Fantasy Island NY 2018 Updates
It's been two years now since Apex Parks purchased the small family park in Grand Island, NY. It also looks like it will be the second year in a row that they will not be building a ground-up ride. This is a huge change from the previous business structure, where a ride was added every year.
Apex will be making some minor changes to the park for 2018. The Raging Rapids water slide from the 1980s will be seeing a refurbishment, with new colors and a new name. Fantasy Island posted a fan vote on their Facebook page to decide whether the name will be Double Dare Falls, Barracuda Blasters, or Riptide Racers. UPDATE: Today the park announced the winner as Double Dare Falls.
As for the "Giant Slide" on the dry side of the park (your traditional sack race slide), it will be removed as a third party company found refurbishment unfeasible. Along with other small updates around the park, it is rumored that a Strike-U-Up game from Skyline Attractions was seen in storage. This could possibly be a small addition to the park to hold them over until next year.
Walibi Holland Future Plans
This rumor has floated around for a while, but as a part of Walibi's major refurbishment plans to the park's theming, a new roller coaster may open for the 2019/2020 season.
The coaster would be a standard S&S Free Spin, and could possibly replace the park's antique car ride "Tour of Gardens". It's a bit odd for me, as quite personally despite me loving roller coasters and thrill rides, it is becoming quite tiresome to continue losing unique rides for these mass cloned Free Spins.
They're starting to become the next Vekoma Boomerang in the industry. They look like fun rides, but why must they all be the same exact layout???
Considering how well my last interview was received, I am ready to begin planning the next one already. Keep in mind that this is just "Pre-Production", and the final product might be a few months away.
The point of this blog post is to get a general feeling of what peoples' interests are, and give me some ideas/options of guests. I'm leaving this up to my readers and followers to brainstorm some different companies or people who I could interview next.
I cannot guarantee that every choice is possible, because of different schedules and outreach, but I will certainly explore all options.
Here are some methods of contacting me to share your ideas:
- Contact Page
- Comment Section of this post
- Email email@example.com
Chalk this one up as another "semi-confirmed" news update. Following the closing of the White Cyclone wooden roller coaster, Nagashima Spa Land released a statement on Facebook that loosely translated to them confirming a steel hybrid conversion for the massive ride.
White Cyclone was among a rare breed of wooden roller coasters in Japan, one of only 6 to ever operate in the country. Only 3 traditional wooden roller coasters remain in operation in the entire country. The reason for this is mainly due to costs and stringent earthquake codes to construct a wooden structure. White Cyclone held the country records for length, height, and speed since its opening in 1994.
While it was noted to be a rough ride over the course of its lifetime, its gigantic support structure is suitable for reuse in the hybrid conversion. With the coaster's height and length, it will make a great candidate for the first every RMC hybrid in Asia. Besides Wildfire in Europe, RMC White Cyclone will also be only the second RMC product to open overseas.
The project is slated to open in 2019, but no renderings, layout information, etc. have been released yet. The only hint given on the post was that the first drop will be made extremely steeper.
This is exciting news for Asian coaster enthusiasts, as this project is not only a first for the area, but a very large one at that. We will keep you updated when more information is released.
It's time to release our first guest interview, featuring Tonya Pope, owner and operator of the Paidia Company. Ms. Pope is an themed entertainment veteran, electrical engineer, and project manager who is responsible for submitting plans to try and purchase and revitalize the former Six Flags park.
We've seen an influx of requests to feature a segment on abandoned amusement parks, so I found a way to knock out two birds with one stone by finding the perfect guest for our first interview.
As a way to continue releasing unique content, I will be conducting a few of these interviews per year, and finding guests who not only have industry experience, but also are well known and highly requested from our readers. A YouTube video has also been released with this article, and I hope that it will draw some more traffic and attention to the site.
During the interview, some of the topics touched on were the inspection process, plans to refurbish or replace existing structures, the design and engineering portion, and many more fun facts about the park's state and what the future will hopefully hold. Thank you for your continued support, and more content will be released shortly.
Call it a slow news day if you will, but this has to be a first. Fred Grubb, owner of Rocky Mountain Construction, is planning to build a full scale Raptor track model in his backyard for his granddaughters to ride.
While many are calling it a fascinating project, and saying Grubb is "the best grandpa in the world", RMC's owner believes that it is no different than putting in a large swimming pool. Since he is in the business of roller coasters, he already has the materials and crew that he needs to complete the project.
The project will take 6-7 weeks to construct. Local county commissioners said there are no laws or ordinances that prevent Grubb from building the coaster, since it will only operate privately. The 100 foot ride will also blend in with the surrounding environment, and not cause any noise pollution according to Grubb.
It is unknown how long the ride will remain on the property, but it may be sold in the future. The Raptor is a great little project for the grandkids to enjoy now, and since it will be built to code and standards, would likely interest a park in the future if Grubb decides to sell.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced the closure of the Curse of DarKastle dark ride yesterday via social media. While this is something that has been speculated for a few months now, it is still a shock that the park is deciding to close the unique ride after only 12 years of operation.
Based off of speculation around the industry, the ride's low popularity could not justify the ride's maintenance costs and the budget given to the park by SeaWorld. Even on the busiest days, the ride did not generate much of a line compared to larger attractions.
The ride's technology was not of the most modern in the industry, and was likely in need of a renovation, much like the similar Spider-Man ride at Universal. While it was not of the best quality, many fans of the ride cite its one of a kind story and impact on regional parks as their reason for disdain over the closure.
Unlike many dark rides installed by theme park chains not named Disney or Universal, the ride was not a "clone" or copy of another ride. It was the first and only of its type, and generated a cult following among BG fans. With the park hosting Halloween and Christmas events, it is an odd move to close one of the only indoor and climate controlled rides, that was almost guaranteed to be running.
Busch Gardens will be opening Battle for Eire this season, a brand new dark ride featuring a VR system. This ride is slated to use some of the latest technology in the industry, but it would also be able to coincide with DarKastle in the same park. Not everybody likes to strap on VR goggles, and some people who have motion sickness simply cannot. DarKastle is different enough where guests would not see the two dark rides "as the same thing".
Personally, I am not TOO upset with this decision, as you always have to look at things from a business perspective. If the ride was not generating the appropriate foot traffic, it doesn't make sense to spend a good chunk of the budget to upkeep the costly special effects. At least another dark ride is coming in this year, rather than just losing one altogether.
