Thursday, March 22, 2018

Blackpool Pleasure Beach Now Testing ICON - New Launched Mack Coaster

© Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach's massive new launched roller coaster, ICON, is now testing and the amusement park has released a new video showing off the ride.  Designed by Mack Rides, ICON features two separate LSM launches and 3,750 feet of track, which is quite long for a launched roller coaster.

Check out the video to see the ride in action, both on ride and off ride views:

ICON combines launch speeds of up to 53 miles per hour with a hyper-twisted layout that interacts with many of Blackpool Pleasure Beach's existing rides.  There are elements such as a giant air-time hill, an Immelmann, tunnels, helices wrapped around rides, and even a heart-line roll.  ICON is the largest investment that the park has ever made in a single attraction.

For more on ICON, check out Blackpool Pleasure Beach's official website.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Disney Announces More Marvel Attractions for Several Parks

© Disney
The Disney Parks are continuing to add new Marvel themed attractions to their offerings across the globe, highlighted in a series of announcements today.  The popular characters that are a part of the Marvel universe will become a part of new lands, shows and rides at several parks over the next few years.

At Disney California Adventure, the addition of a whole new themed section based on Marvel characters has finally been confirmed.  Opening in 2020, a new land will take up the space currently occupied by A Bug's Land, which also includes the closure of It's Tough To Be A Bug - that took place on March 19th.  The rest of the Bug's Life themed land will close at the end of the summer.

The space is adjacent to the recently opened Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: Breakout! attraction, and will feature the Avengers and Spider-Man, but no hints yet on what rides or attractions will be built.

© Disney
Disney recently announced a large expansion for Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, which will include a new Marvel themed land an a retrofit of Rock 'n' Roller Coaster based on the Avengers characters.  That is set to open in 2020, but this summer the park will hold the Marvel Summer of Super Heroes event, featuring an all new show titled Marvel: Super Heroes United.

The show will be held indoors at The Studio Theatre, and is described as a  "live-action super-production that mixes a huge 400 m² stage with one of the biggest LED screens in Europe, incredible special effects and, for the first time, in a Disney Park, the indoor use of drones beneath unbelievable aerial choreography for a truly spectacular show."  More details of the incredible show can be found in this press release.

Also previously announced is the creation of a new Marvel land at Hong Kong Disneyland, where a new ride based on Ant-Man and The Wasp will join the existing Iron Man Experience in giving visitors a new world to explore.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cedar Point Teases Steel Vengeance Test Run + How to Ride First

© Cedar Point
This past weekend appears to have marked an important occasion in the development of Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point's record breaking new hybrid roller coaster.  In a tweet shared by the park, it appears as though the coaster has made its first test run.  Check it out:

Granted it's more of a gif than a full video, but still it looks like we can be sure that the ride has run at this point! This was just a tease, of course, but hopefully soon we will get to see some true footage of the ride in action.

© Cedar Point
Cedar Point is continuing to work on the ride's details, such as adding these nice light posts along the lift, building a new queue for the coaster, and creating an all new entrance plaza.  The park uploaded some new photos to their website, check them out here.

If you want to be one of the very first to ride Steel Vengeance, Cedar Point has a few different options for you.

The very first will be a part of the Steel Vengeance First Rider Benefit, with proceeds going to the LeBron James Family Foundation.  Tickets for the event, to be held April 27th, range from $75 to $250 and are available at this link.

Season passholders will then have the next shot at riding the coaster during the Passholder FrontierTown Hoedown, taking place each night from April 30th through May 2nd, 4:00 pm until 10:00 pm.  Several rides in FrontierTown will be open, and each guest (who must register online starting April 10) will get one ticket to try out Steel Vengeance.

Then, the general public will get their first rides in on the weekend of May 5th and 6th, which is the official opening for the 2018 season. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

California's Great America RailBlazer Update + Another Removal Announced

© California's Great America
California's Great America will open in one week for the start of their 2018 season, and while RailBlazer won't be ready for guests the park is happy to show it off in a new blog update.

The main structure of the ride was completed some time ago, but the park has been hard at work on all the theming that will surround the coaster, as well as the station and queue.  These photos, shared on the blog post, give us a look at that work underway.  The above wide angle photo shows the entire construction site, with the giant dive loop looking wonderful in the California sun.

© California's Great America
As depicted in the concept art that was released for RailBlaser, California's Great America is adding considerable theming around the base of the coaster, including a waterway and elaborate landscaping.  This photo shows off several of the large stones and boulders being formed, in various levels of completeness.  The addition of the rocks that the track will move past (and through, as with the base of the first drop) will work to make the ride seem even faster than the given top speed of 52 miles per hour.  The ride's theme revolves around an off-road adventure through the California wilderness, and things are looking great so far!

