Saturday, August 18, 2018

Islands of Adventure to Close Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Show

© Islands of Adventure
The show that's felt like it has been living on borrowed time for many years now, Islands of Adventure's Eighth Voyage of Sindbad, will close permanently on September 15th, the theme park has revealed.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Universal Orlando has confirmed the closure, but they are not ready to say what might come to the building in the future.  The show is part of the ever-shrinking Lost Continent themed land, and opened with Island of Adventure in 1999.  The show has been retooled a couple time throughout the years.

At the core, the Sindbad presentation is a stunt show, where title character Sindbad and his buddy Kabob perform many tricks and stunts in order to rescue Princess Amoura from the evil witch Miseria.

© Google Maps
The show's amphitheater is located to the right of where the park is currently building a new Harry Potter themed roller coaster, which is where you can still see Dragon Challenge in the aerial above.  While the attraction is a part of Lost Continent, the land could easily be added to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter should the park go in that direction.

It will be interesting to see if they just develop a new show for the amphitheater, or if they will bulldoze it and start totally over with a new attraction.

Also - NPN will be on a brief vacation for a few days, see you later this week!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Apocalypse: The Last Stand to Meet Its Demise on September 8th at Six Flags America

© Six Flags America
The end is near for Apocalypse: The Last Stand at Six Flags America, as the theme park has announced that it will close for good on September 8th, 2018.

The stand-up roller coaster opened at Six Flags America in 2012 and has given more than 1.6 million rides since then, or about 228,000 rides per season.

“Our wheels are always turning when it comes to new and innovative thrills and attractions to bring to the park,” says Park President Rick Howarth. “The end is near but saying good-bye to Apocalypse will allow us to bring an all-new thrilling experience to our guests in 2019.”

© Google Maps
At least we know that the ride is being removed in order to bring a new attraction to the park next year - we will hear more about that on August 30th when all Six Flags parks make their announcements.

Apocalypse got its start as Iron Wolf at Six Flags Great America where it opened in 1990.  It is credited as Bolliger & Mabillard's first roller coaster created from the ground up, the start of what has become a prolific career for the company.

The coaster features two trains, each with 7 rows of 4 passengers.  The first lift stands 100 feet tall, followed by a swooping 90 foot first drop.  The 2,900 foot long layout features a vertical loop and a corkscrew along with numerous low to the ground twists and turns.

Apocalypse is not the first B&M coaster to meet its end, as we saw the very permanent removal of Dragon Challenge at Islands of Adventure just last year.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Worlds of Fun + Kings Island Announce New for 2019 Additions

© Worlds of Fun
Today we had announcements of 2019 developments from two Cedar Fair parks, a part of the greater National Roller Coaster day festivities.

Worlds of Fun has announced the largest dining establishment in the park's many offerings for next year, named Boathouse Grill.  The park's new executive chef, Wesley Boston, is creating an all new menu for the large restaurant, which will be located in the Americana section of the park in front of SteelHawk and the back portion of Patriot.  The structure's "name, architecture and theming pay tribute to Worlds of Fun’s history and the three iconic boats that opened with the park in 1973."  More on that in this blog post from the park.

© Worlds of Fun
The Boathouse Grill appears to follow the cafeteria style of many restaurants that have opened in Cedar Fair parks in the last five years or so, starting with Carowinds.  It will be 9,036 square feet and feature two outdoor patios - one attached to the building seating 184 guests.  The other dining area will replace Pizza Patio and seat another 132 guests - making Boathouse Grill the largest dining establishment at the park.

The menu for Boathouse Grill will include "authentic Kansas City BBQ with homemade sauce, roastery chicken, homestyle sides, desserts and more."

© Kings Island
Next up, Kings Island announced the addition of the Kings Mills Antique Autos, a family attraction that is a throwback to a beloved attraction the park had for many years.

The slow moving cars will allow many passengers to experience 'driving' for the first time as they meander along a quarter mile long path on a three minute trip.  Kings Island used to have Les Taxis, a similar style of ride, which was removed in 2004 to make way for the Backlot Stunt Coaster.

The new Kings Mills Antique Autos will be located in Coney Mall, across the path from the Jukebox Cafe and along the famous Racer roller coaster.  The ride's path will be decorated with landscaping and theming elements that are designed to be nostalgic.  Passengers will ride in 2/3 scale replicas of the 1911 Ford Model T, further enhancing the experience.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

New B&M Dive Coaster - Yukon Striker - Plus WinterFest to Open at Canada's Wonderland in 2019

Early this morning Canada's Wonderland revealed that Yukon Striker, a massive B&M dive coaster, will open at the theme park in 2019.

