Sunday, July 25, 2021

Grand Carnivale Makes Triumphant Return to Dorney Park


© Dorney Park
This weekend marks the return of the Grand Carnivale celebration to Dorney Park.  After debuting in 2019 and understandably taking off 2020, the 14 day festival is back to celebrating the "sights, sounds, smells and tastes from cultures around the world."  The experience will take place each day the park is open between now and August 8th, 2021.


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The representation of world cultures has increased by one this year, with the addition of Spain.  That joins returning countries China, Germany, France, India and Italy.  The countries are not only represented in food offerings, but also through special activities, games and more.  Special talents from each area are also featured each day in The Grand Showcase, a live show on the Grand Carnivale Main Stage.  The actors are happy to greet and take photos with guests as they roam around the area as well.


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Grand Carnivale at Dorney Park offers more than just live entertainment - it also includes special crafts and challenges, and even new games of chance created just for the limited time event.  For instance, kids can visit each country's stop (an example is seen above) and scan the QR code to participate in Mardi's International QR Invitational.  Hosted by the Alligator King Mardi P. Gras, the challenge awards kids for visiting each country.  Families will also enjoy activities such as coloring and decorating country postcards and even making a unique Mardi Gras mask.


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There are several live entertainment offerings packed into Grand Carnivale as well.  Kicking off at 3 pm each day, the King and Queen of Grand Carnivale host a welcome event for guests.  From there the entertainment schedule varies throughout the entire day, with something always taking place to keep the atmosphere festive.


The Grand Showcase takes place at 3:15 each day, which features performers from around the world as they show off some of their area's favorite customs.  Twice each day the Royal Rhythms perform the King and Queen's favorite hits in a high energy live music show.  In between these acts there is also a Royal Dance Party (a great time to get some beads) and the evening winds down with a final Royal Send-Off song and dance performance.


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But how about all the food!  Grand Carnivale features a tasting card that can be purchased to sample a select number of dishes from all the country's booths.  Each booth offers three main items and one dessert choice, and there are also areas to get a Grand Carnivale specialty cocktail or a virgin cocktail.


You can see the full listing of the 20+ choices on the park's website here, but some of the highlights include General Tso Egg Rolls from China, German Chocolate Cake from Germany, a traditional Jambon-Beurre sandwich from France and Pollo al Ajillo, a chicken dish from Spain.  There are a ton of choices and far too much to eat in one day, so plan to sample on more than one visit!


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Each night at 6:30 the Spectacle of Color Parade will kick off following the same route it did in 2019 (first passing through Planet Snoopy then heading up and back down the main midway).  It again features three performance stops and that super-catchy song that you'll be singing the next day!


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© NewsPlusNotes

© NewsPlusNotes

© NewsPlusNotes
If you happened to catch the Spectacle of Color Parade at Dorney's Grand Carnivale in 2019 you'll be happy to know that several of the floats have been swapped out and are brand new to the park this year.  The king alligator float, for instance, is very impressive and a huge hit with the crowd!  The floats are not all that is new as several costumes for the performers are also new, giving a different feel to the parade than previously.


In total, the Spectacle of Color Parade features five decorated floats, nearly 100 street performers and "pulsing rhythms that will enchant and delight spectators of all ages."  It's a great parade that is quite high quality and really a step above most regional park performances.


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There is so much going on and being offered as part of Grand Carnivale at Dorney Park, it really is a great compliment to the park's other rides, shows and attractions.  The event takes place weather permitting, each day - so make sure to visit before August 8th to take part in the fun!


Saturday, July 17, 2021

Cedar Point Announces HalloWeekends to Return This Fall + Dorney Park Posts Fall Hours


© Cedar Point
Cedar Point is still hard at work celebrating their 150th anniversary on a daily basis (through August 15th), but has also announced their biggest ever fall season for later this year.  The park will host the return of HalloWeekends, starting September 17th, and this year HalloWeekends will consist of both Tricks and Treats Fall Fest during the day and Haunt at night.


Tricks and Treats Fall Fest started last year at Cedar Point while the pandemic made a traditional Haunt event impossible.  It must have been a hit as it will return again this year.  Haunt is sure to get visitors screaming when darkness falls across the park, with specific details yet to come.


Cedar Point has often seen some of their busiest days during their Fall season, and to help with that they are giving this year's event the largest number of operating days ever.  Starting October 7th, the park will open each Thursday from 6 pm to midnight with only the Haunt attractions open.  Then each weekend Friday through Sunday the park will hold both Tricks and Treats Fall Fest and Haunt each day.  The final operating day for the 2021 season will be Sunday October 31st, Halloween itself.

 

This is the first time the park is opening Thursdays in the Fall, so that's a big change.  Beyond helping spread out crowds it may also help make up a bit of the lost operating days in June.


