Thursday, June 29, 2017

Rocky Mountain Construction Unveils First Test Run of Raptor Prototype

© Rocky Mountain Construction
Since first being announced a couple years ago, we've all been excited to see the Raptor concept from Rocky Mountain Construction (RMC) come to life.  From recent work that the company has completed at their facility, it would appear as that day is closer than ever.

RMC has fabricated several hundred feet of Raptor track at their headquarters, meant for testing the concept before it appears at any park.  Seen above is part of that test track, freshly painted in orange and teal colors.

The Raptor concept is intended to provide a highly thrilling roller coaster to parks that are looking to save on both cost and space.  The ride uses a single rail track and cars that seat riders individually.  This sales video that was released some time ago gives you all you'll need to know:

Back to current times, as we noted RMC has now moved on to a full test of the concept, which they've been sharing photos of for some time.  But just recently we got our most exciting look at the Raptor track yet, in the form of testing video!

Now this of course is only a small bit of what the Raptor track is capable of, but it still looks promising.  The sales video shows that the ride system will be capable of steep drops, banks and multiple inversions, all condensed in a small area.  Several other companies have already found success with rides of that nature, such as Intamin's Mega-Lite or Chance Rides' Hyper GT-X.

So now that RMC has created a running prototype of the Raptor concept, does this mean that we will see one at a park soon?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hersheypark Starts Teaser Campaign for 2018 Additions

© Hersheypark
The teasing for a 2018 expansion at Hersheypark has begun, with the above image posted on social media today.  The park is urging fans to stay tuned to additional clues about what the park is building, leading up to the official announcement which will take place on August 8th.

The image pretty clearly implies an expansion to Hersheypark's water area, known as The Boardwalk.  Between the surf boards and flip flops - plus quite a lot of the color blue - the image doesn't lend itself to another expansion in the theme park.  Plus, the news article that included the official announcement date has photos of a beach bucket, shovel and beach ball that was sent out to the press.

© Google Maps
Now, the big question from my perspective is where the park will find space to further expand The Boardwalk.  The water area has become extremely popular, to the point where the park actually removed their river rapids ride a few years back to make room for a lazy river/wave pool combo.

Above is a look at The Boardwalk area, which is pretty boxed in right now.  However, in red is the area taken up by Tidal Force, a large shoot-the-chutes.  The ride still seems popular, but is sitting on very important real estate right in the middle of The Boardwalk.  Could we see that ride come to an end before next year?

There is also the area in yellow, which was once home to Roller Soaker, is not fully developed either.  The ride's large station is still sanding, and part of the area became a splash pad when the ride was removed.  With the need for expansion space so great, the splash pad could be on the cutting board, along with the old station, to allow something new to arrive.

Stay tuned for more clues!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Kings Dominion Issues Second 2018 Attraction Teaser

A week after the first, Kings Dominion has issued their second 2018 attraction teaser on social media.  Here it is:

© Kings Dominion
Let's start with the obvious, we have text reading "20 better than 4," and a photo of Snoopy.  I take the phrase two ways, one is that 20 of something is better than 4 of something, but also if you take "better" as a statement of addition then they could be referencing 20 plus 4, which implies 24 as a significant figure.

Sadly I'm not quite sure what either would mean for a new ride, suspected to be a redo of the Hurler roller coaster.  20 of something being better than 4 sounds like it would work for something counted, perhaps air-time moments, instead of general statistics like height, drop, speed, or track length.  The significance of 24, if that's the case, could be that a 2018 reopening of a modified Hurler would come 24 years after it originally opened, in 1994.

Also worth noting is that one of the Ts in "better" is upside down.  Obviously that could refer to potential inversions that the ride may have.

Like the first teaser, there are also some words hidden in the background of the image.  This time I'm able to fine Snoopy, Wood, Candy and Orchard.  Still not sure of the Snoopy references, but wood appears to relate to Hurler's track style (former?).  Candy is probably related to Candy Apple Grove, which is also hinted at through Orchard as according to Wikipedia that area was originally themed as one.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Frontier City Expands Water Area with the Opening of Gully Washer Slides

© Frontier City
New for 2017, the impressive Gully Washer body slides have opened to guests within Frontier City, located in Oklahoma City, OK.  The park just recently started adding water-park style attractions to their lineup of offerings.  The Gully Washer slide tower is another big step toward eventually giving guests a full water park experience, should the park desire that.

