Monday, January 27, 2020

Want To Be One of the First to Ride Orion? Kings Island Has an Auction for That.

© Kings Island
If you're looking for the ability to ride Orion, Kings Island's new giga-coaster, a couple days before any one else, AND raise money for a great charity, then the park has the perfect fundraiser auction for you!

The theme park is holding a First Riders Auction that will take place on April 9th, two days before the park's 2020 opening day, from the hours of 6 pm until 9 pm.  Interested parties must sign up and raise at least $150 for A Kid Again, and the top 32 fund raisers will obtain a seat on the first train out of the station at the start of the event.  However, everyone who makes it to the $150 mark will be able to get a certificate of participation, food, a first rider shirt and unlimited rides for three hours on April 9th.

© Kings Island
If interested in the auction, you can sign up via a link on the park's website or through A Kid Again, and fund raising will go through April 3rd.

A Kid Again is a "a nonprofit organization which exists to foster hope, happiness and healing for families raising kids with life-threatening illnesses through fun-filled group activities and events. A Kid Again families are invited to participate in these adventures from the age of diagnosis until the child reaches age 20 through funds raised from events such as" the Orion First Riders Auction.

Screaming down a 300 foot first drop for an excellent cause - before all your friends - doesn't seem like such a bad idea!  The auction has already raised more than $20k for A Kid Again, and there's still months of fund raising to go.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Universal Studios Hollywood Updates on New Secret Life of Pets Dark Ride Experience

© Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal Studios Hollywood is starting to build buzz around their latest attraction, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash, by finally announcing some details about the dark ride attraction.  Located on the upper level of the famous theme park in Pets Place, formerly Baker Street, the ride has been announced to be featuring the same vocal talent as in the feature films The Secret Life of Pets and its sequel.

"The film’s talent and their alter egos include Patton Oswalt as Max, Kevin Hart as Snowball, Eric Stonestreet as Duke, Jenny Slate as Gidget, Tiffany Haddish as Daisy, Lake Bell as Chloe, Dana Carvey as Pops, Chris Renaud as Norman, Hannibal Buress as Buddy, Bobby Moynihan as Mel, Jessica DiCicco as Princess and Tara Strong as Pickles."

Planned to open this Spring, the new ride is set from the perspective of riders being a stray puppy that's on the "ultimate quest to find their forever homes." The ride is said to blend "live, dimensional and animated characters with hyper-realistic media and projection mapping to fully immerse guests in a bustling New York City landscape."  The ride vehicles will resemble cardboard boxes that travel along a track toward the festive Pet Adoption event.

Other highlights of the experience include "technological firsts that combine sophisticated facial recognition with enhanced gesture tracking, which helps to identify each guest as a unique stray puppy for the duration of the ride."  Exactly what type of puppy each guest will be characterized as will change each time they ride, adding a level of repeatability to the experience.

When it opens this Spring, The Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash will be housed in a structure themed as a busy New York Street.  The wrapping just recently came down on that, as seen below in a Tweet from Inside Universal.  You can see more of the ride facade in this update from the site.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

SeaWorld San Antonio Releases Full POV of New Texas Stingray Wood Coaster

© SeaWorld San Antonio
With construction entering the final phases, SeaWorld San Antonio has released a full point of view movie of a ride on the Texas Stingray.  The custom designed wooden roller coaster has been created for the park by Great Coasters International, and features a 100 foot first drop and top speeds of 55 miles per hour.

SeaWorld San Antonio started working on the coaster early last summer, which means that progress on the ride has been swift and it looks like it will have no problem meeting a Spring 2020 opening date.  The park has not said exactly when that will be, but has a very short off-season and actually opens again on February 22nd.  That may be a bit early for the new coaster, but hey, you never know!

Enjoy your ride on the Texas Stingray below.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Kings Dominion to Remove 'The Crypt' Huss Suspended Top Spin? Plus New Restaurant to Open

© NewsPlusNotes
While I haven't seen an official confirmation from Kings Dominion, it is being reported that they are currently removing their HUSS Suspended Top Spin, named The Crypt.  The news was broken by on social media, and Kings Dominion actually replied to the tweet with the surprised owl meme, which I guess is kind of a confirmation?

