Thursday, July 31, 2014

Canobie Lake Park Looks to Give Equinox the Boot

© Canobie Lake Park
Just two years after its opening at New England's Canobie Lake Park, Equinox, a large inverting flat ride, has been closed for the "foreseeable future."

Canobie Lake Park isn't giving any one reason for closing the ride, citing that its operating performance over the past two years has not been up to the park's standards.  Stories of excessive downtime have plagued the ride since it opened at the park.  While it does not sound like there are plans to reopen the ride anytime soon, the park also won't commit to its removal.

Equinox is a 'Tango' by KMG, a breed of wilder flat ride that is not commonly seen in parks in the U.S.  At massive traveling fairs in Germany, perhaps, but aggressive flat rides like these don't seem to have staying power in our neck of the woods.  As seen in the video above, the ride is very dramatic, having great midway appeal.  However, when riders are 65 feet in the air, being inverted every which way, some people find their limits tested.

Since the park isn't totally confirming the removal of the ride just yet, there's obviously no plans for a replacement just yet.  Canobie Lake Park is a charming place, and a part of me feels like Equinox never 'fit' anyway.  Hopefully they have much more luck with their next addition!

A Talk With Cedar Fair's Matt Ouimet + Knott's Dark Ride News

The Huffington Post recently ran a great interview with Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet, just before he was going to head out on a two week 'work' trip that would take him to every one of the companies properties.

That's a road trip I wouldn't mind!

The article focuses quite a bit on Knott's Berry Farm, going over the improvements and additions that have been made since Mr. Ouimet took over.  This includes the renovation of two historic rides, along with Camp Snoopy and Ghost Town.  The hope is that in a very crowded Southern California market Knott's can become the park that in visitors eyes is "uncomplicated, affordable, familiar but still has a few surprises."

The interview also touches on the exciting (and large) expansion that is headed toward Carowinds, as well as Mr. Ouimet's views on keeping the parks individual and his leadership style.

One other thing that Mr. Ouimet is candid about is their desire to find a worthy attraction to go into the former Kingdom of the Dinosaurs building at Knott's, seen above.  He makes mention that depending on how Wonder Mountain's Guardian "works out" at Canada's Wonderland there could be "lessons that we learned" that could be applied to Knott's.  While a dark ride has been rumored to go into the building for years now, this is the first time we've seen such a strong confirmation.

Knott's Network has been publishing photos of work already underway in the building, giving more credit to the theory that the new dark ride might open next year.  Can't wait to get confirmation from the park!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Cedar Point's Hotel Breakers 2015 Transformation Details

Cedar Point has released some additional images and details for the Hotel Breakers 2015 renovations.  The resort worked on the outside of the hotel's buildings for the 2014 season, but will kick the renovations into high gear this winter, transforming the inside of the property as well.

Above is a brand new entrance to the hotel, giving it a much more welcoming look than it has now.  A covered porte cochere will be constructed at the entrance, along with changes to the entry road and landscaping.

The park is showing off some model rooms for the renovations as well, featuring a mix of bright colors with iconic images of Cedar Point's Ferris Wheel as headboards.  All rooms will feature new flat screen TVs, furniture, linens, beds, and carpeting - refreshing the experience 100%.

Air-conditioning will be added to all common areas, and wifi will cover the resort as well.  A new Starbucks will open inside Hotel Breakers, and a brand new lobby bar will be built.

Cedar Fair's CEO has said in the past that they see Hotel Breakers being the resort's premium hotel in the future, and these changes are certainly a step in that direction.  Looks great so far - the park promises updates as the work takes place this winter.

A First-Timer's Look at Clementon Park & Splash World

It always irks me when there's a park not too far from me that I've never visited.  For whatever reason, Clementon Park & Splash World was on that list, so I finally decided to fix that.  The park sits just below Philadelphia in Clementon, New Jersey, in an interesting location.  The park is right along a road that runs through town, sandwiched alongside Clementon Lake.  It is pretty hard to miss the park, since some water slides are maybe 15 feet from the road!

