ThrillRide! Random Notes  





Jan. 27, 2009

"Mumbo Jumbo" indeed: So, when Flamingo Land opens its S&S-designed El Loco coaster, it will be the steepest in the world, according to info sent by the park to recently. Now, steepest or not, I'm sure the ride will be a blast.

But it seems to me that if you're going to get all wonky about it, then "steepest" should be defined by how far the track bends around from the horizontal peak. Right? Ninety degrees is a pure vertical drop. 112 degrees is even steeper. So wouldn't nearly 180 degrees be far steeper than that? And wouldn't that make every "Screaming Squirrel" currently operating (like this one) the "steepest" coasters around?

Or if you go that far, does a drop become an inversion, so it isn't "steep" anymore? Whatever... I'm just sayin'...



Jan. 21, 2009

Got a very cool email from the folks at Tivoli today; dig this (and be sure to click the linkage at the bottom):

Tivoli builds the wildest and fastest interactive ride in Northern Europe

Sit down and fasten your seat belt, for this summer you will be able to be the pilot of your own plane. Tivoli's new attraction in 2009 is the closest you can get to simulating a real aircraft without renting your own plane. It will be the wildest and fastest interactive ride in Northern Europe, and at speeds of 100 km/h and with 360 degree turns the flight will appeal to the full range of your emotions, making you both shudder and laugh.

The ride consists of two planes and its theme is the mystery of the Orient and the making of history. The planes are mounted on two large wings decorated with gold leaf and onion-shaped cupolas enveloped in a net of lights appearing as a cloud of dust by day and a luminous tornado by night. The design of the planes calls to mind early aviation history when boarding a plane was a unique experience. This will also be the case in Tivoli.

The ride will be placed in the Orient where the Blue Sapphire is located today, and it will be ready for take-off on 1 May 2009. With this new attraction, Tivoli will be able to offer its visitors 26 different rides in the 2009 summer season.

”Tivoli will never be completed, said Georg Carstensen, the founder of Tivoli, and this is still our belief today. And it may be even more important to remember this in difficult times, so we are looking forward to the 2009 season with its many new initiatives. One of them is our new ride that will be a truly unique experience – and so wild that it is only for the most courageous visitors,” says Lars Liebst, managing director of Tivoli.

The ride
Booking. Visitors entering Tivoli can either pre-book a ride or get in line the same way as for other rides.

Go to gate. Visitors must go to gate 10 minutes before boarding at the latest. The boarding time is printed on the boarding card.

Boarding. Visitors must show their boarding card and are then allowed on the planes. There are two planes, each seating two pilots and two passengers.

Take-off. Once seated, the pilots and passengers are held in place by a safety bar. In front of the pilots a display shows the plane's control options. The planes are located at the end of two large wings that can rotate 360 degrees. The planes themselves can also rotate 360 degrees in all directions. The pilots are responsible for starting the plane and steering it during the ride using the flight controls. A special turbo (afterburn) button brings the speed up to 100 km/h and makes the wings rotate at 15 rotations per minute. The pilots decide if and when to use afterburn. Each pilot is in ”command” of the plane for approx. one minute during the ride.

Landing. After about two minutes of aerobatics the planes return to the ground. Tivoli's service staff thank you for visiting and get ready to welcome aboard the next flying enthusiasts who like to feel the adrenalin rushing through their veins.

Supplier and safety
The ride is developed in cooperation with Technical Park, the Italian company famous all over the world for manufacturing unique and exciting amusement rides. The ride will be TÜV-certified, thus ensuring visitors the highest possible standards of safety, as the certification means the ride complies with some of the world's strictest safety regulations in terms of manufacture and operation. In Denmark, the ride will be approved by the Force Institute.

Technical specifications of the ride
Height 30 m
Dynamic height 40 m
Max. speed 100 km/h
Platform diameter 18 x 15 m
Number of planes 2 (with 4 seats each)
Capacity approx. 125 visitors/h
Max. wing rotations 15 rotations/min
Max. plane rotations 17 rotations/min



Jan. 20, 2009

Just a real quick one for today: If you haven't already marked your calendars yet, be sure to keep March 22, 2009 open for West Coast Bash, No. 6, the big Ride World / Theme Park Review playdate at Six Flags Magic Mountain. This year's edition will be filled with surprises, no doubt, and with X2 securely in charge, and Terminator Salvation: The Ride growing towards the blue sky above, there will be much to see and do. Can't wait.

