Sunday, August 31, 2008

Closed Park Commercials

Poor place, about to get slammed again it looks.

Hey, hey - new for 2009 at Carowinds!

Busch Gardens Europe's Howl-O-Scream 2008

Busch Gardens Europe has also launched the website for their annual Halloween scream-fest, Howl-O-Scream.

New this year is a haunted maze named MasqueRage which takes place in a ruined Italian castle where a not-so-fun masquerade ball took place that ended up in torture and murder. Fun!

Also new this year is the addition of Sweeney Todd to the very popular Wicked Woods haunted maze. I find this to be awesome because the movie was pretty fun, he makes a great evil character, and it fits with the mazes' old English horrors theme very well.

In total the park will have 5 haunted mazes and 4 scare zones along with plenty of live entertainment.

Diamondback Photos

© 2008 Donald Flint /

KIExtreme has some new Diamondback construction photos from Kings Island that were taken today.

They've added another lift support and have lots of track laying around for the splash area. Usually B&Ms are built station to brakes, but maybe because of a lot of the ride being in the center of the park they will finish the splash first?

Here's a link to KIExtreme's full gallery.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Busch Gardens Africa's Howl-O-Scream 2008

Busch Gardens does a pretty good job with their Howl-O-Scream event each year, and even goes as far as having a host icon like Universal does. This year's hosts are the Raven Twins, seen above. They're rather pretty...

Sorta. Lara and Lana Raven were born as conjoined twins, conjoined at the face. Eeeks. As they grew up they developed different personalities, and eventually fell in love with the same man. He rejected them, calling them freaks like the rest of the town did.

The Raven Twins then decided to forcefully separate themselves, leaving half of each of their faces totally mutilated. The scorned women then took it upon themselves to seek bloody revenge for their years of torment.

The Raven Twin website is live
. It's worth checking out, and make sure to click the 'right' arrow on the main page and watch the video. It's awesome, and totally on par with Universal's ads.

Kings Dominion 2008 Haunt

Kings Dominion's webpage for their 2008 Halloween Haunt is now live, and they (like most of the Cedar Fair parks) are also expanding the event.

New this year is one scare zone, called The Harvest, and two haunted houses, Toxic Plague and Big Top Terror. They will also have two new live Halloween themed shows for guests.

Looks like another great Haunt!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Daily Spin 8.29.08

Hong Kong Disneyland is expected to reach it's first year attendance goal in it's 3rd year, according to news reports. Visitors are expected to total 5.6 million this year, up from 4.2 million during the park's second year of operations.

5.6 million guests was the expected amount for the park's debut year. An increase of 1.4 million people for any park anywhere ever is amazing, so it looks like this park has a brighter future than more may think.

Keeping up with the Halloween announcements, Cedar Point has announced a large expansion to their Halloweekends event for 2008. Guests will fine a new haunted house, two new scare zones (both of which seems like outdoor haunted houses, really), rearranged existing haunts, new live entertainment, and two new themed restaurant locations.

According to this blurb the decision on California's Great America's new wooden coaster for 2009 has been pushed back yet again, now to September 16th. It seems they are taking the course of having a sound level test done. So many parks have this problem - but the real question is, why build an office building next to an amusement park?

Worlds of Fun will be announcing their 2009 wooden coaster, Prowler, along with the new Haunts for 2008 (which we already sorta know about) in the park on September 1st. Anyone who's at the park that day can attend, which is really cool of the park. First Kings Island did it and now WoF, it would be awesome if more parks would start making announcements that are open to visitors that day!

Sea World Orlando has also announced their Halloween Spooktacular event to take place this October. A very family friendly event, there will be no scares found at this one. The Count from Sesame Street will host a special breakfast "boo-ffet", haha, that's a funny play on buffet, aimed at families and their little ones.

Here's a pretty cool interview with John Murdy, creative director of Universal Studio Hollywood's Halloween Horror Nights. He gives away a ton of details that make it sound like having Freddie, Jason, and Leatherface back at Hollywood's event not so bad. (in comparison to the unique Orlando theme) Definitly worth checking out...

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Universal's Bloody Mary Media

Hires image of Bloody Mary, Halloween Horror Nights 18's icon.

Look at how awesome that billboard is! That is so creepy. I love it!

And a video that Universal Media released about the new icon:

Reflections of Fear

Last night Universal had a pretty fun game going on which led up to the final reveal of the Halloween Horror Nights 18 website and full details.

The subtitle this year is "Reflections of Fear" and Bloody Mary is indeed our host - she will be bringing to life history's most terrifying urban legends. This will be accomplished through 8 all new haunted houses and 6 all need scare zones, which is a heck of a lot of scary attractions!

