Saturday, January 31, 2015

Fury 325 Completed at Carowinds + New Culinary Event

© Mike Fehnel
January 30th, 2015 was an extra exciting day for Carowinds, as that is when the park completed their mighty new roller coaster, Fury 325.  Above is the park's General Manager, Mike Fehnel, signing the last piece of track while it was still on the ground.  It is a tradition for many parks to sign the final piece of track for new coasters, and this one even has some witty sayings on it!

Naturally since I wasn't at the event it was a good morning to be keeping tabs on the park's construction webcam, which allowed me to grab these before & after looks at the instillation.  The final piece connected the coaster's main ride track with the brake run.  The park had plenty of media out for the placing of the final piece, so they actually practiced putting it in place, then taking it back down.

© Carowinds
Here is one more photo from the park showing the final piece going into place, connecting the 6,602 feet of track.  Carowinds has also uploaded a fun time lapse video of the final piece of track being put into place, check that out here.  Congratulations to the park for completing the ride's layout - now we get to look forward to testing!

Carowinds has also started to share details of an all new culinary event that will take place this Spring, Taste of the Carolinas.  The event will run on Saturday and Sundays April 18th through May 17th.  The event will celebrate both the food and beverages of the different regions of the Carolinas, with plenty to sample, cooking demonstrations and more.   You can read about what is planned for Taste of the Carolinas here.

Friday, January 30, 2015

California's Great America Shares New Planet Snoopy Art

© California's Great America
Perhaps it has been up for a while, but I just took notice of some new concept art that California's Great America has posted for their 2015 Planet Snoopy expansion.

The area once known as KidzVille (which neighbors the current Planet Snoopy) is being heavily renovated and themed to the famous beagle's world travels.  The new area will feature bright colors and themes used at other Cedar Fair parks, which will be a welcome change for this section of California's Great America.

Above is art of the Peanuts 500, one of three new rides being introduced into Planet Snoopy.  I'm not sure if it was ever confirmed, but the three new rides could have been moved from Knott's Berry Farm.

© California's Great America
Here is more art, showing off two other new rides: Snoopy's Space Buggies and GR8 SK8.  There's also the Kite Eating Tree, which appears to be a fully rethemed existing ride from the former KidzVille.  Depending on how heavy the retheming is of all the existing rides, this could turn out to be a really great instillation of Planet Snoopy.

The park is hard at work on the expansion, so we can expect to see photos of the work soon.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Disneyland Resort's Diamond Celebration Plans Revealed

Last night the Disneyland Resort held a special event to announce their plans for the Diamond Celebration, in honor of Disneyland's 60th anniversary.

No major new theme park rides were announced, but that doesn't mean there won't be anything new - in fact both parks will be sharing in the festivities.  The celebration will begin on May 22nd, with no formal end date given.

© Disneyland Resort
As with several previous anniversary celebrations, Disneyland's famous Sleeping Beauty Castle will get a temporary makeover - this one will shimmer and shine as the diamond theme is carried out.  Accenting the diamonds will be banners and other decorations in the classic Disneyland blue color.  Over at Disney California Adventure, the park's iconic Carthay Circle Theatre will also receive special decorations.

Disneyland will debut the Paint The Night, a new parade that features 1.5 million LED lights and represents a new generation's Main Street Electrical Parade.  The spectacle will feature Tinker Bell's pixie dust that brings to life vivid floats featuring characters from popular films including Frozen, Toy Story, Cars, and more.  The parade will be similar, though not the exact same, as the one currently running at Hong Kong Disneyland.

© Disneyland Resort
Always popular at the Disney parks, Disneyland will also debut a new fireworks show, named Disneyland Forever.  The show will not only use fireworks, but also Disney's largest use of projection mapping ever along Main Street, and other special effects.  Viewing locations in other parts of the park will also feature adds-ons to enhance the experience for guests.  Best yet, the display will feature two original songs written by Disney legend Richard Sherman.

