---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(2/5/16) Illinois - New Wheel at Chicago's Navy Pier Is Going Up (MORE...)
(2/2/16) Hawaii - Atlantis Resort Looking To Build Near Disney (MORE...)
(2/1/16) Missouri - Chicago's Old Navy Pier Wheel Coming To Branson (MORE...)
(1/28/16) Kentucky - Judge Rules In Favor of Ark Encounter Getting Tax Incentives (MORE...)
(1/27/16) DreamVision's Primary Investor Suspected Of Sales Scam (MORE...)
Alabama - (1/27/16) Remember the two DreamVision parks announced almost a year ago, one for the Fort Worth, TX area and the other for Muscle Shoals, AL? While I remember telling everyone that I highly doubled these projects would ever break ground (and they still haven’t…) things did just get a little more interesting. According to this news article the head investor group that was backing these two parks has just been put under the microscope by the Alabama Securities Commission for a possible real estate sales scam. Seem that, through another company called Robinson Capital Investments, LLC they sold securities in 2014 with the purpose of buying houses out of foreclosure to repair and resell them. All together, it seems they bilked a couple of investors out of $600,000 and never bought a single home out of foreclosure.
The head of that company is one Bryan K. Robinson, who was introduced nearly a year ago as the president of another company named Provident Global Capital, who was going to be the lead investor in the DreamVision park projects. Speaking of which… any and all mention of the two announced parks have also been removed entirely from the DreamVision company website.
(1/22/16) The owner of Alabama’s park project, Lake City Amusement Park, applied for permission to sell beer at the park’s concert venue, but the request was denied in a vote by the local city council.
(12/11/15) According to the local news a small new amusement park has just broken ground in Guntersville, Alabama (located in the northern half of the state). It will be called Lake City Amusement Park when it opens in April 2016 and promises a small park with about 35 rides, a pond, splash-pad, picnic area and amphitheater. Given the extremely fast timetable, I would expect that the rides, which will include a ferris wheel and roller coaster, will all be portable / carnival style rides... so maybe think of this more as a carnival that is setting up shop for an entire season.
If thing work out however, they hope to expand the park, add a waterpark and even an RV park as time goes on. The official website is already live (click here) and lists some of the rides that will be coming, and from the look of the news video, several of the rides are already on-site.
(2/5/15) If you recall reading about a proposed 5,000 acre new theme park for Alabama earlier this week, the company behind that bogus sounding sounding announcement made an almost identical announcement for a 5,000 acre massive theme park in Fort Worth, Texas back in May 2013, but nothing came of that announcement either. They promise more information will be coming about both project in the near future, but as someone who has seen many a theme park announcement come and go, these just reek of vaporware for the time being. Maybe their net announcement will change my mind...
(2/2/15) Take this with a huge grain of salt right now, as there appears to be little information about this point, other than the dream to build it, but a Texas based entertainment company claims they are looking into building a new theme park in northwest Alabama that would be called DreamVision Soundscape.
Apparently, the company had previously also mentioned plans to maybe build a park near their HQ in Fort Worth, Texas as well previously, but nothing ever came of that plan either. File this under "wait and see".
Arizona - (11/30/15) The local news reports that a 12-year-old boy is now in a medically induced coma after falling out of the log flume ride at the Castles N' Coasters park in Phoenix, Arizona. The description of the accident is a little odd, and I can't see how he fell out of the log ride, past the attendant at the top of the final drop, unless he stood up or something. I feel bad for everyone involved of course and hope for a speedy recovery.
(10/20/15) Two people were struck by bullets during a gunfighter shootout performance at the Tombstone attraction in Arizona on Sunday. Two actors playing gunfighters began their performance in the streets of Tombstone, which quickly came to an end when they realized one of the guns had mistakenly been loaded with REAL bullets instead of blanks. One shot struck one of the other performers who was flown to a hospital to remove the bullet while another bullet struck a female bystander who's condition was not yet known. Other bullets struck nearby businesses and buildings. Upon inspection of the pistol, it was determined that there was still one live round left in it, and five empty bullet casings from the rounds that were fired. Until further notice, all gunfight performances in Tombstone are now on-hold while the investigation determines just how live ammunition came to be involved.
(4/9/15) According to this tweeted photo, the Wildlife World Zoo in Arizona is apparently getting a new coaster and the track has started to arrive. RCDB lists this coaster as coming from Chance Rides and with a 2016 opening date.
(2/19/15) The Granger Group, a company from Michigan who has developed several senior living care developments as well as health care complexes is now looking to take advantage of the new special tax exemtp district in Williams, Arizona and design a new theme park development for the area. Unfortunately they have never build a theme park before, but they are looking at spending between $300-500 million on the project with the hopes that it will see between 2.5 to 4 million visitors each year. (Editor Note: I think these estimates are a little high, as even on a good year Six Flags Magic Mountain only sees about 2.75 to 3 million guests, though being located to take advantage of the Grand Canyon tourist area can be a big help to this project.)
Few details about the design of the actual park were released, as they are still working on the feasbility study through April, but they do hope to include areas themed to Route 66, the Wild West, Mining and a Navajo Nation themed area. In addition to typical theme park rides, they are also looking into interactive exhibtis, animal exhibits, stunt shows, gold panning, archery, rock climbing, kayaking, ziplines and more. Once the feasibility study is complete, they hope to shop the idea out to experienced theme park operators who can manage and operate the park for them. If all goes well on the fast track, they hope to start construction by Spring 2016.
(1/9/15) While no plans for a new theme park or attraction have been announced, the state of Arizona has cleared the way to make things a little more business friendly for any such project in the future, as long as they are willing to build in the northern community of Williams, who has created a special district on the town's northern edge where the properties would be exempt from property taxes. I guess we'll have to wait and see if anyone bites.
California - (11/13/15) According to the local news, The Queen Mary will add a new state-of-the-art 4D Theater experience on November 20th. The new theater will replace a very old existing theater that was placed in the aft section of the ship. The new 121-seat theater will keep the look of The Queen Mary and have an old Hollywood style art deco style, while packed with a 3D projection system, 7.1 digital surround sound, along with special "4D" extra special effect elements. The theater will be opening in time with the attraction's holiday "CHILL" event and showing a Polar Express 4-D film from Nov. 20 through Jan. 10th. Starting Jan. 11th, the theater will switch over to show SpongeBob SquarePants 4-D: The Great Jelly Rescue and Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience.
(10/8/15) Hollow Studios has been contracted by Visioneering
to help develop media for a large mixed-use project coming to the San Diego area by Fall 2017. The $180 million project has been dubbed, "PromisedLand" and will "strive to immerse visitors with the sights, sounds and tastes of Israel." Hollow Studios will produce the media for two attractions within: "Wings over Israel" a film that will take viewers on a epic fly-ver journey around and through the major sites of the Holy Land and "HIStory Dome", a fast-paced 12-minute journey from the Garden of Eden to new Jerusalem in an immersive dome environment. A few images were sent in with the press release showing off an oveview of PromisedLand, the inside of the HIStory Dome Theater and the Arrival Plaza with a "Wailing Wall".
According to the PDF proposal for the Return to Aztlan project, the "theme park" seems more like a waterpark project, with slides intended to come off that giant pyramid temple structure as well as a Soaring Eagle Zip Line. Other attractions mentioned include a SkyVenture indoor skydiving experience, train ride, cultural museums, and a "5-D experience" called "The Journey of the Evil Goddess and Sorceress Malinalxochil". One other very interesting thing is when you look at the list of Aztlan's "strategic partners", one major industry player stands out... Schlitterbahn! Yep... looks like Texas' biggest waterpark secret weapon may be smuggled into California as part of this interesting project. We also finally get a good look at the park layout itself, and it does look like the retail will be limited to a small region of the park, about the size of the on-site hotel, with the majority of the project being taken up by this very large waterpark project, full of connecting all the attraction areas with lazy little rivers so you almost never have to leave the water. This this a Schlitterbahn concept called Transportainment. Consider me very intrigued... as Aztlan just got a lot more interesting.
(2/19/15) A new “theme park” of sorts has been proposed for the Indio / Coachella area off I-10 near the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino. With themeing inspired by Aztec and Toltec empires, they are calling it “Return to Aztlan”, the legendary ancestral home of the Mesoamericans. Don’t think of this as your typical massive theme park development, as the site is only 48 acres and in addition to a small theme park area, the site is also to house a 200 foot tall pyramid, a 10,000 person concert site, a 12-screen movie theater, a river walk, hotel, restaurants and ample retail space. Oh… and the developers would like to look into building a functional movie sound stage as well in order to encourage more production work in the area. Soooo… not a lot of room left for a true theme park once you build up all the rest, though I am curious if they plan to put the theme park inside the 200 foot pyramid and make it an indoor park, similar in scope to the Adventuredome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas. There is still a lengthy process to go through to get permission for the project from the city however, but they do already have a tentative 80-year lease agreement for the site however.
