---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(11/28/20) South Carolina - Two New Attractions On The Way To Myrtle Beach Area (MORE...)
(11/20/20) South Carolina - The Hangout May Be Delayed, FunPlex Breaks Ground (MORE...)
(11/18/20) California's Theme Parks Are All A Long Way From Opening (MORE...)
(11/15/20) Ohio's Land of Illusion Seeks Rezoning To Expand Into Year-Round Attraction (MORE...)
(11/8/20) Snowcat Ridge - Florida First Snow Park To Open (MORE...)
(11/4/20) California - Stranger Things Drive-Thru Attraction Staying Open (MORE...)
Arizona - (9/18/20) I’m never been here, nor have I seen much about this place, but according to a local news report the Old Tucson western themed attraction in Arizona has been forced to close down indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They say Old Tucson was formly used as the background set for dozens of classic movies over the years. Prima County has announced that with the closure, they will be assuming responsibility for the attraction now that it has gone out of business, and they hope they may be able to find someone else to operate it again in the future.
(8/17/20) Strange news surfaced a few hours ago from the Eldorado Aquatic Park in Arizona. Emergency crews were called out to the park early Monday morning to rescue a 32-year old man who somehow became trapped in a ‘support pipe’. It isn’t quite clear how the man became stuck in the pipe, which quite literally a support structure for one of the waterslides. According to reports he was trapped about four feet down the pipe and was discovered by a police officer making rounds nearby who heard muffled cries for help. They believe he was a “transient” who had climbed the fence into the waterpark sometime in the night and somehow got stuck in the pipe. Unfortunately, around 2am, they say they lost communication with him and he passed away. Rescue crews continued their efforts to remove the support structure from the slide in order to retrieve the body.
(6/2/20) Castles and Coasters have announced that while the arcade, golf, go-karts and bumper boats are now open, they will finally open the ride park on Saturday, June 6, 2020.
(5/25/20) Golfland SunSplash in Mesa, Arizona has confirmed that they have now reopened, including the Golfland attraction as well as the Sunsplash Waterpark attractions, where the site says all attractions are now open.
(1/27/20) Talk about the flashback to my youth… ATARI, the video game company, has announced a licensing agreement with a Phoenix based developer, True North Studio and another company named GSD Group. The deal will see up to eight ATARI branded hotels to be built in the US. The first one is already planned to break ground in Phoenix sometime later this year, with the others set to rise in Las Vegas, Denver, San Jose, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and Austin. (Sorry East Coast…)
The hotel buildings would be themed with the ATARI logo and have a focus on video game culture in both the decor as well as on-site offers such as an E-Sport gaming studio, an Atari themed “gaming playground”, meeting and event space, restaurants, bars and even an on-site movie theater.
Arkansas - (8/5/20) It was announced that the site of the former Dogpatch USA theme park in Arkansas was actually purchased by the founder of Bass Pro Shop, Johnny Morris. His plans for the property are to preserve the property as “a nature experience” for future guests to enjoy.
(6/5/20) According to a local news report the site of the former Dogpatch USA theme park was just sold to a new owner for $1.12 million. The new owner is listed as “Down By the Falls LLC”, which was just incorporated in Delaware on May 28, 2020. The intended use of the nearly 400 acre site by the new owner was also not stated, other than a comment from a representative that it would “be good for Arkansas.”
California - (11/18/20) All of California’s theme parks are now as far as they can possibly be from the possibility of reopening this week. In the latest updates to the state’s COVID-19 Tier system made on Monday, the majority of the state’s counties have all been rolled back into Tier 1 (Purple) which lists that COVID-19 levels are widespread. The list of Tier 1 counties now includes the locations for every major theme park in the state. Even Santa Cruz County which had previously dropped to Tier 3 and was able to open the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk for a total of two days before rising up a tier last week, has now risen yet another tier and is now classified as suffering from Widespread infection rates.
(11/4/20) Halloween may be over, but if you missed the Stranger Things “The Drive-Into Experience” in Los Angeles, you are still in luck. According to the official website, they are now offering tickets to experience the attraction now through to March 7, 2021.
(11/1/20) Would you believe an observation wheel might arrive at San Diego’s Balboa Park? According to this news article, the Cohn Restaurant Group who operates the Prado Restaurant and Tea Pavilion in Balboa Park has proposed installing a temporary 148-foot tall wheel to operate in the park under the name, The Balboa Park Star for a 3 to 6 month term in 2021. Follow the link to see some great concept art showing off just where the wheel would be located and having grown up in San Diego myself, the views certainly would be quite scenic there for sure.
This may be an uphill battle however, as many San Diego natives are quick to protest loudly against these kind of projects that would cause great change to the area. Two things that could greatly be in the wheel’s favor however is that:
A - It is only a temporary addition and not something that will change the skyline forever.
B - The wheel will be run as a partnership with Sky Views of America, who run a similar Grand Wheel at the San Diego County Fair (formerly the Del Mar Fair… see I told you I was a local) who is a sister company to Ray Cammack Shows, who has handled the operations of all the Fair rides at the fairground there for decades with great success and is well known as one of the best traveling carnival ride operators in the nation.
(10/28/20) A few days ago a man climbed to the top of the Giant Dipper in San Diego’s Belmont Park by the beach and made threats that he was going to jump. Police were called to try and get him to come down, which he finally did about 8 hours later. According to the local news he was taken into custody and transferred to a mental health facility for further evaluation.
(10/23/20) It is safe to say that at this point virtually all of California’s theme parks are as frustrated as they could possibly be with California’s Gov. Newsom. According to this article the parks have united together to denounce the newly announced Theme Park Guidelines released for the state. They are making the case that they should be allowed to open in Tier 3 (Orange) rather than wait until Tier 4 (Yellow). One reason is that the Director of Orange County’s Health Care Agency doesn’t believe that they would be able to even reach Tier 4 until at least sometime in Summer 2021 at the earliest. Meanwhile the President of Universal Studios Hollywood commented that it isn’t believed that Los Angeles County would be able to reach Yellow status, “anytime in the near future” since they have thus far been unable to even move out of Tier 1 status. The Executive Director of the California Attractions and Parks Association group during questioning did confirm that the possibility of a lawsuit against the state from the united parks group was indeed an an option they were currently considering as well.
(10/21/20) California has finally issued their guidelines as to how theme parks can reopen once again, and unfortunately it sounds as if very little has changed at all from the preview guidance that was leaked a few weeks back. According to the new documents, there are some separate guidelines for what they refer to as large vs small theme parks… and while at first you might think that SeaWorld would qualify as a small park compared to Disneyland, this is not the case.
Small Parks can open while their county is still in the Orange COVID Tier 3 (Moderate) but can only allow visitors who live in that county, can only operate outdoor attractions, and attendance must be limited to 25% or 500 visitors… whichever is the smaller number. So by these definitions, pretty much every attraction you would think of as being a “theme park” would fall into the rules larger category.
According to the new guidelines, large amusement and theme parks can open while requiring mandatory mask use, social distancing, increased sanitization and with attendance reduced to 25% with the use of reservations. HOWEVER, they can only open if the county they are in has dropped to the lowest COVID tier… Yellow 4 (Minimal).
Disney and the rest of the big theme parks had been hoping to be able to reopen at least in the Orange / Moderate tier, but clearly they were unable to sway the California government in their favor, despite most of them successfully operating parks in the rest of the country over the summer in times of much higher infection rates without any issues.
Breaking this down for the various regions, starting in the South.
San Diego County, home to SeaWorld and Legoland California is currently in Red Tier 2 (Substantial) tier and appears to be stuck there for the time being. Time in Red: 8 Weeks so far.
Orange County, home to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm is also currently in Red Tier 2, and appears to be stuck there for the time being. Time in Red: 7 weeks so far.
