Sunday, September 15, 2019

New Launched Coaster - Ice Breaker - Opening at SeaWorld Orlando in 2020


© SeaWorld Orlando
2020 continues to be shaping up to be a stellar year for new roller coasters in North America, another recently announced ride is Ice Breaker, to be located at SeaWorld Orlando.

Ice Breaker will be located near the Wild Arctic attraction within SeaWorld Orlando, and is the park's first launched roller coaster.  The ride is named after the "icy Arctic summits" and according to RCDB will be provided by Premier Rides.  As with most SeaWorld rides, the park will be partnering with the Alaska SeaLife Center to help visitors learn about conservation efforts in the Arctic region.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Here is the full layout of Ice Breaker, which will actually feature a total of four launches.  After leaving the station the trains will hit a transfer track that moves them into the launch area.  The ride will then launch forward and backward 4 times to get the trains to the top speed of 52 miles per hour.  The backward spike will stand 93 feet tall and actually curve up at 100 degrees, more than vertical.

The maximum speed will take the train up a 80 foot tall top hat element, and then trains will race through the rest of the 2,750 feet of track and encounter a swooping turnaround hill, wave turn and plenty of air-time hills.

While no full point of view video has been released yet, SeaWorld Orlando did release this teaser video of Ice Breaker that gives some animated footage of the ride.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

SeaWorld San Antonio Building the Texas Singray Wooden Coaster for 2020


Coming to SeaWorld San Antonio in 2020 is the Texas Stingray, the park's first traditional wooden roller coaster, and the tallest, fastest and longest wooden roller coaster in Texas.  The addition is set to open in the Spring of 2020, and as we've seen through recent updates, the park has already made great progress on the construction of the coaster.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Here is an overhead view of the Texas Stingray.  It will be located next to the new Turtle Reef exhibit and stretch between the Orca Stadium and the Rio Loco river rapids ride.  The Texas Stingray will be built by Great Coasters International, their first new coaster in North America since Mystic Timbers and InvadR opened in 2017.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
Texas Stingray starts with a 96 foot lift hill followed by a 90 degree right turn, immediately down into a 100 foot drop at 57 degrees.  Elevation changes in the land allow for the longer drop, which will send trains along at 55 miles per hour.  The ride's layout includes many GCI signature large swooping turns, some of which are banked at a maximum of 76 degrees.

In total the ride will offer 16 different airtime hills, last more than two minutes and near the end of the ride will be a 100 foot long tunnel.  Texas Stingray's total track length is 3,379 feet.

First Drop Construction © SeaWorld San Antonio
“Texas Stingray marks a new wave of excitement for SeaWorld,” said SeaWorld San Antonio’s Vice President of General Services Scott Bacon. “We continue to provide new reasons to visit SeaWorld and offer exciting new adventures for our guests with a blend of thrilling rides, family attractions and incredible animal and educational experiences.”

Ready to take a virtual spin on the Texas Stingray?  Check out the video that SeaWorld San Antonio released below!


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Record Breaking Iron Gwazi Roars Into Busch Gardens Tampa in 2020



Today was the big reveal for Busch Gardens Tampa's new for 2020 Rocky Mountain Construction hybrid conversion of the dueling Gwazi wooden roller coasters... which will now be a single track ride named Iron Gwazi.

The coaster will be North America's tallest hybrid coaster, and the world's fastest and steepest hybrid coaster.  The statistics that allow Iron Gwazi to hold that record include a first hill of 206 feet tall, a top speed of 76 miles per hour, and a first drop at a harrowing 91 degrees, one degree steeper than vertical.

© Busch Gardens Tampa
Iron Gwazi will be themed around the mighty crocodile, with amazing looking lead cars that feature the face of one of the largest living reptiles on the planet.  Elements of the former wooden Gwazi roller coasters will be used in Iron Gwazi, but all new purple steel track will allow for twisted elements that the former ride could not dream of.  Iron Gwazi's track will feature three separate inversions and 12 airtime hills spread among 4,075 feet of track.

“Iron Gwazi is the evolution of a classic wooden coaster into a modern icon,” said Stewart Clark, Park President of Busch Gardens Tampa Bay. “From the bones of the original Gwazi, a new legend rises, reaching taller heights and faster speeds, delivering the next-level thrills that our coaster fans crave and expect from Busch Gardens.”

This teaser video for Iron Gwazi was released along with today's announcement, and while it doesn't give a full view of the layout it does show many of the elements previously discovered.  We've already seen a large descending barrel roll and a stall element, with one more inversion hiding in the layout as well.  I'm sure it won't be long before the park releases a full look at what Iron Gwazi will offer.

No doubt, coaster fans will want to make Busch Gardens Tampa one of their stops once the ride opens in 2020!