Finally, over at Disney California Adventure a new edition of World of Color will premier, with the tagline Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney.  The show will celebrate Walt Disney's dream of building Disneyland, emphasizing that anything is possible if you never give up on your dreams.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Wicked Cyclone is Showing Off Some New Curves

© Six Flags New England
After a post-holiday lull in new steel track being added to Wicked Cyclone's structure, the pace of work has picked up once again.  And that means that we get to see the new extreme elements that are being added to the coaster's layout.

Above is a photo that the park shared, one of several, that shows off Wicked Cyclone's far side - near the New England SkyScreamer.  As the trains head toward this section they will head through the 200 degree stall (middle of the photo) and into another heavily overbanked turn (left).

This view is also great as it really shows off how much Wicked Cyclone is shorter (in most areas, anyway) than before.  But that's just fine, it means the elements will be encountered with even more speed, which leads to more forces and more fun!

The photos that Six Flags New England shared are good, but if you want some really great ones (great views of that 200 degree stall) click over to SFNEOnline's latest update.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Scott And Carol Present - A Six Flags St Louis Justice League Update.

Back in November 2014 we brought the official announcement of the new dark ride Justice League - Battle for Metropolis straight from the IAAPA floor in Orlando.

While the construction going on in St Louis  is not quite as dramatic as it is in Arlington, these photos from December 2014 show quite a bit has been. The water channel was been filled in and 

all of the walls and props from Scooby Doo's Scary Swamp Dark Ride have been removed.

These two photos, from the 1st week of January 2015, show quite a bit of progress is being made.

Drywall is beginning to be applied to the steel studs and the large empty building is beginning to resemble the rides floor plan. Thanks to Elizabeth at Six Flags St Louis for sending along the photos. We are looking forward to trekking to Six Flags St Louis to experience Justice League- Battle for Metropolis this Spring,

Monday, January 26, 2015

First Departures to Knott's Iron Reef Announced + Amusement Dark News

Knott's Berry Farm has announced that the park's new 4-D attraction, Voyage to the Iron Reef, will send its first passengers under the water on May 15th, 2015.

Located in the park's Boardwalk section, the ride will pit park visitors against an army of strange underwater creatures, where "underwater forests, disorienting ocean current tunnels, mysterious mechanical wreckage, high definition 3-D animation will surround guests at every turn."

To celebrate the ride's opening date, the park released this teaser advertisement - helping to build the mystery surrounding the journey.  The ride is media based with a gaming component, which combines "the fun of a theme park ride with the interactivity of high tech video games."  Riders will compete with one another to see who can get the highest score as they use their "freeze ray" to blast the underwater creatures trying to destroy Knott's.  All time high scores will be posted at the attraction's exit area.

You can read more about Voyage to the Iron Reef on Knott's official website, which is also where I noticed this little guy:

We first saw Cedar Fair trademark this name back in early 2013, and have since heard it briefly mentioned as the overall name of the dark ride initiative that Matt Ouimet is creating at the parks.  Almost like a 'brand' for the set of dark rides that are being built, with each one carrying its own theme.

I hadn't seen much more of it since then, so I'm surprised to see it on the new ride's webpage - complete with a fancy logo.  Low and behold, it's on Wonder Mountain's Guardian's page as well.  Hopefully this means the company is strengthening their stance on dark rides, with perhaps even more (elaborate ones) to come!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Aerial Antics: Nagashima Spa Land

Nagashima Spa Land is an interesting park, located in Japan and home to the tallest traditional-lift coaster in the world (at least until Fury 325 opens).  The park has a great selection of rides and coasters, and also offers a huge water park as well.

The park does not have 45 degree images available on Google, but recently updated pure aerial views.  So we shall make do with these.  Above is the giant double helix turnaround portion of Steel Dragon 2000, now operating with some nice looking B&M trains.  The ride's lifts extends up to 328 feet, the current record for that style of ride. 

The back part of the park features an expansive water area, which includes these two slide towers.  On the left is a very new slide from WhiteWater, which is a "fusion" ride combining a Boomerango and Manta.  On the right is the slide tower that features at least a dozen or more slides coming off of it!

