ThrillRide! Random Notes  

 

 

 

 

April 22, 2008

First up today comes a link to a truly bizarre, and truly appalling story from over at Blackpool Pleasure Beach. Sad, sad, sad (thanks to JW Green for bringing this to our attention).

Moving on to better things, Celebration City recently opened its new chutes ride, transplanted from Geauga Lake, and they kindly sent us the press release, along with a great photo:

Branson’s Largest New Ride Opens With Big Splash - Celebration City’s Roaring Falls Debuts With 5-Story Splash

(Branson, Mo. 4/18/08) The largest new ride in the Ozarks debuted with a big splash when Celebration City, Branson, Missouri’s Biggest Nighttime Attraction, opened Roaring Falls, a new multi-million dollar water adventure ride. Featuring a 5-story, 55-degree angle drop for an enormous splash finale, Roaring Falls did not disappoint guests looking for the spectacular splash when the park opened for the season April 18. Huge sheets of water shot more than 60 feet in the air as riders made the final plunge, soaking both riders and nearby viewers.

“It’s an incredible splash – one you really have to see to believe,” said Celebration City General Manager John Fitzgibbons. “With an Amazon theme, complete with misty fog and jungle sound effects, the adventure takes riders on a powerful river current carrying the boats to the top of a massive waterfall – the legendary Roaring Falls! The current then sends riders ‘over the edge’ for a final 50-foot plummet,” Fitzgibbons said, adding that Roaring Falls is the biggest expansion since the park opened in 2003.

Dubbed “The Wildest New Adventure in the Ozarks, by Day and by Night,” Roaring Falls is one of several 2008 additions to the amusement park. New for summer, JUMP! The Ultimate Dog Show features world-famous Frisbee-catching dogs, and Extreme Parrots presents colorful, exotic birds that sing, fly and talk.

Celebration City features more than 30 rides and attractions, including the original 8-story classic wooden coaster, Ozark WildCat. The night’s finale is the spectacular $3 million nighttime special effects show, Ignite the Night, with pyrotechnics, water cannons, gigantic video projections, and special effects.

Sploosh!

Hee-Hee!

And here's another release from the good folks at Universal Studios:

GREEN TECHNOLOGY IN THE NEW “THE SIMPSONS RIDE” AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD AND UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT REFLECTS THEME PARKS’ COMMITMENT TO ENVIRONMENT

Simpsons RideUniversal City, California and Orlando, Florida– Consistent with a company-wide initiative, creative teams at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Orlando have employed a variety of technological innovations in the design and construction of “The Simpsons Ride” --opening at both parks in May 2008 -- and are ushering in a new era of environmentally conscious theme park ride construction.

“The Simpsons Ride” is a new mega-attraction based on the blockbuster movie and TV series.

Dramatic savings in energy consumption will be achieved through the use of new lighting technologies, new technologies in electric motor drives and through cutting-edge software designed to control hydraulic systems for maximum efficiency.

Green Is UniversalThrough this “green” conversion process, “The Simpsons Ride” will achieve a power savings of over 55,233 watts per hour and cumulative power savings of 662,796 a day during the busy summer months of operation compared to average usage by the simulator-based attraction that previously occupied the new ride’s site.

The newly minted, environmentally conscious “The Simpsons Ride” represents the largest lighting installation of LED lamps in theme park ride history. The attraction will be illuminated with 2,582 LED lights, expending just 27,675 watts per hour as compared to 82,909 watts consumed per hour by standard incandescent lighting.

Energy conservation also extends to Variable Frequency Drives installed within the attraction to efficiently control the electrical power supplied to the ride’s many motor-driven components. This system will ultimately reap a power saving in excess 50 percent by incrementally increasing the necessary motor speeds used in controlling the ride’s countless behind-the-scenes technical controls.

A custom-written software program designed to oversee the Ride’s master control system will reconfigure power usage supplied to the ride’s hydraulics system resulting in significant energy consumption.

