Canada's Wonderland decided to use a smart technique for the 2017 season. Add one attraction to the water park, and one to the dry side. Both of these attractions should be relatively cheap, and will bolster the lineup for both sides of the park.
Muskoka Plunge will be a 60 ft tall set of 4 drop pod slides. This slide complex is probably the same one that is going into Cedar Point and Knott's, but that really isn't an issue here. Unlike copying flat rides, water slides tend to be pretty standard. Whereas someone may only like a few Boomerangs or SLCs, water slides are a lot more popular altogether. I am a firm believer that every water park should look into investing in a drop pod slide. It is unknown whether or not this slide complex will also have the dueling tube slides like the others do.
Soaring Timbers is the addition to the dry side of the park. Keeping in tradition with adding unique flat rides to the park, Soaring Timbers will be the first of its type in North America. Also, considering the relationship that the park has with Mondial, this attraction will be built by them. It is one of their "Inferno" models. Riders board two 19 person gondolas, and swing around a 45 degree arc with swinging and flipping seats. It is truly something that I would be excited for if I were a Wonderland frequent.
Reason: This isn't the first time that a park has done the "One Wet, One Wild!" slogan. It works very well whenever a park does it, and these attractions are great for the park. Thrill riders should be very impressed with these. The reason for the high grade is because it was not expected, and serves Wonderland well. This is a dark horse for best new addition next year for a Cedar Fair park (besides Mystic Timbers)
2018 Will not be Kings Dominion's Big Year
This is just a rumor that popped up on Screamscape today, but I am going to debunk it for now. Screamscape proposed that 2018 could be Kings Dominion's year for a coaster, and it may come in the form of a B&M Flyer. Specifically, the first ever launched B&M Flyer.
Usually, Screamscape has become a lot better with their rumors, and only posts them if they have a little bit of credibility. But with Kings Dominion for the last three seasons, it has been a shot in the dark for them. Ever since the 2015 season, Screamscape has proposed a giant coaster for the park, and have been wrong three times now. It seems like that they keep on pushing that date back, as now they have predicted the same thing for 2018. That's the first red flag why I'm taking this rumor with a grain of salt.
Next, a flying coaster has never been attempted before by Cedar Fair, let alone a launched model. Flying coasters have been some of the highest criticized coasters built by B&M, and usually the least favorite of riders. Why not bank on the more successful models added by the chain, such as a wing, inverted, or hyper design? I'm sure if CF ever tests out a flying coaster, it would be a pretty basic layout, in case it does not work so well.
Finally, Canada's Wonderland has already been in the rumor mill for a while. They have been clearing land, and being the highest seasonally attended park, are in need of another new coaster. People have been calling for an invert for a long time, and 2018 could definitely be THEIR year, instead of KD.
I wouldn't get excited about this rumor yet. Once again Screamscape is just shooting in the dark, and hoping that they can finally get it right.
Six Flags Dubai may be looking to create World's Largest Coaster
The Six Flags project in Dubai is supposedly moving full speed ahead, and from the recent renderings that we have seen, will include many modern, state of the art, designs. The coasters visible in the portrait are:
- Mack Power Splash
- RMC Goliath Clone
- 4D Free Spin
- Possibly a Premier Sky Rocket
- Possibly a Grestlauer Eurofighter
That's already a solid collection of modern coasters, but something is missing. A true hyper/gigs/strata coaster to rule over the park. Where's the BIG coaster that's considered the star attraction? It may be currently being worked on behind the scenes.
There have been some rumors stating that Six Flags wants to build the world's tallest freestanding coaster at the park. While not in the renderings, it could possibly be located in the back of the park on the large unused plot of land. The coaster would beat Kingda Ka's height record, and could possibly challenge Formula Rossa for the speed record as well.
Of course, this would be both revolutionary and expensive for Six Flags. They have not built a coaster over 200 feet since Goliath at Six Flags over Georgia in 2006. They haven't also worked with Intamin, the likely ride manufacturer, since 2011. But seeing that this is a new park, in a different market, they might be willing to do something this large once again.
The last Strata Coaster to be built was Kingda Ka in 2005. However, Formula Rossa opened in 2012, with the world's most powerful launch at 149 mph, and Ferrari Land in Spain will open a 367 foot coaster in 2017, that will mimic the layout of a strata. That coaster, however will utilize LSM technology. But as long as there is a buyer, Intamin is willing to build huge coasters.
We will keep an eye on this project because although not many people are excited for this park, this could be a major project for Six flags and the industry.
Kentucky Kingdom 2017 Rumor
Sticking to their current expansion of the property, Kentucky Kingdom is likely to add a flat ride or rides to their collection for next year. 2018 is scheduled to be a big season for them, but next year expect at least one family ride from them. The name "Zamperla Disko" has been thrown around, but no credible sources have confirmed it yet.
I other news, the park still has the Greezed Lightning trains, and nobody seems to know what is going on with them. The park tried to save the Schwarzkopf Shuttle Loop upon reopening, but it was too costly and had to be sacrificed. Could the park be looking to build a similar attraction for 2018, or will it be something that is once again spectacular?
With Six Flags adding many of the "cookie cutter" attractions to their properties for this upcoming season, 4D Free Spins, Justice League, Sky Screamers, and DC Super Friends may be popping up at a park near you. But what happens when most, if not all properties receive these attractions? Six Flags may need to look at new options for rides.
One of those "new" rides could be the Mack Power Splash. This attraction debuted in 2016 at Walibi Belgium as "Pulsar." It stands nearly 150 feet tall, features a 62 mph LSM launch, and has a splash track to soak riders at the end. Like some other shuttle coasters, the cars are launched forwards and backwards up both spikes until they reach top speed. After reaching maximum height, a splash basin fills with water and the boat goes into a splash finale.