Florida - (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.
(10/19/15) ThemeParkUniversity got to preview the unique new Vault of Souls attraction in Tampa last month, but now they have finally sampled the entire finished product and the review is raving, claiming it is the most well thought out and detailed haunt style event they've ever done, while being a totally unique experience... and not at all like a typical Halloween style haunt. Check out the review at the link.
(9/29/15) Over the past few days I've heard about a couple of fantastic independent haunts in Florida outside of the theme park haunts. For starters one popular haunt is The Shallow Grave in Winter Haven, near LEGOLAND Florida, which will open on Friday for their third year. It features two large indoor haunts with "movie quality sets".
Meanwhile you may recall I mentioned the new Vault of Souls in Tampa, and Theme Park University has posted a fantastic review of this haunt experience that about as different from a traditional haunt as you can get. Check it out! I only wish I could have seen it.
(9/28/15) Remember the closed Dania Beach Hurricane wooden coaster off I-95 near Ft. Lauderdale? While the coaster is STILL standing, the local news reports that the developer who now owns the property reports that they will finally tear it down sometime in the first quarter of 2016 to begin work on their new retail project.
(9/17/15) Florida haunt fans may be interested in a new concept opening in Tampa called Vault of Souls in the closed Exchange National Bank building. The attraction is described as an immersive theater event, and Theme Park University interviewed the Creative Director behind Vault of Souls, Scott Swenson, a name Howl-O-Scream fans may recognize as being the former head of Entertainment and Howl-o-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa.
(5/12/15) A new waterpark project has been proposed for Florida called Lost Lagoon. If they go ahead with it, they are looking at a site in East Manatee along I-75 south of Tampa Bay. Click here to read up on all the details.
(3/9/15) The title of the largest shopping mall in America could move from Minnesota to Florida in the latest plans from Triple 5 are approved. The Canadian developer has announced a plan to open American Dream Miami in north-western Miami-Dade County, a $4 billion / 200-acre entertainment and retail complex concept that would feature an indoor ski slope, waterpark mini-golf, a LEGOLAND Discovery Center, a lake with submarine rides, and more... all at the scale even bigger than the Mall of America.
If the name sounds familiar, it should, because Triple 5 has been working to revive the stalled out Xanadu mall complex in New Jersey for a few years now, and will reopen it as American Dream Meadowlands when it finally opens in late 2016. The New Jersey project is also supposed to feature many similar attraction concepts to the new Miami proposal.
While a project of this size would be daunting for most developers, Triple 5 actually has the most experience of anyone to pull these things off, having built the massive West Edmonton Mall in Canada as well as the Mall of America itself in Minneapolis. For now, they just have to get the go ahead from the local politicians.
(1/17/15) If the proposal for the Fox themed Miami Wilds theme park plan didn't have enough obstacles in front of it, now the environmentalists have gotten into the act. It seems a group believes the plot of “pine rocklands” intended for the theme park as well as a new Walmart store, apartments and more nearby is home to some rare plant life, so they will protest any development of this property. The developers say the description of the property is not accurate, and that it has been used for various purposes over the years including military testing, medical research, incinerators, blimp bays, animal storage as well as home to previous commercial building properties.
(11/11/14) The Miami-Dade County Commissioners approved the $13.5 million grant money the developers behind the Fox Miami Wilds theme park concept requested to move forward with the park’s development.
Georgia - (12/23/15) Famous musician, Kenny Rogers, announced a few months ago that he would retire from performing at the end of one final “world tour” that was to begin sometime in 2016. After that, he actually said he plans to follow in Dolly Parton’s footsteps and open some kind of entertainment based theme park somewhere outside of the Atlanta, GA area. He described the site for the park, which he called Kennyland or Kenny World, to be built on an island about 40 miles North of Atlanta. Kenny described the project as being “similar to Dollywood” but more “high-tech”.
While it should be interesting to see a park like this built in Northern Georgia, I’ve got to think it would be interesting if Kenny Rodgers were to just buy up the existing “Kennywood” park outside Pittsburgh just for the name alone.
(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.
(11/16/15) According to this article, The Hunger Games will be brought to life in the Atlanta area as an attraction opening in 2019, as part of a new project called Avatron Park, which will be built off Red Top Mountain Road in Bartow County, to the North-West of Atlanta off I-75.
(10/29/15) Plans for a 225 foot tall tower that will contain three separate thrill rides is being planned for Atlanta by the SkyView Ferris wheel near Centennial Olympic Park. According to this article the "SkyTower" attraction would feature three rides: SkyShot (slingshot ride), SkyDrop (a drop ride) and SkyTwist (corkscrew ride).
It is worth mentioning that the concept art attached to the article show SkyShot's ride seat to look very similar to the old S&S Sky Sling system, the SkyDrop looks like a typical S&S Turbo Drop tower, but it renames SkyTwist as SkyTilt, along with the phrase "Face Down Atlanta!".
If approved and all goes well, they hope to start construction as early as this January.
(7/14/15) According to the local news, the owners of the Skyview Atlanta wheel are hoping to build a new drop-tower ridecalled Skyfall Atlanta in time to open for Summer 2016.
(6/6/14) I don’t know much about this, but it seems a new development is moving forward in Jasper, Georgia to build Port Royal, a $145 million Waterpark Resort & Conference Center. Themed after the city of Port Royal in Jamaica, the resort will have a tropical Caribbean theme.
The 176-acre resort will feature 400 hotel rooms, a day-spa, restaurants, a sport bar, conference center, 16,000 seat amphitheater and both indoor and outdoor waterparks. They are planning to break ground before the end of 2014 and open sometime in 2016.
It sounds great, though my biggest concern would be the location, and only because I’ve never heard of Jasper, GA. I admit, I’m not familiar with the ins and outs of Georgia, with my primary experience being driving in and out of Atlanta a few times, or passing through along I-95, so forgive me if I’m out of touch with this particular area of the state. Jasper is located an hours drive to the north of Atlanta, but not along the busy I-75 freeway, but instead lies to the east in what appears to be a less populated area. Given the location, it is still close enough for the local Atlanta market to make the drive and stay for the weekend, so they do have access to a vast market of locals who can drop in.
On another note… not too far away in Emerson, GA the local residents have been complaining for some time about the proposed PolerCoaster project announced for the LakePoint Sporting Community. The residents who were behind the LakePoint sports park project at first because it also was supposed to have a waterpark, which was later replaced by the proposed 250 foot PolerCoaster. Apparently the proposed PolerCoaster for LakePoint has been cancelled, because there is no longer any mention of the project on the official LakePoint website. In fact if you look at the list of what’s coming soon to the site, not only is there no mention of a PolerCoaster at all, but instead they are not working on a waterpark once again, along with ropes course, zip lines, mountain bike trails, a movie theater, bowling alley and more to go along with the rest of the huge and impressive sports complex.
Hawaii - (2/2/16) Disney & More reports that a new Atlantis Resort (similar to the ones in the Bahamas and Dubai) may be preparing to be built in Hawaii on the site pretty much right next door to Disney's Aulani Resort. It seems safe to say that Disney isn't going to be happy about this if it actually happens.
Illinois - (2/5/16) A reader posted some great pictures of the new wheel going up at Navy Pier in Chicago on Twitter this week. Check them out here.
(1/23/16) Chicago's Navy Pier has reopened to the public this week after being closed for a couple of days to allow for some initial construction on the new larger Ferris wheel to take place. A few pictures and details have been posted by the local news.
(12/28/15) I’m told that a newer slide at the Magic Waters waterpark in Rockford, IL has been racking up a collection of costly lawsuits after a few riders reported breaking their lower backs after riding the park’s Splash Blaster slide in under-inflated rafts. (The slide appears to be a Master Blaster style water coaster slide). The slide was closed a few months ago (click here to see a POV video) and now the park is meeting with slide designers and seeking $4.75 million in funds to redesign the slide, as well as make other needed park-wide improvements to give the park a facelift for the 2016 and 2017 seasons.
Meanwhile, in the same city the local CoCo Key indoor waterpark resort has been closed for the past month after the local health department inspected it and shut it down over several health violations. The problems included low chlorine levels, not enough certified staff members and the main reason it is still closed was a malfunctioning temperature control system that will cost $200,000 and 4-months time to repair. Look for Rockford’s CoCo Key to reopen sometime in Spring 2016, following inspections by both the city and health department.
(6/25/15) The wheel at the end of Chicago's famous Navy Pier will be taken down this fall and replaced by a much taller wheel with enclosed temperature-controlled cars that will open in 2016. The new wheel will stand 196 feet tall, almost 50 feet taller than the current one.
Indiana - (8/4/15) The unique Skyline aerial tram ride at the Indianapolis Zoo has had quite a troublesome run since it opened last year. It first shut down with and was forced to evacuate guests in October 2014. That incident saw the ride closed for months of inspections and repairs until finally reopening last month... only to break down once again with guests on-board on July 30th. According to the zoo, the Skyline ride will remain closed until further notice while they determine what the issue is and are sure that it "has been identified and fixed".
Kentucky - (1/28/16) After everything that has happened so far, I'm a bit shocked that a judge would rule this way, but this week US District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove ruled in favor of Kentucky's Ark Encounter project, stating that officials could not deny tax incentive rebates for the project because of the project's religious affiliation.
Of course that really wasn't the issue, as the state knew about the projects religious motivations from the start and originally offered funding incentives. What got the incentives pulled was that Ark Encounter was using their religious beliefs to discriminating against people applying for jobs with the company, and requiring all employees to sign "statement of faith", a "Salvation Testimony" and a "Creation Statement Belief" documents before being hired.
Originally I believe the state asked them to cease this practice to keep their tax incentives application active, but they refused at the time. I'm not sure if they have revised their policy between then and this new current ruling. If not, I'm not sure if we've heard the end of this story just yet.
(6/17/15) Construction on the controversial Ark Encounter project is Kentucky is said to be under way now. How far along are they? Apparently, they’ve just started, but that hasn’t stopped them from setting up a nearby building where they are trying to lure in tourists to view the construction site for $20 per vehicle.
Maryland - (12/24/15) The local news reports that a new haunted house attraction is coming to Ocean City amusement district, which has also benefited from a zoning expansion. As for the new haunted house attraction, it will apparently take a space that used to be occupied by the H20 underage dance club on Worcester Street.
Michigan - (8/11/15) The Detroit area will be getting a coaster in 2016 at the C.J. Barrymore's Family Entertainment Center. The $5 million expansion plan will see a small coaster with a single loop added (looks like a carnival style Pinfari), a drop tower, zip line, and an elevated go-kart track and more.
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.
Missouri - (2/1/16) Previously we had mentioned that the 150 foot Ferris wheel located at Chicago's Navy Pier was being replaced by a slightly bigger version over the winter. Now we know what is happening to the old wheel, which will be moving to "The Track Family Fun Parks" in Branson, Missouri, who hopes to have it up and running in time for the summer. While there are several "The Track" locations in Branson, the promotional video indicates that the wheel will be going to the location closest to the Titanic Museum attraction, listed on maps as "The Track Family Fun Parks Track 4".
(1/14/16) According to the local news, the plans to renovate St. Louis’ Union Station into an attraction are moving forward, with work to begin on February 1st. Just don’t look for a while indoor theme park to be there however, as it appears the plans for the amusement side of things have been scaled back to just a 200 foot Ferris wheel to be placed just out front. Otherwise there will be green areas, new food and drink locations serving inside vintage train cars, a “fire, light and fountain show on the lake” and a new pedestrian entrance locationed at 18th and Market.
(12/17/15) You may recall I mentioned last week that a couple of new attractions planned for Branson were going to build Zip Coasters. While I've never quite see one of these myself, pop on over to the latest Flying Pirouettes trip report where they visit the TreeTop Adventure Park in Australia, where the Zip Coaster apparently was first created. From the sound of the review, the Zip Coaster offers a thrill ride like no other... part suspended coaster, part zipline... but combined to become something else entirely.
(12/11/15) According to this news article a new attraction was approved to go into the Branson area that will feature a Zip Coaster, Zip Lines and rides on something called a "Monster Bus". Yep that Monster Bus is exactly what you may be wondering... a merger of a Bus and a Monster Truck, that should offer some unique off-road adventures. the Zip Coaster will also be an "automated" 3,000 foot long course. Look for the new attractions to be built south of the old "God and Country Theaters" on 76 Country Blvd.
The attraction isn't expected to be finished until 2017, but beyond the opening day offerings, they would also like to add some indoor attractions to the mix later on within the God and Country Theater buildings that would include an indoor rock climbing attraction as well as a haunted house attraction.
(12/4/15) A new attraction is in the works for the Branson area off Highway 165 in what used to be called Butcher Hollow. The new attraction will be called Mountain Adventure Resort and they are planning to build a zip coaster, zip lines, a ropes course and a mountain coaster. They are still working on getting the plans past all the government boards first, so while it may be possible to see one or two of the smaller attractions up and running in time for Summer 2016 if things go well, I wouldn't plan on seeing the whole line up until the following year or so.
New Jersey - (1/8/16) The previously approved plans (see 7/24/15 update below) to build an indoor waterpark in Atlantic City to replace the closed Atlantic Club casino are now dead. According to this news report that Atlantic Club property has been put up for sale after the waterpark plans fell through.
(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.
(7/24/15) According to the local news an 81,000 sqft indoor waterpark project was approved in Atlantic City, along with a second 27,000 indoor waterpark that will be part of a new casino/resort project to replace the closed Atlantic Club casino.
(5/29/15) According to this article, the developer of the Skyplex / Skyscraper (Polercoaster) project in Orlando, FL is also looking at building a smaller copy of the tower/coaster ride concept in Atlantic City, NJ on the site of the former Sands Casino. Of course, I think they need to actually need to start and finish the Orlando version before they dream about making copies elsewhere, but that’s just me...
New York - (6/25/15) Great news for our friends at Ride Entertainment this week. The Ride Entertainment Operations Division was awarded the operating contract for the Pier 62 Carousel located at Hudson River Park in Manhattan, New York. The carousel features 33 unique looking creatures (sea horses, a fox, a deer, and even a Unicorn) and 1 chariot.
(5/23/15) Coaster fans... are you feeling trapped in New York City? If you live in NYC and love theme parks... you know the problems you face, especially if you don't have access to a car. While you live in one of the world's biggest cities, it also strangely is lacking in having a large local amusement park within close range, other than the small Luna Park at Coney Island.
One of our readers is involved with a big solution for all your coaster riding needs. They call it The Coaster Bus and they offer "ready-to-go day trip packages from New York City to area amusement parks. Included in each package are round-trip, luxury transportation, entry to the park, an in-park lunch, and snacks for the bus rides."
Currently they have trips scheduled to visit Six Flags Great Adventure, Lake Compounce, Dorney Park before now at the end of June, with more scheduled trips to come. They also appear to offer "Bus Only" package options for those with season passes to the parks. Check out the official website for the latest information - www.TheCoasterBus.com
North Carolina - (12/10/15) Scuba Claus and a Scuba Elf dropped by the main ocean tank (see video below) at SeaLife Aquarium Charlotte/Concord and Screamscape was there to catch it on video! They dropped off a box at the bottom containing a $250.00 gift card and a 4-pack of Annual Passes to SeaLife Charlotte/Concord. Everyone who visits now through Christmas Eve can fill out an entry and a winner will be selected on Christmas morning.
Scuba Santa and his elf will also be making additional appearances each Saturday and Sunday, as well as Christmas Eve at 12:30pm if you want to see them in person.
Scuba Santa and his elf have officially arrived at Sea??Life Concord...they have left a box containing a $250.00 gift card that they will draw a winner for on Christmas Day! The winner will also receive a 4 pack of annual passes to Sea??Life Concord...make sure you stop by to see Scuba Santa and his Elf each Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 or on Christmas Eve!Posted by Screamscape on Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Ohio - (11/12/15) According to the local news in Cininnati, the local area CoCo Key Waterpark Resort was forced to close down entirely after the state Fire Marshal discovered over 100 code violations, some of them severe enough to order CoCo Key to be evacuated and shut down until they can be repaired and pass inspection. The violations included problems with the hotel's fire alarm, fire sprinklers and related water pump systems to be not working at all. Until the inspector clears the property to reopen, the resort is facing $1000 per day fines.
On a semi-related note, the article also mentions that CoCo Key was shut down briefly in May because they didn't have a working "disinfection system" for the waterpark. Sounds like an interesting resort for sure...
(9/18/15) So what does the abandoned Geauga Lake amusement park site look like today after being closed for 8 years? A great quality drone-cam fly-over video was posted recently to YouTube and you can really see how the years have taken a toll on the remaining structures on the property, along with a great view of the Big Dipper coaster which is still standing.