Like many parks of the Northeast, Clementon got its start way back when as a trolley park, and to be specific way back when was 1907.  That means the park is well over a hundred years old, and has seen a lot of change and adaptation over the decades to survive.  I visited the park on an extremely busy, sunny and hot Saturday afternoon, with the property absolutely filled with family reunions and other picnic events.  A big part of Clementon's business appears to come from their groves, so much so that the grove area even has a separate entrance.

Heading backward a bit in time, Clementon Park really got its name on the map in 1919 when several amusements were added - including the wooden coaster Jack Rabbit, the Mill Chute, and Noah's Arc, a fun house.  The Jack Rabbit closed in 2003, and was located in the open space seen in the lower left of the park map above.  As you can gather, the water park sits on the right, with rides and the midway on the left.  Parking is up front, and the whole property borders a small lake.

As the years rolled by, Clementon Park added new rides when it could, replacing older aging ones.  The park eventually changed hands and the new owners set out on an expansion plan that would modernize the park in the 1980s.  Splash World came online in the early 1990s, and brought the crowds back to the park in a big way.  To handle the masses, more classic rides were removed and replaced with modern flats that had big street appeal.

The most recent owner of Clementon Park is Premier Parks, LLC, which was founded by former Six Flags executives.  They purchased the park from Adrenaline Family Entertainment, which spent several years adding new attractions to the property.

Splash World was absolutely hopping when I visited, and though the skies didn't show it the day was very hot and humid.  Above is a look at the park's latest expansion, a big one that brought Big Wave Bay to Splash World.  Considering the extremely limited space the park has, it is pretty amazing that the pool even fit - several rides had to be relocated in order to make it happen.

This family play tower is named Laguna Kahuna, which like most features a giant bucket but also has a large tower that sprays water.  Another recent addition to Splash World is Torpedo Rush, two trap-door launch slides that went up in 2011.  The rest of the park features a lazy river, a mat racing slide, tube slides, family raft ride and children's play areas.  Considering the popularity of the water park, I wouldn't be surprised to see more expansion take place in that area in the future.

Turning toward the dry side of the park, Clementon is mostly one long midway with a couple small branches coming off of it.  Naturally, that midway follows the border of the lake with buildings and rides on either side of it.  The park's one roller coaster, Hellcat, frames the midway nicely in the background.

The park has a decent variety of flat rides considering its size, some of which are newer and some of which have been around for a while.  Above are four of these, the Flying Pharaoh swings, Sea Dragon, Victorian Railway, and Thunderdrop.  Clementon Park also has a Carousel, Ferris Wheel and two family rides, the Kite Flyer and Samba Tower.

Here is the Ring of Fire, which is positioned right by the entrance gates from the parking lot.  The high energy ride gets a lot of looks as people move in and out of the park - plenty of screaming coming from that one as well!

Kidzland is the park's collection of kiddie rides, which were moved under a large building many years ago.  While not the easiest on the eye, it does protect kids from the sun when they are riding and playing.  There's even a big bounce house and a large climbing structure as well.

Out over Clementon Lake, literally, is King Neptune's Revenge.  This classic log flume has a great setting, with the log's path over the lake at nearly all times.  Plenty of folks were enjoying the ride's final splash as well... cooling them down on this hot afternoon.

But how about that big wooden roller coaster we saw earlier?  It's name is Hellcat, and boy is it one.  Hellcat first opened in 2004 and was named Tsunami, but that was changed after the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean that year.  2005 saw the ride renamed as J2, which was for Jack Rabbit 2 - a confusing throwback to the park's original coaster.  After a few more operating seasons the park renamed the coaster to Hellcat, giving it a more clear and memorable moniker.

