Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekly Rewind 3.31.12

Congratulations to both Europa Park and Great Coasters International on the official opening of Wodnan!  Check out a point of view video of the ride and prepare to drool.

Another new coaster has started to go up, though it'll be a long time until it opens.  See photos of the Magic Kingdom's new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster going vertical!

It is not a big new ride, in fact it's the opposite of thrilling, but Legoland Florida's new Fresh From Florida Greenhouse looks like fun.  Plenty of educational fun mixed with Lego models and more.

It's the time of year when parks start to open, and today marks the opening of Carowinds.  That means their new ride, WindSeeker, is open to the public

Ding Ding!  Here comes the trolley - specifically the Red Car Trolley that will open with the all new Disney California Adventure this Summer.  Check out some testing photos from Disney Parks.

Dinos, Dinos everywhere!  Cedar Point is finishing up Dinosaurs Alive! so the attraction is ready to open with the park.  Here's some video and photos if you're interested in a preview look.

Lagoon has announced that this year's new ride is Air Race, a ride provided by Zamperla.  To my knowledge this will only be the second of its kind in the world!

The more theming that is applied to Sea World San Diego's Manta coaster, the more interested I am in the project.  The press recently got a tour of the ride's aquarium and other facilities, which means new views of the ride's progress.

Expansion continues at Phoenix's Wet 'n' Wild with the addition of Wet 'n' Wild Jr., a new kids play area that will feature small versions of the park's most popular attractions.  A great idea!

This photo is really cool - it is of the underwater portion of Sea World San Antonio's new Stingray Falls waterslide, a part of the all new Aquatica water park.  The park is sharing more cool photos as the opening draws near.

It has been a while since we've heard from Six Flags St. Louis, which is adding a new slide tower named Bonzai Pipeline - but now they've uploaded some construction photos for us.

Finally, Screamscape posted some photos of some shiny new green Bolliger and Mabillard Wing Coaster track at the fabrication plant.  Where oh where will it be headed?!

Friday, March 30, 2012

SkyScreamer Up at Six Flags Fiesta Texas

 © Six Flags Fiesta Texas

Quite a departure from the color scheme used on last year's round of SkyScreamers, eh?  Still, this bold yellow, black, and white look for the attraction at Six Flags Fiesta Texas is already standing out among the park's other towering rides.

 © Six Flags Fiesta Texas

When SkyScreamer opens to park guests they will be able to swing around on the 200 foot tall ride at 40 miles per hour in two seat chairs suspended from the main tower.

To see more photos of the construction of the new ride, check out this link.

The Wooden Warrior is a Winner

Quassy Amusement Park has come out on top in's annual Reader's Choice Awards, with the Wooden Warrior taking the number one spot in the Best New Roller Coaster of 2011 category.

The poll, which is in its 5th year, allows readers of to select their favorites in many categories, including amusement parks and rides.

 “We’re extremely delighted by this accolade,” said Quassy President Eric Anderson. “The ‘Wooden Warrior’ is an exceptional ride for its size and we’ve been told that time and again by our guests – including many coaster enthusiasts who have visited from throughout the world.”

The coaster was delivered by the Gravity Group, which has quickly become an acclaimed manufacturer of wooden coasters.  The mid-sized Wooden Warrior was a perfect match for the scale of Quassy Amusement Park.

The Wooden Warrior gave an estimated 200,000 rides in its first season, and is one of the most popular attractions at the park.

Quassy Amusement Park will open for the 2012 season on April 28th.  This year the Crazy Cups have been added, a twirling and spinning family tea cup ride.

Wild Waves Announces Two New Rides

Visitors to Washington's Wild Waves theme park will find two new attractions when they visit this Summer.  The theme park previously announced that Holiday with Lights will return this Winter, not having been seen at the park since 2004.

For guests not wanting to wait till then for a new attraction, the park will be adding both a new ride and a new pay-extra attraction for the busy Summer season.

The Soaring Eagle Zip Line attraction will take passengers across a 700 foot flight above the park.  The cars will be able to seat up to two people at a time, but riders can choose to go it alone as well.  There will be an extra $10 fee for the Soaring Eagle.

It looks like this will be provided by the company that former S&S Worldwide owner Stan Checketts has set up, Soaring Eagle Ziplines.

