---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(9/25/21) Arizona - World of Illusion is coming to Tempe
(9/24/21) ScareHouse Offering Tips and Tools To Better Your Home Haunt Projects
(9/17/21) California - Night of Lights OC To Return This November (MORE...)
(9/17/21) Ohio - Police Called In To Break Up Fights at Halloween Haunt Attraction (MORE...)
(9/16/21) Scarehouse Returns To The Pittsburgh Area for 20th Anniversay (MORE...)
(9/12/21) South Carolina - Remembering Hard Rock Park
Arizona - (9/25/21) World of Illusion is coming back to Tempe, Arizona for their biggest drive-through display attraction to date. This year the show will move into the Tempe Diablo Stadium and cover 1.1 million square-feet with millions of synchronized holiday light displays. Look for World of Illusion to be open nightly starting on Nov. 17, 2021, from 6pm to 10pm.
(6/12/21) A new resort project on the way to an area just North-West of Phoenix, Arizona has now teamed with Mattel to add some toy themed attractions to a planned Adventure Park section, including a Hot Wheels themed roller coaster. This is all coming to the Crystal Lagoons Island Resort project in Glendale that will feature a 10-acre lagoon in the center (paddleboards, boogie boards, scuba) mixed with two hotels, restaurants, shops along with a newly announced amusement park section. According to the early reports it will have a Hot Wheels themed roller coaster and go-karts, a flying theater, a 4D theater, a Thomas the Tank Engine attraction area and more. The concept art also shows off a couple of other fun aerial attractions, such as a tethered balloon ride and a unique Aerophile Aerobar tower that will raise guests in a special table over 100 feet into the air in the center of the lagoon for drinks and food items.
The goal is to have it all ready by the end of 2022, in time to take advantage of the crowds that will hit the area when Super Bowl LVII plays at State Farm Stadium on Feb. 12, 2023.
California - (9/17/21) After a successful premier last year, the “Night of Lights OC” interactive drive-through winter wonderland event will return this November to the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa. “The Night of Lights OC experience guides guests through a mile-long drive-thru course filled with more than one million lights, themed holiday scenery and immersive vignettes, animated light shows, snow flurries and tunnels synchronized to music, special effects, even more interactive characters including Santa through December 24th and more.”
Night of Lights OC kicks-off the holiday season on Friday, November 26th and runs Wednesday to Sunday nights through January 2nd. The experience begins at 5:00 p.m. with ticketed time slots available until 10:00 p.m. (Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday) or 11:00 p.m. (Friday and Saturday).
This year, guests will enjoy many new themed experiences and immersive vignettes including a drive-in movie queue area when they arrive, featuring classic holiday movies playing and strolling entertainers offering holiday favorite treats to enjoy before starting their magical holiday journey. Additional new experiences include an interactive Santa’s Workshop with synchronized lights to music, Toyland where a toy chest is brought to life, Steam Engine Springs with model trains, Santa Takes Flight as St. Nick greets guests through December 24th, plus the return of the most popular vignette from last year: Winter Wonderland, with even more snow flurries to dust car windows!
Visit the official website for more information and to purchase your Early Bird general admission tickets while supplies last.
(7/21/21) The former Splash Kingdom Waterpark (aka: Pharaoh’s Lost Kingdom) in Redland, CA is no more, as demolition crews are now hard at work taking it down. Pictures of the demolition can be found here.
(6/6/21) A few alarming stories have been published in the local news regarding the status of the Queen Mary. Due to an alarming amount of negligence and the deferment of funds meant for maintenance, it was reported that the historic ship was in danger of actually sinking sometime in the next few years if about $23 million in needed repairs were not begun immediately. The Queen Mary apparently suffered from non working bilge pumps, leaks from hull breaches and an amazing amount of decay to the ship’s structure.
Over the years a few different companies have oversaw the day to day operations of the vessel as a tourist attraction and a functioning hotel who apparently not only were failing in the operations department, but who also turned a blind eye towards the needed maintenance concerns of the vessel.
