Saturday, July 30, 2011

HodgePodge: Week of July 24, 2011

Canada's Wonderland
Canada's Wonderland has launched a teaser site for their 2012 attraction. They're hyping it up pretty big; could it be another coaster? We'll know for sure on August 17.

Europa Park
Coasterfriends has another update from Europa Park, where land clearing for Mythos continues. Check it out here.

Keystone Thrills has a new update from Hersheypark, where supports are stacked up and ready to go. Not too much more has been done on the construction site, but they've got some photos from there too.

Holiday World
Holiday World mentioned on Twitter that next year's addition would cost about $9M, and plans will be revealed this Wednesday. That size price tag rules out most flat rides (though I'd love to see a Screamin' Swing), but a coaster could land somewhere in that range. Could this be the steel coaster they were polling us about? Unless they're making two smaller additions, a coaster seems to be the most probable option.

Knotts Berry Farm
Westcoaster has another construction update from Knotts, where Windseeker looks like it might almost be ready for testing. Seats are fully installed, brick pavers have gone in, and landscaping work has been done as well. It all looks really nice - the only bad thing is, it'll be August before it opens.

Photo from Westcoaster.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Valleyfair, A History

Valleyfair's history may not be as long as some, but it's still always fun to look back at a park's past. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find much, but I'll post what I have. Valleyfair opened in 1976 for a total cost of $7.5 million with 20 rides on 26 acres. They were purchased by Cedar Point in 1978, forming the company Cedar Fair (Cedar Point and Valleyfair). High Roller was their only roller coaster until Corkscrew was added in 1980. The park continued to add other attractions, and a waterpark, but another coaster was not added until Excalibur in 1989. The park has continued to expand, adding notable rides such as Wild Thing, Mad Mouse, Power Tower, and Steel Venom. Their newest "big" coaster, Renegade, opened in 2007, and this year the park renovated their existing kids area to become Planet Snoopy. I couldn't manage to find any good old pictures or videos, but these aren't too bad:

1995 Brochure Page. From Click for larger image.

2003 Park Map. From Click for larger image.
2005 Brochure Page. From Click for larger image.

For more on Valleyfair, view our Impression or Park Photos

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

AP - Gay couple asked to reverse shirt at Dollywood

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A lesbian couple is asking for changes at Dollywood after an employee asked one of the women to turn her T-shirt reading "marriage is so gay" inside-out to avoid offending others on a recent visit to the Tennessee theme park complex.
Olivier Odom and Jennifer Tipton said Tuesday they want the park to be more inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families after Odom was asked to reverse her shirt when they visited Dollywood Splash Country next to the Pigeon Forge amusement park. The story was first reported by WBIR-TV in Knoxville.
Dollywood spokesman Pete Owens said on Tuesday that Dollywood is open to all families, but their dress code policy is to ask people with clothing or tattoos that could be considered offensive to change clothes or cover up.
Owens said the couple was not asked to leave and complied with the rules to reverse the shirt when asked.
"The park is open every day to everybody," Owens said. "We try to provide an environment for families of all shapes and sizes to enjoy themselves.
Owens said park officials were discussing the matter and would speak with the couple directly.
Odom said that they visited the water park July 9 with friends and their friends' two children when she was asked by a person at the front gate to turn her shirt inside out because it was a family park.
Odom said she complied so as not to make a scene in front of the children, but felt offended.
"That's what we found so offensive — that he said it was a family park," Tipton said. "Families come in a wide range of definitions these days and we were with our family."
The two said they felt they needed to file a complaint with Dollywood because they believed it was important to stand up for their beliefs in marriage equality.
"If marriage equality is going to happen, it's not going to happen if people sit at home quietly," Odom said.
Odom said they understand the park can have dress code policies, but she felt Dollywood needed to make their policies clear and provide better training for employees when determining what is considered offensive.
Odom and Tipton are not legally married, but held a ceremony last year in North Carolina. They wrote an email to the park asking the park "to implement policies that are inclusive of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; conduct staff sensitivity training; and issue a public statement indicating that the park is inclusive of all families."
Owens said the couple's complaints have sparked discussion at the park about the dress code, a policy that park employees deal with frequently because of the thousands of visitors every year.