The theme park promises that an opening day for RailBlazer will be announced soon, so stay tuned.

The blog post also revealed that the park's amphitheater style show structure, the Peanuts Playhouse is being removed.

© Google Maps
If you add in the space that the amphitheater took up along with the already removed Endeavor looping ship and the Loggers Run flume ride, it creates two big patches of space.  These areas seem ripe for a massive water park transformation, including new slides, name and theme.  The water park renovation was mentioned plenty in the planning documents for the park's rezoning, so this is no surprise.

© Google Maps
However, if you take it one step further you can also consider the space that Snoopy's Splash Dance took up - that was also announced as removed.  Plus, the park has unofficially announced that 2018 is the last year for the go-karts.  Suddenly you have an absolutely massive area to play with.  This leaves two kiddie rides and the park's kiddie/family coaster, Woodstock Express, off in the corner by themselves so I would wager those won't be around much longer either.  The bottom portion seems like it would be the station area for the expected hyper coaster, but time will tell.

Exciting times for the park, that's for sure!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Scream Machine - Backward Thrilling Riders at Six Flags Over Georgia

The brand new Rocky Mountain Construction conversion coaster, Twisted Cyclone, isn't the only new thrill at Six Flags Over Georgia this year.

For a limited time, visitors can ride the famous Great American Scream Machine wooden roller coaster with backward trains, giving an all new thrill to a classic attraction.  The coaster, currently known as Scream Machine - Backward, has been a staple ride at the theme park for more than 4 decades, and while it has had backward trains in the past, it has been many years since the park turned them around.

© Six Flags Over Georgia
The turned-around trains are drawing a lot of attention to the park, and if you check out this news story you will even see quotes from our own Scott & Carol who were at the park for a special preview this week.

The Great American Scream Machine features a 105 foot lift hill and more than 3,400 feet of traditional wooden track.  It was built by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters and opened in 1973 as one of the largest wooden roller coasters in the world.

Being able to ride Scream Machine backward will be a limited time event, though the park hasn't published an official end to the program as of now.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Silver Dollar City's New Time Traveler Coaster is Now Open!

© Silver Dollar City
Today marks the official grand opening of Time Traveler, Silver Dollar City's brand new roller coaster.  The ride is billed by the theme park as the "world’s fastest, steepest and tallest complete-circuit spinning roller coaster," and represents a massive investment in Silver Dollar City by owner Herschend Family Entertainment.  Time Traveler is a unique spinning roller coaster, designed by Mack Rides, which features a large initial drop along with two separate launch sections.  More than two years were spent in the planning and construction of the $26 million attraction.

© Silver Dollar City
Time Traveler begins with the vertical plunge that is seen above, right out of the station - which is perched on the side of one of the park's many hills.  The drop is 100 feet high and has a true vertical, 90 degree drop that gets the cars moving at 50.3 miles per hour.  The cars use a controlled spin that starts as they move out the station, so riders may encounter this drop both forward, backward, and every way in between.

Immediately after the drop Time Traveler's trains head into a dive loop, the first of the coaster's three inversions.

© Silver Dollar City
Soon after the ride's first launch takes place after a brief  pause.  That launch uses linear synchronous motors to send the train along at 47 miles per hour, through a large overbank turn, then down into the second inversion - a 95 foot tall vertical loop.  Before the end of the ride Time Traveler heads through another LMS launch of 45 miles per hour, a zero-g roll and plenty of twists and turns.

The controlled spinning nature of the cars means that no two rides on Time Traveler will ever be exactly the same, giving fans of the coaster a reason to ride over and over.  “This coaster’s state-of-the-art controlled spin provides riders a unique thrill experience while still appealing to families,” said Brad Thomas, President of Silver Dollar City Attractions.

© Silver Dollar City
According to Silver Dollar City, Christian von Elverfeldt, CEO of Mack Rides, was on site for the grand opening of Time Traveler. “The car is the most advanced roller coaster car in the industry, featuring a free-spinning rotation on a launched roller coaster,” said von Elverfeldt. “For the utmost comfort, an on-board magnetic brake limits the rotation speed to allow the most enjoyable ride experience.”

Silver Dollar City was careful to preserve as much of the beautiful mountainside as possible, and planted two or three trees for each one that had to be removed for the ride.  The first drop plunges riders down into the mountainous terrain, and the track then weaves and twists through the mountainside.  In total the twisted layout crosses over itself 14 times from start to finish.

If you want a preview of what a ride on Time Traveler is like before you head out to ride, check out this point of view video that the theme park released: