Tuesday, January 31, 2023

More P'Sghetti Heading to Six Flags Over Georgia in 2023

© Six Flags Over Georgia
Looks like the rumors of there being not one but TWO instillations of Skyline Attractions' P'Sghetti Bowl coasters opening in 2023 was true after all.  While it was an unconventional announcement during an fan event, Six Flags Over Georgia has confirmed they will receive a set of the dueling family coasters next season - the exact same as was announced earlier for Six Flags Fiesta Texas.  Also as with the Texas park, the rides at Six Flags Over Georgia will feature the new Aurora LED lightning package, making the ride both beautiful at night and easily customizable. 

© Six Flags Over Georgia
Combined the two coasters (the park's 12th and 13th) will feature 1,124 feet of track and are able to be operated at the same time or separately.  The trains will comfortably fit both an adult and a child in each row, making the yet-to-be-named attraction quite family friendly.  The new P'Sghetti coasters use a weld-free track that requires less maintenance and a lower price tag for parks, so it is reasonable to think we could see many more of these coasters popping up at parks in coming years!

Monday, January 30, 2023

Zambezi Zinger's Curves on Display from Worlds of Fun

© Worlds of Fun
Worlds of Fun has updated two new images to their Zambezi Zinger construction blog and wow, what a pair of photos they are!  When the ride was announced it was made clear from the concept drawings and directly from the ride's manufacturers (Great Coasters Int. and Skyline Attractions) that most of the ride would hug the ground and they weren't kidding.  This image shows much of the "back" of the ride, meaning the furthest out from the lift hill and first drop section.  It is going to feel amazing flying so close to the ground on these wild turns.

© Worlds of Fun
This shot is slightly zoomed in from the first one, showing more detail on the Zinger's many curves - specifically a large s-curve that passes under the hill in the background.  Trains will be Infinity Flyers from GCI, which seat 16 riders in each and that shortened length allow for the tight turns seen here.  Zambezi Zinger was already one of my most anticipated rides for 2023, and these photos have even further cemented that excitement for me!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Permanent Universal Parks "Horror Experience" Coming to Las Vegas

© Universal Parks & Entertainment
Universal Parks & Resorts are full of surprises, as the same day they announced their new family theme park in Texas they also revealed plans for a year-round "horror experience" as part of Area15's 20 acre upcoming expansion.  You know, it is almost as if Universal's owner Comcast, figured out that if you do it right, parks and attractions can be like printing money!

Anywho, the permanent entertainment experience will be one of the larger tenants of the Area15 expansion, taking up 110,000 square feet - which is a really big building if you google it.  The company says that it will be filled with "a variety of unique, immersive, fantastic horror-centric experiences that surround high energy food and beverage spaces by day turned haunting bars and eateries by night."  They promise that the location will also feature "a continuously updated experience, must see seasonal events, and one-of-a-kind merchandise."  Horror Nights fans rejoice, now you can get your scare on year-round in sin city courtesy of Universal's "vast library of classic horror films and today’s most terrifying tales."


© Universal Parks & Entertainment
Area15 opened in late 2020 and has thrived since with more than 4 million visitors to date.  The upcoming expansion will be located adjacent to the existing property - in the concept art above the existing attractions are on the left, with Universal's building and plenty more to be built on the right.  When complete Area15 will truly offer an incredible campus of immersive entertainment that will surely draw millions more.  Universal will give more details in the future, including maze themes and a grand opening date, so stay tuned.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Universal Planning New Family Theme Park for Texas

© Universal Parks & Entertainment
The other week Universal Parks & Resorts made a very surprising (to me, at least) announcement that they are going to open a family theme park in Frisco, Texas on 97 acres of land they have purchased.  They specifically note that the regional (not national) park will be aimed at families with small children, so quickly shed the idea of a full typical Universal Studios style park coming to Texas, that isn't happening.  While smaller than their other parks, they promise the same level of quality and detail we are accustomed to.

The details on the park are slim, for now at least, beside the given family focus.  They did release some initial concept art, above, for the project that lets us see just how kid-oriented the park is.  Per the initial press release the Frisco park will be "set in a lush green landscape and will feature immersive themed lands, celebrate Universal’s iconic brand of entertainment, humor and innovation and will bring to life its beloved characters and stories in ways that will wow even the youngest theme park goers."


Cool, but what will be at the park?  Well there will be a hotel on site - seen surrounding the park's entrance.  The different lands appear to be themed to DreamWorks animation characters such as Trolls, Shrek, an animated Jurassic Park series and more.  The rides themselves looks like dressed up theme park classics, in fact if you look close it seems like the entire Zamperla family-ride catalogue can be found in the art!  Otherwise Universal promises "family-friendly attractions, interactive and playful shows, character meet and greets, unique merchandise and fun food and beverage venues" will be offered.

Hopefully a full name for the park and some details on the themed lands will come out soon, and perhaps even an opening time line.  For now if you want to read great speculation on the park, check out this podcast from Orlando Park Stop.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Dollywood Finishes Instillation of Track & Supports for Big Bear Mountain

© Dollywood
Dollywood's Wildwood Grove themed area is expanding greatly this year with the addition of Big Bear Mountain, a brand new launched family roller coaster.  The park has shared via a recent update that they have put the final piece of track in place, connecting the 3,990 feet of bright orange coaster track.  The coaster will feature three different LIM launches, with a maximum speed of 48 miles per hour.

© Dollywood
Big Bear Mountain promises to be a thrilling adventure for the whole family, with a minimum height requirement of only 39 inches.  The ride is very large for a launched family roller coaster, curving around nearly all of Wildwood Grove and taking up a big portion of previously undeveloped land.  The ride stands a maximum of 66 feet above the ground at the highest point, but winds it way through the park's hills and valleys with ease.

© Dollywood
The ride's theming is one of the coolest aspects of the total package experience.  The trains will have on-board audio that will keep guests informed on their journey to find the elusive Big Bear.  The above scene doesn't look like much now but when complete the trains will dive behind a giant waterfall while on their expedition.

Dollywood is hoping to have Big Bear Mountain ready for guests this Spring. 

Friday, January 20, 2023

Following Zambezi Zinger Construction with Worlds of Fun

© Worlds of Fun
One of the most exciting projects opening in 2023 (for myself, at least) is the new version of the Zambezi Zinger at Worlds of Fun.  Reincarnated as a wooden roller coaster created by Great Coasters International and Skyline Attractions, the new Zambezi Zinger will feature elements playfully designed to remind visitors of the original steel track ride, but packed with the thrills of a modern coaster.  

The Zambezi Zinger will feature Hybrid Titan Track on the spiral lift hill, then a fast wood-track layout that stays close to the ground and even features a tunnel.  It will utilize GCI's new Infinity Flyer Trains that can maneuver tight turns and hills, giving an even more thrilling ride.

© Worlds of Fun
And best of all, the ride has been vertical for some time now!  The park has started a construction blog that you can follow along with that gives occasional updates on the ride's progress.  From this blog we can know for sure that track is now standing, and that...

© World of Fun
...the ride's station and transfer area is being constructed!  If you click through to see more from the park you can see that some of the ride's Titan Track for the lift hill is also on site!  Hopefully we get some additional photos of the vertical construction soon, as I'm sure there are a ton of footers and more in place on the worksite.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Kings Dominion's Grizzly Coaster Undergoing Major Refurb From The Gravity Group

© Kings Dominion
Kings Dominion is showing off their love for the park's Grizzly wooden roller coaster this off-season by making a large investment on a major refurbishment of the ride.  The work is being performed by The Gravity Group, and will feature retracking some significant portions of the ride but also making some interesting changes.  This project was first announced in November, and the park created great posts about the ride to get us up to speed (post 1 and post 2) but now is giving us even more great details.

The Grizzly opened in 1982 and was designed by Curtis Summers and built by Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters, and over the years has become fairly rough - typical for wooden coasters.  The Gravity Group's work is somewhat similar to what they did on The Beast last year at Kings Island, which also involved major sections of retracking and the use of pre-cut engineered track.

© Kings Dominion

Also similar to the Beast project is the major reprofiling of The Grizzly's first drop.  The Gravity Group is able to make the drop go closer to the ground since the original drop was quite shallow - this also allows the first drop to go from 45 degrees to 55 degrees.  This will also make a slight speed improvement as well.

There are a lot of other more subtle changes being made as well, and this video that the park put together with the ride's refubishment lead designer will spell them all out:

Monday, January 16, 2023

Cedar Point Confirms Top Thrill to Reopen as Something New in 2024

© Cedar Point
While we already knew that the park was reimagining Top Thrill Dragster into a new attraction, it was never clear whether this would be a 2023, 2024 or heck even a 2025 project.  Cedar Point has now confirmed that the attraction formerly known as Top Thrill Dragster will reopen in 2024, and for now are just calling it the park's "2024 Coaster."


Looks like for a while the news of a reopening year is pretty much all we have to keep us satisfied.  The park has reintroduced the ride onto their website, noting that their "legacy of roller coaster innovation continues with a one-of-a-kind addition to the park’s world-renowned ride lineup, coming in 2024.  Our entire team is hard at work, creating a new formula for thrills.  Stay tuned for more details on this exciting new coaster coming to The Roller Coaster Capital of the World®. We can’t wait for you to experience it!"


The use of the word "formula" is already causing rumors of a retheme to Formula 1 racing being involved, and perhaps it is.   If the rumors are true and the ride receives new trains and an updated launch system it might be hard to really honestly call this a "new coaster coming" to the park... but marketing is just marketing at the end of the day.  Maybe we will get an air-time hill at the end like Kingda Ka after all!

A new teaser for the ride was also revealed with the announcement, embedded below.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Fun Spot America Atlanta Releases POV of ArieForce One

© Fun Spot America Atlanta
Fun Spot America Atlanta has fired up ArieForce One, the park's new RMC roller coaster, and started the testing process.  As we well know after all these years, that means that the park has also released an official point of view virtual ride on the new coaster!  ArieForce Once is one of 2023's most highly anticipated new roller coasters in North America, a tall and fast design from RMC that appears packed with thrilling elements and plenty of air-time.

ArieForce One stands a menacing 154 feet tall and features a 146 foot first drop at 83 degrees, sending the train along the 3,400 feet of track at 64 miles per hour.  Highlight elements include the largest zero-g stall in America and a quadruple down to finish the ride.

Ready to go?  Just click play!


Sunday, January 8, 2023

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Has Permanently Closed Mach Tower

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
Busch Gardens Williamsburg has closed their free-fall attraction, Mach Tower, for good as of today.  The park announced the closure some time ago so visitors could try to get in one last plunge, but that isn't happening today (the ride's final day) as the park is closed due to weather.  The blue tower first opened at the theme park in its at-the-time renovated Oktoberfest area in 2011.  

Mach Tower stood 238 feet tall and carried 30 riders at a time in a circular car on the tower.  It was created by Moser Rides and had some interesting effects when it opened including on-board music that was themed to the experience and rumbling seats that were fairly unsettling.  However, Mach Tower didn't work well and suffered from much downtime, sometimes for extended periods.  The rumors of the ride's removal started last summer already.

© Busch Gardens Williamsburg
The park didn't give a very clear reason for the ride's removal, just stating that "after review and consideration of overall guest satisfaction, we have made the decision to close M├Ąch Tower permanently."  Considering the ride didn't work reliably and probably had a substantial maintenance budget, it is not surprising to see the tower get the axe from the park's line up.

Meanwhile Busch Gardens Williamsburg is excited to be opening DarKoaster this summer, a brand new enclosed roller coaster.