In my mind, it makes sense, but I am 50-50 about the whole ordeal. It is becoming more of a common trend in the industry to quietly close rides, rather than announce it far in advance, mainly because they want to try and avoid the bad PR.
Magic Mountain unveils Membership Tiers; Green Lantern Status
Since Magic Mountain is attempting a 365 day operating schedule for the first time this year, they will be offering an upgraded season pass system to include "membership tiers".
The park will still offer traditional season passes, but the memberships hold the same benefits as a season pass, plus other perks. Each tier of the membership will have a different cost, and different benefits. If I'm doing the math correctly, the standard "Gold" membership for 12 months actually comes to just under $95, which is cheaper than the normal season pass.
Along with free unlimited entry to Magic Mountain, it includes admission to all other Six Flags parks. This is a great deal for those who visit Magic Mountain and other parks frequently. Unless there is some fine print or hidden fees, the memberships offer amazing benefits.
Gold Plus Membership (Currently Available)
Includes all benefits of the Gold Pass membership and ALSO includes the following:
Includes all benefits of the Platinum membership and ALSO includes the following:
Includes all benefits with all other memberships and ALSO includes the following:
Only the Gold Membership has been released so far, but the highest option will likely be around $20 per month. It is still a pretty fair price considering the benefits that can be used each visit, let alone admission to all Six Flags parks. Hopefully this will help their first crack at an all year schedule be more successful.
Also for what it's worth, Green Lantern (ZacSpin) has reportedly been down for a while, and no updates have been released. Some believe that if it doesn't reopen soon, it may be on the chopping block later this year. If anybody has an update regarding this, please contact me.
Given the ride's age I am skeptical that the park is looking to remove the ride, but it is also ranked very low among the park's lineup, and has many issues with maintenance and capacity.
Six Flags over Texas removes Troika
In a stunning move, SF over Texas officials have revealed that the park's Troika ride (aka Harley Quinn Spinsanity or formerly Crazy Legs) has been removed from the park. This is a complete shocker, as the park has just given it a new location, and a refurbishment.
During the company's yearly press release of new additions, many folks noticed that the new ride for the park would also be named Harley Quinn Spinsanity, leading many to believe that the Troika would either be on the move again, or re-themed to a different character. However, that is not the case, as it will not be in operation for the 2018 season.
At this time it is unknown if the ride will be moved to another Six Flags property, or scrapped altogether. I would go out on a limb to say it's even possible for the ride to return a few years down the road.
In 2006, the ride moved to the park from sister property Six Flags Astroworld, which closed. Originally named Warp 2000 and later Crazy Legs, it has been in operation since 1981. In 2017, the ride was refurbished, renamed, and moved to the park's Gotham City section.
It is quite possible that the ride has reached the end of its operational lifespan. Cedar Fair on the other hand has been buying a boatload of these Troika rides from overseas, where they have been refurbishing them and installing them into various parks.
I have heard from various sources close to Lagoon Park in Utah mention that the park is already in the development stages for their next big attraction. The three leading contenders are a water based dark ride, an interactive dark ride similar to Wonder Mountain's Guardian, or an intense roller coaster.
Our sources lean heavily towards the first two, and the ride is likely to receive a primeval theme to dinosaurs. The attraction is in very early development, as the park is still upgrading and banking off the success of Cannibal. 2020 to 2021 may be around the time frame that this ride could be complete.
ART Engineering from Germany is likely to be involved in the design and manufacturing of this attraction, given the park's past of working with them to create "in-house" rides. Some of the company's most famous projects include Cannibal, Wicked, Bombora, and engineering on the Triotech dark rides. While they are not exactly a household name in the industry, they have been growing as of recent.
If the park truly is leaning towards the dark water ride concept, they will likely be interested in ART's raft ride model. It is described as a cross between a traditional raft ride and a log flume. The budget for the project is slated to be around the cost of Cannibal, which after modifications totaled to around 26 million dollars. Lagoon would like an extended version of the model to go through a show building or man made mountain.
This is all initial speculation, as the park could very well decide on another roller coaster. With a collection of 10 roller coasters in their lineup, and Cannibal becoming their first hyper coaster, they may be holding off on another coaster addition until they deem it necessary. The park currently holds 2 dark rides, and 2 water rides.
As for 2018, it seems as though the park is looking to make infrastructure upgrades, and rehab for Roller Coaster (the park's only wooden roller coaster). Roller Coaster is slated to receive track work and new trains. It is unknown who will be providing the trains, but PTC will probably not be involved. GCI's Millennium Flyer model, or an all new design from ART may be explored.
UPDATE: Lagoon has filed a trademark for the name "Primordial", and links it to use for a roller coaster. Take that for what you will. This could end up being a ride system very similar to Wonder Mountain's Guardian. I have also heard that 2019 was being thrown around for the year.
It has been known for a little while that Canada's Wonderland has stated future plans containing a new roller coaster and a hotel. According to planning documents filed at a planning meeting last week, the construction period of the ride will be from January 12th 2018 to January 11th 2020.
This means that the roller coaster will likely be open for the 2019 or 2020 season. The ride's specs and model are not specified, but all we know is that it will be placed somewhere between Vortex and Windseeker. One of the features of the ride will be a tunnel which dives into the pond, like Anaconda at Kings Dominion does.
This is not too large of an area, so I would assume that Cedar Fair may be looking at more of a compact model, such as a Dive Coaster, or similar type of ride. The big gimmick will be the dive into the water.
As for other news, there are plans in place to update the park's entrance and parking plaza, which could be completed by 2019. Cedar Fair has never been fond of the old Paramount Parks' infrastructure, especially on the front end. Look for them to do some work here, and parks like California's Great America in the future.
The hotel will likely open by the 2020 or 2021 seasons, but I have yet to hear solid sources on this one. No planning documents have been filed, but Cedar Fair is looking to design and brand this hotel as their own, much like they do with Breakers at Cedar Point. Carowinds has been subject to similar rumors, being one of the flagship parks.
It's no secret that Dollywood is looking to make 2019 one of their best seasons ever in capital investment. The park is hyping their largest expansion yet, although they haven't given much info on what it could possibly entail. This plot of land is enormous. Based off of Coaster 101's map above, it could be nearly a quarter of the land that the park owns in total.