Altogether, it's a very unique and exciting ride. Despite water coasters being successful before, this is a very intense one, and does so in a very small footprint. At a cost less than most RMC hybrids, B&M coasters, and dark rides, it is a very viable attraction for most parks.
The Six Flags Dubai project has shown renderings that apparently include this model. So we know that Six Flags is interested. There are also rumors that one could pop up as soon as next season, with Six Flags Fiesta Texas showing rumors of a water ride or coaster.
Many SF parks have been removing shoot-the-chute rides over the past few years, and this could be an excellent replacement. Also, with a capacity of 950 pph, it is not too shabby and beats most shuttle or single train coasters. We know how conservative SF has been lately with the coaster additions, but this could be a very feasible and successful model for them.
I received another good question a few days ago that I would like to analyze carefully...
Can PTC survive this "new era" of wooden coasters?- Greg H. from California
That's a good question. Well, I'm sure you already know this, but PTC stopped building wooden coasters in the early 1980s. Their work since then has been limited to coaster trains, brake fins, and winter rehab projects. So in a way, they have already kind of died.
But will their other small projects one day fade away as well? Let's face it, their market is very limited. Most wooden coaster manufacturers now have their own trains that they supply with their coasters:
-GCI- Millennium Flyers
-Gravity Group- Timberliners
-RMC- RMC Trains
-Martin and Vleminckx- PTC
So only one manufacturer still utilizes PTC cars, and they are not even that big of a company. The silver lining here is that Timberliners have not yet become totally consistent. Who could ever forget that whole fiasco with Holiday World and the Voyage? After many years of attempting to switch over, Holiday World stuck with the traditional, clunky PTC cars.
But what about Millennium Flyers, and the new Gravity Group coasters that have successfully used Timberliners? PTC has lost its market with two of the largest wood coaster manufacturers in the industry. Any new wooden coasters that are built are not likely to use PTCs. Plus, many coasters now are modernizing and switching to other brands of trains. Look at Ghostrider's GCI treatment, or RMC turning wooden coasters into hybrids.
There are still many wooden coasters that receive new PTCs; ala Le Monstre or Thunderhawk at Dorney, but many parks will likely need to purchase new trains at some point, and a very small class of "historic coasters" will actually buy PTCs.
So what is PTC's answer to this dilemma? The PTC 360 train:
This train will offer many solutions to the issues that the articulated PTC cars have caused in the past.
First, it has steering wheels like MF and Timberliner trains do, which will give a smoother ride and save parks on track maintenance costs. Also, it will be a "trailered" train, which gives it better weight distribution, makes it lighter, and therefore, gives a comfortable ride. Finally, it will be able to go through more complex elements, some maybe never attempted before on a wooden coaster.
Back in the 1990s, PTC attempted to create a trailered train like this. However, a design error caused the trains not to operate effectively, and they "shuffled" along the track, causing much discomfort and stress on the track. Some of the most famous coasters to run these trains for an extended period were Texas Giant, Predator, and Raging Wolf Bobs. No PTC trailered trains are in operation anymore due to the issues they had.
Hopefully this solution can make it possible for more modern woodies to use PTC trains, but the question remains. How many manufacturers will actually use these instead of their own models? I guess we will have to wait and see if PTC gets back into the coaster production game, continues their current habits, or fizzles out after over 100 years of service.
Nine years ago, Cedar Fair announced that they would be shutting down Geauga Lake Amusement Park, and operating the property solely as a water park named Wildwater Kingdom.
Wildwater Kingdom opened two years before the property closed, and the reason for keeping it open was its new age, and because it was the highest rated portion of the property. But today, Cedar Fair once again announced a heartbreaking closure, as the water park will not reopen for the 2017 season.
What are the reasons? Well, there are a few:
1) Popularity. Wildwater Kingdom was a relatively small operation, and it had lost much of its clientele over the years. With the park struggling to staff the park, and profits getting lower by the season, it was time to put the property out of its misery. Cedar Fair does not want to lose any more money on the venture, as many people chose not to return once the ride side of the park closed. People are choosing to go to other, much large vacation destinations.
2) Debt. Cedar Fair is in by no means a bad financial situation, but they are coming close to paying off their Paramount Park purchases from 10 years ago. This is why they are becoming much more conservative with their additions and budgeting. By closing Wildwater Kingdom, they can sell the land that Geauga Lake once sat on for a good bundle of money, and have a few spare attractions that can be moved to other parks and be called additions for a year. This will save them a ton.
3) The Business Decision. Cedar Fair has a large portfolio, with many properties to oversee and take care of. Wildwater Kingdom was arguably the most miniscule one that they owned, and it did not get much attention because of this. Remember that ever since Geauga Lake closed in 2007 no additions have been made to this property. Now that they are finding themselves too cluttered and busy, Wildwater Kingdom is a dead ringer to do away with. They wouldn't get much money yearly off of keeping it open or selling to another chain. They can make a bundle off of moving the lightly used rides and selling the land for redevelopment.
4) Redevelopment. Cedar Fair gets that many locals of Aurora are still angry at the company for the closure of the park. It was a tradition for them, their local Disneyland. So, they want to leave the area, sell off the land where the bad memories remain, and hope that things kind of blow over. Two major properties are a day trip away from Geauga Lake, and they would like for some of those locals to forgive them, and visit one of their larger offerings. Many buyers, whether condo companies or retail giants, will be interested in transforming the land into something new, and something to help locals recuperate from the loss.