As for the updates that led to the website reveal, either I'm confused (probably) or things weren't explained as much as I'd like.

I didn't stay up for the whole process (started at like 8 and went past 11 pm) of updates but I can't seem to tell if anything at all happened to Boris when he went to see Dr. Mary. The story took a modern twist last night with events taking place in current day, with investigators going to Mary's former office on the anniversary of her death and a lot of paranormal stuff then taking place.

The 'journal' updates are still online, but like I said they don't seem to explain what happened between Boris and Mary, how either or both of them died, etc. Perhaps there were text messages or e-mails (Universal did both again this year) that explain this. I'll have to research...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

HKDL's 2008 Haunted Halloween

Hong Kong Disneyland must have had some success with last year's Haunted Halloween event because the park is bringing it back again this year bigger and better than before.

The park is really stepping up and going for real scares during the season, like many parks do - just not any other Disney parks. This is popular (see all the Haunts in the U.S.) all over but never fit in with Disney's image as super family friendly. I love that Hong Kong Disneyland isn't afraid to make their guests... afraid.

This year the scares are spreading to Adventureland with the addition of Demon Jungle and the Adventureland Haunted Trail. Demon Jungle is another haunted house style attraction, like last year's Main Street Haunted Hotel (which was amazingly done from photos and video). This also resolves what the mystery construction was for in Adventureland we mentioned a while back.

The Adventureland Haunted Trail is akin to an outdoor scare zone, that operates only at night and only on weekends.

The Main Street Haunted Hotel, Space Mountain "Ghost Galaxy" overlay, and the Glow in the Dark Parade are all back as well.

Here's the official website for the event.

Diamondback Progress

I just remembered that I haven't been checking out the Diamondback webcam lately, and it certainly looks like Kings Island has been hard at work building the ride.

They have the brake run, transfers, station turn, and station track in place, and the first set of lift supports in as well. Looks like that 230 ft. lift hill is next on their construction list. That will be awesome to watch going up.

Apparently a significant portion of the ride is expected to be up before the park closes for the year, so there should be some great construction photos this fall.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

'Blue Sky' Disney Parks Update

If you are at all interested in the future of the Disney Theme Parks around the globe, then Blue Sky Disney's latest 'Blue Sky Buzz' report should make you squirm with excitement. Or drool at the possibilities. Or start saving for a future trip. Or something!

Regardless, part one of the massive article is up at this link on Blue Sky Disney. Check it out!


Tomorrow our private investigator, Boris, has scheduled his meeting with the crazy psychiatrist killer Mary. This, of course, is taking place in the fantasy world that Universal has created for us Horror Nights fans. But I don't care, I'm totally hooked again this year!

This should be the final event to take place before the full details of the event will be revealed. (Bloody) Mary posted her final "case" today, which seems to belong to her. Or is it her and Boris? I don't know!

Here's the link again if you want to hear what she has to say, and watch tomorrow for the results of her visit from Boris.

Holiday World 2009: Pilgrims Plunge

Holiday World has announced their new ride for 2009, Pilgrims Plunge. This will be the world's tallest water ride when it opens, and is a super modern version of the classic Shoot-the-Chutes water ride.

The ride features a 165 ft. tall tower that contains the ride's lift mechanism, an open air elevator that brings boats to the top, some 135 ft. above the ground. From there it's downhill as the boats plunge 131 ft. at a 45 degree angle hitting 50 mph. The splash that the boats will create will be 90 ft wide and 45 ft. tall!

The ride can be accessed from both Splashin' Safari, the water park, or the amusement side of the property. And as far as record breaking goes, this ride will smash the previous record holder, Perilous Plunge (and its clone Hydro) which is 121 ft. tall with a 115 ft. drop!

The park also announced the HoliWatch, a free device that visitors can wear that will allow them to find others in their party, send messages, and obtain park information. Sounds great!

Holiday World has up a nice page with tons of info, photos, and videos of the new Pilgrims Plunge ride. Check that out here!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Halloween Horror Nights: Hollywood

Universal Studios Hollywood has updated their Horror Nights website for the 2008 event. Freddie will be back again this year as the 'host', but Jason and Leatherface with both have specific mazes at the event.

There will also be a maze based on the movie The Strangers, which came out in May of this year. I didn't see it, but the previews made it look rather creepy so it could make a great maze?

I'm really happy that the event is back in Hollywood now after its absence (was not held in the years 2001-2005) and I hope it continues to grow like Florida's has!

