Saturday, March 6, 2021

California Amusement Parks Can Open April 1st With Strict Capacity Limitations


© Disney

California has provided a new plan that will allow amusement and theme parks to open in the state as soon as April 1st, although with strict capacity limitations in place.  Prior to Friday's update the only way to get to reopen a large park was for the county it is located in to reach the yellow or "minimal" rating, which has proven impossible as the pandemic continues.


Now, even parks in counties that are in the 2nd red "substantial" tier can open starting April 1st.  The reason this is important is because the counties that contain the largest parks in the state are expected to move from the purple "widespread" ranking into the red ranking in the next couple of weeks.  I believe that California's Great America is already in a county in the red ranking.


© California Dept of Public Health

In the red ranking parks are limited to 15% capacity, which is a very small amount.  The state wants no groups larger than 10 visiting the parks and no more than 3 household groups together.  Indoor attractions will have a 15% max capacity, with "time restrictions" in place, there will be no indoor dining and quite importantly, no out of state visitors are allowed at the parks.


In the orange or "moderate" ranking the capacity limits increase to 25%, with the other rules still in place, although indoor dining is allowed.  In the least restrictive yellow phase capacity is limited to 35%, but indoor capacity remains at 25%.


© Disney

So this is progress, no doubt, but 15% capacity will be a big issue for parks like Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, Knott's Berry Farm and Universal Studios Hollywood.  One has to wonder if when they reopen with those restrictions in place if they will hold expanded versions of the food and retail festivals nearly all of them are already holding.  Knott's has been at this for almost a year now, with Disney and Universal joining them soon.  Adding some rides and attractions to the mix, kind of like what Busch Gardens Williamsburg has been doing, could but a good fit for 15% capacity.


These parks could continue to hold separate cost (or discounted for pass holders) events that will help them more easily stay within the 15% capacity limit, while still charging a higher ticket price that can help things stay positive at the bottom line.   Especially with the popular Disney parks, I can't see them just having it be a free for all with regular daily tickets offered for such a small attendance amount.  Perhaps this could work for parks up North, like California's Great America, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom and while not North, even maybe Six Flags Magic Mountain.  Maybe.  I'm not convincing myself fully though.


© Universal Studios Hollywood

I remember last year a lot of parks started out by limiting the amount of season pass holder reservations available each day, but when the crowds didn't materialize those restrictions quickly fell off.  That could come back as a more important issue this year for the California parks.  I guess regardless of the capacity mix of pass holders versus day tickets, I can't image these parks will be able to open all their attractions with a 15% capacity limitation, as keeping costs to a minimum will be a major concern.


Unless, of course, we see daily ticket prices go up to $250 a person or something!  I think Disneyland Resort fans would happy whip out their credit cards, but probably not so viable for the other parks.  One thing is for sure, the parks will get creative and find some way to entertain their guests despite these strict rules.  And that's great news to look forward to!


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

New Indoor/Outdoor Water Park Concept Art Update From OWA


© OWA
OWA, a large entertainment destination area on the Gulf Coast in Alabama, has provided new views of their new indoor/outdoor water park that will open in 2022.  The facility will join The Park at OWA, an outdoor amusement park, and Downtown OWA, with shopping, retail and a hotel.  The project is now under construction and the property has set up a web page for it, but there is not a lot of detail at this time aside from these new renderings.



© OWA
The majority of the water park attractions will be located inside a building that is able to open on the sides to feed into the outdoor section.  From these drawings the outdoor area appears to contain a large wave pool, a surf simulator, plenty of cabanas and lounge areas and some additional amenities.  It certainly looks like the park plans to have "dive-in" movie showings on a large screen set up at the end of the wave pool.

 

© OWA

© OWA
The water attractions offered indoor includes a selection of slides, a water play area, lazy river and more.   On these conceptual drawings you can see what looks like a selection of Proslide attractions, including both tube and body slides.  The giant octopus tentacles are a nice touch, too!  The park does not look to carry a distinct theme, but it's always fun to have some theming around nonetheless.


© OWA
As for the location of the new indoor/outdoor water park, it appears as though it will take up a currently empty location just to the east of the amusement park.  The above plan shows how it will fit among the existing attractions.  The amusement park's latest addition, an indoor interactive dark ride, can be seen right up against the new indoor water park near the top of the image.

 

Stay tuned for future updates as the construction continues.


Sunday, February 28, 2021

Peppa Pig Theme Park Coming to Legoland Florida Resort in 2022


© Legoland Florida

Now we all know just exactly what Legoland Florida submitted plans for late last year!  A mystery at the time, we correctly speculated that a separate gate might be opening next to Legoland Florida, and it has now been announced that the Peppa Pig Theme Park will open in 2022.


The Peppa Pig Theme Park will be a totally separate attraction at the Legoland Florida Resort, not an extension of the existing theme park in any way.  "This all-new theme park will feature multiple rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes and water play areas—complete with “muddy puddles” of course—and fun live shows daily."

 

© Legoland Florida

Legoland Florida has released some basic concept art for portions of the park, pretty stylized at this point.  Above is the theme park's main gate - of course none of the park's theme will make any sense if you haven't watched the show before.  If you have small kids then you probably have bumped into the program before.

 

© Legoland Florida

As for the full roster of rides and attractions, the park's hasn't released that level of detail just yet.  But you can be sure that all attractions will be squarely aimed at small kids and their families.  The park looks to serve as a compliment to Legoland Florida in the sense that it will entertain even younger kids than the theme park proper since the Peppa Pig franchise is aimed at preschoolers.


More details about the park will be released through the year as the opening draws closer.  You can stay up to date on the Peppa Pig Theme Park's website as well.


Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Kentucky Kingdom Joins the Herschend Family Entertainment Family of Parks


© Kentucky Kingdom

After a week of much speculation, it has been officially announced that Kentucky Kingdom has become a part of the Herschend Family Entertainment family of parks and attractions.  The park and their new operator held a large press conference to share the news, which can be viewed here on the park's website.


No news about the park's sale price or other transaction details are available at this time since Herschend is a private company, but the press release does note that Herschend has "become a majority partner and operator" of the amusement and water park.  Kentucky Kingdom can now call parks such as Dollywood and Silver Dollar City as siblings, though Herschend has a much larger portfolio than just those well known parks.


“We are pleased to turn the park over to a new generation of leadership.  Herschend is an outstanding operator, who will undoubtedly take Kentucky Kingdom & Hurricane Bay to the next level.  We expect their involvement will add greatly to the Commonwealth’s thriving tourism industry,” said Kentucky Kingdom’s founder, President and CEO Ed Hart.

 

© Kentucky Kingdom

The park will have new leadership immediately as a result of the transaction, with Herschend's Craig Ross assuming the role of the park's General Manager.  Mr. Ross recently served as General Manager of Dollywood for ten years, and saw that park through some ambitious expansion plans.

 

As for the future of Kentucky Kingdom, Herschend outlined several priorities for the coming years.  These include "building the appeal for multi-generational families; hosting family-friendly seasonal and themed events and festivals; enhancing product and guest experiences through rebranding and the addition of Herschend-owned programming, such as costume character appearances; expanding of the season to provide entertainment to more park guests; and building relationships with state and local tourism partners to increase awareness and entice travel to Kentucky Kingdom, Louisville and the Commonwealth."

 

Kentucky Kingdom has announced that they will open for the 2021 season on May 8th.
 


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Cedar Point Releases Spring + Summer 2021 Schedule + New Fun for '21


© Cedar Point

Cedar Point has put out a press release that covers the park's plans for their Spring and Summer 2021 season, with any potential fall fun to be revealed at a later time.  The news includes the release of the park's operating calendar for the first two thirds of their season, which will help fans plan their trips.


Cedar Point will continue with their 150th anniversary celebration in 2021, which was largely delayed from the 2020 season.  The fun kicks off June 26th and continues daily through August 15th.  Included in the party is the Celebrate 150 Spectacular parade, which features spectacular floats that travel through the park, which culminates in a big street party with music, dancing, pyrotechnics and more.  Building on new retail and food offerings that took place in 2020, the park has even more new fun planned for the 150th celebration this year.


© Cedar Point

Starting on May 29th visitors will get their first trip on Snake River Expedition, which is new for 2021.  The park has released a couple promotional images of the ride (seen above and up top) and I know we're all anxious to experience the finished product firsthand.  Many fans have longed for the return of boat trips around the park's internal lagoon, myself included.  The ride will feature a cast of live characters along with animated scenes and "danger" around every bend.


© Cedar Point

When the park opens for the season on May 14th guests will be able to enjoy the Frontier Festival, returning again this year with some changes.  Guest will find that "Frontier Town will transform into a Wild West hootenanny, brimming with live music, interactive games for adults and kids, festive d├ęcor, street entertainers and a mouth-watering food and drink menu."  The park's partnership with Prayers From Maria will grow this year, with more sunflowers used as a theme for the festival, including unique merchandise that benefits the organization.  Overall the park's food and beverage will carry a cherry theme this year, with cherries used to create sweet and savory food and beverage.


At the end of the summer season the popular Cedar Point Nights will return as well.  Located on the Cedar Point Beach, the event features evening fun such as live music, games, special food and more. 


Sunday, February 21, 2021

New York State Allows Amusement Parks to Reopen Under New Guidelines


© Luna Park

Amusement and theme parks, whether indoor or outdoor, in New York were not allowed to open at all during the 2020 season, but new guidance from the State of New York will allow them to the start planning their 2021 seasons immediately.


The Governor's office has set the earliest date for reopening as March 26th for indoor operations and April 9th for outdoor parks.  Indoor parks will be limited to 25% of their capacity and outdoor parks will be limited to 33% of their capacity.


Each park must submit a set of their protocals for operating during the pandemic before they open their doors, with minimum requirements mirroring what most states did last season.  These include temperature checks for visitors, face coverings for all and social distancing put into place.  Another interesting requirement is that "contact information must be collected from each party to inform contact tracing, if needed" - that could be a logistical nightmare without the use of an app or similar technology.


Luna Park in Coney Island is very excited to reopen this year, and is getting ready to announce their opening date.  The park posted a letter from their CEO that mentions six new attractions geared for the park's youngest guests.


Six Flags Darien Lake has already announced that they will reopen to their guests on May 21st, and The Great Escape will open even earlier on May 1st.


Thursday, February 18, 2021

Cruis'n The Park Car Show to Debut at Six Flags Magic Mountain


© Six Flags Magic Mountain

While the theme park remains closed, Six Flags Magic Mountain has come up with a new limited time event in partnership with West Coast Customs - Cruis'n the Park Car Show.  Visitors will encounter (from the safety of their own vehicle) 100 of the world's best automotive displays located throughout the property's midways.  The 30 minute "cruise through the park will be presented by Ryan Friedlinghaus, CEO of West Coast Customs, via a specially designed app available for free download."


The event promises to be "once-in-a-lifetime" in terms of seeing some "jaw-dropping" vehicle art displays, muscle cars, hot rods, low riders and mini trucks - plus other vehicles like motorcycles and watercraft.

 

© Six Flags Magic Mountain

“It has been a dream of mine for over 10 years to put together a family event like this!” said West Coast Customs Founder & CEO, Ryan Friedlinghaus. “I’m excited to say it is official as we are about to make some new history together with Six Flags Magic Mountain. It’s the first ever drive-thru car show in a theme park where LA’s top vehicles from all different categories, mini trucks to low riders and everything in between, will be displayed. This event will take you on a trip down memory lane and also make new memories for families to share together.” 

 

The West Coast Customs Cruis'n the Park Car Show will debut on February 26th and run each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through March 14th.  Reservations are required, and discounts on admission will be available for season pass holders and members.


Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Want to Own Clementon Amusement Park? Now is Your Chance


© CRG LLC

Clementon Amusement Park and Splash World, which closed suddenly near the end of the 2019 season, is going to be auctioned off soon, either in parts or as a whole.  The park is now offered on Capital Recovery Group's website, as it appears the park defaulted on a bank loan which means it will now be sold to recover as much of the loan amount as possible.  The company will hold an inspection day of the New Jersey based park on March 19th for potential buyers, and the actual auction will take place on March 23rd.


The park was purchased by Premier Parks, LLC toward the end of 2011, and operated each year until a sudden closure in September of 2019.  At that time the closure made the news often, as many people still had events planned at the park that year and little information was being given by the park about their future plans.  As we well know the pandemic set in at the start of the next year, and the park has remained closed since.


I would safely imagine that Premier Parks looked for a company to purchase the park from them to assist with the loans they had taken out on it, but it would appear there were no takers at the time.  Now, as a last resort, the property will be auctioned off.


© CRG LLC

The listing notes that the park sits on 52 acres and includes 23 acres of  a spring fed lake.  It also highlights that the property is already sub-divided into separate lots for "easy redevelopment" - does not bode well for the property to continue to operate as a park.  


The park offers a selection of rides and attractions that can be purchased at the auction.  This includes Hellcat, a S&S wooden coaster, Ferris wheel, Carousel, Sea Dragon, Ring of Fire and a bunch of water park attractions including some newer trap door slides.


Clementon Park dates back to 1907 and was one of the oldest parks in the country at the time it closed.  Here is a look at the park from back in 2014 when we visited.


Sunday, February 14, 2021

Six Flags Darien Lake Holding Rockin' Drive-In Laser Light Spectacular


© Six Flags Darien Lake

I'm late to the game on this one, but it's worth covering since it's a pretty unique thing to see during these days of the pandemic.  Six Flags Darien Lake is currently hosting a Rockin' Drive-In Laser Light Spectacular for visitors.  The park remains closed but they are utilizing their open space to create a unique event for both season pass holders and other members of the public to check out - of course from the safety of their own vehicles.


The park has had a laser light show for many years now, but they have modified it to make it work for guests who remain in their cars during the 30 minute performance.  Speaking of timing, they are doing the show three times a night on select days now through March 7th.


The performance is billed as featuring "a rocking soundtrack set to the full spectrum of laser lights" and is free for season pass holders and members, otherwise tickets are $14.99 per person.  The park is also offering food and snacks that can be purchased either ahead of time or during the event.  The short clip embedded here gives an idea of what the performance is like.


It's nice to see the Six Flags parks continue to think well outside the box on coming up with ways to entertain guests during these tough times.


Saturday, February 13, 2021

Silverwood Theme Park Continues Stunt Pilot Updates


© Silverwood Theme Park

Silverwood Theme Park is doing an awesome job of keeping fans up to date on the fabrication and construction of Stunt Pilot, the park's new for 2021 roller coaster.  Without many new coasters going up this year (understandably), it's easier to focus on each of the new projects - and the park is making that very simple for us!


Stunt Pilot, which is one of Rocky Mountain Construction's Raptor rides, recently had some of its first supports installed, seen in the photo above.  The ride will have bold red supports and a crisp white track, a great color scheme sure to make the ride stand out. 


© Silverwood Theme Park

While we haven't seen any of that white track installed just yet, we can be sure that it has arrived at Silverwood Theme Park from Rocky Mountain Construction in this update the park shared.  Stunt Pilot features a single-rail track that requires less supports than typical coaster track, making the ride appear a little more intimidating - in a good way of course!


© Silverwood Theme Park

The park has also shared a photo of the Stunt Pilot trains being fabricated.  I'm loving the bold red being used on them as well!  Raptor style coasters from RMC utilize single in-line seating that features a lower center of gravity to provide a smooth and thrilling ride.  The coaster will feature two trains when it opens, each seating ten guests at a time.


Weather of course is a factor this time of year, but perhaps we'll see some track installed on those supports before long!


Thursday, February 11, 2021

Knott's is Back with the Taste of Boysenberry Festival


© Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm will soon reopen under California pandemic guidelines, though still not as a full theme park.  They will however be able to hold another of their food and retail limited time events, and this time it will be a version of their very popular Boysenberry Festival.  Aptly named Knott's Taste of Boysenberry Festival, it will feature all the popular food items that guests have been no doubt craving for some time now.


The festival will start on March 5th and run on select dates through May 2nd.  As with past festivals the park has held during the pandemic, guests are required to purchase a food tasting card which also serves as their admission ticket.  The park plans to have "over 65 boysenberry-infused food and drink items which are included on the event tasting card."  


© Knott's Berry Farm
The delicious items include boysenberry beer and wine, the fun bun with boysenberry glaze, boysenberry bbq glazed wings and a ton more.  The park will also have several retail locations open for guests to shop at with special boysenberry themed items - plus more than 20 local crafters on site as well.


The Knott's Taste of Boysenberry Festival will operate mostly on Fridays through Sundays, though they will open for all days of the week in the start of April.  Special discounts are available for season pass holders, and all guests must purchase tasting passes and reserve their visit through the park's website.


Sunday, January 31, 2021

Cedar Fair Parks Release 2021 Opening Dates


© Dorney Park

This past week several Cedar Fair parks sent out e-mails to their mailing lists that provided their opening dates for the 2021 season.  We previously heard from Cedar Fair that they were evaluating opening some parks later this season, and that did happen for some parks in varying degrees.  The full operating calendars have not been released yet, just the opening dates.  The parks promise more information on operating days and hours in the coming weeks.


The earliest opening announced is for Kings Island, which plans to have a season passholder weekend preview on May 8th and 9th.  This is later than their usual opening in April each year.  While it was not stated yet when operations begin for all visitors, it is hoped it will be the following weekend.


Cedar Point will open on Friday, May 14th, which is similar to past (normal) seasons pre-pandemic.  Canada's Wonderland also announced plans to open on May 14th.  That park was not able to open at all during 2020, so fingers are crossed that this given date works out in the end.


The weekend after, specifically Saturday, May 22nd, will be the opening date for a longer list of other Cedar Fair parks.  These include Dorney Park, Kings Dominion, Carowinds, Valleyfair and Worlds of Fun.  This date is just a few weeks later than pre-pandemic opening dates for many of these parks, but much later for some like Carowinds, Worlds of Fun and Kings Dominion.


California's Great America also announced plans to open on May 22nd, and since we know that no amusement or theme parks are currently allowed to open in California we hope that happens for them.


Last but not least, Michigan's Adventure plans to open on Saturday May 29th, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend.


The parks appear to be planning to continue the safety measures that were in place when they closed for the 2020 season - though they are not ready to release details on that just yet.


Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Six Flags Great Adventure Tops Off New For 2021 Jersey Devil Coaster



© Six Flags Great Adventure
As expected, Six Flags Great Adventure was able to hold their topping off ceremony for the Jersey Devil Coaster early this week, completing the 130 apex of the ride and connecting the track layout.  The new coaster is set to open in 2021, though an exact date is not available quite yet.


The Jersey Devil Coaster is one of Rocky Mountain Construction's Raptor style coasters, the largest of its kind to date.  The ride stands 130 feet tall and will feature single file trains that will hit a top speed of 58 miles per hour while they cover 3,000 feet of track.


© Six Flags Great Adventure

In these photos supplied by Six Flags Great Adventure, crews from TCN & Co. can be seen placing the final section of track - which starts the 87 degree first drop.  As is common with the final piece of track, officials from TCN & Co., the ride's manufacturer RMC and the Six Flags project supervisor all signed the track before it went into place.


© Six Flags Great Adventure
The theme park reports that now that the track and supports are installed they will move on to other important tasks, such as:
 

• Installing the chain link lift mechanism that will hoist riders to the top of the 13-story hill;

• Adding four devilishly-designed trains that feature an inline style, with riders sitting low and single file while straddling the smooth, I-beam track;

• Building the ride station including a moving platform, transfer track, maintenance area and queue;

• Installing the ride controls;

• Extensive ride testing; and

• Inspections and NJ state certification.
 

For more information on the Jersey Devil Coaster, check out Six Flags Great Adventure's official website.


Monday, January 25, 2021

Conneaut Lake Park To Go To Bankruptcy Auction for Private Buyer to Take Over


© Conneaut Lake Park

The long saga of Conneaut Lake Park is continuing into a new phase, though this time it seems that it's some good news for the classic park.  After not being able to open at all in 2020 due to the pandemic, the trustees of the non-profit that operates the park while it is still under bankruptcy protection have realized that they will not be able to make payments to keep their agreement with the court intact.  


Not making payments this year will force the park to enter the really bad part of bankruptcy, when the court makes them sell off the entire park in a liquidation, which would pretty surely spell the real end of the park as we know it.


So, instead the trustees are asking the bankruptcy court to allow them to go to auction and see what bidders are out there that would want to purchase the entire property, hotel, rides, etc., with the intent being that it stays as it is now.


© Conneaut Lake Park

The park shared that they already have one interested party, who is willing to buy the park and all its assets for $1.2 million, which will retire the bankruptcy status and take the park private once again.  Even better, they state that the potential buyer wants to keep the momentum going that the park has made in recent seasons, and actually invest and expand it.


Now that's a light at the end of the tunnel if I've ever heard one!  This news article says that the bidder is listed as Keldon Holdings, LLC, though as a private company that doesn't mean much to us yet.  The article also says that the potential new owner intends to expand Camperland, which Conneaut was trying to do before the pandemic hit.


The plan needs to go through the bankruptcy court and then the auction needs to take place, so it could still be a while until anything final happens, but hey, it looks like there is hope.


Sunday, January 24, 2021

Six Flags Great Adventure Ready to Top Out The Jersey Devil Coaster in New Updates


© Six Flags Great Adventure

Six Flags Great Adventure had a very busy past couple of weeks with regard to construction of The Jersey Devil Coaster, and has shared multiple updates with us during that time.  The park has gotten extremely close to topping the ride off, and at this point if they haven't already I would expect to see the ride's track completed early this coming week.


© Six Flags Great Adventure

The park's updates cover a lot of groundFirst (up top) we saw the park continue to place pieces of track that were mostly toward the ground, like the intense turn around seen above.  Then the park quickly completed many of the ride's air-time hills, and while not the most glamorous portion of the ride, the brake run and station area started to get some attention (above).


© Six Flags Great Adventure

Then just most recently things got even more exciting as the park started to put the track on the lift hill, and get the apex of the ride ready to receive the final track segments.  The ride looks beautiful in these photos, make sure to check them out.


© Six Flags Great Advenure

At the end of this past week the park was just about ready to complete the ride, and as seen above, only one track segment was needed to complete things.  I'm not sure if they added that yet or not, but technically I guess the highest part of the ride is kinda in place so it's kinda topped off?  Either way, who really cares because this is amazing progress for one of the most anticipated new rides for 2021!


Sunday, January 17, 2021

Silverwood Theme Park Shares Stunt Pilot Fabrication Updates


Silverwood Theme Park is quite excited about their new for 2021 roller coaster, Stunt Pilot, and rightfully so.  Not many parks can say that they have one of Rocky Mountain Construction's single rail Raptor roller coasters, and that's exactly what will open at Silverwood this year.


© Silverwood Theme Park
To help build even more excitement, the park is showing off the fabrication of the ride on their social media channels.  It's fairly easy for the park to check in on the ride, as the headquarters for RMC is just a stone's throw from them in Idaho.  They visited the fabrication site and as we can see in the photos the track and supports for Stunt Pilot are well underway!


