---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(11/28/16) Alabama - OWA Construction Photo Update (MORE...)
(11/19/16) More Details About OWA, The New Park Coming To Alabama (MORE...)
(11/14/16) Louisiana - Could Jazzland Rise Again? (MORE...)
(11/14/16) California - Santa's Village Gets Temporary Permit (MORE...)
(11/4/16) New Theme Park Confirmed for Alabama (MORE...)
Alabama - (11/28/16) Our friend JohnnyUpsidedown has posted a nice photo update from the OWA construction site, checking out how things are already shaping up at the new amusement park where ride pieces are starting to quickly pile up.
(11/19/16) Our friends at In The Loop posted a video from IAAPA this week where they got to chat about the new OWA park coming to Alabama in 2017 that will feature four Zamperla roller coasters, including Rollin' Thunder, which will be the Zamperla made clone of Coney Island's Thunderbolt coaster.
(11/4/16) Consider me surprised, but not only was the official announcement made about the new theme park coming to Alabama, but would you believe that they have already started construction?! I'm not talking about dirt pushing or a ceremonial ground breaking photo op... but they have apparently moved past all that and are into the concrete and footers stage for the park's main roller coaster. The new park is called OWA (which apparently means "Big Water", and the park's main coaster looks like a clone of the Luna Park's Thunderbolt (and will also be made by Zamperla). Actually the park will feature two Zamperla coasters... in addition to the big one the park will have a Zamperla made spinning mouse coaster as well.
You can watch a video about the new OWA park (including animated fly-through footage) and resort property which will also include plenty of retail property and plans for a future waterpark. From the look of things, I wouldn't be surprised if Zamperla isn't involved in some way as a park management / operator company for the park. You can see a picture of the site as it looks now, complete with the huge concrete area already poured for the park's central roller coaster pathway.
The crazy thing is that they are also talking about having it ready to open by May 17th, 2017. They're off to a good start already, so lets see where things go from here I guess.
(11/2/16) Is a new amusement park coming to Alabama? According to this local news report the Poarch Band of Creek Indians are planning to build an amusement complex in Foley that will include a roller coaster, about 20 other rides plus shops and restaurants. An official announcement with the full details is expected to take place in the near future.
(8/29/16) Sounds like the legend of the failed Lake City Amusement Park is living on as various lawsuits are being filed from partner companies, former employees and refund seeking passholders about being owed money after the small temporary looking Alabama park closed suddenly at the end of June.
(7/2/16) The portable and temporary "Lake City Amsuement Park" that had set up in Guntersville, AL has been forced to close down after the park lost their "financial backing". Without an investor to back the business, they were unable to continue operating. Unfortunately this has left many looking for some payback... such as season passholders and even the park's own employees who have not been paid for their hours worked.
Arizona - (6/28/16) The Desert Storm coaster in Arizona’s Castles N’ Coasters park got stuck on Sunday, causing the local Fire Department to come in and rescue three riders from the train with a 35 foot tall ladder. According to an email from a reader familiar with the operations of the coasters, they speculated that it became stuck as it was dispatched with only 3 riders aboard, which did not provide enough weight to safely complete the circuit.
California - (11/14/16) Good news for those who want a chance to return to Santa's Village once again... the attraction was granted the needed temporary use permit to open on Nov. 18th, as long as there are no appeals files to stop it.
(10/31/16) An interesting special event took place last week at the Queen Mary's Dark Harbor event called Sliders United. The event brought together the famous "sliders" from the Halloween events at Universal Studios, Knott's Berry Farm, Queen Mary, The Decayed Brigade traveling group and many others all together for a special night of fun. Check out the video below for more.
(10/19/16) Awhile back you may remember reading stories about how California's old Santa's Village attraction at Lake Arrowhead had been purchased and was to be revived as more of an extreme experience style attraction called Skypark at Santa's Village. While this is still the plan, with a hope to open that in Summer 2017, the owners are working to get permission to reopen the old Santa's Village section of the property once again as Santa's Village in time for the winter holiday season. Click here for the rest of the details.
(10/6/16) It's nice to see that in the face of social media pressure there are still a few haunts out there who are pushing their story to an entirely new level of wickedness. Case in point this year for anyone in Southern California, it sounds like you really can't go wrong with the epic haunt experience that is The 17th Door currently open in Tustin. With an all new story that is just wrong on so many levels, you really just need to view the teaser trailer to get an idea of what you are in for and then head to the official website for all the hard details.
