Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Waldameer Hard at Work on 2nd Phase of Water World Expansion

© Waldameer & Water World
Even after a large expansion in 2015 that saw the addition of an expansive wave pool, Waldameer isn't resting on its laurels in 2016.  The park will expand Water World once again next year - this time adding more attractions for kids and their families.  The changes will help build overall capacity and compliment the already popular children's section of Water World.

Above is a construction photo from the amusement park showing the early foundation work for eight new children's water slides, which will empty into a zero-depth entry pool.

© Waldameer & Water World
2016's changes are part of a previously announced, multi-year growth project for Water World - the coming phase will cost a cool $1.5 million to complete.  This graphic was released back when the plan was first announced, and shows the area of focus next year.  The children's slides will share a pool that will have 30+ spray and interactive water features that will keep kids busy for hours.  An additional amenity will also be added to the water park next year, in the form of rentable cabanas adjacent to the wave pool.

Even with so many changes underway there is still more to come - the original Water World expansion plans also included a water fun house structure near the kiddie slides, and a large bowl-style water slide coming off of one of the existing towers.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Universal Orlando Offering "Volunteer Vacations" in 2016

Well here's a fantastic idea if I've ever heard one - Universal Orlando Resort is offering a new "Volunteer Vacation" in 2016 that benefits Give Kids The World Village, located in Kissimmee, Florida.

The new vacation package, advertised on their webpage, features a three night stay at one of the on-property or partner resorts, and 2-Day Park-to-Park Tickets, but also a scheduled volunteer time at Give Kids The World.  The entire family will be provided transportation to and from the Village where they will volunteer in a four hour scheduled session.

For those unfamiliar, Give Kids The World Village is a 79 acre nonprofit resort that welcomes families with children that have life threatening illnesses for a cost-free vacation in the Orlando area packed with unforgettable memories.  The resort is an attraction in itself, featuring whimsically designed buildings and villas, along with entertainment attractions and plenty of ice cream!  Check out the resort's website to learn even more.

In an age where, thankfully, volunteerism has gained momentum once again it is great to see Universal Orlando step up and offer a package like this that makes it super simple to volunteer.  On top of that, Universal will donate $100 to Give Kids The World for each package that is sold.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Tokyo Disneyland Resort Extends "Study Period" of Major Expansions

The Tokyo Disneyland Resort has announced it is going to "extend the period to study the two large scale development plans" at both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.  Essentially, this means that the operators aren't quite sure that the plans released earlier to expand both parks over the next ten years are the best way to "create a long term and sustainable value of the theme parks."

© Tokyo DisneySea
Back in October of 2014 we first heard that the parks were going to embark on a ten year, $4.45 billion expansion in both Tokyo Disneyland and Tokyo DisneySea.  The plans, released in more detail this past May, called for an entire new port (themed area) at DisneySea, seen above, themed to Frozen.  Well technically the plans are for a Scandinavian themed area, however it doesn't take much to realize the intent here was to go full throttle Frozen.

© Tokyo Disneyland
Fantasyland in Tokyo Disneyland was labeled for an expansion that would dwarf the one done to the Magic Kingdom in Florida, doubling its size.  A totally new Small World building, a new Alice in Wonderland sub-area, a Beauty and the Beast section and plenty more were included in the plans that can be viewed in the above image.

Oriental Land Company, operators of the parks, are not cancelling these plans, however they seem to want to take more time to make sure they're making the right decision, at least that's what I gather from reading between the lines.  They say that the consideration period was to have ended in 2015, but now is extended for an undetermined amount of time.

It's possible that scaled back plans will be released in the future with more concrete opening dates; but we'll have to wait to see just what Oriental Land Co. has in store.

Is Universal Studios Korea Back From The Dead?

It appears as though the long planned, and in recent years assumed to be left for dead, Universal Studios Korea is back in the mix, according to recent news.  The theme park was originally announced in 2007 with an opening date of 2012, however the global financial crisis spun the project into delays.  As the years went by a delayed opening was discussed, until 2014 when it was revealed that many of the investors had pulled out from state-run Korea Water Resources Corporation who was heading the project.

