Saturday, October 12, 2019

Take On The Fright of Your Life at Dorney Park's 2019 Halloween Haunt


© NewsPlusNotes
The undead have once again risen at Dorney Park, which is currently holding their annual scream-fest named Halloween Haunt.  The event is now in its 12th season at the park, and has added some new attractions again this year to keep things fresh.  Visitors flock to the event with the promise that they may get the fright of their life, and the park has made sure to deliver on that!

In total there are eleven haunted attractions, two live shows, special food and beverage offerings, roaming monsters, decorations throughout the park and fog... plenty of fog!

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
The evening officially kicks off again this year with the Overlord's Resurrection, where the man behind the evening's terrors demands a sacrifice from his skull-faced minions.  This year the performance includes a lot more dancing, and later in the evening the show is named Terror Rising.  The latter shows are a bit different than the one that kicks off the night, longer and with more focus on the performers.  The stage is located in front of Hydra, not far from The Pour Haus, a new food and beverage stand this year that offers various alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.  Gotta beat that fear somehow!

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New this year on the main Midway is Steamworx, and sort of scare zone that focuses less on jump scares and more on a creepy environment.  The park made some major infrastructure changes to the midway earlier in the year to support Grand Carnivale, and is using that to their advantage through the new lighting and sound systems.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
There are a lot of different characters to be found within Steamworx, but like I said their goal is not to jump out at anyone to give them a scream.  The combination of the actors, lighting, music and dense fog work wonderfully with a lot of really giant set pieces that Dorney Park built for the zone.  The main midway has always been a complicated area for Haunt, due to its size and it being a main thoroughfare - I think Screamworx is a nice compromise between what the park and its guests need and want.

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Replacing Age of Darkness this year is The Lair, a vampire themed scare zone that's honestly more like a maze than most scare zones.  It's located right where Age of Darkness' torture chamber was, but the sets have been totally redone and now feature a full gothic castle feel.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
I was quite surprised at how great the inside of the area looks, above are some views of a giant courtyard the park built in the middle of the path - complete with several vampires (one on a throne), a water fountain and other decorations.  Nice and creepy in there!

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The lighting and mood of The Lair is wonderful, and since it's technically a scare zone there is no long wait to get into it.  I definitely suggest going through it more than once to really take it all the scenery that's packed into it!

The park has also added a new bar area near the exit to The Lair, aptly named Stake & Ale.  The location features a selection of specialty drinks and other adult beverages... in case you still need a little more help to take on the haunted houses!

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Dorney Park's Halloween Haunt features numerous returning haunted houses and scare zones as well.  Above is Tourist Trap, the park's most recently added full indoor haunted house, which still remains quite popular.

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I'd also like to point out that Necropolis, another scare zone that's really much more like a giant outdoor haunted house, was really strong this year.  The park reorganized some of the path, opening up areas to wander around, but then keeping guests in a tight path (for good scares) at other points.  Near the end of the zone is the above tunnel, completely lined with skeletons and bright lights that make it hard to see what's coming next... and who is hiding at your feet.

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Another returning favorite is Blood on the Bayou, still the favorite haunted house of many visitors.  It joins Chamber of Horrors, Trick Or Treat: Lights Out, Urgent Scare, and Blackout as returning mazes.  Other scare zones that are back this year include CornStalkers: Barn Bred and Blood Fed and CarnEvil.

© NewsPlusNotes
The ever popular Blood Drums show is back on Center Stage, with pulsing beats that can be heard throughout the lower part of the park.  Still drawing a large crowd for each performance, the show again includes an awesome fire act that's not to be missed.

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One of the coolest additions this year can be found on the midway near the Musik Express, and that's this demon baby in a stroller.  The baby carriage zooms through the area on its own, acting as one of the most efficient scare actors I've ever seen.  Guests are both freaked out and mesmerized by the baby, who has glowing red eyes and occasionally spits up water at those nearby.  Make sure you stop by the area to see it in action, it's rather hilarious and creepy all at the same time!

© NewsPlusNotes
While we've focused on attractions that open once the sun goes down, the park did bring back the Pumpkin Spectacular on the lower midway, near where Monster Jam Thunder Alley is operating.  The park has added even more pumpkins to the massive display this year, and it's best to take a walk through the area before the sun goes down.

© NewsPlusNotes
And if you're hungry during the event, we suggest checking out this year's Fright Feast.  Located at the recently added Parkside Pavilion, the meal offers dishes such as garlic parmesan chicken breast, hamburgers, pumpkin ravioli and dirt cups for dessert.  Delicious!

Halloween Haunt runs each Friday and Saturday through the end of the season, and this year that includes the weekend of November 1st and 2nd.  There's also a bonus haunt night tomorrow, October 13th. 


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Legoland New York to Officially Open on July 4th, 2020


© Legoland New York
Legoland New York, the first major outdoor theme park to open in the Northeast in decades, has announced that its grand opening celebration will begin on July 4th, 2020.  Excited fans have been waiting for years to find out when the park will open, and now they can mark their calendars and begin the countdown.

