Saturday, May 25, 2019

Cedar Fair Testing New "Pass Perks" Reward Program at Several Parks

© Cedar Fair
We've heard for some time now via Cedar Fair's earnings calls that they are planning to test a season pass reward program in 2019, with a full rollout scheduled for 2020.

Late this past week season pass holders to certain parks received e-mails detailing Pass Perks, the rewards program.

Mine came in the form of an e-mail from Dorney Park, but the Pass Perks details show that Pass Perks is also testing at Carowinds, Kings Island, Kings Dominion.

So what is Pass Perks exactly?  The company's website explains it very clearly:

Pass Perks is a loyalty program that rewards Season Passholders simply by visiting the park. Each time Season Passholders visit, they will earn Pass Perks that count toward rewards – which are always surprises – redeemable on future visits.

© Dorney Park
So unlike other rewards programs there is no point system or anything where you accumulate a balance then deplete it as you choose rewards.  With Pass Perks you simply visit the park and then will be e-mailed some sort of benefit after the fact.

There is no definitive list of rewards as it sounds like they'll be tailored to each park, and probably for each guest depending their purchasing history, but they include "free Bring-A-Friend tickets, sweet and savory treats, and discounts on merchandise and in-park experiences."  We will have to see them start to rollout after this weekend to get a better idea.

Although Cedar Fair does have a sign-in season passholder website for each park, the Pass Perks will be administered exclusively through e-mails, so make sure your e-mail is up to date if you're visiting one of these parks!

Friday, May 24, 2019

Australia's Sea World to Build New Wooden Roller Coaster for 2020

© Sea World
Sea World theme park, located on the Gold Coast in Australia, has announced a major expansion, costing $50 million, that will last over the next 18 months.

Sea World, which is a part of the Village Roadshow group of parks, will build The New Atlantis, a themed section that will contain three separate thrill rides when complete.  Featuring plenty of statues, water falls, fountains and hanging gardens, The New Atlantis will be an immersive addition to the park.

Opening in December of 2019 (which is the park's summer season) is Vortex, a large Top Spin type of attraction.  Located right on the edge of the park by the water, the ride will have plenty of fountains under it and feature multiple rotations, inversions, and forces up to 3.5gs.

Up next in April of 2020 is Trident, a 170 foot tall swing ride that is themed as a giant trident - giving it a fitting name indeed.

© Sea World
The third ride, and easily the most exciting is Leviathan, a brand new wooden roller coaster opening in December of 2020.  Concept art for the twisted ride can be seen above, and according to RCDB the ride will stand around 105 feet tall and be designed by The Gravity Group.  The coaster's layout appears to wrap around itself several times, and one news article about the expansion mentioned that one of the ride's cars will be turned around backward.

The park also released a video showing off the new rides, including some animated shots of Leviathan in action.  Check it out below.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Tokyo DisneySea Breaks Ground on Fantasy Springs Expansion + New Concept Art

© Tokyo DisneySea
The previously announced expansion for Tokyo DisneySea, a part of the Tokyo Disneyland Resort, had already shown off some beautiful concept art for the project but now we have more.  The art comes as the park has officially broken ground on the project, which will be the 8th themed port at the park.

Above is the entrance to the area, which is officially named Fantasy Springs.  It is being built along with a brand new super deluxe hotel at the park.

© Tokyo DisneySea
The Fantasy Springs name makes sense as the land is themed around some magical springs that bubble up and flow throughout the area.  This concept art shows an elaborate waterfall area that's probably going to be an attraction in its own right if it turns out this nice!

© Tokyo DisneySea
The area should open in either late 2022 or early 2023, and is being built to be just as amazing at night as it is during the day.  Take for instance this nighttime concept art of a glowing area complete with more waterfalls and amazing rockwork.

© Tokyo DisneySea
And here is the same view only during the day.  Disney found some amazing success with the nighttime transformation of Pandora at Animal Kingdom, and while I am not suggesting this will be quite on that scale it seems that they're making push in that direction from this concept art.