One of Japan's few wooden coasters, this is White Cyclone.  It opened back in 1994 and is an Intamin ride.  The ride's track stretches over 5,500 feet, which is quite considerable for a wooden coaster.

Nagashima Spa Land's coaster collection also includes two real gems, at least in my opinion.  Here we see the Looping Star, and original Schwarzkopf coaster of the same name.  With relatively few of these rides still around, I hope this one lasts for years to come.

And the park actually offers another Schwarzkopf ride, this one a shuttle ride.  Creatively named Shuttle Loop, the ride uses a flywheel launch to send trains up each of the 137 foot towers, and of course through a vertical loops.

The park has a new coaster going in as well, this time a B&M flying coaster named Acrobat - a clone of Manta at SeaWorld Orlando.

To check out the rest of the park, click here to head to Google maps.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Take A Peek at Darien Lake's Planning Application for 2015 Ride

Darien Lake is planning to add a new Larson Giant Loop in 2015, and while still unannounced the park has gone to local planning authorities to seek approval for the addition.  The "big circle ride" (as the application describes) will replace the UFO flat ride that's been at Darien Lake for ages.

Granted the ride's planning documents are not especially exciting, but it's always interesting to see all the requirements parks have to submit, even for just a new flat ride on the same spot as another.

The location of the Giant Loop.
The project has an estimate cost of $1 million according to the documents, and is not planned to affect the park's attendance or traffic patterns.  The addition is certainly something that I see worth advertising, but not something that will drive loads of new visitors, at least it seems like that's how the park feels.

An old map that still shows Six Flags...
Many fans of parks think that it's fairly easy to build a new attraction, when it's actually often quite the opposite.  Granted parks, and the tax/local economic impact they have, tend to eventually get to build what they've planned - but not without plenty of red tape.  From property line set backs to flood plain considerations, there's plenty to cover.

Some detailed specifications of the new ride.
At least with this new attraction at Darien Lake, the only real site preparation will be to remove the UFO's foundations, according to documents.  The ride will be placed such that is it parallel to the Ferris wheel nearby.

Darien Lake is an interesting park that's had some difficulty getting a real identity down since Six Flags pumped it up, then dumped it.  Each little expansion is helping to bring things back to order, and the recent water park additions were much needed and a great move.  Hopefully the future remains bright for this park.

To check out the details of the submitted plans, here's a link to the .pdf documents.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Backwards Batman Opening This Spring at Six Flags Over Georgia

Six Flags is continuing to get their money's worth out of the special backwards trains they had designed for their Batman inverted roller coasters!

This Spring the trains will open at Six Flags Over Georgia, changing their 1997 instillation of the popular coaster into a backwards experience.  The limited run of the backwards trains will debut with the park's opening on March 14, 2015.

“We are excited to offer our guests an incredible and gravity-defying ride on one of the park’s most popular attractions,” said Six Flags Atlanta Properties park president Dale Kaetzel. “This twist is the first of several new experiences coming this season to Gotham City.”

Batman: The Ride at Six Flags Over Georgia
Since Batman: The Ride opened at Six Flags Over Georgia the coaster has given more than sixteen million rides, and is now ready to give riders a new experience.  The trains will navigate the coaster's ten story lift hill, top speed of 50 miles per hour and five inversions - all backwards.  The experience has been described as an intense, but fun way to experience a coaster we are all pretty familiar with.

Batman: The Ride Backwards will join two new Gotham City additions that will open later this Spring.  The inverting Joker Chaos Coaster and Harley Quinn Spinsanity will both breath new life into the park's Gotham themed section.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Silver Dollar City Places Historic Bell Tower in Fireman's Landing

The exciting $8 million addition to Silver Dollar City, a new area known as Fireman's Landing, hit an important milestone recently: the setting of a historic bell tower atop the area's fire station.  The iron bell was forged in 1895 - yes that's an 18 not a 19 - and weighs in at 640 pounds.  Ringing bells atop fire stations traditionally signaled to the community that there was a fire, so it is fitting for the new themed area.

