Friday, November 30, 2018

Footers Galore For Kentucky Kingdom's New Kentucky Flyer Wooden Coaster

© Kentucky Kingdom
We have some new photos from Kentucky Kingdom of the park's current work on the Kentucky Flyer, a family-sized wooden roller coaster opening at the park in 2019.

The new coaster will zoom along the backside of Hurricane Bay, the property's water park.  The station will be located just beyond the park's picnic area, and the layout will extend out along the top part of the park from there.

These photos show that a big portion of the ride's footings are already in place!  You can clearly see the out-and-back layout style coming together here with footer-attachments (my made up terminology) in two rows along the path.

© Kentucky Kingdom
Designed by The Gravity Group, the Kentucky Flyer will stand 45 feet tall and have 1,280 feet of track.  The ride extends beyond the park's current boundaries, with the turn around taking place on some land reserved for future expansion.  This aerial photo shows the ride's layout snaking its way across the back of the park, cutting through the land berm that had been created, and then the turnaround footings being poured on the right of the photo.  From the ride's planning, we now know that much of the empty space in the back by the turn around is land the park can use in the future.

© Kentucky Kingdom
With so much of the footings in place, that means that vertical construction can't be too far away, and this photo would certainly seem to indicate that.  We've got workers starting to cut wood pieces, perhaps for the station area, which often goes up first on wooden coasters.  I wouldn't be surprised to be sharing photos of some significant vertical progress on the Kentucky Flyer in the coming weeks!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Mall of America Planning One of the Country's Largest Indoor Waterparks

© Mall of America
Mall of America, located in Bloomington, MN, has long been filled with attractions and other adventures that draw guests along with the seemingly endless array of retail stores.  Recent plans show that the Mall now wants to get wet by adding a nearly 250,000 square foot indoor waterpark, which would make it one of the largest in the country.

The mall's owner, Triple Five Group, is working with the City to create a plan where the waterpark would be owned and operated by a non-profit organization, allowing for cheaper construction and taxes on the development.  The project comes with a massive price tag of between $230 and $250 million, and also includes a new hotel adjacent to it.

The waterpark would be filled with cutting edge slides and attractions, and because of its size, is expected to have one of the largest offerings anywhere.  It is planned to be located on one of the complex's current surface parking lots, and will connect to the mall directly.

© Mall of America
The Mall of America has long had a theme park located in the center of it, currently named Nickelodeon Universe.  As this news story about the new waterpark points out, in the world of online shopping, malls are looking for more ways to draw visitors than just stores, something owner Triple 5 has long understood.  The company's Mall of Edmonton features both a theme and water park, and their latest project, The American Dream in New Jersey, will also feature both an theme and water park when it opens.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Sesame Place Already Working on Mystery 2019 Attraction

© Sesame Place
Although it seemed like all the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment properties have already revealed their plans for 2019, there is one park left that just started teasing - and that's Sesame Place.

The park released this video to let guests know that work is going on at the park:

For now the park is only saying that something "new and exciting" is coming to the park in 2019.  However, the above video does show the park's famous Sesame Street, a recreation of the actual street from the show, behind construction walls.  The park's website also confirms that work is underway there:

"Please note: The current Sesame Place Neighborhood will be under construction during A Very Furry Christmas. Guests can still enjoy photo opportunities with Sesame Street friends throughout the park and at 1-2-3 Smile with Me!"

The street in front of the facades is a busy place and used heavily for the daily parade and other activities.  Here is a look at that area:

© Bing Maps
The facades that are under construction are near the top of the image.  Perhaps they are just receiving a makeover for next year, which could coincide with a new set of these buildings going up at SeaWorld Orlando right now.  And maybe a new attraction is going elsewhere in the park?  There is a decent sized open area near the Carousel.

It's definitely a mystery for now, but it sounds like the park plans to tell us more soon, perhaps after their holiday event is over.  It is great to see the park expanding again after building a roller coaster this season, I would have expected an off-year!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Six Flags Great Adventure's 4th Annual Holiday In The Park is Their Biggest and Brightest Ever

© NewsPlusNotes
Six Flags Great Adventure has once again packed all the dazzling lights, holiday merriment, thrilling rides and delicious food they can find into their annual Holiday In The Park event.  Back for its 4th season at the theme park, this one ranks as their largest and brightest ever, with more than one million twinkling lights strewn across the park.

© NewsPlusNotes
During Holiday In The Park, Six Flags Great Adventure is made up of 13 different themed areas, with names such as Main Street Christmas, Whimsical Wonderland, Polar Point and Holly Jolly Christmas.  Each area has its own feel, with color patterns of lights supporting the theme - along with special live shows, delicious food, rides and other attractions.

© NewsPlusNotes
To celebrate its 4th season, Holiday In The Park has added a newly themed section, new live shows, even more operating rides than ever before, a brand new holiday mirror maze and more.

That doesn't mean that attractions that have already become classics were left out, as all the favorites have returned.  Pictured above in the background is the park's towering LED tree, which plays a show titled Holiday Magic: A Celebration of the Season every half hour.  The tree's lights become a festive look at the holidays along with appropriate music and perhaps even a bit of snow.

© NewsPlusNotes
The classic light displays in certain parts of the park have already become staples of the event, and happily they are there to see again this year.  Polar Point's beautiful blue lights, stretched high on the bases of the mature trees located in the area, are always my favorite and can be seen above.  There are twinkling icicle lights hung high at the top of the trees, and the whole area glows in the pretty blue light.

© NewsPlusNotes
Another section that always gets a lot of attention from fans is seen here, Gingerbread Junction.  The trees are decorated as giant candy canes, with projections on the side of buildings and the ground below.

This is one of the many places at Holiday In The Park where visitors can meet with costumed characters and have their photo taken - for instance Dot & Drop Gingerbread live in this area.  Elsewhere in the park you can also catch up with the Snow Queen, Peppermint Princess, towering Toy Soldiers and the Poinsettia Princess.

© NewsPlusNotes
Another returning favorite are the many fire pits located throughout the park.  They are also popular places for guests to purchase pre-made smores making kits, a great treat for a chilly night.  The above fire pits were located in the Holiday Memories section, but there are also plenty within the Merry Marketplace as well.  The marketplace is back again this year with towering white lights, special vendors and specialty food and beverage.

© NewsPlusNotes
No trip to a holiday themed celebration would be complete without a visit to Santa, and Six Flags Great Adventure just so happens to have Santa's House on property again this year!  Located in the North Pole area, Santa and his elves are happy to greet kids and have his photo taken with them.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
A new attraction for this season's Holiday In The Park is the Holiday Craze Mirror Maze.  The experience is a bit disorienting but an awful lot of fun, and packed with scenes of Santa's helpers getting ready for the season.  Plus, there's even a holiday dance party half-way through the attraction, featuring the one and only DJ Jingle Jangle.  The maze has a nominal fee to enter, but everyone passing through it when we were there was having a blast!

© NewsPlusNotes
A wonderful escape from the night air and a way to fill empty stomachs, the park's new Holiday Feast is a home run.  Located in the building next to Skull Mountain, the Holiday Feast offers all the traditional food you could desire, such as turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and all the fixings.  There is no way that anyone is leaving the restaurant hungry, that's for sure.  A wonderful addition to the park's event that I hope is able to return in coming seasons.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Also new this year is a brand new live show, named Wonder: A Cirque Spectacular.  Located in the Showcase Theatre in the Holiday Heroes section, the show contains many different styles of acts that keep things moving from start to finish.  There are some talented singers and dancers that take the stage in between acts, and performances include a juggler, aerialists, a magician and trampoline act, among others.  It's certainly a show not to miss at this year's Holiday In The Park.

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Six Flags Great Adventure has also added a new themed area to this year's event, called Deck The Halls.  Located near Superman Ultimate Flight and the Green Lantern, the area features larger than life iconic images of the holiday season.  The towering displays include the giant ornament seen above, so massive that guests can walk through the center of it!

© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes
Deck The Halls features additional displays including the massive stack of holiday presents and smaller gifts spread throughout the area.  The new decorations are perfect for family photos and selfies, and many guests were taking advantage of that when we checked out the area.  There are also plenty of life-size photo ops built into the area as well, making it a perfect spot for documenting your trip to the park.

© NewsPlusNotes
Six Flags Great Adventure is know for its many thrilling rides, and more than 30 of them are open during Holiday In The Park, quite a feat when you think of the cooler temperatures during this time of year.  For 2018 two more rides have joined the park's lineup, including the Parachute Training Center (above), and all-new Cyborg Cyber Spin.  As you can imagine, the view from the top of of the tower is breathtaking!

© NewsPlusNotes
Between all the special holiday activities, live shows, thrilling rides, delicious treats and Santa, Six Flags Great Adventure's Holiday In The Park is one event that really makes the season shine.  We thank the park for having us out to see all that is offered this year!

To learn more about the event and plan your own trip, click here for the park's official website.

Friday, November 23, 2018

Worlds of Fun Expands WinterFest for 2nd Year of Holiday Fun

Tonight marks the return of WinterFest at Worlds of Fun, and this year the holiday celebration is bigger and brighter than during its debut season in 2017.

WinterFest runs on select nights today through December 31st, yes that's right, this year the park will celebrate New Year's Eve with all their guests!

© Worlds of Fun
There's plenty to do during Worlds of Fun's WinterFest, including "new festive features, miles of  d├ęcor, a 7-story Christmas tree, ice skating, 10 live shows, new food offerings and a lineup of family activities."  Worlds of Fun glows extra brightly during the event as a result of the 5 million lights that have been strung around the park's property.  The above image shows off a part of the park, glimmering with lights as far as the eye can see.

WinterFest is the park's busiest season for live entertainment, as the 10 separate shows give visitors something to find around every corner.  Performances include a nightly Tree Lighting Ceremony, Tinker's Toy Factory, songs from The Mistletones, the Holly Jolly Trolley and Charlie Brown's Christmas Spectacular.

© Worlds of Fun
There are several new activities during the 2018 WinterFest celebration, including Jack Frost's Igloo Village, pictured above.  These heated igloos are available to rent for the evening for an additional fee, and give visitors the "ultimate VIP experience" at WinterFest.  They come with "food & beverage delivery, an event host to plan-out your night, souvenir mugs for hot chocolate, reserved show seating, a cookie decorating session in Mrs. Claus' Kitchen, and a complimentary ice skating or carriage ride session."  And speaking of the carriage rides, guests can now partake in a nostalgic horse drawn carriage ride through the park and past the glimmering lights.

© Worlds of Fun
Extending the WinterFest season this year, the park will for the first time hold Snoopy's Rockin' New Year's Eve Party, complete with fireworks and other special events.

WinterFest also includes shopping in Artisan Alley, show showers every 15 minutes or so, synchronized light and music shows, craft making and cookie decorating, ice skating on Snow Flake Lake and so much more.  All this fun is likely to make visitors hungry, and Worlds of Fun's executive chef, Wesley Boston, has cooked up a wide menu of tasty holiday treats including "fried yams, candied bacon, holiday egg rolls, a pot roast sandwich, cinnamon pull apart bread and deluxe hot chocolate."

The park also opens up 30 rides during WinterFest, weather permitting, allowing visitors to get their winter coaster fix on both Prowler and Spinning Dragons.

For more information on Worlds of Fun's WinterFest, click here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Alabama's Splash Adventure Announces Three New Attractions for 2019 Season

© Alabama's Splash Adventure
Coming off a season that saw a large expansion of new rides and attractions, Alabama's Splash Adventure will yet again grow in 2019 with the addition of three new rides.

Technically the first opened at the very end of the 2018 summer season, and that is the FreeFall waterslide.  Riders face a steep plunge downward (seen above) from almost 8 stories in the air.  The high-thrill attraction was in preview mode at the end of last season, and no doubt many guests will line up to take the plunge for the first time in 2019.

© Alabama's Splash Adventure
Also new in the water park in 2019 will be the Twister water slide, seen above wrapping around the new FreeFall slide.  The park did not specify when they released the images of these new attractions, but Twister appears to be a body slide.  It lives up to its name via its design, twisting several times around both sides of the drop slide.  Decked out in alternating yellow and red slide pieces, Twister is sure to be another thrilling addition to Splash Adventure.

© Alabama's Splash Adventure
Finally, over on the amusement park side of the park will be the Galleon, a traditional swinging ship ride.  The Galleon will be a thrilling ride that still is welcoming to a variety of both younger and older guests.  Alabama's Splash Adventure has gone to great lengths to bring back many of the property's rides in recent years, and the Galleon is another strong addition.  Congratulations to the park on their continued expansion!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

SeaWorld Orlando to Celebrate in 2019 with Special Events Every Week of the Year

© SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando has announced that in addition to their brand new Sesame Street expansion, in 2019 the park will also celebrate all year long with special events running all 52 weeks of the year.  Both brand new and returning events will give visitors something new to look forward to every time they visit the theme park.  Best yet, all the events are included with general park admission!

© SeaWorld Orlando
Starting on January 1st through 6th is the Three Kings Day Celebration.  During the event "families are invited to help commemorate the arrival of the Three Wise Men during SeaWorld’s Three Kings Day celebration. This festive event brings SeaWorld’s holiday season to an incredible close with specialty cuisine and celebratory experiences that honor the cherished traditions of Latin cultures."

Up next, and new this year, is Inside Look, taking place weekends from January 12th through 27th and returning May 11th through 19th.  During Inside Look "guests can go behind the scenes and visit areas never opened to the public during this new event.  SeaWorld’s renowned veterinarians and animal experts will offer an intimate look at the day-to-day care they provide for animals large and small. Visitors will also get to meet the SeaWorld Rescue Team and learn more about their life-saving work."

Also new is Elmo's Birthday Weekend, on February 2nd and 3rd.  The party, in honor of Elmo's birthday of course, will feature an interactive DJ dance party, fund party games and surprise visitors. 

© SeaWorld Orlando
Returning again from February 9th through May 5th is the Seven Seas Food Festival.  The extremely popular event comes back next spring bigger and better than ever.  Visitors will find "globally inspired flavors while enjoying local craft beers and beverages from around the world.   The fun goes beyond the food with live performances at Bayside Stadium featuring top artists."

Electric Ocean will also return on select nights from May 24 through September 1st.  Once the sun goes down the park comes alive with the glow of Electric Ocean at SeaWorld Orlando.  The event combines a fantastic nighttime show called "Ignite" along with electrifying music, special live performances, a giant dance party and a truly glowing atmosphere.

© SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando's Craft Beer Festival will return on weekend September 7th through 29th, extending the event's run for 2019.  The festival features more than 100 brews on draft along with unique food items selected to pair with the brews.

Up next is SeaWorld’s Halloween Spooktacular, running weekends September 21st through October 27th.  The family-friendly Halloween celebration will be expanded with new surprises next year.  The park's new Sesame Street Halloween Parade will debut, "featuring fantastic floats, crowd-pleasing performances and everyone’s favorite furry friends."  Other activities include a Halloween dance party, trick or treating and whimsical creatures inspired by the sea. 
Praise Wave will return on weekends November 2nd through 17th, where guests "can celebrate Christian fellowship and inspiring music.  Uplifting live concerts from the hottest names in Christian music will light up the stage at SeaWorld."

© SeaWorld Orlando
Finally, ending out the year is SeaWorld's Christmas Celebration, which is just about to start its 2018 run as well.  With more than 3 million glimmering lights, the park is full of holiday cheer along with all the sights, sounds and tastes of the holiday.  With "stunning live shows, scrumptious holiday treats and opportunities to visit Santa Claus and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer," the event is one not to miss.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Disney Parks Give Details of New Rides + Attractions for Florida + California Properties

© Disney
This past weekend Disney Parks held a special D23 gathering in honor of Mickey Mouse's 90th birthday, and at the event a presentation about parks and resorts revealed plenty of new goodies.

First, up top is concept art for the “Wonderful World of Animation” Nighttime Show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  The new show will start in May, 2019 in celebration of the park's 30th anniversary.  The show will use projections as we've seen in other recent performances at the park to tell the story of 90 years of Disney animation.

During the presentation it was also revealed that Mickey & Minnie's Runaway Railway, a brand new ride for Disney's Hollywood Studios, is scheduled for a Fall, 2019 grand opening.

Covering a large part of Disney World in Florida, the opening date for the Skyliner gondola system was also revealed to be Fall of 2019.

© Disney
On the opposite coast, Mickey will also be the focus of the new Get Your Ears On — A Mickey and Minnie Celebration at Disneyland.  The special celebration will feature new entertainment, food and merchandise - with the focus being a new nighttime show called "Mickey's Mix Magic," concept art for this can be seen above.   The show will feature "all-new music, projections and lasers that set the scene for an epic dance party that takes over almost the entire park."  Additionally, Mickey's Soundsational Parade will return at the park in January, with an all-new Mickey themed lead float.

© Disney
Back in Florida, we got some details on the replacement for Illuminations, which will close in the second half of 2019.  Up first will be an in-between show, known as "Epcot Forever," which will feature classic Epcot music along with fireworks, projections, lasers and more.

© Disney
When "Epcot Forever" is done, a brand new replacement for Illuminations will open in 2020.  Not named yet, the show will feature "massive floating set pieces, custom-built LED panels, choreographed moving fountains, lights, pyrotechnics and lasers."  Footage shown at the show make it clear that Disney animation will be included in the show, unlike with Illuminations.

Epcot also got an announcement of the full name of a previously announced new ride in the France area, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure.  The France pavilion will also see a new Beauty and the Beast sign-along debut next year.  Finally, the Canada pavilion is currently updating the O Canada! footage with a new film.

© Disney
Last but not least, there was plenty of Star Wars news for fans.  The names of the two major attractions within Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, the new themed areas opened in both Florida and California in 2019, were announced to eager fans.

Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance will put "guests in the middle of an epic battle between the Resistance and the First Order," and Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will send guests "behind the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy in one of three unique flight crew roles."