Impression: Valleyfair

I've practically grown up at Cedar Point, and because it is still my home park today, I felt right at home at Valleyfair. As a young Cedar Fair enthusiast, I knew all about Valleyfair, but didn't have the chance to visit until know. Valleyfair is one of my favorite parks that I've visited this summer. It may not be as good as some, but              iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiimmmmm    mmmmmmmmiiiiiiiiiiiiii to me, it was home.

We headed into the park around 11:00 a.m. on a nice Sunday morning. The parking lot was not even half full, and the weather forecast looked optimistic. They scanned my beloved Platinum Pass and in we went. The first place we stopped was the Cinnabon shop, where I had my morning dose of sugar with their cinnamon sugar mini donuts.

We headed around to the right, and decided to make Corkscrew our first ride of the day. The line was nonexistent, so we eagerly climbed in the front row. Around the turn and up we went, before dropping quickly and going through the motions of riding an Arrow corkscrew coaster. Hill, drop, Loop, turn, corkscrew, brake. It certainly wasn't a very unique ride, but it was fun, and nowhere near as uncomfortable as its sister in Sandusky.

On that positive note, we headed into Planet Snoopy for some quick pictures and a ride on High Roller. The Planet Snoopy area was very well done and, based on the crowds, most people would agree with me. We kept moving though, as my goal was another credit - I've already ridden my fair share of kiddie rides.

Upon arriving at High Roller, we were greeted by a nice long line. In truth, it wasn't that bad, but it did not move; they were only running one train. A good thirty minutes later, we boarded High Roller, resigning ourselves to the fact that we had just waited entirely too long for a ride that was probably just going to hurt. To my surprise, I was not thinking either of those things when we got off. High Roller was neither boring nor rough, and while the line was maybe still a bit long for my liking, it really was not unreasonable. The airtime and forces were a bit lacking, but it was still better than I was expecting for a Cedar Fair woodie.

Our next stop was one I was eagerly anticipating, knowing that it could easily make it into my top ten. With that enthusiasm, I hurried over to Cosmic Coaster, just on the edge of Planet Snoopy. All joking aside, it was not a bad ride for a kiddie coaster. The best part was when they let us go around three times. After that big adrenaline rush [/sarcasm], I had to calm down with a drink at Stadium Pizza and Grill. We didn't stay long, though, as Mad Mouse was waiting for us. Another decent ride, but nothing special. With these (and boomerangs), when you've ridden one, you've ridden them all.

I had a bit of bad luck after that: my phone and camera died. What would I do about photos for this report? We decided we'd come back again in the morning for a few pictures, but for now, we had coasters to ride. On our way to Renegade, we were unavoidably sidetracked - we had to ride Looping Starship. Normally these rides make me sick, and I wasn't quite sure how I'd do on it after that root beer earlier, but I decided that it was worth the risk. The restraints stapled me into my seat, as always, but once I got over that, it turned out to be a pretty decent ride.

We did go straight to Renegade after that to find that it was a walk-on! It was our lucky day, it seemed. We took second row, and soon enough, we were off. Renegade was wonderfully twisty, in true GCI fashion, but it was not as smooth as I was expecting. It was very bumpy, but I hesitate to call it rough because it was not all that uncomfortable. I was definitely bouncing around more than I'd have liked, but it was more of a steady, rhythmic bump, that didn't really affect the ride experience in my mind. Taking out that factor, it's one of the better wooden coasters I've been on; it was fast, genuinely thrilling, and relatively forceful. Maybe not quite as good as I had been expecting, but looking back, I don't feel any disappointment.

Next up was Excalibur; in my mind, the "odd man out" of the Valleyfair family. It seemed I wasn't the only one who thought this, as there was no line. Maybe it was just because Excalibur is all the way in the back, practically by itself, but I wasn't complaining - I got in the front row immediately. After a one train wait, we took off up a hill that would make up about half of the ride. After a decent drop and a pointless straightaway, we moved through a few curves that were forceful but unexciting, before hitting the brake run with a jolt. Excalibur's main problem, in my mind, is it's length; it's simply too short of a ride. The ride itself wasn't all that bad, and I might have even enjoyed it if it had continued for another thirty seconds or a minute. We had decent speed, and could have kept going for a while, but it just ended. I was not disappointed with Excalibur, but I know that Valleyfair and Arrow could have done better.

