---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(1/22/19) South Carolina - Former Hard Rock Park Site Sold (MORE...)
(1/16/19) California - New Flying Theater Now Open in San Francisco (MORE...)
(1/16/19) New Meow Wolf Location Announced For Washington D.C. (MORE...)
(1/4/19) Premier Parks Buys St. Louis "City Museum"
(12/29/18) Ohio - Planet Oasis Project In Danger
Alabama - (9/29/18) Just a reminder that this weekend is your last chance ever to ride the Cannonball Run wooden coaster at Waterville USA in Alabama before it closes down for good at the end of Sunday.
(6/28/18) Waterville USA in Alabama has confirmed that at the end of the 2018 they will be removing their Cannonball Run wooden coaster, built by CCI. Cannonball Run was added back in 1995 to the attraction and while no exact reason was given for the removal of the 23 year old coaster, they do say that the removal will make room for exciting new attractions in the future.
Unfortunately this is the second such announcement made this year, with Timber Falls closing their Avalanche coaster (S&S - Opened 2004). In both cases these wooden coasters were built onto smaller attractions and I think the long-term maintenance costs were just likely becoming too much for either. Timber Falls was mainly a mini-golf course that added a log flume and coaster to lure in more guests, and the 20-acre Waterville USA attraction is mostly a small waterpark, with a go-kart track and mini golf on the side, so having Cannonball Run really increased the park's visibility as a roadside attraction.
Arkansas - (9/4/18) The revival plans to turn the former Dogpatch theme park into Heritage USA seems to have flopped, with a new lawsuit filed against them for failing to follow through with promises and plans to improve the property and failing to make the agreed upon rental payments on the property.
California - (1/16/19) A new flying theater attraction called “The Flyer - San Francisco” has opened in that city at Pier 39. The new attraction was created by Triotech in partnership with W. A. Alter, Inc. It’s not cheap however, as the website reports that the initial ticket price to ride is a whopping $25 for adults and $16 for children (12 and under). While they don’t say how long the ride experience itself lasts, they do say that the entire experience, which includes a pre-show of some kind, is “About 20min”.
(12/18/18) According to CNBC a new VR experience chain is starting up this week when Dreamscape Immersive opens their first permanent location in LA at the Westfield Century City mall. Dreamscape is backed by IMAX, AMC, FOX and Warner Bros. and has plans to open four more centers in yet to be announced locations around the country. The experience will cost about $20 and guests will get geared up with a backpack, VR headgear, sensors on hands and feet and set loose into one of three possible virtual worlds (Alien Zoo, The Blu or Lavan’s Magic Projector) for a 20 minute experience that they say is a cross between living in a movie and being in a theme park.
Oh, and if you’re local to the area and this sounds like deja-vu… that’s because they tested out the concept of the Alien Zoo experience at the same mall for a few weeks in early 2018 as a pop-up proof of concept test.
(12/5/18) A new and very unique VR attraction has now opened in Lon Angeles called “Chained: A Victorian Nightmare”. Located at GreatCo (1655 Beverly Blvd) from now through January 6, 2019, the experience is mixture of VR with live actors in motion-capture gear to create an immersive theater style experience. According to a report at BlooLoop, guests enter one at a time into a fully created Victorian world where you are fitted with VR gear and interact with a live actor. During your experience you will not only interact with the live actors, but also be able to touch and move various objects that are represented in both the real and VR world.
According to the creator the combination of VR and immersive theater, “lets the audience see, converse with, and even touch the impossible.”
(11/4/18) Southern California just lost a small attraction as a flyer is now making the rounds showing off that virtually all the rides at the Scandia fun center in Ontario, CA are now for sale including the park’s coaster, the Scandia Screamer. I'm not sure if this means the center is planning on closing in the future, or selling off some property and shrinking in size, or if perhaps there are plans to expand and build something else where the ride’s are currently located instead. Anyone know more?
(10/20/18) I’ve been hearing a lot of great buzz this year about the Warner Bros Studio Tour– Horror Made Here event in Hollywood. After running more limited events with a limited schedule for the past two years, Warner Bros. decided to launch out into the big time this year with a full scale Halloween event for the month and from what I’ve been hearing this may go down as SoCal’s top event for the year. The Studio Tour includes fully immersive haunted attractions featuring some of cinema’s most popular characters:
IT Knows What Scares You (Pennywise of course…)
Escape from Arkham Asylum (The Joker and countless other DC Comics Villains)
The Conjuring Universe (The Warrens, Annabelle, The Nun, evil spirits)
Nightmare on Camp Crystal Lake (Freddy & Jason)
The Exorcist: Forbidden Screening
Then there are other fun features, such as a tour through the famous prop museum featuring items from your favorite films and TV shows, and for those wanting a physical thrill they even brought in a 90 foot drop tower ride into the streets called Devil’s Drop.