Universal Studios embarked on a company-wide “Green is Universal” initiative last year to heighten environmental consciousness through all the company’s operations. Newly instituted programs have included higher recycling ratios to reduce solid waste streams, switches to alternative fuels, conservation of energy to reduce carbon footprints, printing on recycled paper, conservation of water and adoption of the principle of sustainability as a core business value.

“The Simpsons Ride” is a collaboration between Universal Parks & Resorts and “The Simpsons” creators, Executive Producer, Matt Groening; Executive Producer, James L. Brooks; and Executive Producer, Al Jean. “The Simpsons Ride” is the first-ever mega-attraction based on the blockbuster TV series.

Cool, no?

-Robert

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April 20, 2008

Had a big birthday weekend (today's actually the day - I'm finally legal! Just kidding.) and one of many highlights was a trip to Universal Studios Hollywood yesterday. Despite my proximity to the park, I haven't been in ages, so me and my excellent bud Dariush headed on over, spanking new season passes in hand, and did everything, just about.

Here's the photo trip report.

-Robert

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April 16, 2008

Ready to start your own personal, backyard, Neverland-style amusement park? Looking for a great deal on used equipment? Then place a bid on Ebay for the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel! The opener is listed at $50,000, and you've got to come pick it up (no shipping included). Good luck!

On a more serious note, Bill Childs, a pal and longtime ThrillRide reader, and a working lawyer to boot, has written a couple of blog articles worth your time. First, there's more about Jersey's crazy Action Park and its looping waterslide. And second, he shares some appalling details from the legal case surrounding the horrific SFKK Superman Tower of Power accident. Be sure to follow the link at the end of the post; on the page following, there's another link to a copy of Intamin's operations manual for the Giant Drop ride, if you're curious about such things.

In the vein of sad news, reader JW Green sent us a few links to newspaper stories about the recent death of Williams Grove Amusement Park owner Morgan Hughes. See The Patriot-News, see also The Sentinel, and last, see The Sentinel's obituary. But as he points out, there is "...barely a mention of his ownership of Williams Grove Park, much less his history as the earliest major importer of European rides, stretching from the first Schwarzkopf Wildcat through the first Vekoma Boomerangs." Click here to read his editorial reply, sent to the local Pennsylvania papers. Thanks, JW!

Before I wrap it up tonight, I have a couple of things to say about the new Universal Studios Orlando coaster, 2009's Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit attraction. First, this thing is going to be cool, no question. The vehicles, the wicked new inversion, the lighting, the music, the whole shebang should be a blast. And the customizable ride experience is the wave of the future. So how come I'm not all wiggly about it? Is it because this ride won't be themed to a specific movie? Maybe. Or is it because of the whole "first coaster for the YouTube generation" deal? Yeah, perhaps that's the thorn in my shoe. I'm still in the 18-49 demographic that advertisers love, but I won't be for too much longer, so I can't really say I'm squarely a part of the "YouTube" generation. Is this ride making me feel my age? ("Yes, it is, you old fart," the youngsters may say.)

I'll bet that someday, when I get back down to USO and ride this thing, I'll love it, I'll write joyously about it, I'll pray for more like it. But until then, I'll be feeling that this coaster isn't really being built for me.

Or maybe I'm just warming up to an early mid-life crisis...

-Robert

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April 14, 2008

Howdy, folks, sorry about the downtime the last couple of weeks. I had a leeeetle problem with my home-based internet access which led to new wiring in the apartment and a new DSL account to get me back in business. I'll try to get caught up with some stuff this week.

But for right now, I thought I'd mention something that you may or may not have already heard about (I missed this completely until yesterday). On April 3rd, the Los Angeles Times Business section ran an article about all the theme park development happening outside the U.S. of A., primarily in the Middle East and Asia. Way deep in there, you'll find this line: "Six Flags promises that its Dubai park will have the world's tallest, fastest coaster."

