Twisted Timbers is Now OPEN!
Kings Dominion opened up their RMC revamp of Hurler this weekend to great praise. Coaster enthusiasts say that the ride is up there in terms of RMCs, and packs quite the punch. Some have even gone as far as saying that the ride holds its own with Intimidator 305.
Oak's Park Opens Euro-Fighter
A small amusement park in Oregon, Oak's Park has opened their neatly colored Euro-Fighter as well. This ride is a clone of Hydrus at Casino Pier. A nice addition for this tiny park.
Steel Vengeance is Testing
Cedar Point has finally begun testing Steel Vengeance this week. Small video snippets can be found online, but they are of pretty low quality. It is good to see them finally begin testing the ride, so the are on track for an opening weekend debut.
Better late than never, Fantasy Island in Grand Island NY has announced that they will be making many family improvements for the upcoming season. The park was formerly known as Martin's Fantasy Island, until it was bought by Apex Parks a couple of years ago.
Among the improvements includes the moving and/or renaming of some rides:
- Carousel becomes "All The King's Horses"
- Jack and the Beanstalk (drop tower) becomes "Rapunzel! Rapunzel!"
- Blue Goose becomes "Goosey Goosey Gander"
- Tea Cups becomes "Enchanted Tea Party"
- Kiddie Train becomes "Storybook Express"
This is all part of the new Fairy Tale Forest area, formerly part of the Garden of Fables. "Cinderella's Midnight Magic Wheel," a kiddie ferris wheel, is a brand new ride.
New additions to the area include a show named "If the Shoe Fits", Fairy Tale Fortress (meet and greet), and Storybook Lane, an addition to the former Garden of Fables push button mini-shows. Oakley the Talking Tree will be an interactive animatronic that greets guests entering the area.
Along with this area, the water park will be renamed "Splashaway Bay". We reported earlier this year on the water slide complex formerly known as Raging Rapids being refurbished into Double Dare Falls. But the park is also expanding their cabana section, and transforming a snack stand.
The full press release, along with additional investments can be found here. Apex is truly beginning to give this park some TLC that it needs.
EDIT: The park website still lists the Red Baron ride as operating, so it may end up being moved, rather than removed. With the Tea Cup ride taking its place, this may just be a placement swap between the two.
Here's an update showing off some of the rehab going into various coasters this season...
Loch Ness Monster
Busch Garden's Park President has confirmed that Nessie will indeed be getting updated trains for the ride's 40th anniversary. While I believe that the chassis of the train has been reused and rebuilt, everything above is new. The train bodies, and headrests have been reshaped and resemble Arrow's later train models. Parts of the track are also being repainted to commemorate the historic ride's tenure.
Six Flags New England- "The Riddler"
Mind Eraser is currently being transformed into The Riddler. The red and teal paint scheme is turning into green and yellow, similar to that of Six Flags Magic Mountain's Riddler's Revenge coaster. Along with the new name and paint, I believe that the ride will also receive second generation SLC trains from Vekoma, like those found on Morey's Nor'easter.
Canada's Wonderland- Vortex
Along with the construction of their 2019 roller coaster, it seems like Canada's Wonderland is already getting a head start on the surrounding area refurbishment. Vortex's trains have gotten a cool new paint scheme, and is rumored to be getting a "timber" themed name as well.
Sources are unconfirmed, but by next season, the track may be getting a full paint job too.
Hangtime Opening Date Revealed???
Rumors are floating around concerning Hangtime's opening date. While Knott's themselves have not announced a date yet, the general feeling is that they are shooting for Easter weekend. A screengrab from the Knott's app, may have leaked the ride's opening date, as it says that the ride will debut on the 31st, this Saturday.
Sources close to the park say that the ride itself is mechanically ready to go, with the first live passengers taking a ride the other day, but the area surrounding the ride still needs work. The queue, station, and gift shop are still incomplete, and may not be ready by the time this date rolls around. This is still nearly a week away though, and if work is done around the clock, this may change by the weekend.
