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.