Here is Hellcat from the sky, so you can see how it fits in at the park.  The coaster surrounds the park's pavilion area, also bordering the far edge of the park's property.  The first hill stands 110 feet tall, with a 105 foot drop immediately after at a surprisingly steep 62 degrees.  The rest of the ride contains several highly banked curves, a crazy upward helix, and a few air-time hills on the journey back to the station.

Hellcat uses PTC trains, seating a total of 16 riders at a time, though I'm not sure how often they run two trains.  In fact, I don't know that I actually saw a second train when I was there!  Either way, Hellcat means business.  The first drop is steep and fast, and when you get to the bottom and zoom at 56 miles per hour you quickly know the ride isn't kidding around.

The coaster was built by S&S Worldwide, making it fairly unique.  The wooden track is supported by a steel structure, and while they started off with a bang S&S only ever built four wooden rides.  Above is Hellcat's first drop, which has trims near the top to slow things down - however - I did not feel nor hear them when I was on the ride.  I could have missed it entirely, but from hearing how aggressive this coaster is without them I think I may have experience the ride trimless. (Hellcat is extremely aggressive!)

After that first drop the trains encounter this second hill, with a pop of air at the top depending on where you sit.  Things are a bit of a blur after that, but I certainly remember this element:

I think this amounts to a 630 or so degree upward helix that the train absolutely tears through.  It also gives riders a fair amount of force as you bounce around in your seat.  The rest of the ride is a long run back toward the station with a handful of air-time hills along the way.  Some of these give better air than others, then finally there is a last hop up onto the brake run.

I did notice that the heavily banked 180 degree turn before the upward helix has a ton of fresh track on it.  You have to look through the ride's supports in the photo above, but you can see the new, lighter colored wood on the turn toward the left.  The bank is really steep, has to be nearing 90 degrees if it's not, and it needs to be to handle the train's speed.  The new wood was noticeably smoother than the rest of the run, which was appreciated mid-ride.  Bottom line on this ride, if you like rough and wild wooden coasters, Hellcat will be perfect for you.

So there you have it, a quick look at Clementon Park!  I'm intrigued to see how the latest owners plan to keep the crowds coming - focusing on the water park or perhaps putting that open space where the old Jack Rabbit was to good use?  Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

New Puss In Boots Coaster Announced for Universal Studios Singapore

© Universal Studios Singapore
Universal Studios Singapore has confirmed that they are building a new family suspended roller coaster, named Puss In Boots' Giant Journey.  The new coaster will carry on the Shrek theme found in the park's Far Far Away area, and will include Puss' friend Kitty Soft Paws.

© Universal Studios Singapore
The park released these photos of the ride under construction, but very few other details and no formal concept art for the coaster.  As far as theming goes, the press release only mentions that the ride takes place "in a giant's castle now overgrown by a magical beanstalk" and that it should be completed by the end of the year but no opening date has been announced yet.  I would take a wild guess that the track will be themed as parts of the beanstalk, going off the green color.

Earlier rumors of the coaster being created by Zamperla have yet to be confirmed, but that spiral lift hill does look very similar to the company's Volare coasters.  Hopefully more information on the coaster is released soon, perhaps some hard numbers on the ride's measurements.

© Universal Studios Singapore
Also a part of the announcement was a new stage show, The Dance For The Magic Beans.  Featuring both Puss and Kitty, the show will last for 20 minutes and open in September.  The characters will be available as a meet-and-greet after the conclusion of the show.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Six Flags Fiesta Texas - Rocky Mountain-ing Into 2015?

© Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Since we last saw Six Flags Fiesta Texas starting to tease about the park's 2015 addition the park has stepped it up a notch.  Just a couple days after our initial post, the park launched a giant balloon that hovers over the Rockville section of the park.  The light bulb-looking balloon is over the park's Motorama car ride, something we pondered the removal of last week, emblazoned with the park's logo on one side and "2015" on the other.  Later, the park sent out this tweet focused on the fact that the balloon is at 92.5 feet in the air.