As we reported earlier, the maintenance and testing on Xcelerator are complete, and the ride has finally reopened to the public as of last Saturday!
After a couple seasons of standing but not operating, La Ronde is finally dismantling their Intamin stand-up coaster "Le Cobra". This was only one of 3 stand-up models ever manufactured by Intamin, with Shockwave at Drayton Manor the only one remaining in operation. The other formerly operated as Batman: The Escape at Astroworld, before being stored at Darien Lake for many years, and finally being recycled earlier this year.
Judging by the picture above, Le Cobra is also likely going to the scrapyard, as there wouldn't be much interest to rebuild it. Intamin's stand-up model never gained traction as they were noted to be on the rougher side, and B&M created a similar, but improved model soon after these rides debuted. Many riders complained of the awkward restraints and unappealing track layout that these coasters offered.
Cobra was not the first ride to be removed by La Ronde this year, as La Pitoune (Log Flume) was also forced to close after a safety issue correlated to age. This will bump La Ronde down to 9 roller coasters, and some are speculating what's next for the Six Flags owned park.
Cobra's footprint took up a lot of room near the front of the park, making it a perfect place for a new roller coaster. La Ronde's last investment on a brand new roller coaster was Goliath in 2006. I would say that this park is long overdue for a new headliner attraction.
Unfortunately, Six Flags has not been too kind investing in this park in recent years, focusing more on flat ride investments than larger scale ones. Something like an S&S Free Spin seems like a safe guess if that's the route in which Six Flags wants to go with this new space.
Silver Dollar City's newest thrill machine is finally open after months of speculation and waiting. Time Traveler opened yesterday along with the ride's media day event to amazing crowds. At its peak, the ride's queue was said to have reached a length of over 2 and a half hours. That is simply extraordinary for Silver Dollar City.
Below is some POV footage from the ride:
Time Traveler is certainly unique, as it becomes the world's first spinning coaster to contain a vertical drop, launch sections, and inversions. This ride not only breaks barriers for SDC and the industry, but for MACK Rides as well who have been on a roll lately.
I must say that the spinning element was performed delightfully. The spinning is not too fast as to make many riders sick, but it offers a different ride each cycle, as it is free spinning. This should keep guests returning for more and more rides to see the different orientations that can happen during the course of the ride.
Time Traveler's theming is also on point, with heavy scenery around the queue and entrance areas. Not to mention that the ride vehicles themselves are beautiful. I hope to make it out to SDC within the next few years to check out all of the great investments that have been unveiled in recent years.
Today I'll briefly go over the status of the three coasters at Knott's currently under construction or maintenance:
Hangtime is Testing
I'm a little late with this one, but here is some great footage from Parks Bros of Hangtime testing, up close and personal. Be sure to check out their channel for a bunch of different testing videos of the ride. Hangtime looks almost ready to open, as they are now in the phase of testing and adjusting. I have seen a little variance of speed over different videos, but the most recent cycles seem tuned to the correct speed of the ride. With a couple of Knott's coasters down already, hopefully this ride is on the brink of opening.
Work on Xcelerator
Good news for Xcelerator, as work has finally commenced on repairing the ride. Xcelerator has been down for quite some time now, first going down around late summer of 2017. The need of specialized parts shipped from Intamin, in combination of the ride needing its annual maintenance seems to have kept it down for the count for this long time. The park has released no specific info or timetable of the ride's potential return.
Pony Express Track Segment Removed
A section of Pony Express' track that goes over Bigfoot Rapids has been removed mysteriously. The ride is currently undergoing a scheduled rehab, and is supposed to reopen on the 16th of this month. Reasons surrounding this disappearance are unknown, although a park local has mentioned that that section of track and supports has seen a lot of corrosion from the rapid ride down below. Two possibilities are that Zamperla has manufactured replacement track for that segment, or Knott's is recoating the track with corrosion free paint themselves.
