ThrillRide! Random Notes  

 

 

 

 

July 2, 2008

Hey, folks! It looks like we're back after a couple of weeks of server troubles. My deepest thanks to Rideworld's Chris Godsey for ably restoring everything to normal function.

Gimme a couple of days to get back into action and I'll have a major update this coming holiday weekend. Ciao, for now!

-Robert

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June 16, 2008

Got a few quick links to share before I get into the sad news of the week.

First, our pals at Roller Coaster Alley have a cool contest in the works. They're looking for your best on-ride photo and the winner, to be announced on July 1, will earn two adult tickets to Silverwood Theme Park. Visit their site for all the details.

Second, reader JW Green dug up a couple of entertaining links. Here's a story about how the high price of the gas-o-leen is hurting the carny biz. And if you're a fan of the Weeki Wachee Mermaids, then you'll enjoy this site, the ongoing story of the Little Merman.

Third, there's going to be an all-new "mini" Harry Potter film, and special clips for the rides, created just for the new Harry Potter "island" at Islands of Adventure. The three main stars will be involved; check out the story here.

And last, I came upon an interesting feature regarding the company that made the LED light system for the new Pacific Park Ferris Wheel.

Okay, now it's time to get serious. If you're a fan of special effects, then you've probably already heard that Stan Winston, an undisputed master of both practical and digital film magic, died this past Sunday. This man was responsible for the eye-candy in dozens of the best of science fiction, fantasy and action movies, including, but hardly limited to, Aliens, The Terminator films, the Jurassic Park films, Iron Man, Predator, The Thing, Galaxy Quest, Artificial Intelligence, The Monster Squad, and on and on. Take a look at his listing at the IMDB and you'll see what a staggering impact he had on cinema as we know it. And, of course, he was instrumental in bringing Terminator 2: 3D to the Universal Studios theme parks.

He was only 62 years old, far too young to be taken from us. The world will miss you, Stan, so very, very much.

-Robert

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June 8, 2008

Southern California is finally home again to one of the best of the "flats:" a Flying Scooter. Riverside, California's Castle Park just opened its new Dragon Flyers and there's a nice article about it up at The Press Enterprise site. As the story relates, these honky-tonk fun machines fell out of favor in the modern theme park era, but the true believers have kept them from disappearing altogether. Reader JW Green, who sent us the link above also informed me that there's a whole club dedicated to these interactive contraptions, Flyer Addicts Anonymous. Dig their truly awesome and informative site.

(I will always remember a very special Scooter experience enjoyed by several who attended Ride World's Coaster Conclave 2, featuring a stop at Knoebel's. If there's a park that cranks up its Scooter any faster than The K-Grove, I haven't been there yet. One of our group took out a tree branch... Insane.)

Gamers, take note: there's a new park-related title coming.

BRASH ENTERTAINMENT AND SIX FLAGS PARTNER TO ADMIT GAMERS OF ALL AGES TO SIX FLAGS FUN PARK VIDEOGAME

Six Flags Fun ParkLos Angeles, Calif., June 5, 2008 – Brash Entertainment, in partnership with Six Flags Inc., (NYSE: SIX), announced today the development of Six Flags® Fun Park, a videogame releasing in North America that brings the thrills and chills of a Six Flags theme park to the family living room. Featuring uniquely themed areas and mini-games representative of a visit to Six Flags park, this new videogame ensures that summer fun continues all year round.

Calling gamers of all ages - Six Flags Fun Park, welcomes the whole family into a virtual theme park filled with everyone’s favorite games, all re-imagined within a colossal park environment that is sure to keep gamers challenged. Upon entrance to the game, players are tasked with quests that encourage them to explore the park’s zany universe. After creating a unique custom character, Six Flags Fun Park patrons can test their skills, win prizes, and play against friends and family with 40 mini-games.

Six Flags Fun Park will be available for the PlayStation®2 computer entertainment system, and the Wii™ and Nintendo DS™ videogame systems from Nintendo. This game has not yet been rated, and will be available at North American retailers this fall 2008.

Here's a couple of screenshots:

Six Flags Fun Park

Six Flags Fun Park

From the looks of things, this one appears to be especially suited for the younger set, but could be good fun if the game play is lively. And take a look at Brash Entertainment's web site; they've got some interesting product in the works.

