ThrillRide! Random Notes  





Nov. 7, 2010

Looks like Coney Island's next transformation has really begun. Into what, exactly? Something with more rides (good), and a cleaner environment (also good), but something with less of a uniquely "Noo Yawk" personality (not good). You can read all about it here.

Fortunately, I made it out to Coney last July 4th weekend and got one last visit with the old girl before the Coney Island I grew up with is mostly gone forever. Here's a photo trip report.



Oct. 20, 2010

The Season Pass has posted the killah Knotts Scary Farm Haunt podcast, so givit a listen right here.

Also, how about all the truly hot news of the last week or so? Busch Gardens Tampa's multi-launch terrain beastie Cheetah Hunt looks to be a winner, even if the name is not everyone's favorite. And Six Flags Magic Mountain's big news is just, well, beyond spectacular. The Green Lantern "Zac Spin" coaster is going to be amazing and I'm looking forward to trying it out (a bit nervously, I'll admit).

But it's the Superman: Escape From Krypton reboot that I'm really, really jazzed for. There are some personal reasons for this. The announcement of Superman: The Escape back in the day was actually instrumental in the genesis of this very website, so it's dear to my heart. Given that it no longer leaps tall buildings quite the way it used to, and that its speed records have long since been eclipsed, I feared that it might have met a fate similar to Flashback, an indignity it would never deserve. So I am quite grateful that SFMM is giving it new life and possibly creating something far more thrilling. That pause at the top, looking straight down...

Here's hoping that the creative types really do something wonderful inside the new station, pre-launch. As I posted over at Theme Park Review, a little tension-building with some of John Williams' iconic music theme, some explosive lighting and sound FX, maybe even a Marlon Brando sound clip...

"Live as one of them, Kal-El, to discover where your strength and your power are needed. Always hold in your heart the pride of your special heritage. They can be a great people, Kal-El, they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you... my only son."

Yeah, this could be special... go for it, Magic Mountain!



Oct. 17, 2010

Finally posted the trip report for the 2010 Knotts Scary Farm Halloween Haunt, presented in:



Oct. 2, 2010

Tomorrow's a big day: the massive Knott's Scary Farm enthusiast event. And I am super-psyched.

But today was beyond special. I was invited by my mega-pal Doug Barnes to participate in another Season Pass podcast with Disney legend Bob Gurr. At his house.

Sipping martinis while we sat outside in his backyard, looking out over a spectacular view, we had a rollicking conversation about all sorts of stuff, which you'll get to hear in a week or so.

In the meantime, here are a few shots taken inside of what is a literal museum of theme park history. Freaking insane, it was.

This is the vista over which his garden stands. Awesome.

This is the drawing of the original Abe Lincoln animatronic, life-size.

Does this kind of thing make me geek out like a mofo? Yes it does.

This is a miniature of one of the Main Street windows that pays homage to Bob (who, by the way, is one of the nicest, most gracious human beings alive).

This is another animatronic figure that Bob created and if you know where it comes from, MAJOR geek points to you. (I had no clue.)

A plaque that commemorates one of the many patents Bob has earned.

A photo taken from the Day President Nixon visited Disneyland. (How much to you love the "Submarine Voyage" sign in the background?)

Speaking of monorails, here are two of the original models of the first trains.

And here's a drawing, the last Bob has done to date.

The original Kong hand developed for testing the Universal Studios "Kongfrontation" attraction, which, as you can see, is melting away its outer layer.

In his garage, a small billboard for the attraction.

And finally, Doug and I sitting in one of the original Mr. Toad cars. If not for these photos, I'd swear it was all some unbelievable dream...



Sept. 26, 2010

It's not really a thrill ride, but the Superbus is about as wicked as ground-based public transportation is likely to get. According to the official website, it's not only super-sexy, but also very green, with electric motors and stuff. I just found this video clip of a prototype and man, does it make me want one here in L.A. bad. Gimme!



Sept. 19, 2010

Had a great time last weekend at the Los Angeles County Fair and here's the seven-page photo trip report.



Sept. 12, 2010

In case you haven't listened already, the Season Pass podcast featuring a review of Six Flags Great Adventure is ready to rock. Check it out!



Sept. 7, 2010

Saludos, amigos! Been way too much downtime here and I'm rectifying that today with a massive update that includes a photo-packed 3-park trip report and the first complete Ride Review in about a year.

Enjoy a Season Pass podcast-enhanced look at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Kings Dominion, along with a review of the Dominion's amazing Intimidator 305 giga-coaster.



June 24, 2010

Bob Gurr. That's all I should have to say to get you to go on over and listen to the latest 'cast at The Season Pass.