“Our Park is in high gear and we’re on track for opening,” said Legoland New York Senior Divisional Director John Ussher.  “Buildings are going up, concrete is being poured and construction is buzzing across our site.  Ride components, such as the track for our Dragon coaster, are arriving in Goshen to be installed.  Our Lego models – more than 15,000 of them – are being shipped to our site from Merlin Magic Making workshops all over the world.  This is truly a global effort, with thousands of people working together to build the ultimate Lego theme park destination here in the Hudson Valley.”

© Legoland New York
Legoland New York is set to be the largest Legoland theme park ever constructed, sprawling over 150 acres with more than 50 rides, shows and attractions.  The park will feature seven different themed lands located over the rolling countryside of the Hudson Valley.  The park will offer attractions that have already proven popular at existing Legoland theme parks, along with some unique ones as well.  Next door to the park will be the Legoland Hotel, allowing visitors to easily experience the park for more than one day.

Tickets and season passes for Legoland New York are already on sale, and you can find out more about the park on the park's official website.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Hersheypark's Candymonium Starting to Stand Tall In New Photo


© Hersheypark
It's time for Hersheypark's skyline to change forever!  The park has starting to build the lift hill for Candymonium, their new for 2020 B&M hyper roller coaster.  The photo was taken from far back in the undeveloped land that the park recently gained, and makes the height of the ride look even more impressive.  When complete this lift hill will stand 210 feet over Hersheypark, and there's still plenty of more lift to go up before the top is reached.

Candymonium will stretch 4,636 feet in length and as hyper coasters tend to do, will feature a bunch of air-time hills during the layout.  It was pass near the main plaza of the new Chocolatetown near the end of the ride, swooping around an iconic fountain.  If you look close in the background of this photo you can see the giant new building that has gone up to support many of the food and beverage outlets that will be featured in Chocolatetown.

Since the ride was announced in the summer it might be helpful to check out the video of the ride that the park released as a refresher.  Candymonium will be the star attraction of Chocolatetown, but the massive development will certainly change the look of Hersheypark forever.  Coaster construction should continue quickly now that the lift hill is going up!


Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Shares Views of Pantheon Construction + Track Arrives


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
There's a lot of really cool roller coasters opening in North America in 2020, certainly near the top of the list will be Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  The massive launch coaster, created by Intamin, was announced during the summer and since then construction has kicked into high gear at the award winning theme park.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has started to share photos of the work site, which takes full advantage of the park's hills and valleys.  The above photo is looking down at the worksite by the Rhine River, which Pantheon will swoop toward at two points in the layout.  Looks like some seriously deep foundations are starting to be created here.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Back up toward the top of the work site, with Tempesto looming in the background, there are plenty of footers already completed.  Pantheon will feature multiple launches with a maximum speed of almost 73 miles per hour.  The layout features both forward and backward launches and heights of up to 178 feet above the ground.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The park is also proud to show off some of the Pantheon track that recently arrived at the park.  With track arriving and many footers already complete, perhaps vertical construction isn't too far off?  The track is a pretty gold color, though the lighting in these photos isn't the best.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Maybe it's more of a yellow, I'm sure that additional photos in the future will give us a better idea.  Some of this track looks like it could be for the station area, which is usually one of the first parts of a coaster to go up.  Hopefully the park gives us more views of Pantheon construction again soon!


Monday, October 7, 2019

More Track for Iron Gwazi Installed Including Crazy New Turn


© Busch Gardens Tampa
Busch Gardens Tampa has installed a ton of new track since formally announcing Iron Gwazi a few weeks ago, and all of it is looking amazing. The park hasn't been sharing much of the construction on their socials, sadly, but Midway Mayhem has got everyone's back.

Check out this tweet from their latest update:
That's a lot of new purple track installed in a short time!  We've seen the giant turnaround that's immediately following the first drop going up in previous photos, but now most of the inversion that follows it is in place.  Trains will climb up that highly banked hill only to roll downward in the opposite direction, it's going to be a heck of an element.

Also new is that extremely overbanked turn that is the second element.  Some of Midway Mayhem's photos show just how banked the track is at the top of that turn, and in my book it's definitely an inversion on its own.  I don't think the park is counting it as one, but riders will be more upside down than right side up at the top!

Here is the full update from Midway Mayhem, make sure to follow their socials for more updates as construction continues!


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Rye Playland Boasts its Best Season in Several Years


© Playland
It has been a while since we've had good news coming out of Rye Playland, which has been troubled with much drama and lawsuits regarding who will be operating the park.  It's a long story, but the current disagreement between Standard Amusements and the County, which owns the park, is still raging on.

Let's turn to the good news instead, Playland has announced that their attendance in 2019 was higher than the past three years, breaking a trend of steadily decreasing visits.  In 2019 there were a total of 508,413 visitors, compared to 460,000 in 2018.  That's a substantial gain, based off of the park adding a new ride, a new mascot, town days to celebrate local communities, live concerts and entertainment, and adding two fall weekends to the park's schedule.

© Playland
A big part of the lift was probably the addition of the park's first new ride in eleven years, the Dragonator.  The ride, which is a Disk'O from Zamperla, opened on July 29th and brought plenty of new life to the park.  The spinning and swirling ride proved extremely popular with visitors, showing that there could be a significant need for new attractions at the property.

Despite the ongoing issues related to who will be operating the park, the County is pleased by the growth this season and promises to use this winter to "improve and expand our product."  Hopefully another new ride will join the park in 2020!