Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Six Flags to Reopen Six Flags New England + Two Waterparks in California

© Six Flags
Six Flags Entertainment Corporation has announced that they are now able to open 26 of their 27 properties, as Six Flags New England, Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles and Hurricane Harbor Concord have been clearance by State authorities to welcome back guests.

Six Flags New England was one of the parks that did not open to guests in the 2020 season, so the news of their reopening is quite exciting for the park's fans.  The theme park will open on May 14th to season pass holders and members, and then to the general public on May 15th.  The property will operate at reduced attendance levels to remain in compliance with Massachusetts' reopening guide.  Reservations will be required in order to visit the park.

© Six Flags
The park did reopen to visitors earlier in April, but only to host the limited time attraction Dinosaurs: A Walk-Thru Experience.  No rides were allowed to operate until now, which will start with the park's full reopening on May 14th.  Six Flags New England will continue to offer the Dinosaur walk through until May 23rd as previously announced.  It will become available to visitors as one of its attractions when the park reopens.

In California, Hurricane Harbor Los Angeles will welcome back guests on May 15th and Hurricane Harbor Concord on May 22nd.  These announcements leave La Ronde, located in Canada, as the only Six Flags park in North America that does not yet have a reopening date.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Dorney Park Expands 2021 Season With More Days to Play

© Dorney Park
Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom has announced more details of their 2021 season, which now includes more days and hours to play.  Originally the park planned to stay closed on Tuesdays throughout the summer, and hours included closing at 7 pm each day.  Now the park will stay open 7 days a week once it moves to daily operation on June 16th, and hours during the summer season have been extended to a 9 pm closing each day!  Night rides here we come!  Dorney Park will open for the season on May 22nd, and Wildwater Kingdom will open on May 29th as previously announced.

© Dorney Park
The park is excited to open Seaside Splashworks when Wildwater Kingdom opens on Memorial Day Weekend.  The brand new beach-themed multi-level play structure is sure to keep families busy for hours during their visit.  Guests visiting Wildwater Kingdom this year will need to make a reservation beforehand, though reservations are not needed to visit Dorney Park.  Reservations for the waterpark will go live on May 3rd at 10:00 am on the park's website.

Dorney Park is also excited to bring back Grand Carnivale, which will take place at the park starting in July.  The event features a celebration of food and culture from China, France, Germany, India, Italy and Spain "through authentic food, music, dance, and performances, along with the “Spectacle of Color” electro-light parade."

© Dorney Park

To bring all the fun to life the park is looking for new associates to join their team.  The starting wage for most season associates has been raised to $12 an hour, with life guards starting between $13 and $14 an hour.


“We’re excited to bring back the fun this season – and now we have even more fun to share with our expanded operating calendar,” said Michael Fehnel, vice president and general manager at Dorney Park. “With additional operating days and extended hours, we will need additional smiling faces to help us deliver the fun!  Seasonal associates play an instrumental role in delivering on our commitment to creating memorable experiences for all our guests, safely.” 

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Silverwood's Stunt Pilot Coaster to Open on May 29th

© Silverwood Theme Park

The wait is almost over for fans of Silverwood who are ready to get in line for Stunt Pilot, the park's new Rocky Mountain Construction single-rail roller coaster.  This past week the park announced that the coaster will open on May 29th, the start of Memorial Day Weekend.  The theme park will open for the 2021 season this coming weekend, May 1st and 2nd.

© Silverwood Theme Park

While on the subject of Stunt Pilot, the park is making quick progress on constructing the new coaster.  They've been steadily sharing new images of the ride going up, with the all-important lift hill starting to reach toward the sky this past week.

The photos also show that most of the low to the ground track and supports are already in place.  Those with keener eyes than myself have noted that Stunt Pilot's maneuvers are slightly different than the other same-layout RMC raptor models, probably needed due to Stunt Pilot having 10 car trains instead of 8 car trains.