Next, we decided to head over to Wild Thing. I was expecting something similar to Magnum at Cedar Point, but what I got was much better. Firstly, there was no wait, so I ran and grabbed the front row, as I always seem to do. It was very windy on the lift hill, which was both scary and exhilarating, but I tried to ignore it as I looked at the whole park from above. Before long, we plummeted downward on a drop that was deceptively long, before coming up into one of the greatest airtime experiences I have ever had. I don't think there was a moment on that second hill where I was actually seated - the airtime was perfectly strong and sustained. The rest of the ride was glass-smooth, and was easily the smoothest coaster I had been on, until I rode Sky Rocket a few weeks ago. I rode it again in the back row, which was still great, but not quite as smooth. Regardless, I knew that it had placed very high in my top ten.

We knew that the day was almost winding down by that point, but we had a few last rides to do. Xtreme Swing was first on our list, which was, again, a walk-on (it was our lucky day)! It was a very fun, albeit short ride; these swings are always among my favorite flat rides. Next was Power Tower, where I rode both sides. I love these rides, and Power Tower was just as good. RipTide was also a lot of fun, minus the water factor. I love the flipping, but I don't always love the water being shot in my face. I got off the ride almost completely soaked.

Our last stop was Steel Venom which, surprise, had no line. I got two rides on it; one in the front, one in the back. Both were good, but I particularly liked the back for the holding break. Of course, you still felt it in the front, but it was more intense in the back row. Better than Wicked Twister? Eh, about the same - both are fun, simple rides. We headed out after that.

Jump to the next morning, we arrived at opening and ran back towards Steel Venom, where I grabbed my pictures. We went around the park in the opposite direction this time, heading towards Wild Thing, which I really wanted another ride on. With no line once again, I took the front row as I had the day before; still an amazing ride. I had wanted to get one more ride on Renegade as well, but it was closed. What's more, the back of the park was closed as well, so I have no pictures of Excalibur. Bummer. I grabbed one last ride on Power Tower, and we headed out.

Overall, I had a great time at Valleyfair. Some of their rides were a bit lackluster (Mad Mouse, Excalibur), but others like Renegade and Wild Thing totally made up for it. Personally, I'd love to see a B&M invert addedIt is definitely one of the best parks I've been to in a while; maybe not the most unique in terms of atmosphere, but to me everything felt just right.

Overall Park Rating: 8/10 Stars
Click here to view all Valleyfair photos.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

California Screamin' Valleys

Photo from Westcoaster

You've all probably seen that California Screamin' valleyed over the weekend, as someone's backpack fell out of the train and jammed the wheels. Screamscape posted a POV that has since been removed from Youtube, but we've got Westcoaster's off-ride video:

California Screamin' Valley - 07/22/2011 from Westcoaster on Vimeo.

In other California Adventure News, you can read the rest of Westcoaster's update for lots of pictures on the construction in Cars Land, where the rockwork is starting to look really impressive!

Monday, July 25, 2011

"Huss GF" at Carowinds

Photo from The Coaster Critic
Screamscape reported a few days ago that survey markings were found at Carowinds that read "Huss GF." Unfortunately, there were no pictures, until now; more pictures can be found at The Coaster Critic. Speculation is that GF indicates that a Giant Frisbee will be added for 2012. We'll be adding this to our 2012 Rumors page - don't forget to send us any rumors or news that you may have!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I spy a new tab...

What's that at the top of the page?

Thats our new 2012 Rumors tab, a place that we want to keep track of all of the rumored and confirmed additions for 2012. We've added a few of our own, but we want to see what you guys can dig up.

In order to make this page as good as it can be, we need your help. Please send us all your rumors, facts, anything you have to or just leave a comment on the 2012 rumors page. We want this page to become a comprehensive resource, which we'll update as announcements are made. Until then, we could really use your help. We appreciate it!