If you want more info, make the jump over to Escape Authority who have posted highly detailed reviews of each of the haunts at this event that is worth checking out. If you still want a little more, check out the latest video (below) from Passports, Parks & Parts Unknown who dropped in to the Horror Made Here tour just last night and posted some awesome on-site footage.
(10/19/18) Would you believe a new aerial gondola system for transportation has been proposed for San Diego? Before Walt Disney World began construction on their version in Florida, one was pitched for San Diego that would run from the downtown area up towards the San Diego Zoo, but those plans were eventually dropped. A similar plan is now back in play, proposing a line of aerial gondolas that would run from the San Diego Airport over to the Convention Center / Petco Park area. Unlike the proposed run to the Zoo area that would have just run through urban blocks, this new proposal would run along a much more scenic pathway that would entertain as well as transport.
(10/12/18) Quarry Park Adventures, a new “adventure park” concept that had some delays this year, will finally opening starting October 13th in Rocklin, California. The attraction is built inside a 160 year old rock quarry location and features zip lines, a ropes course, water activities, a “Wall Walk”, “Cliffhanger Free Fall” and much more. Check out the official website for details about attractions and the grand opening celebration event this Saturday.
(10/11/18) Some people have asked for more details about the Warner Bros. Studio Tour’s “Horror Made Here” event. Theme Park Connect has posted a fun video showing off their experience on the tour, which includes Arkham Asylum, Camp Crystal Lake, IT and much more.
(8/29/18) Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group is proud to announce the highly anticipated return of the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. Look for the Hayride to return starting September 29th "with the most immersive ride yet as guests are completely transported back to hayrides past" as part of a celebration of the event's 10th year. Visit the official website for more information and check out the preview video below.
(8/27/18) Yet another new themed VR experience has come to the greater LA area with the opening of "Terminator Salvation: Fight for the Future" at The Spectrum Center in Irvine. The new attraction features a multi-sensory / free-roaming VR experience where teams of four players are sent through time on a mission to the future to disable a Skynet satellite.
(8/1/18) What you can expect at this year's "Warner Bros. Tour - Horror Made Here" event can be found posted in detail in Behind the Thrills. The list includes the return of "IT", a new carnival on the backlot, The Exorcist, Escape from Arkham Asylum and more.
(7/31/18) A local area reader dropped by to get a ride on the Scandia Screamer coaster and noticed something different. I'm not sure why, but they reported that the ride has now shrunk down the size of the trains from 6 cars to just 5.
(7/12/18) While I'm not familiar with what kind of studio tour Warner Bros. currently offers at their studios location in California, AT&T, the new owners of Warner Bros., announced to Los Angeles officials their plans to build a $100 million aerial tram ride that would run from the studios up to the famous "Hollywood" sign.
The idea for just such a project has been tossed around for a couple of years now as the local residential neighborhoods near the sign suffer from heavy traffic and unwanted parking from tourists trying to get a closer look at the famous landmark. While there are other solutions being talked about as well, AT&T pointed out that their plan would be the best for tax-payers, as it would be built at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayers, while providing great benefit to the public residents in the area.
The proposed aerial tram route would be a little over a mile long and take about 6-minutes to travel from the studio "up the back of Mt. Lee to a planned visitors center by the sign." If approved, and I don't really see any overwhelming negative reason why it wouldn't at the moment, the project would take about three years to complete.
(5/5/18) According to our friends at BlooLoop, the Madame Tussauds attraction in San Francisco will be home to a world's first attraction for the chain with the creation of the first Madame Tussauds Escape Room. Even better... this escape room will be themed around the concept of escaping from the infamous Alcatraz island prison. Look for Alcatraz - The Breakout to open to the public on May 23rd.
(4/19/18) Themed VR experience lovers out there... you might want to get yourself to California soon. Not only are there two sites in the greater LA area to experience The Void's Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire but starting on April 26 you can get a group of four friends to experience ALIEN: DESCENT. You get the play Colonial Marines on a mission to investigate a destress signal coming from a Weyland-Yutani mining outpost.
It goes without saying that things are going to so sidewise pretty darn quickly once you get there. Alien: Descent will use new VR gear from Pure Imagination Studios that will allow you to walk around your environment without wires or having to wear a heavy backpack unit. You'll be armed with a weapon and your movements tracked through sensors on your arms and legs.
Look for Alien: Descent to open at The Outlets at Orange on April 26. You can already reserve your spot at the official website now, with ticket prices starting at $22.
(1/18/18) The Children's Zoo at the San Diego Zoo will be getting a $69 million makeover and renamed as The Sanford Children's Zoo when it reopens in 2021. The attraction is said to be the most expensive one ever built at the San Diego Zoo, built with a $30 million donation from businessman T. Denny Sanford. The 2.3 acre children's zoo will be split into four nature zones: Desert, Temperate Forest, Wetland Marsh and Tropical Forest, with each area featuring animal species that inhabit each zone.
Construction will begin sometime in 2019.
