Saturday, May 19, 2018

Hang Time Now Open at Knott's Berry Farm

© Knott's Berry Farm
Billed as the West Coast's first Dive Coaster, Hang Time at Knott's Berry Farm is now open to the public.  Created by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, Hang Time is a custom designed "Infinity Coaster" that utilizes the space that Boomerang, and Corkscrew before that, once called home.

Riders sit four across in four rows and head up a vertical lift hill to 150 feet above Knott's Berry Farm's Boardwalk themed section.  Seen at the top, the cars then briefly come to a stop angled toward the ground, then are released to fall down a beyond-vertical 96 degree drop.

Now that Hang Time is open, Knott's Berry Farm has released this really nice promo video for the ride.  Many of the coaster's elements are designed to give a feeling of, well, hang time during them, such as the negative-g stall and the 4 additional inversions.  Hang Time stretches 2,198 feet long and has a maximum speed of 57 miles per hour.

As expected, Hang Time looks phenomenal at night, with a custom light design crafted by KCL Engineering.  The coaster looks to have a near endless amount of color possibilities, but as promised the lights are chasing the coaster as it heads through the track - see the above video from Theme Park Insider.

Here is a video, created by KCL Engineering, showing off some of what the system is capable of:

Only a few rides have had lights like this installed on them so far, but I sure hope that the trend continues on future - or existing - installations!

After several years of hard work, it appears as though Knott's Berry Farm has really finished their revitalization of The Boardwalk area with the opening of Hang Time.  Congratulations to the park on their success!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

2017 TEA/AECOM Global Attractions Attendance Report Now Available

The 2017 Global Attractions Attendance Report, created each year by the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) and the Economics Practice at AECOM, is now available for download here.  The publication takes a look at the attendance trends at theme parks, water parks and museums around the globe.  While many companies do not release official attendance figures, the report provides an educated estimate at many results and reflects the overall temperature of the growth of the industry.

In 2017 the report finds that global attractions attendance surged 8.6%, a healthy gain led by Asian parks, which saw gains of 20%.  North America saw growth of 2.3% and total attendance of more than 150 million for the first time at the top 20 parks.

The busiest theme park on the plant continues to be the Magic Kingdom in Florida, which saw an estimated 20.45 million visitors last year.  The top water park on the planet was Chimelong water park in China, with 2.69 million visitors.

There are plentiful details to comb through in the report, and I urge you to check it out on your own.  However some other highlights:

• The biggest gain of the year in the U.S. was Disney's Animal Kingdom, up 15.3% to 12.5 million based on the success of Pandora.
• The biggest loss of the year in the U.S. was SeaWorld San Diego, which dropped 13.9% to 3.1 million visitors.
• Universal Studios Hollywood saw a 12% jump to 9.06 million, pushing higher on a full year of having the Wizarding World of Harry Potter open.
• Universal's Volcano Bay water park had an estimated 1.5 million guests in its first year, making it the third busiest in North America.  Disney and SeaWorld's water parks were all down between 5% and 10% as a result.
• Shanghai Disneyland had its first full year in 2017, and saw an estimated 11 million in attendance.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Harley Quinn Spinsanity Starts Ride Previews This Weekend

© Six Flags New England
Six Flags New England's immense new flat ride, known as Harley Quinn Spinsanity, will start ride previews for Six Flags pass members this weekend, the park has announced.

This coming weekend, May 19th and 20th, all levels of pass holders will be able to queue up and take a spin on the monster ride, which is a part of the park's recently renamed Gotham City area - home to characters such as The Joker, Batman and more.

© Six Flags New England
Harley Quinn Spinsanity is a giant pendulum ride that swings up to a staggering 147 feet above the park at 70 miles per hour.  The end the pendulum is a giant ring of seats that rotate while the arm swings, creating a disorienting feeling for passengers.  This style of ride has been added to a few other Six Flags parks, and due to its tremendous size and thrilling experience, remains one of their most popular flat rides.

