Friday, December 9, 2011

Wizarding World II-news update

Well, it’s official. The Wizarding World is moving into Universal Hollywood. I’m not sure what attractions it will replace, but I do remember Universal saying that they would demolish anything to install it. That’s devotion!

Also, we Floridians are lucky to get an expansion of the Wizarding World at IoA. However, for the first time in theme park history, this will be a land spread out over TWO parks. Universal knows how to rake more money back into the Studio park, and that’s to charge separate admission to half of the world of Harry Potter. Smart move, guys. Check and mate.

What has not yet been announced is the attraction line-up for this new area. (And myself and others still assume it is taking the place of Amity Island.) The rumors from inside officials tell us that this will be the London side, and the Hogwarts Express will take guests over to the original land that opened last year. So, basically one Muggle side, and one Wizard side.

I’ve heard rumors that guests will enter The Leaky Cauldron to enter Diagon Alley. No doubt Universal will provide some kind of interactive entryway to re-create the effect of a moving brick wall. If Diagon Alley is re-created, then we can assume that Gringotts Bank will be there. Seems most people claim a mine train coaster will go here, but I think that sounds like a fantasy some fans cooked up at the moment. Then again, I could be wrong.

There are many ways this area could be re-created. Obviously, it has to look and feel different than Hogsmeade over in IoA so that the same experience isn’t repeated twice. This is why I’m guessing that there will be no snow or wintery themes here if we are under the assumption that it is always winter in Hogsmeade. The authenticity of the products sold in the original area were so well done, so it’s obvious this level of placemanship will return. Expect spell books, wands, cauldrons, and other authentic props. I’d personally like to see the Monster Book of Monsters as a battery-operated toy that would snap its fangs at customers.

If Hogsmeade had the Owlery, maybe this new street will have a pet shop, even if it’s just for show. I doubt we’ll be seeing Knockturn Alley, though. Maybe there will be some signage promoting it, but I don’t think Universal Studios would care for dark wizards wandering around the premises.

Now, no one knows anything for sure. These are just my own speculations and personal preferences based on what I’ve heard and seen so far. One thing I can predict that I know WILL be a big issue is that Universal is doing this partially to spite Disney. With its Fantasyland rehab in Magic Kingdom, and its Carsland and Buena Vista Street installation over at California Adventure, Disney is really trying to catch up financially to the success their rival has received on the first Harry Potter area. The announcement of an Avatar-themed land for Animal Kingdom is also due to this. But, unless these new attractions prove to give Disney a complete 180 degree turn, it seems Universal will still be number one destination in Orange County, at least for now.

What do you think? Discuss in the comments below.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sudden News Break

On January 12th, we will mourn the loss of an old friend:

RIP, Bruce. We'll miss you.

On the other hand....

More Harry Potter attractions! Squeeee!!!

Oh, but those of us in Florida have to wait for them. Well, that's a bummer...

Here's what Universal had to say:

Hey fans, we want you to be the first to know… JAWS! and the Amity area will officially close on January 2 to make room for an exciting, NEW, experience we’re planning for you. We know you love JAWS! and we do too. It has been an amazing attraction and after terrorizing the waters of Amity here at Universal Orlando for 20 years, it’s a VERY important part of our history. So, we’ve got a couple things planned to ensure we always remember and honor it. We know it’s hard to say goodbye, but we can’t express how EXCITED we are about the new, innovative & amazing experience we’re going to be bringing you.

Well, I know I wasn't excited when I first heard the news. Jaws is a big part of their heritage and the park's older identity as a showcase of classic films. However, if we get a big expansion in its place just like we did with Wizarding World, this could be interesting. The landscape of the Florida market could be changed yet again. 

However, we now have this to debate: the possibility of several new locations of Hogwarts around the globe. On one hand, more fans will be able to experience this great attraction. On the other hand, will this cheapen the Florida location? Having only one Wizarding World really makes one feel like this is THE real thing. But, it might be nothing. This reminds me how many scoff at old reports from 1955 that address the harm of many "little Disneylands" placed throughout the globe. Then again, maybe they still have a point...

Here's the official press release:

The new “Harry Potter” addition in the Los Angeles park, Universal Studios Hollywood, will likely resemble the one in Florida, these people say, which includes a Hogwarts Castle, roller coasters, and several Potter-themed restaurants including the Hog’s Head tavern, which serves butterbeer, as in the books. If the new section succeeds, more “Potter” attractions could open in other parts of the world where Universal has theme parks, including Japan, Singapore, and Spain, say people close to Universal.”

Amusement Parks as Movie Sets: Part 1

I’m trying something different this time. Let’s analyze some parks that served as filming locations for various movies through the decades. There are so many, so count on this being an ongoing series. Many sites list these locations, but my goal was to be a bit more in-depth.

Closed For the Season-2008

This first one is an indie movie shot at my local Chippewa Lake Park in Medina, Ohio. The park had been sitting in ruins since 1978 and was about to be torn down. The director asked if he could have the site to film a horror movie on the spot before demolition. This was a great idea since the location was very ominous and creepy looking. The remains of the fun house (and former bath house), the old cuddle bug, and Cyclone coaster could be seen here for years. After the film was shot, the site was finally cleared. Today, the ferris wheel still remains, no doubt due to its large size. Check out the trailer and be sure to check out these sites for some great photos of the Chippewa ghost town:

KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park-1978

One of my favorite camp films was shot at Magic Mountain, and so much of the park is shown that this movie really acts as a nice time capsule. The history of the film itself is a thrill ride of its own, and if you’re interested in low budget disasters, I urge you to read up on it.

The concert scenes were filmed in the parking lot. Admission to Magic Mountain included a free KISS concert at night so that the filmmakers could get some crowd footage. What a deal! I can ride Goliath AND see one of the biggest rock bands of the time AND become an extra in a movie!? I’m in! The nightly fireworks that followed the show were also in the movie. Here’s an 88mmfilm one of the crowd members filmed:

I can’t say for certain if the “animatronics” on the midway were actually park of the park or just made for the movie. Doubtful they were already there. However, Goliath and Colossus were used throughout the film. Colossus was still under construction during this season, but it was used regardless. Cars going up the Goliath lift hill are visible in the opening scene. Colossus was used consistently throughout. It’s the coaster that the giant-sized Gene Simmons stands over in the opening credits. It’s also where the fight with the flying monkey-type villains was shot. Furthermore, there’s a part early on when the manager walks under the support beams of the ride, giving the viewer a very clear view of how it looked at the time.

You may also notice that the park manager mentions the mascot character signage of Freddy the Fox was removed without his approval. You may also notice various animal characters decorating the park. Now, I’m not sure if these were ever really there or if they were made for the film. In the early 70’s, Magic Mountain had the Troll mascots. Later, they would use the Loony Tunes during the Six Flags years. 

Not sure what hippie on the Magic Mountain board came up with these "Trolls."

Revolution is also visible in the film, and the band members ride in the Scrambler in the opening musical sequence.

Final Destination 3-2006

The coaster of death and mayhem was Corkscrew, a steel  sit-down coaster at Playland Park in north-east British Columbia. The giant devil in front of the queue line was made for the film, so don’t expect to see him at the ride.


Here’s another campy classic about a bomb threat at an amusement park. The locations in this film were chosen by a group of candidates. First, we have Virginia’s Ocean View Park:

In the movie, the park’s main coaster is called The Rocket. In real life, this known as The Southern Belle.

Quite a few landmarks from King’s Dominion are visible. Here’s the iconic Eiffel Tower:

Since this was the era when the park’s children’s area was themed to Hanna-Barbara, some of the characters can be spotted. Here’s a shot with Fleegle from the Banana Splits in the background:

The Singing Magic Mushrooms can also be seen. Only in the 70’s…

Here’s the old Safari Monorail that was torn down during the Paramount years:

The finale of the movie takes place at Magic Mountain! Wow, that place had a lot of exposure to the Grindhouse audience.

Many rides are seen in the film at MM such as the Shenandoah Lumber Co. The bomber even tries to blow up Rebel Yell! The finale takes place at the then-still new Revolution, the first coaster to have a complete 360 degree vertical loop. In fact, the ride has a commemorative plaque outside the queue commemorating the spot where the filming took place.

Here’s the trailer to the film.

I'll have more soon as well as some new features.

**Special thanks to MiceChat for some of the pics.

Monday, November 28, 2011

We're Back, and We're Stuffed

Well, after a Holiday Hiatus, we're back! First thing I want to do before getting to some editorials is to catch up on some of the bigger news.

So, the Transformers ride is opening. This is considered big news, so here's a recap. It's basically a new version of the Spiderman ride in my viewpoint, but I suppose this is a good backup plan for Universal if and when they ever lose their Marvel license to Disney. Slashfilm reported recently that the attraction vehicle is an actual transformer. Your car is a character. My good friends over at Topless Robot had this to say:

Transformers: The Movie: the Ride is just about ready to open in Universal Studios Singapore, and one of the local news stations did this report on what getting to the ride will be like. I feel like it's notable for two reasons:
1) That it could take up to 1.5 hours of waiting in line to actually get on Transformers: The Ride. The idea that anyone would wait up to 90 minutes for a ride based on
Bayformers -- unless they were some sort of war criminal, and this was their court-mandated punishment -- depresses me to no end.
2) On the other hand, as the newslady is happy to point out, the walls surrounding the queue will be full of buttons to press and switches to flip, so that people can "entertain" themselves while waiting. By pressing buttons and hitting switches. Like developing infants do with toys.

As harsh as that sounds, I can't disagree. However, I'm sure I'll be amazed with the technology once it opens. You can make up your own mind by viewing this video.

In other news:

-I should point out that we have seen a new type of ticketing system put into use that could possibly eliminate turnstiles.

-Coney Island is celebrating its roots with some new construction work.

-Kennywood sold Pitfall, so could a new ride be on the way?

-TDS celebrates its 10 birthday just in time for the holidays.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving! And if you didn't, it could be worse. The Pilgrims had to catch their own turkey. I'll leave you with a look at what that might have looked like, courtesy of Sally Dark Rides.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Two New Rocky Mountain Coasters

Hello everyone,

I'd first like to apologize for how slow it's been here lately. I've been traveling a lot over the past month and have had almost no time to work on the site. Add that to the fact that it's the off-season now, and you can see why we haven't posted an update in a while. Don't worry though, I'm working on the next Impression already and we've got a few other articles planned as well, plus I'm looking into some new features to upgrade the site. I'll get on with it now:

At IAAPA a few weeks ago, you may have heard about Rocky Mountain's plans for 2013; another full Iron Horse makeover project, as well as an original project, from scratch. We thought it would be fun to try to figure out where those are going.

How's this for an old picture?! (RCDB)
Let's start with the makeover - my personal guess is Colossus at Six Flags Magic Mountain. Colossus is long overdue for refurbishment, so why wouldn't Six Flags go all-out on this one? Given their huge success with the New Texas Giant, it makes sense that Six Flags might be interested in upgrading some of their other woodies. Other possible candidates might include Georgia Cyclone at SF Over Georgia, or even Cyclone at SF New England. Colossus remains the strongest possibility however, as Cyclone just added some of Rocky Mountain's Topper Track, and a full makeover on the compact Georgia Cyclone would be difficult. Not to mention, Magic Mountain is arguably their flagship park. That's why Colossus at SF Magic Mountain may be next to receive the Iron Horse makeover from Rocky Mountain Coasters.

SoB featuring the iconic loop (RCDB)
The second 2013 project is an original coaster, from scratch. For many reasons, I'd say that's planned for Kings Island. Let's face it, Son of Beast probably won't be around much longer, and that would free up a lot of space for another big woody. Could this be the park's second chance at building a sequel to The Beast? I'd like to say that it's coming to my home park, Cedar Point, but I doubt it. With all of the track work they've been doing on Mean Streak lately, I doubt the park would want to upstage it with another large woodie so soon (or hybrid, whatever). No; Cedar Point will wait to see how this works out at Kings Island, and they'll find some other coaster for #18. Kings Island needs a wooden coaster that will make guests forget about their failures with SoB. Given NTAG's success, a Rocky Mountain coaster could be just that. Kings Island is definitely my best guess as the recipient of the first original Rocky Mountain Coaster.