Colorado - (8/30/18) ADG opened Southwest Colorado’s only mountain coaster on Saturday as The Purgatory Inferno Mountain Coaster, which is expected to be open year-round. The attraction features a 4,000 ft track length, with 300 ft total of drop along the way, nine switchbacks and one 360º helix spiral, taken at a top speed of 25mph.
(6/26/18) Despite the fact that Heritage Amusement Park in Colorado's website was promoting that they were adding a large roller coaster for the 2019 season, it looks like those plans have changed in a big way. According to an announcement from the park, they confirmed that it will be closing for good at the end of June 30th (Saturday) at 7pm.
Connecticut - (9/14/17) According to this report the Foxwoods Casino has opened a pair of new thrill rides next to their hotel tower. The two rides are from Stan Checkett's Soaring Eagle Rides company and combined into a single 120 foot tall tower called the Sky Launch and Sky Drop Thrill Tower. Follow the link to see pictures, details and pricing.
Florida - (11/4/18) It has been quite awhile since we’ve heard anything about the SkyRise Miami project since it appears to have stalled out ahead of starting actual construction. According to this article the project is still alive and the 1,000 foot tall tower is actually set to begin construction in Q1 2019 and be completed by 2023. The list of attraction is now said to include:
Skyplunge – Jumpers attached to a wire take a high speed controlled fall at 55mph.
Skydrop – A 600 ft tall freefall ride experience with a 540 foot drop, hitting 95mph.
SkyRise Flying Theater – A 72 seat flying theater experience.
Skyway – “World’s tallest rotating observation attraction”
Skyfly – Virtual skydiving
Skywalk – Fixed to a tether, guests walk an open deck 908 feet up with no handrails
Skyglide – Ride down a transparent slide "outside".
Skyledge – Walk across a transparent skydeck 866 feet up.
(9/7/18) Remember how Schlitterbahn was trying for years to build a new waterpark in Fort Lauderdale... and just when they were ready to proceed, they had the whole deal ripped away from them after Premier Parks filed a lawsuit with the city. Well... I've got some bad news for you, because after all that... and all the years of wasted time... Premier Parks just pulled out of the deal entirely on Thursday, killing the Wet n’ Wild Fort Lauderdale park proposal.
According to this report Premier couldn't afford to "renovate Lockhart Stadium" on the site, which was part of the deal. But I've got a feeling that the competition from the upcoming indoor waterpark to be built as part of the American Dream Miami mall project to the south was also makeing them a bit nervous. Unfortunately this all leaves the Fort Lauderdale area in the lurch, with no waterpark on the way and no redevelopment plan at all the site. Considering the state Schlitterbahn is in currently, on top of how they were ousted after working hard to lock in their own deal for years, I wouldn't count on seeing them looking to get back in the area either.
(8/14/18) Another new iFly Indoor Skydiving attraction site is being built in Jacksonville, Florida currently, with construction on the building's framework already going vertical next to Jacksonville's TopGolf location. They hope to open this location by December. Follow the link to see pictures of it posted to a local news article.
Georgia - (7/4/18) For anyone wondering about the status of the Georgia Mountain Coaster under construction in Helen, GA... I've got good news and bad news. Bad news... it wont open this Summer as they had hoped. The good news is that they are working on it and according to an update on Facebook, the extra rain we've experienced this year has caused them extra construction delays that will push the project back to at least this fall, if not even later. (The pictures posted were taken back in mid-December when I visited Helen.)
(2/2/18) According to our friends at BlooLoop the massive Georgia Aquarium is planning to expand the facility. They call the plan “Expansion 2020” and it would see the majority of the work added to where the current entrance is now, creating an entirely new larger entrance area as well as allow for “new larger exhibit space”.
I’m looking forward to seeing this in 2020. I had the pleasure of visiting the Georgia Aquarium about six years ago and it was just an absolutely stunning attraction that made for a fantastic afternoon with the kids as we visited it and the World of Coke attraction that was within walking distance.
Kansas - (9/21/18) The time has come for Joyland it seems, as the local news reports that the 57-acres Joyland sits on will go up for public auction on Nov. 7th.
(8/27/18) According to the local news, yet another fire was discovered and put out at the remains of the Joyland amusement park over the weekend.
(8/10/18) At this point I'm not sure why any part of the former Joyland Amusement Park in Kansas is still standing, but yet another fire broke out on the closed amusement park site, this one burning the old Wacky Shack dark ride building down to the ground. According to the local news, this is the third fire to happen this summer alone.
I hate to say it, but at this point the remains of the park really do need to be taken down and razed to the ground, as fires on the site (likely caused by trespassers) have essentially become an annual event (18 times in the last 5 years alone) and I'd hate to see one get so bad that it expands beyond the property and into an inhabited area.
Louisiana - (7/16/18) Escape Games, once a new early fad, are now virtually everywhere. Seriously... they have popped up in the most odd-ball locations, filling in just about any space available. As such the quality of the experience can vary quite a bit. which is where our friends over at Escape Authority excel at reviewing Escape Room games from locations all over, pointing out the ones to avoid and ones that are worth of your time and money.
