Thursday, November 16, 2017

New Splash Ride Opening at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo in 2018


© Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo
Visitors to Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo will find an all-new water ride in 2018, named Roaring Springs.  The new splash ride will "allow guests of all ages to discover a hidden part of Florida full of adventure and thrills.  Explorers will board a boat and gently drift along a crystal-clear spring, surrounded by native landscape and wildlife. The journey takes a sudden turn when the elevation drops.  Guests will feel a rush of adrenaline as they experience a 3-story splashdown."

Exact details on the type of water attraction, including manufacturer, that is being added were not available just yet, though the concept art above looks like it will be either a modern version of a flume ride, or perhaps a small shoot-the-chutes.  The ride will also come with a Canopy Walk, which will oversee the attraction.  The project is the largest for the Lowry Park Zoo in the past decade.

According to the park's press release, visitors will also "get back to nature and see a hidden part of Florida that remains untouched - a Florida that requires no filter.  Explorers will catch a glimpse of black bears, alligators, panthers, Key deer and other native species as they trek along the winding Florida Trail."

© Google Maps
To make way for Roaring Springs, the Zoo will retire their existing log flume.  That ride can be seen above... not a very big ride and from various videos on YouTube it doesn't look all that old, either.  I'm not coming up with much on the ride's history, or even who manufactured it.

Regardless, that's still the 4th flume announced to be closing this year in the name of expansion and progress.


Wednesday, November 15, 2017

New Coaster - Tantrum - Opening at Darien Lake in 2018


© Darien Lake
Darien Lake recently announced their plans to open a new roller coaster for the park's 2018 season, named Tantrum.

As expected, the new ride will be a compact Euro-Fighter design from Gerstlauer that will be a clone of the Iron Shark which operates at Galveston Pleasure Pier.  Tantrum will replace Darien Lake's log flume, Thunder Rapids, which means the new coaster will be quite visible from the park's entrance and parking lot areas.

© Darien Lake
Tantrum will start with passengers, seated in individual eight-seater cars, heading up a vertical lift hill to 98 feet above the park.  The first drop that follows will extend beyond vertical, coming in at 97 degrees.  After hitting the top speed of 52 miles per hour, Tantrum heads up into a giant twisted inversion that ends in an Immelmann, then up into a a cut back, quickly followed by a tilted loop and the brakes.  The experience will be quick, with elements taking place one right after the other.

The park also released this video of a similar ride in action to give fans of the park a taste of what they will experience next season:


Sunday, November 12, 2017

Alton Towers Shares New Aerial Look at 2018 Wood Coaster Project


© Alton Towers
With many older wooden roller coasters quickly transforming into new steel hybrid rides, it's always neat to see a 'traditional' wood coaster being built.  Alton Towers is continuing to keep their new for 2018 wood coaster a secret, but isn't shy about showing off what they've built so far.

The Great Coasters International ride features a unique and twisted layout that sits on the side of a hill.  The video, seen below, that Alton Towers released gives great perspectives from the sky of the progress so far.

For more recent photos of the new ride, check out this update from TowersTimes.  Previously I thought that the ride might not use a traditional chain lift, but from these new photos it sure does look like it will.

Also of note is the progress made on the giant theming structure that the trains will pass through.  No word yet on just what it is... but it looks like it has horns!


Saturday, November 11, 2017

Dorney Park Begins Work on New Tidal Wave Cafe Restaurant


© NewsPlusNotes
These photos are bit late, having been taken on the last weekend that the park was open, but better late than never.  Dorney Park is adding a brand new restaurant within Wildwater Kingdom for the 2018 season, named Tidal Wave Cafe.  Seen above, the restaurant is modeled after similar very successful instillations at other Cedar Fair parks over the past few seasons.

Tidal Wave Cafe will carry a nautical theme when complete, and feature "hand-battered fried shrimp, rotisserie chicken, hand-breaded chicken tenderloins, and house-smoked pulled pork" among other tasty meals.

© NewsPlusNotes
Getting a jump ahead of the cold winter, the park started major demolition to prepare for the new restaurant before the park even closed.  If you look closely at this photo, taken from Talon's exit area, you can see that much of the landscaping from the corner of Runaway River has been cleared.  The park is carving out more space in this area to fit in additional seating to serve Tidal Wave Cafe.

© NewsPlusNotes
Back on the ground while walking through Talon's exit, you could see through this access gate that the space for the new restaurant is also being cleared.  The new restaurant required the removal of two existing food stands, Mariner's Munchies and a Rita's Italian Ice, along with a small portion of the seating area next to Rita's that was added a few seasons ago.