© Silver Dollar City
"This 'Setting of the Bell Tower' begins the countdown for the March/spring break opening of Fireman's Landing," said Brad Thomas, General Manager of Silver Dollar City.  "2015 is going to our biggest family year ever, as not only are we adding Fireman's Landing, but also the world famous Harlem Globetrotters are joining us all summer in their first-ever extended-run show."

Fireman's landing will ten new "family adventures" in the form of six new rides and four attractions.  The expansion brings the park's list of attractions to over 40, and adds an additional 21,000 rides per hour to the park's capacity.

© Silver Dollar City
Fireman's Landing is themed to a "community fair of over a century ago," where new volunteer firefighters are being recruited.  The rides and attractions serve as training adventures for new recruits.

According to Silver Dollar City the area's theming is especially significant because "the 1880s town Marmaros, once located on the site of Silver Dollar City, was burned to the ground by a blaze more than 100 years ago."   "Now fast forward to the fictional story for Fireman's Landing, where the citizens band together to prevent such an event," said Thomas.   

You can read more about Fireman's Landing, which should be open by Spring Break, on Silver Dollar City's website.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Colossal Curl Rising at Adventure Island

With the 2015 season just a little over six weeks from now, Tampa's Adventure Island water park has kicked Colossal Curl construction into high gear.  The new slide combines funnel and wave features that the entire family can enjoy together on four person rafts.

Back in December the water park shared this flyover video of the Colossal Curl work site, where foundations were underway.  This gives those of you who've been to the park a great idea of where the new slide is going.

© Adventure Island
A nice aspect of water slide additions is that the support structures can go up rather quickly.  It wasn't long after Adventure Island had the foundations complete that work on building the main support tower started. 

While the slide's tower was being built, crews were also busy starting to assemble parts of the slide in a service area.  This video, also produced by Adventure Island, shows off this process and gives some fun facts about the giant attraction.  I must say that while the slide is the same as the one that opened recently in Virginia at Water Country USA, this color scheme gives it a fitting tropical feel.  Both slides are great looking, though!

© Adventure Island
And this now brings us to current day, where the slide is now being installed!  The park just posted this photo of Colossal Curl's funnel section now in place.  Looking good so far, and no doubt that it won't be long until the rest of the structure is in place.

Adventure Island's 2015 season starts on March 7th, though no official word yet on whether or not Colossal Curl will open then.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Fun Spot America + Gatorland Team Up to Create Gator Spot

John Arir Jr. at today's announcement © Fun Spot
Fun Spot American and Gatorland broke ground today on Gator Spot, a brand new addition at the quickly expanding Orlando amusement park.

Gator Spot will be 15,000 square feet of gator-fun, featuring both alligators and crocodiles - including rare white alligators.  The $1 million addition is already underway and will be constructed over the next two months with a grand opening soon after.

Official ground breaking shot! © Fun Spot
Being described as "jawsome," the new joint-venture will "bring a new level of interaction, entertainment and education to the family owned" Fun Spot America.

“We are excited to be working with Gatorland and the history they bring to Orlando and our industry,” states John Arie Jr, Chief Operating Officer of Fun Spot America. “Being able to offer this experience to all our guests at the International Drive location is another unique experience visitors to Orlando can share with their families and friends. Gatorland and Fun Spot together is HUGE!”

The layout of the new GatorSpot © Fun Spot
Guests visiting Gator Spot will see several different displays, shown above, including baby alligators, giant alligators up to 12 feet in length, crocodiles and the white gators.  There will also be interactive features, and a retail and photo location within the development too.  Admission for both adults and children will be a flat $6.

Fun Spot American also recently announced the addition of another thrill ride, an S&S swing ride named Space Invader.  So great to see this park continuing to expand so quickly!

Holiday World's Thunderbird Begins Keyhole Construction

© Holiday World
How lovely is this photo of Thunderbird?  Holiday World via the ever-popular Holiblog has shared several new images of the launched wing coaster's new double keyhole element now under construction.  One of the best aspects of the Bolliger and Mabillard wing coasters has been parks' ability to create these close-encounter structures around the track.