While their team started out with a rating system of 1 to 5 Keys, it wasn't long before they were forced to create a special 6 Keys award level for locations that truly stand above all others. Today came an epic new development with the discovery of the first Escape Room to be worthy of a scale-breaking 7 Keys rating.
The honor goes to Cutthroat Cavern at 13th Gate Escape in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and simply put... it blew the team at Escape Authority away in every way possible. They put it best at the top of the review:
"Imagine if Disney built an official escape game. We’ve all wondered what that could be like. And then we went to Baton Rouge and realized it could probably never be this good. Welcome to the World's Greatest Game"
Still skeptical? Follow the link and read the rest of the review for yourself, along with some great pictures highlighting the ultra-themed experience. I don't think I've ever had the urge to visit Louisiana myself before, but I do now.
One other fun note... if you are an escape room fan, be sure to check out the site's Free Play Escape Game Giveaway page, where they hold a drawing to win a free play experience at a new location each week.
Maryland - (12/24/18) A new Great Wolf Lodge location is being considered just north of Baltimore that would be right off the busy I-95 freeway. Great Wolf is said to be looking over the area and in preliminary talks about the site with the local Perryville and Cecil County officials, but if they opt to move ahead the plan would be to build a 500-room 44-acre resort on a site very close to the Hollywood Casino in Perryville.
Michigan - (8/23/18) The C. J. Barrymore's attraction in Michigan announced three new rides were on the way in 2019... a new tower attraction that would feature a 130 foot tall drop tower experience as well as a "saddle sling" ride, so I can only assume this is a new installation from Soaring Eagle Rides who has been selling a lot of these combo-tower attractions, featuring their Daring Drop and Saddle Sling rides. The third attraction appears to be a SBF/Visa Spinning Coaster attraction.
Mississippi - (7/4/18) Since it was announced last year, I had figured this project must have been completed by now, but it seems the expansion of the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi was delayed after getting caught up in some issues with the state over land use. As of last week the project was finally cleared by the state to go ahead and the resort will begin working on their $140 million expansion that will include a new hotel tower as well as an expansion to the amusements being offered that will include a giant ferris wheel and other outdoor rides on site.
Missouri - (1/4/19) In a strange bit of news, “City Museum”, a unique attraction in St. Louis, was sold to Premier Parks LLC this week. Apparently the owners of City Museum, American Milling, had been seeking a new owner for the attraction for the past year or more and notified their staff of the sale on Thursday.
(10/12/18) I’m told that a new 50,000 sqft indoor waterpark is coming to the Branson area in 2019 to be called Wild Bear Falls. From the look of the sign on property this will be part of the Westgate Branson Woods Resort property, and construction looks to be just beginning. Westgate has used this name and concept before at a resort located between Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, TN when they built a 60,000 sqft indoor park there, but it mainly features a pool, lazy river, some hot tubs, a water play fortress structure, and a couple of small slides. Tickets for admission are required, though I’m not sure if they are made available to the general public or only for guests of the Westgate Resort.
(8/25/18) Interesting news for the Branson area as a developer has announced they want to build a huge Aquarium on the site of the Grand Palace in Branson. If plans are approved the 46,000 sqft attraction will be called Aquarium at the Boardwalk when it opens in Spring 2020. The proposed artwork for the building is pretty near, appearing as if a giant octopus is now sitting on top of the building with massive tentacles stretched out in all directions, so it sure is going to be an eye-catcher.
(8/14/18) A couple of riders on an Ejection Seat style thrill ride in Branson became stuck about 100 feet in the air after a cable on the ride got stuck. Firefighters arrived on the scene along with a crane which helped lower the riders back down to the ground unharmed after about two hours.
(7/27/18) Unfortunately for those hoping to visit, the new “America’s Fun Park” attraction in Branson posted to their Facebook page late yesterday that the park is now closed. “With the record-breaking heat, visiting the park during the day wasn't any fun for you all, and that made it difficult to keep things going. Plus, one of the coasters has been sold, and it cannot be moved safely with the park open.”
They continue to say that they are going back to the drawing board with plans to reopen in October with new “fall activities the whole family will love!” I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
(7/21/18) By Friday afternoon the search ended in Branson in the aftermath of the Ride of the Ducks accident. In total 17 of the 31 people aboard when it went down passed away, leaving just 14 survivors. Names have not been released, but they said the ages of the victims ranged between 1 and 70. The Duck vehicle was found by divers at the bottom of the lake, where it apparently sunk 40 feet to strike the bottom wheels first, and then rolled underwater down the lake bed to the deepest part of the lake, resting approximately 80 feet down at this point. The entire accident is very sad, especially as it was mentioned that 9 of the victims were all part of an 11-member family group who were on the tour together.
According to a report from one of the family members who survived and talked to the media, she said no one had life-vests on at the time because the captain told everyone to remain seated, and "don't worry about grabbing the life jackets - you won't need them." By the time the boat started to go down and it was obvious that the jackets were needed, there simply wasn't time to do so. (According to another report, the "Captain" survived, but the driver of Duck did not.)