Plenty of other details and images on the new areas were spilled at the event, along with some new art and information on the Star Wars hotel planned for Disney World.  Check out more information here!

Sunday, November 18, 2018

IAAPA Expo: Busch Gardens Tampa 'Takes the Tigris Cake' at the Show

© SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment
Busch Gardens Tampa and Premier Rides are super excited over the development of Tigris, the theme park's new launched roller coaster.  Opening in 2019, Tigris will be Florida's tallest launch coaster, hitting a maximum height of around 15 stories above the park.

To help show just how excited Premier Rides is to be building Tigris at Busch Gardens Tampa, they baked a cake!  No really!  The photo above shows a model of the Tigris coaster train, but believe it or not it's made of cake.

Scott and Carol were there for the unveiling of the Tigris cake, which was presented by Andrew Schaffer, Director of Design and Engineering at the park, and Jim Seay of Premier Rides.

When complete, Tigris will feature three launches that will send the train roaring to the top of the ride at more than 60 miles per hour.  While at the top riders will slowly move through a heartline roll, totally inverting at 150 feet in the sky.  The rest of the course features steep dives and a non-inverting loop.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

IAAPA Expo: Luboo Looks to Make Lost Children a Thing of the Past

© Luboo
A new exhibitor at the recent IAAPA Expo, Luboo is planning to enter the North American market in late 2019 with a new technology that will allow parents to keep track of their kids while at amusement parks and other busy public spaces via a wristband and mobile app.

"Luboo is the first rental, wearable tracking wristband for parents and caregivers of young children at large events and venues (made by parents, for parents).  Luboo wants to alleviate anxiety in parents of young children by providing a low cost solution to find a wandering child at the press of a button in crowded, public spaces - empowering parents and caregivers and saving resources for the venue."

As a benefit to the property operator, the technology also gives "anonymous, aggregated real-time tracking data of the young visitors it tracks back to the venue so they can learn more about their young guests and their movements in order to better improve their services."

Friday, November 16, 2018

Zamperla Donates Wheelchair-Accessible Swing Ride to Give Kids the World

© Give Kids The World
Give Kids The World, an amazing nonprofit organization that gives cost-free trips to the Orlando area to critically ill children and their families, received an amazing donation from Zamperla Rides during the IAAPA show.

Seen above, Zamperla created and donated one of their popular Happy Swing rides, only this one is special.  The ride is able to accommodate one wheelchair along with other adult and kid riders, so an entire family can experience a ride at the same time.  The Happy Swing will soon be placed on Give Kids The World's magical 84 acre property where families stay during their visit.

Scott and Carol were at the ceremony where the Happy Swing was officially given to Give Kids The World.  The video features comments from both Pamela Landwirth, president & CEO, Give Kids The World and Alberto Zamperla, president & CEO, Zamperla and has more details about the ride and their partnership.

Zamperla has a long history of working with Give Kids The World, helping provide the village with several other attractions including JJ's Express train ride and Lori's Magical Flight, one of the company's Magic Bikes rides.

For more information, click here for Zamperla and here for Give Kids The World.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Kennywood Unveils New Steelers' Themed Vehicles for The Steel Curtain + New Animations

© Kennywood
Kennywood has revealed the new trains for The Steel Curtain, the park's massively twisted new-for-2019 steel roller coaster.  One of the most highly anticipated coasters opening in 2019, the S&S Worldwide designed ride will feature a North American record breaking 9 inversions!

Scott and Carol were able to get this footage of the trains being revealed to a huge crowd on the IAAPA trade show floor.  It quickly becomes apparent that the trains are totally decked out for a Steelers and football theme.

© Kennywood
Here is another view of the lead car of the trains.  They feature a very open design that will allow riders to see all the tricks and maneuvers that the ride's layout offers.  The front piece of the train features a football jersey theme, and the entire vehicle carries the ride's main color combination of black and gold.

© Kennywood
Looking closer at the seats you'll notice that the seat backs are themed to be footballs, complete with laces and all!  Also of great important are the lap-bar only restraints!  While this was known before, it is always nice to see visual confirmation that such a massive ride, standing 220 feet tall, will not have over-the-shoulder restrains.

© Kennywood
And while we're on the topic, Kennywood has shared another recent view of the coaster's support structure going up.

Additionally, as part of the train reveal at the IAAPA expo, Kennywood has published several new animations of The Steel Curtain.  Here is a brand new teaser video:

They also created a new point-of-view ride video, which looks slightly more accurate (check out all the support head choppers!) than the original that was released.  This ride is going to be a blast!