Pennsylvania - (11/30/15) Our friends at ScareHouse have posted a new video about their Krampus themed haunted attraction, and how they worked with Legendary, Weta Workshop and writer/director Michael Dougherty to create the haunted attraction based on the upcoming Krampus film.
(10/9/15) The latest Behind the Screams of ScareHouse video has been posted. Check it out below!
(9/17/15) Today we get a first peek at the “Trick ‘r Treat: Hallowed Grounds” haunted attraction coming to ScareHouse.
(9/16/15) Our friends at ScareHouse have some special fun in store for the fans this year with the release of some new secrets they've been hiding. They've been working with Michael Dougherty, Weta Workshop and Legendary Pictures on a new haunted attraction based on the upcoming film, Krampus. They will also preview a new attraction themed around the film Trick 'r Treat as part of the same partnership. Admission this year will get you into both of those attraction as well as the return of "The Summoning", which will feature new scenes this year. A teaser for The Summoning is below, along with the trailer for the Krampus film.
(9/3/15) Another teaser about what's in The Basement at ScareHouse has been released this week. Check it out below.
(8/31/15) Our good friends at the ScareHouse have sent out a couple of new preview teasers ahead of their big announcement. All I know so far that that ScareHouse is expected to premier two new haunts this year, as well as a new theme for The Basement experience. Check out the teasers below, especially the second one showing off an old VHS tape found in The Basement of the ScareHouse.
South Carolina - (8/26/15) A staff member fell 25 feet from a small carnival coaster at North Myrtle Beach on Monday night. Seems the supervisor had gone to help another employee when the a car on the coaster stalled, and the employee on site decided to climb up and try to free it when he fell. He is currently receiving medical attention.
(12/19/14) The local news reports that local big developers, Burroughs & Chapin have plans to perform refurbishments to their Broadway at the Beach entertainment and retail mall in 2015, as well as a refurbishment to Barefoot Landing. The exact nature of these plans wont be released until sometime next year.
Tennessee - (3/20/15) It sounds like a proposal to build a waterpark next to the Gaylord Opryland resort in Nashville is under consideration again. A guest survey was sent out to get feedback on the proposal for what they are calling an "UPSALE WATERPARK COMPLEX" that will be connected to the hotel and only open for resort guests on a 3-4 acre site. The project is described as being open year-round and would include a series of water slides, a lazy river, wave pool, splash pads and a water coaster as well as more peaceful adult only pools and seating areas.
Texas - (1/22/16) BlooLoop has posted a great report and videos about Moody Gardens, a non-profit educational attraction in Galveston, Texas. The attraction nabbed a Thea Award for Outstanding Achievement for their new "SpongeBob SubPants Adventure" attraction from SimEx-Iwerks and our friends at Super78. This isn't just another 4D attraction where you sit and watch... this one is interactive as the guests help choose their adventure and interact with the characters in the same way as Disney's Turtle Talk with Crush. Check out their report and be sure to watch the videos to see the attraction in action, both from the front and even more interesting was the second video showing how the digital puppeteer works impressive magic behind the scenes as well to bring the character to life through Super78's Geppetto Animation Control System.
(11/13/15) Back in 2010 you may recall reading a few reports about a new theme park in Texas designed with fully accessible rides and attractions made for handicapped guests with both physical and mental disabilities. It was called Morgan's Wonderland and it became quite the hit in the area at the time. Jump ahead to 2016 and Morgan's will be opening a new 4-acre $9.9 million expansion called Morgan's Inspiration Island, marketed as the world's first fully accessible water park. The new waterpark will offer a river boat ride, five water play areas with every section fully wheelchair-accessible. For guests who have motorized wheelchairs, Morgan's will offer special waterproof wheelchairs and private areas where guests can be lifted and transferred to the waterproof chairs.
(10/15/15) A Midway worker at the State Fair of Texas was injured on Monday when a piece of the Crazy Mouse roller coaster broke off and struck him on Monday. He was taken in for medical care for a “non life-threatening injury”.
(10/9/15) Most Texan theme park fans will remember visiting Six Flags Astroworld over the years before it was demolished in late 2005. Now a local Houston bar named Moving Sidewalk has created a new drink menu with beverage creations all named after rides and attractions from the closed theme park. Care for an XLR8? Tidal Wave? Dungeon Drop? Ultra Twister? There are at least a dozen creations on the menu. Take a look here.
(10/7/15) Switchback sure looks like one crazy compact coaster and now All American Thrills has posted a new video of aerial drone-cam footage showing off the ride in action from an all new angle. Check it out.
(10/5/15) A great front row POV video of Switchback can be found posted to Facebook.
(10/3/15) ZDT opened their new Switchback wooden shuttle coaster for a little preview for a tour and preview ride and based on the review posted here, it flat out blew them away and looks amazingly intense for such a small ride. Check it out!
(7/15/15) ZDT’s Amusement Park announced this week that their new wooden coaster opening next year may be small, but it will set a new world record for having the “steepest incline” on a wooden coaster at 87º as the coaster hits the “Grand Spike” at the end of the ride, before the train begins to fall backwards. (Note: The track itself will rise up to 90º (vertical) on the spike, but the best guess is that the train will only get up to 87º before rolling back.)
It’s too early to set an exact date for the ride to open just yet, but they are looking at possibly having it ready in time for Labor Day Weekend.
(6/29/15) According to the latest photo update on CoasterChitChat, the ZDT Switchback coaster will not be open this summer... though they are hoping to get it open to the public sometime before the end of the year if possible. Just take a look at the photos and you will see they are making great progress on this coaster, which has some awesome looking and very twisted track sections already in place.
(11/19/14) The Gravity Group has confirmed Screamscape’s rumor that a new wooden shuttle coaster will be coming to ZDT’s Amusement Park in 2015. They are calling it the Swithcback and you can see a video of this amazing new compact layout in action below. Note: while the animation doesn’t show how the ride ends, the straight piece of track after the first drop will likely bring the train to a stop on the return journey and turn into a switch-track, sending the train back into the station.
The themed Timberliner train for the for the new ride was also shown off at IAAPA a few hours ago, themed as a black locomotive, which you can see posted in a video from our friends at In The Loop were also on-hand to interview Gravity Group and the owners of ZDT about the new Switchback.
Utah - (11/4/15) Tickets to the Beta Test of The Void are now available again through Nov. 21st, or until they sell out, though more dates and times could also be added. The Void has also announced they've hired Sci-Fi / Fantasy author and game designer Tracy Hickman on to serve as their Director of Story Development for the attraction.
(10/15/15) A few lucky gamers were able to grab tickets to a “Beta Test” run of The Void, a VR “Theme Park” experience in Salt Lake City. The beta test run will take place through Oct. 26th, but all the slots were sold out within hours, though they claim more slots could be added and recommend you keep an eye on their Facebook page for info. At this point The Void isn’t expected to open until Q3 of 2016. You can see more about The Void below.
(5/13/15) According to the local news, the creators of Evermore are putting the Evermore project on hold while they are dealing with financial and property use issues, and instead they are now pushing their latest concept which we mentioned last week... The Void.
(5/7/15) An amazing bit of technology and some serious dreams are trying to build a new kind of virtual theme park experience in Utah that could open in 2016 called The Void. The plan is to have guests put on VR headgear while wearing special vest and gloves that will provide both some form of tactical feedback as well as allow the players to interact with the virtual objects in the environment. Meanwhile the actual real-world park they are in will feature a range of special environments, the kind of "4D" effects common to theme parks and other complex hardware to help sell the story, such as physical stages, motion simulators or game pods.
While visiting the official website I also noticed one more interesting item... that Evermore is listed as a partner. Yep, looks like the same Evermore... as in the Evermore Adventure Park project also set for Utah, which you can read about in previous articles below.
Virginia - (10/16/15) According to this article, it sounds like Merlin may still be looking for an East coast location (outside Florida) to serve as a home to a new LEGOLAND theme park. One location said to be under consideration so far is Stafford, an area just to the north of Fredericksburg, VA. We also know that Virginia was considered as one of the two finalists when locations were being chosen for the first Lego park in the US, though in the end Virginia lost out to Southern California. Either way, it doesn’t surprise me that Virginia may be considered once again, though I would also expect Merlin to be eyeballing locations closer to where the current theme park tourist market already is to the south, between the Richmond and Wiliamsburg areas.
Wyoming - (10/20/15) A new Alpine Coaster opened briefly in Wyoming at the Snow King Ski Resort (Jackson Hole) called the Cowboy Coaster. According to the official website it opened on Oct. 4th and closed down already for some reason on Oct. 18th. I'm not quite sure why as all the new Alpine Coasters in Tennessee are open year-round, even with snow on the ground for the most part. Cost to ride is a painful $21 however.