© Frontier City
The trio of slides has gone up adjacent to the Wild West Water Works, a giant interactive play area that opened at Frontier City in 2012.  The structure features several slides of its own, along with dozens of interactive features.  Just the structure alone helps create a mini-water park experience, but now even that has grown.

© Frontier City
© Frontier City
These photos, taken by the park for social media, show off the green, purple and orange body slides as they twist their way down from a height of 66 feet.  Gully Washer certain appears to give a more thrilling experience than can be found in the Wild West Water Works!  I also enjoy how the runout area for the slides is actually pointed inward toward the slide tower, it's not often that you see water slides positioned in that way.

© Frontier City
Between the three paths of Gully Washer there is a total of 1,249 feet of slide, each path is unique but all contain sudden drops, plenty of twists and a high speed finish.  Riders only need to be 48 inches tall to experience the new ride.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Ghostbusters Save The Day on New Ride at Heide Park

Heide Park, located in Soltau, Germany, has opened their new for 2017 blockbuster darkride, Ghostbusters 5D - The Ultimate Ghost Hunt.  The attraction is a modern dark ride offering passengers a multitude of special effects including dynamic vehicles and game play elements via in-car blasters, all while on a trip through the world of the Ghostbusters franchise.

© Heide Park
Riders who journey into Ghostbusters 5D enter a decrepit warehouse that has become infested with ghouls that are aiming to take over Heide Park.  The ride vehicles, which turned out beautifully, are themed as Ecto-x Hybrids that are motion based to add to the simulation efforts.  Each rider has their own proton blaster which is used to blast ghosts throughout the attraction, which is in 3-D video.

Heide Park partnered with Triotech to create the new ride, and also shared this video of the concepts they went through to create the ghosts of the ride.  Blasting these ghosts lets riders accumulate points, which in turn makes the ride have a competitive nature that keeps riders coming back to try it again.

Since the ride is in 3-D on-ride videos don't work so well, but I do suggest checking out the below video which shows off the ride in general.  Looks great - perhaps we will see this attraction come to other Merlin Entertainments parks in the future.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Mine Blower at Fun Spot America Opens Tomorrow

© Fun Spot America
Tomorrow is the big day!  Fun Spot America will open their brand new wooden roller coaster, Mine Blower, to eager riders.

Designed by The Gravity Group, this super compact ride just recently started testing and is now ready for passengers.  Standing 83 feet tall with an 82 foot first drop, the coaster's big element is the first after the plunge, a full corkscrew that takes place over the station.  With speeds of 49 miles per hour and a total track length of 2,290 feet, Mine Blower's compact layout seems designed to maintain speed from start to finish.  Additional elements on the coaster include extreme banking at 115 degree, two Timberliner trains and 12 different moments of air-time.

If you're interested in seeing how the ride is, The Gravity Group released a point of view video of the ride soon after it started testing.  So if you're not able to hit the park tomorrow, like me, enjoy a virtual ride instead!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Kings Dominion Drops First Tease for 2018 Addition(s?)

Now that it is officially summer, this is when we usually start to see some parks begin the process of teasing what they have planned for the following season.  Many 2018 projects around the globe are already announced, which is a recent trend we've seen, but that doesn't mean we know everything already.  To that end, Kings Dominion posted an image on social media to kick off their campaign:

© Kings Dominion
The park posted this image along with a note that "things aren't always as they seem."  The number 816 would appear to be a date, August 16th, which coincidentally is also National Roller Coaster Day.  There is an image of the park's iconic Eiffel Tower on the right side, but that's not much of a clue in my book.

If you look at the larger version of the image you'll see that there is actually text running vertically all over the image.  Some of the words that I've spotted are:  Grove, Snoopy, 2018, and Apple.

Now, we all know that the theme park closed Hurler two seasons ago and some obvious work is going on with the ride.  It would make sense that Grove and Apple are in the text, since the ride is in the Candy Apple Grove themed area.  And the year, well that's obvious too.

However Snoopy is a bit of a mystery, and perhaps that is what the park means by "things aren't always as they seem."  Maybe there is even more in store than fans are already anxiously awaiting?