Unfortunately, due to the blunders of Six Flags and Cedar Fair with overexpansion and poor management of the property, now nothing will remain. But is it better to keep going on with only a fraction of the property being used as a water park, or to bulldoze it altogether and start over? If there is no chance of rebuilding the park, the latter seems to be a better option. Now Aurora locals can finally move on, and maybe hope for something better to come, even if that is a shopping plaza or something similar.
It's been rumored ever since Rougarou opened at Cedar Point, and now it is finally here!
Vortex, the park's B&M stand-up coaster, will be retired at the end of the season, and it will be upgraded with floorless trains and renamed Patriot. As well as a more comfortable and enjoyable ride experience, the ride will also feature a new paint job and sleek trains.
While it may not be the best layout in the world, Patriot should be much more enjoyable for riders, and will save the park a lot of space in the long run. It's also better than just scrapping the coaster and getting nothing out of it. Rougarou has been very successful for Cedar Point, and many people say it is a giant improvement over the old Stand-Up model Mantis.
Besides Mystic Timbers, this is the only other current coaster for Cedar Fair so far. CGA fans will be very happy to hear that possibly a former fan favorite will be upgraded to become great again.
Vortex will give its final ride on September 5th.
Reason: Many people argued that this treatment would be a waste for Vortex, but it really isn't. the landlocked park will be able to save some space, while also technically adding a new coaster experience.
Plans are falling into place once again for Carowinds. Four classic flat rides will be added to the "New County Fair" area, and Carolina Cobra is getting re-themed to The Flying Cobras.
Each ride will add something for everyone, whether its thrill seekers, or families. This also kills two birds with one stone by giving the area some rehab. Three of these rides are staples that every park should have, while the Top Scan will be a unique thrill that should please the masses. Hopefully these rides have some good up-time.
Also for 2017, WinterFest will be added to the park, and it entails:
Deck the halls with this larger than life event as the park transforms into a spectacular winter wonderland filled with magnificent displays of lights and holiday décor.
All in all, it will be another blockbuster year for the park, and the County Fair package will be one of the best flat packages we have seen in a while.
Reason: I do have a soft spot for many of these rides, but altogether it is very extensive and offers something for everyone. Plus aesthetically it looks outstanding.
As speculated, Soak City would be getting a major upgrade for 2017. However, the name of the water park will also be changing. Soak City will turn into Cedar Point Shores Water Park.
To commemorate the new water park, a new complex will be featured. This is a clone of the one going into Knott's Soak City (see below), and will feature 4 drop pod slides, as well as 2 dueling inner tube slides. Point Plummet will be the name for the pod slides, and the dueling slides will be named Starboard Surge & Portside Plunge.
As well as the complex, a new children's area will replace a dilapidated one. Lakeside Landing features 12 slides for children, splash pad features, and a zero depth entry pool. This should be a lot cleaner and more modern than the existing one.
While not a huge expansion as of yet, this project has potential to grow as the years go on.
Also, a new poolside bar, cabana upgrades, more lounging areas, new changing stations, and the all new Crystal Rock Café will provide some much needed amenities for guests visiting the water park.
Reason: It's not a big deal yet, but sets the water park up for some aggressive expansion in the future, but also gives it some TLC for right now.
Yes, it's been public information for a while now, but today the rides have gotten names.
Falcon's Flight is a Huss Condor attraction. Riders board a cabin, then begin to spin around in a motion similar to a Scrambler. However, this is much more intense than that, at the ride then climbs a 100 foot tower and swings the cabins over the ground below.
Mustang Runner is a Huss Troika, similar to those that many other parks are receiving. The motion is similar to that of Falcon's Flight, except the ride's arms swing around instead of climbing a tower.
Both rides will be unique to the area, and will bring back a lot of memories for those familiar with the models. We've known about this addition for quite a while now.
Here is what the park had to say about WinterFest: "Families will be able to ring in the holidays next season and enjoy what is sure to be a new family tradition. WinterFest is coming to Worlds of Fun, showcasing 16 favorite holiday characters, spectacular light displays, ice skating, and festive live entertainment. The park will be transformed into a winter wonderland for six weeks beginning November 24, 2017."
All of this comes with a redesigned front gate and plaza to enhance guest experience.
Reason: While similar to Dorney, at least we knew this was just going to be a family addition far beforehand. Condors are unique rides, unlike a Bumper Car ride. WinterFest is the real reason why the grade got a bit of a bump.
It's been no mystery for a while that Knott's was receiving a water park expansion next season. But we finally have learned today what exactly this expansion will consist of.
Shore Break will be the largest complex added to Soak City. It will feature 6 slides total, including 4 drop pod slides. Stand in one of the chambers atop the 60 foot tall tower before launching into the slide via a dropping floor mechanism sure to scare even the toughest of thrill seekers. Also, for those not brave enough to face the Aqua-Launch slides, the complex will offer two dueling inner tube slides that travel through many speed bumps and turns.
The Wedge will take the place of the current Pacific Rim slide. It is a much tamer family rafting experience, where up to 6 guests can take part on this twisting and turbulent experience. A conveyor system also ensures that nobody will have to lug up a cumbersome raft.
As well as the slides, the project includes shaded areas, cabanas, and a renovation to Longboard's Grill.
Reason: Though not the extensiveness of a Carolina Harbor upgrade, this is a pretty good addition for Knott's. Despite having to remove Pacific Rim, they will be able to replace it and even upgrade with these slides. The project also will work on some infrastructure and amenities as well, so it's a huge win.
My only question that remains is what will be the fate of the relatively new Pacific Rim???
