Monday, February 28, 2011

Aerial Antics: Cedar Point Part 2

Let us continue our aerial look at the great thrill rides of Cedar Point, shall we?

The original hyper coaster: Magnum XL-200.  If you need a brush up on this world-famous ride, then check out Scott and Carol's Blast article on it.

Magnum may have been the first coaster to break the 200 foot mark, but how about doubling that (and then some)?  That's exactly what the park did with Top Thrill Dragster, which launches trains up the tower at a cool 120 miles per hour.

Sometimes after sitting at the office all day it's nice to get up and stretch your legs... so how about a stand-up coaster?  With so many different coasters in one park, Cedar Point has a little bit of everything, which includes Mantis.  The stand-up coaster has four inversions and almost 4,000 feet of track.  It also features one of my favorite paint jobs around.

Cedar Point's most recent addition to its coaster collection is Maverick, a unique ride provided by Intamin.  It uses two launches to power the coaster, though one of them looks like a traditional lift hill at first.  Once upon a time it had a heartline roll in a canyon, which was removed before the ride opened to guests.  You can still see that element in the above photo.

If you are a long-time reader then you already know I love old Arrow mine trains, which means I'm a big fan of the Cedar Creek Mine Ride.  You can also see one of its newest neighbors, Skyhawk, in the upper left.

We're still not done!  One more week should finish off our look at Cedar Point from the sky.

Cheetah Hunt Trains Arrive

Busch Gardens Tampa received Cheetah Hunt's five trains late last week, and is sharing some photographs of them with us all.

© 2011 Busch Gardens Tampa

© 2011 Busch Gardens Tampa

Each train will be made up of 4, 4 passenger sections for a total of 16 guests per train.

© 2011 Busch Gardens Tampa

© 2011 Busch Gardens Tampa

The trains will feature over-the-shoulder restrains, the same style we've seen on several recent Intamin instillations.

© 2011 Busch Gardens Tampa

The front of the trains are especially nice, they feature a custom design that looks like the face of a cheetah.  The park plans to add additional theming and graphics and will reveal the finished product by the end of the month.

To keep up to date with Cheetah Hunt, check out the park's official page for the ride.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ben 10 - Vekoma's Junior Boomerang

Ever since Drayton Manor announced they would add a new coaster, named Ben 10 - Ultimate Mission, I've been wanting to know more about this new Vekoma junior boomerang design.

Finally, with the coaster well on its way to being completed, some great photos have surfaced of the ride.  Being a junior ride no inversions were expected, and the ride delivered on that point.  It looks like the coaster will head up the first lift backwards, then release to head through the course.

A couple banked turns and a helix make up most of the track, but pay close attention to the crazy camel-hump in the middle of the ride's second tower!  Pretty wild looking.  Ben 10 will definitely be something unique for guests of Drayton Manor in 2011.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekly Rewind 2.25.11

The Funland Blog headed to Six Flags Magic Mountain to take a sneak peak ride on Superman Escape From Krypton.  Read their findings here.

Its pretty amazing how quickly the Gravity Group's racing coasters at Happy Valley Wuhan are going up!  Some recent construction photos were posted by the company here.

Check out this off-season photo tour of Kennywood.  Unfortunately it appears as though the redo of Garfield's Nightmare has been pushed off.  Bummer.

Kings Island received the first piece of WindSeeker this past week, and it's massive!  The park shared some video of the arrival.

The coaster may not be there yet, but the station sure is!  Check out the latest update on Untamed at Canobie Lake Park.

Worlds of Fun is doing a great job of keeping us updated as Planet Snoopy construction moves forward.  More rides are being delivered on site.

Not good news for the redevelopment of Kentucky Kingdom - it seems that the chances of getting the $50 million in bonds approved this year are slim.

One of our favorites, Mark Shapiro, has been added to the board of directors for Papa John's.  He was formerly the CEO of Six Flags.

Staying with Six Flags, the company just reported some nice 2010 earnings.  Revenues, attendance, and per-caps were all up for the year.

Friday, February 25, 2011

When The Floor Drops!

