Kennywood has been receiving some attention lately for their huge new roller coaster project coming within the next couple of seasons. That isn't stopping them from investing big in 2018, as they will be adding an $8.5 million area themed to Thomas & Friends. The park is boasting it as their largest expansion since the Lost Kennywood area in 1995.
The area will hold eight new rides and attractions; 4 new family rides, 3 attractions, and one redesigned ride. Cranky's Drop Tower, Flynn's Fire Training, Diesel Drivers, and Harold's Helicopter Tour are the names for the brand new rides. I suspect that they will be similar in nature to the Thomas Town rides that Six Flags used to operate:
Six Flags' contract to license the Thomas & Friends brand expired, leading them to retheme the areas as "Whistlestop Park". Many parks are rolling back on that theme altogether.
Journey with Thomas will be a modified version of the Olde Kennywood Railroad. A Thomas themed locomotive will be added to the tracks, and it sounds like part of the ride course will be tweaked. The new ride will take riders close to the Monongahela River and the Edgar Thomson Steel Works.
Along with the new rides, guests can expect to see a live stage show, play area, gift shop, and party pavilion as part of this major expansion.
It's interesting that the park would sign with this IP, given I don't know how many kids relate with Thomas anymore. Nonetheless, I expect Kennywood to hold onto this brand longer and take better care of it than Six Flags did. It's great to see the park adding new elements to the railroad to get some more riders on it, given its historic status.
Not only that, but the Thomas theme should bring some more brightness and modern infrastructure to the park, something that I feel they have always needed a bit more of.
This expansion, and the future investment that the park will be bringing should give Kennywood fans a lot to do over the next few years. If the new roller coaster is as big as some sources have been speculating, Kennywood might be trying to become more of a big player in the industry.