© Dorney Park

While we haven't had a full announcement of Fall events yet at Dorney Park, we have seen them update their operating calendar to show that they plan to do a Haunt this year after being closed for it last year.  Right now the event could start on either Saturday September 18th or Friday September 24th.  The calendar shows Friday operating hours through the end of October of 6 pm to 11 pm and Saturday hours of 11 am to 11 pm.  Stay tuned for more as the summer rolls along!


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Quassy Amusement Park Announces New Water Coaster Slide for 2022


© Quassy Amusement Park
Quassy Amusement Park has announced a major addition to its Splash Away Bay water park for the 2022 season.  The as-yet unnamed new slide will be the single largest investment made in the park's 113 year history, and that's counting the addition of the Wooden Warrior back in 2011.  The park isn't saying exactly how much the slide will cost, but this is obviously a very big addition for the park.


Per the park's President, Eric Anderson, the new water raft ride will "be what is recognized in our industry as a water coaster.  It will incorporate some of the latest technology in waterslides with features we've never presented at the park."


© Quassy Amusement Park
The new slide will be manufactured by ProSlide Technology, and be one of their RocketBLAST slides utilizing a water jet propulsion system.  The ride will incorporate four FlyingSAUCER elements that create high-speed, accelerating banked turns.  Like other water roller coasters, the new attraction will use the water jets to push rafts up a number of inclines.  The slide will utilize two-person rafts to take on the course.


Stretching more than 600 feet in length, the slide will accommodate up to 340 people per hour and be the 16th slide at the water park.  Park officials are certain that the addition will take the park's Splash Away Bay to a new level after having already expanded the water park greatly in the past decade.


A somewhat rough look at where the new slide will go. Map © Google

Construction on the slide will begin this fall and the goal is to have it ready for Splash Away Bay's opening in Spring 2022.  It will be located where the park's Lakeside Pavilion currently sits, and the development will also include additional cabanas for next year.  Right now the plan is for the park to hold a naming contest for the attraction, similar to how they arrived at the name Wooden Warrior for their Gravity Group family wooden coaster.


Monday, July 12, 2021

The Adirondack Outlaw Opens at The Great Escape


© The Great Escape
The Great Escape has opened their new for 2021 attraction, a super tall flat ride named The Adirondack Outlaw.  The ride takes passengers up to a dizzying height of 164 feet above the theme park, however the ride's placement on a naturally higher part of the park makes that height seem far greater.  The attraction was built in the Ghost Town area of the park, near the Steamin' Demon roller coaster.


The attraction is certainly not for the faint of heart.  the Adirondack Outlaw starts as riders are seated on opposite ends of the giant ride's arm.  The entire ride then starts to rotate in a circle, with the maximum height at the top being the 164 feet.  The ride rotates quickly, at speeds of up to 52 miles per hour.


© The Great Escape
The most thrilling part comes from the fact that the rider carriages at either end of the arm are able to loop around freely, meaning that a good portion of the spinning action is taken either upside down or some other non-level position.  And no two rides are exactly the same, as weight distribution along with good old gravity itself means that the flipping action is different each ride.


Each end of the arm seats 8 riders, four across back to back.  Technically that means that some riders move backwards as well, but with all that spinning is there really much a difference anyway?  It's all thrills all the time on this attraction.


I found the below video on YouTube (via user Charles Wagor III) that shows the Adirondack Outlaw in action.  Be sure to take note of how often the riders are upside down!




Sunday, July 11, 2021

Six Flags Great Adventure Reintroducing Kiddie Coaster as Lil' Devil Coaster


© Six Flags Great Adventure
Six Flags Great Adventure has been teasing the return of an attraction on social media for a while now, and has finally revealed that the park's children's roller coaster will be returning soon as the Lil' Devil Coaster.  The ride was originally known as Road Runner Railway, and had to be removed in order to make room for the Jersey Devil Coaster to be built.  With the return of the Lil' Devil Coaster, Six Flags Great Adventure will offer visitors 14 different roller coasters to choose from.


Those in the park recently had already spotted some footer construction going on inside the park, not far from the entrance to the plaza for the Jersey Devil Coaster.  The Lil' Devil Coaster will be located within the Safari Kids area, but when at the park it seemed like the new location for the coaster also made it quickly accessible from the Jersey Devil Coaster area.


© Six Flags Great Adventure
The park has painted the ride's track a bright orange, I haven't seen what the supports may be just yet.  The ride opened in 1999 and is one of Zamperla's Family Gravity Coasters, which can be found at a ton of parks across the country.


Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Conneaut Lake Park Sees Partial Reopening for July 4th Weekend


© Conneaut Lake Park
The new owners of Conneaut Lake Park have been busy cleaning up and renovating the park since they closed on the property this Spring, and this past weekend the park (some of it at least) made its grand debut.  Just in time for the July 4th weekend, Conneaut Lake Park was able to reopen Kiddieland, Splash City and a limited selection of larger amusement rides.