But what about the RCT3 tab?

Yeah, it was time for that to go. It didn't quite fit with the rest of the site, and, frankly, this page is already a lot better!

In other news...

  • If you aren't following us on Facebook or Twitter (please do so!), you wouldn't have seen my update on the Valleyfair Impression. It's done and uploaded, and we're adding pictures. We're looking at a Wednesday release if all goes well. As for the name, we're going for "Impression" instead of "Park Impression" now. It's cleaner.
  • We hit 1,500 pageviews today for this month alone! It's not much yet, but it's almost three times what we started out with in April. I really can't say thank you enough!

Friday, July 22, 2011

HodgePodge: Week of July 17, 2011

Adventure World Warsaw
Poland has announced a new high-class theme park, Adventure World, will open in Warsaw in 2014! This seems to be a huge project, including a theme park, waterpark, two hotels, and a shopping and entertainment district. The theme park is supposed to follow a fantasy theme, with five "theme islands," and 25 attractions total. Construction will begin in spring of 2012. Very exciting - we'll be following this over the next few years.

"Skyrush" will be announced on August 2 at 12:12 p.m., according to Screamscape. Keystone Thrills posted a construction update on Tuesday, with lots of footer pictures. Check them out here.

Knotts Berry Farm

Photo from Westcoaster.
Westcoaster has posted a large Windseeker update from Knotts. The seats haven't been added quite yet, but the arms have and the lights seem to be installed. Be sure to check it out here.

Six Flags Great America
Screamscape posted a report that Iron Wolf may be leaving at the end of the season, and may possibly be installed at Six Flags America. There seem to be conflicting reports, however - Screamscape reports that park officials said that "there is no truth to the rumor that Iron Wolf will be taken down or moved anytime in the near future." Both sides seem pretty sure of themselves... we'll have to wait and see how it pans out.

Thorpe Park
Preparations for LC12 have begun, as you can see in the pictures posted to ThemeUK. A full announcement will be made on August 1 - until then, these will have to suffice.

Photo from

Elitch Gardens, A History

To correspond with our Park Impression, we've got a historical update on Elitch Gardens. The Elitch Zoological Gardens opened in 1880 on only 16 acres of land. In 1897 they added the popular Elitch Theatre, which was in use until 1987. The park added their first coaster in 1904, a Toboggan Figure 8. The park's first carousel opened in 1906, and is still operating today in Burlington, Colorado.

After the park was sold in 1916, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company (PTC) stepped in to build the Wildcat roller coaster, which opened in 1922, and their carousel (1928), which still operates at the current park. It was around this time that the famous slogan "Not to see Elitch's is not to see Denver" was popularized, and can still be seen around the park today.

Over time, the floral gardens were expanded and the zoo eventually closed in 1930 to make way for new attractions. In 1964, PTC returned with John Allen to build Mister Twister, a new wooden roller coaster. 96 feet tall, and "without a foot of straight track," Mister Twister was very popular, and it inspired today's Twister II.

The Sidewinder shuttle loop roller coaster opened at the park in 1990, and was the only coaster to make the move downtown in 1995. After attendance dramatically increased following the move downtown, Premier purchased the park and branded it as Six Flags Elitch Gardens, purchasing all other Six Flags properties as well. CNL Lifestyle properties purchased the park in 2007, leasing it to Parc Management. The park is currently operated by Herschend Family Entertainment, under lease from CNL.

Elitch Gardens Theatre, 1923. From Wikipedia. Click for larger.
Park Map, 1980. From Click for larger.

Park Map, 1997. From Click for larger.

2003 Brochure Cover. From NewsPlusNotes. Click for larger

2003 Brochure Page. From NewsPlusNotes. Click for larger.

For more on Elitch Gardens, view our Park Impression or park photos.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Fast Lane Analysis

Kings Island announced the Fast Lane just the other day, as the only line-skipping program at any Cedar Fair park. Guests can pay $50 per person to gain unlimited front-of-the-line access to 10 rides: Diamondback, The Beast, Drop Tower, Firehawk, Flight of Fear, Windseeker, Backlot Stunt Coaster, Delirium, Boo Blasters, and Log Flume. This brings us back to the controversial debate of fast-pass type systems.

While many complain that charging extra for such passes is unfair, I personally don't have a problem with it. I had a great time using my Flash Pass at Six Flags New England just a few days ago. It enabled me to ride everything I wanted in just a few hours, which allowed me more time to enjoy the rest of the park. I've also been on the other side of the equation, though, and it annoys me when other people can skirt ahead of you after you've already waited in line for a long time.

So how fair are these passes? Here we come back to the price - for many people, $50 is way too high. That's just three dollars shy of a one-day ticket at Kings Island. Six Flags parks use the Flash Pass, where they provide several different 'tiers' of passes, ranging from approximately $30-$90 at most parks. This gives guests the option to choose how much they are willing to pay, and their benefit will vary with that. Additionally, Six Flags includes more rides than Kings Island's new Fast Lane pass, and the limited hours on the Fast Lane make it look like the Six Flags Flash Pass is a better deal altogether.

Still, are these passes fair? Is it right to provide people special privileges simply because they can afford it? Disney uses a free Fast Pass system, which would be ideal if more parks were willing to forego the extra income. The fact is, Cedar Fair most likely wont. I personally think that the Fast Lane is a good idea, but I wish it had more options like the Six Flags Flash Pass. I don't really have a problem with Cedar Fair implementing a skip-the-line system (assuming they add it at more parks), but I understand those that do.

What do you think about the Fast Lane system? Is it a good idea, or on the right track? Would you prefer a system more like Six Flags or Disney, or should these systems be eliminated? Let us know what you think about this hot button topic in a comment!

Photostream: Six Flags New England, July 2011

You know the routine... More than 175 images from Six Flags New England, taken on Monday. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Impression: Elitch Gardens

Elitch Gardens is by no means a great park, but in my mind, that doesn't matter too much. Honestly, their coaster collection isn't much better than average, and the atmosphere leaves something to be desired. I will say that I had fun that day, and the historical factor was very cool, but that doesn't make up for what the park lacks in coasters and general atmosphere.

In keeping with my habit, we arrived well after opening to a parking lot that was not very full. I handed over my ticket and entered their entrance building thing. We didn't stay long, instead making a beeline for Sidewinder. This would be my first Arrow shuttle loop - scratch that, my first shuttle loop, period. Thankfully, the park was not very busy at all, and we only waited about 15 minutes before boarding.

Lucky for me, I was first in line for the next train, so I snagged the front row, right side. One thing that really startled me was how much the tower swayed - you could feel it as the train took off. It wasn't long before the train was dispatched and away we went. The ride layout or design isn't really much to speak of. It was not much more than a brief but thrilling ride. The most exciting part was being able to see the end of the track as you fly toward it. It was cool for me to ride because of the shuttle loop history, but beyond that, it wasn't much more than just another fun ride.

Despite the fact that we had only just arrived, we stopped for a pizza at Rustlers Food Court. My first complaint about the park - why don't they sell smaller sodas? The large sizes really wouldn't be that bad if they would offer straws and lids, so you could take it out into the park more easily. Still, this wouldn't be the first time that I was forced to throw away more than half of my oversized soda.

My next stop was Twister II, and I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I hadn't really heard much about it, besides the generally-known history of it and the former Mr. Twister. There was about a five minute wait for it, so we hopped in the second row and got on the next cycle. We climbed the lift hill, traversed the s-curve, and proceeded to enter the incomprehensible mess of twists and turns. One thing that struck me about the ride was how it didn't throw you around, despite the crazy layout. In that aspect, it was much better than I was expecting. Unfortunately, it simply wasn't very exciting. At no point was I sincerely thrilled, which I consider to be one of the most important feelings on a roller coaster. In the end, it just didn't feel as forceful as I would have liked, but not a bad ride overall.

At that point, it was starting to get later in the day, and we had wanted to leave kind of early so as not to miss the Mavericks/Heat game. We headed straight for Half Pipe, seeing that the line was short. We didn't wait more than 10 minutes, which was nice considering (1) it was hot, and (2) that's all it was honestly worth. I don't say that to be critical, it's just not any better than average. It was fun, granted, but all too short, and not something that merits riding more than once, at least for a while. It's not a bad coaster, but it simply isn't great. Not that it has to be, but I was beginning to feel that each ride mirrored the park as a whole - good, but not great.