A few weeks ago, permits pointed out that Valleyfair was looking to replace their Enterprise ride with a Star Flyer. That rumor has now been confirmed as the park announced the "North Star."
North Star will reach a height of 230 feet and become the second tallest ride in the park next to Power Tower. Riders board a suspended 2-seat carriage, and spin around at speeds up to 40 mph, only to be carried up the large tower. The model is a Star Flyer ride by Funtime, much like the Six Flags parks have added in the past.
Of course, the ride is not a Windseeker, what most CF parks have traditionally installed. Those rides have become plagued with minor issues that have drawn national attention and are not worth the costs. Plus, the Star Flyer models installed elsewhere have brought in better reviews for being more "open air and precarious."
Replacing an Enterprise attraction is always a large task, but this ride should fit in its place like a glove
Reason: 5.5 is far from a bad rating, it is just mediocre. This is a one for one move by the park and doesn't do much to help them out. Why does it get a better rating than Dorney? Because it's new, and something the park has never had before. People were more or less expecting an attraction of this caliber, and it will be enjoyed by a large range of visitors.
After the addition of Lightning Rod in 2016, Dollywood is prepared to take it down a notch for next season. TailSpin Racer is a 6-lane mat racing attraction built by Proslide of Canada. It is the "Octo-Racer" model, where riders board and slide through a curved tunnel, then shoot out into a downhill speed bump. It features an interactive element as you can race your friends and see who is the fastest.
It was not expected that Dollywood would add another huge attraction for 2017. Splash Country really needed a new addition to keep up with other top water parks across the country. These models have a 42" height requirement, perfect for families and thrill seekers. Besides, Lightning Rod can almost be considered a new addition for next year as well, seeing that many people haven't gotten the pleasure to ride it yet from its patchy problems.
A few parks have added this model recently, or similar ones, such as my home park, Darien Lake. Having been on a handful of these Proslide attractions now, I must say that they are fun, refreshing, and something that every water park should look into building. Much like with Hershey's addition of a drop tower, this is something that Dollywood really "needed" and is a solid filler attraction for 2017. It definitely better than receiving a show or nothing at all, like many big chains have been choosing to do.
As we are getting closer to the 2017 announcements of many major parks, we are already hearing news trickling through the cracks. So far, it seems like this year will not be as momentous as the past year, but maybe it all sets up for a great 2018 season.
Six Flags Magic Mountain to close "Movie District"
After nearly 20 years of service, the Movie District area of Six Flags Magic Mountain will be closing. The area originally opened in 1998, with Riddler's Revenge, a world record breaking stand-up coaster, being the centerpiece. The area also included existing rides, such as Gold Rusher, Tidal Wave, Scrambler, Sandblasters, and the defunct Action Theater. Rumors began swirling of the area's demise as soon as this season began, because Action Theater's demolition would create a lot of room for expansion. Not only that, but the theme was very outdated, and did not fit all rides there.
The area is set to shutdown sometime in September, with Riddler's Revenge, Tidal Wave, the Rock Wall, and JB's Smokehouse being unavailable until the renovation is complete. It seems like the remaining attractions will all receive a new, more fitting theme.
The largest rumor going around right now is the addition of a Justice League dark ride in Action Theater's former location. This would allow Magic Mountain to expand their DC Universe area that opened with Green Lantern in 2011. It would make this the largest DC themed area in the Six Flags chain. Tidal Wave would likely be re-themed to Aquaman.
If happening, this would be the third Justice League dark ride to be added for the 2017 season, more than any other year. Many of the Six Flags movie themed areas are likely to get the chopping block soon. They were popular in the 90s, and brought in many new attractions and visitors, but are now becoming dilapidated and in need of renovation. Six Flags Great Adventure may be one of the next parks to get this treatment.
Six Flags over Texas receiving New Bumper Cars for 2017
Before SFoT fans go into an outrage, I don't think that this will be the sole addition for the park in 2017. It will just be part of it, and SFoT is simply replacing the Bumper Car attraction that they removed in 2007. There is also a good chance that these cars will be coming from Six Flags over Georgia, which just closed their bumper car ride for Justice League.
The land clearing that is going on behind last year's flat package is likely to be part of a much larger project.
Six Flags America to receive flats from Great America?
This may never come true, but it is a possibility that SFA could become a new home for two rides getting removed from Six Flags Great America. Considering that SFA has been the dumping ground of the chain, Six Flags may consider moving these rides there to save on capital.
The rides are Orbit, a Schwarzkopf Enterprise, and Jester's Wild Ride, a Zamperla Rockin' Tug themed to Mardi Gras. The latter would make perfect sense, seeing that the park does not have that model yet, and they have been investing into their new Mardi Gras area as of late.
Orbit is a bit more of a wild card. Unlike Jester, it is much older, and not a model in production anymore. However, the park has had an Enterprise in the past named "Sky Escaper". The ride is missed by fans of the park and was a rare Heintz Fahtze model. Even if SFA receives these two rides for next season, it will be hard to be angry, as it offers something for everyone.
Yes, only two updates this week so far... sigh. I promise that I will try to pump out at least one a day, but it gets tough sometimes. Anyways this will be a long update so let's get down to business!
Some of you may be wondering where an update for Schlitterbahn's Verruckt is, but I am still unsure if I will do an update for it. This is more of a theme park site, and I typically like to talk more about updates and rumors, but maybe I will cover the story on a different day. There are already dozens of lengthy news stories available.
Silver Dollar City looking at a Spinner
It was originally suspected that SDC would be adding a giant capital investment for 2017. Instead, it may have been pushed back a year because the direction has changed. Many parks are impressed with Cobra's Curse from Busch Gardens Tampa. It's level of theming, reviews, and intensity have been outstanding. SDC may be looking at one of these instead of a B&M model, which was in the rumor mill previously.