It makes sense though, as Cedar Fair has removed HUSS Top Spins, both mega sized and regular sized, from their parks in the past.  Off the top of my head Knott's Berry Farm, Calfornia's Great America, Dorney Park, Worlds of Fun, Valleyfair and Kings Island have removed theirs in recent years.  In that sense it seems The Crypt at Kings Dominion has been living on borrowed time for years now.

The ride opened at Kings Dominion in 2005 as Tomb Raider: Firefall, but lost its franchised theming when Cedar Fair purchased the Paramount Parks.

© Google Maps
Taking into account that Volcano: The Blast Coaster has already been removed from the park, it is looking like half of Safari Village will be rather empty for the 2020 season.  Seen above, with both Volcano and The Crypt gone a big part of the land - whose theme makes no sense now more than ever before - will be empty space.  There's already rumors out there about the next big coaster for the park, which seemed planned for the area Volcano took up.  But perhaps there's more to that plan than first thought?  As always, time will tell.

© Kings Dominion
One additional item for the park that is not at all speculation, a new restaurant named Grain & Grill will be added to International Street, where Panda Express was formerly.  The location will offer grilled meats and a nearly endless combinations of sides that guests can choose from.  The park is proud to accommodate a variety of special dietary needs at Grain & Grill, and there will also be a full bar!  Read more directly from the park at this link.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Kings Island to Debut New Orion Giga Coaster on Opening Day - April 11th!

© Kings Island
One of the largest new for 2020 roller coaster projects in the U.S. now has an opening date!  Kings Island will open Orion along with the park on April 11th, 2020.  The park has posted their schedule for the year and also confirmed they plan to have the giga coaster ready to do for opening day.  This news means that riders only have less than three months of waiting until they can get their first rides on Orion.

© Kings Island
And speaking of the ride, if you haven't been following construction you've missed a great deal of the ride's 5,321 feet of track going into place.  The park has already flown through the coaster's second hill, turn around (seen up top in a recent image from the park), and more recently the third and fourth hills as well.  Orion will feature a 300 foot first drop (also seen above) that will send the trains roaring around the track at a top speed of 91 miles per hour.

© Kings Island
It has been fun keeping tabs on Orion from Kings Island's webcam - here is a shot of the coaster from this afternoon.  Crews are hard at work on the giant helix that comes near the end of the ride.  From this image it looks like they're almost at the halfway point of the element.  That only leaves a relatively small amount of track and supports to go before the ride is complete!

That should leave plenty of time for testing ahead of the planned April 11th debut. 

Monday, January 20, 2020

Lagoon's 2021 Coaster Project Sees Track Installed + Mountain Being Formed

© DeLoreans Garage Via YouTube
Lagoon's super-secret roller coaster project for 2021 continues to take shape, as seen in a new video from YouTube user DeLoreans Garage.

The project's details are still under wraps, however since the park is building what appears to be a very large mountain at the park there's plenty to see at this stage in the game.  The latest video shows off the work site from the air, giving us a view into the ride's inner workings... at least to some degree.

What we can see is rather interesting.  The ride, which is expected to be named Primordial, definitely uses a traditional roller coaster track at times, some of that can clearly already be seen in place.  There is a suspected dark ride component to the attraction though, which also seems evident from this footage.  There is a large second story part of the ride with what looks like a switch track area followed by two straightaways in the building.  They lead to the massive concrete towers that are going up, though it's hard to tell just what will be in those towers at this point.

The entire one side of the structure is also being covered in frames for what I assume is some hefty rock work that will cover the structure, leading to the expected mountain theming.

Exactly what else the ride has in store is a mystery for now, and I am grateful for that.  It's fun to watch a massive mystery ride go up like this!

Check out the whole video below from DeLoreans Garage.