Considering that the ink on the deal to build Six Flags Dubailand is likely still damp, we must presume that any real plans are hardly cast in stone just yet. So a promise like that is mere public relations fluffery. For now.

But the aim is to open this park by 2011 and contracts do need to start getting discussed. Could Six Flags be talking to Intamin about building something even bigger than Kingda Ka?

No matter who the supplier is, will they go over 500 feet?

-Robert

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April 3, 2008

A long-time ThrillRide reader and good friend saw the bit about the looping waterslide below and found a great link filled with tales of horror from New Jersey's Action Park, a place that I can scarcely believe existed in our lifetimes.

Read all this and tell me you really want to try a waterslide that tries to turn you upside down.

-Robert

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April 1, 2008

Some quick notes: First, a friend of mine just sent me a link to a flickr photo gallery of the old Chippewa Lake Big Dipper, in Ohio. I had no idea this golden-age coaster was still standing, but it is and the photos of its rotting corpse are heartbreaking. Get out your hankerchiefs and click here.

Second, I'm a sucker for good April Fools Day jokes, so I'm always on the lookout for 'Net-based goofs. And when I saw today's Screamscape update about companies that are trying to develop waterslides with inversions, I thought I'd found a humdinger (it's the General News item just down the page a bit). But as you'll see, this story appears to be legit. Which makes my toes curl, and not in a good way. There's talk of an "escape hatch," a phrase I never want to hear in a discussion about a waterslide.

Third, have you visited the official The Simpsons Ride website yet? As much as I will always miss BTTF:TR, I'm getting more and more confident that its successor will be worthy of displacing it.

Brief off-topic moment: a friend sent me a jpeg of an illustration by one ferociously talented artist who goes by the name of "Space Coyote" (Johnny Cash, we miss you, man). Click on the image below to see it larger:

Simpsons

Posted with permission from the artist

Now, tell me, does that rock hard, or does it not? Please visit Space Coyote's site for more of her fine work.

-Robert

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March 25, 2008

Thanks to our good buddies over at Roller Coaster Alley, I've been informed that Silverwood Theme Park's Giant Inverted Boomerang (the former SFGAm Deja Vu) now has a name: Aftershock. And I must say, I like it. They've already got the Tremors woodie, so it works on that level. Plus, it's a nice hint that this coaster had another life elsewhere. And last, you get the shock of going forward, and then the aftershock of doing it again backward. [This has been a message from the Department of Overexplaining Things Department of Messages.] But really, well done, Richard Palamara (he who came up with the new moniker)!

Head on over to the RCA site for the full story.

-Robert

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March 24, 2008

Budget Travel Magazine's online edition has just published a list of 2008's "Best New Thrills," and while no coasters made the cut, most of these attractions are certainly worthy of our attention.

Like The Edge at Melbourne, Australia's Eureka Tower. Up on the "Eureka Skydeck 88" observation level, there's a whole new way to experience that city's grandeur:

The Edge is a cube that slides out [from the deck]. When the cube is fully extended, the walls and floor turn transparent--and as if that weren't scary enough, speakers blare the sound of shattering glass.

Nice! And for those of us for whom heights are a real knee-weakener, there's even more, including Panama's Canapy Crane Tour, and Arizona's Grand Canyon Skywalk, where a "70-foot-long, U-shaped glass structure" lets you stroll out over the famous canyon, about a mile above it all. Singapore's Singapore Flyer, which just opened on March 1st, is now the "world's tallest observation wheel," 541 feet of pure evil. (Okay, not everyone will see it as such, but I sure do.)

The SeaWorld Aquatica waterpark gets a shout-out for its Dolphin Plunge waterslide, which really does sound jim-dandy. I can't say the same for Zorbing, something we can now do at Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

Read the entire list for yourself right here.