Fantasy Springs will be subdivided into sections themed around Tangled, Peter Pan, and Frozen.  You can see more daytime/nighttime concept art in this story from Laughing Place.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Luna Park Shares a Preview of Two Unique New Flat Rides Opening This Summer

© Luna Park Coney Island
At least two thrilling new attractions are set to debut this summer at Luna Park in Coney Island, New York.  The park has been teasing fans a bit as to what the rides will be, originally only saying they were brand new creations from Zamperla.

Now they've taken a step further and actually given us a look at the two new rides via their Facebook page:

This first one looks like a pretty wild family ride, which has a ton of kinetic appeal.  Riders look to be seated in cars that allow their feet to dangle below them, in pairs back to back.  There are two sets of seats each on four separate arms that all spin in a giant vertical circle, with the cars just barely missing one another as they spin.

Hard to describe, but the video does that pretty clearly.  The seats also look like they are able to rock back and forth, I'm not sure if the ride motion will allow for inversions at all.  Either way it looks like a pretty great flat ride that might give some awesome air-time once it is up and running.

The second new ride looks like an improved version of Zamperla's Air Race, only on this version the entire body of the ride moves up to a decent height above the ground.  As with the previous model the ride will spin while the cars also flip vertically in a circle, creating a disorienting experience, only now well above the ground.

This one is definitely for thrill seekers, as the Air Race rides have already proven to be some of the most unique ride experiences out there.

I'm looking forward to seeing these rides installed and opened at Luna Park - they have also shared photos of the rides being packed up to be shipped to the park so it should be soon!

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Six Flags SkyScreamer Now Thrilling Riders at Six Flags Darien Lake

© Six Flags Darien Lake
Six Flags Darien Lake is celebrating their first season once-again branded as a Six Flags park and has just opened their brand new thrill ride, the Six Flags SkyScreamer.  Eager visitors to the park have had their first rides, which include a swirling view of the park below from 242 feet in the air.

Six Flags Darien Lake released this video that covers all the important details of the ride, including a look at what the view is like from the top of the ride.  The SkyScreamer rides are known for their relaxing trip and amazing views, at least if you're not terrified of heights - then it might not be so relaxing!

Guests on the Six Flags SkyScreamer swing around in a giant circle at 35 miles per hour in chairs extended from the carriage, giving an unparalleled sense of freedom.  The park is happy to point out that the ride's height of 242 feet makes it taller than both the Statue of Liberty and Niagara Falls.  And at night, as seen in the photo up top, the ride gives a wonderful light show that forever changes the park's skyline.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

A New Adventure Unfolds as Calico River Rapids Opens at Knott's Berry Farm

© Knott's Berry Farm
The highly anticipated renovation of Knott's Berry Farm's Bigfoot Rapids into the all-new Calico River Rapids has opened to the public!  The attraction has been changed head to toe to create an all new storyline that links the ride to the other themed sections of the park.

Bigfoot Rapids opened in 1987, so the existing attraction had been a staple of the park's roster and already had some fans, but I have a feeling the dramatic retheming of the ride will see it garner long lines once again this summer.

© Knott's Berry Farm
Calico River Rapids features all new scenes along the ride path, including 20 or so animatronic people an wildlife creatures.  Above is a bear that just caught its dinner with a raft passing right by it.  The Calico River is said to have been a location that many settlers explored and eventually made their home, of course making peace with all the animals in the area as well.

As a special treat, the park's designers included an actual Bigfoot animatronic hiding in the ride's finale cave scene, a fitting nod to the ride's former name.

© Knott's Berry Farm
Calico River Rapids has so many detailed scenes (the above photo is just one small part of a much larger scene) that it appears that you'll need several rides to take it all in.  The park did a wonderful job with the ride and from videos it doesn't appear to totally soak riders, which is a great thing to me because it will make it even more repeatable that way.

Here is one video of the ride experience from SoCal Attractions 360, showing all the different scenes: