Thursday, March 31, 2011

Huge Additions for VA's Ocean Breeze

It's clear that Ocean Breeze Waterpark in Virginia Beach is starting to play in the waterpark big-leagues.
The most exciting news is the addition of Neptune's Revenge - four slides referred to as "surprise adventure tubing," combining popular slide thrills similar to Proslide's Bowl and Tantrum elements.
The park will also debut a new Caribbean theme, as well as reconfigured wave pool. Children will have more ways to splash in the new Hook's Lagoon (pictured above), with the requisite giant tipping bucket. From this article, it sounds like the owners have big plans for the future of Ocean Breeze. We're looking forward to hearing more!

A Blast From The Past - Wonderland's Boa Squeeze

Wonderland Park was a 22,000 square foot facility that opened inside the Forest Fair Mall, near Cincinnati Ohio in December of 2001. Wonderland offered the latest in video games, birthday parties, pizza and some amusement rides with the kids in mind. The park operated year round and generally the same hours as the mall.

Open of the amusement rides happened to be a deluxe model kiddie coaster designed and built by E&F Miler Industries. Dubbed Boa Squeeze, the ride featured a jungle theme. With a maximum height of 11 feet, a drop of 10 feet, and a 10 passenger train roomy enough for mom or dad to ride with a young one.

The track is painted green, as are the surrounding walls and floors and the train resembles a snake.

Boa Squeeze sat at the very back of the park, this location made the ride visible from both levels of the mall. For two bucks riders got to experience two laps on the 1 minute and eight second ride.

Unfortunately, Wonderland Park and the mall struggled. The mall was revamped and renamed Cincinnati Mills in 2004 as primarily an outlet mall. By 2008, many of the outlets had gone out of business and Wonderland was causality as well, closing their doors in March of that year.

Boa Squeeze was sold and relocated to Enchanted Forest in Utica IL. Opening in 2010 the coaster is still thrilling enthusiasts young and old today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dare Devil Dive: Complete

© Six Flags Over Georgia

Holy moly, that was fast!  Seems like I was just posting that the lift hill of Dare Devil Dive was complete and now the entire course is done.

Six Flags posted a couple photos of the now completed twist of yellow and red steel that is the ride on their Facebook, and promise an opening day will be revealed in the near future.  The coaster features a beyond vertical first drop from a lift hill of 95 feet, and 2,099 feet of track. 

Spring Break Fun At Six Flags America

Tis' the season for parks to open, including Six Flags America, which will open for the 2011 season on April 16th with the start of 10 days of "sensational Spring Break excitement."

Guests who bring six non-perishable food items to the park on April 23rd and 24th can get in for just $20.11!  The food benefits the United Communities Against Poverty, so the cheap tickets are for a great reason!  Additionally, the park is offering $19.00 tickets for military members and their families from the 16th though the 25th - and having ice cream socials for them as well!

The Spring Break period also includes activities such as the Battle of the Bands, sponsored by the park and local radio stations.  Each day local bands will compete, and on April 23rd a grand prize winner will be announced - earning an opening act spot at one of the park's Main Stage concerts this summer.

The Stride-A-Thon will see guests take on Roar each day during a marathon ride competition.  Starting on the 18th, daily registrants will see how long they can last while riding the wooden coaster.  Each day the winning rider will receive a Premium Flash Pass for use at the park on a future visit.

Blundering Buccaneers, the park's unique stunt show, will also premier on April 16th.  Six Flags America is one of a few parks that still feature a daily stunt show.

Sounds like an exciting way for the park to kick off the season!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Canada's Wonderland Glows With Starlight Spectacular

In addition to the previously announced WindSeeker thrill ride, Canada's Wonderland will also debut the Starlight Spectacular this summer.

The theme park, "celebrates its 30th birthday this summer with Starlight Spectacular, a million dollar light and sound experience. This innovative show will dazzle the senses when the fountain dances in up to 16,000,000 colors and International Street glitters with 300,000 LED lights. The highlight of the show is an unprecedented display of animated effects and 3D images which will transform Wonder Mountain to a spectacular canvas of colors."

So where's Snoopy?  He won't be involved in this version, though it does sound quite different than other light shows Cedar Fair has done.  First, it's contained to the park's entry area, not a tree lined path like at other parks.  It also has significantly less lights than other displays, but seems to focus more on fancy light projections on Wonder Mountain and in the fountains.

Could we see these slimmed down versions of the nighttime displays come to other parks in the future?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Aerial Antics: The Texas Giant

The New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas will open on April 22nd, 2011 - but before you head out to take a spin, let's look at the ride - old vs. new.

The original Texas Giant opened in 1990, and is seen above in its original version.  Designed by Curtis Summers and built by Dinn Corporation, the $5.5 million coaster opened with the tallest lift on a wooden coaster in the world.

Fast forward to 2011, and the New Texas Giant has been born.  The ride is now a steel/wood coaster hybrid, with a taller lift hill and an amazing steep 79 degree first drop.  As you can see the ride's course generally is the same, only with much more extreme hills and banking.

Watch for a full Six Flags Over Texas Aerial Antics soon, and you can fly over the park using this link.

Wild Adventures Reveals Huge Waterpark Expansion

Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, GA is unveiling the largest expansion in the waterpark's history. $4 million will be invested in two new family raft slides, Hakini Rapids and Kona Cliffs, as well as nine new VIP cabanas.

According to this news article, Hakini Rapids will follow a longer twisting course, and Kona Cliffs will take riders on three drops with loads of airtime. The VIP cabanas will even be super decked-out with flat-screen TV's!

The park expects to open these new attractions on Sunday, April 3rd.

"Four Decades Of Magic" Book Giveaway!

NewsPlusNotes loves giving things away!  We especially love giving away great things!

In honor of Scott & Carol's involvement in Four Decades of Magic - Celebrating the First Forty Years of Disney World we're giving away a signed copy to one lucky reader.

The book is a collection of essays detailing just about every aspect of Walt Disney World imaginable.  Resort Hotels, never built rides, attraction histories, parades, shopping, restaurants... the list goes on!  A number of authors contributed essays, many of which write for different websites.  The book was complied by Chad Denver Emerson and features a foreword by Jim Hill.

I've already devoured my copy, and thoroughly enjoyed learning plenty I never knew about the resort.  Scott & Carol's essay covers a long favorite topic of mine - the never built Beastly Kingdom section of Animal Kingdom.  If you simply must get your hands on a copy now (which I would understand), you can contact Scott and Carol directly.

But now for that contest!  We're keeping things simple, but still fun.  Below are five images either of or taken in attractions found in the four theme parks of Walt Disney World.  Simply e-mail what the five attractions are, and you could win.  A winner will be randomly selected from all correct submissions.

Simple, right?  Now here are the five images:

Image #1:

Image #2:

Image #3:

Image #4:

Image #5:

Now that you've seen the images, send me an [contest is over] with your five answers.  In addition to your answers, please include your name and a preferred e-mail address where you can be reached should you happen to be our lucky winner. (Names and e-mail addresses will not be used for any purpose other than this contest.) Only one entry will be accepted per person. If you submit multiple entries, only the first entry we receive will be evaluated.  I will be accepting submissions until Saturday, April 2nd 2011 at 11:59 p.m. EST.  A winner will be announced Monday, April 4th.

Many thanks to Ayefour Publishing for making the contest possible.  Happy reading and good luck to all!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Skycoaster Now Soaring At Wet'n'Wild

Earlier this month the latest Skycoaster attraction opened at Australia's Wet'n'Wild park.  The attraction was designed for its location, which including being able to withstand typhoon-force winds.  The Skycoaster is located near the park's wave pool, and stands 180 feet tall.

There are currently over 75 Skycoasters located on six different continents.  Skycoaster is part of Ride Entertainment Group.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Scott And Carol Present - Barnstorming Dollywood

Dolly Parton visited her home park today to show off the new addition, Barnstormer. Dressed in the latest from “Frederick’s of Dollywood,” she reminisced back to earlier days when her mother’s people were farmers. The new area is themed after the Owens Farm. Back in the day area farms with large pastures hosted impromptu air shows where biplanes would land, perform stunts, and give rides.

Dolly sang some songs and publicly thanked her Uncle Bill Owens, who first took her around to singing events with him.

Dolly also took some questions from the media. When asked whether she was prouder of the success of Dollywood giving an economic boost to the region or her Imagination Library providing free book to young children, Dolly replied, “I'm proud of everything we can do to help people. We have raised lots of money for good causes. We recently shipped our 30 millionth book through the Imagination Library. You can never provide too many books to children.”

Riders on Barnstormer reach speeds of 45 mph, comparable to the old biplanes swinging back and forth through a partially destroyed barn, as barnstormer once flew their planes through barns during those impromptu air shows. Riders must be 48 inches tall and Barnstormer handles 32 per ride cycle.