-Robert

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June 3, 2008

So it turns out, as reported by the LA Times' awesome daily travel and deal blog, USH's Kong is indeed gone for good. We'll miss ya, you big lunk. Now we can begin the frantic speculation 'bout what they might do to replace the "monkey box." Let's see, there's the righteous "Wolf Man" remake in the works... could do something rockin' with that... Just a thought.

On a completely different note, my boss found an awesome site today with some great photos of Colorado's Lakeside amusement park and a few really nice renderings based on said photos created with Google's "Sketch Up" software and Corel Draw. Enjoy the many talents on display at Modmidmod.com.

-Robert

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June 2, 2008

We received an official statement from Universal Studios Hollywood today regarding the awful fire:

As you may have heard, there was a major fire early Sunday morning at Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Fortunately, no NBC Universal employees were hurt, although some firefighters sustained minor injuries.

While the Universal Studios Hollywood and CityWalk were closed to the public on Sunday to allow firefighters appropriate access, the MTV Movie Awards were held as planned in the Gibson Amphitheater at CityWalk Sunday evening. The theme park and CityWalk will be open for normal operations Monday morning beginning at 10am.

The fire was contained to one section of the backlot. Unfortunately New York Street and the King Kong attraction were lost, but the iconic courthouse on Courthouse Square and half of the buildings facing the square were saved. Also affected was a video vault containing thousands of video and digital copies of films and TV shows. Although many of these items were lost, we believe that most, if not all, are replaceable. It is important to note as well that none of the 30 soundstages on the lot were damaged.

So there you have it. Again, thankfully, injuries were limited and the damage appears to be less horrific than it could have been. I must wonder, will the King Kong attraction be rebuilt? Or will they invest instead in a new "soundstage" tour stop? As much as Kong is something of a classic, with the Florida version gone, it seems like the time may have come to go with something new. Time will tell.

-Robert

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June 1, 2008

The big news today is most unfortunate: a major fire broke out early this morning at Universal Studios Hollywood, ultimately damaging and/or destroying tens of thousands of videos and reels and several sets, including the "Back to the Future" courthouse square and the King Kong soundstage attraction on the Studio Tour. The good news is that there appears to have been no fatalities and all film footage is duplicated elsewhere, so nothing was permanently lost. But the theme park was closed today and when the tram tour restarts, it will be on a shortened route for some time.

Follow these links for news and photos: The Los Angeles Times - The Chicago Tribune - CBC.CA - CBS.com - KNBC.com

On a happier note, I visited the Santa Monica pier for a couple of hours yesterday, to check out the new Ferris Wheel and take a spin on the West Coaster. Here are some photos from the day.

-Robert

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May 24, 2008

I hope everyone is enjoying the beginning of the big Memorial Day weekend, the semi-official start of the summer season! The cornerstone event for the occasion is undoubtedly the opening of Six Flags Magic Mountain's X2, which, so far, is garnering pretty positive reviews. The LA Time's Brady MacDonald calls it one of America's best and Theme Park Review's Robb Alvey is very impressed, too. Brady also thinks highly of Knott's Berry Farm's Pony Express family coaster. I certainly plan to check them both out in the coming weeks.

There have been a pair of cool articles up at CNN.com in the last couple of days. First, there's this profile of the 165-year-old Tivoli Gardens and then this comprehensive list and description of all the new toys opening this year at North America's amusement parks.

Have you started your personal account at ThrillScore yet? Longtime ThrillRide reader Nate Smith has created this really awesome online database service which, in his words, "...allows users to keep track of all the roller coasters and thrill rides they've ridden. Each ride is assigned a score based on various statistics. Users can add rides to their ride list, rate and review rides, upload photos, and view their own progress on the site's leader board." Very impressive and destined to become a real keeper.

It's hard to believe, but Busch Gardens Europe's Loch Ness Monster is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year and they're noting the milestone with a unique artistic tribute:

“NESSIE” CELEBRATES THREE DECADES OF THRILLS
Autistic Artist Part of Loch Ness Monster’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (May 23, 2008) –The Loch Ness Monster roller coaster celebrates 30 years of far out thrills at Busch Gardens in May. To help the European-themed park honor this milestone, Seth Chwast, an inspiring autistic artist from Ohio, and the coaster’s number one fan, visited Busch Gardens on May 23 to create his vision of Busch Gardens’ famous doubling-looping serpent.