-Robert

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March 16, 2008

Theme Park Review has put up a simply massive Photo Trip Report from last weekend's West Coast Bash and it is awesome. You've got to see the night shots taken from the tower.

Also, almost two months after, I've put up some photos from my business trip to China in January. This is really for friends and family, and there's nothing park-related, but if you are so inclined, take a look here.

-Robert

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March 10, 2008

Here it is, the day after the big 2008 West Coast Bash at Six Flags Magic Mountain, and I'm still feeling the after-effects: sore feet, wobbly thighs, a mild sense of disorientation, etc. That's what a solid 15 hours of coaster-awesomeness will do to a person of my age. But damn, what an amazing day. Before I go any further, I've got to give a big thanks to everyone who pulled this stellar event together, namely Chris and Natalee Godsey of RideWorld.com, the progenitors of West Coast Bash, and Robb Alvey and his crew at Theme Park Review, who just went way overboard to make this WCB the best yet. By far. I'm sure those who are paying attention are already aware that the big surprise of the day was the announcement of the evening ERT: every operating coaster at The Mountain was made available to us. Which meant walking into almost any station and having a completely empty train just sitting there waiting for you. Front row, back row, whatever you wanted, it was yours. For a couple of hours, we died and went to coaster heaven.

Oh, and then there were the ultra-sweet backstage tours. And the exclusive preview of the Magic Mountain museum up in the Sky Tower. And the hours of presentations and Q&A with the park's senior management and a sales rep from S&S Worldwide. And watching an X2 train cycling...

Which also means that we must thank, most of all, the staff at Six Flags Magic Mountain, from park president Jay Thomas on down to every ride op who worked overtime for us, for extending a level of generosity I've never witnessed before. The message we heard all day, in both words and deeds, was that everyone at this park is working with a passion to put the Magic back on this Mountain. They are succeeding in spades. I think everyone who attended will agree that in short order, SFMM will once again be the pride of the Six Flags chain. It's damn close already.

Click here to read about a few of the highlights.

-Robert

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March 3, 2008

Did another podcast with the righteous Season Pass yesterday, but don't tune in for my worthless ramblings; listen, as soon as it is available, for the rare opportunity to hear the legendary Marty Krofft speak about the long history of Sid and Marty Krofft productions, their work with Six Flags, the sadly short-lived "World of Sid and Marty Krofft" theme park in Atlanta, the "Land of the Lost" feature film, etc., etc. It'll be Episode 17 and hopefully will be up and ready within a day or so.

I've never been a "pin trader," but I know there are tons of peeps out there who get into it, and now Universal Studios Hollywood is hopping on the bandwagon:

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD TACKS POPULAR PIN TRADING ON TO ITS LIST OF FUN THINGS TO DO AT “THE ENTERTAINMENT CAPITAL OF L.A.”

USH pin tradingUniversal City, California— Beginning March 14, Universal Studios Hollywood will offer guests nearly 300 more reasons to visit when “Universal Pin Trading” – the popular pastime of buying and trading collectible pins – comes to The Entertainment Capital of L.A.

This exciting program will kick off with a limited edition release of over 100 unique, collectible pins, along with a series of specially designed “Universal Pin Trading” lanyards. Individual pins, priced between $1.50 and $7.00, will be introduced while others will be retired throughout the year. A Spiderman four-pin starter set will also be available for purchase along with pins at the various retail stores located within the theme park, including the Universal Studio Store located on CityWalk.

Pin trading began over a century ago in 1896 at the first Modern Olympic Games in Athens, Greece; however, current-day popularity of the pastime was reborn in Los Angeles at the 1984 Olympic Games. Now the craze is once again the talk of Hollywood, with Universal Pin trading offering an interactive, affordable activity that bridges both the generation gap and language barrier. Guests of any age can trade official Universal pins with fellow park-goers and employees and exchanges between international enthusiasts can make the experience even more memorable.