No matter the issue, I will be shocked if they can reinstall that track and have this ride up and running in only 4 days or so.
Wonder Woman is TESTING!!!
SFFT Source has not only posted this awesome construction site tour, but also was able to capture Wonder Woman's first testing footage. I must say that in all my years of covering and following the amusement industry, I have never seen a coaster train fly so fast through initial test runs.
Normally, parks have to worry about coasters stalling or not moving fast enough through those first cycles, but that does not even remotely seem like an issue for this attraction. The coaster is hauling through the course so quickly, that trim brakes may even become in the picture elsewhere besides the first drop.
We can only hope that this is a sign that Wonder Woman is right on track to open soon, but there is still some work to go. It looks as though the lift device is either not completely in place yet, or needs tweaking, and there are 2 more trains to install, and operations procedures to create. From my sources, weighted or water dummy test cycles have not begun yet. So progress is being made, but I wouldn't call the grand opening imminent either. Expect a few more weeks to a month or so.
Dark Ride Update
The name for the refreshed Scooby Doo dark ride has been released.... and it will be Pirates of the Deep Sea. Scooby Doo's ride layout will remain intact, but the vehicles will be re-themed to boats, and the laser guns will now be "pirate blasters". This should give the ride system a more modern feel, with more traditional effects than the previous black light ones. SFFT expects the ride to be up and running around Memorial Day weekend.
Pigeon Forge TN Guide has uncovered even more information about Dollywood's 2019 expansion. Visible attractions in the 5 acre area are a swinging ship, family inverted roller coaster, and a large building among other smaller attractions.
These plans come from a town environmental hearing, so are very primitive in nature. Most of the attention from the industry so far is around the colored tube structure, which resembles a roller coaster. Many people have already imagineered crazy ideas of what the coaster's concept could be, but this is a clone layout of a standard Vekoma 453m family suspended coaster. A similar ride is Orkanen in Denmark, seen below:
This model has not made an appearance in North America yet. While it is a cookie cutter addition, Herschend's theming will make up for it. What is most intriguing to me however, is the large warehouse-like building in the background. Could Dollywood finally be getting an immersive dark ride that it has been missing for years?
Many enthusiasts look over the fine details and just rampage about various coaster models and statistics, while proposing impossible features.
Another interesting thing to note of is the flat tracked ride in the upper right corner of the document. It seems really short for something along the lines of an antique car ride or miniature train, but I am going to dig up an idea from the old guest surveys.
Flashback to 2012, when Herschend operated Darien Lake in New York. They created a family area named Rowdy's Ridge and added a popular attraction called Moose on the Loose. This ride is a single rail powered attraction featuring bucking moose that travel through different scenes.
While it is a unique interactive ride, its manufacturer Metallbau estimates its hourly capacity at only 240 riders per hour. A ride like this would surely be a hit with families, and not be able to meet the demand of the park without modification, such as Omni mover loading.
Although this area is on the smaller scale, there are still a lot of possibilities to be excited about. While most of the immediate attention will go to the coaster, the unknowns are what makes this for me.
Loch Ness Monster Receives New Trains
To coincide with the 40th anniversary of the ride, it seems as though Busch Gardens has purchased new trains for the classic Arrow ride. While the train's source is still unclear, Coaster Square believes that they were either built in-house using parts from the old trains, or came from a shop that supplies Arrow products in Richmond. I would go with the latter, or S&S's Arrow parts division stepping in.
Taller headrests, increased space, and a new body design are all new features of the rolling stock. Despite budget cuts and recent controversial business decisions, it seems like Busch Gardens is taking another step in the right direction to celebrate this historic attraction.
Valleyfair removing Riptide???