I took a quick ride on Tower of Doom after that. In truth, it wasn't really that quick; the operations weren't very efficient. We got in a 30 minute line for Boomerang, which I was really not too happy about. It was getting hot, and the ride ops were not being very efficient, which turned it into a 40 minute wait. By the time we finally got on, we just gave in and took the row with the shortest wait, and got on the next train. I'm not going to talk much about the Boomerang, as we're all familiar with them. This one was no different than any other, except it didn't bang my head around as much as some have. Another credit gained...

We stopped for a drink at the Blue Moon Beer Garden and tried to figure out what we still wanted to do. Mind Eraser was still closed. There had been a train stopped on the lift earlier in the day, and it was still there as we were leaving the Beer Garden. We decided instead to head to Ghost Blasters, as for some reason I love shooting dark rides. The wait wasn't too bad, and the theming was great; it was one of the better shooting dark rides I've been on.

We decided it was about time to head out, so I decided to end with the Observation Tower. We walked back to the front of the park, and got in the nonexistent line; we were on in less than five minutes. It was really windy at the top, so I didn't want to stay long. I actually have a big fear of heights, but I'm fine on coasters because I've been strapped in really well. On this, the wind coupled with the uneven floor and the lack of a lap bar urged me to hurry up. I got my pictures quickly, and managed to get some great overhead shots (I managed to fit the whole park in one shot). I headed down and out of the park after that.

I won't lie, I was not super impressed with Elitch Gardens. It still felt like a neglected Six Flags park - that is, hot and crowded with no headlining coasters. I had fun during the day, but nothing about the park really stood out to me. I really hope CNL and Herschend can turn this park around, because it really could be a nice little park, and one that I'd then love to visit again.

Overall Park Rating: 5/10 Stars
Click here to view all Elitch Gardens Photos.

Photostream: Lake Compounce, July 2011

I hope you're not getting tired of pictures, because we've still got more to come! Check out more than 100 photos from Lake Compounce on Sunday, including the awesome Boulder Dash!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Photostream: Quassy, July 2011

Check out our 81 photos from our trip to Quassy on Sunday! We also did Lake Compounce on Sunday, and those pictures should be up later today or tomorrow. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Photostream: Kennywood, July 2011

Click on the photo above for more than 175 raw photos from my trip last week to Kennywood!

Friday, July 15, 2011

HodgePodge: Week of July 10, 2011

Busch Gardens Williamsburg
According to Screamscape, Mach Tower has been testing. They report that while the lift was being taken very slowly, the drop seemed to be at full speed.

Darien Lake
According to the local news, Darien Lake will not face any charges due to the death of a man on Ride of Steel last Friday. The man died after he was allowed to ride despite the fact that he had lost both legs in Iraq. The death has been ruled an accident.

Kings Island
After the Darien Lake incident, the media really seems to be jumping on park stories - particularly the negative ones. Forbes reports that Vortex's lift chain broke, and a replacement link has been ordered. I don't quite know why this was Forbes-worthy...

Keystone Thrills has an update on Hersheypark's new coaster. Rumor has it that the coaster will be called "SkyRush." Interesting name - for now, check out this construction update.

Photo from Keystone Thrills

What's this? An international update?! All kidding aside, Screamscape has dug up some interesting rumors about 2012. This ride is supposed to be the highest of its type, and the largest investment in park history. We'll be following this closely...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Park Impressions Summer Road Trip!

Announcing the Park Impressions Summer Road Trip 2011! We've hit the road, and we're planning to hit some of the best parks along the way! Not all plans are finalized, but we're currently planning to visit Kennywood today, Dorney Park tomorrow, and Quassy and Lake Compounce on Sunday. We're trying to stop at Six Flags New England, Six Flags Great Adventure, Knoebels, and Waldameer as possible stops as well, but I can't confirm these yet.

