ThrillRide! Random Notes  

 

 

 

 

Oct. 28, 2009

Just a couple of goofy things to share tonight, both thanks to JW Green, who found 'em and shared 'em.

First, I love me some bumper cars. I've had some epic fun on the slam-fests at Rye Playland, Knoebel's, those sort of places. It's usually the traditional amusement parks where you find the best of them. So this set of photos just makes me wonder why Detroit can't take the concept and run with it.

And if you dig really, really aggressive spin and spew rides, then watch this video. Count along with each spin and see if that's something you'd enjoy... Not me, that's for sure. Criminy...

-Robert

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Oct. 19, 2009

I hit the big Knott's Haunt this weekend, and here's the review. Enjoy.

-Robert

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Oct. 15, 2009

Many moons ago, I neglected to try out CyberSpace Mountain down at the old DisneyQuest on the Orlando property and I'm sorry I did. But now that The Sum of All Thrills has opened, sounds like the idea of you-design-it, you-ride-it has been taken to new levels of sophistication. Sure, it's edutational and all, what with the math and science angle, but who cares about learnin' when there's screamin' to do?

Ah, Son of Beast, have you terrorized your last Kings Island guest? Your latest injury trial doesn't make the future look very good, does it? Note this last line from the linked article: "Kings Island officials said, however, the closure wasn't because the coaster was unsafe. Instead, they were evaluating whether park patrons were satisfied with the ride because it typically rated lower than expected on guest surveys." I'd say "lower than expected" is probably an understatement...

And speaking of roller coasters and drawn blood, dig this story about some vampiric thrillseekers.

Ever heard of a "Mr. Blobby?" Me, neither. But apparently he was once immortalized with his own theme park, and it's seen better days.

The UK's Paulton's Park apparently built some thrill rides without the proper permissions, but it looks like they'll stay put anyway.

Heard about Branson's new Castle of Chaos "5D" haunted attraction? Sounds really cool:

Castle of Chaos

WORLD’S FIRST 5D HAUNTED ATTRACTION OPENS IN BRANSON, MO

Castle of Chaos Merges State-of-the-Art 3D with Heart-Pounding Motion, Special Effects, Animatronics, and Gaming for the First Ever 5D Interactive Haunted Experience in the World

BRANSON, MO (OCT 1, 2009) – Haunted house aficionados, video game buffs, and Branson tourists who are ready for a thrill will find a whole new kind of entertainment beginning this Halloween season. Castle of Chaos, a fright ride and battle game, is the newest attraction in Branson, MO and marks the world premiere of the 5D experience, it was announced by owner Kuvera Attractions.

Castle of Chaos merges state-of-the-art 3D with heart-pounding motion, special effects, animatronics and gaming for the first-ever 5D interactive haunted experience in the world. Visitors enter an enormous castle to discover the fate of 1920s horror film star Carli Winepeg and her crew, who mysteriously disappeared while shooting the planned epic film Castle of Chaos. Once securely buckled into armchairs with 3D glasses on and pistols ready at their sides, guests are spun into Carli’s tortured world and forced to protect themselves from its terrifying inhabitants.

“Castle of Chaos is such an engrossing experience because it is the first ride in the world to incorporate so many multi-media and interactive technologies in one attraction,” says Tej Sundher, Kuvera Attractions Partner whose family also founded the world-famous Hollywood Wax Museum.

This 21st century haunted house combines the latest in 3D projetion with surround sound, special effects, motion-based seats, and a shooting system that scores each member of the audience. The 24 seats are affixed to a five-ton rotating platform that has ten engines and achieves a top speed of 15 rpm. There are sequences that include total darkness, wind, water, smoke, and foul scents, among other effects. Each player racks up points, and the top five scorers are shown on the screen at the end of the ride.

Initial surveys have shown that guests absolutely love Castle of Chaos. “My favorite part was the bats flying out of the screen and over our heads,” wrote 46-year-old rider Don from Florence, KS. “Oh my gosh! The anticipation made me want to bite my nails, but I couldn’t because I was so busy shooting at everything,” said Lizette, age 17, of Waukesha, WI.

“Nearly 50 percent of riders get right back in line to try again,” says Sundher. “The competitive element appeals to all ages and is especially compelling to video game players who always want to improve their scores.”

Players can earn thousands of points shooting at targets including candles, cameras, bats, bugs, rats, and zombies. Items that are more difficult to hit are worth more points, and certain objects react when struck. For example, candles flare when they are hit, one bat flies out upon contact, and a jar releases a ghost when shot.

A single admission to Castle of Chaos is $14.95 for adults and $7.95 for children (4-11). VIP Passes are available so guests can visit Castle of Chaos, the brand-new Hannah’s Maze of Mirrors and the recently-renovated Hollywood Wax Museum for the discounted price of $24.95 per adult (a $41.85 value) and $14.95 per child (a $23.85 value.) Guests can re-visit Castle of Chaos as often as they would like on the same day for $5 per ride. Additional discounts are available by purchasing VIP Passes at least 24 hours in advance on-line at http://www.hollywoodwaxmuseum.com/branson/tickets.htm or Castle of Chaos only tickets at www.castleofchaosbranson.com.

Castle of Chaos is located in the Hollywood Entertainment Center at 3030 W. Hwy. 76 in Branson across from the Starlite Theatre. It opens at 8 a.m. 365 days a year. For additional information, call (417) 337-8700.

-Robert

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Oct. 7, 2009

This notice may be a little short, but this is a very cool opportunity, so take it if you can:

He's taken you "Behind-the-Screams," now Halloween Horror Nights’ Creative Director & "Mastermind" John Murdy will answer YOUR questions LIVE on Stickam this Thursday at 5:30pm PT! Log in and chat about the mazes, gore, freaks and more.

To check out the chat and sign up, please go to http://www.stickam.com/horrornights09

And if you can't make the live chat, be sure to see some "Behind The Screams" YouTube vids:

Part One: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CO4gWjoH5hU

Part Two: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l19QLsb54wk

Part Three: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WrfE394-EzA

In keeping with the seasonal festivities, check this out:

Disney.com has just launched a new destination for visitors to enjoy new and exclusive videos, games and activities. “Haunted Holidays” (www.disney.com/HauntedHolidays) features pages of your favorite Disney attractions from The Haunted Mansion ride, Pirates of the Caribbean, Snow White and the upcoming A Christmas Carol and many more.

The special destination on Disney.com will be updated with new features often from now until the New Year!

From Pirates to Muppets, from London to New Orleans, “Haunted Holidays” on Disney.com brings together an array of exclusive and never before seen features from some of Disney’s most popular films and characters. Highlights include:

The Haunted Mansion
Often picked as a favorite attraction by Disney Parks guests around the world, the Haunted Mansion is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, and on Disney.com you can watch exclusive behind-the-scenes videos that look at the history and Imagineering that went into creating the spookiest place at Disneyland. The Haunted Mansion Chapter features:

· “Choose your Demise” game, in the “spirit” of the real Haunted Mansion elevator portraits the portraits featured in this game may not be as they appear.
· Exclusive flip book of Haunted Mansion images and artwork
· Exclusive, behind-the-scenes videos and fan videos at Disneyland Resort

The Muppets
The Muppets have “dug up” their favorite spooky jokes in honor of Halloween – check out all-new videos and shorts, you don’t have to be a werewolf to howl at these jokes, even our mummy likes them. Chapter features are:

· Hidden “pop-up” Halloween jokes
· Original Halloween-themed videos
· Fan-favorite Muppet sketches

Nightmare Before Christmas
What holiday is complete without a visit to Halloweentown with Jack Skellington? Continuing a Disney Halloween tradition, the “Nightmare Before Christmas” Chapter features:

· Video of Rise Against’s music video “Making Christmas”
· Links to Disney.com Create portal photo mash-up featuring “Nightmare” characters
· Character flip book

-Robert

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Oct. 1, 2009

Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom's Chang may be in hibernation for awhile, and when it does reappear, it may no longer be known as Chang. So, to honor this much beloved coaster, still the world's second-biggest stand-up wonder, here's its original Ride Review, from over 12 years ago (so please forgive the tiny, little photos and the many outdated references (Hellavator?!)).

See you soon, ya big yellow lug.

-Robert

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Sept. 30, 2009

So I finally got around to hitting Six Flags Magic Mountain's new Terminator Salvation: The Ride woodie this past weekend, and while a full ride review is coming soon, let me just say now that this coaster is a blast and a half. At long last, SFMM is home to a world-class lumber thriller. So long, we've waited. And once more, we've been reassured that another rail-rider is due next year. Tasty.

Michael Jackson's many Neverland amusement park attractions are finding new homes far and wide.

Could Coney Island's fabled Astroland park someday make a triumphant return? Perhaps. Most of it is sitting in storage, waiting...

Little people, big ideas. Here's the wackiest theme park-related story I saw today.

Bonzai Beach, yeah, whatever... Haven't commented on this yet, but what in tarnation is Six Flags doing with Kentucky Kingdom? Fenced off a whole section of the park to let it rot, and now they're removing Chang, easily that park's best coaster? They couldn't have removed the torture device otherwise known as T2, and expanded their H2Offerings in that direction? EPIC FAIL. My last visit to SFKK was the day before this year's HoliWood Nights event at Holiday World, and it will likely be my last, period.

-Robert

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Sept. 28, 2009

I've been itching to purchase an iPhone, but now I simply can't wait any longer, because I must possess this new app, Haunted 3D Rollercoaster Rush, a game that is the third in a series I wasn't aware of at all. They all sound super-cool!

I'm not big on game shows, but I sure hope the U.S. gets its own version of this UK series, Scream If You Know The Answer. Seems it'll feature many of Thorpe Park's scream machines, including Nemesis Inferno. And one very attractive Katie Price.

It's no secret that amusement parks make long-term plans, but here's an interesting story about how Cedar Point's upcoming Shoot The Rapids was several years in the making.

I certainly want our rollercoaster-loving brethren in Nigeria to have more immediate access to some real thrills, but "Six Flags Over Nigeria" does sound like a risky venture.

Too soon, Kings Island, too soon.

-Robert

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Sept. 24, 2009

It's a pity to see Cypress Gardens staggering around the ring. Has it taken its last hit?

More sad news: there's but a couple more days to say goodbye to one of the very few kiddielands left in America.

Is Blackstone about to become the next owner of the Busch Parks? Sure seems so, despite management's "No Comment" attitude.

They say the recent flooding at Six Flags Over Georgia won't keep that park down for long, but look at the photo in this article. Yikes. That can't be good.

Seems the indy parks didn't do so badly this summer, what with all the grim economic news.

Indonesia is now home to Trans Studio, "the world's biggest indoor theme park." Be sure to watch the video, too.

-Robert

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Sept. 22, 2009

Oklahoma's Bell's Amusement Park is still all packed up, but there's hope it'll resettle somewhere nearby soon.

Here's a North Carolina Halloween hot spot of which I wasn't aware. Sounds cool.

While it may be a theme park in name only, this China funzone planned for the big Bird's Nest stadium is pretty mouthwatering.

There's some good lulz to be had looking at these on-ride photos.

An iconic amusement park figure has found a new home.

Have you ever prayed for a soccer-themed park? Your prayers may soon be answered.

-Robert

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Sept. 20, 2009

It's been all over the interwebz since Friday, but in case you missed it, there's this really disturbing footage of a serious cable mishap on Knott's Xcelerator coaster. Fortunately, no one was badly injured, but there were some brief hospitalizations. Bad news all around.

Texas' Wonderland park has received a nice accolade.

And along the same lines, here's a great bit I missed regarding Knoebels (and thanks to JW Green for bringing it to my attention!)

Iowa's classic Arnold's Park will be just a bit less sweet very soon.

Enjoy this story on a long-lost Michigan coaster.

Dick Cook, head of Disney's film division, is stepping down, and though this story is not directly related to any theme park activity, it's worth noting that Cook's long tenure with the Mouse House included some in-park duties.

New Orleans' former Jazzland theme park is edging closer to its next phase.

I'm tellin' ya, I wish some US park would do this!

-Robert

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Sept. 15, 2009

Here it be, the official list of attractions for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Forbidden Journey, yo! And I'll always think of them as the "Duelng Dragons," but "Dragon Challenge" sounds pretty cool, too. And take a look at the quick little video on this site.

I feel the need... the need for speed... dating! Great idea, Alton Towers!

Cali's Pharoah's Theme and Water Park may be getting back to its original mandate as a "family-friendly" place of business.

Check out The Motley Fool's thoughts on some of the latest Disney doings.

China's major theme park concern has big plans for the future.

And last for tonight, a press release from USH:

“CHILLER-EYEGORE AWARDS” AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD (SM) TO BE HOSTED BY ACTOR COREY FELDMAN AS THEME PARK CELEBRATES OPENING NIGHT OF “HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS®” ON OCTOBER 2

Universal City, CA—Actor Corey Feldman will host this year’s Chiller-Eyegore Awards, honoring individuals for their achievements in horror, at the opening night ceremony of Universal Studios Hollywood’s much anticipated “Halloween Horror Nights®” event, kicking off a 16-night run on Friday, October 2 at 7:00pm.

This year, Universal Studios Hollywood is partnering with Chiller in the presentation of the newly expanded “Chiller-Eyegore Awards,” which will be broadcast as interstitial programming on Chiller later in October. The Chiller-Eyegore Awards will acknowledge actors, artists and filmmakers in a variety of categories specific to the horror genre.

Previous Eyegore Award recipients have included Alice Cooper, Patricia Arquette, Janet Leigh, Roger Corman, Jennifer Tilly, Joss Whedon, Rob Zombie, Karen Black, Clive Barker, Julie Benz, Shawnee Smith, Sherri Moon Zombie, Tobe Hooper, Bill Moseley and Corey Feldman.

Chiller and Universal Studios Hollywood have also partnered to sponsor the "Halloween Horror Nights-Chiller Scary Good Film Competition," offering filmmakers an opportunity to have their scariest short film rewarded with a broadcast on Chiller of their work, a $1,000 cash prize and a trip for two to opening night of Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood, where the film will be shown at the Chiller Eyegore Awards ceremony. Ten finalists have been selected by an industry panel and voting is now open to all members of the public at www.HalloweenHorrorNights.com/Chiller.

This year’s all-new “Halloween Horror Nights” at Universal Studios Hollywood will feature four new maze experiences including “Saw: Game Over,” “Halloween: The Life and Crimes of Michael Myers,” “My Bloody Valentine: Be Mine 4 Ever,” and “Chucky’s Funhouse,” six new “scare zones,” a new live stage performance of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: A Tribute,” as well as a fully re-imagined “Terror Tram” backlot studio experience. The all-new “Halloween Horror Nights” for 2009 will be the most intense and terrifying “live” horror event ever to be presented in a theme park environment.

-Robert

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Sept. 13, 2009

First, congrats to all the latest Golden Ticket winners, especially The Voyage! Still have such fond memories of this year's HoliWood Nights event... *sigh* Damn, what a ride...

And congrats to De Eftling for reaching a major milestone!

Interesting story here about the pending opening date for the big Wizarding World of Harry Potter down at IOA. A fact I didn't know: "...Universal's licensing contract with Rowling and Warner Bros. Entertainment states that a grand opening for Potter must occur by June 30, 2010."

Disney's got some major news to offset the Potter mania, including a vast upgrade to WDW's Fantasyland, and - finally! - those long-rumored upgrades to Star Tours! Pod racers, in 3-D, baby.

The Cali Great America/49ers stadium conflict continues. Troubling.

And it looks like West Virginia's Wild Escape theme park is really on its way.

-Robert

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Sept. 10, 2009

Back to some random noting:

Michael Jackson's tragic early death was really terrible, but there are a couple of small silver linings to that very dark cloud, like the year-long return of Captian EO to Disneyland, and what may soon be the chance for all of us to visit Neverland. Here's an opinion piece on the matter.

Kings Island founder Gary Wachs is getting some well-deserved recognition.

The massive Disney purchase of Marvel Entertainment is going to have repercussions for decades to come, but the Orlando property will remain un-Marveled for a bit.

Speaking of Orlando, gotta visit SeaWorld next time I'm down that way; Manta really does sound like a winner.

-Robert

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Sept. 6, 2009

So, the RideWorld/ThrillRide server just up and vanished... or crapped out for good... or something. Honestly, I don't know for sure. No matter, both sites are now up and running and should be for the foreseeable future.

Anyway, our apologies for the lengthy downtime. (Like that hasn't happened before.) But your patience and continued visitations are always very much appreciated. I hope everyone stateside is enjoying a long Labor Day weekend and for those of you in Southern California, a weekend with relatively smoke-free air and mild temperatures.

During this unexpected sabbatical, I missed out on heralding some major 2010 announcements, so permit me to do a little catching up:

Carowinds Intimidator!

Yeah, baby, another high-horsepower Beemer! Does this tickle the joy nodes of our brains like Apollo's Chariot first did ten years ago? Maybe not quite as much, but this hyper B&M looks to be every bit as delicious as its brothers and sisters all over the globe. Intimidate me, Carowinds. Intimidate me good.

Cedar Points' Shoot The Rapids!

Cedar Point goes the wet route and this next-gen flume ride (sharing some DNA with Holiday World's Pilgrim's Plunge), will certainly be one serious antidote to scalding-hot weather. They made a very interesting choice when plotting Shoot The Rapids' course: putting the big drop in the middle of the ride, and not the very end. Most unusual. But if you've watched the animations and given careful consideration to the image above, that last drop into said "rapids" may prove to be the wettest finale to any flume ride yet constructed. (I'm guessing they'll turn down the faucets on cooler days.) Toss in a bit of dark-ride hill-william goofiness, and you've got a winner.

Now, this is really intimidation

Finally, there is Kings Dominion's own Intimidator. Wowzers. Can you imagine what that first ground-hugging turn is going to feel like? Sure you can, and I'll bet it's going to feel even better than that. And with only one really big hill after the initial ginormous dive to burn off any significant velocity, those trains should just rip it up all the way home. Weird profile, for sure. But that's what's going to make this one truly distinctive. Intimidation Intamin-style (Intamin-adation?) will be The One to hit for sure next year. Freakin' sweet.

And now I must say something about the Big, Bad Wolf. This Arrow-designed suspended coaster is a piece of history, the first such ride of its kind to operate successfully. And easily one of the best of its ilk. To Busch Gardens I say: How dare you? Why must this delightful attraction be destroyed? Are maintenance concerns really that bad? Is ridership really that low? I shed a tear to think I'll never enjoy the BBW again.

Can they build something in its place that will allow us to forgive, if not forget, this atrocity? Let us hope.

-Robert

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Sept. 4, 2009

OMG, we're finally back in business... long story. Anyway, more to come soon!

-Robert

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July 15, 2009

Sure, Halloween may still be a ways off, but I'm already mega-psyched, thanks to this mega-awesome news. It is sort of a bummer that Disneyland's experiment with the "Rock-It Mountain" (or whatever it was going to be called) didn't catch fire as they'd hoped. I, for one, really dug the Chili Peppers' "intergalactic concert" experience. Regardless, a spooked-out version of Space Mountain is so up my alley, I can't stand it. (I'm just dreaming here, but wouldn't it be righteous-squared if they programmed two versions? A more kid-friendly version for the daylight hours, and then, a real scare-fest for the late-night crowd... mmm, yes, that would do quite nicely...)

Here's a fun list of Britain's fastest coasters, should you need such a guide for your summer travel plans.

Theme Park Review's sojourn through the southern states made some local news; dig the video!

So very, very sad...

-Robert

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July 12, 2009

Howdeedo, folks? Once again, my apologies for the prolonged downtime. It's gonna take awhile to get at some of the updates I had planned for the past month - some reviews, trip reports and whatnot - but in the meantime, here's a couple of interesting news items:

First, Kings Island's Diamondback has proven to be a runaway success, and one fan in particular is really dedicated.

From new to old: "The ACE" has bestowed one of its highest honors upon Vancouver's legendary woodie.

Here's another online story highlighting the ongoing battle over Coney Island's future.

I think most of us would likely agree with this author's opinions about the present-day Elitch's Gardens.

-Robert

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