Los Angeles County is in the highest tier, Purple (1) and is home to Universal Studios and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Thus far the case rates in the county have yet to even begin to qualify for the three week count-down towards moving to a lower tier, so they’ve got a long time to wait.
Unfortunately for Southern California, it looks like it could be a very long wait until the various counties can meet the requirements for the Yellow tier, which some officials believe may be nearly impossible for larger counties to make happen until there is a vaccine available. The requirements to reach the Yellow tier would be to have less than 1 daily new case of COVID-19 per 100,000 people for at least three weeks in a row, and a less than 2% positive testing rate as well. So while you can still hope for a theme park Christmas, we aren’t likely to see the gates open until sometime in 2021.
Up in Central California, Santa Clara County, home to California’s Great America, is fortunate enough to have already dropped to the Orange Tier. Santa Cruz County, home to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, is in the Red Tier along with Solano County, home to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom.
If you want to follow along with the ongoing California county COVID updates for each county, click here. You can also read Disney’s latest Twitter statement regarding their ongoing frustration with the issues below.
(10/20/20) According to Deadline, Gov. Gavin Newsom indicated on Monday that new guidelines for California’s theme parks as well as sporting events will be released on Tuesday at noon Pacific Time. Given some comments already made regarding how sporting events will likely have to wait until 2021, the upcoming guidelines may not be what California theme park fans and employees are hoping for. Stay tuned!
(10/14/20) In what could possibly be a positive move in the right direction, California Gov. Newson announced on Monday that he will be sending a team to Walt Disney World to review first-hand how Disney’s COVID-19 operations are working. The visit should give them a more accurate opinion of what they can expect to see if they allow Disney and other theme parks to reopen in California.
(10/10/20) Bad news for California theme parks came out this week, as obviously Gov. Newsom did not take well to the park’s united objections to the pre-release draft of guidelines last week. Despite Newsom claiming over and over that the guidelines for parks to reopen were coming “soon”, “very soon”... his latest comments backtrack everything to square one again when he stated this week, “We don’t anticipate in the immediate term any of these larger parks opening until we see more stability in terms of the data.” “We feel there’s no hurry to put out guidelines, and we continue to work with the industry.”
The disagreements between Disney and the state were obvious the week before when Disney’s Bob Iger resigned from Gov. Newsom’s COVID-19 economic task force over growing frustration over the state’s reluctance to move forward. Following Newsom’s backtracking comments this week Disney was quick to release an official statement from their Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Pamela Hymel:
“We absolutely reject the suggestion that reopening the Disneyland Resort is incompatible with a “health-first” approach. The fact is, that since March we have taken a robust science-based approach to responsibly reopening our parks and resorts across the globe. Our health and safety protocols were developed in consultation with epidemiologists and data scientists, and after considering guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in local government and health agencies. All of our other theme parks both in the United States and around the world have been allowed to open on the strength of our proven ability to operate with responsible health and safety protocols.”
This was followed by a statement from the California Attractions and Parks Association (CAPA) who represents the interests of all the parks (big and small) throughout the state, including Disney, Universal, Knott’s Berry Farm and more. “California theme parks are a signature industry in California. Parks have spent months developing comprehensive draft guidelines with input from international health and safety experts. Parks are ready to reopen with best practice protocols to provide a healthy and responsible environment for both guests and employees. We find it disconcerting that Governor Newsom has no planned timeline for issuing guidance for theme parks, and of great concern that he does not anticipate theme parks opening soon. Each day that parks are closed further decimates the amusement park industry. The Governor’s “no big rush” approach is ruining businesses and livelihoods for thousands who could responsibly be back at work.”
Six Flags Magic Mountain issued their own comments as well, calling upon Gov. Newsom to at least issue some kind of “achievable” COVID-19 health and safety guidelines. “We are asking the state to provide us with achievable next steps in order for California’s theme park industry to successfully come back to life. We are more than ready and eager to reopen our park.”
(10/4/20) The pressure to open up theme parks in California is on, with the leaders of Disney, Knott’s and other theme parks in the state sending a clear message that not only are they more than ready, that it is also long past time and they are tired of waiting. A couple weeks ago the state implied that they would be addressing the issue “very soon” but so far no announcement has been made.
According to AP news, an announcement that was planned for Friday to unveil the new operating rules was canceled “following industry criticism of the proposed rules”. While we don’t know what the proposed rules would have included, similar situations have happened elsewhere over the year where proposed operations guidelines designed by state officials clearly do not gel with the realities and needs of theme park operations, causing attractions to remain closed. In this case, a California top public health official states that, “Given the size and operational complexities of these unique sectors, we are seeking additional input from health, workforce and business stakeholders to finalize this important framework”.
One aspect of the proposed guidelines that did leak out in the AP report claimed that the parks would be allowed to open at 25% capacity (similar to how other parks, including Florida, started when they first reopened) but only once the county where the park is located in could reach the lower tier level for virus transmission. There was also a planned restriction on limiting visitors to the park to only those living within 120 miles of the park itself, which would be difficult to enforce and likely easy to get around.
You can see the current map of California’s four-tier color system by clicking here, and if the requirement about only being able to open once in the lowest tier (yellow) remains, it doesn’t appear if any of California’s parks will be able to reopen anytime soon. San Diego (SeaWorld) and Orange Counties (Disney / Knott’s) are in the Red tier still, one down from being the worst, which is where Los Angeles county (home to Universal and Six Flags Magic Mountain) currently remains. Meanwhile the Bay Area attractions (California’s Great America and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom) also reside in Red tier counties.
The good news is that most of these locations are tracking to be able to move down to a move positive tier (Orange) soon as long as current trends remain in place, and it is believed that the parks really want to be able to open once in the Orange tier rather than wait for the final Yellow tier. Meanwhile the current rules have allowed for Movie Theaters, Museums, Aquariums and other indoor attractions to reopen in the Red tier, and even allowed for Zoos to have opened their outdoor sections in the Purple tier. So to make theme parks which are mostly an outdoor experience wait until they are in a Yellow tier makes little sense.
Theme parks leaders were given a preview of the new rules on Thursday and apparently shook their head at certain requirements, claiming that there needed to be some modifications made “if they are to lead to a responsible and reasonable amusement park reopening plan”.
(9/17/20) While no details have been released, a report from the OC Register indicates that an announcement from Gov. Newsom regarding guidelines to reopen the state’s closed theme parks and attractions will be coming “very, very shortly”. Screamscape had heard previously that Disneyland was rumored to be making preparations in order to reopen, possibly before the end of the month if the state gives them the green light, so stay tuned.
(9/11/20) According to a tweet from Ken Storey, the “SMIZE Cream” ice-cream shop at Tyra Banks’ new Modelland attraction is now looking to hire staff, taking it as a possible indication that Modelland may be preparing to open. While this could be true… I’m going to take it in another direction and say that perhaps they are just ready to open the “SMIZE Cream” location to the public at the Santa Monica Place mall, which is also where Modelland is located, which would essentially serve as a bit of a teaser for the future opening of Modelland. Plus the job itself is only to apply to Smize Cream and not a job application for Modelland.
In the meantime, SMIZE Cream has their own dedicated IG account which you can follow for status updates and the announcement about when the first location will open. Currently they just say it is coming “this fall”.
(9/7/20) Great news for San Diego as the local news reports that the Family Fun Center in Kearney Mesa opened once again on Saturday after an extensive overhaul after the property returned to the Huish family owners who first built in in 1974. Currently just the Mini-Golf and Go-Karts are open, as the Bumper Boats are on hold (as deemed an Amusement Park Attraction by the state) and they are awaiting guidance from the state about how they can reopen the completely remodeled arcade.
(8/29/20) According to comments from California’s Governor Newsom, they are currently in discussions with Disney and the rest of the other major theme park operators about how and when they can reopen the parks. The OC Register reports that Newsom was set to have a meeting with them yesterday afternoon to discuss the various issues, while the parks have been begging the state for months to get some guidance as to how and when they can proceed.