What are your thoughts? Have I missed the mark completely? Join the discussion; post your guesses for the two coasters in a comment below!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Construction News

Just some brief updates you should be aware of:

-Some new construction photos of the Mythos coaster have surfaced here and here.

-Here's a simulated POV of what Wild Eagle will look like:

-If you didn't hear about it, DLP recently had an accident when a Big Thunder mine car literally derailed into the Rivers of America below on one of the steepest turns. Here's the initial news story:

And here's a new report after the coaster reopened:

-Here's a new look at Leviathon as of October 31st:

-Here's one you may not have heard of: the 4th Dimension coaster being built over at Dinosaur Land in China.

-Finally, if you haven't seen any photos of Legoland Florida yet, it is open. Good ol' Werner Weiss over at Yesterland has a nice before and after of the park. Looks like the history of Cypress Gardens was kept intact very nicely.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Today We Mourn the Loss of An Old Friend...

As you may have heard at this point, Universal has announced that the dragons will no longer duel. After over a decade of zero casualties on the ride, two people were hit with loose objects and suffered injuries. This is like throwing a penny off the Empire State Building, I realize that, but Universal strongly emphasizes to use their lockers for your belongings. I'm sorry if someone got hurt, but this was their own doing, the rules were laid out for them. It's just amazing it took this long for something like this to happen!

The rest of us know that we will never again fell the quick breeze of a train of riders soaring past our faces five inches away, their feet extended giving the illusion that if we collide, we will be kicked in the face. Never again trying to high-five a friend on the opposite dragon knowing very well we could lose an arm. Never again bet our Fastpass tickets against friends to see which dragon would finish first.

Nope, now we just have, as Universal puts it, a "chase." Ah yes, because we all know that a simple chase is all Harry Potter had to do to complete the first challenge in the Triwizard Cup which the ride is named after. The Hungarian Horntail and the Chinese Fireball simply ran after each other in circles, yet somehow our wizard hero won the first round. Thank you, IOA. I'm astounded yet again at your marvelous attention to detail.

                                  RIP Dueling Dragons
                           Although we'll never pass you by,
                          We'll still remember jousting up high,
                           As, in near-collision, we tried to spit,
                           On a rider of our dragon's opposite.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Impression: Six Flags New England

I don't think I'm the first to say that most Six Flags parks are a little underwhelming. Besides the coasters (and even those are often hit or miss), most Six Flags parks lack the quality theming, enthusiastic staff, and park atmosphere that characterizes parks of other chains. This was not the experience that I had at Six Flags New England. Not only were the coasters great, but the staff was attentive and the park was clean.

We arrived at the park just after opening, which usually never happens to me. We knew we would need to start driving home early, so the Flash Pass building was our first stop. Just minutes later, we were checked in for Thunderbolt. After only a one-train wait, we were buckled into the front row, and off we went! You can feel the coaster's age as the cars rumble around the pre-lift turn. The peeling paint and classic wooden coaster sound enhanced the experience, an uncharacteristic one for a Six Flags park. The cute sign at the top of the lift took me back to a time long past. Thunderbolt itself was a lot of fun; we really flew around some of the turns and we even had a bit of airtime. For a Six Flags woodie, I was impressed.

Our next stop was Pandemonium. Not only do I love spinning coasters, but this one looks especially awesome. I love the colors especially, and it's position in the center of this side of the park. We checked in for the ride as soon as we got off Thunderbolt, and we quickly headed to the ride. After another brief wait, we were on the ride. We sat facing backwards for our first ride, and soon we took off up the lift hill. We were at the top in no time, and we twisted and turned down the drop. We headed into the crazy wild mouse section, which was especially intense as we were really spinning. Not only were the helices great, but I actually got some pretty good airtime as we hopped into the midcourse brake run. There's not much to Pandemonium, but it was really a lot of fun.