Parks usually don't do such fun teasing for a small addition, so suddenly they have our attention even more than before.

Now an even bigger hint has appeared - the park mentioned needing a snake wrangler named MK Bozer to help with an infestation in Rockville.  Not surprisingly, there's a truck parked in Iron Rattler's queue that belongs to Mr. Bozer, and his phone number is on it.  210-697-5476.

Calling it gives you a message from the company, stating that they are too busy for new work, as they are working to keep Iron Rattler free of "nasty snakes."

Things get interesting when they mention that "some new urban renewal project in Rockville" has stirred up a bunch of snakes around Motorama.  Having just returned from the Goliath and Medusa projects at Six Flags Great America and Six Flags Mexixo, the snake wranglers now have to deal with this new challenge. 

Wait, what?  They really just named two Rocky Mountain Construction projects, and also are hinting at a new 92.5 foot ride for 2015?  Could Six Flags Fiesta Texas be the first park with not one but two Rocky Mountain creations?  Things have gotten very interesting...

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Viewing: Movie Park Germany's New Lost Temple

Movie Park Germany has opened a highly themed new attraction for the busy Summer season, named The Lost Temple.

The attraction utilizes both indoor and outdoor queues to set up the journey that guests are about to go on.  Once inside the attraction building riders head down deep into the earth on a quick moving elevator, then begin to explore the underground temple.  Once the pre-show is complete riders board a large jeep and head out into the rest of the temple - and naturally all goes wrong and there are plenty of angry dinosaurs involved.

The actual ride utilizes a motion based vehicle and several giant domed screens that the action takes place on.  In concept this is similar to what Universal Studios Hollywood did with Kong, and very well done all around.

Check it out below!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

New Family Splash Area Opens at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park

Water Oasis, a brand new $2 million splash and play area, has opened at Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park.  The expansion not only gives families a way to cool off on a hot California day, but also continues the park's theme of including education into its attractions.

© Gilroy Gardens
Water Oasis contains three separate sections along with plenty of shaded rest areas for visitors.  Above is a look at Oasis Lagoon, a zero entry pool that has a maximum depth of 18 inches at the far end where two small slides are.  The pool is lined with relaxing chairs so parents can rest and watch their kids safely at play.

© Gilroy Gardens
Above is the Splash Pad, filled with a "forest of oversized trees and flowers, all spraying water as kids interact with them."  The giant flowers dump water on those below, or sore it up in their giant petals until they burst, raining water down around them.

The third section is known as Water Journey, a shaded play area with a focus on education.  Water Journey "encourages young guests to play with water and explore how it moves through the landscape.  Kids pump water into a system of rivers and streams inset in the ground, while a collection of colorful water wheels, gates and dams allow them to explore how water moves through the waterways."

© Gilroy Gardens
According to this story on the expansion, Gilroy Gardens currently sees around 350,000 guests a year, and wants to build that to 600,000 in time.  The park already has plans for the future and with smart, family-friendly additions like Water Oasis, that future seems bright.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Six Flags Posts Mixed 2nd Quarter 2014 Results

Six Flags announced their 2nd quarter 2014 results earlier this week, and while not all bad one item quickly made many investment headlines.

The company recorded record revenues in the quarter of $377 million, generated by higher per guest spending, which was up $4.21 per visitor.  The increase came from both admission revenue and in-park spending on food, retail and amenities.

That news seemed to be quickly overshadowed by the fact that overall attendance for the quarter was down 8% - something the operators blamed on residual effects of the harsh winter.  Extended school years and shortened break periods ate away at visitors, said Six Flags.  Attendance came in at 8.2 million visitors for the quarter.

If you look through both the 2013 and 2014 news releases for the 1st and 2nd quarters, you can actually better piece together how the year is going, at least attendance-wise:

So year to date things are down over 10%, but when you look at that number in terms of guests it is 1.1 million - a bit shocking, really.  So the question is, why have all those people not headed out to their local Six Flags park this year?