We'll have to stay tuned to find out!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Phantasialand To Build World's First Launched Flying Roller Coaster

Germany's Phantasialand surprised us all today but revealing on social media that they are planning to build the world's first launched flying roller coaster as their next big attraction.

The announcement came via this video that the park shared:

The video starts by detailing the major additions the park has made in the last decade or so, which include three roller coasters, flat rides, an interactive dark ride and an elaborate log flume.  Even with that much added the park isn't stopping!

The video ends with the announcement of what they're calling F.L.Y., the "first flying launched coaster" and also "the longest flying coaster in the world."  Those are all the facts that are stated, other than that it will be located in Rookburgh within the park.  Rookburgh is a newly announced area for Phantasialand, which Theme Park Guide described as appearing to carry a theme based on "steam punk; futurism and the Victorian era."

Taking a look at RCDB's statistics for flying coasters, it appears that right now the longest is Flying Dinosaur at Universal Studios Japan, which is 3,688 feet long.  What makes F.L.Y.'s record more impressive is that it doesn't have a lift hill to add track length, with launch sections taking up far less track.

As for manufacturer, that's a guess right now.  Obviously B&M is known for their flying coasters, but Vekoma has also thrown their name in the ring over the years as well.  And technically the park hasn't said the new ride is for 2018, though that seems a safe assumption since they're teasing it already.

After the park's most recent coaster, Taron, opened to rave reviews and stunning theming, I have very high hopes for this next project!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Wonder Woman Soars Into Six Flags America With Towering New Ride

Now open at Six Flags America is Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth, a towering swing ride that has changed the skyline of the Maryland theme park.

The ride stands more than 240 feet tall, and is situated among other DC Comics themed rides based off characters like The Joker, Superman and Batman.

© Six Flags America
Riders on Wonder Woman Lasso of Truth board one of 16 swings, each holding two passengers, to start their adventure.  The ride begins to lift upward the 240 foot tower while spinning the swings, which eventually move in a 98 foot circle at speeds of 40 miles per hour.  From the top riders get unparalleled views of the metro D.C. area.

The attraction is one of Funtime's popular StarFlyers, which have opened at nearly all Six Flags parks within the past few years.   This is the first to carry the Wonder Woman theme, however.

© Six Flags America
This wider view of the tower shows off the Wonder Woman-appropriate colors of the tower, along with a decorative topper with her logo.  Due to its location in the park and towering height, it can't be missed!  Wonder Woman Lasso officially opened at Six Flags America last week, so fans no longer need to wait to experience it!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

SeaWorld San Antonio Opens Wave Breaker - New Rescue Themed Launch Coaster

This weekend marks the grand opening of the highly anticipated Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster at SeaWorld San Antonio.  The double-launch thrill coaster is inspired by the heroics of the SeaWorld Animal Rescue Team, carrying a theme of riders boarding jet skis to blast off on a rescue mission.

The coaster's jet ski inspired trains are the first of their kind to open in North America, according to SeaWorld San Antonio.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
"Wave Breaker is an exciting and novel coaster for families to ride together, and adds to SeaWorld's strong lineup of top-rated coasters," said SeaWorld San Antonio Park President Carl Lum. "But what truly delights me is that this attraction best represents what SeaWorld is all about – it brings together the best of SeaWorld in one thrilling ride, and carries a message that leaves guests feeling inspired." 

© SeaWorld San Antonio
The new coaster is positioned so that the vast majority of its track is totally over the theme park's central lagoon.  It features many low to the ground maneuvers that simulate skimming across the surface of the water.  Each train is assigned its own rescue mission, either a sea turtle, dolphin or sea lion during a pre-launch briefing.  The station and queue celebrate some of the 30,000 animal rescues that the SeaWorld team has completed over the past 50 years.

© SeaWorld San Antonio
This aerial shot of Wave Breaker shows the entire layout, which includes a quick trip to an island in the middle of the lagoon.

"Wave Breaker provides a coaster experience unlike anything in the current theme park landscape," said SeaWorld Vice President of Theme Park Development Mike Denninger. "While other coasters feature dramatic changes in speed, once you hit Wave Breaker's first launch you are moving fast throughout the entire ride. When you combine that consistent high speed with the banked and serpentine turns throughout the ride track that is 90 percent over the surface of the water, you get an unparalleled ride experience."

