Wednesday, October 21, 2020

California Releases Strict Rules for Parks Reopening During Pandemic


© CDPH & CAL OSHA
All California theme parks have stayed shuttered during the pandemic, with only some opening in order to have special food and retail festivals or operate as zoos.  While parks in some parts of the country opened as early as June, there have been no rides operating in California since March, or so.  Recently the parks across the state have urged the California Governor to release a plan so that they know when they will be able to open the gates again, and now the plan has been released.  You can read the full document here, but in short, parks in California won't be reopening any time soon.


The plan features color coded stages related to positive COVID-19 test results and cases rates per county.  Purple (Widespread) is the worse, followed by Red (Substantial), then Orange (Moderate) and finally Yellow (Minimal).  These follow the larger reopening plan that the state has had in place for some time, and the risk matrix for each stage is below.


© covid19.ca.gov
No parks are allowed to open at all in counties in both the purple and red stages.  Starting in the orange stage "small" parks (overall capacity less than 15,000) can open but on at a maximum of 500 guests or 25% of capacity, whichever is less.  That's a severe restriction that would make operations unprofitable for nearly every park I can think of.  Plus, in the orange stage, these parks cannot open indoor attractions and visitors can only be from the same county the park is located in.  The logistics of checking that operationally seems like a nightmare as well.


If a county gets to the yellow stage then a park within it can operate at 25% of maximum capacity and all indoor locations in the park can only have 25% capacity.  That would allow parks to open in similar ways that others around the country already have, as there are also a full set of rules related to face masks, cleaning, social distancing, etc.


© covid19.ca.gov
The catch is that currently less than 10 counties in California are in the yellow stage, none with parks in them.  Less than 15 counties are in the orange phase, which would come with the strictly limited attendance, and they don't have parks in them anyway.  So all the bigger parks, like Disneyland, Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, Legoland, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, California's Great America and a multitude of others, are currently stuck in purple or red stages.


Essentially, this means that under the Governor's current plan we won't see any of these parks open any time soon, especially with COVID-19 cases surging across the country once again.


Monday, October 19, 2020

Worlds of Fun Ready for Racers on New Riptide Raceway at Oceans of Fun in 2021


© Worlds of Fun
Much like we saw last month with Carowinds showing off their brand new mat racing water slide, Worlds of Fun is giving fans a preview of their new for 2021 attraction at Oceans of Fun, named Riptide Raceway.  According to the park, Riptide Raceway is the longest mat racing water slide in the world, with each of the 4 slides stretching 486 feet in length.


The park has created an entire blog post dedicated to showing off the construction of the attraction, which was originally supposed to open in 2020.  Oceans of Fun did not get to open this year, but now the park is able to show off the colorful attraction as fans wait for their turn to slide in 2021.

 

© Worlds of Fun
The feature even includes a look back at the construction of the new slide tower, which replaced the park's older Diamond Head attraction.  There's some neat aerial drone footage of the slide being constructed from back in March, a snip of which can be seen above. 


Starting next summer visitors will be able to race one another down the brightly colored tubes, featuring twists, curves and a horizontal loop on each - complete with a finish line at the end that will determine the winner!


Sunday, October 18, 2020

Planet Coaster Console Edition Arriving on Xbox this November


© Frontier Developments
So it looks like we may be in for an extra-boring winter (at least for those of us not in warm climates) with less parks remaining open and the pandemic still in full swing.  That means more time at home... and Frontier Developments has a great way for many of us to burn through many hours: Planet Coaster Console Edition.


The popular theme park development and simulation game is coming to Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S starting on November 10th, 2020.  The game has been popular on PC for some time now, but there is an even greater audience of people who might casually (or obsessively) play the game on consoles... especially on those short, cold winter days.


© Frontier Developments
In the game you're able to build your dream theme park from the ground up, select all rides, attractions, stores, food, scenery and more.  Then you get to operate it and make sure that visitors are happy, making improvements along the way.  There's also a sandbox mode where you can spend time creating the coaster of your dreams.  Those of you who spent days playing Rollercoaster Tycoon know what I'm talking about!


The release will come in a standard and deluxe edition, the deluxe will contain two sets of additional rides that can be installed in your park.  Both are already available for pre-order now.  Check out this trailer for the release:




Saturday, October 17, 2020

Six Flags Great America to Present Holiday In The Park Lights! in 2020


© Six Flags Great America
Six Flags Great America will open this winter for a special edition of their holiday celebration, this year called Holiday In The Park Lights!  The focus on adding the word lights to the event name comes from the fact that the park is still not allowed to operate as a typical theme park, so there will be no rides operating this year.