It seems we have a new hit in the water park industry, slides that feature trap-door drops into the chute below.  Both Whitewater West and Proslide are making different variations of these, and two more have recently been announced.

Clementon Park and Splash World just announced Torpedo Rush, two identical slides that stand 60 feet tall.

Riders will stand at the top only to have a trap door under them give way, and down then go.  The tubes will be enclosed but feature clear sections that will allow those watching a great visual.  The park is calling Torpedo Rush the world's tallest dueling trap-door slides.

On the other side of the country, Raging Waters San Jose will debut Bombs Away in 2011.

This instillation will be from ProSlide, and will technically be one of their SuperLoop attractions.  It will utilize the company's Skybox trap door start, and then riders will soar around a horizontal loop at 38 feet per second.

Bombs Away has a planned opening of May, 2011.

Work On Mach Tower and Vanish Point Continue

Busch Gardens Williamsburg's exciting 2011 season is coming together as workers continue to renovate the park's famous Oktoberfest area.  Part of a two year rebuild of the land, this winter the park has been constructing new buildings, moving rides, and working on a blockbuster new attraction, Mach Tower.

© 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Mach Tower will stand 240 feet above the Oktoberfest section of Busch Gardens Williamsburg.  Created by Italy's Moser Rides, the freefall tower will reach nearly 60 miles per hour as it plummets toward the ground.  Once opened, it will have the title of highest ride at the park.

© 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Crews recently moved the base of the massive tower into place.  Once on board Mach Tower, up to 30 guests at a time will partake in a three minute ride that leave them breathless.  Seated in a circle around the tower, the passenger car will rotate as it moves up, providing a memorable view of the surrounding landscape.

© 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

The ride also promises some special effects that will further enhance the experience, as if the freefall alone wasn't enough!  The park mentions on-board audio and seat vibrations as a couple of the tricks they have planned for guests.  Mach Tower will have a height requirement of 48 inches and can handle approximately 600 riders per hour.  Der Katapult, another classic ride at the park, is being relocated in order to make room for Mach Tower.  Rechristened Le Catapult, the ride will now live in New France.

The redevelopment of Oktoberfest also includes a new shop, named Beste Brezein und Bier, which will serve hand-twisted pretzels and other pretzel related creations.  A new show is also in development for Oktoberfest, and it will take advantage of the maypole being constructed in the flower garden near Das Festhaus.

© 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Water Country USA will also debut a new attraction this summer, named Vanish Point.  The new slide tower will offer two different ways for guests to make their way down, each giving a different rider experience.  The complex will stand 75 feet above the ground at its highest point.

© 2011 SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Seen above, construction on Vanish Point is moving along at a rapid pace.  One set of slides will feature a skybox, where guests will find the floor beneath them drop out, allowing them to plummet down the "super loop" slide.  The other pair will be steep speed slides, challenging riders to a plummet that appears to head straight down.

With these attractions under way, and another large coaster promised for 2012, it's an exciting time for both Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Black Diamond Update Time!

© 2011 Knoebels

The progress on Black Diamond at Knoebels has me more excited than ever to experience this new coaster this summer.  A lucky poster on CoasterForce stopped by the park and was able to take a tour of the ride under construction, and posted photos and video from that here.  The park has also continued to share updates of the ride, some of which you can view on their Facebook.

The ride is coming along well, along with the lightly-spooky coal mine theming.  Per the report taken at the park they are adding the theming top-down, with work well underway on the third floor.  Once again Knoebels has saved a classic attraction and then "plussed" it in a fantastic way. 

While all new rides and attractions are worthy of our interest, developments such as this one really hit the target on all points.

2010 Wooden Coaster Poll Results

And it's a tie!  In the results of the 2010 Wooden Coaster Poll El Toro and Six Flags Great Adventure and T-Express at Everland both tied for the number one spot.

So can we take that to mean that Intamin wooden coasters are highly favored by enthusiasts?  That's a yes.

Third place is the ever popular and out-of-control (in a good way) Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce.  Fourth place was grabbed by the Phoenix at Knoebels - a venerable fan favorite, and 5th place is held by the Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer.