UPDATE - (7/20/18) According to the latest news updates this morning, at least 13 deaths (adults and children) have been confirmed thus far when a Ride The Ducks vehicle capsized in the rough waters, caught up in a horrible storm on the lake. If you follow this link someone on the Branson Bell Showboat shot video from their phone of the frightening conditions on the lake, catching two Ride The Ducks vehicles out there struggling to get back to shore, battered by the rough waters and 60mph winds!
While there are life jackets onboard the Ducks guests do not have to wear them, but typically they are stowed above the guest’s heads on the roof of the Duck. We can only hope that, as they were battling the rough waters, the captain would have instructed everyone to put them on just in case.
The official report says the Duck was carrying 29 guests and had 2 crew members. A total count of those rescued had not been published, but one news report mentions that 4 children and 3 adults were rescued from the waters and taken to a nearby hospital last night, leaving 9 still unaccounted for. According to another report, the waters were said to be calm when the Ducks entered the water and the amphibious vehicles were already on their way back to shore when the wind and bad weather struck the location very quickly. (Edit: I’ve heard elsewhere, but can’t confirm that 14 survivors may have been found, leaving 4 still unaccounted for.)
This is just heartbreaking on all counts, and I can only hope for the best as they search the waters again this morning.
BREAKING - (7/19/18) The story is just breaking as of this moment, but a Ride The Ducks vehicle encountered severe storm weather while on a tour on Thursday evening and toppled over in the water at Table Rock Lake. As of this moment, they believe they could be as many as six possible deaths so far according to local media reports.
They believe there were up to 30 passengers on board when the vehicle flipped and sank, but darkness is making the search for survivors difficult. This is only what is being reported at this time, so watch the news sites for the latest updates on this terrible situation.
(7/12/18) The local news reports that Branson's Runaway Mountain Coaster attraction has filed building permits to expand their parking lot as well as add a new zip line attraction to the property. No official announcement was ready to be made by the attraction at this time.
(4/14/18) The local news has posted a video showing off the construction progress of the new America's Fun Park as various rides are now going up on site, including the Windstorm coaster. If the coaster looks a bit familiar, you may be thinking of the old Windstorm coaster from Orlando's Old Town which had the same green supports and purple track color scheme, but according to RCDB the Orlando coaster went to Adventure Park USA in Maryland in 2015 where it is now called Wild West Express.
The Windstorm coming to Branson is actually the one that used to run at the base of the Space Needle in Seattle from 1993 to 2009, where it was then picked up by an independent operator who leased out the coaster to various major carnival / fair locations throughout the country over the past several years. The park will also offer a Wacky Worm kiddie coaster in the ride line up along with Bumper Cars, a small Dark Ride, Tilt-A-Whirl, Slide, a classic Octopus/Spider ride, Scrambler, Sky Fighter and more.
Nebraska - (12/6/17) For the past decade Fun Plex in Nebraska was home to “Big Ohhhh!” (Pinfari Zyklon),
the only remaining and operating large scale rollercoaster in the state. Unfortunately we have lerned that Fun Plex has decided to close down Big Ohhh! due to increasing maintence costs. Instead of replacing the coaster with a new one, the attraction’s long term plans are to focus on expanding their successful waterpark, so in 2018 the park will open Rockin’ Rapids, a new slide tower offering two unique new tube slides.
Note: I believe the remaining coasters in Nebraska are all kiddie or mini-sized rides.
New Jersey - (12/23/18) The new spinning coaster has arrived at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. A reader stopped by to send us a couple of photos of the new coaster on site.
(11/27/18) Jenkinson’s Boardwalk pushed a new roller coaster that was on display at IAAPA. The coaster is an SBF Visa Group Spinning Coaster 5.0, and it will replace the park’s old Flitzer (Zierer) coaster.
(11/12/18) While the official Bowcraft website didn’t have much to say previously about a possible 2019 season, this ad posted on Facebook that puts most of the park’s rides up for sale tells another story. Meanwhile the official Bowcraft website also appears to be taken down for good, which seems to confirm that the park is now closed for good.
New Mexico - (8/6/18) New Mexico could soon have the state's first Alpine Coaster is plans in place for the Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway move forward as expected. The company pitched a plan to spend about $2 million to build an alpine coaster to help boost the weaker business levels during the hotter months of the year when skiing isn't possible. The latest plans call for a 3,000 foot long run that would drop about 400 feet in total along the way from the top to the bottom. At this point they just need a final approval from the U.S. Forest Service as the land the Ski Resort is on is actually federal property. They expect a final decision to be made on the land use issue sometime in the next six months, with the hope of starting construction in early 2019 and opening before the end of the year.