This photo shows that Rita's was already gone, and just some of Mariner's Munchies was standing.

© NewsPlusNotes
A trip on the park's train, the Cedar Creek Cannonball, also gave some views into the work that was going on.  Here's another view of the bit of Mariner's Munchies that was standing, with a pile of it on the ground as well.  The red building on the far left is Papa Luigi's, which was heavily renovated for the 2017 season.

© NewsPlusNotes
Here's one last photo of the work that was underway as the park closed for the year.

© Dorney Park
Just this past week Dorney Park tweeted out a photo of the progress so far.  All buildings have been removed, and if you look close you can see bulldozers removing part of the seating area that will be needed.  When you consider all the space that has been opened up, it is easy to see how this multi-million dollar expansion will be pretty massive.

You can also get a look at the changes to to the landscaping around the turn of Runaway River we mentioned earlier.  The park is going to be able to provide plenty of new seating for guests in this refreshed area of Wildwater Kingdom next year!


Thursday, November 9, 2017

Knott's HangTime Goes Vertical + New Animation Video Released


© Knott's Berry Farm
If you haven't been watching Knott's Berry Farm's live webcam of HangTime construction, then you missed the first track and support pieces of the custom designed Gerstlauer Infinity coaster being put into place this week.

And they're moving fast!  Just a couple days after the first support pieces were placed the structure suddenly grew taller than the webcam could show.  The track that can be seen in this capture from the webcam takes place just after the ride's station, and will start to climb the 150 foot vertical lift from here.

Other support pieces have been put in place as well, and the lift tower looks to be near maximum height in these photos from Knott's Network.

© Knott's Berry Farm
Today Knott's Berry Farm released the anticipated animation preview of HangTime, showing off both on-ride and off-ride perspectives - the one above is what riders will see when they momentarily pause 150 feet in the air before plunging down at a beyond-vertical 96 degrees.

The rest of the twisted layout features 5 inversions including a negative-g stall loop, which is meant to give passengers a moment of pure hangtime while on HangTime!

The animation also gives a hint of how the ride will look at night with special lighting that will trace the individual car's path through the course.  Check it out below!


Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Dollywood To Focus on Live Entertainment During 2018 "Season of Showstoppers"



Dollywood recently announced that for their 2018 season they will be focusing on presenting their largest-ever selection of live entertainment, naming 2018 the "season of showstoppers."  The park is spending $1 million more than any previous year on its entertainment schedule, showing just how committed they are to providing excellent family fun.

The theme park will present a multitude of entertainment performances, including headlining acts such as "The Marshall Tucker Band, The Drifters, T.G. Sheppard, Suzy Bogguss, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Crystal Gayle, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, and a host of other award-winning artists."

“Music is the universal language that unites all of us,” Parton explained. “It celebrates our people, our families and our communities. I’ve made music my life’s work because I feel each and every one of us has a special song to sing. I’ve made sure that here at my Dollywood, we use music to encourage and inspire those songs in each and every one of our shows.”

Throughout various festivals and other events that run the entire Dollywood season, the headlining acts at the park next year have some impressive statistics.  In total they have "42 gold albums, 18 platinum albums, 30 Grammys, 14 Country Music Association Awards, 10 American Country Music Awards, five American Music Association Awards and 62 Dove Awards."

The performances will take place during many special festivals and events:  Dollywood's Festival of Nations runs March 17th through April 9th, the brand new Spring Mix music series will be held April 11th through 29th, followed by the Barbeque & Bluegrass festival, stretching May 25th through June 10th.

Once summer rolls around, Dollywood's special performances will include iLuminate, of America's Got Talent fame, and DRUMLine Live!, which was developed by the consultants to the hit 2002 movie Drumline.  The rest of the year features Rock the Smokes in late August, Harvest Festival in September, then both the Great Pumpkin LumiNights and Smoky Mountain Christmas as the year comes to an end.

© Dollywood
The theme park also announced what will become of the land taken up by the recently removed River Battle attraction.  The area will become the Plaza at Wilderness Pass, a special events area.  The space will be used to house activities related to the special events and festivals detailed above.  This news article has a bit more information from the park on the development.

© Dollywood
The area will be dressed up for each of the park's events, and offer a space for relaxation and recharging.  It also appears as though the station from the former River Battle ride will be repurposed in the expansion.  The above art shows the space decorated for Dollywood's Smoky Mountain Christmas celebration, while the art above it shows off a summer scene.