Nessie PaintingChwast contacted the park in early January seeking opportunities to increase autism awareness. He produced a 30” x 40” oil-on-canvas painting of his favorite roller coaster, the Loch Ness Monster, that he then donated to the park Friday afternoon. The painting will be available for public bids through May 30 by visiting www.eagle97.com with all of the proceeds from the auction benefiting the Autism Society of America.

“The Loch Ness Monster is among the world’s most beloved coasters and has thrilled Busch Gardens’ guests for three decades. Seth’s donated painting and subsequent auction will help raise autism awareness while creating lasting and significant meaning to the coaster’s 30th anniversary,” said John Reilly, general manager and executive vice president of Busch Gardens.

Doctors diagnosed Chwast with autism as a child. The 25-year-old’s colorful oil paintings reflect the world in which he lives. His paintings have been sold to many collectors and are part of numerous exhibitions, including an art gallery in the Galapagos Islands. His story and his paintings also have been featured on NBC’s “Today” show.

“Seth’s paintings are a wonderful example of the tremendous potential of people with autism,” said Lee Grossman, Autism Society of America (ASA) president and CEO. “We’re honored by this donation from Seth and Busch Gardens, which will help ASA in its mission of improving the lives of all affected by autism.”

Continually rated a favorite by park guests, the world’s first, and currently only, interlocking, double-looping steel roller coaster gives guests a peek at Scotland’s most infamous serpent. “Nessie” hurls its passengers along 3,240 feet of steel track into the air, over the Rhine River, and through a dark cave. Since its debut in 1978, Loch Ness Monster coaster trains have traveled more than one million miles – a distance equivalent to 150 trips around the world.

(Photo courtesy BGE)

That's a piece of art any thrillseeker would treasure. Check out Seth's website here for a look at his collected works.

That's it for today, 'cept for one more brief, sorta thrlll-ride-related comment: I saw "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" last night... and, man, that is one weird movie. In many ways, it's a traditional Indy yarn, and yet, it's also quite a departure from the previous three. I don't know if there are any Indy 4 attractions in development, but if there are, they promise to be, um... alittle more... er... "sci-fi" in tone.

-Robert

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May 19, 2008

Universal Studios Hollywood's The Simpsons Ride is now open for business and all sorts of big names came out to herald the attraction for a "yellow carpet" shindig. Before I share the official press release and some photos of the event, I must give thanks to a couple of eagle-eyed readers who pointed out that in my ride review, I claimed that Disney's Star Tours opened after Back To The Future - The Ride, which is totally incorrect; Star Tours opened in 1987, well before BTTF-TR's debut in 1991. D'oh! Thanks for catching the error, peeps!

And as "Lonebuzz" pointed out, "Star Tours [uses] rear projection on a flat screen. Back to the Future was the first and only one to use the IMAX dome, then came Las Vegas Luxor..."

Here's the PR release, followed by some pix:

“THE SIMPSONS RIDE” OPENS AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD AS ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED ATTRACTION LAUNCHES IN HISTORY

Springfield Comes to Universal As Guests Careen Along With Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie in All-New Simpsons Adventure

Hollywood, CA — You’ve seen the show, played The Game, watched The Movie. And now, yes, it’s finally here. You can ride – The Ride.

America’s favorite animated family has arrived in Hollywood – with their very own mega-attraction. “The Simpsons Ride” is officially open at Universal Studios Hollywood, CA. The new attraction plants guests smack in the middle of a brand-new Simpsons adventure – a ride adventure so big, so funny and so thrilling it’s no surprise it took years to make.

In an unprecedented collaboration, Executive Producer James L. Brooks, Creator Matt Groening and Executive Producer Al Jean in association with 20th Century Fox Television and the creative teams of Gracie Films and Universal Theme Parks have accomplished what has never been done before – the launch of the world’s first authentic mega-attraction of The Simpsons.

“The Simpsons Ride” showcases everything the hugely popular television series has made famous and that Simpsons fans love . . . a great story, humor and irreverence that are pure Simpsons, with original animation starring cast members Dan Castellaneta, Julie Kavner, Nancy Cartwright, Yeardley Smith, Hank Azaria, and guest star Kelsey Grammer.