(10/4/16) Scary Horror News reports that San Diego's long closed Marshal Scotty's amusement park has risen from the dead once again as Scotty's Scare Trail.
Ahhh San Diego… my birthplace and old stomping grounds. It really is a unique city of it’s own, and deserving of some unique projects… if only everyone would agree on what those projects should be. The city is also famous for fighting back and forth over the future of several large development projects… from the building of the convention center that houses the world famous San Diego Comicon to arguing about if SeaWorld should be allowed to have rides or not, to possible expansions of the San Diego Zoo, or if they will ever give in and build a new stadium for the San Diego Chargers or not.
In a move I found surprising… and I’m sure there will be some squabbling over it sooner or later, it seems that everyone so far has agreed to a new plan to help redevelop the city’s old Seaport Village area downtown into a new project called Seaport San Diego. The anchor attraction of Seaport San Diego, in addition to some new hotel projects, would be the SkySpire, a new concept from ThrillCorp, as an alternate to the PolerCoaster concept. SkySpire is an observation tower style structure that features a spiraling track around the outside where gondolas would slowly rotate and rise to the top and come back down again, offering a stunning view of not only Downtown San Diego, but of the city’s scenic bay view as well. You can learn more about the Seaport San Diego project and see concept artwork here.
(4/22/16) The LA Times reports that a developer wants to spend $250 million to build a new entertainment and retail complex near the Queen Mary in Long Beach that may even feature a giant Ferris Wheel. Currently the 45 acres surrounding the Queen Mary is made up of mostly empty parking lots. Other developments being looked at include building a 200-room hotel on the land near the historic vessel, and possibly an amphitheater.
The developer, Urban Commons, who was chosen by the city as the new leaseholder of the complex is ironically one who made headlines for a rather odd new business plan at an Orlando hotel they now own. The group purchased Orlando's popular Nickelodeon Resort, but in a move that most found to be quite baffling, opted to drop their valuable Nickelodeon themeing agreement rather than renew it, and instead re-brand the Orlando resort as a regular old Holiday Inn instead. With that event fresh in my mind, I'm not quite sure what kind of vision they have for the Queen Mary property.
Connecticut - (8/18/16) According to this report six kids got an electric shock while riding the Scrambler at Ocean Beach Park in Connecticut. The group recieved various levels of shock, from tingling to one case of “small burns” on the hands as they were gripping a metal railing while exiting the ride. The cause of the electrical surge is not yet known.
Florida - (6/30/16) The proposed plans from Triple Five to build the American Dream Miami mall, that could be the largest mall in America when it opens, have been pushed back over concerns about the traffic the mall would generate to the site. They had hoped to break ground on the mall before the end of the year, but that wont be happening, instead they will have to address the concerns of the traffic impact study and make changes to the master plan and submit their new plans to the county commission sometime next year.
(5/6/16) BlooLoop has posted a great piece about Zoo Miami's new Florida: Mission Everglades expansion project that not only features new animal habitats, but also an Air Boat themed flume adventure ride that will get guests up close and personal with some of the animals.
(4/8/16) No one is quite sure what has happened yet, but a 23-year old worker at the Miami-Dade County Fair in Florida was killed while inspecting a new ride called The Hurricane. The ride will remain closed while they investigate just what happened. It was reported that the ride was not in use at the time, but according to one fair worker, the man was crushed somehow during the inspection process. OSHA and various officials are conducting an investigation and are expected to release their official report soon.
(3/31/16) It has been months since I've heard even a peep about the proposed Miami Wilds, but according to the local news the US Fish & Wildlife Service may throw a monkeywrench into the plans as they are proposing to add the "Miami Tiger Beetle" to the endangered species list. The critter was already thought to be extinct 30 years ago until scientists discovered some living in 2007 in a "pine rocklands" site close to where the park is planned. This will affect the site greatly, controlling where they can and can't build, but for now they are still waiting to find out what the new boundaries will be.
(12/14/15) A few more details about the new flume ride / animal exhibit attraction under construction Zoo Miami has been posted by the local news, which will be part of Zoo Miami's new Mission Everglades area.
(12/9/15) A new flume attraction from WhiteWater is coming to Zoo Miami that will use an 8-passenger slow-moving boat themed like an airboat ride. You can see the boat and hear WhiteWater talk about it in the video below from our friends at In The Loop. The ride will go into a newly renovated area near the entrance to the Zoo. Construction has already started and is expected to open in early 2017 right now.
Georgia - (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.
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 - (3/4/16) Fantastic news for The Walt Disney Birthplace project, as the restoration project for the small home where Walt Disney was born in Chicago was just granted a $250,000 donation from the Walt Disney Company. According to Bob Iger, “Chicago holds a special place in the history of The Walt Disney Company. The Disney story actually started here…in a house on Tripp Avenue, where Walt Disney was born. The house is still standing at the corner of Tripp and Palmer in Hermosa, and it means a lot to us to see the effort to restore it back to its original condition….and to hear that it will one day be a children’s creativity center, inspiring future generations of young dreamers and innovators.”
And the following is a statement from The Walt Disney Birthplace: “The Center for Early Childhood Creativity and Innovation at The Walt Disney Birthplace would like to thank The Walt Disney Company for their incredible support of our restoration efforts. Walt Disney is one of the most enduring portraits of The American Dream. The “worker’s cottage,” built by his father and designed by his mother, where Walt and Roy were born, symbolizes the story of their humble beginnings to the formation of one of the most creative, innovative and beloved companies in the world. Bob Iger’s acknowledgment of The Walt Disney Birthplace fuels our mission of enabling young children and their families to see that the world is full of possibilities and wonder. With their own creativity and innovation, any child can achieve The American Dream.”
So great news for a great restoration project. If you follow along with Screamscape on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook you may have seen pictures of the house itself back in late December as I was in the area and decided to drive by to check it out while the restoration was still ongoing.
Louisiana - (11/14/16) Many of you may remember the name "Jazzland", which was the original park built that eventually became the short lived Six Flags New Orleans theme park. Over the years there have been many efforts to try and rebuild, reopen or renovate the site into something else, but none have ever seemed to gain traction. I was surprised to see that one of those efforts is still attempting to push forward with a plan to reopen the site as "Jazzland" once again, along with a new waterpark section it seems as well as a concept to build some studio soundstages nearby as well.
The group's official website mentions new plans to move wax figures in storage from the closed New Orleans Musee Conti Historial Museum to a new display at the park in the future, the group's Facebook page is also somewhat active with periodic updates on their efforts as recent as one month ago. While many have simply written off the site after all these years, I do have to wonder if there is still hope to see some kind of new attraction resurface here after all these years.
Minnesota - (1/21/16) An interesting new project called the Mall of Entertainment has been proposed for Albertville, Minnesota by Sony Pictures and a local development company that is described as an “indoor family theme park”. The project is said to have an indoor waterpark, a Sony Pictures Back-Lot “edutainment” experience, plus an on-site 275 room Marriot hotel and convention center. They hope to begin construction by this Spring or Summer and open by late 2017.
Should be interesting to see if this is a real project or another vaporware style announcement with no financial backing, but for now take a look at the official website and see what you think. Given that the Mall of America is about a 45 minute drive from here however, I’m guessing that they are hoping to tap into that same vein.
Mississippi - (10/10/16)
Based on a piece of concept artwork (see photo) released for the new proposed expansion of the Margaritaville resort in Biloxi, the plan includes other amusement rides, such as a Star Flyer, in addition to a Ferris Wheel and the new hotel tower.
(10/6/16) It seems the new Margaritaville resort in Biloxi has been way more popular than the owners anticipated. According to the local news the resort has already come before the city council to show off a proposed $140 million expansion plan for the rest that would see a second hotel tower added along with a large Ferris Wheel and even more amusement rides. It seems the need for family entertainment in the area was severely underestimated and while the resort sits on property that is zoned to allow for Casinos to operate, the owners of Margaritaville report that gambling is not at all in the plans for their resort attraction.
(8/29/16) Is a new amusement park on the way to the Mississippi Gulf Coast? A reader sent in a link to a website for something called the "Dreamlanding Adventure Park". Right on the front page they claim that the park project has been "Approved & Funded" and they are shooting to open in Spring 2018 if they are able to break ground before the end of this year.