The second attraction is even more unique, Downhill Tube'n is a simulated snow rafting course.  No snow or even water is needed or guests to head down the slope.

According to the park this will be provided by Neveplast, a company that has made several of these style of rides in the past.  From a video on their website it looks like you can get some nice speed depending on the course!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Holiday World's Mammoth Project Nearly Complete

This winter saw the building of a Mammoth new attraction at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari - literally.  The park's latest attraction, Mammoth, will be the world's longest water coaster when it opens in May and fans everywhere are waiting to get in line.

In this recent news story the park is happy to report that Mammoth is actually ahead of schedule, and that testing is slated to start quite soon.  The attraction has also come in on budget, something that's key for parks from a business perspective.

The water coaster will use hydromagnetic technology to send rafts up the lift hill, and guest will have two raft styles to choose from.  One will be a six person circular raft, the other an eight person toboggan style raft.  These large capacity boats will allow for an estimated 1,100 people to experience Mammoth per hour - significantly more rides per hour than a slew of major coasters at large theme parks around the country.

When Mammoth opens it will take the record for longest water coaster from it's in-park sibling, Wildebeest, which opened in 2010.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Darien Lake's 2012 Improvements Announced

Darien Lake has announced a lineup of new rides, attractions, and other improvements for the park's 2012 season.

Headlining the additions is a new themed section of the park, Rowdy's Ridge.  The area will contain three new rides as well as some existing attractions that will be renamed.  The entire area is aimed at families, providing experiences that are not too mild or too wild.

Located on the West side of the park, Rowdy's Ridge will take up home in an area near the park's river rapids ride, Grizzly Run.  Two existing rides will be renamed and become a part of the area; Dodgems will become Raccoon Rally and the Brain Teaser kiddie coaster will be called Hoot N Holler.

The three brand new rides will give a bit of something for everyone.  The smallest is Rowdy's Heave Ho, a Heege tower ride where guests are able to pull their car to the top, then gently fall back down to the ground.

Photo © Darien Lake

Seen above already in place at the park is the Hornet's Nest, a Larson Flying Scooter ride.  Loved by many park fans, the swing style ride allows riders to use fins on the car to control their own swinging motion.

A ride being described as unique to Darien Lake is the third addition, known as Moose on the Loose, where you ride on the back of a moose through a bear camp along a gentle track.

This is a 2012 preview video that the park has released which shows off some of the other additions, including 7 new live shows, expanded camp and resort facilities, and overall improvements to guest comfort.  In all the park will see $5 million spent for the expansion.

Darien Lake is currently managed by Herschend Family Entertainment, who's other properties include Dollywood and Silver Dollar City.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Wodan: Timbur Coaster Previews to Europa Park Guests

Europa Park's Wodan: Timbur Coaster opened to guests of the German theme park for a preview recently.  That means that a bunch of very lucky people have already been able to take a spin on the ride, and for that I'll openly admit I am jealous.

The ride really looks like a creation that's to be jealous of however, you see Wodan tears around the track delighting rides as it goes - passing under and over neighboring rides all the while.  And while I've mentioned it before, the theming (as expected form Europa Park) is top notch. Even the trains, a set of Great Coasters International Millennium Flyers, take on a unique theme and look for the ride.

Enough blathering about the ride, just head over to this video on YouTube to see what I'm talking about.

Nemesis Sub-Terra Opens at Alton Towers

Along with a thick layer of hype, England's Alton Towers has finally opened their latest top-secret attraction, Nemesis Sub-Terra.

The park stringently withheld details of the new ride during the winter months, only spinning a story for the ride that parallels that of the park's (arguably) star attraction, the B&M inverted coaster Nemesis.  Unfortunately now that the ride is open it doesn't seem as though the back-story is any more clear.  Unlike the highly loved and rated Nemesis coaster, Nemesis Sub-Terra is receiving some disappointing reviews.

It is not all bad, though, if you consider the main stream news sources which have published positive or factual-only stories about the ride.  It seems the major complaint so far from those who experienced Nemesis Sub-Terra is that it is short, providing a rather brief ride after a potentially long line with much hype.

The ride is actually an indoor freefall experience, only the freefall is not very large, and in many opinions under utilized.  There's some special effects, a lot of darkness, and a booming audio track that's all supposed to come together to induce some real fear in riders, only they all seem to be leaving feeling rather flat.