Guests are swept into Krustyland, a theme park created by the show’s cash hungry clown. Meanwhile, maniacal Sideshow Bob has escaped from prison and has taken control of the park to get his revenge on Krusty and the Simpson family. Hand-picked by Krusty to be the first to ride his newest attraction, you are thrust into the middle of the action.

The attraction is larger than life - from the 32-foot-tall Krusty the Clown at the entrance (guests walk through Krusty’s mouth on his extended tongue) to the giant wrap-around cinematic experience created for this great new adventure. Guests soar through Krustyland and Springfield on a ride that features the world’s first ever cork screw that’s animated!

“I take with all due sense of mission and humility the opportunity to spray water and spritz baby powder at Universal patrons,” says James L. Brooks.

"For twenty years I've been dreaming about this, and here it is -- a wild, thrilling Simpsons Ride put together by a huge number of talented artists and amusement-park maniacs,” says Matt Groening.

“’The Simpsons Ride’ is Universal at its best: bringing blockbusters to life in entirely new ways,” said Tom Williams, Chairman and CEO of Universal Parks & Resorts. “And with its unique sense of humor and enormous popularity, it is the perfect complement to our brand of entertainment.”

“We have created the ultimate Simpsons experience,” said Mark Woodbury, president of Universal Creative. “It’s a wild ride through the world of The Simpsons – up close and with the whole family, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie – like you’ve never seen her before.”

“We’re bringing the fun and joy of The Simpsons to millions of fans in the most immersive way possible. ‘The Simpsons Ride’ is a blast!,” said Elie Dekel, Fox’s Executive Vice President of Licensing.

As the longest running animated series and the longest running primetime comedy series ever, The Simpsons has aired more than 400 episodes. The critically acclaimed show features Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie Simpson, who take traditional family life and turn it upside down. Exploding into a cultural phenomenon in 1990, The Simpsons has remained one of the most visible and marketable properties domestically and internationally. The Simpsons is noted for famous celebrity guest voices (such as Kelsey Grammer, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Kiefer Sutherland, Natalie Portman, Simon Cowell, Gore Vidal, U2, Mick Jagger and Aerosmith) and received a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in January of 2000. The Simpsons Movie was released on July 27, 2007, has earned more then 500 million dollars worldwide and is now available on DVD.

This twenty-three time Emmy-Award-winning series is currently airing its 19th season. The Simpsons is a Gracie Films Production in association with 20th Century Fox Television. James L. Brooks, Matt Groening, and Al Jean are the current Executive Producers. Film Roman is the animation studio.

Woo-Hoo!

President and COO of USH, Larry Kurzweil!

Movers and Shakers, folks

L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and President and COO of Universal Studios Ron Meyer!

Lost Babe!

Lost's Maggie Grace!

Sideshow Bob and Friends Babe!

Kelsey Grammer and Lisa Kudrow (who did an awesome guest voice on the show, too)!

My Hero

James Brooks!

Matt Groening is The Man

(L-R, Front Row) The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, actress Lisa Kudrow, actor Kelsey Grammer.

(L-R, Back Row) President and COO of Universal Studios Ron Meyer, Executive Producer of "The Simpsons" James L. Brooks, Chairman and CEO of Universal Studios Parks & Resorts Tom Williams and President and COO of Universal Studios Hollywood Larry Kurzweil.

Having fun!

All photos courtesy USH

-Robert

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May 18, 2008

At long last, the first new Ride Review in quite awhile: The Simpsons Ride! Enjoy!

-Robert

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May 14, 2008

Psyched for the West Coast premier of The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios Hollywood this coming Monday? Of course you are! Here are some random cool details to get you even more psyched (courtesy of USH):

24 instantly-recognizable Springfield characters, all voiced by the original actors, are featured in the new ride! Your favorite Simpsons friends are played by voice talents Hank Azaria, Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Kelsey Grammer, Pamela Hayden, Julie Kavner and Yeardley Smith. [Too bad Harry Shearer was a no-show]

James Dooley, who composed the musical score for The Simpsons Movie and The Simpsons Game, has also created an original score for The Simpsons Ride!

As guests move inside the attraction, their one-hour wait for the ride will seem like a mere fifty-five minutes as they are entertained with classic clips from The Simpsons television series and all-new vignettes featuring classic Springfield characters and The Simpsons family as they wait in line for their Krustyland adventure.

Once they pass through Krusty’s mouth, guests will find themselves in an exterior Carny queue, festooned with posters of Krustyland Rides such as “The Tooth Chipper,” “The Screamatorium Of Dr. Frightmarestein,” and “The Sea Captain’s Queasy Time Lagoon Adventure.” From there, guests will move to the internal Carnival Midway queue, lined on either side with games and booths, each featuring original Simpsons videos: The Milk Bottle Toss featuring Groundskeeper Willie, Apu’s Snack Stand, an Information Booth manned by the clueless Hans Moleman, and the Lost & Found featuring Patty and Selma, who never have what you are looking for.

A live satellite feed from a boisterous Krusty located somewhere within Krustyland is transmitted to awaiting guests. Krusty throws a spotlight on The Simpsons, the first family randomly selected to experience Krustyland’s new “thrill-tacular” ride.

Finally, guests will be ushered to the Funhouse “pre-show” holding room just prior to boarding Krusty’s Roller Coaster-Themed Ride Vehicles. Through closed circuit video monitors located within each Funhouse room, guests will be with The Simpsons as Krusty leads them on a private, behind-the-scenes tour of Krustyland. A ride safety video hosted by Itchy & Scratchy follows on the monitor and ends with The Simpsons boarding the ride vehicle in tandem with guests. And then, before you can say “Super Special Guest Star Who played Dr. Frasier Crane”, the ride is hi-jacked by a certain sinister someone… and the adventure begins.

The Simpsons Ride boasts a 192-person capacity, two behemoth Dome screens measuring an expansive 80-ft in diameter, and a 6.1 surround sound system comprised of 400 custom-designed speakers. The ride offers a superior viewing experience with more than 4x the High Definition resolution seen in home theatres and 2x the HD resolution in digital movie theatres. This marks the first time ever that an IMAX film projection system has been replaced with digital technology!

The ride vehicle, which elevates nine feet on a scissor-lift motion based platform, was painstakingly programmed to synchronize with the action on the screen and capture every nuance of movement: forwards, backwards, up and down, and tilting in all directions. The outcome results in a completely seamless virtual adventure producing visceral effects never before imagined in a theme park ride.

There are a total of 24 Krustified ride vehicles modeled after classic roller coaster cars. Each extra roomy ride vehicle seats 8 people -- or 3 “Comic Book Guys”. The ride can seat up to 192 guests at a time.

Guests sitting within each of the roller coaster themed ride vehicles will be surrounded by 12 speakers and completely engulfed in a high quality 6.1 surround sound system that even Grampa Simpson could hear.

An additional 90 speakers, including subwoofers that contribute to the overall immersive audio experience, are located within the Domes.

The ultimate Springfield convenience store, owned and operated by Apu Nahasapeemapetilon, conveniently opens in conjunction with “The Simpsons Ride”; and, even more conveniently, it’s located right next to the ride exit! The store is the world’s first permanent Kwik-E-Mart and will feature Simpsons memorabilia reminiscent of the show, including Krusty-Os cereal, giant pink donuts, Flaming Moes and Duff Beer (energy drinks). A Squishees cart located near the store also sells authentic Simpsons Squishees in Blue Raspberry Confusion, Red Cherry Explosion and Coca-Cola flavors.

 

The Simpsons Ride

So very, very psyched...

Also, Jeffrey Stoneking's new book, mentioned way down the page,now has its own domain: www.themeparksafetyfailures.com. Click on the link for more info.

-Robert

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May 8, 2008

Got some news to catch up on, so here we go:


Roller Coaster Alley put up still another Aftershock construction update, so if you haven't stopped by their site since last week, check it out.


Holiday World is still on the cutting edge of enthusiast communication technology:

HOLIDAY WORLD TO “TWITTER” THIS SEASON

SANTA CLAUS, IN-----Three years after Holiday World premiered the first theme park-sponsored blog, the park is now the first in the industry to launch its own micro-blog, using Twitter.

“We’ve had so much success with our HoliBlog, this seemed like the next logical step,” says Holiday World & Splashin' Safari’s president, Will Koch. “We’re looking forward to using this new communication tool to stay in touch with our guests, whether they’re here in the park, planning a visit, or just interested in our day-to-day activities.”

Twitter is a micro-blogging site; each “tweet” is a brief posting, with a maximum length of just 140 characters. These brief bites of information may be accessed through Holiday World’s page on the Twitter site, via cell phone text messaging, and on the HoliBlog.

“During the season, we will post about the least-busy days to visit, information about special event and the weather, plus we’ll answer the question ‘what’s going on today’ on an ongoing basis,” says Koch.

“Our ‘tweets’ will be helpful to families who are visiting our park and, we hope, entertaining to those Who just want to stay in touch.”

Pretty nifty.


Get on Kings Dominion's Dominator before almost everyone else and do some good, too:

Have you ever wanted to be able to lay claim to being the first person to ride a new rollercoaster? Well here is your chance. Kings Dominion is thrilled to announce the First Ride Auction to benefit Challenge Discovery Projects. The park will be auctioning off the first 32 seats on their newest coaster, Dominator, for its first public flight on May 24th! This is your chance to be the first to experience the world’s longest floorless coaster! Bidding began on May 6th and will end on May 15th. Be sure to check www.kingsdominion.com for more information.

The top 32 bids for the seats will receive:

o Two (2) complimentary tickets for May 24 ($103.90 value) – Rider can bring a friend, however the friend WILL NOT get to ride on the first train
o One (1) complimentary parking pass ($10.00 value)
o Early admission to the park at about 9:30am
o Dominator T-Shirt ($24.95 value)
o Complimentary Ride Photo from first flight

Seating will be determined by the highest bidder selecting their first seat and the second highest bidder choosing their seat until all 32 seats are full. A minimum bid of $50 is required to participate. Each rider must be a minimum of 54 inches tall in order to ride.

All proceeds from the auction will be donated to Challenge Discovery Projects, Inc. Challenge Discovery Projects’ mission is to improve the quality of life and livelihood of at-risk youth and families throughout Greater Richmond. Challenge Discovery Projects supports this mission by providing three programs that address violence, substance abuse and emotional/mental health issues. Services are provided regardless of a clients’ ability to pay. For more information on Challenge Discovery Projects, Inc. visit their website at www.challengediscoveryprojects.org

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to be the first to experience Dominator!


And speaking of doing good, the folks at England's "Save Dreamland Campaign" issued this press release today:

DREAM COASTER
Build week: 23-30 May
Exhibition: 31 May – 7 June
The Substation, Bilton Square, off High Street, Margate

Following the recent arson attack on Margate’s much-loved Scenic Railway, Limbo Arts has teamed up with the Save Dreamland Campaign to stage a community exhibition celebrating Dreamland’s heritage and inviting the public to share their memories of the park.

The public are being invited to come along to the Substation to help build the Dream Coaster, a huge wooden model made out of donated scrap timber and based on the layout of the Scenic Railway. The build will be supervised by a core team of workers, and helpers can pop in for an hour, stay for the day or work on the coaster all week!

Our Dream Coaster will then be the focal point of a week-long exhibition when visitors will be invited to share their memories, hopes and dreams. We are also asking the public to loan Dreamland or Scenic memorabilia for display and dig out old film footage of the park that we will convert to DVD and make into a montage film. A programme of talks and workshops is also being planned.

“The Scenic Railway and Dreamland are synonymous with Margate; the coaster is much loved by the community and residents and visitors of all ages have memories of the park,” said Paul Hazelton, Project Manager of Limbo Arts. “The recent fire has created a sense of loss in the town and galvanised the local community: people feel they want to do something but feel powerless. The Substation once powered Dreamland and we hope the Dream Coaster will now empower those individuals.”

Save Dreamland Campaign Coordinator Sarah Vickery added: "We want people to delve into their sheds or garages for scrap pieces of wood and bring them along to turn into our own version of the famous ride.

"So many people have been affected by the fire, we thought one way of tapping into that momentum was to give everyone the chance of joining in a community art project like this.

"The actual size of the Dream Coaster, and the amount of detail, will depend, of course, on how much timber we are given but the inside of the Substation is 16 metres long, so it has to fit inside that space."