Guest surveys have been pointing to a spinning coaster, asking the guest of three possible themes:
1) A roadside Time Machine attraction with a cheesy Roman theme (that is not sarcasm)
2) Lost Silver Caves of the Ozarks
3) A bucking bull/Rodeo theme
Three sounds terrible compared to what the other two can offer. There's not too much you can do with a Rodeo theme. Let's hope that one gets little response. I think that two is the way to go. With the park's heritage, it is like a perfect fit, and with the rumor of an approximately $40 million dollar budget originally for this, the mine theme can get very extensive. If number one was pulled off right, I think that would even have some potential.
But what type of spinner would this end up being? A balls to the wall Mack model, like we have seen put onto Blue Fire (I'll post below), or a Gerstlauer family model that will meander through some scenes? I would really, really prefer the former. SDC has enough family coasters. After Outlaw Run, they need a "1B" coaster to make the park stand out. This coaster could truly be insane if it included inversions or even a launch.
Either way, I think that I would be excited to hear for a Mack model. Even if it is more family geared like Cobra's Curse, at least we have a 2/3 shot to get a theming package like never before. Gerstlauer unfortunately is still in the running though with the projects they have done for Herschend in the past. We will have to wait to find out more...
Planning Board Meeting reveals a 4D Coaster for Six Flags New England
I'm too lazy to post the photo, but an Agwam planning board meeting has listed a 4D Free Spin for next year at SFNE. Splashwater Falls, a Hopkins/White Water raft ride, will be removed for this addition. This ride was more of a water slide than an in-park water ride, and was never as popular as the log flume previously there had been.
It's a surprise that SF has decided to add this here after the recent money spent in Goliath, Wicked Cyclone, Fireball, and Superman. This property must be really returning investments quickly. I personally do not mind the Free Spins, but I hate that they are turning into the new Boomerang when it comes to cloning. SFNE is a great mid-size park to add it in though. It has the right capacity, unlike the nightmare over at Great Adventure.
It is possible that without an RMC project this year, Six Flags will look to build 2-3 Free Spins. Six Flags America and Six Flags St. Louis were early candidates, but rumors have cooled, and it looks like they may get one down the road or plans have changed altogether. Six Flags over Texas, and in my opinion, Six Flags Mexico may be the current dark horses for one this upcoming year. SFoT has been clearing a major chunk of land for a while now, and SF hasn't been afraid to add one of these models to a flagship park before.
Six Flags Mexico has been getting a lot of investment lately too, and this coaster could be marketed as a first for Mexico. I'll just be happy if this comes true because I was first to predict it. Lol, I'll probably be wrong though.
Top Thrill Dragster Down
Over the weekend, TTD's launch cable snapped and luckily injured no riders or visitors. However, fear not as the ride reopened today, only one day after the incident occurred. Cedar Point really has the best maintenance crew in the industry. To be able to have the part in inventory and be able to replace it that quickly is astonishing. You could only imagine how long the delay would be if Six Flags or Herschend were running the park.
Soak City Expansion likely for 2017
It's been rumored for a while now, and seems to finally be coming to fruition. After a sandal shaped teaser was sent out, it has become apparent that this is what will be coming on August 18th, the day that Cedar Point and many other CF parks will be announcing their additions for that matter.
A waterpark expansion is long overdue. Only two attractions in the water park have been added over the last 20 years. Many complexes are originals or close to original with the opening of Soak City. With the clearing of some of the Challenge Park attractions, this may be a large scale addition, similar to the Carolina Harbor project at Carowinds.
This water park is one of the few in the chain not included with admission. Maybe that changes, but even if it is a huge expansion, I cannot see myself revisiting unless they rearrange ticket structures. The entrance near Magnum will likely see a revitalization, like the others in the park. Also, there is a rumor that the lightly used Proslide Tornado from Knott's will be moved to this park, as they will also be expanding their water park next year. It would be a great addition for CP.
Of course this throws a wrench into the future plans for Mean Streak, which may be pushed back to 2018. While anything is possible, it's hard to imagine the park doing two major projects like that in a single year.
Could Cedar Point go 20 for 2020?
No theme park in the world have ever reached the 20 roller coaster milestone, but some parks are getting close. Six Flags Magic Mountain currently has 19 roller coasters, and Cedar Point is second with 17. Someday, it will not be a surprise if both parks end up reaching 20 or higher. While Six Flags is one away and could technically add anything to reach the record, Cedar Point is three away and has options, but limited space.
But some people believe that Cedar Point is currently undergoing an aggressive plan to have 20 coasters in their park by the year 2020, which is also the park's 150th anniversary. Of course this would be a very tough thing to do, but if any park in the world would attempt it, it would be Cedar Point. If the park replaces Mean Streak with a single coaster, and technically counts Pipe Scream as one, they sit at 18.
With a Soak City expansion and Mean Streak renovation likely coming for the next two years, the park will have only 2 years to add coasters before 2020. The general feeling right now is that the next major coaster (such as Gatekeeper or Valravn size) will come for the park's 150th anniversary that year. That leaves one year of wiggle room for a coaster, and easily could be filled with a family coaster, or dark ride similar to Wonder Mountain's Guardian. If a dark ride were built, and have just a single drop or lift, it could be marketed as a coaster.
Another question is Pipe Scream. Will the park really count that as a coaster, like they did in Valravn's coaster timeline, or will they brush it under the carpet and build 20 real coasters, like most enthusiasts think that they should.
Either way, it is a tall task at hand, and we will have to take it year-by-year to see if it is really happening.