New York - (12/5/18) According to the local news the former Magic Forest attraction will soon become “Lake George Expedition Park”. Along with a sale of the park to a new owner the plan is to update the park and bring in new attractions, one of which will be the Dino Roar Valley, a new dinosaur themed educational area. They also claim the
much of the Magic Forest area will remain intact as well, with 23 of the existing 25 rides to remain. More future changes and additions are planned, but will be built in phases over the next several years. You can see their new teaser website here.
(11/24/18) According to the local news the Magic Forest roadside attraction in the Lake George area that features ton of giant figures on display is being sold and the new owners are putting up most of the old figures up for sale which can be seen posted here. While the new plans for the site have not been made known, it was indicated that they do plan on keeping the site open as some kind of new park or attraction, though no plans for anything have been finalized yet.
(10/26/18) Remember a few years ago there was talk about building a 630 foot tall Observation Wheel in New York’s Staten Island? After five years of development the planners have announced that the project is now officially dead.
(10/24/18) Our friends at BehindTheThrills have posted a quick preview of the soon to open “The Trolls Experience” walk-through attraction in New York City, a project from Feld Entertainment working with Dreamworks Animation and Universal Studios. Follow the link and check it out.
North Carolina - (12/12/18) While the weather has been rather sour here as of late, I figured it was worth mentioning that Frankie’s Fun Park in Charlotte is now fully open for your enjoyment. So while it may be too cold or wet outside for some of the outdoor attractions, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy so if you live in the area, so check it out!
(9/3/18) Good news for all my local Charlotte, NC area neighbors...a new mini amusement park attraction called Franie's Fun Park will be opening in "Early Fall 2018" about where the north-end of the 485-Loop and I-77 connect on the south end of Huntersville. I've never seen one before, but there are four other Frankie's locations in the region (Raleigh, Greenville, Columbia and Charleston) but from what I can tell the Charlotte location may be the biggest one yet, mixing the style of attractions you might find at an FEC, with a Dave & Busters, with a couple full size amusement park rides for good measure.
According to the official description Frankie's of Charlotte will feature 24-lanes of Luxury Bowling, a full-service Restaurant & Bar with a private Event Room available, a Fast-Casual Cafe eating area with indoor and outdoor seating, one of the largest arcades in Charlotte, a Laser Tag arena with a Post-Apocalyptic Charlotte theme, a 30-foot "Drop Zone" indoor ride overlooking the arcade, a 3-story Funhouse play area for the little kids, LED illuminated bumper cars, a Triotech 7D interactive motion ride, The Hologate (a VR game attraction), and in the 20-acre outdoor fun area they will have 3 Go Kart Tracks (Road, Slick and Drifter), 3 18-hole Pirate Mini-Golf Courses, a Tea-Cups ride, Family Swings, a Mega Disk'O, and a 360º swinging Discovery ride.
(8/10/18) According to reports a new iFLY branded indoor skydiving simulator is on the way to the Charlotte area, that will be built next to the freeway just down the road from the local Great Wolf Lodge location, near the Charlotte Motor Speedway / Concord Mills area. Depending on how fast things go they expect to open it sometime between very late 2018 and early 2019.
Ohio - (12/29/18) The previously announced Planet Oasis retail/entertainment complex for Ohio didn’t last long without a major conflict coming up. In October it was announced that the teams behind it, Blue Horseshoe Ventures Ltd., were splitting up. Each side began to lay claims to still being the owner of the project, and both sides vowed to continue to move forward with it. Then in early November the two sides filed suits against each other, each laying claim to the venture, which is surely going to put the project into limbo until they can either come to legal resolution, or they all just opt to walk away and the dream of Planet Oasis dies. Neither is good for the project, as the clock is ticking that assuming that the funds were in place to meet the construction deadline and start work on the site by early 2019, any delay will see the costs of the project rise and make it more difficult to set in motion.
(7/5/18) A developer is proposing a large new attraction development in the Columbus, Ohio area called Planet Oasis. If you see the local news headlines... just ignore them however, as they are trying to overplay it with claims that this will be a $2 billion theme park project 'bigger than Disneyland" and such... but this is seriously stretching the truth. The new project appears to look more like a modern retail mall, but packed full of entertainment options instead of retail stores. While I'm sure some retail will be part of the overall experience, along with some restaurants, the plan here is to fill the site with a variety of attraction experiences ranging from a small coaster to a skate park, BMX bike park, indoor skydiving, a "Medieval Times-esque" dinner theater experience, E-Sports arena, giant wheel, go karts, bowling, laser-tag, movie theater, ice skating rink and more.
The vision is interesting and looks attractive from a guest standpoint purely from the huge variety of activities they are trying to include, but the problem is that each of these attractions are being asked to build their sites in close-quarters to their competition. Unlike a theme park where guests arrive and pay one admission price to do everything, this is more like a retail mall, but in this case guests will arrive and likely pick one experience, maybe two, and call it a day.
The concept itself isn't entirely bad... because if they modeled this kind of site more like Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, it could be successful... if they can get the bodies in to visit. There-in lies my other question-mark with this project... because to my knowledge, Columbus isn't exactly a major tourist destination, and being in Ohio will limit the use of any of the outdoor attractions to the warmer months of the year. We will know if Planet Oasis is serious about this project before too long, as they stated that construction would begin by December.