Also worth noting is that the last ranking wooden coaster is no longer Grizzly at California's Great America.  Anaconda in France's Walygator Parc now holds that title.

Check out the full results and see where your favorites ended up this year.

Looking Further Into Hersheypark's RIT

The Patriot News ran an article that goes very in depth about the viral marketing that Hersheypark has done so far for their 2012 attraction.

While nothing new is revealed, but there are some items that I never picked up on, such as the eleven starts in the RIT logo (seen here).  The new coaster would be the park's 12th, and the article points out that the image in the center could represent it in some way.  I really cannot wait for the park's announcement of this one!

Plus, the article has some really great quotes in it, but you'll have to read it to see what I mean.

Scott And Carol Present - Cheetah Hunt Construction Update

Normally Thursdays are reserved for the amusement industry's history, but this week instead of a Blast we wanted to share a look at Busch Gardens Tampa's history making coaster, Cheetah Hunt!

Here's some really neat concept art, wonder if the front of the train will really look like that?

This will be the signature element of Cheetah Hunt. The tight radius of the turns will require low speeds and rapid changes of direction.

This photo show how far above ground this is. If you look closely, Scott who is 6 foot tall is standing next to the trash can.

The train will be climbing almost straight up after a 60 mph launch.

Here Carol gets to show off her wide angle lens from the balcony of the Crown Colony Inn Restaurant.

Here's some of the finished decorative motif of the station.

Much of Cheetah Hunt will have riders heads at ground level as the train speeds along the track.

Riders will experience both high and low elevations throughout Cheetah Hunt's course.

Here's a tighter shot of what looks to be an awesome curve. Some of the supports on Cheetah Hunt are made of I-beams instead of circular columns.

Cheetah Hunt is scheduled to open May 27th and will the longest roller coaster in the state of Florida. "Can't wait, can't wait."

Thanks to the kind associates to Busch Gardens who opened various doors and gates.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Legoland Windsor's Atlantis Submarine Voyage

Legoland Windsor, located in the UK, recently announced a very interesting attraction for the family-oriented theme park: the Atlantis Submarine Voyage.

Concept art provided by Legoland Windsor

The ride, which will cost over £8 million (almost $13 million) is part of an even larger investment in the park by Merlin Entertainments.  Atlantis Submarine Voyage will be the first LEGO themed underwater ride in the world when it opens.

Guests will board custom LEGO themed submarines, each holding up to 14 guests.  As they move through the ride building they will explore a gigantic 250,000+ gallon ocean tank.  Guests will pass over fifty species of rare sharks, rays, and tropical fish.

Concept drawing of the building's facade

To create the underwater world of Atlantis, professional LEGO builders will create almost 100 models and set features.  According to Legoland, "an estimated 2,683 hours of work creating the models will be completed ahead of the launch" of the new attraction.

The gigantic aquarium that the ride will feature will be the home of research projects and educational programs as well.

The Atlantis Submarine Voyage has a planned early-summer 2011 opening.

Survivor Live Coming to Six Flags America

Guests visiting Six Flags America this summer will be able to try to Outwit, Outlast, and Outplay fellow visitors during an all new stage show themed to the popular reality show, Survivor.

During the show, named Survivor Live, audience members will compete in contests designed to challenge their memory, endurance, and strength.  According to the park, the show "an exhilarating half-hour show for guests of all ages, igniting the stage with cutting-edge music and choreography, state-of-the-art sets, and lavish costumes."

When the contests are complete one guest will have the honor of being named the ultimate Survivor.  The show will perform Thursday through Tuesday at the park's Grand Theater from May 27 until August 21, 2011.  The performance is included with the regular park admission ticket.

The show will also play at Six Flags New England during the 2011 season.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Aerial Antics: Cedar Point Part 1

I've put off featuring Cedar Point on Aerial Antics for a while now because the park is just so... big. There's a lot to cover!  But the time has come, so let's dig in!

There she is in all her beauty.  Well, the green that surrounds the park in this photo is not very attractive, but we all know how beautiful the park's setting is on a warm summer day.

The entrance to Cedar Point leads to a very wide main midway that stretches deep into the park.  Featured in this photo is Demon Drop, a freefall ride that has since been moved to Dorney Park.  In 2011 the park's Ocean Motion swinging ship will take up residence here.

Here's more of that nice beach setting we all love!  Right on the water's edge are two of the park's many roller coasters.  Disaster Transport, an indoor bobsled coaster, sits right next to Wicked Twister.  The park's gigantic Ferris wheel is framed nicely by Wicked Twister's towers.

A certain highlight of a trip to Cedar Point is a spin on Raptor, the park's inverted coaster.  Its striking green color and interaction with the midway below it always draws attention from guests.  Doesn't hurt that it is a great ride, either!

The park's oldest coaster, Blue Streak can be seen at the bottom of the photo as well.

While many of Cedar Point's coasters are huge, there are smaller ones for smaller riders as well.  The Wildcat, seen above, twists and turns over itself, sending its individual cars weaving through the ride's structure.

Long before the wood and steel hybrid coaster was making waves in the industry (think New Texas Giant), Gemini was already operating at Cedar Point.  The duel track racing coaster features wooden supports but a true steel track - and plenty of airtime.

Next week we will look at more of Cedar Point from the sky!

Special Delivery At Dorney Park

One of our readers was behind a truck this morning that was making a very special delivery to Dorney Park.  This photo was taken going down Lincoln Ave. toward the park's main entrance.  Looks like some of the train from the ride has now arrived at the park from California.  For comparison, see this photo of the train at California's Great America at RCDB.

Our reader reports that another truck was on its way in, but was enclosed so they couldn't see what was in that one.  Thanks for sending in the photo, Ryan!

Interview With Wild Waves' New (Old) Management

© Wild Waves

The News Tribune ran a great piece on the new operator of Wild Waves Theme Park, Jeff Stock.  As previously reported, Jeff formerly owned the park before he sold it to Six Flags in 2000.  Now he's back managing the park for CNL properties - but in a unique twist CNL is actually his tenant as he still owns the land the park sits on.

It sounds like a great future is in store for the park, now that someone who is extremely passionate about it is again in charge.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think it'll ever be a mega-theme park, but growth under good hands instead of is always nice.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Help Wanted

A great opportunity, if I may say so myself.  NewsPlusNotes is looking for an addition writer (or two) to join our team.  If you think you have an interesting, upbeat perspective on the amusement industry, then you may be what we're looking for!

Pluses would be the ability to cover industry events (i.e. travel), have an above average knowledge of the industry, and solid writing skills.  Negatives would be a sour attitude toward industry happenings and fear of change.

If interested, send me an e-mail with some of your basics and we will discuss from there!

Lagoon's Bombora Ready For 2011

It has been a while since we heard anything about Lagoon's new roller coaster, Bombora. Recently there were two news articles about the park - which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year - and the new coaster, one of which featured the logo and some concept art:

© Lagoon 2011

The beach themed ride will be a family oriented coaster.  I previously detailed the ride as being from Premier, but apparently that's yet to be confirmed.  The $5 million+ ride will be 1,040 feet long, stand 50 feet tall, and its two trains will hit 31 miles per hour.  It will have a ultra family friendly height requirement of only 36 inches.

Check out these two articles for more on the ride and the park's 125th anniversary season.

Van Helsing's Factory - Movie Park Germany

A pretty awesome looking Gerstlauer coaster themed to Van Helsing is going into Movie Park Germany for this summer.  While the ride has been announced by the park, not many details have been released at this point.

A lot of concept art has leaked, however, which gives us a great look at what the park has planned.  The theming looks quite detailed and dark, which should make for an exciting ride.  Plenty of the vampires that Van Helsing hunts will be waiting for guests inside the building, which formerly held a Gremlins themed dark ride.

The ride system for the coaster is expected to be a regular Gerstlauer Bobsled style, but with heavily themed vehicles.  The coaster will have two separate lifts and looks to be one of the company's larger projects. Along with the theming will be a host of special effects that will further enhance the ride experience.