Wave Breaker: The Rescue Coaster features two separate tire-driven launches, reaching speeds of up to 44 miles per hour.  Created by Intamin, the coaster stands 61 feet tall and has 2,600 feet of track.

Ready to head out on a rescue mission?  If so, check out the video below, from The Coaster Crew.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Dorney Park Opens Cirque Imagine - New Live Show Spectacular

With so much new at Dorney Park in 2017 it is almost hard to believe that there was still one big debut left... and that was the opening of the park's new live show, Cirque Imagine.  The performance opened to visitors this weekend, but played to a full house on Friday evening during a season passholder-only showing.  Obviously fans of the park are excited!

© NewsPlusNotes
Located in the Good Time Theater near the park's main entrance, Cirque Imagine features a cast of ten international performers that display amazing feats of strength, beautiful artistry, and plenty of humor.  Obviously with the word Cirque in the name, the show can be described as a modern take on traditional circus performances, however highly choreographed with a unique score and beautiful imagery.

© NewsPlusNotes
The show starts with four performers that make a surprising entrance into the theater, and then also show off not only their amazing strength and balancing, but also their humor.  Each section of the show is tied together by these actors exploring the mystical and magical performers that emerge from the backdrop.  There's even a hint of romance between two of the characters, as well.

© NewsPlusNotes
These photos depict some of those acts, but also give you an idea of the visual impact that the set has on the show.  The overall lighting is top notch an keeps audiences just as engrossed as the performers do.

Acts featured in Cirque Imagine include a trick bicyclist, strength balancing, trampolines, cyr wheel, and aerialists.

© NewsPlusNotes
The show's production level is really quite excellent, and something that's solidly above most shows found at regional amusement parks.  Cirque Imagine runs around 30 minutes and plays three or four times a day, depending on the day of the week, now through August 20th.  You can check times and learn more from Dorney Park directly.

Here is one clip from the show, showing the humorous side of the performers:

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Six Flags Great Adventure's New Justice League: Battle For Metropolis Ride Makes Grand Debut

Six Flags Great Adventure is very excited to open their brand new attraction, Justice League: Battle For Metropolis, this weekend to park guests.  Today was the attraction's initial preview and opening ceremonies, giving us the first chance to experience it and check out all the changes that the theme park has made.

And they've really made a ton!  The park took the opportunity of adding a mega-attraction to do a lot of work changing the area of the park that used to hold the Chiller's station.  Now the area is rethemed as Metropolis, and looks brand new.

© NewsPlusNotes
Before we explore the area we were able to hear from Six Flags Great Adventure's President, Neal Thurman.  Seen above, he officially opened Justice League: Battle For Metropolis along with Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.  Rightfully so, Mr. Thurman is especially proud of all the work that has gone into opening this ride, which he describes as "the most innovative and interactive attraction the park has ever built."  The ride was designed by famous dark-ride creators Sally Corporation, with vehicles from Oceaneering International, along with a host of other companies such as Alterface and Pure Imagination Studios.

With a rush of streamers and some fireworks, the ride was opened for the first time.  A fitting debut for such a heroic attraction.

© NewsPlusNotes
The building for Justice League, as mentioned earlier, sits on what was the site of the Chiller's station, but obviously this building is much larger than the former - 22,000 square feet to be exact!  There is both a themed indoor queue along with outdoor space as well on the left side of the building.

© NewsPlusNotes
The attraction is technically a part of the park's Movietown themed area, but the Metropolis area is really a sub-land, if you will.  To enter the area you first pass through the Metro-Narrows Bridge, seen above, a great idea for theming along the walkway!  This also makes the area feel a bit more secluded and builds anticipation.

© NewsPlusNotes
As you start to enter the area long time visitors of the park will notice that all the buildings have been rethemed to fit in with Metropolis.  Above is the Metro Grill, a food location, that will be serving as assortment of meals like cold and hot subs.

© NewsPlusNotes
Other park fans will recall these structures being a part of the Chiller, now themed into Metropolis wonderfully.  Munchopolis is a building with goodies such as cookies and brownies, and the large structure in the back has become the Lena Luther Science Explorarium.