The structure that we see being created at the park will actually provide not one but two close encounters for riders of the coaster.

This is the original rendering of Thunderbird's layout, but it shows what I mean about interacting with the structure twice.  There's just a brief pause as the train navigates the Carousel turn before heading back over top of the building, starting in-line roll at the same time.

Holiday World has also been adding the train's cars to the track in recent weeks, some photos of which can be seen here.  Thunderbird opens in only 95 days from today!

Monday, January 19, 2015

SkyScreamer Rising at Six Flags Mexico

© Six Flags Mexico
Oh Geez... with all the new rides going up these days I almost forgot that Six Flags Mexico is building a SkyScreamer swing ride in 2015!

The park's 242 foot tall version was announced back at the end of August with all the other 2015 Six Flags projects, but we haven't seen much about it since then.

These attractions require an extensive set of footings to be poured, and with that phase complete the park is now taking SkyScreamer vertical. They've shared the above photo of the first two sections of the ride's tower in place.  The red color used so far will eventually transition into white, and then finally green - rounding out the colors of Mexico's flag.  SkyScreamer at Six Flags Mexico will be the chain's 9th instillation of a Funtime created Star Flyer when it opens later this year.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Aerial Antics: New Carowinds Views

It has been several years since we last looked at Carowinds from above, and I noticed that new aerials have become available of several recent additions.  That said, let's check out what the park has been up to.

Easily one of Carowinds' largest additions in recent years was Intimidator, a B&M mega coaster.  The ride straddles the South Eastern corner of the park, and in this photo the ride was still brand new.  The vibrant red track stands out among the rest of the park.

Going back a bit further in time we take note of Nighthawk, the Vekoma flying coaster formerly known as Borg Assimilator.  When the Paramount themes were dropped the coaster received a makeover, including the bright yellow track and dark blue supports seen in this aerial.

Here's a link to Bing's Birdseye views, which while outdated still are fun to look at.

Google has extremely recent aerials available, and while not at a 45 degree angle, there's still lots of new stuff to look at.  Here is the park's old catering area, along with an antique car style ride.

Both of which were gutted and turned into Dinosaurs Alive!  This is a very expansive path for the attraction, and at some point in the future this will provide great space for another expansion!

The center area of Carowinds has seen a lot of change in the past few seasons.  The water that Nighthawk passes over has seen two big changes, and a large plot of land leftover from the Log Flume removal was also utilized.

Here's the "after" look at the area.  In the lower left we see WindSeeker, along with a nicely redeveloped midway around it.  This past season saw more changes, with the addition of the park's Skycoaster now extending over the water as well.  Just across the way from that is the very large Harmony Hall Marketplace, a brand new dining area for the park.

Carowinds' water park, Boomerang Bay, has also expanded recently.  Above is a "before" shot of a corner of the water park, showing off a nice open area that was perfect for development.

And the park took advantage of that, and added two brand new modern water slide experiences in the area.  Dorsal Fin Drop and Surfer's Swell feature bright colors and liven up this part of Boomerang Bay.

In order to make room for the mighty Fury 325, Carowinds had to clear out some space inside the park's gates to build the station, queue, etc.  Here is a "before" look at just that area, with the park's go-karts and the now-moved Skycoaster under one turn of Hurler.

And here's the space, totally gutted, and quickly being filled with giant footers for an even more giant new roller coaster.

Here is one last set of "before" and "afters," meant to show just how massive the redevelopment project of Carowinds' parking lot and entrance really is.  Of course Fury 325 is a big part of that, but the project is really huge.

If you compare this sorta "after" shot (sorta because they're not done yet in it) you can really see how different the entrance road is.  The new toll plaza sits on a greatly expanded entrance road, and most of the older roads after it are already being reduced to dust.  And yes, if you look close at the top of the image you can see plenty of Fury 325 supports and track out in the field!

The updated Google images feature at least three additional newly painted coasters, along with other changes as well.  Click over and have fun finding them!