Appeal for contributions

We need the public’s help in a number of ways…

1. Donations of scrap wood, especially long lengths to be used for the main structure. Also nails, screws and wood glue. Please ring Paul Hazelton, Project Manager of Limbo, on 078 1278 0984 to arrange either pick up or delivery time.
2. Loan of Dreamland/Scenic Railway memorabilia for display. All items can be deposited at the Shell Grotto, Margate, open daily, 10am to 5pm.
3. Loan of old film footage, which again can be handed in at the Grotto.

If you're local to that part of the world, help 'em out!


And back to first rides, here's an interesting offer from Six Flags Magic Mountain: an X2 camp-out. Spend the night under the stars on May 23rd in the park's picnic area, then rise and shine for 1 hour of ERT before the revamped thriller opens to the public.

Also, SFMM season passholders should note that they are entitled to several "Bring a Friend Free" dates, including this coming Mother's Day.


That's it for now!

-Robert

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April 30, 2008

First up, the Kings Dominion schedule posted yesterday below has been changed, so take another quick look before making any solid travel plans.

Our buds at Roller Coaster Alley have updated their site with another Aftershock construction update. Dig it here.

As you probably know already, Ollie Johnston - the last of the original Disney animators known as the "Nine Old Men" - passed away on April 14th, closing a chapter on one of the most important periods in Disney history. The Disney Insider site has put up a warm recollection of each of them and even if you're only a passing fan of animation, this article is worth reading.

-Robert

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April 29, 2008

CNN.com posted a story about all the new stuff coming to various amusement parks this year, so if you're looking for a rundown on where to travel in '08, click here.

And if you don't think you can stand it until Islands of Adventure opens its new Harry Potter "island," then there may be something to tide you over: Harry Potter - The Exhibition. The official site isn't quite ready to go, but Dark Horizons has the announcement up right here. Sounds like it could be fun, even though there won't be any dragon-themed coasters, or flying broomsticks to ride, or whatnot.

Last for today, here's a rundown of some upcoming events at Kings Dominion; mark yer calendars:

Saturdays May 3, 10, 17 and Friday, May 30, 2008
Concert, Orchestra & Jazz Band & Choral Festival

Elementary through high school students showcase their musical talent and receive feedback from a panel of professional judges. The Band Festival performances will be held at Hanover High School with evening awards ceremonies at Kings Dominion. The Choral Festival performances will be held at Kings Dominion. For event information, guests can call (804) 876-5561 or visit http://www.kingsdominion.com/events/events.cfm

May 10-11, May 17-18 and May 24-June 1, 2008
Career Days

FBLA, DECA, FCCLA and FFA club members, families and friends are invited to join Kings Dominion for an educational experience and enjoy all the special rides and attractions we have to offer. Educational seminars in food operations, career opportunities, horticulture and marketing will be held May 10 and May 29. For event information, guests can call (804) 876-5561 or visit http://www.kingsdominion.com/events/events.cfm

Friday, May 16, 2008
Math and Science Day

Students from all over the Mid-Atlantic will enjoy this special interactive and educational experience at the park. With unique activities, lectures and field day events, students have the opportunity to apply what they learn in the classroom to everyday life in a theme park. This event is co-sponsored by the Science Museum of Virginia.

Saturday, May 24, 2008
GRAND OPENING- DOMINATOR

Kings Dominion will soar to new heights in 2008 with the introduction of its 14th roller coaster, Dominator. Debuting in late spring, this innovative 4,210-foot steel coaster will be the longest floorless coaster in the world and have one of the world’s largest roller coaster loops. Riders will board the coaster on the east side of International Street, just behind the park’s Berserker ride. Once seated, guests begin their journey with a short, twisted U-turn and climb the 161 foot-tall lift hill. After the 32 passenger train crests the top of the lift, riders are sent flying down a 157 foot drop, eventually speeding into the gut-wrenching, hair-raising vertical loop, which stands 135 feet tall. Four additional inversions will follow during Dominator’s two minute and six second, adrenaline pumping experience. You won’t want to miss Dominator this season at Kings Dominion!

Beginning Saturday, May 24, 2008
WaterWorks Opens

Surf’s up at Kings Dominion with the May 26 opening of WaterWorks, the 20-acre water park located within the theme park. New in 2007, WaterWorks expanded with three thrilling new attractions. TIDAL WAVE BAY, a second wave pool, will offer hours of swimming adventure. The TORNADO attraction combines high thrills with spinning and churning wet spills and extends 65 feet into the air. The ZOOM FLUME will give families the opportunity to enjoy a rafting adventure together as they “zoom” down the raging water path. Admission to WaterWorks is included with general park admission or with a Season Pass. WaterWorks is open May 24 through September 1.

Feelin’ Groovy

You’ll be twistin’ the night away during the park’s all new musical revue. This rocking, rolling and of course, groovy dance party will have you dancing in the aisles and singing along with favorites from days gone by! The fun begins in the Kings Dominion Theatre in late May.

Hot Island Rhythms

Island-worthy pop songs will have guests singing along and swaying to the music. Celebrating the carefree fun everyone loves about a summer vacation, this is a not-to-be-missed experience for the entire family. The band opens on the Grande Bandstand in International Street in late May.

Roaming Beach Tunes Band

A seven-piece band roaming the park playing tunes from the surf for park guests will delight and intrigue passersby along the way. Can you spot the band as they trek throughout the park? Beginning late May.

Saturday, May 31, 2008
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Awareness Day

Special events have been planned for the hard of hearing, their families and friends. Spectacular entertainment, educational exhibits and interpreters for many of the Parks shows and services will make this a memorable day for all.

Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5, 2008
Fireworks

Celebrate America's birthday in a big way with the area's largest fireworks display! Kings Dominion will have fireworks nightly at 10 pm.

Thursday July 10 through Saturday July 12, 2008
Kings Fest Festival

Three days of Christian music, speaking and teaching you won't want to miss. Many performances are scheduled for this three day event including Newsboys, Skillet, KJ-52, Casting Crowns, TobyMac, David Crowder Band, Kutless, Hawk Nelson, and Barlow Girl.

All events, dates and times are subject to change without notice. For the most updated park information, visit KingsDominion.com.

-Robert

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April 25, 2008

Our good buddy Paul Fowler was lucky enough to attend the opening of Canada's Wonderland's new Behemoth, the B&M hypercoaster with that newfangled seating arrangement. While not a record-breaker of any kind, it certainly is behemothic... or behemothish... or behemothozoid... or whatever the adjective form of that noun is, if such a thing exists. He says it's a winner and let's not forget that this beast gives CW a grand total of 15 operating coasters. Pretty impressive for our northern neighbor.

He's got a pile o' great photos up at Flickr, and a POV video over at Theme Park Review.

Here's a couple to whet your appetite:

Awesome

Awesome

Thanks, Paul!


Indiana's Holiday World, which opens for the season on May 3rd, got a nice shout-out by USA Today as a great bargain for your summer travel plans. Check it out.

Here's the press release the park sent out this morning:

With the summer vacation season fast approaching and gasoline prices reaching record highs, editors at USA Today sought money-savings advice from top travel experts for a feature in today’s edition.

The article, called “Cheap Tricks for summer travel” includes advice to visit Holiday World, plus a photo of the park’s Raven roller coaster.

“When we heard about the article and photo this morning, we headed over to USA Today’s website and got another wonderful surprise,” says Holiday World & Splashin' Safari president Will Koch. “The photo of The Raven is also the on the front page of their website!”

USA Today has a circulation of 2.3 million; their website is ranked as one of the top 500 most visited sites in the world. Today’s article also advises travelers to purchase theme park tickets at a discount directly from the parks’ websites.

Last year, Consumers Digest magazine named Holiday World the nation’s “Top Value Park.” Holiday World & Splashin' Safari provide free soft drinks, free sunscreen, free parking, plus free use of inner tubes in the water park.

Holiday World opens for the season on May 3 with the premiere of Star Spangled Carousel and Reindeer Games; Splashin' Safari’s opening day is May 10, with the debut of the monkey-themed Kima Bay family waterplay attraction. For more information, visit the parks’ website at www.HolidayWorld.com or call 1-877-463-2645.


And last for today, Jeffrey Stoneking has written a new book called "Theme Park Safety Failure$" and while it may not be a "fun" read, you might want to check it out. Here's the link to more information and an order page.

-Robert

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