The good news is that it has been confirmed that the City of Long Beach has now taken back control of the Queen Mary from the latest operating company. According to Mayor Robert Garcia, “For the first time in decades, Long Beach has full control of the Queen Mary. We will be fully engaged in the preservation of this historic landmark and are incredibly grateful for the opportunity.”
The last leaseholder, Eagle Hospitality Trust (part of Urban Commons), who is in the midst of bankruptcy protection legalities, agreed to surrender the lease to the ship to the city. Eagle on the other hand had hired out a third party (Evolution Hospitality) to run the day to day operations for the past 11 years, and to keep things operating Long Beach has signed a $2 million contract with Evolution to keep things running for the next 6-months while they work up their own plans to take over and get the right people lined up to begin the necessary repairs.
This all seems to be much needed good news for the Queen Mary, which is an amazing attraction to see in person if you ever get the chance. It’s probably the closest thing you’ll ever get to stepping on board the Titanic. Though the Queen Mary is about two decades younger than the Titanic, I believe both were built and operated by the White Star Line company. The Queen Mary also has a proud war history, as the ship was outfitted to serve as a troopship to transport allied soldiers during World War II for several years before returning to transatlantic passenger ship duty she was built for until 1967, when she was retired from service and sent to Long Beach.
(5/25/21) You may remember seeing some footage of a clear plexiglass side attached to the top of a Los Angeles skyscraper that opened a few years ago? Sliders would go down a short slide, looking about 1000 feet down at the ground through the clear slide material. If you never got a chance to ride it… you now never will. According to the new owners of the U.S. Bank Tower building, the Skyslide and Skyspace attraction area and observation deck are being removed, wit the space to be reclaimed as office space once again going forward.
Colorado - (8/5/21) Meow Wolf has finally announced the name for their new Denver, Colorado location as “Convergence Station”, described as QDOT’s first multiversal transit station on Earth. Information on how to get tickets for when it opens in late September and more can be found at the official website.
Florida - (9/11/21) If you’ve ever been interested in indoor skydiving, then chances are you’ve heard of iFLY. As the world leader in opening indoor skydiving attraction centers around the world the iFLY name has become synonymous with the concept of the attraction itself. iFLY is growing again as well, with the announcement of a new iFLY center coming to Miami, Florida on 1501 NW North River Drive. iFLY just opened their newest center in Detroit back in late July.
(7/6/21) Snowcat Ridge, Florida’s only alpine snow park, will return in November 2021 and even offer a couple of new additions. New in 2021 will be the Crystal Ribbon, an outdoor ice skating “ribbon” course and beginner oval area to let guests lace up their skates and glide across the landscape, day and night. Also new for the season will be the Eskimo Outpost, a collection of eight private “igloos” available for rent for private groups or events that can hold up to 20 people each. Guests renting the igloos will have special access to the “Refreshers: Beer, Wine & Drinks” location as well as outdoor seating near fire pits, perfect for roasting s’mores.
(7/3/21) Adventure Landing near the Jacksonville Beach is closing soon. According to a local news story, the land under the FEC was sold to a new owner the the 26-year old attraction on 1944 Beach Blvd. will need to vacate the property no later than Feb. 28, 2022. Adventure Landing says they will finish the summer season before closing down, and hope to find a new piece of property in the Jacksonville area in which to rebuild.
So what is replacing Adventure Landing? Apartments… 427 apartments spread out between three large buildings, along with a large parking lot and garage structure for the residents.
Rebuilding may be difficult, as Jacksonville had another second Adventure Landing location on the Western side of town which actually closed down for good last week. Apprently the same developer bought the land under both parks and sold that the property from the western location to Amazon to use as a parking lot for their nearby distribution center.
(6/29/21) I’m a bit surprised it took this long for this to happen, but the developer behind the SkyRise Miami project has officially canceled the 1,000 foot tower project. Had it been built it would have offered a handful of high thrill attractions in addition to the observation platform at the top.
