Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Sesame Place's New Family Wood Roller Coaster - Oscar's Wacky Taxi - Opening in 2018

© Sesame Place
Sesame Place has announced their new ride for 2018, a family-friendly wooden roller coaster named Oscar's Wacky Taxi.  The custom designed ride will be created by The Gravity Group, which has already created a handful of similar medium-sized wood coasters that have all been a success.

The coaster will utilize steel supports, painted green in concept art, and a yellow wooden track - matching the theme and colors of both Oscar and his taxi.  The train will be bright yellow and themed as a taxi cab, taxing passengers on a journey filled with "exciting twists, turns, and plenty of airtime hills."

The park has released this video showing off what a ride on Oscar's Wacky Taxi will be like:

The coaster starts with a lift hill followed by a 180 degree turn into a first drop of 40 feet.  The 1,200 feet of coaster track features a large amount of air-time hills, along with a large covered tunnel section on the far turnaround.  The stretch back to the station includes what looks like a gentle double-down, along with a curved dip under the ride's lift hill.  Riders need to be only 40 inches tall if they're accompanied by a supervising companion at least 46 inches tall and 14 years of age.

"Oscar's Wacky Taxi will bring a whole new level of excitement to Sesame Place in 2018," said Bob Caruso, park president. "We're constantly looking for ways to enhance our guest experience, and our first wooden roller coaster is an exciting and thrilling addition to the park."

The announcement did not include any official news on the ride's location, however the park did confirm on social media that the coaster will be built where the park's VIP parking currently is, and that no attractions will be removed in order to build it.

© Google Maps
That's where we suggested the ride might go in a previous post, expanding the overall size of the park.  I updated an image from that post to include a general idea of the coaster's layout - I'm sure it is not perfect though.  The station is in green, and the lift will head toward the park (yellow arrows are the direction of travel).  The far turn with a tunnel (in green) will be out toward the street adjacent to the park.  It looks like the station will be set back from the park, so I would expect the queue to wind under the ride with an entrance somewhere toward the bottom of this image.

This is a pretty exciting and large project for Sesame Place, I'm looking forward to seeing the ride constructed this winter!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Three Legoland Parks to Debut First Virtual Reality Coaster Aimed at Kids

© Legoland
It was announced today that three Legoland Theme Parks will soon debut the first virtual reality roller coaster meant for kids, named The Great Lego Race VR Coaster.  The ride will open first in late 2017 at Legoland Malaysia, then in 2018 at both Legoland Germany and Legoland Florida.

The virtual reality adaptation will take place on the Project X roller coaster at each park.  These rides are a larger Wild Mouse model designed by Mack Rides, featuring one bigger drop in addition to what is commonly found on the traditional Wild Mouse layout.

© Legoland
The Great Lego Race coasters will feature a "high-octane experience that puts kids in the driver's seat and asks, "Are you brave enough to face, race and beat the best of the best in all of Lego world?"  Riders will enter the attraction through the new entry portal that is depicted in concept above, amid the sounds of racing engines.

The queue for the ride will feature the pit crews of each of the characters that visitors will race against, along with hands-on interactive elements designed to keep visitors' minds occupied while they wait.

© Legoland
Once on board and situated with the virtual reality headsets, riders enter the main race in the virtual world.  They will race alongside "brick-built contraptions driven by Trendsetter, Pharaoh, Surfer Girl, Wizard and Pirate Captain, including a rocket-powered surfboard and a stylish scooter fueled by espresso."  A snip of some of the virtual world can be seen above, riders will move across and through different landscapes throughout their journey.

"The Great Lego Race was inspired by the way kids play with Lego toys at home," said Candy Holland, senior creative director for Merlin Magic Making, which designs and develops attractions for Merlin sites around the world. "It's a unique Lego adventure that lets kids enter an epic imaginary world made entirely from Lego bricks, featuring a host of different themes and fun Lego characters, all mixed up together."

Monday, September 18, 2017

Snoopy and Friends Sticking Around Cedar Fair Parks Through 2025

Fans of the Peanuts characters at the various Cedar Fair parks across the county can be rest assured that they have at least eight more seasons of everyone's favorite beagle to look forward to.

And not only Snoopy, but all of his friends will be there as well, including Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy, Schroeder, Pig-pen, Sally, Peppermint Patty, Marcie, Franklin and of course Woodstock.

Cedar Fair has announced that it has reached an agreement with Peanuts Worldwide LLC, who is now a subsidiary of DHX Media, to extend their licensing agreement for all 11 Cedar Fair amusement and theme parks through the year 2025.  The agreement gives Cedar Fair exclusive rights to use the characters in North America in their "attractions, entertainment and sports, food and beverage, lodging and retail operations."

Cedar Fair already utilizes the Peanuts characters in children's themed areas in nearly all of their parks.  This includes at Camp Snoopy at Knott's Berry Farm, which was the first to open in 1983 and heavily renovated in 2014.

It has also announced that Carowinds will be featuring a large expansion in 2018 featuring the Peanuts gang, when Camp Snoopy moves into the park.

Cedar Fair also uses the characters in many dining events, along with each fall when The Great Pumpkin Fest is held at many parks for family-friendly daytime fun.

© Cedar Fair
"Cedar Fair has been a long-standing and cherished partner to Peanuts, dating back many years to when Camp Snoopy first opened at Knott's Berry Farm in 1983," said Craig Schulz, son of Charles M. Schulz and President and CEO of Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates. "On behalf of my entire family, I look forward to many more years of bringing the joy of my father's characters to the fans in Cedar Fair's parks."

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Geauga Lake's Wildwater Kingdom Relics Can Be Yours to Own

© Raider of the Lost Parks
Granted some of them cost an awful lot more than others, but fans of Wildwater Kingdom, formerly operating across the water from where Geauga Lake was, might be interested in some items from the park that are currently up for sale.

Raider of the Lost Parks is selling many items from Wildwater Kingdom on Facebook, including the well-known slide tower seen above.  Known as the tallest slide complex in Ohio, the 7 slide tower is still standing at the park while it waits for a new owner.

© Raider of the Lost Parks
But it sounds like it doesn't have much longer to wait, as the website reports that the park's owners are taking bids for its demolition.  They also estimate that moving the slide would cost about 40% less than a new slide tower of the same size, but that it will need plenty of refurbishments as well.  Sadly, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see this one get torn down in the coming months.

However, it does appear as though some attractions from Wildwater Kingdom have found new homes.  The large Tornado slide was reportedly sold to Camelbeach water park in Pennsylvania, and the family water fun house structure went to an unnamed park.

© Raider of the Lost Parks
Outside of the water slides and attractions, pretty much everything else of value at the park is also on sale.  Above is a tree house relic that I think dates back to Sea World Ohio days.  There are plenty of other items listed on the Facebook site, including fire doors, a cash safe, water filtration systems and pumps, a pavilion and more.  So just like many of the rides from Geauga Lake live on at other parks, it seems some of Wildwater Kingdom will as well.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Europa Park Details 2019's Rulantica Water World Indoor Water Park + New Resort

Europa Park has been planning a new water park resort for some time now, but has recently announced additional details on the massive expansion project.  Named Rulantica Water World, the Nordic themed indoor water park will cover 350,000 square feet, with an additional 86,000 square foot outdoor play area.

Right next to the indoor water park will be Krønasår, a brand new "natural history museum" hotel.  The theme will be that of a museum celebrating the artifacts of the Adventure Club of Europe, tied to the adventures that can be found next door within Rulantica.  The hotel will have 277 guest room and 27 suites and is linked to the development by a bridge over a lagoon.

© Europa Park
Here is a look at the development, with Rulantica Water World on the left and the Krønasår hotel on the right.  Europa Park does an excellent job with theming their rides and attractions, and I've no doubt that this expansion will look beautiful when it is complete.

© Europa Park
This schematic shows off the total area that is going to be developed, which is set just a little off from the main Europa Park and the existing 5 hotels.  It gives a bit of a look at the layout of the indoor water park as well.  It is also easy to notice all the open space that is a part of the expansion, who knows what will eventually be added in those areas.

© Europa Park
Giving more details of the additions that are planned, this infographic highlights different aspects of Rulantica.  There will be 25 attractions within the water park area, with ones meant for all ages of visitors.  There will be eight distinctly Nordic themed sections to the water park, including a kids area named Troll Valley.  There will also be a "relaxing mystery river," the largest wave pool in the area, and a total of 17 water slides.

Of course along with all the attractions there will be several restaurants spread throughout the water park and the hotel, along with retail locations.  The park will offer shuttle service to Europa Park from the Rulantica area as well.  Construction has already started on the project, so stay tuned for updates.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Kennywood to Retire Log Jammer This Weekend

© NewsPlusNotes
The Log Jammer, a classic log flume ride that has operated at Kennywood for 42 years, will be retired at the end of the upcoming weekend.  The amusement park noted on their website that closing the ride was a "very hard decision," but it will allow them to plan for the future of the park.  The final day of operation for Log Jammer will be this Sunday, the 17th.

© NewsPlusNotes
The Log Jammer was Kennywood's first addition to cost more than $1 million when it opened in 1975.  It features logs that plummet down a final 53 foot drop into the splash area seen above.

"It is a bittersweet decision, but one that in time will create some exciting opportunities for our guests," says Kennywood General Manager Jerome Gibas. "While no final decisions have been made regarding what will replace the Log Jammer, Kennywood is committed to enhancing our guests' experiences while preserving our signature balance of modern thrills and traditional family favorites."

© Bing
The Log Jammer's removal will open up some space in the Eastern edge of the park, bordering picnic pavilions and the Racer roller coaster.  There has been much speculation that Kennywood is working on creating a new roller coaster, but this development does not really jive with those plans that came out due to the planning approval process.  So it seems that perhaps a new plan is being put into place.

While we dream of the future for Kennywood, make sure to get your last rides in on Log Jammer, these old log flumes are a dying breed!