Now K-Water, as the corporation is known, has chosen a new consortium of investors, including Daewoo Engineering, Dohwa Engineering, China State Construction Engineering Corp, and China Travel Services out of Hong Kong.

As originally planned, the park will reside in Hwaseong, less than 40 miles south of Seoul, and the investment is now stated to be over $4 billion.  A new planned opening date of 2020 has been released.

This is some concept art of Universal Studios Korea which was released back in 2007, showing the theme park and many of its attractions.  At the time many existing Universal Studios attractions would have been added to the park, including a dueling roller coaster, a Hulk-style launched coaster by the central lagoon and a Jurassic Park area.  I'm sure it can be counted on that the park will now be heavily redesigned and different from this art considering how many years have gone by.

Here is one more old piece of concept art, showing the entire development that would surround the Universal Studios Korea park.  It included a water park, several hotels and other amenities.  This current plan still calls for many of these attractions, including the hotels, a "pop concert arena," golf resort, water park and shopping facilities.

Personally I think the more Universal Studios parks on Earth the better, so hopefully the development of this park will continue to move forward!

Carolina Harbor Waterpark Expansion Taking Shape at Carowinds

This mild winter (so far, at least) has been extra kind to parks working on major new projects - just like the massive water park expansion taking place at Carowinds.  To be known as Carolina Harbor, the complete renovation of the facility will result in the largest water park in the Carolinas and continue Carowinds' overall beefed up offerings.

© Carowinds
While there is plenty that is brand new for Carolina Harbor, the parts of the existing water park that will remain are also being refreshed.  Here we see one of the park's many water slides receiving a brand new coat of paint -the Barracuda Blasters feature totally enclosed trips down to the splash pool.  Carolina Harbor's 80 foot tall slide complex, now known as Storm Surge, has also changed from faded blues and grays into brilliant bright colors.

© Carowinds
The expansion features a ton of new attractions as well, like the highly anticipated Blackbeard's Revenge slide complex, which can be seen rising toward the sky in the above photo.  The tower at the peak of the structure will have three Pirate's Plank body slides which start will a trap door free fall.  Other brand new additions include the Surf Club Harbor wave pool, two more children's areas, and Seaside Splashworks, a huge water play structure.

Those wishing to keep tabs on the huge project can start with the live camera (a view from which is seen here) that's featured on the Carolina Harbor webpage.  Want even more photos of the recent construction progress?  Check out this gallery on Flickr and this post from Carowinds Connection for plenty more.

Carowinds also recently received tax incentives for the project, which will stretch as long as 30 years to help with the massive $25 million price tag of this expansion.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Cedar Point Tops Off Valravn!

© Cedar Point
Another early present, this time from Cedar Point.  The park has topped off Valravn, completing a complicated sequence of heavy lifting that required three separate cranes.  Above is a photo of when the coaster hit the official 223 feet above the ground, joining Wicked Twister, Top Thrill Dragster, Millennium Force and Magnum XL-200 as the park's 5th ride standing more than 200 feet tall.

As you can see the top of the lift actually has no support directly under it, instead one crane had to hold that piece in place while the turn that follows it was carefully lifted and installed.

Here is a shot of that operation, with the turn before the drop just started to the lifted and the other two cranes in place.  The park had to work well into the evening darkness to complete the task.

This is a shot from the park's live webcam from this afternoon, where you can see that the 90 degree right turn that leads to the drop was indeed installed last night.  I would assume that given good weather, Valravn's first drop will go in after the upcoming holiday.  It is amazing how these tall rides can have so few supports!

Cedar Point has also updated their construction gallery with a new set of photos, be sure not to miss them.  It's all downhill from here!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom's Joker Lift and First Drop Complete!