Star Trek Experience Reactions

The closing of the Star Trek Experience at the Vegas Hilton in a week or so has started to stir up many reactions all over the web.

Needless to say, the fans of the Experience are not happy. There's been some interesting online Vegas blog reactions, like this one and then also this one, which has some photos of the massive sales that are taking place in the gift shop.

This article also has some details about the attraction and it's closing that are interesting. The Ops manager for the attraction says that they've received 5,000 e-mails and a 6 ft. tall stack of petitions asking for the Experience not to close.

A spokesperson for the Hilton says that they do not have set plans for the space, that it could be another themed attraction (I doubt it), a theater, or even more gaming space. So really, they have no clue yet what they'll do with it.

The last public show will be on September 1st at 8:30 pm. Then they're having a VIP event to say goodbye, and a public ceremony at 10 pm.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Dorney Park 8.23.08 Update

I wish I had the energy to do these updates during the week when the crowds are less, but that whole "having a job" thing tends to get in the way! Regardless, today was another over, over, overflow day - the park was totally packed like super crazy.

If you really look at the above photo, doesn't it look like that stream of people are in one big line for something? Nope, just that crowded today. And the waterpark wasn't even closed yet when this was taken... scary. It was hard to walk on some midways.

Voodoo had an almost full queue at around 6 pm. That's when the waterpark closed, which means the rest of DP would be flooded with even more people in a bit of time! I find it hard to believe that DP isn't having a *very* strong season attendance wise... I can't think of a rainy Saturday recently at all.

YAY! This is one of the signs posted in the 'blue and white tent' outside the main gates that's the public picnic area. I'm happy that this will be not used in this fashion next year because it's dirty, messy, crowded, smelly, smoky, and gross. It's rumored to be the home of the Joe Cool Backyard Barbecue in 2009.

The ever wonderful Sign Shop updated the logos on the back of the park's Haunt Hearse. Me heart Sign Shop.

The park is really advertising The Haunt. Like last year, banners for the different attractions have gone up all over the park. Here's one for Club Blood - a haunted house that is rumored to have an age restriction due to 'mature' themes. How fun!

I did not climb anything or go anywhere wrong to get this photo, for the record. The entrance/exit to Club Blood is done, and you can see that the queue is ready as well. They've put up a nice blocker wall so the rest of this backstage area isn't visible.

More signs. The ScreamWorks one is the same as last year, but since Doctor of Doom is 'new' this year that one is different. How nasty looking is that clown? Again, I love it.

Two more new attractions at The Haunt for 2009. Terror Square sounds cool with the western theme - I really hope they have "sliders" like at Knott's, guys with metal knee pads on that literally slide at guests and shoot sparks on the way. It's great and hilarious to watch!

As far as CornStalkers... I didn't take a photo because it was backstage, but I saw a bunch of huge wooden crosses and cornstalks sitting around. This one should be awesome, too!

Headstone Hollow is the new and improved Fright Zone. If you read the description, you can see they are using the fact that it was the Fright Zone as backstory for the new attraction. Points for that, indeed.

They're already starting to work on Boo Hill. Does anyone else feel like Kill Hill was a last minute addition? I mean that in a good way, but we had never heard of it, and it doesn't even have a sign at the park. I still think it'll be neat either way.

And finally, just was thinking about how stuff will have to change next year when Laser is gone. For instance, these two will have to be at the very least renamed.

That's it for now. Next weekend marks the end of daily operation, and then the park has several weekends of park buyouts only. Then it's Haunt time!

Don't forget to get your last rides in!

HHN 18: Ready to be Revealed

It's looking like the full reveal of the Halloween Horror Nights 18 website will be soon, as our crazed doctor seems to have killed her last patient.

It also looks like we can solidly confirm that the host this year will be this doctor, Mary, who makes her patients say her name three times and loves mirrors.... yes that makes her Bloody Mary!

If you want to check out the last few updates before all is revealed, here's the website link.

I Hope They Feel Stupid

Cedar Fair is now admitting that the bids they received for most of the former Geauga Lake land were too low, and they won't be selling it any time soon. The 11 acre bit with the former hotel on it still has it's sale moving forward to some non-profit.

Could they have made any more poor decisions regarding this property? For real, it's time for Kinzel and his buddies to go. I'm so thankful that I ditched my 200+ units of Cedar Fair earlier this year.

I'm starting to worry about my home park, Dorney, because when this company fully tanks we'll all have to be concerned about what will happen to the individual properties at that point.

Oh, and Cedar Fair is also admitting that even they do not really know who bought the Big Dipper. But they had to approve the sale... OMG what is their problem!?