Dorney and Kings Dominion Announcements
Dorney will be one of the next Cedar Fair parks to announce their 2017 addition. It will come on August 18th. A teaser photo showed three bullet points left blank, possibly pointing to three new attractions for next season:
This could be a combination of new flats, classic flats, or even water park additions. It is good to see that Dorney is likely getting something sizable though after last year's "Picninc Pavilion Jamboree" and Thunderhawk trains were a disappointment.
Kings Dominion will announce their 2017 investment on August 20th. While many people are still holding their breath for an RMC version of the SBNO Hurler, it seems that Winterfest and a dark ride are very likely. I have heard that the park ma receive multiple items as well, though.
What in the world is RMC up to in 2017?
After their largest year yet in 2016, there have been no huge rumors this season for Rocky Mountain construction. Last year, they were able to pump out four roller coasters, and one S&S Free Spin coaster. However this year, there are no signs of work whatsoever...
The assumption is that Six Flags will likely be adding 2-3 Free Spin coasters this season. While they are not RMC's design, RMC does produce the track for these rides. So that will count as 1-2 "big" projects. But what about the other 2 or 3?
For a while, Dubai has been rumored to be getting an RMC hybrid or such. News out of that area is not as quick as in the US or Europe, so it could be possible. The Six Flags Dubai project will reportedly have an RMC, but that is a few years away.
So two MAJOR projects could be in the works. One of course is Mean Streak. There isn't enough evidence yet to conclude that RMC is working on it, but it would be their largest project to date. Size wise, it is a larger structure than Texas Giant, and this is in one of the most popular parks in the world. If they are given the contract, RMC is really going to need all of their workers and resources available, as they will need to impress the park.
Also, could a park have purchased one of the all-steel TRex track coasters? RMC debuted the item at IAAPA last year, and already have some clients interested. Unlike with a hybrid or Topper Track coaster, this would be more difficult to see happening, and could very well be in the works somewhere.
Is Six Flags St. Louis removing Tidal Wave?
As you can see in the photo, Tidal Wave is completely drained. While I take this "source" with a grain of salt, apparently a ride operator at the park told a visitor that the ride will be closed permanently. Recently, a crack in the splash basin appeared, and needed repairing, but Six Flags may be cutting their losses altogether on the attraction at this point. At 25 years old, this is a pretty aged water ride.
Of course, the ride may be staying and just receiving repairs right now. As you can see, a crane is in the picture and the boats are still on the track. But if history repeats itself, the ride will be removed for a compact coaster. Remember that 4-5 years ago Six Flags New England removed their flume (and a relatively new one) for the problematic Vekoma Giant Boomerang, Goliath.
The leading candidate to replace Tidal Wave if it is on its way out is an S&S Free Spin. Six Flags has already added two of these, and is likely turning that into another cookie cutter ride. It would fit perfectly into the space, and would be a welcomed addition after the park's last "new" coaster was a 20+ year old Boomerang.
There's no major news or updates today that I know about, so this will be more of a fun analytical post. Now that two major parks have announced GCI terrain coasters for 2017, let's compare them to see who has the superior ride.
Analysis: Mystic Timbers is obviously the winner here. While InvadR is being branded as more of a family coaster, it is not very long and does not choose a side. It is too large to be a true family ride, but too short to be a massive thrill ride. Mystic Timbers is being billed as a thrill ride from the beginning. I'm sure that families will end up loving both models, and Mystic Timbers just has so much more to offer when it comes to airtime and curves. I will say that I like InvadR's first drop better, as it isn't the traditional airtime killing GCI curved drop. But overall as a coaster, if InvadR was 1000 feet longer, only then would it be able to be toe to toe with Mystic Timbers. Winner: Mystic Timers
Analysis: While it will have a shorter height requirement, 46" is still a little tall for a family coaster. Most family coasters are in the 36" to 42" height range, and many kids may not be able to ride InvadR for a few years. I get that the trains will be heavily renovated, but they are also used from a very rough coaster and may not operate as efficiently. Mystic Timbers has trains with a unique design and despite having a slightly taller height requirement, are brand new and will operate more smoothly. Winner: Mystic Timbers
Neither coaster is immensely themed, which isn't a surprise considering the park we are working with here. Also, both coasters are terrain hugging wooden coasters, and have a good use of the surrounding land. But Mystic Timbers takes it a step further. It has a tunnel, a themed station and transfer area, a better name, and finally, "The Shed." While nobody knows its contents yet, it will definitely add an element to a wooden coaster that nobody has seen before. Winner: Mystic Timbers
Fits into lineup:
Let's face it; Busch Gardens needed a wooden coaster. Besides maybe Alton Towers or BGT, how many major parks can you name that do not have some sort of wooden or hybrid coaster in their lineup? Without a large scale family or wood coaster, Busch Gardens is really killing two birds with one stone here. King's Island could have much rather used a Giga or Wing coaster to compliment their lineup with some of the largest wood coasters in the world. InvadR was long overdue. Winner: InvadR
On paper, it was hard to find categories that InvadR could beat MT, but this is one that I think many people will agree on. Marketing and teasing for the rides have been similar. Many teasers have been sent out by the parks and announcements were big and came earlier than usual. Both names have been highly scrutinized by coaster enthusiasts for some reason, so let's call them equal on that. But, InvadR offered a never before done interactive element with its name. It allowed people to vote for it with three choices, and that is truly unique. Instead of just slapping some corporate jargon onto the ride, the people could pick the best fit. I think personally I like the name Mystic Timbers better, but the voting element means... Winner: InvadR
It might be a little unfair to compare the two coasters. Mystic Timbers is just so much larger and has more to offer. But there are a few things that Busch Gardens has done right this year. A wooden coaster is something that they desperately needed and is long overdue. In the end though the count is: Mystic Timbers 3 - InvadR 2
Had InvadR been longer, it would be able to match up better to MT. It is a great little layout, but feels like it ends too soon. These coasters both are going to be some of the best work that GCI has put on in a while. For once, I am excited for a GCI announcement, and I hope that they continue down this path. It's no surprise that Mystic Timbers would win for probably anybody reading this, but my big hope is that if Busch Gardens builds a wooden coaster again in the future, it will be much larger scale than this sort of "prototype".