June 14, 2010

What a truly sad day it was. To learn that Will Koch passed away yesterday was shocking, painful, heartrending. There are plenty of selfish reasons to be upset: the enthusiast community lost one of its best friends, the man who guided Holiday World through its greatest period of expansion, whose own awesome enthusiasm for roller coasters gave us three of the best woodies in the world.

But that's not the worst of it. Just ask anyone who ever spent more than a few moments in Will's company and they'll tell you what a genuinely nice, giving person he was, someone without a trace of bad humor, someone who would always stop to speak with a guest at the park, who would do anything he could to make your day better.

All of which makes it so terrible to imagine how this loss is affecting his family and everyone at Holiday World. The injustice of it is staggering.

But he leaves behind something wonderful, a place that has made millions so happy and will continue to do so. Holiday World is a living, breathing monument to one of the greatest people the amusement industry will ever know.

We are all so lucky Will Koch was with us as long as he was, and everyone at Holiday World should know that we will never stop missing him.



June 5, 2010

Hang in there, folks; new updates are coming. For realz. In the meantime, we've added a new tee-shirt design to the MegaWorld Souvenirs collection: The Voyage Into the Q Dimension shirt. One- and two-sided designs are available.

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend (where applicable)!



April 4, 2010

The first update for 2010... finally. Without further ado, here are my personal recollections of the awesome West Coast Bash, Day One. Sadly, I could not attend Day Two at Knott's Berry Farm, but all reports were of a fantastic day there as well. If you're looking for really comprehensive looks at the Bash, then visit Theme Park Review, if you haven't already. Also, be sure to listen to the SFMM Bash podcast over at The Season Pass!



Dec. 31, 2009

Did I say updates would be "sparse" through the end of the year? By "sparse," I really meant "almost nonexistent." So here's one more before we turn over that last 2009 calendar page.

I hope everyone had a fantastic holiday season. Along with plenty of traditional Christmas cheer, I did manage to enjoy an evening at Universal Studios Hollywood's Grinchmas celebration this past Monday, with some out of town friends. We had a great time on The Simpsons Ride, the tram tour (new New York is lookin' good! As is the new Kong structure!), and watching the Grinchmas tree-lighting pageant. Real snow is cold; I'd sort of forgotten. Also, do the Chamber of Horrors at the very end of the night, when it's almost empty and the cast is feeling feisty. MUCH scarier than usual.

Before I sign off, here's a couple of shots from said Grinchmas celebration, presented in glorious Blurry-Cell-Phone-Fot-O-Vision:

Happy New Year, everybody!



Dec. 1, 2009

Hey, folks, sorry for the recent downtime (hope all of my stateside pals had a great Thanksgiving). Updates will continue to be somewhat sparse through the end of the year, but I will be announcing a little contest in the next week or so.

Also, I had to go through a bunch of family files recently and I came upon some photo albums I thought had been lost forever. Within a couple of those albums are some photos taken quite some time ago. I'll be sharing more in the weeks to come, but here are four shots taken at Disney World in July of 1979.

Man, do I miss these babies...

Ah, The Nautilus... Looks as gorgeous as I remembered her. Will any like her ever cruise the waters again?

Coming Soon!

This was the big attraction under construction at that time. Look at that artist rendering... Pretty cool and yet it still didn't do justice to the actual ride.

Track siting!

Was I psyched to see this? You bet I was.

More trackage!

Ah, such warm memories...



Nov. 12, 2009

Ah, Coney Island... the tug of war over its future seems to have gone in a slightly better direction with the city of New York now in control over some of the real estate. The war is far from over, but a battle seems to have been won by the good guys. We hope, anyway.

Thanks to this blog post over at, a map-lover's destination, I was clued into, a very cool site that catalogues, as you'd guess, old theme park brochures, maps and more. How I missed that one up until now, I don't know...

The trailers for Disney's latest hand-drawn animated feature, The Princess and The Frog, have not really impressed me much, but I'm still hopeful. And it's good to know that our heroine is already making appearances at the WDW.

There may not be any rides - yet - but I'm still intrigued by news of this "theme park" dedicated to one of the greatest criminals of the 20th Century. Hey, if Six Flags St. Louis can have its Boss woodie, why not El Patron for this park?

Alton Towers is one park that knows how to generate plenty of early buzz for its new roller coasters and their curiosity generation for SW6 is no exception. But "Surrender?" I just can't get my mind around that as a name... We'll see...



Nov. 9, 2009

Not sure how I feel about the news of Holiday World's Voyage getting these all-new trains. On the very positive side, they look pretty cool, a smoother ride will be make repeat rides easier to take, and cutting down on roadbed stress will only give the coaster a longer, healthier life. And yet... its rough and tumble personality was part of its winning charm. I'll miss that. But I can't wait to try 'em out!

