Rumors continue to pour in about SFMM's 2019 plans. We previously heard rumors pointing to Deja Vu's old location over in Cyclone Bay. This speculation is picking up again, as some are suggesting that the WHOLE area may in fact be shutting down for rehab. For those unfamiliar with the park, Cyclone Bay is in the back portion of the park and includes Apocalypse, Jet Stream, Cyclone 500, and Dive Devil.
This area of the park has been under neglect for years now, and is in dire need of a refresh, similar to what was done in the DC Universe a couple of seasons ago. If the rumblings hold true, this may be the largest investment that the park has undergone in years. So large, that construction may begin soon, like we have seen with Canada's Wonderland.
People are clinging to the rumor of Dive, Dive, Dive, as this has been going around since there was the possibility of Viper's demise years ago. I think this is one of the best possibilities, as it is more compact, but could even break records for the park, and possibly push 300 feet. Magic Mountain currently has coasters in the 200 and 400 foot range, so a Giga would be a first.
Roaring Rapids, although in a different area, could be demolished in favor of making room for this new coaster. With Magic Mountain running out of room, it could clear up some space. Roaring Rapids is one of the older rides in the park, and most costly to run and maintain.
Not only does it rack up a huge utility and operational bill, but it has suffered from increased maintenance issues recently, making it more vulnerable to closing. It's quite unfortunate if that's the case, as Magic Mountain would be down to 2 water rides, but from what I've heard, the ride does not generate much interest anyways.
If these plans are truly in the books, the Cyclone Bay area would close somewhere around June to prepare for construction. Apocalypse and other rides would be safe from demolition, but they would be taking a period of increased maintenance and rehab, something that Apocalypse has been seeing a lot of lately. For Magic Mountain's only remaining traditional wooden roller coaster, I feel that close to a year off is necessary to keep in in decent condition.
This is a great way for the park to reutilize old attraction space for something new and improved, but also takes some of the load off of the older attractions that need some extra attention. Besides coasters, SFMM is low on other attractions, so a ride like Jet Stream needs to be preserved. It is good to see the park on a bit of a spur in investing, as they are seeming to round out their lineup, and rehab some of the plazas and areas, similar to Cedar Fair's strategy.
We will continue to look into this, and likely post a video soon...
SFMM Guest Surveys show off crazy new coaster concept
On the most recent ride planning survey, Six Flags posted this video of what would be a revamped Superman: Escape from Krypton. The ride would reutilize the current structure, but become a single full circuit coaster, rather than two shuttles. The ride would feature the world's tallest inversion, connecting the two sides.
Of course this is an extremely primitive model and is going to need extreme engineering analysis. The structure is going to have to hold the new load of this updated track, as well as fall into safe force ranges with Lex Luthor being on the same drop tower. I actually received this same concept through Great Adventure's survey, so they are receiving an opinion chain-wide. I would be totally for this project happening, but would rather see SFMM get its 20th ground up coaster, rather than a repurpose.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg debating Sesame Place area
BGWFans has uncovered a guest survey for a potential new Sesame Place area added behind France at BGW. The land would be open by 2021, and feature 6 family attractions. This project would not be a part of BGW, rather a "third gate" added onto the property. This is an attempt to take full advantage of the Sesame Street IP, much like what is being done in Pennsylvania.
The new park would include a shopping district, dry ride area, an mini water park. While I find it weird that this wouldn't be a part of the park, like Busch Gardens Tampa's Sesame area is, this seems large enough to be sustainable on its own. It just needs to have the right admission cost, and draw in enough families with small children who really enjoy the IP.
Along with the announcement of Crazanity for Magic Mountain's 2018 addition, Six Flags made the shocking announcement that the park would also be going to 365 day operation for the first time this year.
While we are only 2 months into the year, the move seems like a mistake so far, due to the lack of attendance during the weekdays, when the park would usually be closed. Was this too big of a jump too fast? Is there just not enough interest or demand for a Six Flags park being open all year compared to powerhouses like Disney and Universal?
If you search for pictures of Magic Mountain's queues during the week so far, you will see results with baron, empty station houses, with nobody in them besides the park staff for the most part. With many of the likely visitors being season pass or membership holders, the park is more likely than not losing money by keeping rides open. Not only does the operational cost come into play, but maintenance and cycling the rides for only a few guests does as well.
With Six Flags' track record of maintenance and budgets, it is almost a scary thought to see what happens when rides begin to need extensive maintenance, new vehicles, or rehab. Will the company just cut their losses, and begin mass removing older rides that require more attention due to extra cycles and wear? At least to this point, it would've been smarter for Six Flags to roll out the program slowly, and at a smaller scale than offering the full park.
It costs a lot to staff different attractions hourly, especially with short queues and no riders to cycle. Utility costs also come into play just to keep the ride system running on standby. A potential solution that I came up with was a rotation schedule for certain rides or areas of the park. Especially on slower days, certain rides would only be open during a certain time frame, which would minimize the amount of staff needed to operate. This way, more capacity and volume is driven towards those few options, and rides with nearly no demand would not have to sit idle.
As expected demand and capacity changes, more options could become available. This also helps preserve the ride maintenance and costs, as you are not cycling trains for 2-3 guests at a time. With this move, the park could go longer without having to purchase or manufacture specific parts for upkeep. The older rides would especially see a lightened load, as their total lifespan could be increased.
Along with this model, during slow times of the year, major attractions could be closed altogether for a few weeks or a couple of months to perform that annual rehab and maintenance. Disney is very successful at this model on major attractions so that they run smoothly during peak demand. If implemented right, only 1 or 2 of these major rides or roller coasters would be down at a time during the average visit.
Considering tourism to the region, and the large pull that theme parks have with families, I believe that the new operating schedule is a step in the right direction, but the park's operations and staffing needs to be addressed so that most days do not end up being a total loss.
Six Flags should look not to cut this program altogether if things do not turn around by the end of the year, rather the specifics of it should definitely be tweaked to become more profitable.
Flashback to just over two weeks ago, we have some updates regarding these two parks, and a couple of the rumors that we addressed.
Magic Mountain Green Lantern Update
Good news to some, bad news to others, crews have been spotted finally working on Green Lantern's structure. The ride has been down for several months now, and rumors of its demise began to swirl around.
Park regulars are speculating that trim brakes may be added to the ride to help make the ride experience smoother and entice less flips. Parts were likely ordered from Intamin, and took a while for manufacturing and shipping overseas. It's hard to find many people who actually enjoy Green Lantern's previous ride experience. The restraints were tight, uncomfortable, and the ride threw you around uncomfortably.
I'm satisfied with this move, because as bad as Green Lantern is, it's better than the park removing it, and merely replacing it with a Free Spin coaster next year. That decision would totally be a "Six Flags thing" to do.
Six Flags over Texas could Reinstall Troika
We also reported on the removal of the Crazy Legs/Harley Quinn Spinsanity Troika ride. Some reports indicate that this may be for a wider scale refurbishment of the ride, so it can be reinstalled at a later occurrence.
While the ride was just refurbished two seasons ago, that was only for paint and retheming into Harley Quinn. This project could see the ride's mechanical system and ride vehicles see more attention. This is just a light rumor at this point, but is definitely a possibility considering the longevity of troika ride lifespans.
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.
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.
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.