Sorry for being so negative but they're really pushing it these days with their incompetence.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Aerial Antics: UK Park + Ride Aerials

Friday is a good day for Live Local aerial obsessing. Today the site took me to jolly old England and I found some treasures, like:

Thorpe Park. Home of the 10 Inversion Colossus, B&M Inverted Nemesis Inferno, the Intamin launched Stealth, and a new for 2009 Gerstlauer Euro Fighter.

The Vampire, at Chessington World of Adventures. This Arrow Dynamics suspended coaster opened in 1990, and received some great new trains from Vekoma in 2002.

G-Force at Drayton Manor park. What a funky little ride! It opened in 2005 and was designed by Mauher Sohne. Oh, and it's not a launched ride, that weird loopish track on the right side is the lift!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach - with the Pepsi Max towering over everything. You also have to love how crammed in everything is at the park.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Star Trek The Experience Part 3

When we last left off we were checking out the 'museum' that's at the start of, and sorta the queue line for, Star Trek the Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton.

They have guns of various types, and models of ships...

I'm sorry that this is so blurry but I can't go back and take a better one... this just gives you and idea of the themed environment you are in while looking at these displays/waiting in line.

Lots of displays with lots of stuff that I don't know a thing about since I'm not a big fan of the series...

And then there's more stuff. They seriously have a lot of stuff to return to CBS when this closes.

And a pretty model, too!

Ok so at the end up the hallway in the photo a few above you split the line, left for Borg 4-D and right for Klingon Encounter. Since it was the original, we opted for the Klingon Encounter first.

They do not allow photos once you start the attraction, and are rather strict with the rule. (I saw them make a woman delete a photo from her camera, for real!) Needless to say I don't have photos from in there, but if you want to see what goes down, check out this video.

There are several scenes with actors before you ever get on board the simulator part of the Klingon Encounter. Our actors were very into their roles, which was nice to see, and there are a couple of rather well done special effects along the way.

The projector system for the video aspect of the simulator is really showing its age, along with the footage of Vegas they include in the movie. But overall it's very well done.

Bord Invasion 4-D opened in 2004, so it's actually relatively new. I've read that they had to remove 2 of the 4 "sets" (and simulators) from the Klingon Encounter to accommodate the large theater that Borg uses.

Basically, the same scenario plays out with Borg, only the scenes before the 4-D movie are much darker and more dramatic. There are Borg guys snatching actors left and right, lots of screaming, and destroyed hallways to pass through. Again, very well done. The actual movie is regular 4-D tricks, though this one does open up the ceiling as another screen.

After you exit either the simulator or theater for each attraction the group is ushered into a real elevator to head to the level that contains the exit hallway (very nicely themed, seen above) to the gift shop and Quark's restaurant.

^ The gift shop. There was lots of stuff on sale.

The little area outside of the restaurant and the gift shop.

Now I don't know if stuff like the Borg Queen above was always for sale, but the display rack they were trying to sell for $700 definitely looks like a "we're closing - take our junk!" type of sale. A lot of stuff was marked down really cheap, it's probably a good time for the fans to go shopping...

Well, that's my review of the Experience in a three part nutshell. It'll be missed, but honestly with the direction Vegas is heading... it doesn't fit in well anymore. Gone are the days of themes in the city... I mean even New York, New York is gutting their themed casino!

The attraction closes September 1st, so you only have a week and a half to get there and check it out!

Super Halloween Update

I know it's been almost overkill around here lately with the Halloween news, but not much else is going on this time of year. Plus, the Halloween season continues to grow as a very important part of the amusement industry's year... so I'm gonna keep covering it! That said...

Canobie Lake Park has announced that Spooky World will be joined with their amusement park and operate during the Halloween season.

This is the first time I've seen something like this happen, and it's pretty neat. Spooky World was a mini-haunted amusement part of sorts that operated in Foxboro, MA only during the Halloween season. Now this year they are moving and joining forces with Canobie for an even larger event. The park has details available on their website. Can't wait for reviews of this one!

Knott's Berry Farm has also launched their website for The Haunt 2008. The park will feature six new mazes for 2008: Club Blood, CornStalkers, Labyrinth, Quarantine, The Slaughterhouse, and Alien Annihilation.

Check out the event's website here. I used the photo above from the returning maze, The Doll Factory, cause I think it's one of the best themes for a haunted house... ever.

Last, but not least, Midwest Info Guide has an update of the Haunt prep going on at Worlds of Fun.

The park will have a new scare zone called Outlaw's Revenge, and a new haunted house named Master McCarthey's Doll Factory. Another doll themed house! I'm jealous!