---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(4/23/17) New Jersey - Atlantic City PolerCoaster Now Moving Forward (MORE...)
(4/18/17) Missouri - Unique Branson Coaster Layout Uncovered (MORE...)
(4/11/17) Pennsylvania - Ripley's Looking To Build
Aquarium in Poconos (MORE...)
(4/11/17) Missouri - New Branson Area Attractions Coming in 2017 (MORE...)
(4/11/17) Texas - New Merlin Attractions Coming To San Antonio's Riverwalk (MORE...)
(4/11/17) The Void Officially Opens in Utah (MORE...)
Alabama - (12/10/16) NOTE - All OWA coverage and news has been moved to a dedicated page for the park. Click here to go to the new OWA park page.
Arizona - (2/22/17) How does the old saying go? If I had a dollar for every proposed theme park that was supposed to go into Arizona and never went anywhere... then I'd be a millionaire... errr... well, no... but I'd probably have about $50 bucks... but you get the point. (Maybe if I had $50 bucks for every e-mail I ever got from someone about a possible Arizona theme park... yeah... that would be much better...)
Skepticism aside, that isn't stopping our next big desert dreamers... who are proposing to build the "next Disney World" in Casa Grande, AZ. According to a local news article the new proposed project is coming from "The Block Sports Company" of Florida, who is wanting to develop a 1,500 acre site into a new theme park resort project.
For now they are calling it Dreamport Villages, and are eyeballing a site near where I-8 and I-10 meet that would incluide a waterpark, extreme sports park, resort hotels, a wildlife exhibit, restaurants, shopping, an RV park and an amusement park. They aren't stopping there however, as they also have plans to put a residental section in with all this too. Why? I dunno, I guess they are just trying to fill every possible niche for this project budgeted at a cool $4 BILLION that could take a decade to complete.
I do have one suggestion however... after the fiasco that was the two back to back announcements in 2015 for DreamVision parks in Texas and Alabama that were complete vaporware, it might be a good idea for anyone else with an unproven track-record who is thinking of announcing their own park proposals to just avoid using the name "Dream" at all in the name of your park. Just saying...
California - (3/27/17) So what's going on with the Queen Mary? According to our friends at BlooLoop, plans have been submitted for a $250 million enhancement of the historical ship and build-up of an entertainment complex around it in Long Beach. The plans include additional land-based attractions to lure tourists in and keep them in the area longer such as zip-lines, ice climbing, kayaking, skydiving simulations and more. The Queen Mary herself however is also in need of some very costly repairs apparently as sections are not aging as gracefully as they would like.
(1/12/17) While not a theme park, it was announced yesterday that George Lucas has chosen a site in LA to build his $1 billion museum project, The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art. With a planned opening date of May 4, 2020 the museum will feature tons of archived Star Wars art as well as many other items Lucas has collected over the years. Look for the project to be built in Exposition Park, with construction hoping to begin before the end of 2017 on the unique looking building that will house it all.
(1/2/17) While it isn't an attraction itself, the San Diego Zoo has construction walls up promoting the opening of the new Mesa Bridge in Summer 2017 that will see a new bridge build over Panda Canyon, connecting the backside of Albert's treehouse building over towards the Elephant Odyssey area on the backside of the park.
(12/10/16) The local news reports that the City of West Covina (a suburb of Los Angeles for those not local) located in the middle between downtown LA and Ontario, is eyeballing a former landfill site as a possible location to build a new amusement park complex that would include VR attractions, zip lines, hotels, restaurants and space for retail. A development group (Singpoli Group) is working on a development plan and if the feasibility and impact studies are good, they could opt to move forward with it.
(10/19/16) Awhile back you may remember reading stories about how California's old Santa's Village attraction at Lake Arrowhead had been purchased and was to be revived as more of an extreme experience style attraction called Skypark at Santa's Village. While this is still the plan, with a hope to open that in Summer 2017, the owners are working to get permission to reopen the old Santa's Village section of the property once again as Santa's Village in time for the winter holiday season. Click here for the rest of the details.
Ahhh San Diego… my birthplace and old stomping grounds. It really is a unique city of it’s own, and deserving of some unique projects… if only everyone would agree on what those projects should be. The city is also famous for fighting back and forth over the future of several large development projects… from the building of the convention center that houses the world famous San Diego Comicon to arguing about if SeaWorld should be allowed to have rides or not, to possible expansions of the San Diego Zoo, or if they will ever give in and build a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers or not.
In a move I found surprising… and I’m sure there will be some squabbling over it sooner or later, it seems that everyone so far has agreed to a new plan to help redevelop the city’s old Seaport Village area downtown into a new project called Seaport San Diego. The anchor attraction of Seaport San Diego, in addition to some new hotel projects, would be the SkySpire, a new concept from ThrillCorp, as an alternate to the PolerCoaster concept. SkySpire is an observation tower style structure that features a spiraling track around the outside where gondolas would slowly rotate and rise to the top and come back down again, offering a stunning view of not only Downtown San Diego, but of the city’s scenic bay view as well. You can learn more about the Seaport San Diego project and see concept artwork here.