Previously the Disneyland theme parks were set to open on July 17, 2020, but Disney backed off those plans when the state indicated to them that they would not be allowed to open at that time. Little has been said by the state to the parks about what they need to do since then, so it is good to finally see some kind of traction on the issue at last. Or at least the start of the many conversations that will need to take place.
(8/25/20) A unique new themed attraction will soon open in the LA market called “Stranger Things: The Drive-Into Experience”. Themed to the popular Netflix series, the innovative drive-through experience is needed now more than ever due to the ongoing shut-down of just about every theme park or major attraction in the state, not to mention the cancellation of all of the big theme park spooky Halloween events.
The attraction is being brought to life by the Secret Cinema group, and will allow guests to travel through the attraction from inside their own vehicles to visit the town of Hawkins in the 1980s. According to the official website tickets will be priced per car and start at $59, with an expected runtime of an hour needed to complete the experience. Tickets will go on sale on August 26 at noon, Pacific Time for your chance to visit the ‘upside down’ in person.
(8/15/20) A little fun news from my hometown of San Diego. Growing up one of my favorite places to go for a little fun with family and friends was the “Huish Family Fun Center” which had video games, some of the best mini-golf, the very first set of bumper-boats I ever saw and more. Over the years the attractions changed owners and in recent years were rebranded as part of the “Boomers” brand of FEC’s across the country. Boomers was owned and run by Apex Parks Group, who was all over Screamscape headlines earlier this year after the group closed down a bunch of their attractions, their two theme parks (Indiana Beach and Fantasy Island) and as suspected, they eventually filed for bankruptcy in Spring 2020.
While most of the remaining assets of Apex Parks Group were gobbled up again by a new “APX Operating Company, LLC” in June, apparently the terms of the ownership deal for the San Diego properties saw those particular properties revert back to ownership by the Huish family once again. Jumping at the opportunity, I’m pleased to see the Huish family has been working away at the old Clairemont location and are set to reopen it soon under the old “Family Fun Center” brand once again. The currently closed El Cajon site is still close and they have not announced any plans for that site yet, or what they may do with remaining property return to them from closed sites in the La Mesa and Escondido areas. Look for the all new Family Fun Center to open in San Diego sometime this Fall!
(8/12/20) According to the OC Register, California officials are now finally reviewing “how and when” they will allow for the state’s theme parks to reopen as part of the Stage 3 plans. No timeline has been set since the plan to reopen Disneyland in July was cancelled but it is good to know that the matter is now under discussion.
(6/29/20) According to this news report Belmont Park in San Diego had apparently opened several of their rides earlier this month. According to the article Belmont Park was then closed on Friday ‘by officials who said it was operating rides in violation of state guidelines.”
(6/10/20) The San Diego Zoo has been given permission to reopen both the Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park (formerly: San Diego Wild Animal Park) starting on June 20, 2020. Certain experiences will not be offered for the time being, such as the Skyfari Aerial Tram and Bus Tours at the Zoo or the Africa Tram at the Safari Park. They ask that you prepurchase your tickets in advance, and face masks are required for all guests age 2 and older.
(5/28/20) According to this news report California has announced that all theme parks will be cleared to reopen as soon as Stage 3 of the reopening plan is ready to go into effect. Unfortunately they have not said when Stage 3 will go into effect, but early anticipation is that it could happen sometime in the next month or two. It is expected that discussions with the state over developing the proper plans to allow the parks to reopen should begin soon.
(5/12/20) According to the Scandia Sacramento website, the FEC attraction has reopened their outdoor attractions… Mini Golf, Batting Cages and Rides.
(5/3/20) According to an update posted to MiceChat, the various parks and attractions in San Diego have placed the return of their operations into the Phase 3 of the plan to reopen California business proposed by the governor. The official plans released to the public at that time did not clearly mention theme parks but the guidelines being put into place by the San Diego attractions are a bit more clear about their intentions, though it still may take months to reach this “Phase 3” state.
The new guidelines include masks to be worn by guests and staff, temperature checks for guests, along with some pre-screening where possible, in addition to all the current social distancing guidelines. Other items mentioned ride vehicle disinfecting procedures, guests to be queued in small family groups only, as well as staggered seating.
(4/29/20) According to some early guidelines mentioned by the state of California regarding a multi-phase plan to gradually reopen businesses in the state, it sounds like the opening of attractions that would normally contain huge groups of guests at one time may not reopen until the laser phases of the plan. This could potentially delay the reopening of big parks like Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood for several months.
While the subject of “theme parks” are never officially mentioned, this is the early thinking based on the first suggested guidelines. Of course, during the early days of social distancing, before stay-at-home orders, theme parks were going to be allowed to stay open at the time. So you never know, with the right proof of concept in place (like the successful reopening of parks elsewhere…) exceptions may be made and parks could open sooner.
(4/19/20) SoCal theme park fans… you’ll be interested in this video. A local area helicopter pilot took to the skies over the Los Angeles area to fly over most of the regions currently closed theme parks. He flies over Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios Hollywood (good view of Super Nintendo World) and Six Flags Magic Mountain, along with a fly by downtown LA. Unfortunately the No-Fly Zone over the Disneyland Resort is still in effect.
(4/5/20) Over the past several decades if you have driven I-15 between Southern California and Las Vegas may recall seeing a mirage in the desert that looked like a closed waterpark over the years. As many locals know, this was no mirage, but was an actual waterpark that started out as a campground attraction called Lake Dolores in the 50s. In the 80’s the lake area started to add some unique waterslides and attractions, and in the 90’s I believe it closed and was repainted in bright colors and reopened as Rock-A-Hoola for a few years before being shut down again.
Now would you believe that the former waterpark may return to service once again? According to the local news new plans to restore the waterpark along with other new developments to the 267-acre site around it have been approved to move forward by the San Bernardino Board of Supervisors. The plans include reopening the waterpark, restoring the 22-acre Dolores Lake and a 2-acre pond for boating, swimming and camping use along with adding other retail and commercial space.
(3/23/20) This one goes out to haunt fans, as well as those who are fascinated by creepy real world locations. The famous Winchester Mystery House in California, while closed to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is now offering fans free “digital tours” of the Estate you can enjoy from the comfort and safety of your home. This special 40+ minute video tour will only be offered while the Winchester Mystery House is closed to the public, and then will disappear forever.
I know the Winchester Mystery House has long been on my bucket list of famous places to visit in person. I had the chance to visit once over 20 years ago, and was disheartened to find out that I had missed the last tour of the day a few minutes before I had arrived. It was worth the drive to see the outside of the house, but I’ve been determined to make it back there someday ever since and see the inside for myself. Until then, this video-tour will help fill the void.
It is also worth mentioning that they are offering pre-purchase vouchers to visit the house when they reopen at 33% discount off the normal box-office price.
(2/28/20) The latest updated on Tyra Banks ModelLand attraction concept now say that it will be ready to open on May 1st and will be located in Santa Monica. You can sign up for more information from the official website which is now preselling tickets starting at $59 for adults and up to $1,495 for a “Fantascene Dream” package. This mega-package includes a photoshoot, a person consultation with fashion and beauty experts, plus a styling and wardrobe change.
(2/17/20) Apparently Tyra Banks was dead serious when she said she wanted to open her own themed attraction to be called ModelLand and they’ve got an official Instagram posting all about it. The idea is that it will be a themed experience where every member of the family can experience what it is like to be a model and include some special shopping and dining experiences as well. According to the posts it will be a “story-driven attraction” showcasing a “fantasy version of the modeling world”, but it is not a theme park, or a museum.
The plan is to open ModelLand in California sometime later this year.
(1/18/20) According to the local news a new 150-foot tall Ferris Wheel attraction has been approved for San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park as part of the park’s 150th anniversary celebration.