Instead, the 2020 edition will entertain visitors with "a walk-through light extravaganza along with shows, holiday-themed photo ops, and delicious treats."  As 2020 as taught us over and over, something is better than nothing, folks.


© Six Flags Great America
There are more details that will be released by the park as the event draws closer, but one thing is for certain - there will be tons of lights at Six Flags Great America.  The park is advertising that they will have 2.5 million of them, covering the park head to toe.  All the live entertainment offerings will be held outdoor, and all of Six Flags' existing covid-19 safety protocols will be in place as well.  


Holiday In The Park Lights!  will begin on November 27th and run on certain days through December 27th.  Reservations are required, and already available, so be sure to schedule your date well ahead of time.


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Kings Dominion Shows Off New-for-2021 Coconut Shores Waterpark Expansion


© Kings Dominion
Kings Dominion did not get to open in 2020, but that doesn't mean that the park didn't finish their new-for-2020 water park expansion, named Coconut Shores.  In a new blog post the park is showing off the construction that went into the transformation, along with the finished product.  Kings Dominion is now advertising Coconut Shores as the park's new-for-2021 attraction.


There are actually two new attractions within the expansion.  There's the huge family water play structure seen at the top of this article, named Lighthouse Landing.  Featuring more than 200 interactive elements and 8 small waterslides, Lighthouse Landing will keep guests busy for hours near year.  Additionally, the park built Sand Dune Lagoon, a kid-sized wave pool with a maximum depth of 24 inches and gentle rolling waves.


© Kings Dominion

The park is proud to show off this aerial shot of the finished product, with Sand Dune Lagoon on the left and Lighthouse Landing on the right.  The expansion was placed on top of what was the park's original wave pool, and you can see that the new items fit nicely in the old pool's footprint.  The park is even featuring some photos of lucky testers who got to play in the new area for quality assurance!


© Kings Dominion
In addition to the new attractions, Kings Dominion is also making other improvements in Soak City.  They've taken the time to totally re-coat and repaint Pipeline Plunge, one of the park's huge slide towers.  The finished product is seen above, with bright colors added to the mix - previously the tower was all dark colors so the new look is really nice!


Sunday, October 11, 2020

Night Of A Million Lights to Sparkle at Give Kids The World Village Starting November 13th


Give Kids The World Village
Give Kids The World Village may be on a temporary hiatus due to the pandemic, but the imaginative organization has come up with a safe way for families to celebrate the holidays - all for a great cause.  The Village will be holding their first ever Night of a Million Lights, a walk through holiday light spectacular that will delight visitors starting November 13th.

 

The event will run through January 3rd, 2021, meaning there will be 53 nights of fun at the Village during Night of a Million Lights.  The property, which stretches over 84 acres, will feature more than one million holiday lights, nearly coating the grounds head to toe.


© Give Kids The World Village
There will be 33 decorated villas that will be accessed through a 150 foot long lighted tunnel, more than 50 "larger-than-life holiday-themed wireframes, some spanning more than 40 feet," a giant glowing gingerbread arch and space themed decorations celebrating Henri's Starlite Scoops.  The park's Towne Hall, seen above in concept art for the event, will host Santa from its balcony, along with the property's ambassadors Mayor Clayton and Ms. Merry.


Those looking to get involved, whether on a personal or corporate level, can adopt a villa and decorate it however they'd like - and it will be a part of all 53 nights of the event!

 

© Give Kids The World Village
Tickets to the event are already on sale on the Give Kids The World website.  Each ticket grants access to explore all the lights and decorations, along with voting for a favorite villa, socially distant family activities and most of the property's attractions.  There will also be complimentary hot cocoa and ice cream!


All proceeds from the event will support Give Kids The World's mission to provide wish vacations for ciritically ill children and their families.  To date, the property has hosted 176,000 families from all 50 states and more than 76 countries.


“Children with critical illnesses face countless appointments, treatments and hospital stays, and they are often told ‘no’ due to the limitations of their illness.  We feel privileged to give wish children and their families a week of ‘yes’ where they can forget their worries, experience joy, and spend priceless time together,” said Give Kids The World President and CEO Pamela Landwirth. “We look forward to sharing some holiday joy with the community while making it possible for future wish children to have their wishes fulfilled.”