More long term, there are plans afoot for some fun at this May's Holiday World HoliWood Nights event and I'm definitely gonna be there, so I hope you will be, too.



Jan. 7, 2009

First off, Happy New Year! I hope everyone enjoyed the holiday season and is roaring into '09 with gusto.

Check out Busch Gardens' latest enthusiast initiative:

Busch Gardens is launching a brand-new site and we want your help. Submit your favorite park photos to be featured on our new Web site. You can even upload your own videos … you know, the one where you’re screamin’ your head off riding Griffon. Be a part of the Busch Gardens experience and see your pics on our Web site when it launches. Details are here:

Feel free to start uploading your shots now. Also, make sure you join our Fan Page on Facebook. Facebook users can find us by searching for “Busch Gardens, Williamsburg.”

Nice, yes?

And check out the very cool party - or as they're calling it, "Merchandise Event" - The Disneyland Resort is planning for the original Haunted Mansion's 40th Anniversary, happening on 09/09/09:

The Plot Thickens. . . After five husbands and five untimely deaths, the Black Widow Bride of the Haunted Mansion will wed once more. Has she found her soul mate? Or will another groom meet his doom? Join us, Foolish Mortals, and we'll dig up the answers at our ghostly celebration that everyone's dying to attend.

Event packages are as follows:
Grinning Ghosts - $475
Foolish Mortals - $430
Dearly Departed - $250
Hitchhikers - $85

Early Demise Offer: Guests that register through February 28th only, will receive an "early demise" pin.

Reservations for the Grinning Ghosts and Foolish Mortals packages will be accepted only via beginning Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. (Pacific Time).

Reservations for the Dearly Departed and Hitchhikers packages will be accepted only via beginning Wednesday, January 21, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. (Pacific Time).

Please note: We are now required to have only one (1) Guest per reservation. It will be necessary for each Guest to register individually. Thank you!

Click on each of the package links above to see what all that green will get you. Expensive, but well worth it, if you can afford it.



Dec. 23, 2008

Before I get to the holiday sign-off: The LA Times' Brady MacDonald has put together a pretty comprehensive worldwide preview list of the '09 park goodies, should you wish to make any preliminary travel plans. Major highlights include SFMM's Terminator Salvation: The Ride, Tokyo Disneyland's Monsters Inc. Ride and Go Seek, and Universal Studios Florida's Hollywood Rip, Ride, Rockit coaster. Be sure to check out all the links offered; the Monsters Inc. link takes you to a great article about that dark ride.

I may get to one more update before the end of the year, but just in case, let me now wish all of you a very happy and healthy holiday season, and my sincere hope that we all get through 2009 with as little fiscal anxiety as possible.

On that note, enjoy this comical illustration sent our way by JW Green:

ha, ha...




Dec. 16, 2008

Theme Park Review's Robb Alvey is putting together what sounds like a really special DVD coaster collection; he needs footage of coasters that have moved on to a better place. Check it out:

The next installment of "Roller Coasters in the RAW" will feature "defunct coasters" and we are looking for footage of coasters that are "gone but not forgotten."

For example, do you have footage of:
- Wacky Soap Box Racers
- Elitch's original Mr. Twister
- Hercules
- Texas Tornado (Morcambe)
- Phantasialand's Grand Canyon Bahn
- Geauga Lake's Big Dipper, Villain, Raging Wolf Bobs
- Joyland's Roller Coaster
- Idora Park's Wildcat
- Starliner at Miracle Strip
- CNE Flyer
- Hypersonic XLC
- Katapult
- Mountain Flyer
- Zingo
- Williams Grove Cyclone
- Any other "vintage" or newly defunct coaster!
- USA or international!