(12/5/19) The Dreamscape VR attraction at the Westfield Century City mall in Los Angeles will open a new attraction on December 13th themed to DreamWorks Animation’s “How to Train Your Dragons” animated film series, called Dragons Flight Academy. It is described as an 11-minute experience for up to 8 people to experience together, as you learn to fly a dragon and take part in a rescue mission with help from Hiccup, Astrid, Toothless and Stormfly. Much like the popular VR experience found at The Void locations, this will be a free-roam experience that will track your body’s movements and feature a real-world physical environment for you to touch and feel as you become a dragon rider. Visit the official website to make your reservations now.
(10/30/19) The ongoing story regarding the operations of the Queen Mary continue this week as a “real estate investment trust” connected to Urban Commons called Eagle Hospitality Trust requested to have their trading suspended on the Singapore exchange following the negative reports about Urban Commons status with the Queen Mary in order to calm their investors.
(10/14/19) While the determination on if Urban Commons will default on their lease agreement still has to be determined, it has now been reported that Urban Commons’ plans to update the Queen Mary complex have been pushed back at least another two years, as that will be the earliest they will have the plans finalized and ready for city approval. The project does have additional difficulties however, as they are in the city’s designated “Tidelands” area, which involves a separate funding process, as well as being forced to run every aspect of their plans through the California Coastal Commissions lengthy approval process.
(10/8/19) Urban Commons, the operations company behind the Queen Mary, is apparently in danger of defaulting on their lease agreement, and has not met the obligations to maintain and perform repairs on the ship. Follow the link to read about the various owners and operators who have tried their hand at the Queen Mary over the past several years, as well as to see what needs to be done now.
Florida - (11/8/20) Snowcat Ridge, Florida’s first and only Snow Park, is now set to open for their first season on November 20. This is a seasonal attraction, but they expect to be able to stay open through to March 28, 2021, but you really should consider buying your tickets in advance on their website to make sure they aren’t full ahead of time, and to get the best price. Snowcat Ridge offers two kinds of tickets, a General Admission ticket that allows you access for snow tubing for 2 hours (you pick a time-slot) with all-day access to the Arctic Igloo and Alpine Village, or you can get an Unlimited Snow Tubing pass that gives you access to everything for the entire day.
Look for Snowcat Ridge in Dade City, FL, in the same general property area as the Scream-A-Geddon Horror Park in the Fall and the TreeHoopers Aerial Adventure Park located just west of I-75, about a half-hour’s drive or so North of Tampa.
(10/31/20) Miami has joined the ranks of the cities that now offer an observation wheel as an attraction. They are calling it the “Skyviews Miami” and it just opened this week at the Bayside Marketplace. The wheel is from Ronald Bussink and stands 200 feet tall, with 42 climate controlled cabins that offer music and video displays inside. Each cabin can hold up to 8 people at a time, and due to current COVID-19 restrictions, everyone must wear a face mask while they ride. According to the local news they also have one “VIP” gondola that has a glass floor, custom leather bucket seats and LED lighting. A trip around the wheel takes about 15 minutes with adult tickets set currently at $16.82, Juniors (4-12) $12.95 and kids under 4 are free with an adult. There is also a Florida Resident ticket special, which you can find through the official website.
(10/23/20) After all this time, I’m surprised by this outcome, but it seems Miami-Dade has approved the plans for the Miami Wilds project next to Zoo Miami. The plans include a waterpark, a small hotel and shopping district, along with room for some future expansion plans such as a second hotel down the line.
(10/15/20) According to the local news next week the Miami-Dade County Commission will cast votes on the proposed Miami Wilds water park project. There is quite a bit of opposition to the project now ranging from policial to nature conservationists who claim the site is home to one of the most endangered bat species in the state and this project could cause an extinction. If the project does not get passed for approval, this could likely be the end of the proposal.
(9/12/20) Would you believe that the shelved plans for the “Miami Wilds” project are have resurfaced once again? According to the local news the plans for the theme park project next to Zoo Miami are being pitched once again by a ‘hedge fund manager and team of developers” that would add 200 hotel rooms, 25,000 sqft of retail space, a water park and additional parking lot space to share with Zoo Miami.
We haven’t heard much about Miami Wilds since it was proposed back in 2013. At the time it was also backed with themeing from 20th Century Fox and would have had a lot of themeing based around the the studios various properties, including a proposed water park themed entirely to the animated Ice Age film series.
Georgia - (10/20/20) BlooLoop reports that the Georgia Aquarium will open their brand new shark exhibit on October 23, 2020. The full name of the new exhibit is “Sharks! Predators of the Deep” which promises to be one of the largest and most dynamic shark exhibits in North America featuring floor to ceiling viewing panels.
(1/20/20) Netherworld has confirmed the details about that of that rumored special Valentine’s Weekend event I told you about last month. For one night only, on Feb. 15, 2020, Netherworld will host a Scream in the Dark limited capacity event. Guests will travel into the darkness of The Netherworld equipped with only a small LED candle to light your way. Keep an eye on the official website which says that the tickets will go on sale very soon, and I’d expect them to sell out quickly.
(12/20/19) While this isn’t official yet, Screamscape sources tell me that Netherworld is planning a special Valentines themed event that may take place on Feb. 15th. The tentative name for this is “Scream in the Dark” where you are sent into the Night of the Gordon maze where the lights hav been turned down very low, and you are given only a tiny little LED candle with which to light your way through the nightmare. Keep this in mind as Valentines Day approaches if you want to do a little screaming with someone you love.
(12/15/19) Netherworld, the famous haunt in the Atlanta area apparently put on some holiday fun this month. Unfortunately I didn’t hear about it until today, but they put on a special “Haunted Holiday” takeover of their Night of the Gorgon maze last night, along with a special Mutant Madness laser tag event in their Cold Blooded haunt space. Unfortunately those were a one night event thing, so we’ve all missed out this season, but I will be watching out next year!
But fear not… there is one more special event night planned in December for a different kind of event, one that those of you who really love haunts may enjoy! Netherworld will host a special LIGHTS ON TOUR night through the Night of the Gorgon and Cold Blooded haunts, exposing all the details for you to see. Small groups will be led through with a guide to explain the storylines and production details behind each of the sets, including several opportunities along the way to take pictures inside the haunts. The Netherworld Lights On Tour will only take place on Saturday, December 28th, and is a special reservation-time tour experience, so you need to grab yours online now before they sell out. Currently it looks like the time slots are all between noon and 5:45pm. (It’s also worth mentioning that the new Netherworld home in the Stone Mountain area does feature a highly themed outdoor Laser Tag battle arena (open select days) as well as several themed Escape Rooms that appear to be open daily with advanced reservation purchase recommended to make sure the experience you want is available for your group.
(10/23/19) According to the local area news the president of the Atlanta Motor Speedway showed off concept art of how they could build a casino concept that would cater to the whole family next to the race track. The concept would feature the casino, an indoor / outdoor waterpark complex, a TopGolf style multi-level driving range, multi-screen movie theater, an E-Sports arena and even a theme park with several roller coasters.
I gotta admit, they did their homework and have come up with a fine looking concept, but before anything like this gets built the state would have to pass a new amendment to allow for casino gaming, which would then have to go before a state vote of the citizens.
(6/7/19) I finally found a POV video of the new Georgia Mountain Coaster, now open in Helen, GA. Be warned that this Alpine Coaster is quite a bit shorter than the ones I’ve become more accustomed to riding in the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area. The whole video is only 4 minutes long and it takes 2:50 just to get to the top of the lift hill. That minute of downhill bliss however looks extremely fast and wicked however. Give the video a quick watch yourselves.
(2/2/18) According to our friends at BlooLoop the massive Georgia Aquarium is planning to expand the facility. They call the plan “Expansion 2020” and it would see the majority of the work added to where the current entrance is now, creating an entirely new larger entrance area as well as allow for “new larger exhibit space”.
I’m looking forward to seeing this in 2020. I had the pleasure of visiting the Georgia Aquarium about six years ago and it was just an absolutely stunning attraction that made for a fantastic afternoon with the kids as we visited it and the World of Coke attraction that was within walking distance.
Mississippi - (2/17/20) I’m no longer sure of what kind of timeline they are trying to achieve with the mini amusement park going in for the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi, but there are a few legal matters that have come up it seem. According to this report the resort is now in a $5 million payment dispute with a contractor helping to build the platform and parking garage for the attraction, along with another matter involving over half a million owed to the state of Mississippi for unpaid sales taxes.
(4/19/19) According to this report the new amusement area expansion coming to the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi will feature a rather unique attraction fitting to the brand called the AEROBAR. Riders will strap into seats around a circular shaped bar, complete with bartender standing in the middle, and then slowly rise up 137 feet into the sky for an awesome view while you enjoy your drink. According to the description it takes about 2 minutes to go up and town the tower, and you’ll spend five minutes at the top. A video showing off the first AEROBAR in action in France at Futuroscope can be seen below.
(7/4/18) Since it was announced last year, I had figured this project must have been completed by now, but it seems the expansion of the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi was delayed after getting caught up in some issues with the state over land use. As of last week the project was finally cleared by the state to go ahead and the resort will begin working on their $140 million expansion that will include a new hotel tower as well as an expansion to the amusements being offered that will include a giant ferris wheel and other outdoor rides on site.
Missouri - (7/29/19) A couple of fun new photo updates of local new attractions in the Branson area have been posted by MidWestInfoGuide this week. You can see a few new photos of the Branson Buzzsaw attraction that went up at the Branson Sawmill, as well as a look at a new Skyscraper ride installed at the Track 3 Complex of Branson Tracks.
(7/17/19) The local news reports that construction on the new St. Louis Wheel attraction at Union Station has begin. The new wheel will stand 200 feet tall and be just one of several new attractions which include: an aquarium, mini-golf course, carousel and more.
New Hampshire - (6/14/20) I missed this post made back on April 2, but the Candia Springs Adventure Park in New Hampshire has opted to not open at all for the 2020 season.
New Jersey - (6/24/20) The FunPlex in New Jersey has announced that they will open their outdoor attraction area and waterpark at both locations on July 2, 2020. The attractions will only operate from Wednesday to Sunday at first and use a manditory reservation system. According to the press release the Mount Laurel location will open their new High Velocity 55ft tall drop tower on opening day and will also feature an expanded Splashplex Cafe with a new outdoor kitchen. For all the details visit their official website.
(3/31/20) Bad news for the Fantasy Island amusement park in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. According to the local news a fire broke out in the Scoops Up ice cream parlor. The fire responders were able to put it out keep the damage contained to the ice cream shop, and there were no injuries.
(3/10/20) I just mentioned how staffing problems will likely become a major issue this season as a result of coronavirus cocnerns in my latest article for BlooLoop, especially when it comes to attractions who heavily use foreign student labor. If you haven’t given that a read, please do here.
Backing that up, NJ.com has now confirmed that Jersey Shore attractions are trying to figure out how they will manage to operate this year as the hiring season begins. A shortage of staff over the summer could force these businesses to make some drastic changes to their operations this year that could include shorter hours each day, and even result in a shorter operating season entirely. Normally a large number of foreign workers staff the attractions in New Jersey, with over 10,000 participants listed as being in the State Department’s J-1 Summer Work visa program in 2018 alone.
(12/31/19) For anyone wondering… Bowcraft is now nothing more than a memory as demolition and ground clearing crews have removed just about anything that remains from the once small park in New Jersey. You can find a quick video shot at the site by clicking here.
New York - (10/14/20) A brand new mountain coaster has opened at Lake Placid called the Cliffside Mountain Coaster. From the pictures I’ve seen, I believe the manufacturer behind this model is ADG. The new attraction is said to be 7,650 feet in length, with a 495-foot elevation change, with cars themed like Olympic Bobsleds which is only appropriate given the Lake Placid location.
One thing is probably going to deter a lot of riders however. According to the official website they are charging $55 to ride this thing by yourself, or $65 for a Driver and Passenger ticket. I’m not sure of what the average price for a Mountain Coaster ride is around the world, but I believe most of the ones I’ve been on in the Pigeon Forge area we’ve only paid $10 to $15 per ride. $55 per ride would definitely be a no-no for me, as most of us can buy a ticket into your local amusement parks for an entire day of riding for about the same price.
I’m not sure I’ve been on this kind of Mountain Coaster myself either, as the cars look a little smaller than the Wiegand versions I’ve been on, which might make it harder to fit two adult riders into one car. Plus there is a 300 pound total weight limit per car as well, which is less than other versions I’ve been on too.
(6/23/20) According to a post on Facebook, Sylvan Beach in New York has announced that the attraction will not open at all in Summer 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
(1/15/20) A little piece of the Wizarding World will soon open in New York City. Warner Bros. has announced that they will open the first “official Harry Potter flagship store” in the heart of New York City next to the iconic Flatiron building at 935 Broadway. Look for this massive three-story, 20,000 sqft, themed store to open in Summer 2020 that will feature the largest collection of Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts products in world under one roof. Wand collectors will want to take note as well, as the location will also feature a new collection of ‘house wands’ that will be exclusive to the New York location.
North Carolina - (10/15/20) Tweetsie has announced plans to bring back A Tweetsie Christmas to the North Carolina attraction, which will take place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (plus a few other dates) from Nov. 13, 2020 through to Dec. 31, 2020. This is an evening event, where the park will open at 5pm and feature train rides through the woods departing about every 40 minutes.
Tickets for the special event have already gone on sale through the park’s website where you can pull up all the official details and the list of other activities being offered each night.
(8/24/20) I mentioned this on social media the other day, but the new Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in North Carolina has now been shut down by the state. Despite being open since May, the new attraction was told to close until further notice, saying that they are “an amusement park and outdoor entertainment and cannot operate”. This is unfortunate as an alpine coaster, they were already requiring guests to make online reservations and wear a mask, so it sounded like they were doing everything they could to require social distancing, which should be easy on an alpine coaster.
(7/29/20) I had wondered just what was going on at Tweetsie after my last report. According to the local news, Tweetsie is now shut down again after North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services declared that the Tweetsie Railroad could no longer run during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I suspected, keeping the rides closed was an attempt to put the park into compliance with NC state policy, but now the state has shut them down again. The interesting thing is that railroad attractions like the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad in Bryson City, NC are still up and running, and with the rides closed, all Tweetsie had was the railroad and gift shops, making it no different than the railroad attractions that are still permitted to run.
(7/23/20) A bad lightning storm in North Carolina on Tuesday struck a tree near the new Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster in Banner Elk. Unfortunately several guests were sitting under or near the tree and at least six guests were injured by the lightning strike. The alpine coaster was closed and not running at the time of the lightning strike, though a post on their social media pages on Wednesday confirms that the ride is currently closed while they await a needed part in order to reopen.
(7/19/20) According to the local news, North Carolina’s small Tweetsie theme park has reopened for guests on Friday… kinda. Face masks are required for those 11 and up and social distancing is being used in the park. If you want to take a spin on the 3-mile long Tweetsie Railroad, capacity is limited to 50% and guests have to reserve a time to ride it. However… as indicated, the park really isn’t completely open, as all the “rides” other than the railroad are still closed.
When a news station asked the park how they were able to open when amusement parks are supposed to be closed under the current orders from the governor while North Carolina remains in Phase 2, they did not respond. I’ve got a feeling that the closed rides are the key here allowing Tweetsie to take advantage of a loop-hole that is allowing other Railroad attractions to still operate, such as the Great Smoky Mountain Railroad in Bryson City, NC. Tweetsie’s own website has made some subtle changes from years past, now showing just the “Tweetsie Railroad” logo, and moving the “Wild West Theme Park Adventure” line away from the logo to a location near the bottom of the fold.
