Monday, January 24, 2022

Busch Gardens Williamsburg to Open Pantheon March 25th


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Looks like yesterday's post was just a day too early to include Busch Gardens Williamsburg's Pantheon, as the theme park announced today that the highly anticipated roller coaster will open to guests starting March 25th.


Billed as the world's fastest multi-launch roller coaster, the Intamin designed thrill machine will utilize multiple LSM launches to send the trains to a maximum speed of 73 miles per hour.  The unique design will start with a launch that throws trains through an inversion before they meander over to the multi-pass launch, both forwards and backwards, that rockets riders up a giant top hat.  With a 95 degree drop and two inversions included, Pantheon is sure to be on the bucket list of coaster fans around the globe.


© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg is following the path of the SeaWorld Entertainment parks we reported on yesterday, and will start to give pass members rides on Pantheon as soon as March 4th.  The park has the detailed schedule of preview dates available on the ride's website.  Can't wait to hear how that crazy outward banked hill is!


Sunday, January 23, 2022

SeaWorld Entertainment Posts Opening Dates for Three Coasters


© SeaWorld Orlando
We've had to wait an extra year for some of SeaWorld Entertainment's largest new roller coasters, and finally we're near to the grand opening dates for these attractions.  In the last week three parks have announced when we get experience new coasters at their parks, let's take a look at each.


SeaWorld Orlando will open Ice Breaker to visitors on February 18th.  The Premier Rides designed multi-launch coaster will actually have riders before that date, as pass members will get an opportunity to check the coaster out as soon as January 30th.


The theme park also released a new point of view ride on the attraction, the first we've had since the ride started testing:

 

 

Also in Florida, Busch Gardens Tampa has announced that Iron Gwazi will premier to visitors on March 11th.  


© Busch Gardens Tampa

This is the Rocky Mountain Construction hybrid redesign of Iron Gwazi, and fans have been salivating about their first ride on the coaster for far too long now.  Standing 206 feet tall and featuring a 91 degree drop, Iron Gwazi's trains will soar along the steel track at 76 miles per hour.  Similar to with Ice Breaker, pass members will start to ride Iron Gwazi as soon as February 13th, depending on their pass tier.  That's a lovely Valentine present if I do say so.

 

© SeaWorld San Diego
Last but certainly not least, SeaWorld San Diego will open Emperor, their custom B&M dive coaster, to the public on March 12th.   To celebrate, the park release this cool infographic covering the ride's layout and features - which include three inversions and a 14 story vertical plunge.  If only all that cool ice surrounding the ride really existed!


The coaster will have a pass holder preview set up as well, though right now the dates aren't set but expected to take place in March.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Wicked Twister Comes Down With A Bang


© Fox 8 News Cleveland
Cedar Point had already demolished the lower portions of Wicked Twister earlier in the winter, but this past week the taller parts started to come down - with a bang.  The park was kind enough to share video of one of the ride's spikes being pulled over, available at this link.  Also of note, the park appears to be planning to sell parts of the ride, but cautions fans that they have to wait until the "dust settles."


Fox 8 out of Cleveland was on site and got some great footage of the ride's tower being pulled over, check it out in this video:


Demolitions of roller coasters are certainly a sad thing to see, but quite interesting as well.  Few have been as epic as Son of Beast's lift hill coming down, but I digress.  Wicked Twister's remaining pieces will probably be cut up and taken down quickly, removing the ride from Cedar Point's skyline for good.


Everyone wants to know what's planned for the space the ride took up, and the area surrounding it.  We got only a few new clues from the park in the news stemming from the ride's demolition.  In the Fox 8 article Tony Clark says the redevelopment will contain "something for everyone."  When speaking about their plans in the video, he notes that fans should "expand your mind.  It might not be exactly what you think it is, or it might be."  Not much help there, but I think most realists expect a larger redevelopment of that midway with potentially new food, retail, open views of the lake, and perhaps a ride or two. 


Monday, January 10, 2022

Conneaut's Blue Streak Demolished + The End of the Park


© Meadville Tribune
It's been a long journey following the story of Conneaut Lark Park, and I suppose this is the final chapter.  The writing was already on the wall that the new owner of the park had no intention of making it work as an amusement park, as developments in the past year made that pretty clear.  This past week the new owner started to demolish the Blue Streak roller coaster, which was probably the item that most folks cared about possibly saving.


While not too realistic to expect the ride to survive, it's not an issue any longer.  In a big dramatic spectacle the guys tearing down the coaster were doing a "controlled burn" to get ride of its pieces, and that burn got out of hand, did jump briefly to the ride's station and the fire department had to be called.  At first it seemed that the coaster was on fire, but really its remains were on fire on purpose and it just got a bit out of hand.  Either way, the ride is gone, forever.


And I don't think there's really any shot of much of the park existing as an amusement park even as soon as this year.  Most of the rides were sold or are for sale, and it seems that those who worked on the park as a labor of love have now turned their backs to it due to the owner's plans.  In short, this feels like the final chapter in the park's long history (which we've covered for years and years).  In a way the whole demolishing the coaster / fire story almost feels like closure, as sad as it is.  Sure, the park says on social media that that Carousel will be around in 2022, but the park proper won't.  And in that sense, we're at the end of the amusement park's story.


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Knott's Montezooma's Revenge Closing for Extended Refurbishment


© Knott's Berry Farm
Knott's Berry Farm will close their classic Montezooma's Revenge coaster for an extended refurbishment starting after January 10th, the park has announced.  And by "extended" we mean for at least a year, with the park only saying that the ride is scheduled to reopen in 2023.  So while it got in a week or so of running in January, it will be taking the rest of the year off while work is performed.


What work exactly?  That is the big question.  Knott's is being a little vague on exactly what is happening, noting only that "major renovations will be taking place to this historic coaster."  They go on to say that the "flywheel-launched shuttle coaster was the first of its kind and will be upgraded with exciting changes while keeping the ride’s unique charm that our guests have loved for generations."

 

There are rumors that the park may be looking to upgrade the ride's flywheel launch into something more modern (magnets, no doubt), but these are unsubstantiated at this point.  

 

© Knott's Berry Farm
Whatever ends up happening I think it's better than seeing another classic coaster removed entirely!  As coasters get older and more costly that's always an option on the table, so kudos to the park for not going in that direction.   Knott's promises more specifics on the changes later this year.


Montezooma's Revenge opened at Knott's in 1978 and has be thrilling riders at the park for more than four decades.  It's one of Schwarkopf's shuttle loop coasters, of which there are only a handful left operating on the globe.  There are even less that still use the original flywheel launch system.  The ride hits speeds of 55 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds, sends riders through a vertical loop, up a tower, then through the course in reverse.