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Waldameer & Water World Building New Slide + Spinning Family Coaster for 2020


Waldameer and Water World, located in Erie, PA, has announced that they will be adding a large mat racing water slide and family spinning roller coaster for the park's 2020 season.

The additions come after the park's 2019 expansion, which was centered around Chaos, a spinning pendulum ride that inverts passengers at up to 60 feet in the sky.  The park also renovated their hot tub relaxation pool in Water World this season to accommodate more visitors.

© Waldameer Park
The mat racing slide will be one of Proslide's RallyRacer models, featuring bright colors and both open and enclosed sections.  It will have a total of 6 lanes and stand around 50 feet tall, with each lane stretching more than 400 feet in length.  Riders will race down their lane against one another, zooming through the enclosed sections as they race toward the finish line.  To conserve space, the slide will turn in on itself halfway through, with the finish line located under the middle of the slide's layout.  The addition will replace the Free Fall and Speed Slides, which have been at the park for many years.

Also new in 2020 will be a compact spinning roller coaster, which will replace the park's Showtime Theater and water wars game.  It will be manufactured by SBF Visa, and according to RCDB be named Whirlwind.  These spinning coasters are aimed at families and while smaller in size, are known to pack quite a punch and are a lot of fun.

This local news article states that the slide tower will cost around $3 million, and the new coaster between $500,000 and $700,000.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

Kings Island's Orion Goes Vertical + Watch on New Webcam



Just a couple weeks after formally announcing Orion, a B&M giga coaster opening in 2020 at Kings Island, the ride has gone vertical!

© Kings Island
The theme park shared the above photo on social media, and wrote more about it on their official blog.  The first piece of beautiful blue track (out of a total of 184) that has been installed will be where the ride's station will be located.  This is not uncommon with building large roller coasters as the station itself takes a long time to create, so getting that track in place quickly is a must.

I'd expect to see more track and supports go up for the brake run and transfer track before the really fun stuff, i.e. the lift hill and 300 foot first drop, head toward the sky.

© Kings Island
But you never know, so it's best to obsessively watch the park build the roller coaster on their brand new Orion Webcam.  Here is an image from the cam taken today, showing the first piece of track installed.  There's also a lot of blue track on site being prepped for when the ride's construction requires it.  You can keep up to date with the webcam on Kings Island's official website


Saturday, September 7, 2019

Record Revenues Reported for Cedar Fair's 2019 Season Through Labor Day


Cedar Fair Entertainment Company typically reports the results of their season so far at the end of the Labor Day weekend, and this year was no different.  The company issued news that the 2019 season has seen record revenues through the end of the traditional summer season, with plenty of special events still to come in the year.

Granted, the company is now including the recent purchase of two Schlitterbahn water parks in Texas, but even without them they are seeing an overall increase.

Year to date (including Schlitterbahn) revenues are up 8% or $86 million to a record $1.12 billion, compared to $1.03 billion in 2018.  There has been a 6% or 1.1 million increase in attendance to 21 million, a 3% increase in in-park spending to $48.79 per person and a 9% or $10 million increase in out of park revenues to $130 million.

Pretty solid increases, but as we said those include new Schlitterbahn water parks.  If you exclude those parks, revenues were up 5% or $48 million to $1.08 billion, attendance up 2% or 465,000, in park spending up $1.08 per person and out of park revenues were up 5% or $6 million.

Cedar Point © Cedar Fair
So even when you take out the recently purchased Schlitterbahn parks Cedar Fair has had a good year by all standards.  Usually to get attendance up you have to discount, but the per capita is up significantly, so props to the company for that metric.

Cedar Fair's President and CEO, Richard Zimmerman, noted in the release that their efforts to "further broaden the guest experience by adding more experiential attractions and limited-duration special events" has worked, as the parks are drawing new guests and others are visiting more frequently.  So it sounds like special events and interactive attractions are in the forecast for the parks for the foreseeable future.  The company was also very happy with the two Schlitterbahn parks' performances, noting that have "outperformed" their early expectations.

If the fall and winter events, such as Halloween Haunt and Winterfest, continue to produce for Cedar Fair the year should easily be another record one.

© Cedar Fair
The news release also again confirmed that the PassPerks program will be rolling out to all Cedar Fair parks in 2020 after being tested at a handful of parks this year.  The loyalty program rewards pass holders for visiting the parks, giving them treats such as skip the line passes, food offers, discounted tickets and more.

Cedar Fair is also already seeing "meaningful increases" in the sales of 2020 season passes, believed to be based off of the capital announcements made last month.  This includes major anniversary celebrations at Cedar Point and Knott's Berry Farm, along with the Orion giga-coaster at Kings Island.