We have also heard a rumor that Valleyfair may be removing their HUSS Suspended Top Spin, Riptide. The ride has disappeared from the park's website, and with the installation of Delirious, it could be an early indicator. Along with the log flume removals, the removal of HUSS Top Spin rides has been happening far too often. These rides are known for their high running and maintenance costs, and usually do not age well due to the nature of the machinery.
According to Pigeon Forge TN Guide, plans have been leaked that may hint as to what Dollywood may be receiving for their "largest expansion yet" in 2019. Park officials have stated at a local planning meeting, that the area will be around 5 acres large, and feature 8 new attractions.
These attractions are accompanied by a restaurant, restrooms, water features, and shade structures. Once what was thought to be along the lines of a roller coaster or major thrill ride now seems more like a family or children's area investment. This area may reflect an addition like Fireman's Landing at Silver Dollar City a few years ago. While I am hopeful that at least one or two rides will be thrill rides, it doesn't seem like the case.
If Dollywood still has a major roller coaster in the plans for the near future, it is kind of contradictory to market this as "the largest expansion yet". Even though Herschend Parks are more geared towards family fun, for a park with rides like Wild Eagle and Lightning Rod, a family area is a miniscule feature, even if well themed.
I won't rag on this addition too much until we see the specifics of it, but I am hopeful that it will have a better theme or attractions than SDC's did. While I am a fan of Firechaser Express, having a whole area themed to firefighting is kind of generic and unappealing.
Dollywood's locals seem mixed about this news so far, with some wanting more kiddie rides and shows, and others wanting more thrill rides.
I had to laugh at this one... Yet another optimistic individual has proposed a plan to generate an insane amount of money to attempt and reopen Geauga Lake, which closed in 2007. A little background for those not familiar to the story of this park, Geauga Lake operated for over 100 years beginning as a family summer resort. After many years of success, different theme park chains purchased the park, and overdeveloped it to a point that it could not sustain running costs.
Six Flags is the culprit of this poor business model, and tried to cut their losses by selling to Cedar Fair, their largest targeted competitor, as Cedar Point was only about an hour away. Unable to turn things around, the dry side of the park was closed in 2007, and the water park side finally closed in 2016.
Since then, the grounds have been subjected to abandonment and slow demolition. The only attraction left standing was the classic Big Dipper wooden roller coaster, built in 1925, but it was finally demolished as of last year. Cedar Fair had no intentions to reopen the park or sell off to another theme park chain, as it could pose a threat of lost revenue to Cedar Point. They plan on selling the land to a developer looking to build something more along the lines of a community project.
Of course, the whole story is a sad one, as no park should ever have to close due to having too much land or attractions. A GoFundMe has been set up by Brian Roote, a local 22 year old community college student, who is expecting to raise $20 million in order to purchase the land.
This wonderful graphic drawn with crayon shows the initial "plan" for the park. No rides will be involved, and the grounds would be rehabilitated and feature activities for families to do. Not only that, but once the $20 million is finally reached, an additional $430 million would need to be raised to invest in actual attractions.
Now let's pause before going any further. $20 million just to buy the land, and it's not even a guarantee that Cedar Fair is going to sell it for another hopeful theme park to open. That's IF that amount of money is even possible to be raised. This guy might make a few thousand dollars from this GoFundMe, which I hope that people won't fall for this trap, but I highly doubt he would be able to crack the hundred thousand dollar barrier, let alone $20 million.
His costs are just random numbers thrown out there, with no studies, design firms, or any other figures to back them up. He only has a hand drawn map as his concept, and it looks extremely small. Roote hasn't even graduated from community college yet, and seems to be the only person helping out with this campaign.
I could continue to go on and on about why this plan won't work, but it's time to let Geauga Lake be a park of the history. It's proximity to other major resorts and vast amount of land made it unfeasible to continue operating.
I just thought that it would be a funny little article to share. I have also heard that Roote has been deleting any comments or concerns posted on the account's webpage, even though they are more realistic than his entire plan.