Sunday, September 30, 2012

More on This Year's Cedar Fair Hauntings

Halloween Haunt is now up and running at almost all of the Cedar Fair parks not covered by us previously.  Here's what to expect at this year's scare-fests!

The king of Halloween, Knott's Berry Farm, is celebrating its amazing 40th anniversary of Halloween Haunt this year, with plenty to scream about.  Trapped, an extra charge maze, forces guests to figure out how to escape the haunt on their own.  Other new mazes include Dominion of the Dead, Trick-or-Treat, Pinocchio Unstrung and Evil Dead.  Fun!

The Haunt at Kings Island is back and making lemonade out of lemons.  Having to close their ride, The Crypt, was a bummer, but it gave them quite an awesome place for a haunt.  They did just that with Madame Fatale's Cavern of Terror, a museum of wax figures and oddities that's sure to change visitors forever.

ValleyScare has returned this year with a new addition to the park's line-up of nine different scary attractions.  Abnormal Alley is filled with some of the freakiest folks you'll find anywhere, including those who have succumbed to their twisted and deranged nature.

The Haunt at California's Great America has really grown over the past few years, and in 2012 it will offer guests seven different mazes and three scare zones.  This year Madame Marie's Massacre Mansion is the hot new haunt.  Turns out that Madame Marie has mastered Voodoo, and there's a lot of evil lurking in her mansion.  Sounds like a cool theme!

How do ten mazes and six different scare zones sound to you?  If you said it sounds like fun, then the Haunt at Kings Dominion is perfect for you.  This year you can run for your life in the new scare zone Primevil: The Kuru Curse, or check in for good at No Vacancy, a new hotel themed maze.

Our final Cedar Fair Haunt isn't opening until next weekend, and that's at Canada's Wonderland.  Zombie lovers will be excited to try out Streets of the Undead, a world where hope, and pretty much everyone else, is dead.  Also new this year is Iron Empire, a steampunk themed haunt where rebels fight for their freedom.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Dolly Parton Out of Nashville Water/Snow Park Project

Dolly Parton has dropped out of a plan to create a water and snow park in Nashville, TN, a $50 million project that would have been build adjacent to the Opryland Resort & Convention Center.

The owner of the Opryland Resort, Gaylord Entertainment, recently had a restructuring approved by shareholders that will see the company emerge as a real estate trust, and the sale of their resort properties, including Opryland, to the Marriott Group.

The original plans for the water park and season snow park called for a 50/50 ownership between Gaylord and Dollywood Company.  With Gaylord radically changing their purpose, Dolly felt it was best to pull out of the deal.

“Gaylord makes decisions that they feel are good for their company and their stockholders, and I have to make decisions based on what is best for me and the Dollywood Company.  I think everyone knows I love Nashville, and I hope the work we’ve already done will spark more family entertainment in Nashville.”

Gaylord Entertainment, which will soon become Ryman Hospitality Properties Inc., says it is planning on finding another partner to move the project forward.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Shockwave's Fresh New Look

© Baynum Painting
One of Anton Schwarzkopf's most famous roller coasters, Shock Wave at Six Flags Over Texas, is currently receiving a fresh new paint job - and it's looking really good already!

Baynum Painting, a company that specializes in painting thrill rides across the country, is currently on site giving Shock Wave a fresh look.  Seen above are the ride's signature double loops sporting some brilliant green paint.  The contrast to the old paint is striking, no?

After checking out Baynum's blog a little further, I noticed this video showcasing some of the rides they've painted:

Pretty cool!  Many of the most popular rides we know and love have at one time or another been painted by the company.  It looks like Six Flags uses them pretty exclusively for work. 

They are also reporting that they're moving on to Six Flags Over Texas' La Vibora next, which is a snake themed bobsled coaster.

Outlaw Run's Track Complete!

© Silver Dollar City
Silver Dollar City has shared the exciting news with fans that they've placed the final track pieces on Outlaw Run, the park's extreme new wooden roller coaster.

With track now completed, the park will focus on finishing items such as permanently securing bolts and adding additional support structure.

© Silver Dollar City
The milestone of track completion also means that testing will be on the horizon, something we're all anxiously awaiting.

Outlaw Run features 2,937 feet of track, three inversions, and several other highly banked turns - exactly like those seen in the photos above.  The $10 million ride has a planned Spring 2013 opening.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wild Adventures Will Have Guests Spinning in 2013

Valdosta, Georgia's Wild Adventures Theme Park has announced two ride additions for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new thrill machine, Tail Spin.