© NewsPlusNotes
The main event still awaits us, so let's go exploring in the Justice League: Battle for Metropolis.  The entrance to the attraction on the far right of the area's main plaza, seen above.  The park has meticulously landscaped around the ride to give many parts of its outside an almost garden feel.

© NewsPlusNotes
When you move inside the entrance doors there are a few different rooms before the boarding area.  Happily, all of these are air-conditioned which is going to be quite popular in the summer.  The first room, above, features statues of members of the Justice League along with monitors that explain the situation at hand.  More on that later, though.

© NewsPlusNotes
This is the second room before the board area, cool in both temperature and lighting!

© NewsPlusNotes
The loading area is filled with so much to check out, starting from the second you round the corner and enter the area.  First you get up close to Cyborg, a full-sized animatronic, who explains that the Justice League need our help to defeat Super Villains Lex Luthor and The Joker.  Several members of the League have already been captured, and we're going to join the likes of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more to free them.

Here is some film of Cyborg in action, he's very impressive and interacts with the characters in the movie that plays above the loading area.

The vehicles each seat six riders a piece, and before riding you put on your special 3-D glasses that will really make the ride come to life.  The vehicles are motion-based, meaning they are able to create a variety of movements that are synced to the ride.  For instance, the movements of racing through the streets of Metropolis, or through a loop in the sky, come to life through a combination of physical movement and 3-D video.  Plus, the vehicles freely move through the building requiring no track - they're very advanced and it's fantastic to see a system of this caliber utilized at Six Flags!

© Six Flags
Once the action begins there is a mixture of physical sets, animatronics such as the Joker, seen above, special effects like fire, 3-D film and plenty more that come together to make one slick ride.  I don't want to have too many spoilers about the ride's content, but it's safe to say that in the end the good guys always win!

© Six Flags
One other very important aspect to Justice League: Battle for Metropolis is the interactive gaming element.  Each seat comes with its own blaster, and throughout the ride there are more than 600 virtual and tangible targets that can be hit to help out the Justice League.  There's even a fog screen with targets projected on it that you can blast at.  Each rider's score is shown in the car in front of them as they earn points, and at the end the high score player of the car is shown on the screen.

This interactive element is a ton of fun, and makes Justice League: Battle For Metropolis highly repeatable.  Each time we rode today we were able to increase our scores, making us want to keep going back for more!

© NewsPlusNotes
Once the ride has ended guests are able to peruse a large gift shop, filled with an assortment of Justice League items.  With the popularity of the franchise growing by the year, this will be a great spot to pick up some swag!

The new attraction will open for season pass holders tomorrow, then the public can ride on Saturday June 17th.  We highly recommend checking it out this summer!  You can plan your trip and learn more about the new ride on the park's official website.  Many thanks to Six Flags Great Adventure for having NewsPlusNotes out today!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Star Trek Operation Enterprise Now Launching at Movie Park Germany

Movie Park Germany
A major new launched roller coaster, named Star Trek Operation Enterprise, has made its official debut at Movie Park Germany.  Fans of the Star Trek universe are especially happy since the park's new coaster is the only operating one on the planet to be officially licensed by CBS Consumer Products.  That means that all the characters, story lines and the like are true to the series, which has been around since the 1960s, believe it or not.

Manufactured by Mack Rides, Star Trek Operation Enterprise features two forward and one backward launch up a twisted tower in order to get trains moving at 56 miles per hour.  The trains then race through the layout which includes elements such as a 98 foot top hat, an Immelmann directly followed by a heartline roll, a 100 degree overbanked turn and a zero-g-roll.

As for the ride's theme, fans will be able to see "a holodeck, two transporter rooms and a true-to-original replica of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D bridge as seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation" while in the queue.  The storyline of the ride puts visitors in training for their first Starfleet mission when a Borg attack takes place, causing them to blast off on a rescue mission to save The Enterprise and its crew.