Illinois - (7/15/21) Chicago’s Navy Pier just opened a new ride, “Drop Tower”, a 100 foot tall tower ride. Based on the photos, this is actually appears to be an S&S Double-Shot tower, which are quite fun for their compact size.
Kentucky - (9/6/21) While not an amusement park with rides, Kentucky’s Guntown Mountain attraction was forced to close in 2020 due to COVID, but has since reopened under all new management in 2021. Guntown Mountain is more of a wild-west town attraction that features gun fighters, magic shows, dances and more. If all goes well the new owners would also like to add a movie theater to the property as well as a hotel where guests can stay on site. (Westworld anyone?)
Look for Guntown Mountain in Cave City, KY, about 30 minutes outside of Bowling Green, or an 80 minute drive North of Nashville, TN.
(7/9/21) If you’ve heard of the life-sized Noah’s Ark attraction built in Kentucky, then know that they have now announced plans to expand. The project will take about 3-years to build, but they want to create a “Tower of Babel” attraction that will somehow “tackle the racism issue” of the world through genetics research and teachings from the Bible.
No other details were given, not even concept artwork to help explain exactly what it is they are building, or why it will take so long.
Louisiana - (3/16/21) According to the local news various groups are now pitching a variety of land use proposals for the former Six Flags New Orleans theme park site. The highest scored proposal comes from a partnership that includes three well known NFL players: Drew Brees (Saints), Demario Davis (Saints) and Josh Norman (Buffalo Bills). Their proposal planned to turn the amusement site into a series of “educational centers” that would focus on urban farming and aquaponics, as well as a transportation and logistics hub.
Other proposals include those who want to make an RV park, a waterpark, travel centers, a new amusement park, an amphitheater, and various retail and big-box store developments. The city is in no rush to pick one plan or another and is asking for more detailed proposals from the finalists that they will go over this summer.
Based on some old conversations I once had with a few individuals who had some good first hand knowledge of the site, they were always surprised it was allowed to be turned into an amusement park in the first place due to the unstable nature of the property. After seeing the property get wiped out by Katrina years ago, I would also think that any new developments are going to have their plans put under a microscope by insurance companies long before anything gets built there again.
Mississippi - (1/9/21) The Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, Mississippi says they are set to reopen March 10th after being closed since October following the resort taking damage from Hurricane Zeta. Now we’ve previously posted coverage about this Margaritaville resort as the initial build out included an indoor amusement center with games, bowling, a climbing wall and the Cloud Coaster. The second phase of outdoor amusement rides has long been in planning, set to begin construction and then delayed due to some legal issues over state taxes and a contractor dispute. So this $140 million expansion is still in the works, despite having been announced back in 2017.
Margaritaville says that once they open in March their focus will be back on getting the expansion plans under way, though they have no set date for completion at this time, so I’m guessing it could be 2022 or maybe even 2023 before they get it done at this rate. No word on if the plans have changed, but at the time plans includes a new hotel tower, a small collection of outdoor amusement rides, including a large Ferris wheel, a 137 foot tall AEROBAR and more.
Missouri - (7/12/21) According to the local news the Branson Coaster has been cleared to reopen. This news comes about three weeks after a young-boy visually impaired boy was injured on the alpine coaster while trying to get out of the car when it stopped before the end of the ride. Nothing was said about if any new operational changes have been made to the attraction regarding who can ride solo and who must ride with someone else.
(6/24/21) I’ve got a quick update on the accident that took place on the Branson Mountain Coaster (ADG) attraction. According to the latest reports two young boys (11 and 13) were taken to the ride by their grandmother. The younger of the two brothers however was described as being “visually impaired”, and the intent was for the two to ride the Alpine Coaster together in the same car, but as per the rules posted by the attraction, if two people ride together then the “driver” who is in control of the brake levers must be at least 16-years old. Since neither of the boys were 16, by the rules of the attraction, those who are 9 and up and at least 52” tall may ride by themselves. From there the only other physical requirement is that riders must be able to operate BOTH brake levers.
As we previously reported, this alpine coaster is a bit different than most, starting riders at the top for a fast downhill run, that moves into a brake zone and then up a lift hill towards the top once again before starting a second, but shorter downhill run then into another braking zone before entering a second lift hill that takes them back to the top and into the station.
According to the updated news report and comments from the kids, the ride stopped at some point (probably near one of the two brake runs at the bottom of the hill or possibly on one of the lifts) and at that point the visually impaired rider “got up and proceeded to get off”. Suddenly the ride motion restarted “and he fell off and got entrapped under the rails”. After what was described as a very difficult rescue the boy was airlifted to a hospital and determined to have had both of his legs and right arm “crushed”, with doctors being unsure if they will be able to save his legs.
Unfortunately, according to the report, the 13-year old cousin said he explains to the ride operator that his younger cousin was visually impaired and asked for them to ride together, but they were instead told they would each have to ride alone. As messed up as this all is, I’m also wondering how he got out of the car, as it was my understanding that the seat-belts used on these rides stayed locked until the cars returned to the station. Or at least that’s what I thought was supposed to happen. An investigation is now under way to determine what all took place.
(6/22/21) According to a local news report a 12-year old boy was taken to a hospital after being involved in an accident on The Branson Coaster, a local alpine coaster attraction. Exactly what happened is not stated, but they did say that it took rescue workers an hour and 40 minutes to free the boy, and described finding him “heavily entrapped”. He is reported to have suffered serious injuries, but again, no details have been released about what has happened.
The Branson Coaster is a typical Alpine Coastrer style attraction, though this one has the station at the top of the hill so you ride begins with the first high speed downward run before htiting a lift back to the top for a second run down the hill, and ends with a final long lift back to the station. You can see a POV of the ride below.
New York - (7/10/21) According to this update the new Harry Potter New York retail location is set to launch their new VR experiences starting on July 15th. There will be two VR experiences offered: “Wizards Take Flight” and “Chaos at Hogwarts”. Using state of the art VR tech with motion trackers and backpack based hardware, guests will be able to free-roam around the experience in Chaos at Hogwarts. During Wizards Take Flight guests will actually be seated on physically brooms to aid in their experience that will put them in battle against Death Eaters.
(6/20/21) Are there still dreams in the works to put up a Giant Wheel in New York? Years ago there were plans in the works to build a massive 600-650 foot tall Giant Wheel in Staten Island. At the time they had funding and construction actually started on the site near the water, not far from the Staten Island Ferry Terminal before massive cost overruns and legal fighting saw the project take a dive.
Apparently sometime last year there was talk about reviving those plans, but for a more modest sized Giant Wheel in the 400-450 ft range, that could reuse some of the already built infrastructure on the same Staten Island site. Nothing has been said in some time due probably due to COVID, but with everything starting to move forward once again in the world, I’m curious if the attempt to revive the dream of building a Giant Wheel for the New York City area is still alive or if it all went away again.
(4/26/21) According to reports “Harry Potter New York”, the world’s first flagship store for all things Harry Potter, is now set to open in New York City on June 3, 2021. The new retail attraction will feature a number of interactive elements as well as an assortment of exclusive products for sale that you won't find anywhere else. The 21,000 sqft location is said to be next to the “Flatiron Building” and spread across three floors.
According to the report at BlooLoop, the location will feature two VR based Harry Potter themed attractions opening this summer: “Chaos at Hogwarts” and “Wizards Take Flight”. The later of which is described as sending guests “flying over London as they battle Death Eaters.”
You’ll find the official website at www.harrypotterstore.com .
North Carolina - (7/18/21) The owners of the Adventure Landing FEC Chain made headlines in late June when they announced they had sold off the land and closed both Adventure Landing sites in Jacksonville, FL to different developers: one to Amazon to expand a warehouse center and the other two an apartment complex developer.