© Silverwood Theme Park
It is always pretty neat to see roller coaster track and supports being manufactured, and Silverwood got some great action photos of the process.  When completed, Stunt Pilot will stand 106 feet tall, feature 1,800 feet of track with three inversions and a top speed of 52 miles per hour.


© Silverwood Theme Park
We even got a look at the fabrication of the front of the ride's two, 10 person single seater trains.  Adorned with the ride's logo, these trains will look slick racing through the layout.  The ride's name is a throw back to the air shows that used to take place daily at Silverwood, a wonderful nod to the park's history.


Saturday, January 16, 2021

SeaWorld San Antonio + Sesame Place Philadelphia Both Move to Year-Round Operations


© SeaWorld San Antonio

SeaWorld Entertainment has announced that two more of its parks, in addition to Busch Gardens Williamsburg which we previously heard about, will now be partaking in year round operations with the addition of more operating days and special events.  Both SeaWorld San Antonio and Sesame Place Philadelphia will offer guests the chance to visit every month of the year under the new plans.


SeaWorld San Antonio already had a long season, being located in Texas, but is now staying open through some previously closed winter months.  They have added a brand new Mardi Gras event that will take place from February 6th through February 28th, and are also bringing back Wild Days during the month of January.  The rest of the park's seasonal event calendar, which can be seen up top, also includes event like the Seven Sea Food Festival, Bier Fest, Howl-O-Scream and the popular Christmas Celebration.


© Sesame Place Philadelphia

Sesame Place Philadelphia will for the first time in its history also operate each month of the year in 2021.  The park has made the announcement along with news of two new events that will fill in the time the park used to be closed: Elmo's Furry Fun Fest and Sesame Place's 40th Birthday Drive-Thru.


Elmo's Furry Fun Fest will run January 30th through March 21st, and actually is the name for a collection of limited-attendance special events.  The events will take place twice daily from 10 am to 1 pm and 2pm to 5pm, and are open to all levels of 2021 pass holders - separate tickets will also be sold.


The events include Elmo's Rockin' Birthday Bash, My Fuzzy Valentine's Celebration, Mardi Gras Celebration, and Big Bird's Pajama Party.  The events will all have their own special offerings, but will each feature the Neighborhood Birthday Party Parade, special food events, a Furry Friends Dance Party and more.


Also running on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from January 26th through February 24th, the park will have a 40th Birthday Drive-Thru, continuing the popular park drive through they started for Christmas.  The park will be decorated for its continued birthday party, plus the characters will be out greeting guests on their own floats while guests remain safely in their vehicles.


Tuesday, January 12, 2021

New Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru Experience to Debut at SeaWorld San Diego


© SeaWorld San Diego
The trend of theme park drive thru experiences is continuing with SeaWorld San Diego announcing that they will be reopening in order to hold the all-new Sesame Street Parade of Lights Drive-Thru Experience.  The event will start on January 15th and run on select nights through February 14th.


This is the first time that SeaWorld San Diego will allow visitors to drive their own vehicles through the park, and they're ramping up the family fun by introducing the Sesame Street characters into the mix.  The experience will allow visitors to stay in their vehicles during the fun, safely separated from other guests.  


© SeaWorld San Diego
As described by the park, the journey starts with traveling past "through thousands of dazzling lights lined with your Sesame Street friends physically distanced on parade floats while listening to Sesame Street music along the way.  The excitement continues as you venture under the illuminated SkyTower to snap photos, drive under two different tunnels of lights, and cruise through Sesame Street Village." 

 

Guests who make reservations for the event can also reserve add-ons such as a snack pack or a deluxe snack pack that comes with some retail items as well.  Season pass holders will get a 50% discount off the admission price, and Fun Card holders will receive 25% off.  For more information or to make a reservation, check out the park's official website.