This on-ride video will let you experience what a spin on the coaster is like, start to finish.  You can also hear the soundtrack for the ride, which was specially recorded by the Budapest Philharmonic Orchestra, that plays in the area around it.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Parc Astérix Opens New Family Launch Coaster - Pégase Express

© Parc Astérix
France's Parc Astérix has just opened their brand new launched family roller coaster, named Pégase Express.  The coaster has been designed by Gerstlauer Amusement Rides, and in many ways can be thought of as a sibling to Dollywood's FireChaser Express - it uses the same ride system, track style and elements.

Pégase Express actually features two mild launches, two separate tire-driven lift hills, and a backwards section.  From that description you can see how it is similar to FireChaser Express, if you're familiar that that coaster.

I was surprised by how long the track is for Pégase Express, RCDB has it at just over 3,000 feet.  It is a family coaster, so the dips and turns are more on the gentle side, but it still looks like a lot of fun and will appeal to a big section of the theme park's guests.  The below video was taken during previews (official opening was today), so the brief dark ride section when the trains change direction might have not been fully operating, but it looks like it has potential.

Ready to take a ride?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

California's Great America is Planning a New Coaster for 2018

© California's Great America
There have been rumors that California's Great America is planning a new roller coaster for 2018 for some time now, and recently some construction markings even appeared at the park.

Now, we can say with a great deal of certainty that the park is indeed planning one, at least according to this case with the City of Santa Clara for an architectural review of... drum roll... a new 100' tall roller coaster.

© Google Maps
Going off of where the construction markings have been seen, it looks like the ride will take up the space once occupied by Invertigo, which has long since been an open garden area.  You can see that in the map above toward the upper right.  I'm not totally familiar with the park so I had to make a few judgment calls, but I outlined the area that could feasibly be consumed by a new coaster, at least in part, in red.

Obviously there's plenty of room in that area of the park that extends beyond Invertigo's former home... but how much space will be needed for 100 foot tall coaster?  In today's world of biggest and fastest, 100 feet doesn't seem like much, but there's always more to the story.

For instance, Intamin's Mega-Lite coasters are known as some of the best out there, and they only stand 102 feet tall.  Their compact layout would also fit easily in this space, I'd wager.  Similarly, Kentucky Kingdom's Lightning Run, a Chance Rides Hyper GT-X, is also 100 feet tall and known for packing quite a punch.

Then again, the park was also rumored to receive an Intamin Impulse coaster, but that's well over 100 feet, and also a clone of X-Flight at Six Flags Great America... but that's 120 feet.  So those don't seem to fit here.

It's always fun to speculate, but the bottom line is that it's looking like coaster fans will have something exciting coming to the park in 2018!

Friday, June 9, 2017

Universal Studios Japan Breaks Ground for Super Nintendo World + New Animated Preview

© Universal Studios Japan
Universal Studios Japan held a ground breaking ceremony this week for Super Nintendo World, a highly anticipated new themed area that is planned to open in 2020.  With Mario kicking off the ceremony, officials from both Universal and Nintendo gave a few additional details on the project, but plenty of what will be offered is still a mystery.

The designers have confirmed that the area will feature multiple levels that can be explored, and it will include attractions, food and beverage, retails and entertainment options.  The biggest news to come out of the event is that one of the key rides in Super Nintendo World will be the Mario Kart Experience.  It was described by designers as an "attraction that is unlike any the world has ever seen, the most immersive and cutting edge technological attraction we could possibly imagine."

Video containing clips from the ceremony is available here.

This animated video of Super Nintendo World is the most we've seen of the physical land since the original announcement.  It shows that guests will enter through one of the green tubes that Mario made famous.  Other landmarks that can be spotted are Princess Peach's Castle, Bowser's Castle and a tall structure that is made up of different hills and levels like those found in the Mario games.  The rest of the land, as seen in an aerial shot near the end, is definitely made up of staggered levels with plenty to explore.

The construction should kick into high gear now that this ceremony has taken place, so get ready for the next couple of years to be filled with construction photos of this massive project.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Universal Studios Hollywood Names 2018 Replacement for Shrek 4-D

Visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood will have until August 13th to experience Shrek 4-D, after which the attraction will permanently close and work will begin on something new for 2018.  Shrek 4-D opened at the California theme park in 2003 and is located on the upper section of the property, not too far inside the entrance gates.