While we don't have much to go off of yet, let's look at some possibilities for this expansion land:
Large Scale Roller Coaster
Believe it or not, Lightning Rod will be 3 years old after this season. Since Dollywood announced their major investment plans a few years ago, they have installed 4 roller coasters (Wild Eagle, Firechaser Express, Lightning Rod, and Whistlepunk Chaser). It would not be a shock to see them looking to install another one next season.
Two coaster types that they are missing are a large scale hyper coaster and an inverted roller coaster. By building a 200+ foot tall roller coaster, Dollywood would truly be putting their name on the map as one of the "big players" in the industry. With Lightning Rod and a great supporting cast of roller coasters, I'm going out on a limb and saying that this is one of the big things that the park is missing. Imagine a large hyper coaster jumping over the trees then hugging the terrain for the second part of the course. That would truly be stunning.
Any gimmick is possible though, as an inverted coaster also fits the bill as something totally new to the Herschend chain. I do feel like the park already has the flying aspect covered by Wild Eagle, but it remains a possibility. I would lean towards this being a thrill coaster however, because the park already does have 3 roller coasters geared towards families with children.
A roller coaster would not have to be the sole investment of this expansion, but it could be the large marketing point.
I would find it hard to believe if this was going to take up the entirety of the land, but it could be a possibility that with the growth of Dollywood, park officials could be looking to expand the amenities. With the construction of DreamMore resort in 2015, Dollywood has made it clear that they believe the park and surrounding attractions should be a multi-day vacation.
Keeping in tradition with the park's outdoor and backwoods themes, some guests may prefer a cheaper, and more wilderness type of overnight option. Camping is big in the region, and RV rentals, campsites, and cabins could offer more capacity for guests, but also a more price friendly option. A robust camping experience with many different activities could be in the park's future.
Dark Ride and Family Area
Another hole in Dollywood's lineup is a major, immersive dark ride experience. For a park whose main focus is families, it is kind of disappointing for their only dark ride to be the indoor roller coaster, Blazing Fury.
Dollywood could create a new family area, similar to Fireman's Landing at sister park, Silver Dollar City with many rides and attractions for the family. The dark ride would be the main attraction, and it could feature an interactive "shooting game". A similar example is SDC's Flooded Mine ride, but taken at a much larger scale.
These are just some brainstorms based off of what the park has, and what its missing. It's clear that the park is looking for this to be a major part of their history, so don't expect them to disappoint. I have heard an idea of the new section being themed after a ski resort, seeing the Pigeon Forge area is littered with these types of attractions. Some have even mentioned that Dollywood could be interested in building ski attractions to become more of a year-round resort.
We will be following this project, and keeping you updated with any updates.
This question came from a user on Quora. The original link can be seen here.
It’s going to depend on the size of rides and the size of the park in general. In the US, electricity costs are measured through the units of kilowatt-hours. The kilowatt-hour is defined as the usage of a device rated at a kilowatt (1000 Watts) for a consistent time period of an hour.
For example, if a furnace is rated for a kilowatt and runs for an hour, it uses a kilowatt of electricity. If a television rated for 100 watts runs for 10 hours, it would also use a kilowatt hour. It costs an average of 12 cents per kilowatt hour.
Let’s take a look at an actual situation regarding an amusement ride…
The HUSS Top Spin ride is rated for 220 kW. If this ride were to run at this rate for a 12 hour day, it would cost $316.80 in electricity. Keep in mind that the ride will take more power while in the ride cycle, than while loading/unloading. But this is a very basic, crude estimation for the maximum amount of electricity used.
To find the total amount of electricity needed to run a park, you would need to sum all of the running costs per ride.
A few months back, I stumbled upon a site called Blooloop. The basis of what they do is help professionals from the attraction industries network, and provide a place to post updates, job listings, and more. This year, they have announced a list titled the "Blooloop 50 Theme Park Influencer List" to celebrate the fifty most historic and influential people ever in the attractions industry.
Included on the list will be various different innovators such as executives, entrepreneurs, engineers, investors, and many others who have impacted the modern day themed entertainment industry. Nominations can be made until February 28th, and judges will then determine who will be included in the final selections.
I personally endorse this program, as it is extremely unique, and gives those who have helped build this industry to what it is today the proper recognition that they deserve.
Anybody is eligible to submit a nomination to the website, as long as they provide some basic contact info, and a short 500 word essay describing why the individual deserves to be part of the top 50.
You can visit the webpage here: Link
Below, I will list my personal top 5 individuals that I believe deserve to be honored on the list. Keep in mind that this is only a top five list. If I were to list all of the individuals that I believe should be included, it would take hours to write, and would likely be near the number of fifty regardless.
1. Walt Disney
Who else could possibly top the man behind the largest theme park corporation in the world? Walt Disney got his inspiration for Disneyland after taking his daughters to a small amusement park, where he felt the rides were unsafe and looked cheap. Already a major name in film production, and widely known for his animation skills, he set out to design his own, gigantic yet beautiful park which would open in 1955. Although he was not alive to see it, his company would soar to top the industry in attendance, as well as construct 5 more resorts worldwide. As of 2016, Disney Parks admitted a total of over 140 million guests in just that year.
2. Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon
Yes, you may say that it isn't fair to list two people together. However, these men were the masterminds behind the creation of Arrow Development, the first "big name" in the modern age of amusement ride and roller coaster manufacturers. Starting in 1946, Morgan and Bacon opened Arrow in a small auto shop in California. Soon, they would be contracted by Walt Disney himself to help design new rides for Disneyland. Some of their most well known ride systems include Dumbo, Mad Tea Party, Pirates of the Caribbean, It's a Small World, Haunted Mansion, and the first steel tubular track roller coaster ever, Matterhorn Bobsleds among many others. As well as working with Disney, Arrow has created some of the most common types of amusement park rides enjoyed by millions, like the log flume, corkscrew coaster, mine train, and suspended roller coaster.
3. Werner Stengel
Werner Stengel began his own engineering and design firm working alongside German roller coaster manufacturer Anton Schwarzkopf. Together, they were able to design the world's first modern vertical looping roller coaster, Revolution at Magic Mountain. Other ride manufacturers took notice of Stengel's ability, leading to him designing or consulting on the engineering of over 600 roller coasters. Stengel's company is still very active today, and have accomplished many records such as designing roller coasters over 400 feet tall. Around three-quarters of the top fifty roller coasters according to the Golden Ticket Awards are associated with Stengel's company.