As previously made clear by the park, the classic Blue Streak wooden roller coaster will not be operating in 2021 as they new owners need to have repairs made to it in order to bring it back to life.  They're still working on a plan to see how feasible that is.  They plan to bring other larger rides back online when they're able to get the parts they need - so the ride roster will grow as the summer goes on.  Notably, the Devil's Den is back in operation and several other rides like the Octopus have been added to the park.


 © Conneaut Lake Park
For now the park will operate on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through around Labor Day.  The new owners have not only a focus on operating Conneaut as a classic amusement park, but also as an event area.  The park was able to have a live band near the beach for July 4th, and set off some cool fireworks as well.  This coming weekend they're planning to hold a truck show, with more special events lined up through the summer.


There were a couple good local news articles about the park's reopening that give additional details on the plan for the 2021 season - here is one from the Meadville Tribune and another from the Titusville Herald.  No doubt that more time is needed for the park to get fully up to speed, but from the response on social media it appears as though the park's local fans are super excited for the progress made so far. 


Monday, July 5, 2021

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Late June Photo Update


© NewsPlusNotes
Time for a Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom update - not that anything too big is going on at the moment (besides loads of rides, water slides and fun), but it's interesting to see the park navigate their first season post-pandemic restrictions.


These photos were actually from the end of June, just haven't had time to get them posted until now.


© NewsPlusNotes

Seen at the first photo, Dorney Park is getting ready and advertising for Grand Carnivale, which returns to the park on July 24th and runs through August 8th.  Aside from advertising for the celebration, the park has also set up their large parade tent in the parking lot, seen above.  When I visited the floats had not yet arrived, but it looks like they will soon!


© NewsPlusNotes
The park has already set up the main performance state on the Main Midway, seen above.  Other decorations are starting to go up slowly, a pace which will no doubt increase as the 24th approaches.  Dorney Park has debuted their full website covering this year's Grand Carnivale celebration, including live entertainment offerings, food selections and more.  


© NewsPlusNotes
Many of the food stands that offer the various treats from around the world are already in place as well.  This year there will be featured items from China, Germany, France, India, Italy and Spain.  The entire event will kick off each day at 3 pm with the final event at 7:15 pm.


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This season many of the Cedar Fair parks are featuring custom Squishmallows that are themed after their rides, along with a big assortment of other characters in the line.  You can find the custom Dorney Park Squishmallows at many of the retail locations in the park, and even in display windows - like above.


© NewsPlusNotes
Here are the custom Dorney Park Squishmallows.  The Hydra one is green and slightly dragon themed, the Steel Force character is red and features the mysterious character seen in the coaster's logo, and Talon's version is appropriately bird themed.


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The park has a lot of great custom merchandise this season, like the Alfundo items we featured in our opening day report.  A lot of the Alfundo items are going fast it seems, and you can even snatch a free Alfundo lanyard with the purchase of select items.  


© NewsPlusNotes
It's been a bit since I took a spin on Possessed as backwards rides occasionally get my equilibrium out of sorts.  But I decided why not, and had a wonderful ride during my visit.  It's still so impressive to be in the ride's station and watch the trains go flying past at great speeds!  Plus the ride is rather photogenic all things considered.


© NewsPlusNotes
It was quite warm on my visit to the park and that meant that Wildwater Kingdom was hopping with visitors.  The Oasis has received a new outdoor stage and is a nice place to relax, enjoy the live music and take in an adult beverage.  It's located adjacent to the deck area of the Wildwater Cove wave pool.


© NewsPlusNotes

Props to the park for adding so many thematic touches to the Oasis area, it really helps set the vibe of the spot.  And the live entertainment is great!  It's location next to the wave pool means that visitors who aren't even in the Oasis area get to enjoy the music as well.  A great improvement for this year indeed.


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It was also a great day to check out the park's latest attraction, Seaside Splashworks.  The multi-level play structure prominently features a giant bucket that tips every minute or so, which can be seen in action in the photo above.  That's a great place to stand on a hot day!


© NewsPlusNotes
© NewsPlusNotes

The massive structure covers a larger area than the similar attraction that was here before, plus this one includes many new slides of various sizes.  None are too thrilling however, as Seaside Splashworks is definitely a family attraction.  The three larger slides on the back of the structure are most popular with kids and their families.


© NewsPlusNotes

But everywhere you look there are more slides of different sizes extending off the structure.  The entire play area can definitely keep the little ones busy for hours on end.


© NewsPlusNotes

The area next to Seaside Splashworks also got a big renovation with the addition of many interactive play elements that are aimed at the park's youngest visitors.  This section used to just have one umbrella style water fall, and now is packed with items for kids.  The redevelopment of the area came out wonderful and is a huge improvement to Wildwater Kingdom's offerings.


© NewsPlusNotes
One final note for this trip - now that the water park is back open if you're able to, make sure to stop in Tidal Wave Cafe.  It's some of the best food in the park and worth the line if there is one.  Gourmet Mac & Cheese for the win!