On the downswing, the riders feel about 4 gs before rising back above the 81 foot high centerline of the ride. So how do they power this contraption? For that information we turned the maintenance department. They gave us a peek at the power system.

Two 300 horsepower air compressors provide all the energy needed using clean pure air pumped up to 95 PSI. They told us the system uses more high volume instead of high pressure. A modulation valve slows the electric motors speed as the pressure rises allowing the whole system to be more energy efficient. They also talked about how pleased they were with how well designed and built the system is. The ride package is by S & S Power Systems. A nice feature is the air dryer which keeps the compressors running at maximum efficiency keeping the new ride as green as possible.

But the only way to experience the thrill is to ride it for yourself. Dolly says “I’m not getting on it no matter what you say. If it is a great ride I will just have to take your word for it. I won’t ride it because I lose stuff.” In conclusion, all we can say is don’t be a Dolly, be a daredevil instead. See you in line.

Castles N' Coasters Builds Sky Wire

Phoenix, Arizona will be getting a new thrill later this spring with the arrival of Sky Wire, a large zip-line complex at Castles N' Coasters. Where space is at a premium, the park is seeking to build vertically.

Sky Wire's zip line is 600 feet long, and the ride is estimated to last about 10 minutes. In addition, the park is adding a rope climbing course, about 290 feet each way. This season's new additions seem to complement the park's family-friendly atmosphere very well, and I'm hoping to seeing more of these pop up around the country.

Read the full story here.

Gardaland's Raptor Almost Ready For Flight

The latest creation from B&M, a wing-rider style coaster named Raptor at Gardaland, is gearing up for an April 1st opening - no joke!  The new coaster's theming is coming along well, and is said to include six different near-miss elements.

Also of note is that this is the first significant restraint change for B&M in some time.  The seats on Raptor look like they will provide riders with a much larger field of vision.  I just hope they are as comfortable as the previous versions!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Blast From The Past - Disney's California Screamin'

Construction of the largest wienie on the Disney’s California Adventure property, a boardwalk themed roller coaster in the Paradise Pier section of the park began way back in 1998. Designed by Walt Disney Imagineering and Ing.-Büro Stengel GmbH, and built by Intamin AG the ride, paying homage to the 1965 Mamas & the Papa's hit California Dreamin'," was dubbed California Screamin'.

This steel massive coaster has the look of a classic 1930s wooden coaster, with most of the steel actually for being for show, instead of support. With 6,702 feet of track, California Screamin' is the second longest steel roller coaster in the US. 11,500,000 pounds of concrete were used on the footers, with the deepest being 48 feet deep. 36 miles of electrical wire, 167 miles of conductors and 5,800,000 pounds of steel were used in the construction.

Because Disney California Adventure is located within a residential zone and the city has sound restrictions special "scream" tubes were designed for California Screamin' to prevent all the yelling, during the most thrilling parts of the ride, from being blasted across Anaheim. California Screamin’ is a very magnetic coaster; the Linear Induction Motors launch uses 33 electromagnets which propel the coaster up the hill. Some of the brakes are magnetic, as are some of the boosters. The second drop is higher than the first, and uses... you guessed it... more magnets to push the train up the hill.

With a launch accelerating the trains from zero to 55 miles per hour in four seconds California Screamin’ is one of Disney's fastest attractions. And, like Space Mountain and Rock 'n' Roller Coaster the roller coaster is set to music. There are 12 brake zones and each of those zones has its own music track, with those tracks overlapping each other to keep the music smooth even with different weights or trains.

Speaking of brakes the ride uses side-mounted friction brakes on all its brake runs, rather than mounting the brakes on the track. In addition to this, there are LIM boosters all over the course of the ride, in the station, near most brake zones; after the loop, before the bunny hops and before the switch track back to the stations. This is to ensure that the trains are always traveling the correct speed and can be slowed or boosted accordingly.

Disney often has soft openings for their attraction and California Screamin’ was no exception, quietly opening in December of 2000, to iron out some of the bugs, before its spectacular opening on February 1st 2001. With 7 trains, one dispatching every 36 seconds, this 2:34 ride is a people eater. Trains are dispatched from either of two loading zones, which merge at a track switch. After the switch, the track banks left and stops on a flat section of track just above water level on Paradise Pier

In 2008 the iconic Mickey ears that were strategically place on the hill behind the loop were removed, the large circle became the sun with a LED Paradise Pier sign arched above it. It was a bit sad to see the “ears” go, photos of California Screamin’s loop were used in brochures, planning videos and TV shows. Many considered it one of Disney California Adventure’s major landmarks.