© Universal Studios Hollywood
The attraction's closing means that something new is on the horizon, and that has been announced as the DreamWorks Theatre.  The first of its type to open at any Universal theme park, the theater "will play host to a variety of action-packed DreamWorks Animation themed attractions beginning with the multi-sensory adventure inspired by the global blockbuster franchise Kung Fu Panda."

The experience will see visitors set on a journey that combines traditional storytelling with special effects such as projecting mapping and LED lighting effects.  The result will be an "engaging and immersive, unstoppable-awesome experience."

© Universal Studios Hollywood
A new DreamWorks meet and greet area will also open in 2018, not from from the new DreamWorks Theatre.  Characters such as Kung Fu Panda's Po and Tigress; Madagascar's Alex the Lion, The Penguins—Skipper, Rico, Kowalski and Private, and King Julian; Trolls' Poppy and Branch; Shrek's Puss 'n Boots will join characters already seen at the park such as Shrek and Fiona.

Also in 2018, Hello Kitty will have her own retail location within the park, featuring special items unique to Universal Studios Hollywood along with an area to meet with her. A similar location opened not too long ago in Universal Studios Florida, and immediately became a hit with visitors.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Park at OWA Completes Rollin' Thunder Coaster

© The Park at OWA
Part of the brand new Park at OWA, a new Zamperla designed coaster, named Rollin' Thunder, has had its last track and supports installed.  Featuring blue track and bright white supports, the ride is the largest of the new amusement park - which is a component of the much larger OWA development in Foley, Alabama.

© The Park at OWA
Rollin' Thunder is one of many Zamperla rides at the property, I believe that every ride that will open with the park will be from the manufacturer.  The coaster is a clone of the Thunderbolt, which opened in Coney Island in 2014.  It starts with a vertical lift to a maximum height of 115 feet, then a vertical plunge down at speeds of 56 miles per hour.

The layout includes the vertical loop seen above, along with a zero-g roll, dive loop and a corkscrew - four inversions in total.

© The Park at OWA
There are also several air-time hills built into the layout, the top of one was the final track piece that was installed (above).  Rollin' Thunder runs the length of the park in the dead center of it, with fountains and planters running under it.

© The Park at OWA
Not much of the coaster is standing in this photo, but you can see the supports and footers for it in the center of the park.  You can also make out plenty of other rides that are already in place, along with plenty of trees - much needed in the Alabama sun!  The park shared an aerial video taken just a handful of days later that shows even more rides in place than in this photo - check it out here.

OWA will feature not only the amusement park but also a large shopping and dining area, a central lake, and at least one hotel (a Marriott) when it opens sometime this summer.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Australia's Movie World Announces New DC Rivals Hypercoaster

Warner Bros. Movie World, located on the Gold Coast in Australia, has finally let the cat out of the bag and announced details on the large purple and black roller coaster they've had under construction for months.

Named DC Rivals Hypercoaster, the coaster is being designed by Mack Rides and will stand 202 feet tall at the top of the lift hill.  The park notes that DC Rivals Hypercoaster will be the tallest, longest and fastest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere, and the only hypercoaster as well.  It is slated to open around October of this year, which is the start of the summer season in Australia.

© Warner Bros. Move World
Riders aboard the coaster will hit top speeds of more than 71 miles per hour after the first drop, and total track length is around 4,590 feet.  The experience begins with a 90 degree twisting first drop and into a large air-time hill.  The coaster then features a 131 foot tall non-inverting loop, which as the name implies keeps riders facing up while twisting across the top of the element.

The rest of the course's layout features additional air-time hills, a quick drop turn around, a twisted pretzel section in the middle of the ride and a series of small bunny hills on the way back to the station.

© Warner Bros. Move World
This layout, while not the best quality, was released from the park and shows how the coaster will tower over a large section of the park, along the entire entrance and parking area.  This drone footage of the coaster shows that about half the ride is already standing, and looking great!  Pink is a fairly difficult track color to pull off, but this ride is certainly doing it.

Warner Bros. Movie World has also released this preview animation of the DC Rivals Hypercoaster, which shows various bits of the ride's elements.  The first drop starts with a plunge under the Joker's laughing face, strengthening the coaster's theme from afar.

One other element that the park revealed today is that the last car in the train will be turned around so that extra-brave riders can experience the coaster backwards from opening day.  Can't wait to see the finished product here!