4. Marty Sklar
Walt Disney Imagineering has been home to a plethora of different designers, creative minds, and engineers who have constructed Disney's world famous parks and attractions. Marty Sklar worked as a President, Chairman, Creative Executive, and VP of planning and development among many other roles for 53 years. One of the longest tenured Imagineers of all time, Marty developed attractions for the 1964 World's Fair, attractions such as Small World and Tiki Room, and would go on to help the creative design of EPCOT. Along with these feats, Sklar oversaw the design and construction of future resorts in Florida, Tokyo, California, Hong Kong, and Paris. Sklar truly was one of the company's leaders behind Walt, and helped the Disney product grow to new markets and test brand new, innovative, and unique attractions.
5. Dick Kinzel
This was the toughest, and possibly most controversial choice of my list. I feel like it's appropriate to look at Kinzel's accomplishments as a whole, rather than some of the business decisions that the public may view as a sore thumb. Kinzel started out at the very bottom, and soon found himself as the General Manager of Valleyfair, VP of Cedar Point, and President and CEO of Cedar Fair. Over his career of nearly 40 years, Kinzel was responsible for development of new attractions and the purchase of new properties. Dick would not be afraid to try the latest and greatest technology in roller coasters over his tenure, and is unofficially credited with beginning the "coaster wars" of the 1990s. Some of his greatest accomplishments include constructing the first steel roller coasters over 200, 300, and 400 feet tall and world records in length and height for other models. In 2006, he made a bombshell move for the company by purchasing the Paramount Parks chain for a total of 1.24 billion dollars. Without Kinzel's leadership, Cedar Fair's portfolio would look nothing like it does today.
We have learned of some fantastic news from Heide Park, as they have announced that Colossos, the Intamin Prefabricated wooden coaster, will indeed be reopening for the 2019 season. Worry surrounded the theme park community, as the roller coaster was shut down last season due to extensive rail wear. A German inspection firm decided that due to unforeseen damage, the entire length of the ride would need replacement.
Due to the cost of re-tracking the entire ride being around 14 million USD, it was unknown if the park's owner, Merlin Entertainment, would be willing to shell out that kind of money on an existing coaster. To put that into perspective, that is almost the cost of an entirely new ride.
Colossos stands at 164 feet tall, making it the 5th tallest wooden roller coaster in the world. Although not many people make their way out to Germany to ride it, it is highly praised and usually ranks well in roller coaster polls. The majority of enthusiasts would not want to see a roller coaster of this model demolished, or turned into a steel hybrid for that matter.
For about a year, Merlin kept their plans for the ride a secret, and have admitted to looking at all options, such as re-tracking, re-profiling, demolition, and hybrid renovation. The first option was finally chosen as the ride receives high marks, and is the park's only traditional wooden roller coaster. The Intamin Prefab model remains rare, with only four examples of this model in operation, mainly due to construction costs, and the maintenance needed over the ride's lifespan.
The process of renovations will take an entire year, due to fabrication time and installation. Other models of this type, such as El Toro as Six Flags Great Adventure, have done re-tracking in sections over the years, to keep the ride operational, and to spread out maintenance capital.
Intamin's special track is manufactured in a factory unlike traditional wooden coasters. Instead of being built on site by hand, machines do all of the work. Track rails are precision milled and laser measured, bonded together by layers of adhesive. This method leads to more accurate transitions, and a much smoother ride experience. Installation times are also expedited, as track segments can be bolted together, much like steel roller coasters are.
The Intamin models have gone out of style because a competitor in the industry, Rocky Mountain Construction has designed a similar track design using prefabrication, but at a much cheaper cost and has more durability. Hopefully this time around, Heide Park's maintenance team will be more aware of the roller coaster's needs. They will have to do more yearly offseason maintenance in order to avoid the ride shutting down for entire operating calendars in the future.
In the end, they have made the right decision, because Colossos is of a rare breed, and could be one of the most underrated wooden roller coaster in the world, due to it low international track record.
This question came from a user on Quora. Click here to view the original response.
The Top Spin consists of two upright support arms, two mechanical sweep arms connected by a steel rod, and a gondola containing two rows of seats.
The sweep arms generate motion through 4 DC electric motors connected to the middle of the sweep arms through a gearbox. In order to help balance the weight of the gondola and riders, there are 4 counterweights connected to the opposite ends of the sweep arms.
The gondola itself is free to swing, independent of the sweep arms due to bearings between the connection. However, the sweep arms contain a pneumatic caliper which operates much like the brake system on a car. When desired, the sweep arms can lock the rotation of the gondola for loading/unloading, or part of the ride program where the gondola is held at a certain position.
The purpose of this ride is to generate swinging and flipping maneuvers for the thrill of the passengers. For most ride cycles, the sweep arms hoist the gondola to a specific height. At that point the rotation of the gondola is locked, and the sweep arms begin rotating to build up energy. The gondola is then unlocked, and free to swing or flip, creating dazzling visuals.
This video demonstrates a typical ride cycle:
Dreamland-Top Spin Off Ride & POV on Monotopia (with interesting facts & pumping action)
So to reiterate, the ride builds up potential energy from hoisting the gondola, locks it in an offset position, then releases it. Once released, gravity takes over (also aided by the ride motors), and the gondola will perform flips until it runs out of energy. Depending on the program, the ride may also hold the vehicle nearly inverted for a period of time to create a feeling of “hang time”.
HUSS Top Spins come with 9 pre-set programs built into the control panel, though most parks only run around 2–3 of them for average operation. This ensures to keep the line moving, and make it easier to maintain the machine.
There is also a manual drive mode that the ride can be operated in, but this is usually left for maintenance technicians when performing test cycles or repairs.
This won't be your usual edition of the Rumor Rodeo. Instead of reporting on rumors we've heard from around the industry, I am going to dispel a rumor that's been going around.
Dorney Park to replace Stinger with Liseberg's Kanonen
This one's been going around like wildfire. I've hesitated reporting on it so far because I feel like at this time, the rumor should be taken with a grain of salt. People want to believe this rumor because of a coincidental series of events, rather than facts.