The good news is that with the changes the price of admission has also dropped to just $10 for adults to visit and ride the train, and $7 for kids (3-12), though the park is only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays currently.
One odd thing however, as of this writing, I am on their website and when I attempted to purchase a day ticket to the park it says to “select your desired date and train ride time”, but there are zero options to choose from, which makes me wonder if operations for next weekend may be in question or if all dates have sold out already.
(1/11/20) Just a quick update on the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster. It did not open over the fall as earlier anticipated, but according to the latest post from their Facebook page, they are expecting to finally be ready to open sometime in February. Since their website is still under construction, follow along with their Facebook page to keep up on the latest status updates as they prepare to open.
(7/18/19) The first Alpine Coaster in North Carolina is set to open sometime this fall near Sugar Mountain. It will be called Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster and their website is already live so you can sign up to find out the latest project updates. It will feature a 770 foot lift hill and a 2,100 foot long run back down the mountain.
Ohio - (11/15/20) Land of Illusion, an attraction just north of Cincinnati, Ohio will come before their local county commissioners to go over a proposed rezoning request by the attraction to allow for an $190 million expansion project. Land of Illusion was originally going to submit their request in July but withdrew it at the time to rework their plans after getting some significant negative feedback from the locals.
The plan is to rezone 206 acres of the property to make additions that would allow for the attraction to become a truly year-round facility. Already removed from the plans was a planned 20+ acre section that would have included outdoor amusement park rides. Instead they will focus on building up the site with a campground, indoor water park, a 500-room hotel, and outdoor adventure activities.
You can see the current offerings of Land of Illusion at their official website which includes some Christmas holiday drive-thur attraction fun for the holiday season.
(9/17/20) According to various local news reports the I-X Center has announced that the facility will be closing down for good at the end of the year due to the ongoing pandemic conditions. The I-X Center, also known as Cleveland’s International Exposition Center, was hope to most of the large scale convention/shows for the area, putting on Auto, Boat and RV shows as well as the annual I-X Indoor Amusement Park every Spring, which is now sadly retired as well. The I-X Center was also host to the annual Christmas Connection event as well as the I-X Trick or Treat Street Halloween event.
(6/4/20) Good news for Ohio area theme parks and water parks. According to a statement issued by Cedar Fair’s Ohio area theme parks, an Amendment to HB 665 was adopted on June 4 in the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee that will provide for the immediate reopening of Ohio amusement parks and water parks.
So far this doesn’t reopen the parks, but apparently they are waiting for extra guidance from the state Governor that they expect will be addressed on June 4th. (As of this writing, it has not happened yet, so stay tuned).
(6/2/20) Stricker’s Grove (Ohio), which is normally only open to the public a few days out of the year , has announced on their website that the park has chosen to remain closed for the 2020 season for both public and private events.
(5/26/20) Long time coaster fans may remember reading about the Blue Flash, a home-made steel roller coaster built by John Ivers at his home in Indiana. A few years later Ivers went at it again and built a second small coaster called Blue Too. About 18 years after building Blue Flash, Ivers announced in December 2019 that he would be retiring his creations forever.
Then something crazy happened… Tim May, the owner of a haunt attraction in Columbus, Ohio decided he wanted to add a small coaster to his Haunted Hoochie attraction. May had begun to put in a collection of odd and scary looking small rides as part of an ‘Abusement Park’ section of his Haunt and struck a deal with Ivers to take possession of the Blue Flash and Blue Too coasters and have now put them together in Ohio. If the state gives approval for the rides to carry passengers, guests to the Haunted Hoochie could find themselves able to get two of the world’s most elusive coaster credits. A video was created by Coaster Studios showing off the two coasters now fully installed at their new Ohio home, which you can see below.
Oklahoma - (10/8/20) According to this local news article Robby Bell is still working away at bringing back the beloved Bell’s Amusement Park in a new location. According to reports Bell is rumored to have locked in a new location to build a new version of the theme park, but he isn't ready to spill the beans just yet. He's working on all the details needed to make it happen and we wish him the best, especially with plans to build a new $5 million version of Zingo to thrill guests once again.
(5/10/20) For anyone in the Oklahoma area, apparently the Incredible Pizza location there has reopened with new safety procedures in place for food and rides. You can read a great trip report about the new experience posted to Facebook. The report also mentioned that the location seemed to have some kind of new attraction under construction as well, but no word on what it was going to be.
(11/18/19) The latest word from Bell’s posted in a new video is that they are said to be in talks with two different locations where they could rebuild the Bell’s theme park.
(9/21/19) In a follow up to last week’s message that Bell’s Amusement Park was looking to make a surprise return, Robbie Bell has posted a new video message as a brief follow-up to the positive response so far to the idea of bringing Bell’s back. No solid details are ready to be made public yet, but they want everyone to watch their page for the latest news and progress updates.
(9/13/19) I’m not too confident about this, but according to the local news Robby Bell, owner of the former Bell’s Amusement Park, is looking to rebuild his lost park once again. According Robby, it isn’t a matter of when, but rather a question of “where” the park will go. Unfortunately there aren’t any more details to share, and this isn’t the first time this kind of statement has been made, so we’ll have to take it with a grain of salt until we see some kind of physical progress.
Oregon - (4/19/20) The unique Wings and Waves Waterpark in Oregon was purchased along with the property and and vinyard land surrounding the nearby Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum complex by a company owned by Bill Stoller. While the purchase did not include the main museum, it did include the Space Museum building which will be leased back to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, which is also currently the home to Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose airplane.
The indoor aviation themed waterpark, located about 45 minutes from Portland, is a unique structure with a 747 placed on the roof. Guests to the waterpark climb stairs up into the 747 itself to get into the park’s tallest slides which depart from the inside of the plane.
Pennsylvania - (8/30/20) Lakemont Park has announced on their website that the Skyliner wooden coaster is now closed for the rest of the season.
(8/15/20) Poor Bushkill Park… after finally reopening the small Pennsylvania park once again after repairing and rebuilding it from extensive, then the park had to deal with the threat of COVID-19 in 2020. Bushkill was able to reopen to guests on July 3, and was even making plans to open a vintage Roll-o-Plane ride and a few other items by the end of 2020.
Unfortunately I’m not sure what the status of any of that currently is as the park was hit by yet another flood earlier this month. As Tropical Storm Isaias passed by flood waters as high as 9 feet swept through the park and washed away many items, such as a missing purple Whip ride car. Currently the park is still closed as the owners attempt to repair the flood damage, with no estimated timetable in which it might reopen.
(7/1/20) According to this article, Lakemont Park and the rides, including Leap-the-Dips, will open once again this Friday.
(5/9/20) According to this news report the “Stay-at-Home” order in Pennsylvania for counties listed as being in the “RED” phase will be extended through June 4th. The good news is that 13 more counties will switch from RED to YELLOW status next week. These 13 new counties are said to be in the states south-western area, and will include many of those around the Pittsburgh area.
And yes… this includes Kennywood which is located in Allegheny County. Please note that this does not mean Kennywood is cleared to reopen, but it does put them in the right direction to a change to the Green status in the county when the park will be allowed to reopen.
(5/3/20) Screamscape was sent a little more information about the current Pennsylvania rules and phases to reopen the state’s businesses. The state is is taking multi-phase Red / Yellow / Green approach to reopening for each county, so those with lower infection rates will open much earlier than those in urban areas that might have higher infection rates. Currently 24 counties are set to enter the Yellow phase starting May 8th.
This doesn’t mean that any parks in the Yellow can reopen just yet, but it puts them much closer than parks still in the red counties, such as Kennywood. According to our source it appears as if smaller parks like Waldameer, Conneaut Lake and part of Knoebels (which lies in 2 counties) may enter the Yellow phase on the 8th. Even so, it sounds like it may be several weeks before theme parks may be allowed to reopen, with mid July sounding like it may be the earliest we see it happen.