Either way, the biggest winner out of this matchup if GCI. They are finally producing balanced coasters with the right amount of twists, and actual airtime. I also like that they are testing out straight first drops on some models too. With their outstanding work over the past few years, they are one of the busiest manufacturers in the industry, and have made Gravity Group nearly extinct in America besides their family projects. If this continues, they may become a top 5 manufacturer for me.
Love it or hate it, Six Flags will be expanding VR through the end of this year. The new program will be named "Rage of the Gargoyles," and will feature a new interactive gaming element. Riders will remember the target practice scene on the New Revolution program, where the rider could use a button on their helmet to shoot at targets while going up the lift.
Now, the button will not be needed, as the rider's head movement will control the automatic shooting, and the game will apparently keep score. Despite mixed feedback, many people have claimed that VR was a great addition to some rides, and would love to do it over again. Six Flags is impressed with the general reception, and will continue to work with Samsung to improve the headsets.
Rage of the Gargoyles will replace the New Revolution program on:
It will also be added to:
In my opinion, these three new additions are perfect for the VR system. Two of which are mediocre coasters with a common layout and declining popularity. Demon could use an upgrade like this, and Kong is the average SLC. I have a feeling it won't work so well on Kong because of the head-banging issues already present. Originally, Great America was supposed to run VR on Raging Bull, but it doesn't surprise me that they went this route instead. People backlashed that Raging Bull is good enough and they do not want to wait longer for it. Skull Mountain does not generate long lines either, but is completely indoors and this can really "speed up" a glorified family coaster.
I'm disappointed to see it stay on coasters like Superman, Goliath, and Dare Devil Dive, however. These are good enough coasters that do not necessarily need an attendance boost or enhancement. Plus, capacity has been killed on a few of these rides with the loading cycle. Dare Devil Dive already suffers from low throughput. If Six Flags plans on continuing this program for many years, they should consider expediting the process in some way.
The report did not mention New Revolution at Magic Mountain or the three Superman coasters running VR. I assume that they will continue to run their same programs through the end of the year. I have heard that Superman: The Ride at SFNE has cut back their hours for VR as well due to people outraged with the 2+ hour line it has created.
I think VR can be a good way to revitalize a stale layout, but it really shouldn't impact wait times to the point where it garners the same wait time a new attraction wouldn't even get. Cedar Fair is doing the process the correct way. Use it on older coasters (Iron Dragon and Thunder Run) and set reservations/off-time so people can enjoy the ride the original way without having to wait an asinine amount of time.
Recently I received a good question via email. I like this one because it is very specific and has to do with the inner workings of coasters.
How often are coasters greased, and what are the benefits of doing so?- Rich from New York
Thanks for the unique question!
Every coaster (and also flat rides and water rides) is different, so their schedules for maintenance and greasing is different. Climate, speed, weight, cycling, etc. also affects this. A good rule of thumb is the larger a park or coaster is, the more often coasters there get greased. These parks not only have a larger maintenance budget to support this, but also cycle a lot more trains and need to upkeep.
There are also many forms of grease and many parts to be greased. Chains, wheels, rails, bearings, and calipers are all parts that may get treatment. Moving parts within the brake calipers get greased once in a while, not the brake pad itself to clarify. Chains and bearings usually get a much thicker black grease as they are moving parts. Rails and wheels are covered with a thin blue or transparent lubricant because they require less friction and a cleaner environment.
Two popular companies that manufacture lubricants for the industry are Track Lube Plus and Dow Corning. Dow Corning is usually used for chains and bearings, as their grease is much thicker and durable, but also messy. Track Lube Plus has become a standard for track and wheels, and can even be bought for guns and small projects.
Tracks can be greased weekly, monthly, or even just bi-yearly. Higher caliber coasters like the Superman hypers, Millennium Force, etc. receive lubrication in their easy to reach areas once every few weeks. This keeps friction and heat dispersion down, and protects the rails and wheels from wear.
Seeing that it is hard to reach 150+ foot drops, maintenance workers usually grease the lift and wheels, cycle it a few times, and the grease will spread throughout the layout.
Other coasters that are not as susceptible to as much wheel or rail wear, like wooden coasters, may only be greased in certain areas a couple of times a year. That is not a blanket statement, as some wooden coasters do get extra attention, it really just all depends on the park and the ride.
I would say for the vast majority of "average" coasters, they may get some form of greasing around 5 times a year, possibly more if the climate allows for it. A particularly rainy or hot season could call for more. Tracks are usually greased before the offseason comes as well to protect the rails from corrosion that water and other precipitation can create.
The benefit of greasing is quite simple. Less friction means less wear, and quicker rides. The less wear on a coaster means the less money that has to be used to replace it. If spending $50-$100 on a bucket of lubrication means saving thousands in parts down the line, it is a great trade off for parks. The less wheels that need replacing and the longer the steel track stays solid is something that all parks would love to hear. Believe it or not, even some water rides and flat rides receive lubrication to preserve their reliability as well.