Well, the late opening of several big rides at Six Flags parks could be playing a part, or perhaps price increases aren't sitting well with customers.  The third quarter of each year, with heavy-hitting summer months of July and August, will be the big test for Six Flags.  Competitor Cedar Fair will released their 2nd quarter numbers on August 5th, which should make for an interesting comparison as well.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Holiday World Announces Launched Wing Coaster - Thunderbird - New For 2015

The 66 day wait is over!  Holiday World has announced Thunderbird, a brand new B&M launched wing coaster - the first of its kind in the Nation.

Thunderbird will utilize LSM technology to blast riders out of the station at a top speed of 60 miles per hour - in 3.5 seconds.  The trains will feature seating on the outside of the track, with nothing above or below riders.  The coaster will have two trains, each with five rows of cars that seat four guests (a total of 20 riders per train).

The park has decided to heavily theme the ride's station and associated buildings, an example of which can be seen here.  The park will be working with PGAV Destinations on the ride's theme - this is also the company responsible for theming several structures throughout the park in 2014.

Once Thunderbird launches trains out of the station they will enter a 140 foot tall Immelmann inversion.  If you've been watching the construction cam that the park set up, the ride will actually be launching toward the existing park, meaning the trains will be coming toward the camera.  This was something that I didn't expect, I kept thinking the coaster would head outward first, away from the camera's view.

Immediately after the Immelmann, Thunderbird sends riders through a giant vertical loop, 125 feet tall at the top.  At the exit of the loop the track passes directly over the Voyage's path, creating a neat interaction between the two coasters.

Twisting above the ground and through the trees, Thunderbird then heads into two large turns, an Overbanked Horseshoe followed by an Overbanked Elevated Spiral.  The turns move in opposite direction, the first turning to the right, and the second to the left, keeping riders slightly disoriented.

Before you're able to figure out which way is up, Thunderbird flies through a large Zero-G Roll, moving toward the back of the park into another wooded section.  The track begins to hug closer to the ground, increasing the sensation of speed.

For the ride's finale, Thunderbird soars through a dilapidated barn, completing a Carousel turn and a final 360 degree In-Line Roll.  The barn will serve as a "keyhole" element, appearing to come extremely close to riders twice.

After 3,035 feet of track, Thunderbird then hits the brakes and makes its way back toward the station.  In case we lost you during all that, here is a great look at Thunderbird's layout from Holiday World:

This fly-around video also gives a great perspective of the action to be found on Thunderbird:

Thunderbird represents a $22 million expansion, the largest in the park's history, and will open in the Spring of 2015.

Holiday World has launched an entire website dedicated to Thunderbird, with plenty of additional facts, photos, and videos.  Soar on over to check it out!

Kings Dominion Hides Possible 2015 Logo in Plain View

Kings Dominion quietly changed out their scrolling images on the park's website, with one (seen above) advertising Water Works added to the mix.  If you glance at it you might not really notice anything strange, but if you focus in on the Water Works logo you'll see something odd.

When you look closely you'll notice that the general Soak City logo that Cedar Fair uses is hiding behind the current Water Works logo.  Here's a closer comparison of the image with Cedar Point's Soak City Logo:

It would certainly appear that Kings Dominion is hinting at the rebranding of their water park into Soak City for 2015.  This also matches up nicely with persistent rumors that the water park would be the focus of next year's capital additions, along with possible site markings already taking place on property.

We've seen Cedar Fair rename and rebrand water parks into Soak City in the past, specifically at Valleyfair and Kings Island.  Stay tuned to find out what the park has planned!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Scooby-Doo Heading Out of Six Flags St. Louis

Six Flags St. Louis has posted a sign out front of their Scooby-Doo Ghostblasters interactive dark ride announcing that it will close for good on September 14, 2014.  The sign mentions that the ride will be closing for "future improvements," the details of which are still a secret.