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has delivered a great holiday present in the form of a completed lift and first drop on their new Joker roller coaster.  The Rocky Mountain conversion of Roar has seen a significant amount of track installed in the past few weeks since that phase of construction began.  The theme park has released some images of the new work, including this great look at the park below taken from the very top of the lift.

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
From a wider angle we can see the entire complete lift with the signature Joker themed purple and green track.  The first drop can be seen in the background - it almost appears to be missing due to the steepness of the plunge!  Also of note is the turn on the right, which has been totally stripped of the wooden track and is awaiting new steel running rails.

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
This final shot the park released is almost dizzying, taken from above the first drop looking straight down.  The first drop on the Joker has been totally reprofiled from its former self, and now begins with a quick drop down and then a turn to the right mid fall.  It looks like it could be a real air-time monster in the back seat of the trains!

For more photos of the drop from various angles, check out this update from California Coaster Kings.  They also have shots of the elaborate pre-lift track that has been installed, filled with mini-hills and turns. 

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wild Looking 'Lost Gravity' Coaster Opening at Walibi Holland in 2016

Yesterday we covered an innovative new water ride from Mack at Walibi Belgium, and today we will look at an equally interesting new roller coaster going into sister park Walibi Holland - also said to be from Mack.

The new coaster will be named Lost Gravity, that much has been confirmed by the park via their social media feeds.  The exact details of the ride however are still a mystery, though popular rumor pegs the new ride as being of the spinning variety.  We all know for sure that the ride will have a bit of a bumble bee color scheme going on:

© Walibi Holland
So yes - the track alternates between black and yellow throughout the ride, however this photo (one of a few "official" ones the park has sent out) has another important thing to point out... that first drop!  The track quickly inverts as it drops toward the ground so as to not really invert riders but is still quite dramatic in appearance.  The rest of the ride (a speculative layout was created and posted here) that is standing so far includes a large top hat, several air-time hills and a long elevated mid-course with another inverting dive.

A great set of "through the trees" type of photos was posted to Imgur two days ago, available at this link.  While zoomed in quite a bit to get past the trees, you can still see several of the newer elements that are in place.  The park's full reveal for Lost Gravity, whenever it takes place, will be most anticipated.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Innovative New Water Ride - Pulsar - Coming to Walibi Belgium in 2016

Walibi Belgium will add Pulsar, a brand new style of water thrill ride from Mack Rides in 2016. Already under construction for some time, the ride is most easily described as a shuttle style water coaster utilizing shoot-the-chute style boats - the new type of ride has been labeled a Power Splash by Mack.  The track and boats appear similar to those used on Mack's other large water rides, an example of which is Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld San Antonio.

This recent construction photo comes from a news video on the attraction which had some neat aerial footage from a drone.  Pulsar is being built into the existing lake at the center of Walibi Belgium, and when finished will look like the concept art up top.  The ride uses a station turn table to allow two boats to be used at once, one loading while the other is on the track.

The ride's description states that it will feature three launches at a maximum speed of nearly 62 miles per hour.  The spikes at either end of the ride extend to a few feet shy of 150 feet in the air.  So this is by no means a small ride!  It sounds like boats will first be launched backwards, then climb the tower and receive a boost as they travel forward (and it seems only create a splash with forward motion).  This concept video released by the park gives a good look at that:

I'm not sure that the video is 100% accurate to the launch sequence, however it looks pretty exciting either way.  Could there even be a bit of air on that hill in the middle?  I hope the ride is a success and one opens in the U.S. sooner than later!  Additional recent construction photos are available at this link.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Wild Adventures Roars Into 2016 With New Attraction Announcement

© Wild Adventures
Georgia's Wild Adventures promised something big in 2016, and they delivered on that by announcing that a slew of huge dinosaurs will be featured at the park next season.  The attraction will have a limited run at the park, appearing only next year.

The set up will be similar to exhibits seen at other amusement parks, and will have more than 20 life sized dinosaurs that move, roar and have other special effects. Some of the largest of the dinosaurs, like the brachiosaurus for example, will stand more than two stories tall.  There will be many different types of dinosaurs featured, ranging from friendly herbivores to snarling raptors.  The new exhibit has a planned opening date of March 12, 2016.

All around Wild Adventure new experiences aimed at creating family fun will also debut, though specific details have not yet been released. For now the park is only saying that "life-size mazes, wacky challenges & splashy surprises" are some of the special pop-up fun that is planned.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Mako Heading Up Toward the Sky at SeaWorld Orlando

© SeaWorld Orlando
As seen in this recent update from Pixels at the Parks, SeaWorld Orlando's new Mako roller coaster has entered a new phase of vertical construction where the ride is starting to tower over the park.  It appears as though roughly half of the lift track is now in place, meaning the roller coaster is standing about 100 feet tall.  The lift will eventually extend to a full 200 feet in the air, with a drop of the same size.  In total Mako will feature 4,760 feet of track.

Before continuing on with the rest of the lift, it appears as though the theme park is working on constructing the midcourse brake run that is located directly underneath it.  You can see just how that will work in the above concept art for Mako.  The update also shows that the rest of the coaster's site is still buzzing with footer preparation and work on the station area.

I must note that Mako's color scheme looks even better than I anticipated now that larger sections of it are standing.  It was hard to tell with just the transfer track up, but now we can get a great idea of how the finished product will look.  Can't wait to see more!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Aerial Antics: Valleyfair's Recent Changes + Additions

Valleyfair has completed two recent expansions that have dramatically changed sections of the park, which means we can do some fun aerial before-and-afters!

This section of Valleyfair received much attention in the form of a new themed area and a large catering facility.  The Eastern strip of the park used to be home to go-karts, a Skycoaster and mini-golf, mixed together as Challenge Park.

In 2003 Steel Venom was added along the edge of the parking lot, adding an attraction that wasn't pay-extra to the area.  However, the section was a bit awkward in its presentation, isolated from the main park and mostly filled with additional charge rides.

The mini-golf was replaced in 2013 when Picnic Point, a very modern and upgraded catering facility, opened.  That can been seen with the blue/purple roofs in the lower right of this image.  The following year in 2014 the all new Route 76 debuted, which meant the removal of the go-karts for a scenic new antique auto ride.

Two other flat rides were moved from elsewhere in the park to fill Route 76, and a brand new family spinning 'coaster' ride, Northern Lights, was also added.  These changes really brought the area to life and use the space so much better.

Valleyfair's water park, Soak City, was the home of some big changes for the 2015 season.  Above is the before look at a swath of the area worked on.  The park's wave pool, Breakers Bay, was added in 2009 when the water area became known as Soak City.  The wave pool replaced the park's aging log flume.  The rest of the water park is located to the left of this image, so the wave pool was fairly isolated.

Here is the after look at the water park, which increased in overall size for 2015.  In the upper right is the brightly colored slide tower containing Breakers Pipeline and Breakers Plunge.  It replaced a couple buildings along with some midway and also required Hydroblaster, a wet/dry slide to be removed.

In the middle top of the image you can see a new children's area, Barefoot Beach, which replaced the old Imax theater.  There was enough room leftover for a sand volleyball court to go in next to it.  Below that are expanded changing rooms and some new food and retail stands.

With Valleyfair said to be marked for further expansion in the coming years, it looks like we will have several more before and after images to ponder!  Aerial images from Bing and Google.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Disneyland Paris Begins 2 Year "Re-Imagining" of Popular Attractions

In an attempt to draw visitors back to one of the prettiest Disney parks around, Disneyland Paris has embarked on a two year refurbishment project of nearly ten of its attractions, with a handful at the Disney Stuidos Park also being upgraded.  Some of the work is already well underway, but this video the resort released details them all:

Some of the announcements are larger than others, with several worth highlighting.  Space Mountain: Mission 2 has already seen much work, but in 2017 will receive all new trains.  Hopefully new modern restraint designs can be employed to remove the need of the over the shoulder restraints.

Big Thunder Mountain will see general upkeep, like painting and fixing the mountain's many animatronic inhabitants - but will also receive an "explosive finale" that sounds like it could be based off of the one added at Disneyland.  That's a major plus in my book.

Star Tours is promised to have an "exciting experience" enhancement completed, which one could guess is the updated Star Tours: The Adventures Continue film currently open at the other parks.  Pirates of the Caribbean will also see major upgrades to sets, lighting, and special effects.  Other "surprises" are promised, like Captain Jack perhaps?

Over at the Walt Disney Studios Park, the long rumored replacement for Animagique will come true - though no details on the new show were announced yet.  The tram tour will also feature modified sets and new ones from major films.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Keeping Tabs on Valravn Construction at Cedar Point

© Cedar Point
If you haven't been watching the live webcam that Cedar Point has focused on Valravn construction, you've been missing out!  Over the past week, and including this morning, the park has been hoisting the roller coaster's massive lift hill pieces into place.  This image is from today, when a second section was lifted into place.

Going off the concepts released earlier, the lift still has a bit more to go before the maximum height of 223 feet is reached.  Then a 90 degree right turn (which can be seen assembled on the ground on the far right of the image) will lead to the vertical plunge.  The bottom of the drop and pullout can be seen already in place in the middle bottom of the image.

© Cedar Point
Cedar Point has been documenting the construction of Valravn on several social media sites, including Twitter where this new image came from.  They are also updating the official Valravn website frequently with new photos in the construction gallery.  I love watching the already impressive skyline of Cedar Point change once again with this addition!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Kings Dominion Shares Shockwave Demolition Photos

In late August, Kings Dominion announced a brand new thrill ride, Delirium, for the park's 2016 season - to be located on the site of the park's Shockwave stand up roller coaster.  The retirement of the coaster was previously announced, but with the park closed for the season not much was seen of the ride's removal.

© Kings Dominion
Well, at least not much was seen until now.  The park has been recently publishing a new blog, and this new update features photos from the demolition of Shockwave (and a nice before and after view).  The ride, one of a handful of Togo designed coasters still operating in North America, originally opened at the park in 1986.  Kings Dominion has been improving several of its themed sections over the past few seasons, and now Candy Apple Grove is receiving major attention next year.

© Kings Dominion
There was some speculation that Shockwave may be sold or moved to another park, but these photos will put that rumor to bed for good.  The crews demolishing the ride ripped it apart and made piles of steel, like this one, that were headed for the recycling center.  No reassembling required.

Fans of the park will be excited to see Delirium rise on the site of Shockwave in the coming months.  The high intensity pendulum style ride will take passengers up to 115 feet over the midway at 120 degrees - all while spinning and swinging at the same time.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Typhoon Tower Swirling Into Coney Island Amusement Park in 2016

© Coney Island Amusement Park
The largest water park addition in the park's history will debut in 2016 at Ohio's Coney Island Amusement Park, it has been announced.  The addition will be named Typhoon Tower and will be a 16,000 square foot water play structure located in a currently open area near the amusement park's main gate.

Above is a drawing of the addition that Coney Island has released, showing some of the fun that visitors will find on Typhoon Tower.  Like all water play structures, the addition will have over 70 different interactive features that can be found while guests explore.

© Coney Island Amusement Park
This second drawing that was released shows a bit more detail of the layout of Typhoon Tower.  One of the biggest features are the two water slides that stretch 150 feet each - a yellow and green slide both extend from the top back of the structure.

The large tiki mask that can been seen is a part of what the park calls a "33 foot Hydro Storm" that unleashes 1,300 gallons of water on guests below - said to be the largest of its kind in the world.  For more on exactly what a Hydro Storm is, check out this from the attraction's manufacturer.

“We are very excited about this new water attraction for our visitors in 2016,” said Coney Island’s Vice President and General Manager Mike Howard. “We will now have the world’s largest Hydro Storm right next to Sunlite Pool, the largest recirculating pool in North America – that’s something pretty special.”

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A Wizarding World Opening Date Announcement From Universal Studios Hollywood

© Universal Studios Hollywood
Today the exciting announcement was made that the Wizarding World of Harry Potter will have its grand opening at Universal Studios Hollywood on April 7th, 2016.

To help reveal the date, the park invited special guest Evanna Lynch, who played Luna Lovegood in the Potter films, to the new area to help out:

Now that's how you light up a castle!  Just as expected, Hogwarts Castle looks super impressive under the new show lighting that's shown in the image up top and in the video.

A new commercial for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter was also released today to coincide with the announcement:

They did a really great job on this commercial!  It doesn't take much to understand the massive impact that the Potter addition will have on Universal Studios Hollywood - this is going to be a game-changer for the park just like it was in Orlando.

It is also pretty safe to assume that there will be a soft opening of the area well before April 7th.  If you haven't already, be sure to check out the official website for Universal Studios Hollywood's Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Monday, December 7, 2015

A New Tradition Begins with Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday In The Park 2015

The story of Six Flags' Holiday In The Park actually dates back 30 years, having originated at Six Flags Over Texas in 1985.  The event, which celebrates all of the holidays found in December, has slowly expanded to other Six Flags parks through the years, bringing to life winter wonderlands that millions of visitors have enjoyed.

For 2015, Six Flags Great Adventure became the 7th Six Flags park to host the event, despite its location in the typically-chilly Northeast.  Many might think that the local weather would be too much for people to endure; however the draw of the sparking lights, rides, entertainment and other offerings have folks bundling up and hitting the park in droves.

For an inaugural season, Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday in the Park has a lot to offer, going all-in on the event right off the bat.  The park shared some figures about Holiday in the Park which exemplifies this point.  There are over one million lights, 35,000 feet of power cord to light them, over 6,000 ornaments throughout the park, 5,000+ feet of garland, more than 1,000 poinsettias, 224 holiday trees, 215 decorated wreaths and the list could go on and on.  Plus, 30 of the park's mechanical rides are running during the event, weather permitting of course.

When you arrive at Great Adventure you are immediately thrust into the holiday spirit through A Main Street Christmas, the entrance area to the park.  It is awash in green, white and red lights, and there's even several 'snow' machines making flurries flutter in the air.  Kids love the faux snow, as we saw plenty of them dancing around in it excitedly!

A Main Street Christmas is also home to a large selection of shopping opportunities, along with dining locations as well.  An extremely popular treat during Holiday in the Park is hot chocolate, when can be purchased in a collectible mug - we saw about every third person in this area sipping from one!

At the end of the promenade there is a gigantic 52 foot tree, seen above, located on top of what is usually the park's signature fountain.  The tree's lights slowly change color, though every half hour it comes to life for A Celebration of the Season.  During the show the tree features dancing lights choreographed to festive holiday tunes - it's quite impressive to see!

For Holiday in the Park, many sections of the theme park have been transformed with new themes.  Above is Gingerbread Junction, which features these great looking candy cane trees.  The park's Houdini's Great Escape is open, and features fitting lighting projected on its side.  When in the area make sure to check out the lights that are strung on the Carousel, they do a mini-light show of their own and it's mesmerizing!  Live entertainment in the area includes the Gumdrop Hop, where featured characters Dot & Drop host a fun dance party.

The busy Boardwalk area is now known as Snowman City, home to this 30 foot inflatable fellow that you can walk directly under.  The section is known for its large assortment of boardwalk style games, including a fun holiday themed one.  In the game, called Pick-A-Present, everyone is a winner of a cute plush or the ever-popular super hero capes.

Treetop Summit includes this massive, 240 foot tall light tree that is strung from the very top of the park's famous parachute tower.  The tree can be seen from anywhere inside the park, towering over its nearby rides.  There's also a set of real fire pits located in front of the Twister, which are quite popular as the night air becomes chilly.  Treetop Summit also has several rides open, including the big coasters Green Lantern and Superman - Ultimate Flight, along with the go-karts and Slingshot.

Heading back toward the center of the park is one of my favorite areas, Polar Point.  The park's mature trees are covered in beautiful blue lights, many of which have 'icicle' lights hanging among the branches as well.  I took a ton of photos in this area as it was so impressive, but even the best of them do not translate how neat it looks in person.  Fitting for the theme, this is also where the Snow Queen lives, and guests can have their photo taken with her.  For an aerial view of the beautiful blue lights, SkyScreamer and the Big Wheel are open, and for those who want to stay closer to the ground Air Jump is also operating.

Here we have the North Pole, with the multi-colored home of the big man himself, Santa!  At Santa's House kids can meet Mr. Clause and his elves, and of course have their photo taken.  The North Pole Village is a great building where they can see a reindeer and even write out a letter to Santa.  The North Pole also has both the Buccaneer pirate ship ride and Deja Vu open as well.

The kids area of the park is known as Whimsical Wonderland during Holiday in the Park, and it has plenty of smaller rides open for little ones.  It is also where Mrs. Clause holds a special story time throughout the day, featuring classic holiday tales.  In addition to all the family rides that are open, the blockbuster Nitro roller coaster is also open for some high-level thrills.

When I wrote about this event a few weeks ago using concept art released by Great Adventure, Poinsettia Peak was one the most intriguing areas to me.  The art showed the entire front of the Skull Mountain structure absolutely covered in strings of red lights, and I'm happy to report that's exactly how the finished product turned out!  Seen above, the building is a sight to see.  Plus with the walkway in front of the coaster open (and the coaster itself, too), you can get up close to check it out.  Also seen here is the Poinsettia Princess, in front of a large tree made of individual poinsettia plants, greeting guests for photos.  The Holly Jolly Roger and Fender Bender rides are also a part of the section.

In our age of cameras by our side at nearly all times, Holiday Memories is a smartly themed area.  The area is littered with photo opportunities, from giant greeting cards to oversized decorations there's a backdrop for even the most professional selfie taker.  There's also Mistletoe Moments, another photo opportunity were guests just may feel the urge to give their loved ones a kiss for the photo!

The area also features this beautiful large tree set in front of Batman The Ride, which is operating, and orbs hung from the trees that project dots of light all over the midway.  The Dark Knight indoor coaster is also open, with giant snowflake projections on the side of its building.

With a healthy crowd of visitors lining the area, it was hard to get a nice photo of Joy To The World, a peaceful walkway through a normally closed section of the park - this is the best I could do.  The area celebrates different religious holidays from around the world with beautiful stained glass images, music, luminaries and endless rows of lit trees.  The only light in the area comes from the trees, and it's really a beautiful path.

The walkway leads to the park's indoor Showcase Theater, which is presenting Jack Frost's Magical Christmas during Holiday in the Park.

The show is a great deal of fun, and follows the quest of Jack Frost to steal the first present of the season and make it his own.  Along the way there are several special acts wound together through the story, a variety of performance types are featured.  From acrobatics to a special performance by some well trained doggies, the show holds the attention of even the youngest visitors.  It was a blast and the crowd (which filled every seat in the house) really enjoyed the show - we did too!  Put this one on your schedule when you visit, for sure.

Of course Holiday in the Park also features plenty of food for visitors, including special holiday themed treats to full meals at open venues such as Granny's Country Kitchen and the Yum Yum Cafe.  Stores throughout the park also have some great merchandise related to the park, even licensed ones like an 'ugly Christmas sweater' shirt themed to the DC Comics gang.  We also recommend the special viewing glasses which make pinpoints of light into special shapes like snowmen and snowflakes - I don't understand how it works but it does, and it's great!

Many thanks to Six Flags Great Adventure for inviting us out to experience all that Holiday in the Park has to offer.  It's a great event and a wonderful way to spend some quality time with your family and loved ones.  To learn even more about the event, check out the official website.