(2/12/20) After dealing with unexpected permitting issues and problems with their new location the Scarehouse is finally ready to open the doors to their new attractions in Pittsburgh’s Strip District. On Friday, Feb. 14th, Scarehouse Presents: BOLD ESCAPE ROOMS will open for year-round operations featuring two new escape room experiences: “Stalked by a Killer” and “data/bass”.
Also, for a very limited time they will re-open The Basement, a high intensity intimate horror experience. Follow this link to learn all about these new attractions.
South Carolina - (11/28/20) Broadway at the Beach will see the return of the Carolina Comedy Club this week. The club closed in March as part of the COVID-19 restrictions, and was set to reopen this week on Friday with some improvements and plans for future growth and is located very close to Dave & Busters.
In other news for the area, North Myrtle Beach’s Barefoot Landing will open the “Crooked Hammock Brewery” in February 2021. The restaurant and craft brewery will include indoor and outdoor seating areas with outdoor fun that includes fire pits, hammocks, bocce ball courts, cornhole and a kids playground.
(11/20/20) According to one of our local area sources, The Hangout addition which was announced to be coming to Broadway at the Beach has been delayed due to COVID-19. At the moment it sounds like they have not set an exact timeline as to when it might be coming, but at this point they are saying it wont be ready to open until at least sometime in 2022.
While looking around they also noticed that it looks like Johnny Rockets has closed down and the big neon logo signs removed from the building entirely.
In other news, Screamscape has been informed that New Jersey based Funplex Amusement Centers has officially broken ground on their new Myrtle Beach amusement park location this week. According to the updated press release, Funplex Myrtle Beach will be “Tropically themed and feature seven family-thrill rides surrounding a walk-up bar and restaurant.” This will “include the tallest, interactive 360º flying jet ride on the market, and first-of-its-kind in North America.”
If all goes as planned, the goal is to open the new Funplex location sometime in Spring 2021.
(8/25/20) According to a local news report some of the live entertainment venues are now set to reopen in the Myrtle Beach area, if they have not already done so. This list includes the Pirates Voyage show, now set to open on Sept. 4, and a mention that the local Medieval Times show reopened back on Aug. 8, 2020. Follow the link to see the status of the area’s many other smaller venues.
(6/6/20) Local news reports that the plans to build the FunPlex mini amusement park in Myrtle Beach have been approved. The new park will feature seven attractions and we now have some concept art and a layout plan to see more about what is planned. Based on what I can gleem from the plans and artwork, it looks like there could be a number of SBF/Visa Group rides here, including a custom Big Air Coaster, a new concept they had on display at IAAPA last November that features a pair of “hamster wheel” looking cars that can flip riders upside down followed by a trio of their spinning coaster cars, so you can choose your experience. Also seen on the plans include what looks like a Space Gun (Twin Hammerhead style ride), a Reverse Time, a drop tower, a couple of kiddie rides and what almost appears to be a Zamerperla Super Air Race ride.
I could be entirely wrong about the Air Race, as the rest of the rides look as if the entire ride package could be from SBF-Visa, but I don’t see anything that looks quite like the ride in the art in their catalog, so I’m really not quite sure what it is. (I’m sure some of you readers who are flat ride experts may be able to help figure it out, as it could be something new not yet posted, like the Big Air Coaster.
In other ride news for the area, I’m told that all the currently set up rides at Broadway at the Beach are now up and running, which includes the West and Central Pavilion Park zones. The former Pavilion Park East is still disassembled. I’m told that some of the rides that used to run at the East ride cluster are sitting in an empty parking lot across the street, so perhaps they will come back in new locations once they finish rebuilding that section of the complex in about a year or so.
(5/23/20) The latest move by the Governor of South Carolina has now lifted restrictions on arcades, museums, aquariums, mini-golf, go-kart and amusement parks in the state, allowing them to reopen. Youth sporting events were also given the green light to return as well. This along with the reopening of beaches that happened several weeks prior should likely see people begin to return to regular tourist locations along the coast, such as Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head.
I’m told that Concert Venues, Theaters and other Performance venues were not included in this reopening order and are still to remain closed along with night clubs, bowling alleys, race tracks and other ‘adult’ entertainment venues.
The Carowinds theme park that sits on the border of North and South Carolina just outside of Charlotte, NC however still remains closed. The Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC has reopened as of today however. Timed-Ticket Reservations are required to enter the Zoo for all guests and members. This will see guests groups allowed into the Zoo through the use of staggered entry times available every 30 minutes to prevent crowding at the entrance all at once in the morning hours. As part of a multi-phase reopening plan, the Zoo will resume operations, but with limited attendance numbers and new health and safety measures in place, and all staff will be required to wear face masks. Guests are not required to wear masks, but are encouraged to do so. Most attractions will be open but certain indoor attractions will be limiting how many guests can be inside at a time. They do note that the tram service between the Zoo and Garden will not be in operation at this time, but guests are welcome to walk along the tram pathway, or to drive their cars around to the entry on the other side of the Zoo & Garden and re-enter there.
(5/17/20) According to a local news report a new mini amusement park may be preparing to open in Myrtle Beach sometime in 2021. According to the plans submitted to the city the project would be called “The Funplex of Myrtle Beach” which would consist of a complex of amusement rides and food outlets to be located along 14th Ave North between Ocean Blvd and Chester St that appears to currently be used for parking.
Currently Funplex has two locations, both in New Jersey, and is looking to expand into a new market. The plans will include a small family coaster that will run the perimeter of the property, a number of other kiddie and family rides, along with a “tall tower ride” that is said to be the first of its kind in the country. If approved, construction could start as early as this fall and be open by April 2021.
(5/5/20) While hotels and some businesses in Myrtle Beach have been allowed to reopen. For starters only those with pre-existing reservations can stay in the local hotels. New reservations will not be accepted until May 15th. However swiming pools, spas and dining areas at the resorts are to remain closed under the governor’s orders for the time being.
(4/23/20) While the Governor of South Carolina announced that the state’s beaches could reopen this week, he left it up to the local counties to make the final decision on when they will reopen. Myrtle Beach has already voted to keep their beaches closed for now, giving the city council time to plan a meeting to discuss their options about a timeline and what restrictions they will put in place. However, public beaches that lie in unincorporated areas of Horry County are now allowed to open, but people must maintain distancing and patrolling law enforcement will disperse any groups of three or more.
(3/28/20) According to this article it appears that the Myrtle Beach area will be closing to tourists through to April 30th. The shut down includes hotels, campgrounds (public and private), rental properties and more. All visitors at these properties must depart by noon this Sunday and all amusement attractions (including movie theaters, golf and mini-golf, arcades, go-karts and more) are to have closed down already as of Friday night.
(3/25/20) For those wondering about the fate of the other shows in the Myrtle Beach area, following the nationwide suspension that shut down Pirates Voyage last week, we have an update! According to a local source Legends in Concert Myrtle Beach and Medieval Times have both suspended all shows indefinitely. The local House of Blues location is also now closed until further notice.
(3/24/20) A reader dropped by the nearly deserted Broadway at the Beach center in Myrtle Beach and snapped a few quick pictures from the huge clearing where the movie theater and rides once stood. So far there is no sign of any new construction for what is to come, but they’ve finally cleared away the debris that was sitting there for months.
(3/7/20) As previously rumored, The Hangout has been confirmed as coming to Broadway at the Beach by Late 2020 offering food, family fun and even live-music year-round on indoor and outdoor stages.
(2/15/20) Le Grand Cirque is coming to Broadway at the Beach for a limited time in 2020. The show will set up shop inside an 850 seat circus tent in the parking lot of Broadway at the Beach offering eight shows a week from June through to October. Le Grand Cirque performed in Myrtle Beach in 2019 as well, but was located in the parking lot of the Waccamaw Center, not far from the former location of Hard Rock Park. You can find out official details and how to book your tickets at the official site.