Pennsylvania - (10/12/18) It’s Halloween season and that means we get to see what’s new at ScareHouse, known as one of the best haunts in the country, located in the Pittsburgh area. The latest trailers for ScareHouse and their extra more personal extreme experience called “The Basement” can be found below.
(9/28/18) You've see many a haunted house... but would you take a ride on a haunted train? New Hope & Ivyland Railroad in New Hope, Pennsylvania is offering a 40 minute long haunted train ride experience, where you'll depart the station and be at the mercy of the unknown as you visit the "Undead Speakeasy & Bootlegger Express".
(9/27/18) Lakemont Park has confirmed that they will reopen in 2019 in May on Memorial Day Weekend. It may not be the same park you remember however, as the new focus of the park will be to go back to it's roots as a park focused on outdoor recreation activities and special events, and away from typical amusement park style entertainment.
To this end the park will feature new basketball courts, new mini-golf courses, volleyball courts, playgrounds, go-karts, and more when it reopens in 2019. Entry into the park will be free.
(3/8/18) According to the local news Lakemont Park will remain closed for a second season in a row to allow for further renovations to take place. The plan is now to reopen Lakemont in 2019, but they claim it will be transformed from being an “amusement park” into what they now describe as a “family entertainment center” that will include a new mini-golf course, electric go-karts, batting cages and some “enhancements” to the waterpark.
South Carolina - (1/22/19) The site of the former Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, SC has been confirmed as being sold to a new owner. There is a lot of speculation about what could become of the property which was purchased by “FTPP Bishop Parkway LLC” for a bit over $3.5 million on December 28th, 2018, but nothing looks like a solid lead and it is highly doubtful it will be used for any kid of new theme park ever again.
(11/24/18) According to this news report, the two woman who had filed a lawsuit after breaking in and injuring themselves on a slide at Broadway at the Beach have since dropped their case without comment. While they could still restart it in the future, the general consensus is that perhaps they were hit with so much backlash online after the news of the lawsuit hit the ‘net that they simply just dropped it and opted to just quietly vanish.
(11/21/18) Add this to the growing list of incredible attraction lawsuits. Would you believe two women from New York visiting Myrtle Beach for a wedding are now filing a lawsuit because they injured themselves while trespassing? Yup... apparently in the “early morning hours" on the way back to their hotel from the wedding, they passed through Broadway at the Beach. I’m guessing a little alcohol was involved, but upon passing by the park's multi-lane giant-slide attraction, the Pipeline Slide, they decided that the closed signs and entry barrier wasn’t enough deterent, went inside, climbed 80 feet to the top of the slide and decided to go for a little ride back down… minus the burlap sack you are supposed to sit on.
According to the lawsuit, they flew down the slide too fast and crashed into a metal barrier at the bottom, and sustained a laundry list of injuries ranging from broken ankles, fractured and broken tibia, a shattered knee plate and assorted scrapes, cuts and bruises that required surgery and time-off from work to recover.
This kind of thing drives me crazy to think about… which reminds me of the guy who “fell out" of the Disneyland Skyway on purpose, landed safely in a tree, and then attempted to file a lawsuit against Disney for a faulty ride safety system. Thankfully rational heads won out that day… and we can only hope the same happens here.
(8/10/18) A first phase of a new Simpsons themed attraction will open next week at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. It features a life-sized recreation of the Kwik-E Mart and Aztec Theater, with an assortment of Simpsons gifts for sale in the (Buzz Cola, Heat-Lamp Hot Dogs and Lard Lad Donuts) Kwik-E Mart store opening next Friday. The Aztec Theater portion will open later and offer some kind of Simpson's "4D Experience" created by SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment.
Tennessee - (12/5/18) Aquatic Development Group reports that Phase 1 of the new Soundwaves waterpark at Gaylord Opryland is now open. This indoor section is 111,000 square-feet, spread out over three levels, featuring five waterslides, a FlowRider Double stationary surf wave machine, an activity pool as well as both “rapid” and “lazy” rivers. While it may be cold outside, the temperature inside Soundwaves and kept at a warn 84º. It is also worth noting that Soundwaves also has an adults-only pool area as well for those guests who are 18 and up.
The future outdoor phase of the waterpark is expected to be finished by Summer 2019.
Check out the video below to see what Soundwaves looks like.
(9/27/18) The new SoundWaves waterpark at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville is set to open on December 1st. According to a new article at BlooLoop, the new indoor/outdoor waterpark experience will open the indoor section this December and the outdoor portion sometime later in 2019.
The attractions within are said to be paired with various musical styles ranging from country to pop music, with the music playing on the attractions themselves as well as throughout the park. The only way to gain access to SoundWaves is for guests of the hotel who have selected a "SoundWaves Experience Package".
Reservations are now being accepted.