What this means is a lot more Park Impressions will be added to our ever-growing list. I'll also have a lot more photostreams, and I'll be tweeting live from parks when my phone chooses to cooperate. I'm trying out a new camera as well, so we'll see how that goes. Unfortunately, our news updates and HodgePodges will become a little irregular, but I'll be working on more updates when possible. I'm busy working on the Elitch Gardens Park Impression right now, and hopefully I'll have that up soon.

Please be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the most up-to-date news from the parks while we're on the road. Thank you for your support!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Photostream: Cedar Point, June 2011

Click on the photo above to view more than 100 unedited photos from my trip to Cedar Point!

CNN - Iraq veteran amputee dies after roller coaster fall

(CNN) -- A U.S. Army soldier who lost both legs serving in Iraq fell to his death from a roller coaster in upstate New York, police said.
James Hackemer, 29, was riding the Ride of Steel roller coaster at Darien Lake Theme Park Resort on Friday when he plummeted some 200 feet to the ground, according to Sgt. Greg Walker of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.
"They were descending from one of the hills when he became dislodged from the roller coaster and fell to the ground," Walker said.
Hackemer, who had been fitted with prosthetic legs, was not wearing them on the ride, according to senior dispatcher James Tripp of the Sheriff's Office.
Hackemer, a sergeant, had spent three years in rehabilitation after he lost both legs in an improvised explosive device blast in Iraq in 2008, according to CNN affiliate WVIB.
This was his first trip to the park since returning to his home in Gowanda, New York, in March, WVIB reported.
"However long he was on that ride, (it) had to have been the best time in the last 3 1/2 years," his sister Jody Hackemer told WVIB.
"It was the only time (that he) felt completely normal again," she said.
The park is working closely with local and state authorities to investigate the death.
"We are all brokenhearted by this tragic accident and will continue our support of both the family and the investigation," park spokesman Chris Thorpe said in a press statement.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Kings Island, A History

To go along with our Kings Island Park Impression, I thought I'd showcase a bit of their history. Basically, these will showcase maps, brochures, photos, and more of the park in its early days. I'll go light on commentary - it's more interesting to just see for yourself.

Opening Year Park Map, 1972. From Click for larger image.
Park Map, 1989. From Click for larger image.
King Cobra, 1984-2002. Photo from Click for larger image.
Coney Mall, date unknown. Photo from Click for larger image.
International Street, date unknown. Photo from Click for larger image.

Hope that was at least kind of interesting. I may do more of these in the future - they're kind of fun!

For more on Kings Island, view our Park Impression or park photos.

Friday, July 8, 2011

HodgePodge: Week of July 3, 2011

Cedar Point
Screamscape has pulled up some interesting rumors from Cedar Point over the last few days. According to unnamed sources, Paddlewheel Excursions may be removed at the end of the year. This would coincide with the possible addition of a Dinosaurs Alive! attraction on Millennium Force island, similar to the one installed at Kings Island for this season. As for a coaster, Screamscape reports that a B&M coaster is likely, and speculates that it might be located around the Disaster Transport area. We'll keep an eye on this.

Disney California Adventure
We've got more from Westcoaster, including a lot of general pictures of the park (which looks great)! They've got a lot of onride pictures of Goofy's Sky School, so be sure to check them out at Westcoaster.

Photo from Westcoaster

A small boy died at Knoebels a few days ago. Quoting from Screamscape, “A tragedy occurred at Knoebels Crystal Pool early in the afternoon of July 6th. A young boy struck his head while jumping into the pool. Upon being rescued, guards immediately began CPR. He was then transported by ambulance to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. We are deeply saddened to report that the child has passed away. Please join the Knoebel families in placing the childs family and friends in your prayers.”

Knotts Berry Farm
Westcoaster was out at Knott's a few days ago, where they got a look at the progress on Windseeker. Currently, the queue is being constructed and the carriage is being built on the tower. It looks like this one is not going to be quite the same as its cousins in the east, at least visually. Check it out here.

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Theme Park Insider posted this great video of Green Lantern this week:

Walt Disney World
MouseSteps has a Fourth of July update that you won't want to miss. The park looks great, as always, and there are also some pictures of the Fantasyland progress.

Photo from Mousesteps