The footage must be one or more of the following:

- Shot by you without breaking any park rules
- Park B-Roll released to media (sometimes given out during media days or coaster events)
- Any other public domain footage

If you have footage of any defunct roller coasters, please contact me directly via email or you can send the footage to:

Robb Alvey
Roller Coasters in the RAW Vintage Footage
24707 Riverchase Dr #7203
Valencia, CA 91355

Footage can be sent on DVD (DVD Video or AVI file), DV Tape,
VHS Tape, Beta SP (Park B-Roll), or any other format. If you are sending your originals, we will send the footage back! Any footage that we use we will give you proper credit in the DVD, a free copy of the DVD that it is used in and a $50 credit to the TPR store or for a TPR Trip.

Thank you again for your help and support!

I, for one, am ready to place my order for that bad boy. Help the brother out if you can.



Dec. 10, 2008

There are not that many people in the amusement industry who qualify as legends, but Karl Bacon was certainly one of them. I was saddened to learn today (via that Mr. Bacon passed away last month at the age of 98. But the sadness was tempered by knowing that he lived long enough to see how his achievements, and those of his compatriots at Arrow Development, had such widespread impact on the world at large. Here's the link to a wonderful story about Mr. Bacon that was posted at Screamscape.

If you don't already own a copy, then I highly recommend a book called "Roller Coasters, Flumes and Flying Saucers," a fine piece of work by Robert Reynolds that relates the history of Arrow with a ton of interviews with Ed Morgan and Karl Bacon. It really is a "must-have" for your collection. Get it here.



Dec. 4, 2008

According to the LA Times' Brady MacDonald, Six Flags is looking to do some major work in some far-flung places, including Qatar, Korea, China and India. And on top of that, Magic Mountain is due for another coaster in 2010. And on top of that, if next year's Terminator: The Coaster proves to be a success, practically a given, we'll be seeing a clone perhaps at a second U.S. SF park in 2010, too. Major sweetness... Check out the report here.



Nov. 29, 2008

Here it is, a day later than I anticipated, the Gilroy Gardens trip report. Have a great weekend!



Nov. 27, 2008

Just want to wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the feast and the long weekend (if you're lucky enough to get Friday off, too). I'll be posting a trip report from Gilroy Gardens tomorrow.



Nov. 20, 2008

Back in the day, according to an old industry pal, the late, lamented Custom Coasters was actually looking at incorporating corkscrews into their designs. Seeing as how well an inversion turned out for the Son of Beast coaster, that's probably not likely to ever happen. But that doesn't mean that the folks at The Gravity Group, the spin-off from CCI, haven't given up on getting some steel coaster fun into their woodies. And of course, I'm referring to the recent announcement of their new train design, the "Timberliner."

That last bullet-item, the "Launch system capable" one... man, how long will we have to wait until someone actually throws down a LIM kick onto a woodie? A "lumber launch" would be sweeter than Christmas candy. (Kinda makes me wish that could have happened for the SFMM Terminator coaster.) So many possibilities...

Some randomosity: I totally love the current DL Space Mountain soundtrack and I recently found an online streaming source for the entire aural treat. Enjoy.

The "Imagine Coney" website has opened their "Gallery" section with some submitted concepts; check 'em out. Some are pretty off the wall, but others do have merit. Idea No. 4 is certainly as audacious as they come...

A word of warning - well, actually, quite a few words - for our friends down in Mexico, who are due for their very own Dark Knight coaster: take a look at the feedback from this story up at Popular Let's hope that El Caballero Oscuro turns out better than his North of the Border counterparts.

Last, here's the official announcement from Kings Dominion about their '09 additions:

Kings Dominion Announces Two New Rides for 2009
110-foot Ferris wheel and family friendly swinging pendulum ride will open next season

DOSWELL, VA – Kings Dominion will debut two new family rides when the park opens for its 2009 season. Americana, a giant 110-foot Ferris wheel, and El Dorado, a high-in-the-sky swinging pendulum ride will be added to Kings Dominion’s impressive lineup of family friendly attractions. Americana and El Dorado will be located in the amusement park’s Grove area, adjacent to the Rebel Yell and Hurler roller coasters.

Americana, the first Ferris wheel to be introduced at Kings Dominion in the park’s 35-year history, will feature 24 six-person gondolas that the entire family, including adventuresome grandparents can enjoy. Ferris wheels have long been a staple of American amusement parks since the rides introduction at the Chicago World Expo in 1893, and Kings Dominion’s new Americana Ferris wheel will bring the history and romance of a boardwalk favorite to the park’s midway in 2009.