Universal Studios Hollywood, The Entertainment Capital of L.A., includes a full-day, movie-based theme park and Studio Tour; the CityWalk entertainment, shopping and dining complex; the Universal CityWalk Cinemas; and the Gibson Amphitheatre concert and special event venue. Universal CityWalk features over 60 entertainment-themed restaurants, nightclubs, shops and dynamic entertainment options. Universal CityWalk Cinemas, offering the best movie-going experience in Los Angeles, features 19 screens including one of Southern California’s largest IMAX® venues and newly renovated stadium-style seating. The theme park features such groundbreaking attractions as “Revenge of the Mummy™ – The Ride,” “Shrek 4-D™,” “Jurassic Park® – The Ride,” the world-renowned Studio Tour, which takes guests behind-the-scenes of such landmark TV and movie locations and sets as Steven Spielberg’s “War of the Worlds,” and the upcoming Spring 2008 new mega-attraction, “The Simpsons Ride,” based on the blockbuster hit movie and TV series.

NBC Universal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. Formed in May 2004 through the combining of NBC and Vivendi Universal Entertainment, NBC Universal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, and world-renowned theme parks. NBC Universal is 80% owned by General Electric and 20% owned by Vivendi Universal.

Hmmm... starting off with a Spiderman set... interesting. ;)

-Robert

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Feb. 28, 2008

Today's big news, without question, was the announcement by Busch Entertainment of their ginormous "Worlds of Discovery" complex planned for Dubai, the area that will likely surpass Orlando, Florida as Earth's theme park capital within the next decade. Downloadable press releases are available on the Worlds of Discovery site, but in a nutshell, Dubai's WoD will include versions of all four of Busch's primary park "franchises" - Busch Gardens, SeaWorld, Discovery Cove and Aquatica, the new waterpark. And it will be the entertainment anchor of the Palm Jebel Ali, the world's largest man-made island.

Here's the sky-view rendering of the whole kit and kaboodle:

Whales rock, but this seems funky to me.

Yup, the entire WoD complex will be built on turf formed in the shape of a whale. To have a SeaWorld and a Busch Gardens park within a stone's throw of one another is extra righteous. The whole whale shape, though, has me a tad concerned. Sure, it'll look great if you happen to do a flyover (one must assume that the local airport will allow for runway approaches above the Palm Jebel Ali), but if memory serves correctly, the last time a theme park confined itself to a set of artificial boundaries, things didn't go so well. That would be the notorious Freedomland, U.S.A., one of the great disasters of the modern amusement era. As you'll recall, the park based its themes on U.S. history and was built in the shape of the Continental 48. Granted, Freedomland's problems had little to do with that detail, yet I just think the idea has bad juju.

Nonetheless, I can't wait to start hearing about the attractions planned for each park, especially Busch Gardens. Gotta believe the theming will be unique, with the richness of Arabian culture and history to draw upon. And given Busch Entertainment's cozy relationship with Bolliger & Mabillard...

-Robert

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Feb. 24, 2008

I just finished up a podcast with the great folks, Doug and Brent, over at The Season Pass and it was a blast. Episode 16, I believe, will be posted Monday night (PST) but head on over whenever because they've got an archive of all their previous 'casts, and they're top-notch. And the special guest they have lined up for the next one is beyond cool. Bookmark 'em now.

One of the topics we discussed was Mark Shapiro and his interview with Theme Park Review (if for some bizarre reason you haven't already listened to it, you should do so now). I'll only say this: Tilt-A-Whirls rule. Seriously, I love Tilt-A-Whirls. No joke, they're one of the few spin-n-spews I really dig. Magic Mountain needs a Tilt-A-Whirl!

Actually, the Dippin' Dots guy told me that the Circus Wheel is in a secret location, getting a new paint job, onboard audio, and redesigned cabins and will return, fully enclosed... as CW2.

(Tilt-A-Whirls are the bomb-diggity.)