So an 18-20 month construction timetable to build a major new amusement park is ambitious, but not impossible if they are far enough along with their planning I suppose. So assuming this is all legit and real they say the park will feature four lands: Loggers Run Territory, Tumble Weed Gulch, Country Fair and Bayou Country, plus a "Main Street Mississippi" that will serve as the entrance area.
As far as the lineup of rides goes, their plans sound a little more over the top as they claim to have 5 major roller coasters and five minor coasters planned for the park's opening phase, but 10 coasters on opening day sounds a bit too ambitious, especially when it comes to funding all this along with everything else planned.
Moving on they also mention 4 dark rides, two more "target type dark rides", two water rides, three "animatronic theater shows" and 33 "hard rides" for adult/teens and 10 more kiddie rides, plus a train around the park and a steam boat inside the park.
I like the idea, and there is even more about wanting to build a rail or monorail style mass transportation system that will connect the park property to nearby other attraction and casino tourist areas in the nearby Biloxi area. This makes sense, as many old classic parks started off as "trolley parks", where a trolley line that ran through a busy city would feature a small amusement park at the end of the line outside the city.
So is this project legit? It seems real enough on the planning side, looking through past news reports the group (Fun Box Amusement) was looking at sites earlier this year as well as hoping to take advantage up to $20 million of public funding that would come from the BP oil spill relief money that was earmarked specifically for "tourism development" along the coastline. I don't know if they have bought the land yet, but as I've learned over the years nothing is real until the real construction actually begins, so for now we'll wait and see.
Missouri - (8/29/16) The Runaway Branson Mountain Coaster opened up earlier this month. In addition to the attraction releasing a good POV video of the layout, one of our regular contributors went this past Wednesday and was able to get some video and pictures in areas not accessible to the general public thanks to the generosity of the Management.
Be sure to check out both videos below.
(8/2/16) Branson Mountain Adventure Park, located just off of Branson’s famed strip, will initially open with an alpine mountain coaster by Aquatic Development Group. This will be the manufacturers sixth installation of a mountain coaster. The ride will have a total track length of 4,900 feet featuring at 1,900-foot-long lift and a coasting section that is 3,000 feet long. Total elevation change will be 330 feet from the top to the bottom and the layout features two horizontal loops as it heads down the side of the mountain.
Grand Opening Date announced and changed: Originally The Runaway was scheduled to open on August 5th, but the parks website and Facebook page have announced the Grand Opening will now be on August 12th. However, the parks Facebook page did state that they may very well have a “soft opening” this week and that they would let people know on their social media and website if and when this happens. From the sound of things, it seems like a soft opening sometime this week will probably happen.
Elsewhere, you may not have heard of Hydro Adventures in the southeast corner of the state. The park was originally called The Bluffs. The park was purchased by United Parks sometime after 2011 and has gone through a couple of name changes. They expanded the waterpark by adding a 6 lane OctopusRacer from ProlSilde. They also refurbished the entire property. On a side note, United Parks is the company that now has the contract to run Playland, in Rye, New York.
The park has added several dry rides to its lineup in the last couple of years such as a scrambler, tilt-a-whirl, tea cups, a Moser drop ride, two coasters. The first was the Tiger Coaster from Route 66 Carousel Park in Joplin, Missouri last year. New this year is the former 1970 Galaxy Rip Tide Coaster from the now defunct New Miracle Strip Park in Panama City, Florida. Now called the Galaxy 500, the ride opened up on July 7th.
(3/20/16) The local news checks in on the proposed new Branson Mountain Adventure project we mentioned back in December (12/4/15 below) who will build the area's first Alpine Coaster (aka: Mountain Coaster). The report says that the mountain coaster will be just over 5,000 ft in length and down a 350 ft elevation change. If it ends up anything like the Alpine Coasters added to the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area in Tennessee, this should prove to be the next big thing in attractions for the area.
Nebraska - (5/16/16) For those interested, the girl involved in the carnival ride accident in Nebraska is making some great progress in the hospital, but still has a long way to go. Follow the link to read about how things are progressing.
(5/13/16) Just a quick update on the carnival ride accident in Nebraska. I've narrowed down the ride itself to being a Hustler (from Grover Watkins), and not their similar creation known as a Tempest. The ride's themselves seem to be very similar, though the Hustler cars match up to the one from the accident best, as they have a solid (not mesh) exterior walls, and a solid floor. This has led many to wonder just how the girl's hair got caught in the machinery, as it should be impossible from a normal seated position.