Described by the park as "a rocking and spinning ride on a half-pipe that will take families more than four stories high while facing outward on a motorcycle-like seat," guests are certainly going to be taking a spin in 2013!
© Wild Adventures
The ride appears to be a Zamperla Mega Disk'O, a popular family thrill ride already with a great track record at many other parks.  The motorcycle style seats put riders facing outward as the ride spins, and gives a great sense of freedom while still feeling secure and snug. 

The theme park will also add a new attraction that smaller guests will love, the Wacky Wheels.  A teacup style ride, Wacky Wheels will serve as an alternative for those who don't quite reach Tail Spin's 48 inch height requirement.

In 2012 Wild Adventures focused on beefing up the comfort factor of the park, including new paint on rides, new lounging areas, renovated food stands and other amenities such as new restrooms and live entertainment.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Knott's Has a Brand New Skyline

The removal of Perilous Plunge has dramatically changed the view along the Boardwalk section of Knott's Berry Farm, as seen in this photo tweeted by the park:

© Knott's Berry Farm
The removal of the Plunge was swift and harsh - the ride most certainly will not be appearing anywhere in the future except perhaps a recycling plant.  The new Boardwalk skyline is once again quite open, at least for now - just the tall palm trees mark the edge of the park.

While the photos are from last week, Westcoaster has a nice update that shows just how merciless the park was when removing the ride.  Rumors from a news story say that the ride's lagoon will remain, but no official confirmation has come from the park.  If you read the unofficial chatter on what will eventually fill the space it sounds like anything from a flat ride to a mega coaster. 

Hopefully their announce their plans for the space soon!

Exciting Expansions in Waldameer's Future

We just reported on Waldameer Amusement Park's 2013 expansion plans recently, but now we have even more exciting news to cover about the future of the Erie, PA park.

A local news story has detailed the park's plan to spend $20 million expanding over the next ten years, something they will be able to do due to the purchase of more than seven acres of land surrounding the current property.

Waldameer has been a bit blocked in their desire to grow by the need to conserve all current parking areas.  But now all that has changed.  Here's a map to help see what they've gained:

First, the red section is a large area that the park has purchased.  It consists of The Inn at Presque Isle, which the park will operate for now, a small trailer park which sounds like it will eventually go, and some cabins that will immediately go.

The larger red area with green lines is slated for possible purchase in the future by the park.

The orientation of the new land is great, it would allow the park to push the parking lots outward and expand the park proper into the current parking area.

An item that the park has already outlined their desire to build is in blue, and that's a wave pool.  I know the park has wanted one for ages, but the space was the issue.  I totally guessed at the orientation, but from the article it sounds like it'll go in the general area I placed it.  A children's water play are will also be added there.

The yellow square is property the park already owns, which is down a steep hill and is lakefront property, and will use an inclined railway to connect to the park proper.  The area will include "among other attractions, the incline railway, another water ride, a family ride, a restaurant and a picnic area."  Swimming probably won't be included in the area, but it is going to be quite beautiful, no doubt!

Though it has been a few years since I visited Waldameer, it was a great traditional park.  I can only imagine what other rides and attractions the owners will add as time goes by.  Exciting news!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Scott and Carol Present Worlds of Fun's Haunt Part 2

Last Thursday our story on Worlds of Fun’s Haunt highlighted the parks newest haunt Zombie High. Part two tells the rest of the story.

While the haunts and mazes looks great, Worlds of Fun relies on Dawna to provide appropriately decorated bodies. She oversees a squad of nearly 30 artists for every night of the Haunt. Every artist has to pass both a portfolio and time test, because quality production is the name of the game. Usually 80% of the artists return each year, and some of them enjoy Haunt so much they decorate others, and then join them in entertaining the guests.

Preparing the cast is a long process, and they are going to be on their feet all night, so plenty of places to sit are provided for the early arrivals to pass the time. With nearly 400 characters to prep, an orderly flow of characters to the artist is essential.

Every member of the group is asked what they would like to be, and if it fits into the plan, their requests are honored. Once they are fitted for a costume, they are that character for the entire season. The park cleans the costume daily and reissues it to them so they don’t have to maintain it themselves.

After everybody is ready to go, the individual groups gather for a short meeting before the rally. During the rally, safety rules are reiterated, and announcements made concerning what group turned in the best performance on the night before.

Any special guests are introduced, imagine the nearly 400 screaming monsters of all types shaking their fists and weapons at you, and they form up for the Rise of the Overlord.