Breaking three world records for dive coasters (longest, tallest, and fastest), Yukon Striker will easily be the largest B&M dive coaster to date, featuring a 245 foot plunge into an under water tunnel to start the ride.  It will feature a top speed of 80 miles per hour, and stretch 3,625 feet long with 4 inversions.

© Canada's Wonderland
After the amazing vertical drop that can be seen on the left of this concept art, the trains (featuring 3 rows of 8 passengers) will head up into a giant Immelmann inversion.  They pull back up as they cross over Vortex's track, and then sail through a dive loop that takes the trains to the back section of the layout.  The next element is first for a B&M dive coaster, a vertical loop, which will be a unique experience. 

The trains dive down into a below grade trench then up into another Immelmann, before popping up on to the mid-course brakes.  From there they dive down once more, over an air-time hill, then through a helix over the midway before the final brakes.

Canada's Wonderland has several great animations of Yukon Striker available on their website, but the above one really shows off the massive size of this coaster.  It will certainly forever change the skyline of the park!

© Canada's Wonderland
The new coaster will be located in Frontier Canada, a new themed area that's actually been planned for the park since it opened in 1981.  It was never fully developed but since the park has been adding plenty of attractions that fit the theme, they're developing it currently.  It will "represent the rugged Yukon backcountry during the Klondike Gold Rush era of the late 1890s."

The park promises plenty of surprises and other renovations in the area when it opens in 2019.  It will contain not only Yukon Striker, but also other recent Canadian themed attractions such as Lumberjack, Flying Canoes, and Soaring Timbers, with exiting rides Mighty Canadian Minebuster, White Water Canyon, Timberwolf Falls, and Vortex also joining the new area.

© Canada's Wonderland
At the end of 2019 Canada's Wonderland will hold their first WinterFest, "an all-new immersive holiday experience taking place in late November and December."  WinterFest will transform the park "into an enchanted winter wonderland complete with uniquely themed areas, dozens of Christmas trees, millions of spectacular lights, ice-skating, live entertainment, savory treats, crafts and hands-on family activities."

A special treat, depicted above in concept art, will be the park's fountain on International Street that will will feature ice skating and be known as Snowflake Lake.  "Each night, singers and dancers will set the stage for the celebratory lighting ceremony of a 70-foot-tall Christmas tree featuring more than 40,000 sparkling ornaments."  More details on what is planned for WinterFest are available at this link.

It sounds like Canada's Wonderland is going to have a massive 2019 season, and while no figures were announced this has to be an absolutely massive capital program for the property.  Congratulations to the park on their growth!

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Rudolph + Friends Staying at SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment for Five More Years

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has announced that they have reached an agreement with Character Arts, LLC, to extend their contract to feature Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends in their parks for five more years.

Rudolph, along with his pals Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius are features during the company's holiday events at their SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place parks.  The characters are available in person during the events (as seen in these photos), but also are featured in themed attractions each winter season along with special dining opportunities and games.

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
The extension means that the characters will be around at the parks through January 31, 2024.  At SeaWorld they can be found during the Christmas Celebration in Orlando, San Diego and San Antonio, Christmas Town at the two Busch Gardens Parks in Williamsburg and Tampa, and also as a part of A Very Furry Christmas at Sesame Place in Pennsylvania.

“Generations of our guests have grown up with Rudolph and we are happy to continue the tradition at our popular holiday events,” said John Reilly, SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s interim CEO. “We are always looking for ways to provide our guests with best-in-class experiences; Rudolph & Friends certainly help us do that with unique, interactive elements for the entire family.”

SeaWorld, Busch Gardens and Sesame Place’s holiday celebrations will launch in late November and run throughout the month of December, 2018.  The parks have found success with seasonal events that foster repeat visits to the parks, so I wouldn't be surprised to see these events continue to grow in the future!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Alabama Splash Adventure Breaks Attendance Record + Opens New FreeFALL Slide

© Alabama Splash Adventure
More good news coming out of Alabama Splash Adventure, as the park has reported that they had broken their own attendance record when they still had 17 operating days left in the 2018 season.  The park was reopened by members of the Koch family in 2014, meaning this was the property's 5th year of operations under them.

The park has continued to grow by adding several rides (including a Yo-Yo, Scrambler and Tilt-a-Whirl), a high dive show and a family water play area this year, but just recently yet another new attraction debuted in the water park - FreeFALL.  The giant water slide utilizes a slide tower that was already at the park, which had its older slides removed.  This new slide features a super steep drop and an extended run out area - perfect for thrill seekers.

The park has also noted on social media that this tower is able to support another water slide from it - you can actually see the support for that to the right of the tower.  While not a 2019 project, it will come on board one day.

This fall the park will also open on weekends in October for a family friendly fall festival, which is news and extends their operating season even longer.

After a year of such expansion for Alabama Splash Adventure, one might think it will be a quiet 2019 season... but you never know with these guys!

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