I had stuck in my mind:  Matt Ouimet will be returning to Southern California in the new year, and is not seeking another full time job.  He will still serve on the company's board, as announced, but it sounds like semi-retirement is his plan.

Also, the new CEO, Richard Zimmerman, will be based out of corporate offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, not at Cedar Point.

Mr. Ouimet's time at Cedar Fair is highlighted not only by record breaking seasons, but also in his quest to improve resort accommodations along with new business models, such as the Sports Force complex near Cedar Point.  He's especially proud of Hotel Breakers' transformation, along with the recent redevelopment of Cedar Point Shores.

© Google Maps
The article also notes that at Cedar Point in 2018 there will be an "expanded beach boardwalk that will link the park's main parking lot to the beach, Hotel Breakers and Cedar Point Shores."  Currently the boardwalk ends at the bottom of Hotel Breakers, the yellow rectangle at the top of the image.  In order to connect that to the main parking lot a new boardwalk would have to go up along the yellow dots, down to where the lot starts at the bottom of the image.

That's an interesting move as it will let guests park in the main lot even if they only want to go to Cedar Point Shores... but that's quite a walk in your flip flops!

Coming in just a couple months will be the first WinterFest at Kings Island, Worlds of Fun and Carowinds - but it says that it will also open at Canada's Wonderland in late 2018.  They're still trying to figure out how to do it at Cedar Point, it says.

Make sure to check out the full story for even more details.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

First Theme Park Hunger Games Area Now Open at Motiongate Dubai



The first ever theme park land based on The Hunger Games series has officially opened at Motiongate Dubai, a part of Dubai Parks & Resorts.  The above clip was released before the grand opening, but shows some of the area's two main attractions in operation.  Although the Hunger Games movies have already come and gone, the popularity around the franchise has many fans excited to see what Motiongate has created.

© Motiongate Dubai
The Hunger Games themed section is actually a subsection of the Lionsgate area, although the only operating attraction in that part of the park until now was a Step Up themed dance show.  The expansion features many icons from the series of Hunger Game films, several of which can be seen above and below in photos.

© Motiongate Dubai
There are two major attractions that just opened in The Hunger Games area, the first is a 4-D simulator style ride named Panem Aerial Tour.  Riders board a hovercraft that takes them on an exhilarating aerial tour of Panem which of course has plenty of surprises along the way, including interactions with the Capital's troops.

© Motiongate Dubai
The ride that many of our readers will be most interested in is the Capital Bullet Train, a launched roller coaster designed by Mack Rides.  I haven't found a lot of statistics for the coaster, but it looks to utilize boyj forward and backward launches to get up momentum to soar through the course.  From this photo, it appears as though the train probably launches forward up part way into the vertical loop, then backward up the spike, then forwards again through the full layout.  It looks like in addition to the vertical loop there is also a corkscrew in the mix.

The coaster has a compact layout but the use of multiple launches gives the attraction a marketability as a "thrill ride" that Motiongate Dubai has needed since it opened.


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Worlds of Fun to Say Goodbye To Finnish Fling with Charity Fundraiser


© Worlds of Fun
Worlds of Fun has announced that when the park closes for the 2017 season, happening on October 29th, that will also mark the end of the Finnish Fling's time there.  The ride will be closed and removed before the start of the 2018 season - it originally opened with Worlds of Fun in 1973.

Finish Fling is a classic amusement park ride, known as a Rotor, where guests stand inside a large barrel that spins and holds them against the wall with centrifugal force as the floor below them drops out.  This type of ride gained popularity in North America at parks throughout the 1960s and 70s, when they opened at many major amusement and theme parks.  The majority of the permanent installations have already closed, with only a handful still operating at large parks across the country.  There's a great list on Wiki of parks that still have a Rotor, along with those that did but have since removed them.

© Worlds of Fun
Within Worlds of Fun, the Finnish Fling can be found inside the Scandinavia themed section.  Probably not coincidentally, the park has already announced that a brand new flat ride, Nordic Chaser, will join that land in 2018.  The ride can be seen on the park's map, above, in the lower left corner.

To give the ride a nice send off, the theme park will auction off the final three rides.  Fans can decide on which ride they want to be a part of, with different price levels available depending on which ride they choose.  All proceeds from the event will be donated to charities within the Kansas City area.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

California's Great America Provides First RailBlazer Construction Update


© California's Great America
Work on RailBlazer, an all new thrill roller coaster going into California's Great America in 2018, is well under way.  The park has shared an update on the innovative single-rail coaster, including construction of the ride's foundations.

But first, the park also posted the above photo of the first shipment of track for RailBlazer on its way to the park.  The lighting isn't perfect, but you can still see the stacked up orange track on the bed of the truck, and it looks like some of the pieces are pretty twisty!

This video was also just released, showing more of the early groundwork for the coaster.  The first support was just poured, and the video shows just exactly how deep the footers go.  The frame for the footer can be seen lifted and then placed deep into the ground, it's amazing to think how far down the foundations go!

The end of the video also better shows that first shipment of track after it arrived at the theme park and was unloaded.  The riding edge of the single rail track looks smooth as glass, and a big part of the ride's innovation is centered around that design.  With all wheels running on only one track, the ride is expected to give an extremely smooth ride experience.

RailBlazer will stand 106 feet tall, feature a vertical 90 degree plunge, three inversions and speeds of 52 miles per hour when it opens in Spring 2018.


Monday, October 16, 2017

Alabama Splash Adventure Expanding Kid's Water Areas for 2018 Season


© Alabama Splash Adventure
Alabama's Splash Adventure will spend $1 million in 2018 in order to add two new children's play areas to their ever-growing list of attractions.  Both will be located within the water park, and are designed to keep kids happy for hours on end.  The additions are part of $10 million in expansion that the park has completed since becoming family owned in 2014.

One area will feature five different slides, each offering a different experience - these can be seen above.  All the slides are meant for smaller kids, but will provide enough variety to keep them coming back.  The slides are being manufactured by Proslide and will empty into shallow water that's safe for the park's smaller visitors.

© Alabama Splash Adventure
Also joining the new slides will be a large sprayground play area, filled with dozens of interactive elements that can be accessed from a zero-depth entry point.  A concept image of a similar area to the one being built can be seen above, and it is being created by Vortex Aquatic Structures.

The expansion will also feature plenty of new seating for families along with some new cabana options.

Alabama's Splash Adventure is looking for help with naming their new play area, and are accepting submissions via their website.  The lucky winner who's name the park chooses will receive 4 2018 season passes. 


Sunday, October 15, 2017

California's Great America to Retire Loggers Run Flume Ride on October 29th


Another one bites the dust, sadly.  It was announced by California's Great America that their log flume, known as Loggers Run, will cease operations forever on October 29th.  That is the final day of California's Great America's regular season, with WinterFest still to come.

The park made the announcement by posting this video on social media:


As the video states, Loggers Run originally opened in 1976 and was designed by Arrow Dynamics - the manufacturer of most log flume rides in the U.S.  Sadly the useful life of many of these rides is ending, and we are seeing them removed more and more often.  This is sad, but understandable as the park has big plans for the future.

© Google Maps
Loggers Run is literally intertwined with Boomerang Bay, the theme park's included water park.  The flume runs around several of the slides, including Down Under Thunder, Tasmanian Typhoon and Didgeridoo Falls, boxing them in and also taking up real estate adjacent to them.

One would guess that the water park will be rethemed and renamed during the park's upcoming expansion, and the planning documents show additional water slides near where the flume runs today.  These factors combined probably sealed the fate Loggers Run.

Stop by the park over the new two weekends to take in your final rides!