SFNE Online has shared this great video of Harley Quinn Spinsanity completing a full test.  Make sure to check it out to get an idea of just how high in the air this contraption swings! 

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Twisted Cyclone Testing at Six Flags Over Georgia Ahead of Grand Opening

We're getting close to the opening of Twisted Cyclone at Six Flags Over Georgia, one of five new Rocky Mountain Construction roller coasters to open in North America in 2018.  The theme park recently began testing of the coaster, seen above in a tweet from the park, and like most of the other RMC rides it's moving quick.

Twisted Cyclone is a conversion of the park's Georgia Cyclone wooden roller coaster, featuring all new steel track and a series of wild twists and inversions.  The new version of the coaster stands 100 feet tall and features three inversions along 2,400 feet of track.

Ohio Valley Coasters was at the park this past weekend and got some great footage of Twisted Cyclone testing.  Right from the top of the lift hill, where the trains plunge down at a very steep 75 degrees, the coaster's pacing does not let up.  If you watch the video you can see the trains hitting the final brakes with plenty of momentum left over, a good sign of how fast the coaster is running.

We will not have to wait much longer for Twisted Cyclone to open, as Six Flags Over Georgia has announced that it will premier on Memorial Day weekend, just a couple weeks from now!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Lego City Deep Sea Adventure's Submarines Installed at Legoland California

© Legoland California
Since last summer Legoland California has been hard at work building a brand new attraction named Lego City Deep Sea Adventure, which takes riders on an adventurous submarine voyage to hunt for treasure.

The ride uses submarines that are actually submerged in water and hung from a track inside a massive building.  The water that the submarines pass through will be filled with tons of Lego models along with 2,000 live animals according to the park, including sharks and stingrays.

© Legoland California
The submarines just recently arrived at the park and were installed in the main show lagoon.  Here is a shot of one of the submarines being lifted off the truck and into the ride building.  Each submarine can seat up to 12 riders at a time, and there will be eight submarines on the track at one time.

© Legoland California
The inside of the submarine allows enough room that everyone should feel comfortable, they do not look claustrophobic to me at all.  Then again, visitors have loved the Submarine Voyage at Disneyland since 1959, which is the same concept as Legoland is employing here.  While on the ride at Legoland touch screens inside the vessels will have guests aid the Lego "minifigure dive team to identify gems, pearls, Lego gold coins and more throughout the journey."

This isn't the first ride of this type for a Legoland park, as one is currently operating, and themed to Atlantis, at Legoland Windsor.  Here is a video of that experience if you want a preview to see what its like.

The Lego City Deep Sea Adventure will open at Legoland California this Summer, with no exact date announced yet.  Here is the full video that Legoland California released:

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Legoland Florida Announces the World's First Lego Movie World Themed Section for 2019

© Legoland Florida
Coming to Legoland Florida in 2019 will be the first-ever Lego Movie World, a brand new themed area that brings to life the popular world seen in The Lego Movie, which debuted in 2014.  The expansion will the park's largest to date, and will put visitors in the middle of Bricksburg, where main character Emmet lives in the movie.

“The sights and sounds will be fully immersive bringing The Lego Movie franchise to life in a way that only a Legoland Park could,” said Rex Jackson, general manager of Legoland Florida Resort.  “We know kids come from all over the world to meet the stars of The Lego Movie and we can’t wait to see their faces light up as they interact within the imaginative world of Bricksburg.”

According to Legoland Florida's press release, the Lego Movie World "will feature three new rides, character meet and greets and a giant themed playscape."  There is no word yet on exactly what the three new rides will be, but we do know that one of them will be a total retheme of The Quest for Chi, an interactive water boat ride or "splash battle" that opened in 2013, and is a part of the World of Chima themed land.  The Quest for Chi will close on May 29th for work to begin.

So it sounds as though the entire World of Chima are will be replaced by the Lego Movie World.  If you're curious, you can check out some plans that Touring Central Florida posted of the expansion.  It is wonderful to see Legoland Florida continue to grow year after year!