Six Flags St. Louis has had a dark ride in the building in question since the park's opening in 1971.  The ride actually uses boats that travel though a shallow river to move guests throughout the many scenes of the ride.  The theme of the dark ride has changed many times through the decades, ranging from the Time Tunnel to Legends of the Dark Castle, ending in Castaway Kids before having Scooby's gang take over in 2002.

Several Scooby-Doo interactive dark rides were built at both Six Flags and Paramount Parks, and Six Flags St. Louis' ranked as one of the longer versions due to its ride system and large show building.  The rides, including this one, were created by Sally Corp., which also put the above video out for the world to see.  Now it will serve as a nice look back at a ride of the park's history.

As for what the future holds for the ride building, there are already rumors that a Justice League theme could replace Scooby.  Sally Corp. created a wonderful looking Justice League ride at Warner Bros. Movie World in Australia, an attraction many have hoped would come to North America soon.  Hard to tell now if this rumor has truth to it, or is just high on the wish list of park fans.  We will find out for sure at the end of August when Six Flags announces all 2015 rides!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Silver Dollar City Closing Attraction + 2015 Announcement Date

© Silver Dollar City
Branson's Silver Dollar City has announced that the park's "world's largest tree house," Geyser Gulch, will closed for good on August 3rd.

Geyser Gulch is a massive "interactive children's playground in the sky," originally costing the park $3 million to build.  There were several main towers, each multiple stories, where kids could shoot foam balls and water blasters at moving targets and find plenty of slides, sirens and other interactive features.  The giant geyser located by the structures would occasionally erupt and shoot water 40 feet into the sky over Lake Silver.

The entire area was themed around that geyser, which was said to have "blown a town into the sky" scattering the houses in the trees.  The addition was able to handle as many as 1,000 kids at a time.

Silver Dollar City has already set an announcement date for what will be replacing Geyser Gulch, August 13th.  You can check out their page for the pre-announcement and sign up for updates and possibly win season passes.  The park is touting a "5-Alarm Announcement," with fire fighter theming throughout the page - looks like the new development will share that theme with sister park Dollywood's recently opened FireChaser Express.

But that's not to say we're looking at a new roller coaster at Silver Dollar City, the common thought is that 2015's addition will be a new firefighter themed area.  Aimed at the whole family, a selection of rides is expected to go up in a new space behind Geyser Gulch, including the S&S Double Shot from the closed Celebration City theme park.

Until the official reveal, you can read plenty of speculation and see some recent construction photos in this thread over at SDCFans.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Dropping In On Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom at Six Flags Great Adventure

From the moment it was announced last August that Six Flags Great Adventure would be adding the world's tallest freefall, I was beyond excited to take a ride.  After being on a wide variety of rides, I've found that few still give me a sense of fear like freefalls do.  And, I find that fear to be fun, so it is only natural that the world's tallest freefall would be right up my alley!

Fast forward to now, and after a long winter Zumanjaro is now open and accepting those brave enough to withstand its terrors.  The wait was over and I've finally had my shot at the drop!

Those familiar with Six Flags Great Adventure will recognize the entrance to the Golden Kingdom, a massive themed area that was added to the park in 2005.  The focus of the expansion was on Kingda Ka, still the world's tallest roller coaster at 456 feet - which in a sense is also the focus of this year's new thrill.

As you pass deeper into the jungle-like setting of the Golden Kingdom, you arrive at Kingda Ka's entrance and immediately notice that things look different.  Above is the newly expanded plaza, with the entrance to Kingda Ka on the left and Zumanjaro on the right.  The retirement of Rolling Thunder, the park's former wooden roller coaster, allowed for the new space.  Previously it ran along side of and bisected the Golden Kingdom, and part of the coaster's tracks were where Zumanjaro's entrance now is.