(4/22/16) The LA Times reports that a developer wants to spend $250 million to build a new entertainment and retail complex near the Queen Mary in Long Beach that may even feature a giant Ferris Wheel. Currently the 45 acres surrounding the Queen Mary is made up of mostly empty parking lots. Other developments being looked at include building a 200-room hotel on the land near the historic vessel, and possibly an amphitheater.
The developer, Urban Commons, who was chosen by the city as the new leaseholder of the complex is ironically one who made headlines for a rather odd new business plan at an Orlando hotel they now own. The group purchased Orlando's popular Nickelodeon Resort, but in a move that most found to be quite baffling, opted to drop their valuable Nickelodeon themeing agreement rather than renew it, and instead re-brand the Orlando resort as a regular old Holiday Inn instead. With that event fresh in my mind, I'm not quite sure what kind of vision they have for the Queen Mary property.
Florida - (1/27/17) A new iFLY indoor skydiving center is opening for all you South Florida peeps in the Fort Lauderdale area. I'm not sure if they are currently soft-open or not, but their official website is taking bookings as early as Jan 30th.
In other area news, the local news reports that the American Dream Miami mall project has been given preliminary approval for the $3 billion project from the Miami-Dade commissioners, winning with a 10-1 vote. The approval process will now move on to the state level for another approval before coming back for one final local vote later in the year.
(6/30/16) The proposed plans from Triple Five to build the American Dream Miami mall, that could be the largest mall in America when it opens, have been pushed back over concerns about the traffic the mall would generate to the site. They had hoped to break ground on the mall before the end of the year, but that wont be happening, instead they will have to address the concerns of the traffic impact study and make changes to the master plan and submit their new plans to the county commission sometime next year.
(5/6/16) BlooLoop has posted a great piece about Zoo Miami's new Florida: Mission Everglades expansion project that not only features new animal habitats, but also an Air Boat themed flume adventure ride that will get guests up close and personal with some of the animals.
(3/31/16) It has been months since I've heard even a peep about the proposed Miami Wilds, but according to the local news the US Fish & Wildlife Service may throw a monkeywrench into the plans as they are proposing to add the "Miami Tiger Beetle" to the endangered species list. The critter was already thought to be extinct 30 years ago until scientists discovered some living in 2007 in a "pine rocklands" site close to where the park is planned. This will affect the site greatly, controlling where they can and can't build, but for now they are still waiting to find out what the new boundaries will be.
(12/14/15) A few more details about the new flume ride / animal exhibit attraction under construction Zoo Miami has been posted by the local news, which will be part of Zoo Miami's new Mission Everglades area.
(12/9/15) A new flume attraction from WhiteWater is coming to Zoo Miami that will use an 8-passenger slow-moving boat themed like an airboat ride. You can see the boat and hear WhiteWater talk about it in the video below from our friends at In The Loop. The ride will go into a newly renovated area near the entrance to the Zoo. Construction has already started and is expected to open in early 2017 right now.
Georgia - (1/7/17) A requested zoning change to allow for a new Alpine Coaster project has been approved for the country tourist town of Helen, Georgia, north-east of Atlanta. A few of the locals have disagreed with the location of the coaster, as the hillside run would pass close to a few quiet vacation homes along the way down, but as a growing tourist town, the proposal was given the green light to move forward as a way to gain more attractions that would appeal to guests year-round.
Helen is an interesting little town that I've been thinking of visiting myself over the past few years due to the unique Bavarian look of the town. Helen started out as a quiet logging town a long time ago, but when the industry declined the city looked to tourism to keep itself alive. The town adopted a mandatory building design style in 1969 so that every structure in the town was required to feature classic southern-German style architecture, even on the local fast food restaurants. The town has become a popular weekend mountain getaway location for many Atlanta area residents, as well as a popular stop for motorcyclists traveling the mountain roads. Given the theme, Helen also features a very popular Oktoberfest celebration that runs from September through to November each year along with other popular events throughout the year.
The adoption of a new Alpine Coaster, which I'm sure will also follow through with a fun German theme, sounds like a winner of an idea for this location, locking it in for me as a future stop for the Screamscape once it opens. More of this project as it develops.
(12/4/15) A few years ago it leaked out that an out of the way sports complex north of Atlanta was planning to be one of the first locations to open a Polercoaster. Shortly after the project hit the news, it vanished just as quickly and nothing was said again. Just ahead to 2015 and the Lakepoint Sports Complex is back at it again and planning to add a Polercoaster to their entertainment complex as early as 2017. Check out the official website, especially the pages on the Boomtown project as well as one for the Polercoaster itself.