-Robert

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Feb. 19, 2008

Universal's "Mummy" movie franchise has been a mixed bag so far, IMHO. I thought the first was a fun romp, but the sequel? Don't get me started. At least the success of both led to the installation of the two Revenge of the Mummy coaster/dark rides at Universal Studios' US parks. I've only sampled the Hollywood version (gotta get a ride review up at some point), but it's solid fun, if not spectacularly awesome-packed.

So you're aware of the third entry, "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor," coming this summer, yes? It's pretty much a fresh start, with Chinese dead folk causing all the trouble. Check out the latest blog entry from director Rob Cohen, who mentions all sorts of really promising details. Makes me wonder if future Mummy attractions, perhaps planned for Universal's Asia parks, may take their cue from this flick. (Terracotta warriors! Yetis! Michelle Yeoh!)

Also, the good folks at Celebration City sent over a cool rendering of the new Roaring Falls splashwater attraction mentioned below. Enjoy:

"Hey, we're not at Geauga Lake! Wheeee!"

-Robert

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Feb. 10, 2008

Got hit with a nasty cold in the last few days, so's I'm dragging around like I got a bag of bricks tied to my legs... Anyhoo, here's a press release for the new Branson, MO-based Celebration City attraction:

Celebration City Adds Biggest Ride Expansion Ever
The Wildest New Adventure in the Ozarks, by Day and by Night!

(Branson, Mo. 2/08) Celebration City, Branson’s Biggest Nighttime Attraction, presents the biggest park expansion to date, and the largest new ride in the Ozarks for 2008. Roaring Falls, a $2 million water adventure ride, takes riders on a water-filled journey through fast-moving rapids and features a 5-story, 55-degree angle drop for an enormous splash finale.

“Roaring Falls is the biggest ride we have added since the park opened in 2003. This new ride adds even more thrill to our lineup of coasters, rides and games,” said Celebration City General Manager John Fitzgibbons. Each 20-person boat follows the themed path of uncharted territory down a powerful river towards the massive waterfall for a final 50-foot plummet.

New for summer, the night place for families takes on a new twist with the all-new JUMP! The Ultimate Dog Show on the Great Lawn. World-famous Lou Mack and his Frisbee-catching dogs take performing to a whole new level with this energetic show that features some great feats of agility and talent. Also new is Extreme Parrots, with colorful and clever exotic birds that sing, fly and talk in an entertaining show about the amazing abilities of these intelligent animals.

Celebration City features more than 30 rides and attractions, from the original 8-story classic wooden coaster, The Ozark WildCat, and the breathtaking tower drop ride, the Accelerator, to the family favorite Electric Star Wheel. The Route 66 area highlights mini golf, the high-speed Stinger, and Woody’s Go-Karts – all free with park admission.

The night’s finale is the spectacular $3 million nighttime special effects show, Ignite the Night. This nightly presentation is filled with inspiring moments that celebrate the American spirit with pyrotechnics, water cannons, gigantic video projections, and special effects.

Celebration City is part of the Silver Dollar City Attractions family offering the biggest ride package in the Ozarks. Celebration City is open 3-10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays April 18 – May 17 and Aug. 22 – Oct. 25 (closed Sept. 27 & Oct. 4), with daily operations May 23 – Aug. 17. For information, complete schedules and tickets, contact 1-800-831-4FUN or visit http://www.silverdollarcity.com

Also, you've heard about the in-development Transformers dark ride, yes? Well, the folks at IESB.net, a terrific movie news web site, claim to have heard rumors about what form this attraction may take. Here's the gist:

One of the concepts involves an amphibious vehicle that guests will board and quickly find themselves in the middle of a battle between the warring giant robotic space aliens.

Which robots will it feature? Don’t know for sure but according to our tipsters, the designers were told that some of the robots could not be used because they will not be surviving the second film and third film.

Here's the link to the full story, but be warned: there's a lot of R-rated language, so proceed with caution.