In a shocking move this offseason, Dorney Park announced the removal of their Inverted Boomerang "Stinger". Stinger was constructed in 2012 after being moved from sister park California's Great America. Frequent downtime and low ridership plagued the ride. While nothing has been announced regarding its replacement, the park has revealed that the space will be used "for future planning and development of the park".
Many fans of the park have speculated that a new roller coaster will be replacing the old one. Specifically, some believe that the recently removed Kanonen from Liseberg in Sweden is what Cedar Fair is choosing to go in Stinger's spot.
Kanonen is an Intamin Accelerator roller coaster with a compact layout that is close in footprint to Stinger. Liseberg removed the ride a year ago to replace it with a B&M Dive Coaster, "Valkyria", as they just had constructed another launch coaster "Helix".
Those who came up with the rumor that the ride has been purchased by Cedar Fair claim that it may have been picked up in the bulk buy of flat rides from Europe a couple of years ago. Along with that, Kanonen was deeply discounted upon its sale listing, making it a headliner ride for the park at a highly reduced price. An account ran by Liseberg on Instagram has also liked a post from an amusement blog that displayed this rumor.
These are plausible reasons, but it does not mean that Dorney is even looking to replace Stinger with a roller coaster addition, let alone Kanonen. Let's explore some reasons why:
Dorney's Size: Dorney remains one of the smaller parks in the chain, and it loses a lot of attendance to nearby parks that have more prestige. On the average summer day, it is not uncommon to find more of the park's visitors in the water park than on the dry side. IF Dorney is looking to add a coaster, they may go for something cheaper, and lower risk. By the time Kanonen is purchased, shipped, installed, and any necessary updates are made, it will be a mid-tier capital investment.
Maintenance Costs: I haven't heard a lot about Kanonen's downtime, and sources state that Kanonen was one of the more reliable Intamin Accelerator roller coasters. However, it still takes a lot of money to maintain a roller coaster with a launch system of this magnitude. Cedar Fair is very familiar with these costs as Top Thrill Dragster and Xcelerator are in the same chain. Dorney is a smaller park with lower attendance, and it may not be suitable to build a roller coaster with high maintenance costs, and not generate interest. Stinger suffered from this same issue. Maintenance budgets for this park will be lower than that of the flagship properties.
Hand-Me-Down Status: Yes, Cedar Fair has invested a lot in their used European flat ride fleet. But I cannot think of a roller coaster addition off the top of my head that was purchased outside of Cedar Fair. Executives of the company have been known to move coasters from park-to-park, but are wary of bringing outside machinery that they do not know the condition of. Just because it ran good at Liseberg does not mean that it will have the up-time that Dorney desires. The flat rides that were purchased were specifically chosen due to the chain's knowledge of their operational needs. Kanonen's systems are well known by Cedar Fair, but Intamin Accelerator roller coasters have been known to have issues.
Other Options: Cedar Fair has shown their willingness to try new concepts this year. For the first time, Cedar Fair is working with Rocky Mountain Construction, and has rekindled their relationship with Gerstlauer and GCI (with Mystic Timbers and Ghostrider's updates). A GCI wooden roller coaster along the lines of Prowler or Renegade, an RMC Raptor model, or a Gerstlauer roller coaster would all likely be cheaper installations than the final cost of installing Kanonen. This should be appealing for a park that hasn't spent a lot on additions over the past few seasons.
I will definitely be following this rumor going forwards into the 2018 season. I could be completely wrong, as nobody really knows for sure what will be added to Dorney besides Cedar Fair executives. If more signs of Kanonen show up, I will post updates, but for now, I will keep this under "pipe dream status".
After months of speculation, the new roller coaster known as SW8 in Alton Towers code has finally been given its name. The wooden roller coaster built by Great Coasters Intl. will be named Wicker Man.
In true Alton towers fashion, the name was released with a complete advertising package of amazing visuals, soundtracks, and outside marketing, such as lighting up the London Eye. If you haven't seen that image yet, I recommend that you look it up, as it is stunning.
The press release for the ride mentions that the ride will pass through the Wicker Man structure three times during the ride, and will combine wood and fire effects. Wicker Man gets its name from the 1973 film "The Wicker Man", starring Christopher Lee, and subsequent remakes/sequels of the film.
The plot of the film involves the protagonist visiting a remote island to search for a lost girl. After learning of the island's traditions, it becomes apparent to him that the lost girl is intended to be a human sacrifice to "please the farming gods". Responding to the findings, the protagonist begins a violent rampage, only to be informed that he himself is intended to be the human sacrifice, because he meets the requirements of the gods. The movie ends with the protagonist sent to death, burning in a gigantic Wicker Man statue.
It is unknown how much of the plot will be used for the ride, but at the very least, the ride will take its theming from this. Wicker Man will be a historic roller coaster for the UK, becoming the first wooden roller coaster to open since Oakwood's Megafobia in 1996. Much of the reasoning for this drought of wooden roller coasters is because the British public views traditional wooden roller coasters as old fashioned, rough, and unsafe.
This stereotype should be burned away with the opening of this ride, as it features some of the latest innovations in wooden coaster building. Along with featuring GCI's smooth track profile and Millennium Flyer trains, this will be the first "twister" layout wooden roller coaster to debut in the UK. The lift hill features a varying grade to fall within the height restrictions of the park, and a silent rollback system to minimize noise pollution. It is assumed that the ride will also feature magnetic braking, and other GCI standard features.
The ride reportedly has begun testing a month ago, and is slated to open sometime in Spring 2018. This is truly one of the things to look forward to if you are a UK coaster fan. Be sure to visit the ride's official website for stats and media.
Ask the Engineer- 1/7/18: How are amusement parks kept during off season? How are roller coasters/large attractions stored/preserved during winter?
This question came from a user on Quora. My original response to the question can be found from this link.
The offseason is actually the busiest time of the year for maintenance personnel at any park. Not only are they tending to the park grounds, fixing infrastructure, and even constructing new additions, but they are also in charge of making sure that the current rides at the park are running in the best condition that they can be.
After the park closes on the final day of the operating season, the operations and park services teams do their final sweep of the grounds. The paths and ride queues are cleaned for the final time, and all garbage is disposed of. All items placed in the park by these departments are collected and put into storage for the winter. For operations, this includes ride water coolers, seats for operators, fire extinguishers, rain coats, and emergency equipment. Park services will remove benches, garbage cans, and other cleaning equipment from the grounds.
