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!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Liseberg Opens Valkyria - New B&M Dive Coaster


© Liseberg
After a couple of minor construction delays, Liseberg, located in Sweden, has opened their brand new B&M dive coaster, Valkyria.  The massive investment replaced the park's launched Intamin coaster, Kanonen, and follows last year's instillation of Loke, a giant pendulum ride.

Valkyria features a lift hill that stretches 154 feet into the sky, after which the trains encounter a 90 degree turn to the right.  As B&M dive coasters are known to do, the trains then are braked on the edge of the vertical drop, giving riders this view:

© Liseberg
The vertical drop extends down 164 feet, taller than the lift due to the tunnel that can be seen at the very bottom of this photo.  The trains soar through a giant Immelmann element, then up a highly banked curve and directly into a zero-g roll.  After a large helix, the ride then meanders through a heartline roll before curving into the final brakes.  Valkyria's total track length is 2,297 feet and the train hit a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour.

Liseberg has released this official point of view video of a ride on Valkyria, why don't you take a spin!


Saturday, August 11, 2018

Dorney Park August 11th 2018 Update


Despite another day of sudden torrential downpours, I wanted to stop by Dorney Park to see what was new with the park.  Here is what I was able to take note of between the passing thunderstorms!

© NewsPlusNotes
First, while we all knew this was coming, the park has put up signs confirming that Dinosaurs Alive! will be retired at the end of 2018 season.  For those who want to take one last trip through the exhibit to say goodbye, the park is offering buy one, get one tickets until the end of the year.

© NewsPlusNotes
Dinosaurs Alive! opened at the park in 2012, the same year that Stinger made its debut.  In that sense it's the full closing of an era as Stinger already made a trip to the recycling center, and now the dinosaurs are headed for extinction once again.  Personally, I would not expect to see any large attraction built on the Dinosaurs Alive! land in the future, but we can hope for a great wooded Haunt maze to happen again some day!

© NewsPlusNotes
Earlier in the season the park added a seating area in front of Meteor, as the general area was lacking enough space for people to eat.  As the summer as gone on the planters the park lined the area with have really filled out, making the space work even better aesthetically.  A small change, but a good one for guest comfort.

© NewsPlusNotes
August is always when the park looks its best in terms of landscaping, as all the plants have really grown in during the summer.  This is one example of the nice garden areas that the park has created.

© NewsPlusNotes
Despite all the rain we've had this summer, Cedar Creek wasn't nearly as high as I expected it to be.  The ducks seemed pretty happy with the shower that had just ended when I took this photo.

© NewsPlusNotes
With Cedar Point recently announcing the removal of their Huss Enterprise, one has to wonder if these rides are coming to the end of their lives.  Dorney has had their since the early 1980s, I believe, making it over 30 years of age.  It's always got a line when I see it though, so hopefully it sticks around a while longer.

© NewsPlusNotes
For those keeping tabs, there has been zero activity o the Stinger Field.  Healthy looking grass is all that is to be found here.

Moving on to Halloween Haunt preparations, the park recently made some updates to their Haunt website, showing what changes are in store this year.  It looks Cut Throat Island has been given the axe, and Trick or Treat is getting a new "Lights Out" overlay.  Grave Walkers has been renamed Necropolis, with some changes and improvements expected.  The Skeleton Crew show will not return this year, with Overlord's Resurrection moving into Hydra Plaza.

© NewsPlusNotes
After those changes, the rest of the existing haunts and scare zones will be back again this year for the 11th year of Halloween Haunt.  That includes Age of Darkness, which is currently being set up at the park on the Thunderhawk midway.

© NewsPlusNotes
The layout looks similar as in past years, with giant castle facades going up on the buildings in the area.  The 'torture chamber' area is also being set up, where we can find...

© NewsPlusNotes
This cool looking dragon, which if you remember was one of the creatures from Dinosaurs Alive! that was fatally injured in a storm, and the repurpose for Haunt.  So in at least one way the attraction will live on at the park even after it closes this fall.

© NewsPlusNotes
Both Steel Force and the path to Dinosaurs Alive! were closed due to the storms, so this is the best photo I could get of a new facade going up inside Necropolis. 

© NewsPlusNotes
Apologies for this photo, but it's the only other one I got of the new Necropolis facade going up and it's focused on Revolution's queue rails, and not the facade.  Still, it gives a bit more detail on the structure.

© NewsPlusNotes
Finally, before heading out just as another storm rolled in, I noticed two small structures being built behind Tourist Trap - perhaps these are more of the small stand-alone Skeleton Key rooms for this year?

That's all for now, plenty more to come as the park moves out of the summer season and into the fall!


Thursday, August 9, 2018

Six Flags Great America Hard at Work on Teasing New for 2019 Project


Something new is on its way to Six Flags Great America in 2019... and the park has started a series of "Road to Glory" teaser videos leading up to the announcement at the end of this month.

Above is the first video, which features a water park visitor and his race crew... I say race crew since they are dressed like that and the video features some graphics that are seemingly race themed.  The visitor gets sun lotion sprayed and heads off on his mission, "up there."

The second video, above, has now been released and in it we see the visitor and his crew sending him down the park's Dive Bomber trap-door drop water slide.

The crew times him on the slide, and after telling him he can "do better," they make a very clear point to show that the time registered exactly 2 seconds.  I'm not sure exactly what that means, but they were very specific in showing that.  We will have to wait and see what kind of hints the third video gives us!

© Six Flags Great America
As for where this project is going, it would appear as though the park will be utilizing the space they gained when they removed the Pictorium earlier this year.  The structure appears on the 2018 park map, so one has to wonder if its removal was a last minute decision.

Either way, it's a large plot of land that is now open, which is nicely demonstrated above.  It's also located adjacent to the most recently developed part of Hurricane Harbor, and with the theme of the videos it would seem that a new water attraction is on the way.

Unless that's a red herring?  Stay tuned to find out.


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