© Silverwood Theme Park

It will be interesting to see if this leads to a slightly less intense ride that the first two models, Wonder Woman at Six Flags Fiesta Texas and RailBlazer at California's Great America.  Not that I in any way expect this new coaster to suddenly become a kiddie coaster, but there will be differences for sure.  I'm looking forward to seeing the top of the lift turn around and first drop when that's completed as well.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Gerstlauer Amusement Rides to Build Mystery "Record Breaking" Coaster in the U.S. in 2022

© Gerstlauer

While the amusement industry gets its footing back as the pandemic subsides we're not exactly having a big year for new rides - understandably - so it's nice to look ahead as we always tend to do to what's coming next.  While we have no idea at what park just yet, Amusement Today is reporting that Gerstlauer will be building a custom designed "record-breaking" coaster at a park in the U.S. slated to open in May of 2022.

Well that's certainly something to look forward to!  Sure, we don't know the park just yet, but at least someone out there is feeling strong enough about the future to sign what must be a very large contract for next season.

The manufacturer is represented in the U.S. by Ride Entertainment.  Their CEO, Ed Hiller, notes in the story on Amusement Today that the custom ride will utilize a "challenging location" and is expected to be a "showcase attraction known around the world."  Ride Entertainment will handle the instillation of the coaster, saying that it will be one of the most "formidable installations" they have faced.  Seems the mystery park's layout and terrain will play heavily into the coaster's design, which I'm sure might help all the detectives out there narrow down their guess on the park.

© Gerstlauer

Gerstlauer is known for many different types of roller coasters, though their Infinity line, which uses both lift hills and launches, has produced many of their largest.  Recent installations of this type in the U.S. include HangTime at Knott's Berry Farm and Monster at Adventureland.  To be fair though, they have made some very large Euro-Fighter models as well - an example of that would be TMNT Shellraiser at Nickelodeon Universe.

As always, time will tell, but for now we can only speculate on what park is adding this new coaster for 2022!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Take a Spin Through the Secret Life of Pets: Off the Leash at Universal Studios Hollywood

© Universal Studios Hollywood

There can never be too many dark rides if you ask me, so it's wonderful that Universal Studios Hollywood has opened a new one - The Secret Life of Pets: Off The Leash.  Guests have waited an extra year to be able to take a spin through the animated world of our favorite pets, and the park has not disappointed on the execution of the attraction.

The ride features passengers that take on the role of pets that are going to be adopted but in order for that to happen they have to make their way through the zany streets of New York to arrive at the adoption event.  The ride is absolutely stuffed with cute animatronics and heavy on 3-D sets, but utilizes plenty of creative and modern technology mixed in as well.  Granted I'm going off of a video here, but it look like a fantastic addition to the park!

Here is a trip through some the ride's queue and the actual experience as well from Attractions 360, if you do not mind a spoiler then press play!

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Operator Dispute Finally Over for Rye Playland (We Hope) + New Investments Planned

The battle over who will be operating Rye Playland has been going on for years, making a bit of a dark cloud hang over the park and creating uncertainty for the classic amusement park.  But it seems that court battle is finally over and perhaps the sun will come out for the park, especially needed as it did not operate in 2020 due to the pandemic.

This news article details that a new contract has been put into place with Standard Amusements that makes improvements over prior contacts with the company in key areas.  Also of note, I really hope that at this point the county regrets not giving the contract to Zamperla years ago.  Anywho, Standard Amusements will take over the park at the end of this year, and run the park in 2022 for the first time since being awarded as operator in 2015.  How crazy is that!

© Playland
Per the contract Standard Amusements will spend $35 million on improving the park, with a maximum amount of $5 million going to overhead.  That means that around $30 million will be spent on upgrades, changes and new attractions.  No details on those changes were put in the contract.

Fans of the park can rest easy knowing that the contract forces the operator to maintain historical rides including the Derby Racer, Dragon Coaster, Grand Carousel, The Whip, Ye Old Mill the Kiddie Coaster and the Kiddy Carousel.  Other rides can be replaced via a review process with the county.

No opening date for Playland's 2021 season has been listed yet that I can locate.  The park had a strong 2019 season when they added a new spinning ride, so hopefully they can keep that momentum going this summer.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Six Flags Great Adventure Launches Coaster Power Hours Event

© Six Flags Great Adventure

Roller coaster fans have a new way to get in some extra ride time as Six Flags Great Adventure has announced Coaster Power Hours, special event times when guests can get exclusive ride time on the park's towering coasters.


The event will take place on Thursday and Friday evenings starting Friday April 16th, with Thursday evenings starting on May 6th.  Friday evening hours will be from 6 pm to 11 pm, and Thursdays the event will run from 4 pm until 9 pm.

© Six Flags Great Adventure

Riders will get exclusive ride time on up to 12 of the park's famous roller coasters.  The limited-attendance event will feature special ticket pricing with deep discounts available for season pass holders and members.  The event will also feature music, specialty food, free parking and additional surprises.  The park also says that one coaster will feature a special, "limited-time experience" during the event as Skull Mountain becomes Skull Mountain "Remix" with "pumping music and moving lights," only on during the event.

While the schedule of rides is always subject to change, the park plans to offer Kingda Ka, Nitro, El Toro, Skull Mountain "Remix," Bizarro, Batman: The Ride, The Joker, Superman Ultimate Flight, The Dark Knight, Green Lantern, Runaway Mine Train and the Harley Quinn Crazy Train during Coaster Power Hours.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Knott's Berry Farm Plans Reopening for May 6th To Start Celebrating 100th Anniversary

© Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm has announced that it will reopen will rides and attractions to season pass holders on May 6th, and then open to the general public a couple weeks later on May 21st.  Reservations will be required to visit the park as it remains in compliance with California's reopening plan by having a limited daily attendance amount.  The park will spend the summer celebrating their 100th Anniversary, an event that was pushed from last season due to the pandemic.

© Knott's Berry Farm
The park's reopening will mark the first time that visitors will be able to take a ride on Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair, the park's new 4-D interactive dark ride.  The attraction is based on the characters that once called the same ride space home, but utilizes modern technology to allow riders to interact with the ride as they travel through it.

© Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's will also hold additional special events during their 100th Anniversary party, including Knott's Summer Nights, which features live music, DJs and limited time food and beverage offerings.  As a special treat the park will  hold "a nightly ceremony featuring multiple attractions lighting up the evening and culminating in a special moment with the redesigned illuminated K-tower."  That sounds like a great way to spend a summer night at the park!

© Knott's Berry Farm
The anniversary celebration will be felt throughout the entire park, will special decor all over and a line of anniversary merchandise that fans will love.  There will also be photo spots set up that celebrate some of the theme park's classic attractions, such as the drawing of the one above honoring the Wacky Soap Box Racers.

Knott's is making the two week period of allowing only season pass holders to attend the park even more enticing by offering great deals on new pass sales.  Running through June 20th, regular passes start at only $101 and Gold passes for $135.  All 2020 season passes and 2021 season passes purchased through May 5th will be valid all the way until May 5th, 2022.


© Knott's Berry Farm

Monday, April 12, 2021

Grona Lund's New Monster B&M Inverted Coaster Opens April 24th

© Grona Lund

It seems like years ago that we first heard about Grona Lund's plan to somehow squeeze a B&M inverted coaster into their already packed park... and that's because it was.  Way back in 2017 news of the ride first came out, and at that point it was slated to open in 2020 but the pandemic had other things in mind.  Fast forward to now, and the seaside park in Sweden is finally ready to open the Monster on April 24th.

The ride starts with a below ground station, needed to help fit the ride into the crowded park, and then a lift hill of 111 feet into the air.  There is a swooping drop after that, and then right into a heartline roll, one of the ride's 4 inversions.  The trains swoop above and around the park's buildings, compleing two flatspins and a mini-Immelmann inversion as well.  The ride has a top speed of around 55 miles per hour and a track length of just under 2,300 feet.

Monster had been testing quite a bit ahead of its grand opening in a couple weeks, here is a video of the trains making their way through the layout - looks like a fun ride indeed:

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Universal Studios Hollywood Reopens Jurassic World - The Ride With Awesome Updates

© Theme Park Shark

Visitors to Universal Studios Hollywood's Taste of Universal special food event, still being held before the park's full reopening this week, got a special treat this past week as some rides and attractions were in operation.  This included Jurassic World - The Ride, which receive some awesome updates since the last time it was open at the park.

The attraction first reopened in the summer of 2019 as a full update of Jurassic Park - The Ride, which operated at the park since 1996.  There were many changes made to the visuals of the ride, including an all new ending that features the scary Indominus Rex having a battle with the Tyrannosaurus Rex right before the big finale drop.  However, many were let down that when the ride reopened the Indominus Rex was just the character's head, and it didn't really have quite the oomph many were hoping for.