-Robert

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Jan. 31, 2008

Mention of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo below triggered an email from an old pal who works in the industry:

"From what I have heard, from a client who is bidding on some of the Expo's pavilions, the Expo is supposed to be bigger than the Olympics there..."

Short, but potentially interesting, and the author of the note promised to do some more digging. I have to wonder if the news of China's first wooden roller coaster, reported at AmusementToday.com, is related (some cool renderings of the attraction are way down the home page). It's slated to be a part of a new park, another "Happy Valley" funzone, that's under construction in Shanghai. Will the park help anchor the Expo? Anyone?

While I'm rambling, I couldn't help but find it kind of disappointing that during the very week we're losing a U.S.-based Thrust Air coaster, Kings Dominion's Hypersonic XLC, we hear the news that Germany is getting an S&S-powered rocket sled that aims to shatter the coaster speed record, the 2009 attraction at the Nuerburgring raceway. Ah, well, Germany's long been on a list of countries I'd like to visit...

-Robert

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Jan. 27, 2008

All righty, the official registration form for this year's West Coast Bash is up! Download it here. What we can tell you now is this: There's a new $20.00 full day option, not including park admission, that will include

- Morning ERT on Tatsu, Viper, Revolution, and possibly more!
- Night ERT on Tatsu, Goliath, Scream, Colossus, and possibly more!
- Two meals - Breakfast AND Lunch
- Multiple backstage tours of past, present and FUTURE Magic Mountain attractions
- Q&A Session with Six Flags Magic Mountain management
- Guest Speakers and presentations by Magic Mountain and industry representatives
- Advance screening of Theme Park Review’s “Coaster Expedition Volume 10” DVD
- Event T-Shirt
- LOTS of surprises and goodies that you don't want to miss out on!

What we CAN'T tell you now... well, trust me, the "surprises and goodies" are gonna be very cool. And one or two you won't even know about unless you attend. Believe me, that $20.00 will be money well spent. See you there!

-Robert

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Jan. 24, 2008 (evening)

Howdy, peeps, I'm back from China - still recovering from the insane jetlag, but starting to feel like I'm adjusting to my local time zone again. What a trip... All business, but it was still exhilarating from start to finish. I'll post a page of photos and some observations in the days ahead.

Before I share a few tiny park-related morsels from the trip, a couple of brief items. First, save the date: March 9, 2008. That's the day for the big Ride World / Theme Park Review co-hosted West Coast Bash event at Six Flags Magic Mountain. It's the only enthusiast event I'm sure to attend this Spring and there are some very cool things in the works, so be there or be very sorry you didn't make it. Or square. Details are forthcoming.

Second, our good friends at Roller Coaster Alley recently shared the news about Silverwood's "newest" coaster, the Giant Inverted Boomerang formerly known as Six Flags Great America's Deja Vu, coming back online this July. They've got all the official goods posted and a link to Silverwood's site, which includes a contest to rename the steel beastie. Seems to me that "Deja Vu" is as appropriate a moniker for this coaster as it's ever been, but in honor of Yogi Berra, I'd suggest "Deja Vu, All Over Again." (Less kind persons have offered "Deja Blew" and "Deja Boooo!")

So I didn't visit any parks while in China, but did speak with a Hong Kong resident who had recently stopped by HKDL and his advice was to skip it and check out Ocean Park instead. "Too small," was the phrase I heard more than once. Seems to be the consensus opinion, doesn't it?

We did take a half-day tour of Shanghai, which rocked, and during the excursion, our guide spoke about the 2010 World Expo that city is hosting, of which I was totally unaware. Although the event web site doesn't seem to mention anything specific about it, the seemingly well-informed tour leader mentioned "theme park." From what I understand, this expo is planned to be the biggest ever, and with all the Sino-park-building that's happened in preparation for the 2008 Olympics, I've got my hopes up that there is something really special planned.

More soon!

-Robert

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