Zumanjaro, created by Intamin, features an impressive entrance gate, fitting the theme of the area.  The park created the name, which features an "African influence" to fit in with its location - and also after last year's massive Safari Off Road Adventure addition.  Once riders are checked for height (they only need to be 48 inches to take the plunge) the journey through Zumanjaro's queue begins.

Why is it a journey?  Well, because Zumanjaro's queue is long - really long - but that's not to say I'm complaining!  It makes sense that it would be a great distance to get under Kingda Ka's main tower from the theme park, so this was expected.  The park has created a very peaceful path, with existing woods on the left, new plantings all around, and plenty to look at on the right.

Yes, I must make a quick diversion from Zumanjaro to point out the spectacular new vantage points of El Toro that are available from the queue.  You can get up close and personal with El Toro's intimidating first drop along with the finale of the coaster - which used to take place in Rolling Thunder's 'in-field' but is now exposed.

But back to Zumanjaro - the queue also gives some seriously pretty views of the tower as well.  Zumanjaro's three drop towers reach a height of 415 feet, besting the previous record holder Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom's 400 feet at Six Flags Magic Mountain.  You can hear the screams of riders on both Zumanjaro and Kingda Ka while in line, though trees do obscure them on parts of the path.  When you do get closer the area opens up and there's plenty to look at...

Like this.  You end up standing just to the right of Kingda Ka's tower, staring up at the rides and wondering if you're making a wise choice.  But onward you'll go, entering a large covered section of the line.  From here on out the view of the tower disappears, which makes things a bit easier on your nerves.  The park has created a single rider line as well, to help fill every possible seats when the ride dispatches.

The covered station for Zumanjaro features retractable roofs that come down and cover the gondolas while in the load position.  Kingda Ka launches two trains while the Zumanjaro cars are loaded and checked, and then the three gondolas are sent up the tower.

As far as the ride seats go, they are very comfortable and unobtrusive, with over the shoulder restraints that do not block the rider's views.  Oh, and they're snug, too, something that you want to feel as the ride slowly starts lifting you up!

After dispatch is called, the cars start the 30 section lift up to the top.  They rise slowly at first, but after a bit they speed up dramatically.  You keep climbing, watching the ground get smaller and smaller and assuming you're near the top.  But you just keep lifting, higher and higher until you're finally 415 feet above the ground.

The views are astounding, and while you only have a handful of seconds at the top it's a feast for your eyes.  On a clear day you can see the skyscrapers of Philadelphia - located 52 miles to the South of the park!

Before you know it you hear the catch cars release your gondola and the plummet begins.  How to put the feeling of the fall on Zumanjaro?  Exhilarating?  Intense?  A rush?  All those and then some!  The memory that stands out most to me is that mid-fall I realized we were still going, falling further and faster.   This is where Zumanjaro's height comes into play, it allows for such an extended period of freefall when compared to most drop rides.  The cars drop down in a matter of seconds (around 4 until the brakes start) at speeds of 90 miles per hour.  Once you get over the shock of falling it's an amazing feeling and one you'll want to repeat.

For fun I took a photo of this car before and after the drop, to see the change in riders' faces - you'll have to click for the larger version to see what I mean.  The top photo was taken as the gondola slowly was heading up the tower.  There's plenty of cool faces, just looking around taking it all in.  After the drop things are radically different - but in a good way!  The looks of excitement are everywhere - and even the serious looking man on the far right has a big grin on his face.

Here's a short video I took of Zumanjaro in action:

The sky wasn't trying to look very nice when I shot the video, so my apologies for that.  I think the screaming riders, falling cars, and immense height of Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom might make up for it!

Provided by Six Flags Great Adventure
Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom is the kind of ride that will stand the test of time.  There's something about falling toward the ground from 415 feet that never gets old - the drop will get you every time!  Make sure to drop by Six Flags Great Adventure and take the plunge!