We got our Flashback credit next, which was nothing special. One ride that I was determined to try was Catapult. I was actually surprised that there was no line, but I wasn't complaining. In a few minutes, I was strapped in, if you can even call it that. The harnesses on Catapult are very unnerving, so I was holding on very tightly. Before I was quite ready, we started to climb the tower. I guess we were going backwards first, as suddenly the blood was rushing to my head and all I could see was Cyclone upside down. You wouldn't have believed how tightly I was holding onto those handles - my knuckles were pure white as we continued to flip backwards. We slowly came to a stop after about 3 rotations, but I knew it wasn't over yet. We flipped forward this time, which was just as intense and no less terrifying. My god, was I glad when it's over. Coming off, I couldn't decide whether I liked it or not. Either way, it's something every visitor should try - even though it really was insane, I'm glad I did it.

The last ride in the area was Cyclone, so we checked in for it on our Flash Pass and got in line. We waited for the front row, which was probably a good decision as the ride that followed was unbelievably rough. I don't know why they opted for the topper track on just part of it - it would have been a much better idea to give it a full Iron Horse makeover. Seriously, the topper track was the best section of the ride. Everything else just hurt beyond belief. I was genuinely thankful when the train entered the brake run. Now that we had ridden pretty much everything we wanted on this side of the park, we planned to head back to Bizarro. Of course, I needed the kiddie coaster credit. I hid my face in shame as I boarded along with several other toddlers. The coaster itself was not that bad, but I was eager to get off nevertheless. One ride I did want to stop for was Scream. I love drop towers, and this was no exception; Scream was really fun.

As we were walking back to Bizarro I went to punch it in on the Flash Pass - unfortunately, the ride was down. When we arrived at the entrance, there was a bit of a line forming. We figured this would be a good time to grab lunch across the midway at Johnny Rockets, so we could get right on Bizarro if it opened. After eating the worst Johnny Rockets burger I've ever had (what did I expect from Six Flags), the line was longer but the ride was still not open. We decided to move on for now.

The next coaster in front of us was Gotham City Gauntlet, which I was excited to try because it was new. Normally I don't mind Wild Mice too much, and this one certainly looked good. Fortunately, our Flash Pass got us on with no wait. We'd soon learn that that was all its worth. GCG was brutal - not only was it rough, but it threw you around, more than a usual Wild Mouse. It was flat-out uncomfortable; we experienced some really nasty jolts and painful maneuvers. One good thing I will say is that the theming was nice. Each car had it's own character, which was cool, and there were some cool props and effects throughout the ride. Now if only it were worth riding... Next was Catwoman's Whip, which I actually didn't know existed until we got there. Don't let that fact deter you from the ride, however; we got two great runs that we're fast, fun, and pain-free.

After Catwoman's Whip, we continued up the stairs and through Kidzopolis, where luckily there was not a kiddie coaster. For once, I would be spared the humiliation of finding a kid. We continued towards Hurricane Harbor this time, to hit Mind Eraser and Batman. We still had a bit of a wait on Mind Eraser, even with our Flash Pass. Just as we were boarding, we saw Bizarro running behind us. I put it in on our Flash Pass just as we were boarding Mind Eraser. What a waste of time that was. I thought Cyclone was bad, this was way worse. Now I know SLC's have a reputation, but the one I rode at Siam Park City wasn't really that bad. This Mind Eraser was actually effective in the sense that it bangs one's head back and forth to the point where one might actually suffer brain damage. The point I'm trying to make: avoid Mind Eraser at all costs.

We sprinted back through Kidzopolis after that, and headed straight for Bizarro. Once we threw our stuff in an overpriced locker, we only had a station wait. Seeing a long line for the front row, we settled for the second, and we were seated in just a few minutes. The view on both sides as we headed up the lift; the water on the left and park on the right was strikingly similar to Millennium Force. The drop into the tunnel was not, and with in a few seconds that was exactly where we were headed. We plummeted into the fog, pulling up sharply into the second hill. We got some decent airtime here, but nothing like what we were about to experience. The turnaround was nothing special, but as we entered the next low turn, you could see some of the old red paint showing through on the track. The next two hills took me by surprise. I was almost thrown out of my seat. The next section was completely insane: airtime hills interspersed with strong turns and fog! This ride just did not let up, it was crazy forceful and the airtime was amazing. There was no doubt in my mind - I was riding again.