Maintenance then takes over and begins dismantling ride vehicles, and certain electronics/motors that will be stored and inspected during the offseason. For any type of ride in a certain park, the track, support structure, main housings, etc. will remain standing until opening procedures begin again.
The following video posted a couple of years ago by Kings Island shows off a lot of the procedures performed by the maintenance department to these rides:
From the beginning of the video to the 1:15 mark, you can see the process of removing vehicles from the ride tracks. Components like brake fins and vehicle covers may removed so that they do not get damaged while moving cars around. At that point, any hitching device that links cars together is unfastened, freeing each individual car. Then car-by-car, a crane lifts them off of the tracks onto a frame in which a forklift can move them to their designated storage bay.
Then begins the tear down process. This portion is shown up until 2:07. All seats, restraint devices, wheel assemblies, other moving parts, and hoods or paneling that gives the cars their shape are removed and cataloged for inspection. All that remains of the vehicle is the bare chassis, which is subject to NDT (non-destructive testing).
Some components are replaced with accordance to manufacturer specifications, which can be given through the ride manual via time in years, number of cycles, or running hours. These components are just replaced rather than inspected. Some of the parts that I am referring to here are wheels, bearings, springs, nuts, bolts, upholstery, and others.
Others are inspected not based by time of usage, but by their dimensions. In this case, the components are larger and more structural, such as spindles, shafts, hitches, and the frame itself. Much like manufacturers provide standards for other parts, they also give dimensions and tolerances for other critical components.
After undergoing a spray wash to clean away old lubricants or oils, parts are analyzed to see if they fall within the manufacturer's range. For example, a certain shaft may require a length of 24 inches, plus or minus a fraction of an inch. If the part falls outside of this range, it will need replacement. Along with dimension analysis, the steel and materials are inspected with ultraviolet lighting, or magnetic particle testing to look for any possible cracks, stress fractures, or bad weld joints. At times, a park needs to make the decision of buying a new frame or train entirely if the testing fails.
After it has been determined which components are good to use for another season, or need replacement, maintenance technicians then rebuild the cars back to operational condition. Along with new items, upholstery (seating/padding) and painting touchups may occur. Certain parks also polish or wax their vehicle's covers to make them shine brighter and repel moisture.
Once the weather thaws, track walks and inspections happen to see the integrity of the ride structures, and the ride vehicles are rebuilt on the track. Articles regarding track inspections and safety testing/inspections will be the subject of future articles.
For now, feel free to direct any more questions my way, or view the original Quora answer for more info. Thanks for reading.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach demolishes historic Wild Mouse
I've seen a report that Blackpool Pleasure Beach has demolished their Wild Mouse roller coaster, just shy of its 60th anniversary. Opening in 1958, it was one of only four wooden wild mouse roller coasters operating in the world. While steel wild mouse coasters are a common breed in the industry, the wooden models provide a rougher, but unique ride experience.
Although it was a historic ride, it doesn't seen like the park will be facing too much backlash from park visitors, as the general public viewed the ride as too rough and unsafe. The ride has received a lot of maintenance over recent years to keep the ride up to code and operating fairly consistent.
More guests are excited for this year's addition of Icon, a launched Mack roller coaster.
Lakemont Park's Future in the Air
The home of the world's oldest standing roller coaster may not reopen for 2018. Officials of the park made a shocking announcement last year, when they stated that the entire park would be closed for 2017 to make refurbishments.
Now, according to a news article, the timetable for the park's return is unknown. Most of the park's flat rides were listed for sale through a ride broker on Facebook. The same article mentions that the park is really only looking to keep the roller coasters, paddle boats, water rides, and some attractions that the family can enjoy.
While it is a shame to lose some of these rare flat rides, it makes sense for the park only to keep the larger draws. The park was never a large attendance puller recently, and the maintenance costs to keep the older rides running are unnecessary if the demand isn't there.
This past holiday season, the park ran its annual Holiday Lights Festival, and claim that at this point they will only return to operation if the park can be profitable during the summer season. Hopefully the classic roller coasters will return to service at the very least.
Buzzsaw to close at Six Flags New England
In order to make room for the new Harley Quinn Spinsanity, the teacup ride will be moved from where it currently resides, to where Buzzsaw lies. As for Buzzsaw, while unconfirmed by the park, it is said that it will be completely removed from the park, and has reached the end of its operational life.
Originally, the park's website stated that the ride was closed due to cold temperatures during Holiday in the Park. Now, the webpage has disappeared altogether.
The 35 year old ride has been very reliable over the years, suffering from little down time. While Buzzsaw remains a fan favorite, it seems like SFNE is continuing its trend of removing older rides in favor of new ones. With the removal of Buzzsaw, this will be the 24th ride that the park has removed since 2005. That's a rate of nearly two ride removals per year.
While I am a firm believer in parks updating their ride selections, for the most part they should come as additions, and not merely replacements. Yes, SFNE is doing a good job of adding attractions to make up for removals, but it is sad to see the park has actually gone DOWN in total number of flats over the years. Once a park with one of the largest and most diverse set of flat rides now is becoming a carbon copy of other Six Flags parks.
Timberwolf at Worlds of Fun to get new element
As part of its yearly maintenance and re-tracking program, Worlds of Fun has decided to remove Timberwolf's double helix element, and replace it with an overbanked curve. This news is a delight to WoF fans, many of whom stating that the double helix was the ride's roughest section.
While this element will reduce the ride length and ride time, it should be a much more forceful finale, and make the ride more bearable for those who do not like rougher rides.
Over the past three years, six log flume rides have closed at major parks. Once a staple ride of the industry is now becoming somewhat of a rare breed. Why are parks deciding to close them? What attractions are replacing them? These are questions that this post will address.
Invented by Karl Bacon of Arrow Dynamics in the early 1960s, the log flume was the first ride of its type seen since "Shoot the Chute" rides constructed in the 1900s. Instead of focusing on a single drop into a lagoon, the log flume was versatile. It could meander through a customized course, climb through multiple drops, and return right back to the station at the end of the ride. The first installation is known as "El Aserradero", which opened at Six Flags over Texas in 1963.
This form of attraction became a fan favorite. They allowed for a wide audience to ride, featured large drops, and was a refresher on a hot day. Over the course of their history, Arrow built more than 50 log flumes.
So why are they going away?