(6/17/18) Special thanks to one of our readers who lives in the area who went down to take a few current pictures of the Soundwaves waterpark project under construction. There is also a live webcam on site showing off the view of things from the inside. Just follow the link and look down for the "Live Webcam" link.
(6/16/18) According to the Opryland Resort the Soundwaves indoor/outdoor waterpark project is under construction and set to open the first phase in Late 2018. A video showing off the construction progress of Soundwaves was posted by a company building it back in late February (See below), but I’ve seen nothing since. If you happen to stay at the resort this summer, I’d love to see some new photos from the site.
(1/27/17) The Opryland Resort has announced Soundwaves, a new indoor/outdoor waterpark that will only be open to hotel guests. The $90 million investment will of course include music in the experience in some fashion with an indoor section that will offer a lazy river, rapid river, a play lagoon, rock climbing, pool basketball and waterfalls. Other planned attractions include a sun deck, an adult only level and pool, and a "dramatic family ride'. Outside you can find a wave pool, more thrill slides, cabanas, a giant LED video screen along with special planned summer programming, as well as another private adult-only pool area.
Look for it to open in the second half of 2018.
Texas - (10/19/18) According to a statement from the park on Facebook, the owners of Sandy Lake Amusement Park in Dallas/Fort Worth area announced that they have sold the park property that they’ve owned for the past 48 years. The old amusement park was home to numerous festivals and musical event, private corporate picnic events, family parties and much more over the years. It featured swimming, mini-golf, paddle boats, food and games, and an assortment of classic midway style rides (Spider, Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, Paratrooper, Pretzel dark ride, etc!), a collection of kiddie rides and much more.
As of today the park is now closed forever with the land now sold to their neighbors, Southwest Landscaping. The park, once open for public use, is now private property, though the new owners plan for now to preserve the site as-is, and use it for storage for their trees and plants.
Virginia - (12/15/18) Fun Land of Fredericksburg (Virginia) has broken ground on plans to build a new multi-level go-kart track. The planned addition, which is replacing the attraction’s old track, will cost about $1.2 million and feature a spiraling helix three-stories tall. They are also working on adding a “state-of-the-art lighting system” that will go inside the track and warn drivers if they are in the Caution or Red-Light or any other situation they should be aware of during their ride. The new track will feature a fleet of 40 new cars, 31 of which will be double-seaters. If the weather cooperates they are hoping to have the new track ready as early as April.
Washington - (9/4/17) According to a local news report Seattle's Space Needle is about to begin a $100 million renovation that might add some new minor thrills to the tower experience. Work will begin this month on a number of much needed upgrades and improvements to modernize the experience including new floor-to-ceiling glass panels on the outdoor observation deck (removing the mesh-cage) to create a new and improved viewing area. The restaurant will also receive a world's first... a rotating glass floor that will give diners an amazing view STRAIGHT DOWN. Look for the renovation to be complete by June 2018.
Washington D.C. - (1/16/19) Meow Wolf has announced that they will add yet another new location to their growing collection of exhibits, this time in Washington D.C. inside a three-story structure located in Fort Totten. Set to open in 2022, it will feature a new and unique storyline within the attraction.
Wisconsin - (12/17/18) New demolition pictures from Timber Falls in the Dells were sent in to Screamscape over the weekend, where the attraction’s former coaster and log flume have now been completely removed.
(11/27/18) A reader passed by Timber Falls in Wisconson Dells and took pictures showing off the demolition now in progress on site, removing the former Avalanche wooden coaster, the log flume and some of the mini golf holes.
(5/28/18) A quick update on the situation at Timber Falls in Wisconsin Dells. A reader reached out to try and find out why they were closing the majority of their major attractions, including the log flume and the Avalanche wooden coaster, and below was the official response from Timber Falls:
"Thanks for being such a fan of our rides; we're happy to hear you've had some great experiences on the coaster and log ride! Unfortunately our rides (coaster, log ride, and bumper boats) require an unfeasible amount of maintenance. With Timber Falls being a smaller park, it can be difficult to keep up with regular maintenance for all the attractions, and we would never want to jeopardize a visitor's safety because of this. The Skyscraper Thrill Ride will remain open, and we are planning to build some really great attractions in place of the one's currently at our park. We hope you'll visit us again down the road and make some new memories on our upcoming attractions! At this point we have not yet sold any of the rides. Any future plans for the park are confidential, if and when we decide to add attractions we will be sure to advertise!"
So there you have it, going forward Timber Falls will only offer Mini-Golf and the Skyscraper ride for the time being.
(4/27/18) An interesting news bit crossed my way this afternoon, which was also confirmed by RCDB. Avalanche, located at Timber Falls Adventure Park in Wisconsin Dells, is apparently closed for good. This is sad, as the ride was said to be fun and was one of only four wooden coasters out there from S&S Worldwide.
While the park hasn't made a comment about this on social media yet, their website, while clearing showing Avalanche on the front page photo, already appears to have removed any reference to the coaster at all on the page from the pricing and attractions pages.