Saturday, December 31, 2011

NPN's Look Back At 2011

Another year bites the dust... can you believe it?  I almost can't, but with such an exciting 2012 ahead of us I'm willing to plunge ahead full speed!  Before we get there, let's stop on this last day of the year and look back at the year ending.

An awful lot happened in 2011, as is true of each year.  Instead of trying to recap the whole year I'm going to select a handful of stories from each month from NPN's archives, and editor's choice of sorts.  Get in your time machine and let's get going!

History has always been an integral park of NewsPlusNotes' focus, and directly along those lines comes January's article.  Part of Scott & Carol's Blast From The Past series, this story took a look back at the rise and fall of the Idora Park Wildcat.  Designed by Herbert Schmeck and built by PTC, the ride is now only a memory - but one we can relive through this story.

After many rumors and whispers, February brought the arrival of Invertigo trains from California's Great America to Dorney Park.  This went hand in hand with rumors regarding the fate of CGA, which seem to have been resolved as I write this.

Now firmly one of my favorite parks around after finally visiting this year, Dollywood opened their new attraction Barnstormer in March, and Scott & Carol were there to check it out.  The ride ended up being a nice prelude to next year's mega-attraction, Wild Eagle.

One of my favorite months, April, always marks the start of many parks' seasons and also the final test and adjust phase of many new rides.  Such was true with the Wooden Warrior, Quassy's medium size wooden coaster.  The ride proved to be a hit for the park, and who doesn't love a Gravity Group ride?

Not only did NewsPlusNotes hit a million unique visitors in the month of May, but a lot of parks also opened new rides!  NPN was there for several of them, including Great Adventure's Green Lantern, Discovery Kingdom's SkyScreamer, Busch Gardens Tampa's Cheetah Hunt, and Wild Adventures' Buzzsaw Falls.  Busy month!

Sunny June was a good month for taking to the skies at Cedar Fair parks.  Both Cedar Point, Canada's Wonderland, and Kings Island opened their new WindSeeker family thrill rides this month, though Knott's Berry Farm had to wait a while longer.

July isn't a month that most think of Halloween, but the spooky Raven was on Scott & Carol's mind when they featured Holiday World's famous coaster in their Blast series.  The column featured a great look at the design of the ride all the way to opening!  Plus, visits from NPN to both Coney Island and to see the Zippin Pippin were on the schedule.

Even though the Summer wasn't over, it has become a tradition for parks to start announcing new rides in August.  This year was no different.  Mammoth, Skyrush, Leviathan, and Stinger were just a few of the announcements we saw.  And did I mention I finally got to check Dollywood off my bucket list this year?

With Summer slowly starting to fade, the rash of park announcements continued into September.  One of the most exciting was Wild Eagle, but Six Flags also made one heck of a massive set of announcements as well.  I took a long look at Six Flags Over Georgia, and the industry also said goodbye to legend Ron Toomer, who passed away at the age of 81.

Halloween has fully infiltrated the amusement industry, forever changing what the month of October holds for fans.  This past year we were able to visit several haunts, at each of which we had a good scare or two.

The wind picks up and things get a bit chilly in November, but it's also a big construction month.  New rides seem to pop up earlier and earlier each year, as seen with both Stinger and Wild Eagle.  IAAPA is also held this month, where the industry elite meet and more importantly, buy! 

Ho, ho, ho, December seems like it just happened, perhaps because it did!  Still, our stories continued on through the cold, such as our interview with Rick Bastrup.  Universal parks made big announcements on both coasts, with the retirement of Jaws in Florida, and a certain Mr. Potter heading West in a few years time.

I'd like to thank all our readers for sticking with us in 2011, and we hope you have a fun and safe New Year's!  2012 is shaping up to be a remarkable year - we'll see you there!