A few weeks ago, I witnessed a Larson Loop at Darien Lake shut down for apprx. 10 minutes so they could grease the wheels and rails. Because it was such a hot day, the motor was beginning to overwork from the heat, and the grease would help the ride run smoother and not drag so much. After that, it ran a lot quicker and put less stress on the machine.
Track Lube Plus is the most popular lubricant in the industry. It has multiple uses, comes in liquid or paste form, and protects coasters from unnecessary wear.
Today I will introduce a new type of blog post for the site... The Rumor Rodeo.
This is mainly just a space filler between major updates and will address some of the rumblings around the country.
Valleyfair removing its Enterprise... But will it return???
After 38 long years of service, Valleyfair announced that its Enterprise ride will be closed on August 21st. This points towards the park adding something large for next year, as it is quite early to remove an attraction. Even Mean Streak won't see bulldozers until September. Previous rumors stated that the attraction would be removed for 2017, rehabbed for a year, and added in a different location for 2018.
Especially with Cedar Fair's current strategy of bringing in old school rides, it doesn't make much sense to do this right now. Bringing it back after some much needed attention could be happening after all. There were also rumors that the Supercat ride could be seeing the same treatment soon.
As for its replacement, the park stated it will reach "new heights". That could be anything from the much rumored dark ride experience to a Sky Roller similar to Canada's Wonderland. Hopefully we get some more info soon.
Six Flags 2017 announcement may be similar to last year...
Recently, a report came out detailing Six Flags' second quarter earnings. The company has specified that they have received record setting revenue, increased attendance, and positive reviews on new attractions, despite a drop in stock price. Of course, the market currently is very fluctuate and up in the air, but the company in general seems satisfied with the way 2016 has been going.
So what does that mean for next year? Most likely, you can expect a very similar set of additions. Instead of any giant ground-up coasters, parks will likely receive VR or rehab of an existing ride, Larson Loop or flat package, a Justice League attraction, or possibly a Free Spin coaster. Maybe a new addition or two will be peppered within, but a lack of rumors and satisfaction of current rides will lead the company to think "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."
Seeing that the company's contract with RMC is up, and no huge land clearance or such has been occurring, the largest coaster additions we may see are S&S 4D coasters. Six Flags also is impressed with the Justice League licensing, and have even sent out guest surveys to all parks about a Justice League dark attraction. Corporate seems totally fine with adding the same rides repetitively until all parks have something along those lines.
Early Mean Streak Rumors
The announcement only came out a couple of days ago, but people are already going wild speculating about the fate of Mean Streak after September 16th. For right now, as mentioned in my previous post, the leading candidates are demolition, RMC I-box treatment, or a GCI retrack.
While most fans would be ecstatic to see RMC come in and completely upgrade the attraction, Cedar Fair is debating whether the investment would be worth it. They could construct a brand new wooden coaster, and clear a lot of space in Frontiertown by just demolishing it altogether. Either way, GCI seems to be the least likely candidate because the ride was never really a fan favorite. It is considered to be one of the biggest mistakes in Dick Kinzel's career.
I've also heard rumblings of the park reusing the space for a new hotel or coaster from the ground-up, but remember that the space contains a maintenance facility. To contend with it, the facility would likely need to be moved elsewhere to open up the full parcel of land. It is truly a mystery what the fate of the ride will be, but I'm sure that things will be answered soon enough.
Today Hersheypark announced their new thrill ride for 2017. As most people have guessed, it was confirmed to be a drop tower attraction. However, it is more unique than the typical S&S complex.
The attraction contains three towers, but all are different. All have different heights and features. The Kisses Tower is the smallest. It holds 12 riders and reaches a height of 80 feet, all while running a "Double Shot" cycle. Reese's Tower takes 16 passengers 131 feet high, also running that program.
The star attraction is Hershey's Tower. At 189 feet, it is slightly taller than the traditional S&S model. Also, it includes one of the new rotating cars that the company displayed at IAAPA. The ride can hold 20 people at once, and includes a combo program of "Space Shot" and "Turbo Drop". It will be the first tower in the world to do this, making it a thrilling and much needed attraction.
Hershey was one of the few major parks in the world not to have a tower ride. This definitely fills the void, and adds another thrill to the park's offerings. The three sizes of towers make it more appealing to those not ready for the 189 foot one. Riders must be over 48" tall to ride.
To make room for this addition, Flying Falcon will be removed, and the Frog Hopper and Red Baron rides will take its place. While this addition is more of a sideways move rather than a true addition, the towers will be much more thrilling and popular than the old Condor model. In the long run, it should save the park some money in maintenance as well.
A Chick-Fil-A will also be added to the park for 2017. This will be the chain's first appearance in the park, and one of the many branded restaurants that they offer. The eatery will include indoor air-conditioned seating, as well as an outdoor patio.
Altogether, the drop tower will be a hit for the park. It may not be the most spectacular addition ever, but a nice supplementary one after an off-year this season.
Well, the moment we have all been waiting for has finally come. On September 16, 2016 Mean Streak will close forever to the public. For 25 years, this rough and tumble attraction has given millions of rides to people and was a record breaker for height and speed on a wood coaster when it originally opened.
Not much information was given as to the fate of the ride, but the catchphrase used was "Mean Streak is getting the axe." So what is going to happen to the painful, iconic ride? Possibly a retrack, or demolition, or even RMC at this point. There have been some teasers, but no real credible information.
Whatever the case, something drastic is happening, and MS is going to be coming down soon. Normally, I would say rush out to Cedar Point to get your final rides, but with this is the pain and expense really necessary? For 2017, Soak City may be getting an expansion, and this project may be pushed down to 2018.