With a review like this, shouldn't Bizarro be my #1 Steel coaster? As much as I want it to be, it isn't. There are a few things I didn't like about Bizarro. For one, it was a little rough. Nothing extreme, but this automatically put it below Wild Thing (#3). It was really flying, so maybe that was part of it, but the airtime also slammed me into my lap bar a little. These little grievances put Bizarro at #4, even though it is still an amazing ride and one of the best coasters I've ever been on.

That left Batman: The Dark Knight as our last coaster of the day. We were lucky to have ridden Bizarro when we did; it closed again almost right after we got off. Batman turned out to be a very good last ride as well. We were running out of time, so we just took the third row. This was actually a really nice floorless model. It was not only fast, but kept its speed throughout and had several thrilling elements. It really twisted around itself, which was fun and disorienting, not to mention that I love it when rides go over the paths. We started down the curved drop and headed immediately into the loop, picking up quite a bit of speed. The dive loop and turnaround that followed were great as well. Throw in a pair of corkscrews and another turn or two, call it a ride. Batman may not be very big, but it was a lot of fun. One of the best rides of the day.

Unfortunately, it was time to head out of the park after that. I grabbed one quick ride on Twister, the top spin, and we made our way toward the exit. First stop on the way out was the Season Pass Center, however. I guess all of the in park advertising worked, or at least we fell for it. Sporting our new season passes, we headed out of the park, already planning our trip to Six Flags Great America. Our Summer Road Trip was over, but SFNE was a great way to end it.

Overall Park Rating: 7.5 out of 10 Stars
To view all Six Flags New England photos, click here.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Park Impressions!

We'd like to wish all of our readers a Happy Halloween! We know it's been a little slow lately, but we've been working on some exciting new projects for Park Impressions. Thank you for your interest!

Just something I worked on over the weekend. Freehand, no templates; it was surprisingly fun. Have a Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Trip Report: Cedar Point 10/23/11

Went to Halloweekends yesterday with our Psych group to test the effects of coaster phobias. I'll report our findings when we finish, but for now, here's what was going on at the park. Like last year's experiment, execs and other heads of the park made the rounds with us. We were very lucky they let us use the exit to get on the rides and avoid waiting in line. This was the only time I've ever skipped the line for Maverick, and if you've been on Maverick, you know how big of a deal that is.

 We started the day off at the Cedar Creek Mine Ride. We were some of the first on since the ride had not opened upon arrival. The national anthem played over the speakers while we waited, a morning ritual at CP.

Next up was Wildcat. This was the only coaster here I had never been on (other than the two kiddie coasters). It's a lot more thrilling than it looks. Is it just me, though, or does this one look like Cedar Fair found it at a carnival, hauled it over with a lift, and dropped it next to Iron Dragon? It looks as if they were saying "Here's the new coaster. That was easy." Maybe it's just me.

Early morning at Cedar Point's Raptor.

Tim Burton and Henry Selick should get ready to sue.

 It had only been a year since my last visit, but it had taken that length of time for me to forget the outrageous prices in the park. Seriously, this place is more expensive in one visit than two days at Disney or Universal. I had just a medium-sized meal at Coasters, and that was roughly 16 bucks! I didn't eat anything the rest of the time because your average food or drink was at least 3 or 4 dollars, and we're only talking a small Pepsi, one hot dog, etc. Oh, and it was Sunday, so Chick-fil-A was closed, and we all know what that's like.

Getting nearly dehydrated, I found out that I had to ask for water. That's right. I think it was $3.50 at the (very few) vending machines that had it. It is not on the menu at food stands. They'll give you a tiny cup, but that's it. I was very fortunate to have a nice worker give me a full glass, no charge. Keep this in mind on your next visit.
The midway stage awaits the arrival of The Overlord and his minions of Screamers.

Peanuts characters are all over. They have a show on the Iron Dragon stage that is so loud, one can hear it for several miles.

Mantis, or as I like to call it, The Man-Crusher

The park is all decked out for Halloween.

The entrance to the nightly scare zone that runs along Frontier Town.

This guy actually moves. He had quite a crowd.

Millennium Force was stuck early on.