The largest reason, as with anything in the business world, is money. In their hey day, a log flume was one of the largest additions that a park could invest in. That came with the caveat that they were also some of the costliest to maintain and operate.
As machines age and deteriorate, they either need a costly rehab, replacement, or downright removal. Log flumes take quite the beating over their lifespan. Water is heavy to move, and these flumes are responsible for moving thousands of gallons of water per minute. As pumps get older, they are in need of more maintenance and become less efficient. The decision of replacement or elevated running costs comes into play. Lift motors, station brakes, and filtration pumps all suffer from the same issues that come with age.
The structures of the ride also have to carry a large load. Since the logs are not fixed down to a track, they can freely float and bump along the surface of the trough to navigate the course. Loaded boats combined with velocity of the water erode the materials of the ride, meaning that once they become weak enough, segments of the ride will either need resurfacing or total replacement. This is important because the vast majority of Arrow's flumes were constructed of fiberglass. Along with the trough, many of the support structures were built of wood, which can warp and rot when combined with years of moisture.
Finally, there are actual operational costs. Remember that water is heavy? Imagine the electricity costs involved with pumping thousands of gallons of it per minute up and own drops, running multiple lifts that carry heavy boats, and all of the other brakes, controls, and motors. It's not a cheap bill. The water also needs to be tested and filtered daily, to ensure that it is clean enough to come in contact with people. Now you need people to run the ride. Log Flumes often need larger crews than most rides to attend all station positions, run the main panel, and attend the lifts in the event that an emergency stop is necessary.
For a ride that isn't marketable anymore, and isn't bringing any new people to the park, it is understandable why some parks decide to close their older flumes for expansion space. Although there's costs required with refurbishments and upkeep, park's can't really go out and announce "New for 2018: We replaced the log flume's pump! Come ride this thrilling new experience."
Some parks actually have decided to put down the money to refurbish their flume rides. Names that come to mind are Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags over Georgia, and Kings Dominion. Notice a trend there? They are all larger market parks, and their flumes not only have a historical value, but remain some of the top attractions in the park when it comes to capacity. In a case like this, the park has justification to use their budget on the existing ride, rather than remove it.
We've already been over the nostalgia and tradition that log flumes carry. For over 50 years, they have become popular, family favorite attractions that nearly everyone can enjoy. However, when parks make that tough decision to demolish them, many park fans and visitors have made their thoughts known.
Just breezing through a few of the top comments on different park's Facebook pages will give you a bit of an idea of how people feel. The main argument is that parks are removing these rides "just to build a new thrill ride" and that "they don't care about the families anymore". This is far from true. Parks don't decide to remove log flumes just for expansion. It usually comes from a combination of running costs, safety issues, and age.
La Pitoune at La Ronde was forced to shut down without notice due to structural problems. Darien Lake's Thunder Rapids sat closed for half of its final season in need of pump replacements. Even Kennywood's Log Jammer almost didn't open on its final scheduled day due to a maintenance issue. With age comes reliability problems, and parks are merely just trying to replace these older rides with something that will be open more often, and leave less people disappointed.
What's replacing log flumes?
We mentioned that six major parks have closed their log flumes in the past three years. Here is what is replacing them, or has already replaced them.
So four of these parks have already confirmed that roller coasters are replacing the flumes, one is rumored to be, and La Ronde is adding three new rides for families. So the people on Facebook have a legitimate gripe. Many of these parks are redeveloping the land for a thrill ride.
Why shouldn't they? Most amusement parks around the world are limited on land. Once they begin to run out of this resource, they are known as "landlocked" parks. With log flumes taking up multiple acres of space, it is a perfect piece of land to build a larger scale ride on upon their removal.
Thrill rides and roller coasters are also some of the most marketable rides. Not only will they keep local clientele coming back, but they also will bring in people from other places. With more admissions, and a larger population to pull from, this gives parks more of the capital that they need to continue profiting and building up, including future attractions for the whole family. In most cases, it is the thrill rides and roller coasters that give the parks their levels of success.
Companies such as Intamin, Hopkins (now White Water West), and Mack still manufacture flume rides similar to Arrow's original concept. While I believe that a few international parks have added them recently, the only ride in the US that came close to a traditional log flume addition was Shoot the Rapids at Cedar Point. The ride was plagued with problems and completely scrapped after only 5 seasons of service.
Will log flumes ever make a large scale return to parks? It's hard to say. But it is clear that the big focus of the industry right now is to continue constructing the latest and greatest innovations in thrill rides and roller coasters. At the very least, hopefully this article clears up a little bit of confusion, and pays homage to the great attractions that now find their home in the graveyard.
Magic Mountain Land Clearing Update
The land clearing that we reported on yesterday apparently is not owned by Magic Mountain. Instead, it is owned by a development company who plans to build a massive community right behind the park. The project will consist of infrastructure and thousands of homes once complete.
As for a new roller coaster, I would still look at Deja Vu's former plot for any progress in the coming months. With this rumor being debunked, it also puts the status of Viper's future back into question as well.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg Height Balloon
As some may have noticed from the Rumor section, Busch Gardens Williamsburg has recently conducted balloon tests and filed paperwork for a height waiver of 315 feet. This is seeking approval for a new attraction of that height in the park.
The odd aspect of it is that the paperwork was filed under the name "Busch Gardens Madrid". The park was formerly known as the "Old Country", and is currently named "Busch Gardens Williamsburg". The park is home to many European themed hamlets, none of which involve Spanish culture. This leads many to believe that this project name is not only going to be one ride, but a whole area dedicated to Spain's capital city.
This mystery is not the only one that remains unsolved, as the type of ride is also unknown at this point. It is only referred to as a "Structure" in all city filings. Many would point to 315 feet as the perfect height for a new giga roller coaster. The park already has a drop tower, and an observation tower, which rule those attractions out. The only other rides that reach that height would be a Ferris Wheel, slingshot, or Sky Screamer/Windseeker attraction. These all seem unlikely for the park, but a swing ride could be the most believable of the three.
Many soil testing and planning documents show a large parcel of land being used for this expansion, so a roller coaster may be the best guess. This would be a clear shot in the competition with nearby Kings Dominion and Intimidator 305. Check back for continuing updates on all projects.