Hawaii - (4/1/17) Some interesting screen captures were posted to ThemeparX this week from Hawaii, showing off footage from a drone camera flying around the area where Disney's Aulani Resort is located, but take note of that large piece of empty land next to the Disney resort. That is the site now officially chosen to be home to a new Atlantis branded resort to be called "Atlantis Resort & Residences Ko Olina" which will feature 800 hotel rooms, 524 luxury residences, an aquarium, bars, restaurants, spa, wedding chapel... oh... and don't forget the Atlantis style waterpark features that area expected to similar to what was built at the Dubai resort. The project is still is the design phase at this point, so no official timeline for the resort's opening has been locked down, though I have a feeling that Disney isn't too happy about this.
Illinois - (3/6/17) ThemeParkUniversity shows off a visit to a new themed eatery in the Chicago area that just opened called SafeHouse Chicago. The themed bar and restaurant is hidden in plain site and and themed as a hangout for spies and secret agents in training. It's also an offshoot of the original concept that started in Milwaukee called, what else, SafeHouse Milwaukee.
It's up to you to find the entrance (in the vicinity of 60 E. Ontario Street) labeled only as "International Exports Ltd", and then decipher the code on the door to learn the secret password needed to gain entry, or perform some kind of "top-secret clearance test". For more information, you can also visit the official website to learn a few more secrets, as well as some GPS coordinates you can plug into Google Maps to narrow down the location of the entrance.
(3/4/16) Fantastic news for The Walt Disney Birthplace project, as the restoration project for the small home where Walt Disney was born in Chicago was just granted a $250,000 donation from the Walt Disney Company. According to Bob Iger, “Chicago holds a special place in the history of The Walt Disney Company. The Disney story actually started here…in a house on Tripp Avenue, where Walt Disney was born. The house is still standing at the corner of Tripp and Palmer in Hermosa, and it means a lot to us to see the effort to restore it back to its original condition ….and to hear that it will one day be a children’s creativity center, inspiring future generations of young dreamers and innovators.”
And the following is a statement from The Walt Disney Birthplace: “The Center for Early Childhood Creativity and Innovation at The Walt Disney Birthplace would like to thank The Walt Disney Company for their incredible support of our restoration efforts. Walt Disney is one of the most enduring portraits of The American Dream. The “worker’s cottage,” built by his father and designed by his mother, where Walt and Roy were born, symbolizes the story of their humble beginnings to the formation of one of the most creative, innovative and beloved companies in the world. Bob Iger’s acknowledgment of The Walt Disney Birthplace fuels our mission of enabling young children and their families to see that the world is full of possibilities and wonder. With their own creativity and innovation, any child can achieve The American Dream.”
So great news for a great restoration project. If you follow along with Screamscape on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you may have seen pictures of the house itself back in late December as I was in the area and decided to drive by to check it out while the restoration was still ongoing.
Indiana - (2/20/17) When you have as much strange information stuffed in your head about parks, places and rides that you may never even see in your lifetime, sometimes there is a little leakage... and things unfortunately get forgotten. In the case of Afterburner coming down, I actually wrote a report that this was coming back in late 2016, when I mentioned that a number of specific the parts and pieces would be sent to Frontier City to improve their Diamondback coaster, and even mentioned that other important pieces would indeed make it to the National Roller Coaster Museum. So no more wondering... it's all true. You can read the report about it on out Frontier City page.
(2/18/17) A reader has pointed out the crews are on site at the old Fun Spot Amusement Park in Indiana taking the old Afterburner coaster apart. This is said to be the original Arrow prototype shuttle coaster that was originally built to run at Circus World in Florida before they closed and sold it to Fun Spot where it has sat closed since the attraction shut down in 2008. I believe there are only three Arrow Launched Shuttle coasters still running in the world today: Diamond Back at Frontier City in Oklahoma, Sidewinder at Elitch Gardens in Colorado and Revolution at Blackpool Pleasure Beach in the UK.
Pictures of the demolition have been posted to Facebook which you can see here and from the look of things, it appears to me that it is mostly being cut apart for scrap metal at this point.
Kansas - (4/10/17) Kansas state legislature has now agreed upon a plan to strengthen the state's level of oversight into how amusement attractions and parks are run as part of the fallout of the unfortunate death of a 10-year old on Schlitterbahn's now closed Verruckt waterslide last summer. According to the local news the bill received overwhelming approval from both the local House and Senate committees.
After determining that the old Kansas regulations were some of the weakest in the country the new rules will require that the inspectors to be certified by national boards and either be an engineer with two years of experience in the amusement industry field (including one year of inspections experience) or if not an engineer, that they have at least five years of practical experience in the amusement industry with at least 2 years of prior inspection work. This all sounds completely reasonable to me so far and should serve to make all attractions in the state safer going forward.
Louisiana - (2/16/17) According to the local news the city opened itself to offers from developers to purchase the former Six Flags New Orleans theme park site on Tueday and received three offers to consider. The previously mentioned plan from Paidia to buy the site and rebuild a new small budget Jazzland theme park and waterpark for $50 million on the site was pitched with a $3.26 million offer for the 227 acre site that would also see a new retail center built there as well as part of their partership with Kimble Development.
However another developer (Frank Scurlock) made a cash offer of $4.55 million for the property and is teamed with DreamLanding LTD for another theme park vision for the site that also involves reviving the old theme park as “Festival Theme Park”, using the theme of Louisiana’s festivals at a cost of $120 million. Sounds interesting, but then they kind of go off the rails and also mention wanting their own very large international themed retail mall that would lease out spaces to “nations rather than retailers”. They also envision a “seven-star” resort hotel and a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark on site as well. Yes… those are two different projects, which makes me wonder about their focus by throwing all these ideas around.
And finally another developer has made an offer of $5.55 million to buy the site, though they have not yet finalized all the financing in order to fulfill this offer just yet, and nor have they made it clear about what they intend to do with the site if they got it.
Since the city intends to pick the project that will benefit the city the most and not just the highest offer, it seems doubtful they would go with the biggest offer at this point unless their intentions became more transparent.
(12/15/16) According to the local news a developer has made a $3.26 million bid offer to purchase the former Six Flags New Orleans park property as part of a plan to reopen a new Jazzland park on the site. The developer was describe as being called TPC-NOLA, and the verbal offer to purchase the site was made by a Tonya Pope. Pope and her team were also the ones to propose the mixed use plan for the site back in 2014 that would see a waterpark added to the reopening of the theme park along with a movie studio and retail area on the site and looks like they still have essentially the same plan in mind.
(11/14/16) Many of you may remember the name "Jazzland", which was the original park built that eventually became the short lived Six Flags New Orleans theme park. Over the years there have been many efforts to try and rebuild, reopen or renovate the site into something else, but none have ever seemed to gain traction. I was surprised to see that one of those efforts is still attempting to push forward with a plan to reopen the site as "Jazzland" once again, along with a new waterpark section it seems as well as a concept to build some studio soundstages nearby as well.
The group's official website mentions new plans to move wax figures in storage from the closed New Orleans Musee Conti Historial Museum to a new display at the park in the future, the group's Facebook page is also somewhat active with periodic updates on their efforts as recent as one month ago. While many have simply written off the site after all these years, I do have to wonder if there is still hope to see some kind of new attraction resurface here after all these years.
Minnesota - (1/21/16) An interesting new project called the Mall of Entertainment has been proposed for Albertville, Minnesota by Sony Pictures and a local development company that is described as an “indoor family theme park”. The project is said to have an indoor waterpark, a Sony Pictures Back-Lot “edutainment” experience, plus an on-site 275 room Marriot hotel and convention center. They hope to begin construction by this Spring or Summer and open by late 2017.
Should be interesting to see if this is a real project or another vaporware style announcement with no financial backing, but for now take a look at the official website and see what you think. Given that the Mall of America is about a 45 minute drive from here however, I’m guessing that they are hoping to tap into that same vein.
Mississippi - (10/10/16)
Based on a piece of concept artwork (see photo) released for the new proposed expansion of the Margaritaville resort in Biloxi, the plan includes other amusement rides, such as a Star Flyer, in addition to a Ferris Wheel and the new hotel tower.
(10/6/16) It seems the new Margaritaville resort in Biloxi has been way more popular than the owners anticipated. According to the local news the resort has already come before the city council to show off a proposed $140 million expansion plan for the rest that would see a second hotel tower added along with a large Ferris Wheel and even more amusement rides. It seems the need for family entertainment in the area was severely underestimated and while the resort sits on property that is zoned to allow for Casinos to operate, the owners of Margaritaville report that gambling is not at all in the plans for their resort attraction.
(8/29/16) Is a new amusement park on the way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast? A reader sent in a link to a website for something called the "Dreamlanding Adventure Park". Right on the front page they claim that the park project has been "Approved & Funded" and they are shooting to open in Spring 2018 if they are able to break ground before the end of this year.
So an 18-20 month construction timetable to build a major new amusement park is ambitious, but not impossible if they are far enough along with their planning I suppose. So assuming this is all legit and real they say the park will feature four lands: Loggers Run Territory, Tumble Weed Gulch, Country Fair and Bayou Country, plus a "Main Street Mississippi" that will serve as the entrance area.
As far as the lineup of rides goes, their plans sound a little more over the top as they claim to have 5 major roller coasters and five minor coasters planned for the park's opening phase, but 10 coasters on opening day sounds a bit too ambitious, especially when it comes to funding all this along with everything else planned.
Moving on they also mention 4 dark rides, two more "target type dark rides", two water rides, three "animatronic theater shows" and 33 "hard rides" for adult/teens and 10 more kiddie rides, plus a train around the park and a steam boat inside the park.
I like the idea, and there is even more about wanting to build a rail or monorail style mass transportation system that will connect the park property to nearby other attraction and casino tourist areas in the nearby Biloxi area. This makes sense, as many old classic parks started off as "trolley parks", where a trolley line that ran through a busy city would feature a small amusement park at the end of the line outside the city.
So is this project legit? It seems real enough on the planning side, looking through past news reports the group (Fun Box Amusement) was looking at sites earlier this year as well as hoping to take advantage up to $20 million of public funding that would come from the BP oil spill relief money that was earmarked specifically for "tourism development" along the coastline. I don't know if they have bought the land yet, but as I've learned over the years nothing is real until the real construction actually begins, so for now we'll wait and see.
Missouri - (4/18/17)
It looks like the plans for the The Branson Coaster (alpine coaster) opening later this year were uncovered by a local news source. The terrain is a little odd here, and it looks like they are planning something a little different from what we've seen done on other alpine coasters.
From the look of the plans, the cars will exit the station right into some kind of helix spiral to begin a twisted path down the hillside where at the bottom, you will hit a lift hill to take you back to the top, not far from that helix turn, where you will begin a second downhill portion of the coaster. Once you hit the bottom of the hill for the second time, the track will take a long lift hill back up the hill and drop you off into the station.
If you are planning a trip to Silver Dollar City this year, or just planning on visiting the Branson, MO area attractions, we've got a quick update about the latest additions to the area. For starters there is a tower attraction going up on the main strip to be called "Bigfoot". The 200 foot tall tower attraction is just one part of the overall new attraction area to be called "Bigfoot on the Strip". Located across from the "World's Largest Toy Museum", the description of the attraction mentions the tower will offer several different ride experiences... Gravity Drop where riders will fall 130 feet in freefall before hitting the magnetic brake zone, and then "Super Swing" which sounds like some kind of sling-shot style experience that will shoot a pair of riders in the air 215 feet. I've also seen it mentioned that there will also be a slow rise and descent sightseeing aerial scenic ride on the tower as well. From the look of things, I believe this may be a custom combo-tower style creation from Stan Checketts' Soaring Eagle company.
There will also be the Yeti Zone area that will feature "an interactive maze", a themed treehouse structure, a trampoline bungee jump, 7D Theater attraction (Triotech?) and "Monkey Jump" where you can leap from the air onto a stuntman style landing pad. It will also have a unique dining area set up to accommodate five food trucks.
In other area news the former Cool Off Water Chute attraction was closed and sold off to a new owner from Tennessee who are going to build somethingcalled "The Branson Coaster" which I can only assume is another Alpine Coaster. They didn't say much about it other than that it would be "like no other in North America". While I'm told that the site is lacking in any major terrain features (like a big hill/mountain) like you normally have for an Alpine Coaster attraction, rumor has it that this could be the North American premier of a Racing/Dueling Alpine Coaster attraction. The first one that know of was just announced in Belgium as Dawson Duel can you can a view preview of that experience in our article here.
Other new attractions coming to the area will include a new "7D Dark Ride Adventure", an Arcade City and a "Corn-Mirror Maze" and no far away is Fritz's Adventure, a new indoor ropes course / climbing attraction that opened last November.
New Jersey - (4/23/17) According to the local news it looks like that proposal to build a PolerCoaster in Atlantic City may be going forward after the project was given a $38.4 million state grant that will pay for nearly 28% of the project. Construction could begin as early as next month and have the attraction open by Summer 2019 on the site of the former Sands Casino. While the casino was imploded way back in 2007, the old parking structure still stands and will be put into service for the Polercoaster attraction area.
This is also interesting because while Orlando was the first location to announce intention to build a Polercoaster attraction, that one isn't expected to open until 2020, which will make the Atlantic City one the first. A third PolerCoaster was also proposed for the north campus expansion of the Lakepoint Sports Complex in Georgia, but there is no telling how far out that project is right now.
(3/21/17) According to photo updates posted to the Fantasy Island Amusement Park (Beach Haven, NJ) page on Facebook, the park has removed the old Dragon Coaster (Zamperla powered Dragon Wagon) but is preparing to add something new and exciting for 2017. Anyone know more?
(3/17/17) According to an article at BlooLoop the vacant Atlantic Club casino in Atlantic City is once again being considered for redevelopment into a new indoor waterpark resort. A similar project was attempted back in 2014 before the deal fell through, but now the property is being purchased by an R&R Development Group, LLC.
(10/1/16) In a bit of a confusing message, despite claiming that Bowcraft was not for sale, the local planning board has now unanimously approved a redevelopment plan submitted by Bowcraft and ATA Developers that will replace the amusement park with a complex of around 200 apartments and townhouses.
(9/22/16) Despite earlier news articles claiming that the Bowcraft amusement park in New Jersey would be closing down to make way for new housing construction, another posting that appears to be from the park claims that the story is not true, the park will reopen in 2017 and that the property has not been sold. The park will also host a new Halloween attraction this October which you can find out more about here.
(7/29/16) According to several media reports the FunTown Pier amusement park that was destroyed by Sandy is not likely to get rebuilt if the local planning board gets their way. The “Seaside Park” planning board has proposed a new height limit for rides in the area to be only up to 100 feet tall, which would prevent several of the piers bigger rides from being rebuilt. The proposal has been sent up to the council to vote on and if it goes through, the FunTown Pier will not be rebuilt. According to this article, the only way the pier’s can recoup the $15-20 million needed to rebuild the attraction is to include major thrill rides that can be as tall as 250 feet. The current plan being proposed will only allow for rides 50 feet tall on the southern half of the pier and up to 100 feet tall on the northern half. While the FunTown Pier is asking for a 250 foot limit, they say that only 3 or 4 of the 20-30 rides that will be built at the attraction would even approach that height.
Now I’m just going to throw an idea of my own out there, but it isn’t entirely unheard of for attractions like this to be given a special height limit permit that would keep the majority of the attractions at the recommended height limits, while allowing for a specific but limited number of attractions to go higher. This would give them the ability to have those 3 or 4 tall rides, but if they want to build another one in the future, one of the older tall rides would have to come down. For example, I believe SeaWorld San Diego has a similar set of limits in their masterplan that was used to allow for them to build Journey To Atlantis several years ago.
(12/28/15) A 350 foot PolerCoaster attraction was approved for the Atlantic City area for Florida developer Joshua Wallack, who just scored a victory not long ago for an even bigger version of the attraction coming to Orlando’s International Drive area under the name Skyplex. The Atlantic City version will be smaller in both size and scope, as it wont have a huge observation platform at the top either, nor as big a complex at the base either, but it will feature a drop tower ride in addition to the Polercoaster ride, and will have some kind of “nightlife development” at the bottom.
New York - (7/4/16) The Void has something new to share this month... but not in Utah. They are opening their first public experience at Madame Tussauds in New York City and it is called Ghostbusters Dimension, themed to the Ghostbusters films as part of a partnership with Sony Pictures. You'll strap on The Voids VR gear (backpack, feedback vest and blaster), feel the rumble of the proton pack in your hands and go on a Hyper Reality ghost hunt in a New York apartment complex. CNet has posted a great preview video of the new attraction at Madame Tussauds.
If any of our readers as had a chance to try this in person themselves, I'd love to hear about your experience because this does look to be an incredible use of VR technology to bring a themed attraction to life in a way that I've never seen before.
North Carolina - (3/5/17) A local news station posted a story about a possible new small theme park planned for North Carolina, to be called Whirligig Woods. The park would only be 21-acres but is being designed by a former major park attraction desiger (Bob Baranick) and will feature an assortment of really fun looking family amusement attractions, all heavily themed. The land has already been purchased and is in the process of being cleared apparently in Saxapahaw, NC, which looks to be about a 25-30 minute drive into the woods south of Burlington.
Follow the link to see a video on the local news site (or look below) showing off the plans and a bunch of the concept artwork, as well as an interview with Baranick himself about the project, which they hope to open by 2019.
Ohio - (3/6/17)
For anyone interested in what may become of the old Geauga Lake site, a reader tells us that the zoning for the site has been changed to allow for new developments, plans for a mixed use development plan from Cedar Fair have been submitted for review that could include a boardwalk area, a resort, shopping areas, a Mejir store, a college/hospital building, public park space, boating, residential and even some small rides could be placed at the site, like a small carousel. Our source took some pictures of the plans on display and sent them in, including some concept art showing off a boardwalk section of the development with an interesting coaster-styled bridge in the background.
(10/19/16) A video posted on YouTube shot by a Drone shows off footage confirming that the Big Dipper at Geauga Lake was quickly torn down on Oct. 17th, 2016.
Oklahoma - (1/2/17) A new Incredible Pizza Company location in Oklahoma City that just opened in 2016 has already announced an expansion will soon open in mid-January 2017 that will see the game room double in size, the addition of Bounce Town (an 8,000 sqft inflatables play area) along with a new classic Scrambler flat ride. Follow the link to see the official announcement and location details.
(7/16/16) Remember a few years ago when California’s famous Santa Monica Pier sold off their old ferris wheel and installed a brand new one? The old wheel was auctioned off and sold to someone who planned to restore it and reopen it in Oklahoma City and that time in now. You can see it now set up in OKC and lighting up the sky in the two tweets posted below.
Pennsylvania - (4/11/17) According to the local news Ripley's is looking into building a new Ripley's Aquarium attraction in Pocono Summit. While Ripley's isn't saying anything yet, a local politician confirmed that the $200 million project was a 'sure thing'. Look for it to rise up very close to the nearby Kalahari Resort.
(3/23/17) According to a statement from Lakemont Park, the park will remain closed for the summer 2017 season to allow it to undergo extensive renovations. The park is planning to reopen again on November 17, 2017, just in time for the 21st Annual Holiday Lights on the Lake event.
“Changes planned for Lakemont Park include replacing some of the older amusement rides with a new miniature golf course, batting cages, playgrounds, basketball and sand volleyball courts, and expanded picnic areas, while keeping and enhancing attractions, such as the waterpark, paddle boats, train, roller coasters, antique cars, and go-karts.
These changes will give Lakemont Park the feel of a traditional community park, as well as a family entertainment center. It will also make the park affordable to all guests, as admission will be free and attractions will be available on a per use basis and in discounted packages. There will be food concessions, as well as picnic pavilions and catering for groups. Special events will be planned, such as basketball and volleyball tournaments, as well as July 4th fireworks and more. The Park will be open daily from late May through early September beginning in 2018.”
South Carolina - (3/30/17) A great honor was bestowed on one of South Carolina's only remaining roller coasters this week, as the Swamp Fox wooden coaster at Family Kingdom in Myrtle Beach has officially been declared an official "historic structure" in a ceremony on Tuesday. The Swamp Fox turns 51 this year, and it was also honored by ACE with an official plaque when it turned 50 last year.
(12/27/16) Backstage Escape Games in Myrtle Beach, SC (located at Broadway at the Beach) home to the standard-setting interactive attraction, "The Legend of Atlantis", has sent out a great press release to announce "the next evolution of Immersive Escape Game Adventures: "Christmas is Canceled", a festive year-round adventure will open Spring 2017, proving the Holiday spirit doesn’t need to end on December 25th!"
Authorities have issued a state of emergency urging the good people of Peachstone Lane to stay in their homes, lock their doors and tuck their kids in tight. The sleigh has crashed, Santa Claus is missing and screams of terror shatter the otherwise peaceful spirit of the season. Eye witness reports indicate the legendary Krampus Beast IS real, and he has a taste for children.
Yet despite all warnings, a mysterious new neighbor has invited the entire town to a Christmas party at his home - you know, the one at the end of the street which everyone assumed was abandoned? Is this innocent holiday cheer, or a treacherous trap?
Though your curiosity is peaked, common sense kicks in. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for your friend. All at once, your phones buzz with the same chilling text message: "The Krampus Beast is REAL! He caught me! HELP!!" Now you have no choice. Against all better judgment, you have to enter that old house on Peachstone lane.
This is no longer a Christmas Party; it's a rescue mission, and to survive, you'll need to work together as a team to solve puzzles and overcome traps along the way in one of the most unique, most immersive Escape Games ever built.
Enter the lair of the Krampus Beast.
Save your friend.
Backstage Escape Games also features The Legend of Atlantis escape game experience, a Backstage Mirror Maze and The Vault laser maze. If you are in the area I'd love to hear more about the current Atlantis game, and they are offering a special discount promo code "WINTER" to save $5 per person for advanced online bookings of the Atlantis game now through March 1, 2017 at BackstageEscapeGames.com
(8/26/16) Looks like the Myrtle Beach area is getting a major new attraction soon. The exact location in town isn't posted, but as I just discovered that the large MagiQuest attraction at Broadway at the Beach had closed down, I have to wonder if this might be heading there, or somewhere nearby.
In any case, the new attraction in development is called "The Simpsons Experience" and a lot of details about the attraction were discovered in a job posting on the IAAPA website in the hunt for a GM to run the attraction for SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment. They describe the attraction as being "a world-class themed attraction completely immersing guests into the world of the Simpsons. The experience will incorporate a fully-themed exterior, full-size Simpsons characters for souvenir photos, a state-of-the-art 4-D Theater with a custom Simpsons 4-D film. The experience continues with a totally themed Kwik-E-Mart convenience store serving as a retail/food & beverage experience featuring Apu and his Squishee 3000 frozen drink machine, donuts, hot dogs, Buzz Cola, themed merchandise and much more."
The job opening for the GM was just posted on August 10, 2016 and is open for applicants through Sept. 15, 2016. I don't know where they are as far as construction goes, but if anyone is in the Myrtle Beach area soon and spots something, please do let me know what and where this is going.
South Dakota - (7/22/16) A new theme park has been proposed for South Dakota near the city of Deadwood to be called Gold Nugget. As far as I’m aware, this would be the only theme park in the local region, but don’t look for this to be a Six Flags size property as the proposed investment is said to only be between $40-80 million. For comparisons sake, the old Jazzland park near New Orleans (which eventually became Six Flags New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina wiped it out) was built for about $100-120 million back in 2001 dollars, so adjust your expectations for this park’s size and offerings.
Tennessee - (2/8/17) Something really neat is planned to open in Nashville in 2018 called the "August Moon Drive-In" theater, bar and grille. However, this is not a drive-in theater that you will ever take your car inside. Instead they are building a large $10 million indoor themed environment inside a giant 40,000 sqft air supported dome structure that will feature what appears to be a classic drive-in theater, complete with classic cars (hopefully all convertibles) already parked in front of the screen, a simulated starry night sky above, along with fake trees, faux fireflies, grassy areas, tables, along with a full service restaurant and bar, with "artisanal takes" on great genre style burgers and milkshakes. They also promise to offer the "largest non-IMAX movie screen in North America", and may also feature live performers who can interact with the audience before and after the films and possible interactions with live projections on the screen as well.
(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.
This is serious seriously cool... like someone took the idea behind Disney's own Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater restaurant at Walt Disney World and decided to take the concept and run with it as far as they could.
Look for it to open in the second half of 2018.
Texas - (4/11/17) A new deal with Merlin Entertainment has been signed that will bring two new Merlin attractions to San Antonio's Shops at Rivercenter. According to the post from BlooLoop, the deal will see a SeaLife Aquarium and LEGOLAND Discovery Center added to the famous Riverwalk area in 2018.
(12/19/16) Texas waterpark fans... the local news has confirmed that the former Hawaiian Falls Pflugerville has been taken over by the owners of Typhoon Texas (Katy, TX) who will rebrand the Pflugerville waterpark into another Typhoon Texas for the 2017 season as well as honoring all season passes previously bought for the old park.
Utah - (4/11/17) The Void has now opened their official headquarters attraction location in Lindon, Utah to the public and has apparently finished a very busy first week of operations. According to a review posted to Upload, the are running an improved Ghostbusters: Dimensions experience that lasts about 12-15 minutes for $25 per person. They go on to report that some of the technical short-comings of the Madadme Tussauds initial roll-out of the attraction have been solved with new hardware that is now running with headgear running at a higher resolution as well as at 90 frames per second animation, up from the Tussauds location that was running at only 75 fps. The better resolution mixed with higher frame-rates help to make the immersive experience feel more real.
The article is interesting as they also go into detail not only on what the difference between this new Ghostbusters is over the Tussauds version, but also compare the technical specs with the new VR Showdown in Ghost Town attraction that just opened at Knott's Berry Farm. Not just the specs of the headgear units, but also how each system tracks the users and the gear they are holding while in the virtual experience.
A second virtual experience is also in the works called Curse of the Serpent's Eye that will take you into a short of Indiana Jones style adventure experience.
God, why does The Void have to be so far away in Utah and so out of reach? I'm dying to experience this myself someday. For now it looks like they are only pre-selling tickets up through May 24th, and they are listing Ghostbusters: Dimension as a "limited engagement" attraction, with tickets only being sold in advance on their website. So if you are in the area, book it now before they run out.
(10/17/16) It seems a new small theme park opened in St. George, Utah last week named Thunder Junction. This isn't a regular theme park however, and it has no roller coasters or major thrill rides, but instead this new park is described as an 'All Abilities Park' for kids and families alike of "all abilities". "Thunder Junction is touted as a park for people of all abilities. It includes accommodations for those with disabilities, including secured swings and a wheelchair trail, among many other thoughtful accommodations."
Admission to Thunder Junction is actually free, but guests have the option to pay $1 per person to ride the park's train around the park. You can see a ton of pictures and a video of the park shot during the grand opening on Oct. 8th here and find out more at the park's webpage.
Virginia - (10/1/16) While many feel that there is very little chance of this project happening given the cost as well as the likely to come push-back from the locals who dislike large projects of this nature in the area, there is an interesting new push for a 700-acre development project in Williamsburg to be called Kingsland USA. The project is large and includes a huge number of features ranging from skyscrapers for forward looking company space, assisted living space, hotels, virtual reality projects, retail areas and even an indoor theme park and indoor waterpark. You can visit the official website for more information, or hit up one of the local news stations to see how the locals are already trying to shut down the Kingsland USA project.
(7/28/16) An unfortunate accident took place in Virginia at a carnival operating at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on the portable “Super Shot” drop tower ride. According to the report a 47-year old woman was riding the attraction and as it dropped, somehow the entire seat framework she was in detached from the rest of the ride vehicle in mid drop and stuck the ground. Best estimates say she fell about 40 feet, still strapped into her seat, and sustained multiple injuries. She has been transported to a nearby hospital and her condition has not yet been reported. The local news report has aerial photos of the site where the Super Shot has been shut down and you can see the detached seat laying in the grassy field nearby.
Washington - (8/25/16) A new attraction is opening in Seattle this week at Pier 57, home to the Great Seattle Wheel. The new attraction is called "Wings over Washington", which can essentially be described as being very similar to Disney's Soarin' style flight simulation ride, (they even share the same hardware manufacture - Dynamic Attractions) but this smaller version is all about the sights of Washington state. The ride film itself is from our friends at Super78 and it will have a grand opening ceremony held today, August 25th.
Washington DC - (1/12/17) Did you know there was an officially licensed Ghostbusters themed escape game? Apparently there is... and according to the review it is fantastic too. Like for the "Ghostbusters! Escape Room" at Escape Room Live in Washington DC at the Georgetown location. A fun teaser video was posted to YouTube this week (see below), and you can read a detailed review of the experience at Escape Authority which described the experience as featuring a highly themed environment, fantastic use of Augmented Reality devices (a Ghost Scanner!) to help aid your use of an actual Ghost Trap to capture some of the wicked spirits for delivery to the Containment Unit.