Well, that's fixed now, no doubt!  The Indominus Rex character at the end is now a full animatonic that moves forward to well over the ride's track, snarling and getting ready to take a bite out of riders - until the Tyrannosaurus Rex shows up of course.  The old Indominus head character has also been moved to earlier in the ride, making it have a 3rd menacing appearance.  There were other changes, too, including a smashed Gyrosphere and the return of the popular Compies, which are fighting over a hat this iteration.

Check out all the changes in this video from Theme Park Shark:

And, if you're like me, you might want to see the 2019 version of the ride to make comparisons, so I'll make it easy.  Here's a point of view of the attraction from SoCal Attractions 360:

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

VelociCoaster to Open June 10th at Islands of Adventure

© Universal Orlando

Rejoice ride fans!  Universal Orlando has announced that the VelociCoaster will open to guests on June 10th!  Finally, the date that many have been anticipating for months now has been revealed, and perhaps we'll even have some test preview days sooner than the grand opening.  Either way it is wonderful to know exactly when visitors will be able to roar alongside the raptors that have apparently taken over a part of Islands of Adventure.

© Universal Orlando

The new coaster's opening date also comes with some new press photos that the park has revealed, showing off some of the coaster's maneuvers.  VelociCoaster is a beautiful ride, featuring two separate launches with a top speed of 70 miles per hour and a 155 foot tall top hat element - making it the tallest and fastest launched roller coaster in Florida.  Fans of airtime will also appreciate that the VelociCoaster will feature a total of 12 seconds of it spread throughout the ride's 4,700 feet of track.

© Universal Orlando

This story from USA Today has more information on the attraction's backstory, which starts with guests visiting the latest attraction to open in the fictional Jurassic World theme park - as seen in the film franchise.  Riders will have the opportunity to safely view raptors while on the coaster, but, of course, something goes wrong.  It always does!  Make sure to click through to the article for many more details about the coaster.

Also make sure to check out this new video advertising the opening of the ride that Universal Orlando released today.  There's some short clips of point of view footage mixed in there showing off the heavy theming surrounding the coaster - and even a raptor or two!

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Fun Spot America Orlando to Open New Thrill Ride this May

© Fun Spot America

Fun Spot America Orlando announced the addition of a brand new thrill ride named Sky Hawk on April 1st, but no joke here, the park is excited to be expanding once again.  Sky Hawk is one of A.R.M. USA's brand new rides of the same name, and features a 90 foot tall tower that riders swing around.

Per Fun Spot America Orlando, "guests will be elevated to new heights while spinning at a quick 10 revolutions per minute.  The tower will feature vivid colors such as purple, magenta, yellow, and orange and is located on the north side of the park between two of the park’s roller coasters, White Lightning and Freedom Flyer.  At night guests can also expect to see a beautiful programable LED package on the tower illuminating the Fun Spot Orlando skyline."


© A.R.M. USA

Another neat feature of Sky Hawk is that it has two different seating styles split evenly among the 24 passenger vehicles.   Half the vehicles allow rider to lay in a prone position, as if they were their favorite super hero flying through the air.  The other half of the vehicles are a more usual seated position.  The addition of both styles makes the ride more repeatable, as some guests will want to check out both experiences.

Fun Spot America Orlando hopes to have Sky Hawk opened to the public this May.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dinosaurs Walk-Thru Experience Opening at Six Flags New England April 10th

© Six Flags New England

While Six Flags New England awaits its turn to reopen as a full theme park the property has come up with a new way to engage their fans and will offer the Dinosaurs Walk-Thru Experience starting April 10th.  The limited time event will offer guests the ability to "journey back in time hundreds of millions of years ago to behold the wonder and majesty of creatures that walked the Earth long before humans."

The one-way walking path tour will feature 20 life sized dinosaurs, with many featuring "realistic movement and sound."  The event will also feature plenty of photo opportunities as well as games and other activities for the family.  While moving through the park visitors will also find select retail and food stands open, allowing them to grab a snack or take home a souvenir. 

© Six Flags New England

The Dinosaurs Walk-Thru Experience will debut on April 10th and run on select dates through May 23rd.  Reservations are required for visits.  The attraction is free for members and pass holders, otherwise tickets are $19.99 for adults and $9.99 for kids.