El Dorado is a family friendly thrill ride that sits up to 40 riders in a blue 1950’s style El Dorado convertible car. The car acts as a pendulum, as it rotates riders to a height of 85 feet in the air in two different directions during an approximately two minute ride. El Dorado takes the concept of the family “going for a spin” to a whole new level.

The two new ride additions will compliment the other 60 rides and attractions Kings Dominion offers, making the park one of the largest amusement parks in the eastern region of the United States. “The addition of Americana and El Dorado reflects our commitment to offering entertaining and exciting rides and attractions for the entire family,” said Pat Jones, Kings Dominion’s vice president and general manager. “With the introduction of the popular Dominator rollercoaster in 2008, and now Americana and El Dorado in 2009, Kings Dominion is leading the way in providing great value for families while creating memories that last a lifetime.”



Nov. 11, 2008

We've all been following the ongoing soap opera surrounding Coney Island's still-undetermined future and I'm sure some of you have thought, "Gee, I have a great vision for Coney's next incarnation." Well, there's now a place where you can actually share that vision with the world. Check out Imagine Coney and send them your ideas. This project, sponsored by the Municipal Art Society of New York City, will produce, if nothing else, some very interesting concepts. Get busy and get your plans to them by December 15th.

And now that Halloween '08 is a memory, it's time to warm up, as it were, for this year's Xmas park festivities. I'm glad to hear my local park is bringing something new to the party:


Universal City, California -- A traditional white Christmas and an encounter with the not-so-traditional green Grinch await guests at Universal Studios Hollywood as The Entertainment Capital of L.A. prepares to celebrate “Grinchmas” with tons of powder-fresh snow, meetings with The Grinch, Cindy-Lou Who and Max the Dog and a “Whoville” jubilation at the original movie sets where the classic “Dr Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” was filmed.

The “Grinchmas” celebration will take place on weekends beginning Saturday, December 6, and daily from December 22-31 and is included in the price of theme park admission. More information, including holiday promotional offers, is available at

A whimsical Grinchmas tree, curving and twisting like a candy cane in true Seussian fashion will tower 50 feet at the center of the 23,000 square foot snow-covered “Grinchmas Winter Wonderland.” Families can enjoy traditional wintertime fun in a blanket of real snow, refreshed regularly to maintain powder-perfect consistency. The Grinch and his faithful dog Max will be on hand to meet fans and take memorable holiday photos amid nightly “Grinchmas” tree lighting ceremonies by the Whoville Whos.

“Grinchmas” will also allow fans of the blockbuster movie to see the original Whoville film set up close aboard the world-famous behind-the-scenes Studio Tour and experience a one-of-a-kind performance by the residents of Whoville as they re-enact cherished scenes from the film.

Universal Studios Hollywood is now open 365 days of the year and for the first time ever will remain open on Christmas day. Hours of operation will be 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.



Nov. 9, 2008

I just finished listening the awesome first-year anniversary show over at Season Pass, and if you haven't done so yourself, I recommend it highly. Truly great stuff, especially the segment with Martin Palicki, the founder and editor-in-chief of IPM: Inside Parks & Museums, who discusses a recent visit to the Tokyo Disney parks. He talks about both Disneyland and DisneySeas, two places I know all of us lust for and if you hadn't been excited about the über-tech Winnie The Pooh ride, you will be when you hear him describe some of the experience.

Oh, and check out their first vidcast from the KSF Haunt, too! It also kicks hiney.

I just want to offer again my congratulations to Doug and Brent for a reliably terrific weekly show. Really spectacular work, guys! Keep 'em coming!

Dubai's transformation into the world's theme park mega-resort is a long way from completion, but bits and pieces of that huge puzzle are coming together, including the recent opening of the world's largest mall, a jaw-dropping complex that will ultimately house - are you ready for this? - 1,200 stores. Read all about it over at




Random Notes Archive 5

Random Notes Archive 4

Random Notes Archive 3

Random Notes Archive 2

Random Notes Archive 1







© Robert Coker
All Rights Reserved
home   random notes   ride reviews   special features   photo shoppe   megaworld   ride world   privacy policy
Random Notes Ride Reviews The Photo Shoppe MegaWorld! The Theme Park That Never Was Ride World