Wind Seeker was down as was Iron Dragon despite very little wind.
Disaster Transport is not open due to its overlay as a nightly haunted house.

I could swear this dude looks just like the old Sinclair dinosaur.

Jack occasionally springs from his box at night.

At night, this thing plays a very creepy toy jingle.


Even Johnny Rocket's was decked out in dead musicians.
 Many of the decorations around the park are from previous years, but I'm glad they kept this graveyard of lost rides. It's a nice tradition. I wish they added new headstones each year, but it's still pretty impressive with how many they included.

That's all?! No Bear Country?! I'm offended, CP!


The hay bale maze in front of the kiddie haunted house in the Blue Streak area.

These inflatable guys are new this year.

Am I alone in thinking they look like the old Tangy Taffy characters?
What could be in that tomb?


The ogre snores for a while before waking.

Every two minutes, he stands and recites a morbid poem.

Glad to know Hard Rock Park had a proper burial.

I saw this and laughed because it reminded me of this.

Part of the steampunk area of the Frontier Town scare zone.

Snake River Falls and the other water rides were down.

This is interesting. From behind the petting zoo, you can see the Christmas decorations.

Every kind of spooky music you can think of, from Beetlejuice to Zombie Stomp, plays in areas like this.

Some of my favorite Halloween songs like "Do the Freddy" from "Freddy's Greatest Hits" and "Surfer Ghoul" from the Dr. Demento show were absent from the playlist. I'd like my admission money back, Cedar Point!
The really great Cedar Point history museum.

I love how this shows the sign of the times. A strong Christian emphasis, Indians chasing Pilgrims, and Death in an old lady's house would not necessarily fly today as animations for this organ.

During the day, "Thriller" music plays nonstop here. Don't like it? Too bad!

Too soon?
 I was lucky to obtain some info from a park head on the status of the paddle wheel boats. The new Adventure Island will become home to the dinosaurs, so some of the scenery will probably not stay. However, the boats might not disappear entirely. They recently had one of the old ships out by the marina for guests to ride.

The former loading dock is now just a "rest area."

"O Fortuna" played while we were in line. Intimidating to say the least.
As the night falls, the Grandmaster (from behind) addresses his subjects.

The Blood on the Bayou haunted house by the Dragster.

If Jack didn't look spooky enough during the day, he will now.
Gone is the "Thriller" music, replaced by more haunting fare.

Not a great shot, but the adult Carn Evil scare zone is in Camp Snoopy, a children's area. I won't ask why.

 All in all, a fun trip. Exhausting, however. My complaints were mostly just the conditions of the day. The wind was merciless on the coasters, forcing my eyes shut and blurring my vision among other things. The weather shifted from extremely  cold to very hot which is how I have frost marks and sun burn on my skin at the same time as well as blisters on blisters from the excess walking. After tackling seven coasters, I didn't have the strength to do any more.

I was very fortunate to see this place late at night, something I have never done before. I could truly feel the magic of the park's 50's and 60's heyday shine through all the lit rides and oldies rock music. Some of what I felt must have been prevalent in the 1800's and early 1900's was still there: classic rides like the horse derby and tin lizzies, the shore of Lake Erie, and impressive-looking gardens. Also, I don't think I've been to a park before where I've seen so many young couples practically turning the thing into a private make-out booth. If that doesn't take one back to the old eras of the park, I don't know what will.

There is not a lot of new features for this year's Halloweekends, but for someone who rarely goes in October, I didn't mind. For you locals, there are two new houses, new scenery, and some new shows. Other than that, the park looks almost identical as it did a year ago. Oh, but this time the midway prizes aren't as great. Playing to win a giant monkey is as epic as that time I won a life-sized doll of Tails from the Sonic games.

In other news, we should have our research and results of the Psych experiment done by January at least, so I'll try to post it then. Also, I received my acceptance letter from Disney this weekend. I'll be working there this spring. Thanks for reading!

UPDATE: My friend and I are doing our research on the effects of the Face Your Fear experiments from this year and last year. If you are interested, our local NPR station had this to say about it:

Also, Cedar Point's blog had an entry:

Here's one on last year's trip:

If you'd like further information, we also have a Facebook page: