---- THE LATEST INDUSTRY NEWS ----
(11/27/15) GCI Shows Off POV Video of new Viper Coaster in China (MORE...)
(11/27/15) Sally Posts Volcanikus 4D Dark Ride Promo Video (MORE...)
(11/27/15) Universal Studios Shared Monster Universe Update (MORE...)
(11/27/15) Disney Releases Trailers for Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War (MORE...)
(11/26/15) Soaring Eagle Ziplines Launches All New Thrill Rides (MORE...)
(11/26/15) New Book All About Monorails Ready For Pre-Orders (MORE...)
(11/26/15) No Limits 2 Having Thanksgiving Weekend Sale (MORE...)
2014 Park Attendance Report - (6/4/15) The 2014 TEA / AECOM Theme Index attendance report has been released. The list shows double-digit attendance increases for Universal Studios Japan (16.8%) Universal Studios Florida (17%) and Universal Studios Hollywood (11%). Mild growth rates were reported for most Disney parks between 2-4%, however Disney's Paris parks both took a hit, each dropping 4.7%. Meanwhile in the US the SeaWorld branded parks took the biggest attendance hits of the year, reported to have dropped 8% at SeaWorld Orlando and 12% in San Diego. A couple of noteworthy growth spurts also took place in the European market with Parque Warner (Spain) jumping up 25.9%, Parc Asterix (France) gaining 11.1%, Futuroscope (France) gaining 13.7% more visitors over the previous year. Follow the link to download your own copy of the report for the full details.
You can also still download most of the previous years attendance reports too:
Download the 2013 Report
Download the 2012 Report
Download the 2011 Report
Download the 2010 Report
Download the 2009 Report
Download the 2008 Report
Download the 2007 Report
Download the 2006 Report
General News - (11/26/15) Kim A. Pederson, founder of the Monorail Society website (monorails.org) has now written the first hardcover overview book on monorails in fifty years called Monorails: Trains of the Future - Now Arriving. The 248 page book is loaded with facts and beautiful color photos of Monorails from around the world and can be pre-ordered here for $39.95.
a new idea called SplashGolf, and has just retrofit an existing splash pad on a Norwegian Cruise Line vessel (Norwegian Epic) into a new SplashGolf experience. The concept mixed the gameplay of traditional mini-golf, but with a new slightly larger ball that can be pushed around by triggered water jets on the course to take on wacky action.
(10/27/15) Adventure Golf Services has come up with
It's an interesting idea, which I'm curious to see in action. If it plays out the way I think it could, it may not be long before waterparks start to look into adding SplashGolf courses to their mix of attractions.
(10/5/15) CoasterTalkNoBSZone is making a 2016 Roller Coaster Calendar. You can see the images that will be used and get information about buying one when you click here.
(9/17/15) I came across an interesting article about a new attraction trend in the UK that I’m really surprised hasn't taken America by storm long before now. It talks about NERF Zone Arenas, essentially an indoor kid-friendly war zone where the players are outfitted with the latest arsenal of flying dart weapons from NERF.
As any parent, like myself, knows… NERF has really upped their game in the last few years from just simple and tiny dart guns, to much more sophisticated and fancy weapons of soft impact destruction. Gatling guns, revolvers, nerf dart clips for quick reloading, anti-zombie themed weaponry, the male and female themed bows and crossbows, as well as the newer Mega line of giant “big ass NERF darts”.
Deep down, I think everyone enjoys the act of running around and shooting NERF guns at each other… it’s only the inevitable “clean up” around the house afterwards, including the hunt to find every last dart you shot hiding under the couch or behind the bookshelf that we all despise. Certainly I can see the joy behind the concept of a combat ready NERF Arena concept which would be cheaper on an operational level than a Laser Tag arena, and much easier on the cleanup and liability insurance end when compared to Paintball. For some reason I think we got shafted with the much more mellow ‘foam ball’ arena attractions that popped up here and there about a decade ago, which could be made much more fun with NERF guns if you ask me.
(8/10/15) According to this news article a Slingshot style ride in France had it's bungee cable snap in mid-ride... or if you watch the video, it looks more like it disintegrated in mid flight, and left the riders dangling for an hour before firefighters were able to rescue them. The mishap took place at Luna Park at Cap d'Agde, and according to the article a woman riding broke her leg from the incident as well.
If this incident looks hauntingly familiar, it should, because almost the exact same thing just happened a few weeks ago in America at the Mt. Olympus park in Wisconsin, though the riders there were far more lucky as the bungee snapped while the pod was still locked to the ground before being shot into the sky.
(7/29/15) The Travel Channel will premier a new theme park based show on August 12th called Thrill Factor. It will launch with a 10-part half-hour series hosted by ex-Mythbusters, Kari Byron and Tory Belleci. The show will explore the world of thrill rides, waterslides and heart-pounding experiences around the world, but with a look towards the scientific side as well. The first episode will see the pair take on Falcon's Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa to see why it not only thrills riders, but the psychology behind how it terrifies them as well. The second episode promises to feature Holiday World and the park's new launch coaster, Thunderbird.
(7/23/15) Simworx has completed the acquisition of "RoboCoaster" following a two year period where the two worked together under a "Teaming Agreement".
(7/3/15) In a shocking turn of events, a man attending the annual "Ribfest" carnival near Chicago in Naperville decided to commit suicide in the worst possible and public way by diving head-first UNDER the carnival's Pharoah's Furys swing-ship ride while it was in motion. This is truly horrifying, especially when you consider that the carnival ride area was probably full of small children at the time. As of this moment, they have not yet identified the man, or have any clue at all as to why he chose to end his life that way.
Internet Fun - (11/26/15) If you like roller coaster games but have not picked up NoLimits 2 for some reason, now's your chance to save big! NoLimits 2 is currently on sale on Steam for 35% off, the biggest discount ever offered for this industry acclaimed simulation software. If you're a fan of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3, why not spend the time waiting for the next installment with a coaster simulator used by real coaster companies! Hurry, the discount ends on December 1st. Head to the NoLimits 2 store on Steam to purchase.
Also, The NoLimits team is also hosting a live webinar on Sunday, November 29 at 3 pm EST to teach new users the basics of building coasters. Learn the tricks of the trade straight from the developers and ask your own questions live this Sunday. Get your "how do I...?" questions ready and head to www.twitch.tv/nolimitscoaster to watch the free live show.
(11/24/15) I've never had the chance to experience Poutine myself, but something described as French Fries covered with Cheese Curds and Gravy sounds pretty good to me, but nothing beats this insane interview with Ryan Smolkin about Smoke's Poutinerie from the IAAPA show floor. Now where can I find Poutine here in North Carolina? I must try this.
(11/11/15) I don't know that I've heard of the Liquid Planet Waterpark in New Hampshire, but apparently the park's owner has chained himself to the top of one of the park's slides in an effort to draw attention to the park and hopefully the eye of a potential investor who may be willing to step in and save it, as the park has fallen behind on a $1.6 million loan.
(10/26/15) Our friends at CoasterRadio interviewed Dougas Trumbull, the innovator behind Back To The Future: The Ride in honor of the BTTF day last week. You can listen to the full interview here but they also cut together highlight of the interview mixed with video footage of the ride which you can see embedded below as well.
(10/13/15) The creepy upcoming adventure game, The Park, set in a haunted amusement park has shown off some new details in their latest video. You play the game as Lorraine, a mother who has somehow 'lost' her son Callum inside the haunted theme park. Very creepy, check out the video below.
(8/27/15) Who's up for an amusement park themed horror video game? The Park is just that, a new PC horror title in the works set inside a creepy amusement park that hides a dark and sinister secret.
(8/5/15) Apparently many people have been asking RCDB to consider adding Alpine Coasters to their database of roller coasters from around the world, and today we saw the launch of the first wave of 182 Alpine Coasters to RCDB, with more to come.
(7/30/15) A German waterpark called AquaMagis has opened what could perhaps be the next big thing in waterpark technology... the STAND-UP WATERSLIDE. Yep... and they've opened two of them... an easy level beginner slide named Surfer and a more advanced one named CrazySurfer.
As odd as the concept sounds, it can be perfectly explained by watching the videos of the two slides in action below.
(7/13/15) Ok, this is awesome. I think I want one myself. A theme park fan in the UK bought an old log from Blackpool Pleasure Beach, took it home, and added the motors from two mobility scooters to the underside and has created an incredible two-seater little fun kart out of the log. It still only goes about the same speed as a scooter, so it’s not road-worthy or anything, but talk about something fun to ride around in for kicks. You can see in this video that it has been loaded up with music, fun horn effects, and impressive LED lighting, inside and out. Check it out below, but apparently this isn't his first effort, he also did the same thing to an old Dodgem car. Such a sight… the world would be a funner place if we all had to drive from place to place in Dodgem cars, don’t you think?
(6/18/15) Sounds like we can narrow down all the Rocky Mountain Construction coaster projects for 2016 to three states, Tennessee, Kentucky and California. RMC has posted that they are seeking to hire surveyors to work on coaster projects in those three states, starting immediately and specifically in Pigeon Forge, TN. (ahem… Dollywood). If the rest of the rumors are true, then we would see projects unfold in Kentucky Kingdom (transforming Twisted Twins) and at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California for a transformation of Roar. There is also a final California rumor that would place RMC at Knott’s Berry Farm to place Topper Track on GhostRider, but as that job could possibly just be track replacement only, I thinking they may not need the services of a surveyor for that unless there was structural work to be done.
20th Century Fox - (5/16/15) According to this article, another 20th Century Fox based theme park is under consideration for South Korea on Yeongjong Island, Incheon. If possible, they would like to build it as a resort project that would feature not only a theme park, but hotels as an entire entertainment complex. Fox itself is not funding the project however, but the Incheon Metro Government will serve as a partner and help conduct the search for investors.
Previously Fox was said to be looking at sites in South Gyeongsang, but may have since moved on to Incheon, possibly due to an investigation being conducted into the politicians in Gyeongsang. Currently the first 20th Century Fox World theme park is now under construction in Malaysia at Resorts World Genting.
(6/12/14) While construction of the first 20th Centry Fox World theme park is underway in Malaysia at Resorts World Genting, Jeffret Godsick, Fox’s president of consumer products claims that similar projects in China and Brazil will also soon be announced.
ABC Rides - (11/24/15) In the Loop talks with ABC Rides about their new Tourbillon crazy flat ride and other projects in the works. Check out the videos below.
(6/29/15) A fun video has been making the rounds on Facebook this weekend showing off a new flat ride creation from ABC Rides of Switzerland called Tourbillon. In short, it is insane... designed like a giant multi-rider sized gyroscope that may give you flashbacks of that terrible movie Contact. It sure looks incredible to watch... if not puke inducing. I can't wait to see one of these in a theme park, and from the sound of things ABC ride is making the Tourbillon in both portable and park-models so everyone can get in on the fun.
Honestly we don't seem to hear enough from ABC Rides, though their attractions are always a unique and a little "out there" as far as offering something just a little different from everyone else. Most of their installations are in Europe I believe at a variety of parks and attractions, where they offer a number of small boat, flume and rapids attraction options, as well as small car rides, small tower rides and a few other unique creations. Tourbillion may be one of their biggest flat ride creations to date however, so I can't wait to see what they are cooking up next if this is a new direction for the company.
I'm told that this first version of the ride will premier at a fair in Paris sometime next month, possibly under the name Starlight.
Apex Parks Group - (9/2/15) Apex Parks Group has announced the purchase of the Indiana Beach amusement park. This is the second purchase this year, following the purchase of Sahara Sam’s Oasis indoor/outdoor waterpark.
B&M - (10/7/15) A new video showing off a look at the B&M Track plant in Ohio has been posted by In The Loop which can be seen below. So far they have a ton of Mako and Valravn track pieces on site, which can be expected, though no sign as of yet for any new Hulk coaster pieces, though there are some rusty looking unpainted track pieces on site as well that could be for Hulk or just about anything.
(9/9/15) Go on a virtual drive-by of the Clermont Steel Fabricators site in Ohio where all the B&M Track is produced. Lots of pieces for Cedar Point's ValRavn and SeaWorld Orlando's Mako on site and ready to be loaded up.
Some pictures were taken of the latest B&M track sitting outside the plant in Ohio this week, thank to a reader. There seems to be a mixture of a faded red or salmon colored track along with some brownish-orange colored track on site. Based on the huge size of the brownish-orange track sections, especially when viewed sitting next to parked parks, I'd say it's a pretty solid bet that is Dive Machine track. To be more specific... this could be for Valravn, the rumored Dive Machine thought to be going to Cedar Point. In addition to some unpainted pieces, there is also an assortment of grey supports on site as well.
CNL Lifestyle Properties - (10/20/14) CNL Lifestyle Properties issued a statement back on September 12th describing how they had signed a deal in June 2014 to sell off their entirely portfolio of golf properties, and were looking into the best opportunities to “explore liquidity strategies, our focus will remain on seeking attractive exit alternatives for the remainder of our property portfolio.”
In other words, it looks like CNL Lifestyle Properties will be seeking to sell off their many Ski Resorts, Senior Housing projects, Marinas and their Theme Park / Water Park attractions. With that in mind, it almost seems doubtful that CNL would bother to invest in new capital additions for the 2015 at any of their properties. This list includes Darien lake, Elitch Gardens, Frontier City, Magic Springs, Wild Waves as well as the Wet ‘n’ Wild waterparks in CA, AZ, TX and Hawaii.
Currently CNL hired outside management companies with experience in the theme park industry to run most of these parks, so I guess the question is if they would considering selling them individually to these management groups, or if they are going to try and group them together for a single group purchase instead.
Cavu Designwerks - (11/19/15) An interesting new company to watch at IAAPA this year is Cavu Designwerks, who talks a bit about their new media based ride concepts in the video below like Storm Chaser and Amazon Drifter concept that mixes a flume style ride with a motion base experience.
Cedar Fair - (10/9/15) Cedar Fair will hold a conference call to go over their Q3 2015 numbers with investors on Thursday, Nov 5th at 10am EST. You can listen in online by clicking here.
(8/10/15) In Cedar Fair news, this news article reports that Cedar Fair has a couple of used ride experts scouring the European markerplace for any good looking classic rides that might be for sale and salvageable to bring back to their parks to help add not only fun flat rides back into the parks, but add a bit of nostalgia as well.
(4/16/15) According to the interview with Cedar Fair CEO, Matt Ouimet, posted to the LA Times, he plans for Cedar Fair to eventually feature new interactive style dark rides like Wonder Mountain’s Guardian (Canada’s Wonderland) and Voyage to the Iron Reef (Knott’s Berry Farm) to all 11 parks in the park. That said… he also confirmed that there are no dark rides currently in the development pipeline at the moment, so it is unlikely we will see a new one added in 2016.
While these first two dark rides were aided by having some existing infrastructure already in the park to house them, Ouimet confirmed that there are “blank spaces and empty boxes at every park” that they could put to use in the future. And while these first two dark rides haven’t put animatronic characters to use, Knott’s Ouimet hopes to work with Garner Holt on future dark ride projects, after finishing two great back-to-back dark ride refurbishment projects at Knott’s on the Timber Mountain Log Ride and Calico Mine Ride. As for future themes for these rides, don’t look like Cedar Fair to buy into expensive IP’s from studios… they will continue to explore custom made themes about the interesting and mysterious worlds that lie “underneath our parks”.
(11/11/14) Cedar Fair posted their Q3 results on their website, but according to a few reports (like this one at NewsPlusNotes) they mention that if the transformation of Mantis into Rougarou at Cedar Point is a success, there are two other coasters in the chain where they can make a similar investment.
While this would be the only other two B&M Stand-Up coasters in the chain… these would also be some of the oldest B&M stand-up coasters built, as part of B&M’s first generation of rides: Vortex at Carowinds and Vortex at California’s Great America. Unlike Mantis, these rides are much smaller (apox 90 ft tall) much shorter and have only 2 inversions each. Transforming these into Floorless coasters isn’t going to do much to thrill the guests of either park, as Carowinds guests are already accustomed to the bigger thrills of After Burn, Intimidator and soon Fury 325, and transforming Vortex in California would get it unfairly compared to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom much bigger and better B&M Floorless coaster, Medusa.
If I had to hazard a guess, Cedar Fair might be better served by opting to move one or both of these coasters to smaller parks who could use a bigger thrill, like Michigan’s Adventure, and converting them into Floorless rides at that time maybe.
Disney - (11/27/15) Disney has released new official trailers for a couple of major upcoming 2016 films this past week, which you probably don't want to miss. Below I've posted the trailers for the new Captain America: Cival War film and below that is Disney's new animated Zootopia film, from the creators of Frozen and Big Hero 6. Both of these look great, check them out below.
(11/6/15) It seems another film has secretly been shot on site at Walt Disney World without their permission. Like the previous "Escape from Tomorrow" film, a small group acting discretely shot about a quarter of their new comedy film called
"The Further Adventures of Walt's Frozen Head" at Walt Disney World over the course of three days, shooting the remainder off-site whenever possible. It seems the story is about a Disney Cast Member who gets a little lost down in the Utilidor tunnel system beneath the Magic Kingdom and stumbles across the cryo-chamber for Walt Disney's head (often the subject of urban legend).
As the story goes, the CM decides to give Walt a birthday present and sneaks the head out into the modern day park to experience it for the first time, to really see how Walt would react to things like MagicBands used to enter the park, FastPass and more. You can read more at the film's official website, Facebook page and even get a little bit of wisdom from Walt's Frozen Head itself via Twitter. Though it isn't expected to even be released until 2017 at this point in time. While the story behind Escape from Tomorrow didn't interest me at much, and was a bit dark, the comedy storyline behind The Further Adventures of Walt's Frozen Head looks like it could tickle my funny-bone, and kind of reminds me of the Futurama episodes that featured the talking frozen heads of Richard Nixon or the wisdom of Leonard Nimoy. Check out the teaser trailer below and see what you think.
(10/26/15) According to various Hollywood entertainment media outlets, Disney is pushing ahead with plans to make a new feature film themed around the Tower of Terror ride concept. Now, while the ride itself is actually themed as a living episode of The Twilight Zone series, the new movie will not feature any tie-in at all to The Twilight Zone and will stand alone as a "Tower of Terror" concept, with a story about five people who vanished from a hotel elevator when it was struck by lightning.
This kind of makes me wonder however... if there is possibility in the future of Disney actually dropping the "Twilight Zone" name and theme from the attraction itself, and simply going it alone with a new Tower of Terror theme. It wouldn't be the first time Disney has opted not to use Twilight Zone as the theme for this ride system, as the Tokyo DisneySea version of Tower of Terror features an entirely custom made "Twilight Zone" free story.
(10/16/15) While this isn’t theme park news, it will likely have a trickle-down effect on the Disney parks in the future. According to many comic and Hollywood rumor sites, Disney (aka: Marvel in this case) and Fox are said to have struck a deal that will see the Fantastic Four universe characters (including Dr. Doom, Galactus and Silver Surfer) return home to Marvel, where they will help launch Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe as one of the three new Marvel films just announced for 2020.
If you missed that news, Marvel did a little re-structuring last week and in addition to announcing three new unnamed Marvel movies to be released in 2020, they tweaked the release schedule for the Phase 3 films (now through 2019) in order to fit in a new Ant-Man sequel in 2018 to be called Ant-Man & The Wasp.
So what did Fox get from the deal? Apparently the TV rights to develop a couple of X-Men universe themed programs in the near future. “Hellfire” is being developed for the Fox network based around the concept of Marvel’s “Hellfire Club”, but set in the 60’s, while “Legion” is being created for the FX network and centered around Prof. Charles Xavier’s mentally troubled mutant son David Haller, also known as Legion.
UPDATE - (10/16/15) Looks like the comic and Hollywood geek world got a little ahead of themselves yesterday, in reference to all the headlines about the Fantastic Four returning to Marvel control. As you can see in the update of Den of Geek and many other sites, they have now updated their stories today with comments from Fox saying that the reports that the rights to Fantastic Four returning to Marvel are, “completely untrue”.
While this is unfortunate, as I’d really like to see the group return to the fold myself, what this new denial doesn’t touch upon however is just what Fox may have given up in exchanged for getting the approval from Marvel & Disney to go ahead with their X-Men universe TV shows. Of course, there still may a deal, just a more complicated one like the Sony/Spider-Man deal. When you break down the details, Sony still owns the movie rights to the Spider-man film series, they’ve just agreed to give Marvel creative control of the future of the film series as well as allowing Spider-man to appear within the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe in other films. Fox only denies they have given up entirely on the Fantastic Four, but it could be within the realm for them to work with Marvel in similar fashion to Sony’s Spider-Man deal.
(10/13/15) It was just about a week ago that Duffy, “The Disney Bear” departed Epcot for the last time. While Duffy has been a huge hit in Japan and Hong Kong thus far, the popularity never really gained the same epic level in the US. Outside the US, Duffy has spawned even more characters, including female bear, ShellieMay. While ShellieMay hasn’t been offered in Disneyland or Disney World yet, a special Aulani version was created for the Hawaiian resort a few years back. Now The Disney Parks Blog confirms that ShellieMay will be coming to the US theme parks later on this Fall.
(9/16/15) Interesting... Disney has released the first trailer for their new live action version of "The Jungle Book", directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man). While it is too early to tell exactly what kind of film it will be, the tone and look is impressive so far in the first trailer. Check it out below.
(8/31/15) Disney fans may want to take more of the first special Premium Pass episode of the Season Pass Podcast, which features former Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter talking about the Disneyland that Never Was. It will be released very soon and is only available free to those who have a Season Passholder membership and purchased their digital membership pass. The cost is quite minimal for what you get, especially if you are a huge Disney fan, and I can't stress what a great production the Season Pass Podcast really is.
(8/14/15) With the D23 Expo ready to kick off in Anaheim over the next few days, there has been a rapid increase in rumor and speculation about just what Disney fans might see announced as new additions for the Disney theme parks. Most of it is still the same old rumors we’ve heard over and over for the past couple of years, some with new twists and turns added, but you’ve also got to remember that fans have left D23 disappointed before the mouse was not quite ready to discuss certain new projects. Instead of making everyone jump from park to park to review, lets take a summary look at just what could be announced for each park or resort below.
Disneyland - The park that started them all is happily celebrating the 60th Anniversary right now and has already added a new night parade, a new fireworks spectacular as well as some incredible enhancements to some classic park attractions. If you thought the park was going to take a break… that doesn’t seem likely. The park might continue the great work they’ve been doing and adding more enhancements and upgrades to other classic dark rides like Mr. Toad, Snow White and Pinocchio. Then there is the elephant in the room to address… a Star Wars Land. This project has been talked about for years and ungone tweak after tweak, moved from one location to another, redesigned from scratch, moved to another location, redesigned, and tweaked so many times I’m sure the Imagineer’s heads have been spinning like the Mad Hatter’s Tea Cups. The Star Wars Universe already landed in Tomorrowland and the first few designs attempted to see a Star Wars land either added onto Tomorrowland, or even take it over… but the latest rumors all say that Star Wars Land has to be big, impressive, and something entirely brand new… which means it is likely to take over the land north of Big Thunder and extend out into the backlot. Some have even claimed it might even take over the site of Toontown… but I’m thinking that won't be the case. Of course, they may opt to not go into detail and just announced that it is coming… much like they did with Avatar for Animal Kingdom a few years ago… and we’re still waiting for that to open. Oh… and there is the rumored Star Wars Launch Bay to take over Innoventions as a sort of preview center for what’s to come in both film and the parks.
Disney California Adventure - While I’m sure Disney may be ready to show off the new Soarin’ Over The Horizon makeover on the way to DCA, Epcot and Shanghai in 2016, as well as give us a look at Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters, could there be more for DCA? The rumor mill has long suggested that if Star Wars Land ends up in Disneyland, then some kind of Marvel land or attractions is likely to come to California Adventure. The rumors thus far have talked about a Marvel themed coaster (possibly indoor and launched), but I still have to wonder if they might feel like bringing a copy of the Iron Man Experience simulator ride (now under construction for Hong Kong Disneyland) along as well. Everyone loves Iron Man these days, and with important roles to play in the next Captain America film as well as at least two more Avengers films, an attraction tie-in could be a wise investment.
Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom - While the park just finished a multi-phase Fantasyland rebuild, and is finishing up some major infrastructure projects in the hub, there is the matter of that rumored new Adventureland restaurant to mention. Plus there have been rumors over the past couple of years about it being time to put some work into Tomorrowland. The race cars are really in need of retirement, and numbers are never too high on other Stitch Encounter or Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor, or the classic Carousel of Progress. It could be time to just revamp it all. Of course the last whispers on the wind say a major attraction could also be in the works for Frontierland, possibly to take over the Tom Sawyer’s Island area and bring an end to the era of the functional riverboat runs. It’s too early to say just what it could be, if true, though the park may also take a nod from Disneyland and begin a program of enhancement for it’s other dark rides and attractions as well.
Epcot - News about Soarin’ Over the Horizon and the Frozen Ever After flume ride is to be expected, but what about Illuminations? For years people have been expecting Disney to revamp this night show… but at the same time, the current Illuminations is still so epic and so popular, it simply may still not be the right time to touch this incredible show. Even to this day, this is still my own personal favorite nighttime spectacular in all of Walt Disney World, so it might be wise to leave it alone until they come up with something to best it, which leads us into…
Animal Kingdom - Details about the upcoming Rivers of Light show are likely to manifest at D23, along with some better details about what is going on with the Avatar project, which has been under construction and moving right along.
Disney Hollywood Studios - This may be the big one...as this park is ready for a total transformation of epic proportions that could see new lands added based on Pixar and Star Wars, a possible Star Wars Launch Bay preview area as well as an entirely new name and brand identity for the park itself.
Of course it isn’t just the US parks that get talked about… there is the matter of a Frozen themed land in the works for Tokyo DisneySea, a major Fantasyland redo at Tokyo Disneyland, that previously mentioned Iron Man ride for Hong Kong, expansions and renovations expected for the two Disney parks in Paris and a little thing you may have heard of opening in the next six months or so called Shanghai Disneyland.
I’d be surprised if Disney revealed everything they are working on over the weekend, but these are some of the highlights they could be touching upon. We’ll have to wait and see.
(7/7/15) The reasons have not been given yet, but the highly touted traveling theme park known as “The Marvel Experience” will cut the current tour of the nation short it seems. According to the news reports The Marvel Experience just closed in Philiadelphia on Sunday and that will now be the one and only stop for the summer, and refunds are being issued anyone who pre-bought tickets for Chicago, New York and St. Louis stops that were to follow.
So far the attraction did an opening shake-down run in Phoenix earlier this year, apparently followed by a brief visits to Dallas and San Diego before pausing to be “retooled” ahead of the Phily debut. Apparently something went very wrong in Philly… either the guest experience was unsatisfactory or the mobile theme park was suffering from critical technical issues, but for now it looks like the plug is being pulled. There has been no mention if the tour will continue at a later date or not.
(6/1/15) Disney apparently sent a survey to some of their annual passholders to get their opinions on possible new plans that could see the price of admission into the park fluctuate between three tiers (Bronze, Silver and Gold) that would be tied to individal days throughout the year. So rather than offer a one-priced fix rate ticket good for any day you might visit, if you were to visit on the Bronze day you could buy a Bronze ticket and get in for $99. Visit on a Silver day and it would cost you $105 and visit on a Gold Day and you would have to fork over $115 to get in the theme park. Of course you could just buy all Gold passes into the park, and you would be allowed in no matter what the day was.
If this sound familiar, it should... because Disney Annual Passholders already jump through these hoops on a minor level when choosing what level of Annual Pass they wish to pay for in terms of how many "blackout" dates they will have. Now it sounds like Disney may be looking into applying the same logic to their regular passes as well, which is bound to get very confusing, very quickly.
(3/11/15) WIRED takes a great look at the technology behind Disney's Billion dollar gamble on the MagicBand and how it may be a glimpse into the future of the world outside the theme park realm.
DreamVision Company - (7/14/15) Who didn't see this coming? The local news decided to look in on The Dreamvision Company one again to see if they were getting ready to start constrution before the end of the year, as they had announced, on that new park project in Muscle Shoals. As I expected... things have gone completely silent since the announcement of the Soundscape theme park project back in Feburary, and no one willing to talk seems to have heard a peep from them in either Alabama or Texas since then, with February 8th being the last time they updated their Facebook page for the project.
(2/12/15) The DreamVision Company has announced plans to launch two new theme parks this week... both of which we briefly mentioned last week, one in the Forth Worth, Texas area and the other in Muscle Shoals, Alabama.
The Texas plans will see a park referred to as DreamVision Mountain / DreamScape Texas and would like to open in 2020. The park would feature a large fake mountain at the center that would offer winter sport activities year-round. The rest of the park seems to be an eclectic mix of strangely themed lands, and a few attractions here and there, mixed with show theaters.
Normally I would be excited by such a grand announcement... but this $3.5 billion dollar just seems to be so much blue-sky and not very well thought out. Plus the lands are just so randomly odd and thrown about, including the out of place year-round ski mountain, I just can't take this park seriously. Nevermind the fact that that this $3.5 billion project seems to have no IP's to speak of to help sell merchandise or act as a draw to get people through the gates so they can pay off those huge loan payments. I see that Jim over at Westcoaster also shares many of my same concerns... presented in a very humorous fashion that is also worth a read.
Just a few hours ago the company also made their presentation for Alabama for the DreamVision Soundscape theme park, which they hope to open in 2019. This park will be themed around "the musical heritage of Muscle Shoals"... because we've all heard of Muscle Shoals before now, right? Yeah, me neither. And because Alabama is a top tourist destination for Americans, they will theme the park with neighborhoods themed to different musical themes like: country, pop, gospel, jazz and more. The park also plans to have Oceanica, a domed water playground area, golf courses, hotels and more. Though I didn't see any mention of another giant fake mountain, the Muscle Shoals park will also cost an estimated $3.5 billion.
So the bottom line is...a company we've never heard of, is going to come up with $7 billion to drop over the next 5 years to build two massive theme park resort properties. Sorry to be the Negative Nancy here, but I give this project a 1 in 7 billion chance of actually happening.
Dynamic Attractions - (6/15/15) A fun video showing off some of the inner workings and rides being designed by Dynamic Attractions was posted to YouTube which shows off a non-Disney version of the Soarin' style ride system as well as a section of trick track for a Specal Effects Coaster (tilted drop) they are working on for parks in Abu Dhabi (maybe Ferrari World?) with a second ordered for an attraction in Kuala Lumpur. The parks I've heard of in Kuala Lumpur are either defunct or on the small side, so I wonder if that second order is for the 20th Century Fox World park under construction at Resorts World Genting, about an hours drive away from Kuala Lumpur.
(5/22/15) Empire Industries has announced a new contract worth $24 million has been signed for their Dynamic Attractions division to build a new ride at a "major theme park in southeast Asia." While they don't name the client, they do say that this is the same client that purchased two other attractions from them that was announced two months ago in March.
(3/5/15) Empire Industries posted another press release a few hours ago mentioning that Dynamic Attractions has been awarded another major contract with a total of $42 million to supply a major theme park in south Asia with TWO of their proprietary attractions over the next 36 months.
While the location of "south Asia" is vague, they do mention that this is their first project in south Asia. And since Dynamic has built attractions in China and Japan up in the northern end of Asia. Wikipedia defines "South Asia" as primarily being the countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka which does not sound like any place for a major theme park. Some definitions also include Afghanistan, Iran and a few other nearby areas as well, but again... still sounds a little off.
Meanwhile Singapore may make more sense, but it falls into the area more commonly called Southeast Asia along with the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam and more. Here we have a better set of parks more likely to invest in this kind of hardware, from Universal Studios Singapore to the new 20th Century Fox World under construction in Malaysia at the top of my list.
(3/4/15) Empire Industries reports that their Dynamic Attractions division has signed a contract worth $24 million to supply one of their "proprietary robotic track rides" to a major theme park in the United Arab Emirates over the next 24 months.
In this case I'm not sure which part is getting the ride, though if I had to pick one, I'd guess this could be something going to the Motiongate Dubai park in the Dubai Parks & Resorts project.
Great Coasters International - (11/27/15) GCI has posted a new POV video showing off Viper, their new wooden coaster at Wanda (Nanchang) Culture Tourism City in China. It looks like a very fast out-and-back design, focused on speed more than airtime. Check it out below.
(11/19/15) In The Loops chats with Adam House, Lead Engieer at GCI about what the company has been up to, including plans for GhostRider, the new Viper coaster in China and more. Check out the video below.
Great Coasters International has completed the construction of a new record breaking wooden coaster for Wanda's Nanchang Theme Park in China. The coaster is named VIPER and breaks the records for being the tallest at 160 feet and longest at 5,111 feet, coaster in China. With a first drop of 142.5 feet, the coaster hits a top speed of 62mph. Currently the coaster is undergoing final testing, but it will be ready to open in early 2016. b
Herschend Family Entertainment - (9/28/15) An unfortunate accident happened in the Seattle area last week involving a crash between a Ride the Ducks tour vehicle and a charter bus on a bridge that resulted in the death of four international students who were riding on the charter bus. According to one witness in the news report, one of the front tires of the Duck vehicle may have locked up causing it to suddenly swerve into the side of the charter bus. The accident is currently under investigation.
(9/10/15) Herschend Family Entertainment has announced the sudden and immediate closure of their Ride the Ducks attraction in San Francisco. After an 8 year run the company sited that despite growth and great guest responce to the attraction, the long-term costs to continue to operate in the area exceeded the profit potential.
HUSS Rides - (8/4/15) Huss Park Attractions GmbH has announced "the successful initial testing" of a high performance virtual reality (VR) system set to add-on a completely new and different ride experience to their attractions. We saw such a concept tested by Mack Rides on their Blue Fire coaster at Europa Park last year and now Huss has brought the same kind of concept to life as a way to enhance other "non-coaster" attractions. They tested it out with great success to invited guests at Djurs Sommerland on the park's Huss Viking Ship attraction. Wearing Oculus headgear during their ride experience, guests were treated to a new virtual environment that moved in sync with the ride's motions in real-time.
Check out the great images Huss sent to Screamscape showing off both the virtual environments as well as riders taking the new Huss VR-Ride experience for a spin. I can't wait to see where they go with this concept in the future.
(6/30/15) Huss Rides has announced the redesign of a classic Huss ride experience, which is being reintroduced as Enterprise G2. For starters the classic enclosed Enterprise gondolas have been replaced with open cars with suspended style side-by-side seats with OTS restraints. There is also a version of the new open car which will place the two seats in front of each other instead of side-by-side.
Huss will also offer the Enterprise 2GH (Hybrid) version that will use a mixture of the new suspended seats and the classic style gondola seats. Then there also is the Enterprise 2GH-Plus option that upgrades the lift arm to include an extra pivot point at the end so that the wheel can tilt back to a horizontal spin motion while high in the air.
IAAPA Conventions - (9/23/15) The IAAPA Euro Attractions Show (EAS) 2015 will take place this year from October 6-8 at the Swedish Exhibition & Congress Center in Gothenburg, Sweden, within walking distance to the famous Liseberg theme park. You can find out more about the location and show in this video, or visit the official website.
(6/22/15) IAAPA has announced that the Asian Attractions Expo will move to Shanghai for the 2016 show that will take place from June 13 to 16 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center.
Meanwhile you can see pictures from this year's show that was in Hong Kong posted to CoasterForce this week by clicking here.
(5/28/14) Good news for fans of IAAPA’s Orlando location… IAAPA has announced that they have signed a new agreement that will extend the run of IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando by an additional 6 years… which will take it through to the 2025 show.
Lionsgate - (11/4/15) According to this article about Lionsgate wanting to build Hunger Games themed theme parks, they are working on two... one in the Atlanta, GA area and the other to go in China near Macau. This is in addition to the Hunger Games themed attractions that will be part of the Lionsgate land at the Motiongate Dubai theme park.
Mack Rides - (11/19/15) Mack Rides has posted an amazing video on their YouTube page showing off how they attached a new spinning coaster car to the back of a Blue Fire launched coaster train. The result, complete with test riders, looks to be perhaps one of the most dizzying and out of control coaster rides I've ever seen.
Why did they do it? According to the description, because they wanted to see what and if it was possible, and what the experience of taking a variety of loops and inversions all while freely spinning was like. In their words, "It was an eyeopener" and they hope to take everything they have learned and apply it to a new project in the near future. Check it out below.
Maurer - (11/19/15) Maurer is showing off a new ride design called the Wing Roller Coaster at IAAPA this week. You can see the car and learn a bit more about the ride system in the video interview below from In The Loop.