Back in the park, guests have been staking out their spots for the show for hours, because Worlds of Fun really pulls out the stops for the Haunt. A few scaractors ride, but most march down to the show. As the Overlord rises, the music crescendos, and the screams begin as some of the monsters work the crowd.

The atmosphere builds every night, a stark contrast to the daylight hours when not so scary activities for the little monsters guests give them something special during the day. But they need to watch out after dark, because Haunt is recommended for ages 12 and over. Nobody is passing out candy after being summoned by the Overlord. Here is a video from over a year ago.

After the shows conclude, the parade starts, with the monsters traveling en masse through the park, splitting off at their respective mazes and scream zones. They all have their pennants and marching orders, but sometimes they pause to give a guest some unwanted attention

The Overlord is the final part of the parade, to better ascertain whether his serfs are at their duly appointed tasks.

Here is a link to a past parade video.

London Terror is based on werewolves terrorizing London, with Big Ben, everybody using English accents, and some great stunts. Our favorites were the wolf eating the body and being startled by the wolf leaping out of the building at us.

Bloodshed is based on a slaughter house, and it starts off where the chickens met their end, and you need to listen to the guy who tells you to “Watch out for the pig.” It will be uncomfortably close to you.

Asylum Island features our favorite character, the needle lady.

Filled with lots of strobes and smoke, they lull you into a false sense of security while you walk a very long way, and then the scare you from all sides. They even have some real time cameras hooked to monitors to shows guests in the queue the people ahead of them being scared.

With one of the best Cornstalkers we have experienced, the narrow paths force you to constantly create your own rustling noise, and when the anticipation reaches its height, they not only scare you, then they laugh at you while the next guy scares you too. One of the creepiest decorations is the dead dog in the middle of the path. The boundaries force you to step right next to him, ugh.

Master McCarthy’s Doll Factory features lots of doll hanging from hooks through their heads, a wall of “barbies,” and a wall of “Kens.” But the best part is when you must weave through the corridor of peeing dolls.

And, here is a photo of Scott hanging around with one of the other out of towners visiting the Haunt!

Lore of The Vampire leads into Club Blood. The attacking spider and the option of buying shots of “AB” blood in the bar add a grotesque touch, along with a large pile of coffins. Our favorite prop was the sparkle ball coffin; she really partied till she died.

There is also Blood Drums, a percussion show encompassing barrels, a muffler, and even an air conditioner cover as instruments. The highlight is when there is dueling grinders.

So that is just a taste of Haunt at Worlds of Fun, it would be so much better for us if it wasn’t clear across Missouri and Illinois both. Wishing you the scariest Halloween ever, thanks for reading!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Six Flags Great Adventure Hosts Largest Fright Fest Ever

It does not seem to me that the popularity of Halloween has started to taper yet, each year it grows and grows and along with it are the park celebrations we love so much.  This year Six Flags Great Adventure has stepped up their game and are holding the largest Fright Fest in their history, that's more entertainment, more monsters, more terror trails, and more zombie zones than ever before!

A scene from the Shipwreck Cove Zombie Zone
Fright Fest at Six Flags Great Adventure is also running for a longer season this year too, stretching a full six weekends.  With so much new this year, it is almost hard to decided where to head first, but whatever the decision is spine tingling entertainment awaits.

Once six o'clock falls the park transforms into a most demented version of itself, overtaken by a legion of monster and ghouls.  To mark the transformation The Awakening takes place each night, where the Ghoulmaster awakens Dr. Fright to release the zombies into the park.

Bone Butcher Terror-Tory, a Zombie Zone
The park offers four separate Zombie Zones, where the ghouls roam freely and utilize many props and decorations along the way to scare the wits out of guests.  Oh, and of course there is fog... lots of fog.

Frontier Adventures becomes the Bone Butcher Terror-Tory, with crazed western zombies, and colonial era zombies stalk prey near the park entrance by The Bloody Fountain.  Anyone with a fear of clowns will want to avoid the midway area of the Boardwalk, as it turns into Circus Psycho.  New this year is Shipwreck Cove, an area in the Lakefront that's packed full of undead pirates.

A scene from Doc Swan's Sideshow of Oddities
One area where Six Flags Great Adventure's Fright Fest has excelled in the past - and especially this year - is with live entertainment offerings.  The uber popular show called Dead Man's Party - The Guest List has moved over near the former Batman stunt theater, and received a sweet new set up.  This year it features all new music and storyline as the zombies put on their best song and dance performance.