The bright side is that massive, twisted coaster that the park has planned for next year.  That will serve as a nice way for the park to make amends with fans, I'm sure.

A Spin on Leviathan and Other Updates

As the opening of Leviathan at Canada's Wonderland creeps closer and closer the park is sharing more about the ride with eager fans.  Take for instance the above POV of the coaster that was recently released.  Gotta love that loud B&M roar!

CWMania also recently visited the park for another update, showing off the station as well as some test runs.  Leviathan is really flying through the first turn element, and looks to hold its speed well along the remainder of the course.

Check out their video update at this link.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Scott and Carol Present - Wild Eagle Soars into Dollywood

On Friday May 23rd News Plus Notes provided our readers overage from Dollywood's Wild Eagle media event. However, due to the inclement weather we were unable to capture Wild Eagle photos without dark & gloomy skies. At NPN we are dedicated to bringing you the very best quality news and photos, so we made the ultimate sacrifice and returned to Dollywood on Saturday May 24th, with hope the weather would improve. While it was overcast part of the day and eventually rained, we were rewarded with a brief window of sunshine!

Another trainload of excited riders rolls out of the station towards the lift hill.

The width of the cars makes the train appear shorted as it climbs the lift hill. It moves very fast and this feature helps keep the lines of guest constantly in motion. The crew is rapidly gaining experience and many times the train slowly rolls into the station instead of being stuck in the ready position.

Here you can see the crest of the hill above the trees. The whole ride is on top of the mountain and the low parts are hidden from view to guests on the midway. This is the tallest ride in the park.

Here the skies started getting cloudy again but you can see how much of the coaster is near to the ground which increases the perception of speed. There are lots of foot draggers, that result in yelps as riders jerk their feet away from perceived danger.

This perspective from the side of the first drop shows that the train is really a long one, thus making the ride sensation noticeably different from the from front to the back.

While eagles are not commonly observed performing loops, unless during pairing rituals, if they knew how much fun they were, they would probably do them more often!

Guests won't be able to see this view for long, because the trees are already beginning to bud and soon will hide more of the bottom of the loop from the people on the midway.

This zero-G roll is actually located a ways behind Mystery Mine, but it might soon become the signature feature of the ride, because riders float weightlessly as they roll clockwise and dive down into the trees.

Heading back towards the station, the trains swoop around the trees. The difference from either side of the trains is striking, but there are many "close encounters" along the way no matter where you ride.

A nice pop of airtime, again heading towards the station on the camel back. You can see the pullout from the first drop into the loop on the left, with the entry and exit to the inclined Immelmann.

This view of the Giant Flat Spin demonstrates how different the ride will be on either side of the trains. Down below on the left side as you face the front, riders will see less sky and more earth, with the opposite on the other side.

As you can see Wild Eagle towering above River Battle, it is hard to imagine that the height requirement is only 50" for this new ride, one of the lowest for any of Bolliger and Mabillard's creations. This is an important feature for Dollywood, which has the mission statement of "Creating family memories worth repeating." Installing a state of the art roller coaster inclusive of more family members lives up to that mission.

Here is a shot of Challenger, who flew at the media day on Friday. Named in honor of the lost space shuttle crew, he has been bringing the awareness and pride to Americans everywhere since 1991. He is the eagle you see flying at the Super Bowl, and many other patriotic events. The crowd fell silent as he circled above the station. One has to wonder what he thought of that giant Bald Eagle statue by the entrance.

Many thanks to Pete Owens, who arranged the opportunity for us to bring you some better pictures of Wild Eagle.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Hurricane to Blow Away from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

While it's always (or at least usually) a bit sad to see a roller coaster leave a park, it's always easier to take when news of a replacement coaster is already on the table.  Such is the situation at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which has announced that the Hurricane, the park's 1992 S.D.C. steel roller coaster, is for sale.

Not to worry, though, as the park is also already saying that they're planning a replacement coaster for 2013.  No details have been published, but some comments made by the park seem to imply that it'll fit in perfect with the Boardwalk atmosphere.