The new year marks an exciting one for the coaster industry, but it also marks the end of an era for Space World in Japan. Opening in 1990, the park remained a prominent stop for Japanese coaster trips, heralding 6 roller coasters at its time of closing, making it one of the largest parks in Japan.
Built on the site of a steel yard, its owner, Nippon Steel, decided to build the park as a way to recuperate from a decline in Japan's steel industry. The park would take its theme of space to the max, and constructed an elaborate entrance that encompassed a train station, multiple space themed attractions, and a museum about space endorsed by NASA.
In 1994, the park would add its headliner roller coaster. The 166 foot tall beast was named "Titan". Built by Arrow Dynamics, it opened as Japan's 3rd tallest roller coaster, and received great reviews. Space World subsequently added more attractions to the park, including dark rides, water rides, and a 330 foot tall ferris wheel, another milestone at the time.
In 1996, Venus GP was added. This would be the park's first looping roller coaster, and was built along with a full scale model of the Discovery space ship. By 1997, the park became a hit with locals, peaking with nearly 2.2 million visitors.
As the internet was not large at the time, and trips to Japan were uncommon for amusement park enthusiasts, Space World was not well heard of overseas. Nonetheless, attendance held steady, and fans of the park loved its novelty and quirky space theming. The park would go without adding another roller coaster for almost 10 years.
2006 marked the debut of Zaturn, an Intamin accelerator roller coaster that would be the first launched roller coaster for the park. This roller coaster also became the tallest and fastest in the park.
Once again, Space World was well off and would not add a roller coaster by their closing. This also marked a major decline in the park's image and attendance. With other parks opening around Japan, and rapidly expanding, Space World began to become outdated. Save for Zaturn, no other roller coasters were constructed in the 2000s at the park. The park did not have a large amount of space for expansion, and the owners felt that attendance was good enough to avoid buying larger attractions.
Rides weren't necessarily falling into disrepair, but were in need of refurbishments, paint, and upgrades to keep up with the times. Meanwhile, parks like Tokyo Disney, Universal Japan, Nagashima Spaland, and Fuji-Q Highland would be expanding their ride collections.
This combined with a changing Japanese demographic would begin to be the end for the park. In its last years of operation, Space World did not add any new attractions. Controversy loomed the park in October of 2016 when an ice rink embedded with over 5,000 dead fish caught bad publicity and was shut down by the park. While the intention was to make a unique skating surface, and hopefully gain some attention, only bad attention would prevail as locals were outraged. The rink was closed, and shortly after it was announced that 2017 would be the park's final year.
No reason was given for the park's demise, but consistently declining attendance is likely the largest factor. The owners of the park see the land as more profitable in the long run than the park. Some of the park's attractions including Venus and Zaturn were listed for sale.
On it's final day of operation, the park celebrated Space World's history with a massive fireworks display, sending Venus' train around with lit sparklers, and the naming of a constellation after the park.
The fate of the salvageable attractions is still unknown, but some rides such as Titan and the water rides will likely be scrapped due to complexities with dismantling them. Space World will be remembered as a quirky, unique park, and will be the first defunct item to join the site's graveyard.
Six Flags Magic Mountain Land Clearing- Possibly New Coaster
Bulldozers and other construction vehicles are currently present behind Apocalypse at Six Flags Magic Mountain behind Apocalypse. These vehicles are currently clearing land, spiking rumors that Six Flags will be building a new roller coaster for 2019 or beyond.
Rumors swirled last year of Viper possibly being removed for a new roller coaster, but these rumors have cooled. No signs are present of the classic Arrow coaster being removed for a replacement.
With 19 operating roller coasters, Magic Mountain still is the record holder for most roller coasters in one park. It would make sense that they would build one ground-up, rather than replace a current one to finally hit the milestone of 20 roller coasters, an unprecedented achievement in the industry.
The name B&M Dive Coaster has been thrown around, but keep in mind that if added, this would have likely been replacing Viper, or taken up most of where Deja Vu used to reside. This clearing seems much more substantial, and could be home to something much larger. Magic Mountain has not added a roller coaster since 2015, when Colossus was transformed into Twisted Colossus. This is a "large" drought for building coasters for the California park, who is currently on 3 years without a roller coaster investment. We'll definitely be keeping an eye on this clearing going forwards.
Kennywood 2019 Coaster Update
Based on leaked plans, land clearing, and the removal of Log Jammer, it is quite apparent that Kennywood is planning a very large scale roller coaster in the near future. However, it is still very much in the air of what type of roller coaster this will be, and what manufacturer is going to be designing it.
The earliest of rumors indicated that this could be an RMC Topper track roller coaster, and that it potentially could break The Beast's record for world's longest wooden coaster. Based off of the amount of land that this project could cover, that may be true, but according to varying sources, the original project proposal may have been heavily modified.
The original proposal most likely would have kept Log Jammer intact, but as we know, the iconic log flume is no more as of the end of the 2017 season. Instead of working around it, new plans may have the station and brake run areas taking up the old plot of land. There are also rumors that the project may also now be a steel roller coaster instead.
I think that it is too early to predict a coaster type or manufacturer, but RMC should still be considered one of the front runners. It is probably safe to say that by next season, most of Log Jammer's space will be occupied by something. Keep in mind that Kennywood still hasn't made any announcements for 2018.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas- Scooby Doo Dark Ride Replacement
As if the new Wonder Woman RMC Raptor roller coaster wasn't a large enough addition, Six Flags has announced that Scooby Doo: The Mystery of The Haunted Mansion will also be replaced for the 2018 season. The ride was a Sally Corp product, that ran for 16 years, from 2002-2018. It seems like Six Flags wants to step away from the old Hanna Barbera characters, as this was the last ride of its type to operate in the US.
While immediate responses pointed to another Justice League dark ride clone. a teaser was released by the park that depicts a pirate theme. Park President Jeffrey Siebert has confirmed that it will fit into the boardwalk theme of the area. With Wonder Woman being a large enough investment, a Justice League clone would absolutely be a budget breaker.
This announcement comes as a bit of a shock, as the park had just modified the ride last season to include a "moving station" set up to increase capacity. While no manufacturer has been announced yet, it is likely that the Sally Corp is involved in this rehab. In order to save on costs, the park will likely try to keep as much in lace as possible, and just switch around the show scenes. The moving station and track layout should remain the same, as it is all fairly modern.
This attraction will not take long to construct, as it is slated to open by Memorial Day 2018.