Sunday, January 10, 2021

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Starts New Celebrate 2021 Drive-Thru Experience


© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has come up with an inventive way to keep the Drive-Thru fun coming, the park has now started to offer visitors the Celebrate 2021 Season of Thrills Drive-Thru Experience.  The theme of the new event is all over the map, celebrating the different events that the park holds during the year through lights, music, characters and more.


This includes saying goodbye to Holiday in the Park with those decorations, moving on to Spring Break, Festival Latino, 4th of July, then Fright Fest next, followed by The Marine World Experience, a Winter Wonderland area and finally Heroes Day.  Yes, it's quite a mashup of themes, but it's a nice way for the park to continue to operate during these trying times, so kudos to the park for coming up with something unique!

 

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

For those wondering about the Fright Fest portion, this image from the park does show some ghouls wandering around the park.  Obviously I'm sure there isn't really a scary feel to the area, but still pretty neat to have those characters out there to entertain the cars as they go by.


The new Celebrate 2021 Season of Thrills Drive-Thru Experience takes places on Friday through Sunday through January 31st, and includes the 18th holiday as well.  The park is offering season pass holders and members the ability to travel through the route twice in the same night.


Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Goes Year Round with New Winter Weekends + Mardi Gras Events


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens has taken the plunge into being open year-round with the introduction of two new limited time events that will keep the park open during January and February.  Up first is Winter Weekends, which will start on January 15th, and run that Friday, Saturday and Sunday, then again the following weekend - ending on Sunday January 24th.


The new event is designed to continue the celebration of the beauty of the holiday season and will feature plenty of decorative lights, but also plenty of rides, attractions and more.  Another major feature of the event will be the ability to see special animals that are not normally at the park, including an alligator, lemur and even a baby kangaroo.  There will also be special fireworks on Saturday evenings.  The park will have plenty of rides open during Winter Weekends as well, including Alpengeist, Verbolten and InvadR.


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Following right after and starting on January 29th, Busch Gardens Williamsburg will hold an all new Mardi Gras event.  The new celebration will run through February 28th and be followed by the park's St. Patrick's Day Celebration.


During the Mardi Gras event the park will feature 8 decorated themed areas along with special food, beverage, live entertainment and more.  There will be a similar list of rides open to visitors as during the Wild Weekends, so you can get plenty of more coaster rides in!  More detail on Mardi Gras will be added as the start of the event approaches.


So now we've seen both Six Flags and Busch Entertainment moving more of their parks into year round operations using special events, I guess it's officially a trend now.  A smart one, in my opinion.  With limited operations and the pandemic still not under control, it's a great way to stretch out the season and provide their guests with even more value than ever before - at least from a season pass perspective.


Sunday, January 3, 2021

Six Flags Over Texas to Hold New Fire & Ice Winter Festival This Month


© Six Flags
We've got three days of 2021 under our belt now, and I hope things are going nicely for you all - at least compared to 2020!

 

As we move into the real winter months we have a new festival announced for Six Flags Over Texas, named the Fire & Ice Winter Festival.  The brand new event will take place on weekends from January 9th through February 28th, plus January 18th and February 15th as bonus days.

 

Those who receive concept idea surveys from Six Flags may have had a feeling that a slew of new events were on the horizon, as the park was testing the concepts of almost a dozen of them recently.  It looks like the Fire & Ice concept scored well, as Six Flags Over Texas is the first park to announce it.

 

© Six Flags Over Texas
The event will present family fun in the form of a Fire and Ice Light Show, the Frosty Snow Hill, Fire and Ice Marketplace, cocktails at a Fire Bar and Ice Bar, Fire Pits with s'mores, a new Dancing Fountain Show, photo ops, special food offerings and more.  The park is even setting up a curling rink! (additional fee will apply) There will also be fireworks on Saturday nights at 7 pm.  The event's hours each day it is open are from noon until 7 pm. 


As Six Flags in general moves toward keeping its parks open more days out of the year, I'm sure we'll see other versions of this festival (and perhaps even different ones) at more parks soon.  It's a great way to draw in families during the usually slow winter months, for sure.