Many smaller shows takes place throughout the park as well, such as the Circus of Thrills along the Boardwalk, which has a "globe of death," wheel of destiny and sway poles.  There's also Doc Swan's Sideshow of Oddities, showcasing amazing feats and superhuman strength in Frontier Adventures.

Crazy western zombies in the Terror-Tory!
2012's Fright Fest sees the return of a couple fan favorites from the park's past.  Todd Robbins is back in Professor Zombini's Freak Show after being on broadway for several years, and Bad Bob the Bone Butcher, a comedy gunfight show, is back after a six year hiatus.

For those looking to rock the Dead & Local Music Showcase in the Lakefront is the place to be, where live bands perform for the crowds.  Maybe they'll catch their big break!

The great new Dead Man's Party set up
Those who are really looking for a terrifying experience will want to check out the park's four Terror Trails.  This year there is one totally brand new trail, and two others have been completely rethemed.  I must say that the trails are vastly improved over past years, featuring tons of live actors and much more detailed sets.  

Insanity: Gears of the Mind
Brand new this year is Voodoo Island, which is set underneath the park's log flume, out on a peninsula by the lake.  The story is this:  "a location tour for TV's newest reality show turns into a horrific path of black magic, human sacrifice, taboo rituals and cannibal carnage."  Needless to say things have gone very wrong over at Voodoo Island, and you can count on many scares along the winding, wooded path.

The entrance to Wasteland, one of the four Terror Trails
The Manor, a very long terror trail located in the Golden Kingdom, is back for a second year after opening in 2011.  The trail has been beefed up considerably for this season, making it worth a visit even if you went through last year.

Just entering Insanity: Gears of the Mind
Two locations from previous Fright Fests have all new terror trails this year.  The area that used to house the Chiller roller coaster now holds Insanity: Gears of the Mind, where you enter the mind of a totally insane, and at times rather gross, individual.  There were a lot of great scares to be had in this trail, with actors using their props to the fullest.

Back on the edge of the park, and in the woods, is Wasteland, where botanical experiments in the Demented Forest have gone wrong.  Really wrong!

Ghouls from Circus Psycho and the Bloody Fountain
Now obviously that is a lot of scary stuff, but the park also has a nice daytime Halloween celebration that the whole family can enjoy, including small kids.

A Halloween celebration wouldn't be very fun without ... CANDY!  The Trick-or-Treat Trail takes care of that need, and everyone gets to meet their favorite Looney Tunes characters.  There's several shows for kids like the Spooky, Kooky Magic Show, which features tricks and illusions that will mystify viewers.

The Wolfman in Haunted Wagon Spells, howling, of course
The Sea Lion Celebration show is both entertaining and educational, and if you want to go on a really neat journey check out the Haunted Wagon Spells hayride.  The wagon takes guests way out beyond the park boundaries and past several friendly scenes with characters like Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Wolfman.

The Bloody Fountain at dusk
When all is said and done 1,200 pounds of webbing, 1,400 cornstalks, 9,000 pounds of CO2 to make fog, 11,000 pounds of propane for fire, and 1,300 ounces of makeup are used to create Great Adventure's Fright Fest.  With all that work going into the production, and so much new this year, it is a great time to check out the event.

Many thanks to the park for having us out to see all that's new!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From The Vault: Knott's Berry Farm 1994 Brochure

Here's a Vault entry from not so long ago, but long enough that the featured park was quite a different place.  The time? 1994.  The place?  America's First Theme Park, aka, Knott's Berry Farm.

Snoopy and a Boomerang - quite the combination!  In 1994 Knott's was still family owned, and was working to stay relevant in the crowded Southern California theme park market.

The brochure makes it quite clear that the latest attraction to open at Knott's was Mystery Lodge, a special effects filled theater show settled into the Wild Water Wilderness area of the park.  Guests enter a recreation of a Native American longhouse and watch as smoke from a fire magically turns into characters that accompany the story.

Knott's has never been shy about showing off the world's most famous beagle, and here he is featured quite prominently.  The park also advertises itself as America's most beloved independent amusement park - something that's no longer true.

How about some rides!  By detailing the different themed areas of the park, they're able to show off all they have to offer.  From the wonderfully classic log flume to a trip to the jurassic era on the Kingdom of the Dinosaurs, there was quite a mix of rides to check out.

Here's that beagle again.  Even if the Peanuts characters are dressed in their western finest, there's still other areas to check out.  Indian Trails, Wild Water Wilderness, and of course Camp Snoopy had a little of something for everyone.  At the time Knott's had three major coasters, and one kiddie version.  Today they offer a total of nine - a bit of a testament to how the park has progressed over the years.