This week it was revealed that they have sold off two more pieces of land they own in Raleigh, NC, in a $3 million deal to a new LLC company that is associated with Jeremy Reaves, the CEO of the Cook Out fast food chain. The deal includes the sale of the 3.6 acre site at 3311 Capital Blvd that is home to Adventure Landing, as well as a nearly 1.8 acre site next door used as an overflow parking lot. Currently the Adventure Landing site is still listed as being open, and nothing has been said about if the new owner will continue to operate the FEC, possibly under a new land, or if they plan on developing the site into something new.
At this time the Adventure Landing chain of FECs is down to one final location in Florida in St Augustine, one site in Buffalo, New York, one site in Dallas, Texas and two other very small sites in North Carolina (Gastonia and Winston-Salem) that are just very compact mini-golf courses.
North Dakota - (9/8/21) A new theme park project has been proposed for North Dakota named Bison World. The proposal for the park, which previously went by the name Buffalo City Park, would see the new facility in Jamestown on land owned by the state. Those who have gone over the modest proposal for the $60 million project have determined that the attraction would be good for the region.
According to the proposed timeline, if they can begin construction in 2022 it could be ready to open in 2024. Located near to the existing National Bison Museum, the project would include a hotel, a buffalo themed restaurant, some rides and a 1,500 seat Buffalo City Amphitheater performance venue.
Ohio - (9/17/21) Reports of another large fight at a Halloween haunt attraction in Ohio were sent my way today. This one took place at the Dayton Scream Park last Saturday night where the police were called out as fights took place in the park, some employees reported being attacked, and as the park was being cleared out rocks were being thrown at the police as well. So far only one arrest was made, a 22-year old who was caught throwing rocks at the police.
(7/24/21) Sad news this week as the news reports that a 14-year old girl drowned at the Land of Illusions Aqua Adventures water attraction near Cincinnati, Ohio area. Based on their website, Aqua Adventures is one of those series of floating island water attractions in what is essentially a giant pond, that offer a variety obstacles to climb around, slide down and jump over. According to the news reports the young girl disappeared into the water at some point and it took about 30 minutes until a life-guard was able to locate her under the water. It isn’t known why she failed to surface on her own yet as the investigation is ongoing.
Oklahoma - (10/8/20) According to this local news article Robby Bell is still working away at bringing back the beloved Bell’s Amusement Park in a new location. According to reports Bell is rumored to have locked in a new location to build a new version of the theme park, but he isn't ready to spill the beans just yet. He's working on all the details needed to make it happen and we wish him the best, especially with plans to build a new $5 million version of Zingo to thrill guests once again.
(11/18/19) The latest word from Bell’s posted in a new video is that they are said to be in talks with two different locations where they could rebuild the Bell’s theme park.
(9/21/19) In a follow up to last week’s message that Bell’s Amusement Park was looking to make a surprise return, Robbie Bell has posted a new video message as a brief follow-up to the positive response so far to the idea of bringing Bell’s back. No solid details are ready to be made public yet, but they want everyone to watch their page for the latest news and progress updates.
(9/13/19) I’m not too confident about this, but according to the local news Robby Bell, owner of the former Bell’s Amusement Park, is looking to rebuild his lost park once again. According Robby, it isn’t a matter of when, but rather a question of “where” the park will go. Unfortunately there aren’t any more details to share, and this isn’t the first time this kind of statement has been made, so we’ll have to take it with a grain of salt until we see some kind of physical progress.
Pennsylvania - (9/24/21) ScareHouse is back with something special for everyone, especially those of you out there who love to transform your own place into a self-made haunt for the season. As such, ScareHouse is here to share tips from the creative team, starting with their first tip… don’t forget the audio.
“Use sinister sound effects to your advantage throughout the Halloween season. A great place to start is a brand-new, completely original collection of spine-chilling sounds and music created by ScareHouse. This amazing 25-minute compilation is available on YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Music, so you can play it just about anywhere, including during your own Halloween get-together, or as you welcome trick-or-treaters. It will help make your own Halloween into a ScareHouse-inspired fright fest ... and maybe inspire you for the scary season.”
Follow the link to the official page where you can listen in from the source of your choice.
(9/16/21) Halloween is back and in the Pittsburgh area, this also means SCAREHOUSE is back. Voted as the scariest haunted house in America, SCAREHOUSE will open their doors this friday for the 2021 season. The monsters missed everyone so much last year, so now Scarehouse is back to celebrate their 20th Anniversary.
Starting on Friday, Scarehouse is open every Friday and Saturday through to Oct. 1st, and from then on it will be open every Friday through Sunday through to Nov. 6, 2021.
South Carolina - (9/12/21) Who’s ready for a little flashback to the days of Hard Rock Park? A great video on YouTube goes over the creation, history and rapid downfall of the legendary HARD ROCK PARK in Myrtle Beach, SC. This includes not only footage of the park getting built, but more recent footage showing off the abandoned park property as well. It really is almost unthinkable that a brand new theme park could be built and only survive, as intended, for one season, before being shut down. While the park struggled on as Freestyle Music Park for one more season but without the Hard Rock Themeing, the park closed once again and never reopened. The fact that the park also tried to open during the 2008 devastating financial crisis just set them up for the perfect storm of disaster.
Once you’re done looking at what became of Hard Rock Park, I welcome you to read Screamscape’s official review of Hard Rock Park from the one season it was open in 2008 along with our extensive photo and video collection of the park’s attractions. It’s a great look at the park in peak condition. At the time I visited, there was no sense of impending doom, or problems… Hard Rock Park was ready to take on the world, and the sudden closure only a couple of months later was really quite shocking to say the least.
(8/30/21) After months of no construction taking place, it looks like vertical construction has finally begun at Myrtle Beach’s Broadway at the Beach for the new “The Hangout” restaurant, as well as a new themed zone for the retail mall called The Key West Village.
Tennessee - (6/30/21) A new theme park has been proposed for the Nashville, Tennessee area that would be called Storyville Gardens. According to a report at Coaster101, the park would feature four lands, each one themed to a different corner of the world: Africa, America, Asia and Europe. The entrance to the park would lie in the Africa section of the 100-acre theme park that would then branch off into the other lands, complete with rides, shows and other attractions.
The design of the park comes from Storyland Studios and Guerrier Development who hope to not only fill the family entertainment void left in Nashville after Opryland USA closed in 1997, but they also plan to build the park as a way to encourage literary. The developers state that currently almost 70% of young children are not up to their proper grade level in reading ability, so they hope to fill the park with wonderful stories to encourage the desire to read more at home about what they learn at the park.
More information will be available soon at the park’s official website, which currently lists a planned opening of Spring 2025.
Texas - (5/16/21) The former Scandia Screamer coaster (Miler) from California has been sold to Traders Village in Grand Prairie, Texas (between Dallas and Arlington) and is now slated to open in Fall 2021 under a new name, the Prairie Screamer. Traders Village isn’t a theme park or even a FEC like Scandia was, but rather a popular flea market site (over 120 acres!) that has amassed a small collection of rides for guests to enjoy on site. The list of rides includes the Village Vortex (Fireball / Superloop) and the Fleafall drop tower (128ft), but Prairie Screamer will be the site’s first roller coaster. According to the press release they’ve spent the past 10 months fully refurbishing the coaster and are now ready to start putting it up. Follow the link to see some recent construction pictures as they clear the area and the coaster pieces arrive on site.
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 - (3/14/21) The local commission has approved the initial plans for a major new attraction to come to the Wisconsin Dells area. There are still many other hoops to jump through, but Lower Dells Adventures, LLC was given approval for a conditional use permit with a number of conditions that need to be met. The plan is to turn a currently vacant 70 acre site on Grand Cambrian Drive into an amusement park to be called “The Land of Natura”. This doesn’t sound like your typical “amusement park” however, as they are planning to preserve a lot of the nature on the site and lay out 14,000 feet of hiking trails and 2,000 feet of biking trails, zip lines as well as fishing and swimming areas.
Previously the site was earmarked for a resort that never happened from a previous developer due to complications with a railroad track that runs through the property that creates some challenges.