Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Mega Wedgie Arriving at Elitch Gardens This Summer



Even though they've already announced a new ride for 2017, Elitch Gardens was sitting on another surprise addition in the form of a water park expansion that will feature Mega Wedgie.  A silly name perhaps, but it is sure to get the attention of visitors!

Mega Wedgie will be a trio of new body slides, part of an overall $4 million capital plan for 2017 that also includes the Star Flyer - a 17 story tall swing ride already standing at the park and opening this spring.

© Elitch Gardens
Mega Wedgie will start sliders at the top of a six story tower, and they will reach speeds approaching 40 miles per hour on the way down.  Above is concept art of the new slides, showing that there are three different paths to the bottom on the ride.  One features a straight steep plunge, another has several bumps along the way down, and the last features tight turns throughout.

Elitch Gardens currently has a similar set of speed slides, and while the park did not clarify in the press release it appears as these will be updated/replacement versions that are being built.


Monday, March 27, 2017

Fun Spot America's Mine Blower is Going Up Fast


© The Gravity Group
Each day that goes by Mine Blower at Fun Spot America, located in Kissimmee, Florida, is growing bigger.  This past week the new wooden roller coaster's construction crews completed a very important part of the ride - and that is seen above.  The coaster's steep 65 degree first drop of almost 81 feet is seen above in a beautiful photo from the ride's designer, The Gravity Group.

© Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America is also working hard to keep fans updated on Mine Blower's construction progress via social media.  They shared a set of photos a few days ago that also show the new coaster towering over the park.  In the above photo we can see that the focus lately has been the first drop, but the ride's lift hill (seen in the center of the pic) is also going up quickly.  At the top of the lift the trains will navigate a quick 180 degree turn before dropping down.

© Fun Spot America
Here is another aerial view of the coaster from the park.  It is amazing how much track will be contained is a rather small area - but the ride will still feature just under 2,300 feet of track when complete.  More of the low-level turns are also going in currently, showing off the extreme banking that will be featured on Mine Blower.

Still to come is the ride's full inversion, a corkscrew, that will be built after the first drop and over the coaster's station!


Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Sneak Peek At Invadr, Busch Gardens Williamsburg's 1st Wooden Roller Coaster





What a wonderful way to start out the first visit of the year to Busch Gardens Williamsburg. This park is known to be one of the most beautiful parks in the world and this entry billboard only adds to the eye candy!


Busch Gardens Williamsburg allowed fans of the park to choose such things as the name, the logo and the train design. Here's a couple of banners that show off the very cool looking lead cars that were revealed at IAAP last fall.


This concept drawing gives a lot of information as well a the layout of this GCI family coaster. It also shows how the new attraction interacts with both the log flume and the train.


Busch Gardens Williamsburg put a lot of effort into a back story for this ride. A great battle will ensue in the loggers' village of New France. Vikings will invade, forcing the loggers to defend their village and Magnus was trying to recruit Scott to support the Viking invasion.


While this ride entrance side is cool, it is extremely understated...


When compared to the eye candy that you walk under when entering the queue. The "War Wagon" was provided by Weber Group, Inc. This link takes you to their park portfolio which is a great walk down memory lane for park enthusiasts.

A special treat was in store for season pass holders on preview day, here is the video.


Here is a look at part of the queue, and you can see the auxiliary generator that will be used if the electrical grid goes dark.  Griffon is in the background, celebrating its 10th birthday this May.


And, a station view showing where the adventurous battle begins. That is the flume above the station.

Suzy, Director of Development and Engineering, fills us in on some of the details about Invadr. The park is thrilled to be sharing a wonderful new coaster with their guest this spring. That's right, spring, not sometime in the summer.

                            

This view of Invadr was taken on the bridge between New France and Germany. Behind the log flume, you can see the sinuous curves of Invadr and a view of the covered first drop from the other side.


This tunnel goes below ground level and soon this entire area will be landscaped to Busch Gardens Williamsburg's exacting standards.


One of the nine airtime hills throughout the ride, with a little bit of train steam floating above and Griffon on the left with Alpengeist on the right. Kinda like heaven, with two Bolliger & Mabillard coasters next to a brand spanking new woodie. April 7, 2017 can't get here soon enough.


Rather than their traditional all wood structure, Great Coasters International used a galvanized steel support structure for Bush Gardens Williamsburg's newest attraction, a break from their normal practice. But you can see, they kept the fun from their past with turns like this.


You can see the beginning of the above ground tunnel for the first drop from the other side, and the train track run right through the coaster layout. You can also see the extensive steel structure. Our thanks to Ron and Suzy for their help on Season Passholder Preview Day.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

New Jersey's Casino Pier Now Testing New Hydrus Coaster


It has been a busy week for new roller coaster testing, that is for sure!  Another new for 2017 coaster that has been getting in plenty of test runs is Hydrus, located at Casino Pier in New Jersey.

The seaside amusement and water park shared the above video of Hydrus on their Facebook page, noting that the ride is now running continuous cycles with multiple trains.  The park sure has had some nice early-spring weather to break in the ride... just look at that clear blue sky!

Hydrus is a new Gerstlauer designed Euro-Fighter coaster, featuring a vertical lift hill that stands 72 feet tall.  The individual 8-seater cars plunge down a beyond vertical 97 degree drop and then quickly flow through three inversions in quick succession before the final brakes.  The experience will be quick, but intense for sure!

Casino Pier will open for limited ride operations on April 8th, no word yet on exactly when Hydrus will be open to the public - but with this much testing underway it can't be too long!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Lakemont Park Announces Major Renovations + Summer 2017 Closure


Lakemont Park and The Island Waterpark, located in Altoona, Pa, has announced that they will stay closed for the summer of 2017 in order to perform significant renovations to the park.

The park is well known for having one of the oldest wooden roller coasters still in operation, Leap the Dips, which dates back 1902.

The park plans to remove some of the older rides for attractions such as a "new miniature golf course, batting cages, playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and expanded picnic areas," according to a post from the park on Facebook.   The park will keep and renovate many of the existing rides and attractions, including the roller coasters, water park, paddle boats, train, go-karts and antique cars.

Lakemont Park will reopen on November 17th, 2017 in time for their popular holiday themed Lights On The Lake event.  In coming years the park will have more of a community park feel, with attractions operating with individual fees and no gate admission.  The park hopes this leads to more guests being able to visit, due to the free general admission.  After the holiday season operations, the park is planning to reopen again in May of 2018.

In addition to Leap the Dips, the park also has Skyliner, a 1987 PTC designed wooden roller coaster.


Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Patriot Opens at California's Great America April 1st


© California's Great America
No fooling around, the brand new Patriot roller coaster at California's Great America will open to the public on April 1st, the theme park has announced.

Patriot will be the first floorless roller coaster at the park, and represents a conversion of the stand-up Vortex coaster.  All new floorless trains have been installed on the ride, along with a renovated station area and a cool new blue and white paint scheme.

So far Patriot looks to be running through its 1,920 feet of track at a good clip, as seen in this testing video that California's Great America released:

The conversion of the trains from stand-up to floorless is sure to give Patriot a much more comfortable riding experience that will appeal to a broader range of visitors.  The coaster features a 91 foot tall lift hill, speeds of 45 miles per hour and two inversions - a vertical loop and a corkscrew.

Patriot will start giving rides to the public on April 1st, but the park will open for the 2017 season this coming Saturday, March 25th.