An animated video from Maurer is below that, showing off how these new cars can be used as both Wing Coasters and Bike Coaster designs.
Merlin Entertainment - (10/22/15) According to this article, Merlin is said to have struck a deal with China to build a Legoland theme park somewhere near Shanghai, as well as other Merlin owned attractions such as a Shanghai Dungeon and a new attration themed around the Kung-Fu Panda film series. Note: Merlin already has five attractions in China, including Madame Tussauds wax museums in Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing and Wung as well as the Chang Feng Ocean World aquarium in Shanghai.
Planet Coaster - (10/27/15) A new development diary video about the Planet Coaster theme park simulation game takes an interesting approach and goes into detail about programming the individual guests in the parks and how they will react not just as a group, but also on their own as individuals touring your theme park.
Take the time to watch the video and really listen to what they are saying about how the individual guests will respond to what they see and do in the park, including all the little things like getting frustrated while bunched up in crowds, in awe when a new ride opens and more. It really seems like they could be bringing these virtual parks and rides to life through the realistic reactions of the park guests.
(6/19/15) During interviews about Planet Coaster the developers confirmed a few new aspects that are in the works for this new title. One item of note is that they confirmed that players will be able to build connected "villages" of parks and share coaster designs with each other. They also confirmed that they decided to drop the whole "Tycoon" name branding from the title after realizing that the name itself comes with too much baggage, as there have been a number of horrid games released over the years that have also used the "Tycoon" branding to try and sell themselves.
(6/18/15) Frontier is back with the first teaser trailer for their new theme park simulation game that was previously announced as Coaster Park Tycoon... it has now been thankfully renamed as Planet Coaster. Check out the teaser below... and it's a good one. It really has a feel good and fun look to it that will appeal to any fans of the old Roller Coaster Tycoon game series and in the end, could actually out-do Roller Coaster Tycoon World. Just watch the teaser... it really is great looking nod to everything Frontier learned from working on the RCT series before this. I just hope the actual gameplay can keep the warm fuzzy feeling as well as this animated teaser when the game finally comes out sometime in 2016.
Rocky Mountain Construction - (11/19/15) Rocky Mountain Construction is showing off their new single steel rail coaster system at IAAPA this week, calling it TRex Track. A photo of the display at their IAAPA booth can be seen in this Tweet. A video interview with RMC all about the TRex Track was also posted by our friends at In The Loop.
(9/18/15) Curious to see what RMC may be dreaming up next? CoasterForce was able to take a guided tour of RMC's facility where they were shown something very interesting... a new 'single rail' concept coaster idea they have, where the trains would ride along this single massive steel rail beam. You can see a few pictures of it at their Facebook page, as well as a bunch of other pictures from the tour here.
Ride Entertainment - (9/18/15) Ride Entertainment has signed a new partnership with Metallbau-Emmeln, a German company known for providing family attractions as well as containers and controlled access systems. Ride Entertainment will act of their North American sales representative.
Roller Coaster Tycoon World - (11/16/15) According to this update, following the Beta test of Roller Coaster Tycoon World, Atari has opted to delay the launch of the game until early 2016 from the previously announced Dec. 10, 2015 release date. From the Beta build, it sounded as if many features of the game were not yet finished, and Beta players found certain aspects of the build to be frustrating, so numerous improvements will be put into place before it gets released.
(9/30/15) Good news for those eagerly awaiting Roller Coaster Tycoon World. Atari has announced that they are now accepting pre-orders for the title on Steam, which will give you access to exclusive Beta Weekends and Five Unique Peep Skins if you pre-order the Standard or Deluxe Editions. The official final release date is December 10, 2015.
(9/23/15) A new video has been released showing off the progress on Roller Coaster Tycoon World, along with the announcement that the game is working with Six Flags on some kind of partnership. I suspect that we’ll end up seeing some official Six Flags parks, or at least some pre-made coaster designs, included with the final release of the game. Of course this isn’t too surprising, as Six Flags also became involved in the same manor with some of the earlier editions of the game as well.
(8/31/15) A reader who attended the PAX 2015 show got to make a quick test of the Roller Coaster Tycoon World build that was being shown off and took a quick video of it in action... with some disastrous results for the Peeps. Meanwhile a pretty good explanation of the latest developments along with a longer sample of the gameplay being offered can be found here.
The breakdown is that so far the game will have 30 different flat rides and 10 different style coasters, with 4 different track styles. It was mentioned that while they visited parks and rides to get design inspirations, the rides in the game are not direct recreations of any one existing ride out there in the real-world marketplace. As an example they show off what appears to be their own custom version of a Gravaton style flat ride, but with a clear roof. Of course since the game will be open to the world's community this time around, I suspect it wont be long before some fan re-creations of some actual real-world rides start to show up as well once they open the floodgates.
(8/14/15) Some great new images showing off Roller Coaster Tycoon World were posted in the latest development blog update this week showing off some incredible detail in the rendering of a wooden coaster station. They also mention that "multiplayer" will not be ready with the initial release, but will instead be added to the game for free in a post-launch update.
The update also mentions an extensive list of creative tools, including 3D track editor and fully deformable terrain and water editors. You can also import your own custom scenery, peeps and more in "any 3D editing program that works with Unity". The game will also offer Park Management tools for managing your park's finances as well as new features, such as a "heat map". They also note that the coasters will use a more complex physics simulation program than any previous game in the series. And while full multi-player action will come later, you will still be able to visit your friends parks.
(7/10/15) Roller Coaster Tycoon World has posted a new blog update this week, one with an awesome image showing off an "unedited screenshot" of RCT-World taken this week, showing off an amazing view of a highly detailed roller coaster, station, pathways and queue, as well as a stunning rocky landscape background. Plants, trees, hexagon brick paver pathways, lightposts, trash cans, banners, railings... they are all there. The detail is so well done, it actually got me looking to see if they included any stray rabbits, squirrels or birds as random environment wildlife features. Don't get me started on the rocky hillside in the background that got me craving to build an Alpine Coaster to weave between the rocks. (Note to pass on to the developers... please include Alpine Coasters!)
In fact, the one and only thing that really breaks the illusion for me of this being a virtual re-creation of a true theme park somewhere is the inclusion of a yellow "ticket booth" at the end of the ride queue before riders are sent up the ramp to the station. No modern theme park has this feature, though it was a staple of the previous RCT games to be able to charge admission to individual rides, so I guess I can give it a pass... but still it just bugs my eyes. I'd rather see it removed all together and simply replaced by some kind of entrance portal with the ride's logo instead.
(7/2/15) The latest blog post from Roller Coaster Tycoon World doesn't’ show off any rides, but shows off an amazingly themed look down a simple theme park pathway, showing off an impressive amount of detail that it will be possible to create. Benches, landscaping, lightposts are things you may take for granted when you want to just build the best roller coaster, but it’s nice to see this level of detail put into the simple things you may not even have thought about before along a quiet park pathway. If this level of detail is here, I can’t wait to see the level of detail they put into the rides.
(6/2/15) The latest RCTWorld Blog talks about the latest innovations programmed into the coaster building system software, as well as giving us a look at a B&M Hypercoaster style train rendered by the game engine.
(5/19/15) Latest Roller Coaster Tycoon World development blog has been posted showing off a look at a set of coaster wheels running along new fully rendered coaster track, taken directly from the game engine itself, "unedited and untouched". Just this alone is setting the graphics bar for RCTWorld so much higher than ever before by finally making the ride hardware look photo realistic.
(8/13/14) ATARI has announced that the next-gen RCT game, “Roller Coaster Tycoon World”, will come out for PC in early 2015. Based on the very brief animation released, it appears to be a 3D rendered world once again, but with a realistic appearance as opposed to the cartoon look RCT3 had when it was released way WAY back in late 2004! (Can’ you believe it has been 10 years since the last one was released?)
The interesting new features that will come into play in RCT-World is that your massive theme park can be cooperatively built and worked on by up to four players at once. RCT-World will also take your creation online as well, allowing you to visit and tour other player’s parks as well. And to put your fears as rest, this will be a full release title that promises to be “micro-transaction free”, giving you access to the full range of content right out of the box.
S&S WorldWide - (3/18/15) S&S Worldwide has announced the sale of a new 12-passenger S&S Double Shot tower ride that will be installed in China at the Eon Time theme park in Hohhot. They expect the ride to open in late 2015.
(8/14/14) S&S Worldwide has confirmed the signing of a deal with the Wanda Group to design and build two Space Shot tower rides for new theme parks at Wanda Harbin Tourism City and Wanda Hefei Cultural Tourist City that will open in 2015 and 2016.
Sally Corp - (11/27/15) Sally Corp has posted a new attraction preview concept video for something valled Volcanikus 4D, something they were promoting at IAAPA the previous week.
(11/23/15) Our good friend Arthur at About.com got an exclusive bonus with his interview about Sally's new The Walking Dead dark ride concept in the form of some never before seen concept artwork. Follow the link and check it out.
With IAAPA on the horizon, the great team at Sally Dark Rides decided to spread a little early excitement by sending out an interesting package to a few lucky people... myself included. Inside was a burlap sack tied shut, and inside of that sack was a small cardboard box and a folded up map of Georgia that should look very familiar to anyone familiar with AMC's The Walking Dead. It was a replica of the Map to Terminus, and inside the box was a wrapped up handkerchief with a very realistic severed finger inside.
Why would Sally Corp. send me a map to Terminus? Because Sally and AMC have partnered up to create "The Walking Dead: Battle for Survival!" a new thrilling, interactive and very DARK dark ride concept that will be put on display at Sally's IAAPA booth (#2253). I can't wait to hear more... and I wonder if anyone has already signed on to get the first one yet.
SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment - (11/5/15) I'm hearing that there are some big announcements planned to take place at the SeaWorld shareholders meeting taking place later today regarding the future direction and plans for the company's parks. Stay tuned.
(8/10/15) According to the latest earnings report the SeaWorld parks are still seeing a small decline in attendance over the last quarter, and while the parks have fallen below revenue expectations the company says they still hope to meet their overall financial targets by the end of the year. They site weather issues as the primary reason for attendance problems in Texas (likely true), and something they refer to as "brand challenges" for the California park's drop in turnstile counts. However, attendance in Orlando was said to be fairly strong.
(7/22/15) Interesting new names filed in the Trademark database by SeaWorld Parks back in May for the names "Reptitan" and "Strikewinder". Curious... I wonder what kind of ride this could be? "Cobra's Curse" was also filed at about the same time, so these could be alternate names for that coaster... or perhaps they could be for something else.
Six Flags - (11/19/15) Concept artwork showing off a proposed Six Flags China theme park design have been posted to ThemeparX this week. I've got to say that this certainly doesn't look anything like any Six Flags theme park I've ever seen before, especially with the unique location next to the water. According to another link, they are calling this a "Six Flags International Resort" which will be located in Zhejiang Province, which also has photos from the agreement signing between Wenyuan Investment Group and Six Flags Entertainment Corporation.
From the look of things, the Six Flags park will only be on part of the resort, built along a shoreline at the Yangtze River Delta with a marina, that is being described as the world's first "land-sea interaction Six Flags park." The overall resort will also feature a museum and much more.
(10/21/15) According to the new numbers released from Six Flags, the company appears to had a good Q3, reporting increases in revenue and net income. Total revenue was $575.26 million for the quarter, up from $541.84 from the same time period last year. $20 extra million is credited to increases in admission and another $16 million from in park sales.
(10/19/15) There is an interesting change coming to all Six Flags theme parks starting on November 7th, 2015. According to the official Six Flags website, they will launch a new "Attraction Access Pass" program at that time, replacing their old Equal Access Pass program. According to the terms the Attraction Access Pass is "for guests who are unable to wait in ride lines due to a disability, mobility impairments, or certain qualifying impairments. Beginning November 7, 2015 any guest requesting use of one of these special passes will need to provide a doctor’s note at Guest Services at the time they pick up the pass. This new program replaces our old Equal Access Pass program."
Guests who qualify for the pass will enter through an alternate entrance and receive a ride reservation time to return equal to the current wait time for the attraction. At the correct time, you may return to ride without waiting in line and take up to three guests with you. The kicker is to obtain the new Attraction Access Pass, you must have a doctor note with specific information on it, though the note must also NOT describe the nature of your disability. (Because you know... privacy...)
So is this a good thing or a bad thing? While it probably is a pain in the rear for most people to go get a note from your doctor for something like this, this is also unfortunately the kind of procedure that has long been coming for years because of abuse of the old systems. It was just a couple of years ago we saw a major shake-up at Disney over revamping their access pass system, and it's just been a mater of time before many of those changes trickled down to Six Flags to make as well. The timing is good at least, as a November kick off date will come at the end of the season, giving most of you well read Screamscape readers time to get that note from your doctor well in advance, and have a copy of it ready for the foreseeable future. Those who really do need a pass like this will know the value of it and how it will benefit their time spent in the parks with loved once, while those who may have been abusing the system, will now find it difficult to keep on doing so. (Note: On the plus side, Six Flags does say that you only need to show them the note ONCE... and they will add you into some kind of system-wide database, good for when you visit any and all Six Flags theme parks and not just the one you first presented the note to.)
(10/9/15) Six Flags will host a Q3 2015 Earnings conference call on Oct. 20th starting at 8am Central Time. You can access the call and listen in by clicking here.
(8/26/15) It looks like the new official Fright Fest 2015 pages for all of the Six Flags parks is now live. Click here to go to the main page and select which park you are interested in.
(7/31/15) While nothing may have been signed yet... Screamscape has heard that the Six Flags corporate office may be looking for a new high-end flat ride concept that they could install into parks in 2016 in place of some previously planned Larson Giant Loops. One such concept that may have made it to the boardroom presentations is said to be a new "Giant" version of the Zamperla Air Race that would see the Air Race style ride system mounted to a telescoping tower that would raise it up into the air.
(7/24/15) It is official... Six Flags has joined the Disney theme parks for a company wide ban of Selfie Sticks in their theme parks.
(7/22/15) Six Flags has filed for a number of new trademarks over the past few weeks, including one to use the name "Titan" again (did they let it lapse?) along with filings for "Gale Force 7" and the previously mentioned one for "Total Mayhem".
While Titan and Total Mayhem are likely coaster names, Gale Force 7 sounds more like a big waterslide complex tower to me.
(7/3/15) Six Flags has filed for a new name trademark this month for their latest attraction to be called "Total Mayhem". While this could be for any Six Flags theme park, the name would be a perfect fit for an S&S Free Fly 4D style coaster, the type that was rumored to be on the way for SFGAdv.
(6/9/15) After talking to a few people, I'm hearing that two more version of Justice League: Battle for Metropolis are being planned for the 2016 season. From the sound of things, the one solid lock for the first one seems to be for Six Flags Great America. I don't know the location of where it might go, though it was pointed out that the park could put the old IMAX / Pictorium building to use for it.