Speaking of rough and tumble personalities, it looks like Kings Island's Son of Beast hyperwoodie was truly bad to the bone from the start.

Now that mainland China will have its very own Disney park, you'd think the local homegrown theme parks would be running scared. Not so, according to this story. And here's an interesting detail I'd not heard before:

Additionally, two port cities, Shenzhen and Tianjin, each bought a retired Soviet aircraft carrier to transform into theme parks.

You gotta wonder what sort of park you can build on a decommissioned Russian warship...

So, Ferrari World's star attraction, the "world's fastest roller coaster," is being touted in this article as a 200 km/hour deal. If I'm doing the math right, that comes out to about 124 miles per hour. Doesn't sound right to me... Still, that overhead shot of the whole facility looks mighty rockin'.

Congratulations, Silver Dollar City, on your big gold anniversary!

Silver Dollar City Celebrates 50 Years with New Ride, Year-Long Party ‘Take Time to Celebrate’

Ride Opening in Spring 2010 To Be America’s Biggest Water Battle: Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast

(Branson, Mo. 11/09) Silver Dollar City launches its 50th year in 2010, celebrating with a year-long party, a new $ 7 million ride, special birthday events, top names in entertainment, new shows for each of its six world-class festivals, and a $50,000 prize give-away. Themed Take Time to Celebrate, 2010 marks the park’s biggest event year ever.

More than 65 million guests have visited Silver Dollar City in the past 5 decades, so focus is also on appreciating golden memories of the past, such as a new park opening show reminiscent of early years, an on-line memorabilia search and showcase, change to be given in coin dollars, craftsmen reunions and the presentation of the top country hits of 50 years for the evening show.

When the Herschend family opened Silver Dollar City May 1, 1960 atop the famed Marvel Cave, the park featured a town square, a demonstrating blacksmith, a general store and ice cream parlor, and a crew of 17 “citizens” who ran the shops and performed street shows. Guests numbered about 125,000 that first year. The park now entertains 2 million guests annually, covering more than 100 acres and featuring100 craftsmen, 30 rides and attractions, six world-class festivals, and dozens of theaters and restaurants, claiming the title The Home of American Craftsmanship.

New Ride, Festivals & Event Highlights from March through December 2010 Debuting in early Spring is the new $7 million ride Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast

America’s Biggest Water Battle, a super-soaking water raft ride themed around the adventures of fun-loving, mischief-makers Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn. Raft riders, armed with water soakers, navigate the Mighty White River, battling raft-to-raft and raft-to-shore, dodging even more streams of water from sharp shooters ashore. A friendly warning -- you will get wet!

The 50th Celebration goes global with World-Fest opening in April, presenting the all -new production Fiery Fiddles, featuring the world’s only soaring strings aerialist, plus the return of the Zhejiang Balancing Monks of China, and new dance troupes from Mexico and Trinidad.

The 1st of May is a Birthday Celebration Weekend, filled with events including a parkwide birthday party, special concerts with the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, fireworks, the official debut of the new Great American Country Nights evening show and a special Night of Praise concluding the events. A national recipe contest, now underway through Taste of Home magazine, will discover and name the Official Silver Dollar City Birthday Cake!

The celebration heats up in summer during America’s largest kids’ festival, KidsFest, June through August, where the new ride adventure Tom & Huck’s RiverBlast takes top billing, along with a major new stunt dog show and appearances by kid-favorite costumed characters including SpongeBob & Patrick, Shaggy & Scooby Doo, The Jetsons, The Flintstones and the Backyardigans.

For the National Harvest Festival, in recognition as the Home of American Craftsmanship, Silver Dollar City will host the Craft in America Exhibit, created exclusively for SDC. The exhibit is from the creators of the highly-awarded PBS documentary series featuring unique American artists, such as the 50 who will choose their finest works for the exhibit. Additionally, renowned artisans previously featured at SDC will return in a special craftsmen’s reunion showcase.

Also in fall, the season-long Take Time To Celebrate Sweepstakes will culminate in the give-away of $50,000 in prizes.

An Old Time Christmas, the heralded holiday lighting event with more than 4 million lights, a 5-story special effects Christmas tree, a light parade and the Broadway-caliber show A Dickens’ Christmas Carol, will end the season with a glorious celebration and special events to mark the park’s brightest season and the birthday year finale.

“The Herschend family built Silver Dollar City's business and reputation based upon providing guests fun, memorable experiences as well as taking care of our employees. That’s as true today as it was 50 years ago,” said Brad Thomas, Silver Dollar City General Manager. 

Silver Dollar City is open March 18 – December 30, 2010. For information, call 800-831-4FUN or visit



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