There's quite a market for compact steel coasters right now, so the possibilities for the new coaster are vast.  Everything from a spinning mouse style ride, to a compact Euro-Fighter could call the park home. 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk says they will announce their plans for the new ride later this Summer.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

OzIris Looking Good in France

© Parc Asterix

If the French cartoon Asterix had something along the lines of OzIris in it I may have been more inclined to pay attention in French class.  Alas, it did not, and even though I've retained very little of the language over the years I can still be confident in saying that the ride looks great.

Parc Asterix has shared a gallery of the just-about-complete ride, including the awesome dive below ground level seen above.  It's not the biggest or baddest of the B&M inverted coasters, but it looks like it may pack a bit of a punch at some spots, plus it has beautiful theming.

Also of note is that this is B&M's first inverted coaster to be built (not moved) since Phaethon opened in 2007.  This means that OzIris is the first inverted ride to not have the post-lift bump that was always found on B&M coasters!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Scott and Carol Present - Dollywood's Wild Eagle Takes Flight!

Dolly Parton started the show under a dreary day with clouds threatening to pour rain on the crowd assembled for the opening of Wild Eagle, Dollywood’s new $20 million ride.

Dolly stated “I’m not riding because you don’t want to see what a bald eagle really looks like when I lose my hair.” For those not familiar with Dolly, she doesn’t ride much of anything.

An auction for the honor of riding the first official train raised $36,000 for the American Eagle Foundation. The Foundation hatches eaglets for release into the wild and operates largest sanctuary for releaseable eagles in the world.

Here is the inaugural riders leaving the station, their cheers traveled across the midway to Adventure Mountain.

Eric Berra, Head of Mechanical Construction for Bolliger & Mabillard, said he really likes how Wild Eagle soars above the park and uses the natural terrain on top of the hill. Most of the roller coaster is hidden behind the trees.

Eric was also proud of the “restraint assist” they developed for physically challenged riders. It helps to keep their legs in a more comfortable position as they encounter the four inversions and other features of Wild Eagle.

Here's a fish-eye view of the roller coaster from the base of Adventure Mountain.

Joel Manby, of Undercover Boss fame, was in attendance. He hopes “This ride should help raise Dollywood to the level of a national resort destination.” He also said “A good coaster always leaves you wanting more and we think Wild Eagle is a really good coaster.”

As a “wienie” that makes the trek up the mountain worthwhile, this sculpture is a tribute to the American Spirit and Joel says “Our company is founded upon traditional American values."

The station contains beautiful artwork and a series of 3 flat screens that show the animation of the ride as well as ride trivia. Best of all, it is shaded and contains a parent swap area.

Craig Ross, Dollywood Vice President & General Manager, said he likes how the coaster is “dramatically different in every seat.” He continues, “the station is designed to be state of the art, guests in wheel chairs can pull up right next to their seat for an easy transfer, and the new seats are easier for them to enter and egress. This speaks to priority to make our park as inclusive as possible for all members of our guests’ families."

With the opening ceremonies done it was time to ride and unfortunately time to rain. While the rain didn't stop guests from riding Wild Eagle, it did hamper our efforts to take the quality photos our readers deserve. As such we will return to Dollywood tomorrow, with camera in hand and the hopes of better weather.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mr. Freeze Reverse Blasts into Two Six Flags Parks

Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis have announced that this year their Mr. Freeze coasters will take on a new direction, that is to say instead of launching riders forward through the track followed by a backwards run, the train will be turned around for a "reverse blast."

During the experience "riders will travel backwards through a 190-foot tunnel, into a 180-degree inversion before climbing more than 200-feet in the air where they will find themselves suspended, dangling in the air, before repeating the entire chilling experience."  The reversing of the train means that the plummet down the tower that serves as the ride's mid-point will be face-first, adding and extra thrill.

Both coasters "will maintain the original Mr. Freeze theme, patterned after Batman's cold-hearted arch rival in the DC Comics Batman series. The adventure begins with a chilling walk through "Snowy's Cones," an old abandoned ice cream warehouse that secretly doubles as the favorite hideout of this "Villain of Chillin." Riders strap into one of the 20-passenger seats and take off on the reverse ride-of-a-lifetime, covering nearly 1,500-feet of track at spine-chilling speeds of up to 70 mph—making it the fastest reverse roller coaster ride in Texas and Missouri."

Both rides opened in their respective parks in 1998, and were created by Premier Rides.  The Reverse Blast versions are both scheduled for a May, 2012 debut.