The location of the second one is more up for debate it seems, with rumors pointing to both Six Flags Mexico as well as Six Flags over Georgia. If I had to guess myself, I'd lean towards Georgia myself, for many of the reason I posted yesterday in my thoughts on the issue as well.
(6/8/15) With the successful openings of not just one, but two versions of the new Justice League: Battle for Metropolis under Six Flags’ belt this year, and both of them hitting all the right high marks and rave reviews from both media and fans, I only have one real question right now.
Where will Six Flags build the next one?
Yep, at this point I think it is simply a matter of WHERE and not WHEN this will happen, especially when the 2016 versions of these dark rides will essentially get a free media “push” from the opening of the Batman Vs. Superman feature film next summer as well. So when the current is going your way, don’t fight it… swim with it and… to borrow a catch-phrase… Go Big!
At this point it would be difficult to say exactly where another clone (or clones) of this ride might appear within the chain, but some parks may have a slight advantage over others. Of the old former Six Flags simulator ride buildings, the Chicago park demolished their Space Shuttle America building to make way for Hurricane Harbor, but at Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey, that park still has the old building from The Right Stuff: Mach 1 Adventure ride sitting there empty and unused. This is important because Six Flags over Texas converted the same building into their version of Justice League with no problem, they just needed to expand the building to make it a bit bigger to accommodate the dark ride. With nothing but a Go-Kart track next door, it would be easy to expand the building into that area to make room for it. Even better… this area of the park is also home to both the Green Lantern and Superman: Ultimate Flight coasters, making it a perfect location for Justice League: Battle for Metropolis. So far however, the only rumors I’ve heard from this park were about new coasters, but with Six Flags everything is always subject to change.
It would be hard to go wrong by adding this attraction to any other park, though it would be a more welcome at some more than others I think. Six Flags Magic Mountain is always ready to welcome a new themed ride, especially as the local market is used to having such great themed attractions from Disney, Universal and Knott’s. As The Mountain is already home to the most rides with DC character themes (Riddler’s Revenge, Batman: The Ride, Green Lantern: First Flight, Superman: Escape from Krypton, Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom, The Flash: Speed Force, Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth) so you could drop in a Justice League dark ride with little effort just about anywhere in the park.
Where else? I have heard a quiet rumor suggesting Six Flags over Georgia as a possible location as well, as the park’s Gotham section of the park features Batman: The Ride and a host of Batman villain themed rides (Crime Wave, Harley Quinn Spin-Sanity, Joker’s Chaos Coaster and Mindbender) with a Superman coaster on the other side of the park. The park’s fans also love and responded well to the park’s Monster Mansion/Plantation dark ride, so another air-conditioned dark right for Hot-lanta may be just what the doctor ordered.
Either way, with the "middle" of the country covered by the first two rides in Dallas and Missouri, it would make sense to spread the love to both the East and West coast in 2016 at the very least.
(4/14/15) According to this news article, Six Flags is seeking a Malaysian corporate partner to franchise the brand to build the first official Six Flags park in Malaysia.
(2/17/15) According to a brief article at TheBeijinger, Six Flags will open a park in Tianjin by 2018.
Sky Turtle - (7/30/15) Remember the Sky Turtle? I came across a weird German video as they sent a reporter down the prototype unit with cameras, giving us our first really good look at the capsule you are supposed ride inside and what the experience is like. Instead of the "coaster" style restraint system they promoted in the IAAPA video, they strap this poor fellow inside near the end of the video with a five point belt harness and shove him over the edge.
According to the video description, two of these are supposed to be installed into waterparks somewhere in the US for 2016. That said... I thought it looked like fun at first, but now I think I may have to pass after seeing how claustrophobic the capsule experience appears to be, and I'm not e claustrophobic person at all. Add in the fact that you are essentially trapped inside, half-submerged in water in the trough at the end... with no way to escape, sit up, or roll over and cough or spit-up any water you may have inhaled on the way down when screaming... uhhh... again... I'll pass. It just looks like it would trigger some serious primal fear issues.
Skyline Attractions - (10/20/15) Skyline Attractions has announced a new product this week called the Crazy Couch. The Crazy Couch is a new kids ride concept that will allow kids and adults to ride, tilting side-to-side and up-and-down. So what is Crazy Couch exactly? Follow the link to the Skyline Attractions website to read all the details, though you can also watch the animated video below to see what the ride action is like.
Soaring Eagle Ziplines - (11/26/15) Scan Checketts is back to promote a new ride experience from his Soarin' Eagle zipline company called "The Saddle Swing" and a "Triple Tower" concept attraction. If this sounds familiar, it does look like a redesign of Stan's old "Insane" launch ride, which was deemed as being a little too intense and ahead of it's time back at the start of the 21st Century with it's open saddle style seat and lack of hard restraints. While "Insane" was quickly relaunched with a more traditional style seat and restraint system as Sky Sling, it looks like Stan has used his old Insane concept as inspiration for this new Saddle Swing concept. You can also find another video below showing off the Daring Drop, Saddle Sling and Dive Ride all together in one three tower complex.
Universal Studios - (11/27/15) Universal has made no secret that they're been hoping to create a unified world (like the Marvel Cinematic Universe) for their reboot of the classic Universal Monsters films and characters, but to date they haven't made much progress on the big screen so far. So far Universal has only released Dracula Untold, which has only been reported as a possible inclusion into this new shared universe concept... only if they want it to be, but it likely will be ignored entirely.
Previously Universal was looking to launch this universe with reboots of The Mummy and Van Helsing characters instead, which are apparently still in development after being delayed several times. The new Mummy is currently on the release slate for March 24th, 2017, and while Universal was apparently in talks with Tom Cruise to star in the rebooted Van Helsing, it looks like those talks have taken a twist, and instead Tom Cruise is apparently now attached to star in the rebooted Mummy film instead. While the current plot of the film is unknown, it was reported at one time that instead of a more period piece like the last Mummy series of films, the new Mummy films would be brought to modern times. A concept was said to be in the works that would involve a Navy SEAL team hunting terrorists in the middle east who end up accidentally unleashing the ancient evil of The Mummy upon the earth once again. Of course, with the new involvement of Tom Cruise, the story could have completely changed by now.
The Hollywood trades are also reporting this week that Universal is in talks with Angelina Jolie to take the lead in a new Bride of Frankenstein film as well.
(7/29/15) Jurassic World fans... take note! Universal Studios has already set the premier date for Jurassic World 2, which will hit theaters on June 22nd, 2018 and will see the return of Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard. It's too early to talk plot, but with the time-table of a little under 3 years time until it hits theaters, it would also seem to be a perfect gap of time in which Universal Creative could possibly come up with a new Jurassic World themed attraction for one or more of the Universal theme parks as well that could open at about the same time. Just saying... and who wouldn't want to go for a spin on a Gyrosphere ride?
(5/7/15) Talk about a strange piece of news to wake up to this morning, but Nintendo and Comcast have announced a new agreement that will see the worlds and characters from Nintendo video games brought to the Universal Parks & Resorts in both America and in Japan. While they have no details of how this may be realized, or what park may get it first, they did say that Universal will create, “spectacular, dedicated experiences based on Nintendo’s wildly popular games, characters and worlds.”
(5/7/15) Good news for Universal Studios theme park lovers, because Comcast is still very excited and happy with the theme park side of the company and mentions during their earnings call on Monday that they are still planning to keep investing new capital into the parks, so that we will continue to see a new attraction open at each resort, each year, when possible.