(1/21/20) Plans to build a go-kart attraction in Hilton Head has been given approval to begin construction by a judge after denying an appeal by a “Indigo Run” group who has been fighting to stop the project from happening for the past year. Look for the new go-kart attraction to be built on a 16-acre section of property joining the Aerial Adventure Park attraction, Up the Creek Pub and Broad Creek Marina.
(1/5/20) Alligator Adventure attraction in North Myrtle Beach at Barefoot Landing announced on their Facebook page that they are closing on Monday to undergo extensive renovations over the next several weeks that will include the addition of “future exhibits”.
(11/22/19) I’m not sure if this will be part of the expanding demolition taking place at Broadway at the Beach, but I’ve been told that the IMAX theater building that sat next to the former MagiQuest building which was being used for a live action magic show is now closed and dark as well. No signs of demolition however, so the building may be repurposed as something else, but everything else beyond it has been laid to waste.
(11/21/19) According to the local news the demolition of the old theater building at Broadway at the Beach came along with some other new demolition victims. Despite signs saying the closure was temporary, the Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf course has now been demolished along with the entire Pavilion Park East area and attractions, as well as the building that was formerly the home to MagicQuest.
So far the only replacement project announced for the area will be a new seafood restaurant/bar called The Hangout, based on an existing business in Alabama, that will inhabit a massive new 45,000 sqft building.
(11/12/19) For anyone still holding out hope that the former Hard Rock Park site in Myrtle Beach could return to life as some kind of new attraction… it isn’t likely to ever happen. The new owners of the site have requested a zoning change for the area away from the current ‘Amusement Park’ use and were given a unanimous recommendation vote from the Commissioners to rezone it all as a new industrial warehouse and manufacturing district. The next official zoning meeting to go over the request will take place on Nov. 19th with the Horry County Council.
(10/30/19) According to this local news report the new Penguin Playhouse inside Ripley’s Aquarium of Myrtle Beach (at Broadway at the Beach) will be ready to open sometime in early 2020. The 5,500 sqft expansion is said to be the largest in the attraction’s 20-year history with floor-to-ceiling glass viewing panels into the penguin habitat as well as all new Oceans of the World aquarium gallery exhibits.
(10/19/19) According to one of our local readers, the wheel at Broadway at the Beach is up and running once again, and they also sent in some new pictures revealing that the old movie theater is now totally demolished to the ground. I’m told that an announcement regarding whatever may be coming to replace it may come just before the end of the year, around Christmas time.
(10/1/19) A new interesting items of note are taking place in Myrtle Beach at Broadway at the Beach. For starters, the Broadway 360 Observation Wheel that sits near Wonderworks is current down and even missing part of the wheel structure at the moment. According to reports the wheel bearings in the axle at the center were in need of replacement, so they are finishing up that work now and plan to get the wheel up and running again within the next week or so.
Meanwhile demolition has begun at the opposite side of the complex. The AMC Theater we just reported as having closed is now being demolished completely. As such the nearby Dragon’s Lair Fantasy Golf and pathways going over to the Pavilion Park rides is also closed. No word on what might replace the theater building just yet.
(9/2/19) The next time you visit Myrtle Beach and drop into the popular Broadway at the Beach entertainment / retail complex, don’t plan on staying to see a movie. After entertaining guests for 23 years the local 16-screen movie theater (last run by AMC) opted not to renew their lease with property owner, Burroughs & Chapin, and simply shut down the theater in August. The theater structure itself was located next to the long-closed MagiQuest attraction building, with the two now leaving a sizable dead-spot in the venue that could be repurposed for something else in the future.
The closing also puts a spotlight on how certain theater locations may be struggling to attract viewers on a regular basis who may be fed up with high prices and lackluster experiences, who are more willing to watch movies at their home theaters instead. It is also worth noting that AMC has another theater in the Myrtle Beach area to pick-up any lost business from this location.
South Dakota - (6/2/20) According to a local news report the Wild Water West waterpark is pushing back their plans to build that steel RMC single-rail roller coaster. Construction is now not expected to start until sometime this fall, which should see it ready to open in time for the 2021 season.
(3/24/20) The planning commission voted to approve the plans for Wild Water West to build their new steel roller coaster. While the world has turned upside-down since the vote, the original plan was to try to begin work on the footers sometime in April to meet an August opening date, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see if the opening of this new RMC Raptor coaster gets pushed back to 2021 right now. Now we just have to wait and see.
(2/27/20) Would you believe someone wants to bring an RMC Raptor style coaster to South Dakota? Apparently Wild Water West in Sioux Falls, which is a mix of a waterpark that also has more traditional FEC style attractions like mini-golf, go-karts, paintball, bumper-boats and a batting cage, has begun to file plans to add an RMC Raptor style steel coaster to the site. The initial permits say it will stand 113 feet tall, and based on the height and artwork shown, it looks like it would be a clone of the Wonder Woman Golden Lasso coaster built at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 2018. Of course the local news article says it will be the largest coaster in South Dakota when it opens… but that’s not much of a stretch because I think the only other roller coaster in the entire state right now is Humpty Dumpty’s Great Fall at Storylandbook Land which opened in 2015.
Texas - (6/5/20) ZDT in Texas, home to the Switchback wooden shuttle roller coaster, has announced that they will reopen on June 6, 2020.
(5/30/20) Sad news for Morgan’s Wonderland in Texas. According to the website the mini-park designed for those with special needs in Texas has confirmed that they will remain closed for the 2020 season, resulting in an estimated $1.3 million loss for the non-profit park. They were sure to confirm that this is not a closure announcement, and they will return in 2021 under new guidelines where they can best serve their special needs guests.
Virginia - (9/7/20) A reader has sent in some new pictures of the Massanutten waterpark upgrades and renovations.
(5/4/20) A group of new construction photos showing off the new slide pieces and tower progress for the three-slide expansion coming to the Massanutten Water Park were sent in to Screamscape over the weekend and posted below. Enjoy!
(3/5/20) According to the local news a 16-year old girl with long braided hair had her hair get grabbed and stuck while riding the new multi-level go-karts track at Fun Land in Fredericksburg, VA. The rules require that long hair be secured up and away to prevent this from happening, which the teen said she did, but it came loose in mid ride, and resulted in the incident. Unable to free her with the tools at hand, Paramedics were called in to help free her from the go-kart.
(12/1/19) A reader sent in a couple of images showing off the preview artwork for a new 2020 outdoor waterpark expansion coming to the Massanutten Resort waterpark in Virginia. According to the artwork it looks like this will be a single tower addition with three different slide styles attached to it along with an “Enhanced Kiddie Area”, and observation area and outdoor bar.
Washington - (6/21/20) The former fleet of Ride the Ducks amphibious vehicles that once operated in Seattle will soon be put up for auction. The former tour company was shut down several years ago following a highway accident involving one of the vehicles that resulted in the deaths of a few passengers and injuries to many more.
(2/24/20) A quick update about the coasters at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. A reader got in touch with the PR manager there and was told that while the Rainier Rush coaster is being torn out for good, the Wildcat is just getting repainted and moved to a nearby location where it will be put up again.
(2/7/20) While we have no photos to back this up yet, a reader reported in after driving past the Washington State Fairgrounds in Puyallup, WA the other day that it looked as if they may have taken down both of the steel coasters that were on site: the Wildcat and Rainier Rush. If anyone else is in the area and can verify this, please do let us know.
Washington D.C. - (1/16/19) Meow Wolf has announced that they will add yet another new location to their growing collection of exhibits, this time in Washington D.C. inside a three-story structure located in Fort Totten. Set to open in 2022, it will feature a new and unique storyline within the attraction.