Based on video footage shot on the ride by a friend we know the girl was seated next to the ride's door. Then in this report there is a quote from the girl's friend who was on the ride with her that they "felt a jerk, like they had hit something", causing the girl to slide off her seat, onto the floor of the car just before her hair got caught. Later on the article also mentions that an a ride safety expert they talked to was surprised to learn from the report that the ride also had no seat-belts to prevent this, as the "instructions released from the manufacturer ask that seat belts be checked daily".
Again, I've never been on a Tempest or a Hustler myself, and I don't think I've ever seen one of these with my own eyes, so I'm not sure if seat-belts are the norm for this kind of attraction or not. But it does sound like we're getting a little closer to seeing how this accident may have happened.
(5/11/16) A horrifying accident took place at a Cinco De Mayo carnival in Nebraska on Saturday when an 11-year old girl riding something called Kings Crown (I've never seen a ride like this before, anyone know what it is?) suddenly found herself having her scalp torn from her head by the ride, and suffering possible eye damage as well. While the accident itself can't be seen, there are some graphic images of the little girl recovering in the hospital that are truly heartbreaking to see in the local news report. At this point we at Screamscape can only wish for a speedy and full recovery.
New Jersey - (10/1/16) In a bit of a confusing message, despite claiming that Bowcraft was not for sale, the local planning board has now unanimously approved a redevelopment plan submitted by Bowcraft and ATA Developers that will replace the amusement park with a complex of around 200 apartments and townhouses.
(9/22/16) Despite earlier news articles claiming that the Bowcraft amusement park in New Jersey would be closing down to make way for new housing construction, another posting that appears to be from the park claims that the story is not true, the park will reopen in 2017 and that the property has not been sold. The park will also host a new Halloween attraction this October which you can find out more about here.
(7/29/16) According to several media reports the FunTown Pier amusement park that was destroyed by Sandy is not likely to get rebuilt if the local planning board gets their way. The “Seaside Park” planning board has proposed a new height limit for rides in the area to be only up to 100 feet tall, which would prevent several of the piers bigger rides from being rebuilt. The proposal has been sent up to the council to vote on and if it goes through, the FunTown Pier will not be rebuilt. According to this article, the only way the pier’s can recoup the $15-20 million needed to rebuild the attraction is to include major thrill rides that can be as tall as 250 feet. The current plan being proposed will only allow for rides 50 feet tall on the southern half of the pier and up to 100 feet tall on the northern half. While the FunTown Pier is asking for a 250 foot limit, they say that only 3 or 4 of the 20-30 rides that will be built at the attraction would even approach that height.
Now I’m just going to throw an idea of my own out there, but it isn’t entirely unheard of for attractions like this to be given a special height limit permit that would keep the majority of the attractions at the recommended height limits, while allowing for a specific but limited number of attractions to go higher. This would give them the ability to have those 3 or 4 tall rides, but if they want to build another one in the future, one of the older tall rides would have to come down. For example, I believe SeaWorld San Diego has a similar set of limits in their masterplan that was used to allow for them to build Journey To Atlantis several years ago.
(12/28/15) A 350 foot PolerCoaster attraction was approved for the Atlantic City area for Florida developer Joshua Wallack, who just scored a victory not long ago for an even bigger version of the attraction coming to Orlando’s International Drive area under the name Skyplex. The Atlantic City version will be smaller in both size and scope, as it wont have a huge observation platform at the top either, nor as big a complex at the base either, but it will feature a drop tower ride in addition to the Polercoaster ride, and will have some kind of “nightlife development” at the bottom.
New York - (7/4/16) The Void has something new to share this month... but not in Utah. They are opening their first public experience at Madame Tussauds in New York City and it is called Ghostbusters Dimension, themed to the Ghostbusters films as part of a partnership with Sony Pictures. You'll strap on The Voids VR gear (backpack, feedback vest and blaster), feel the rumble of the proton pack in your hands and go on a Hyper Reality ghost hunt in a New York apartment complex. CNet has posted a great preview video of the new attraction at Madame Tussauds.
If any of our readers as had a chance to try this in person themselves, I'd love to hear about your experience because this does look to be an incredible use of VR technology to bring a themed attraction to life in a way that I've never seen before.
Ohio - (10/19/16) A video posted on YouTube shot by a Drone shows off footage confirming that the Big Dipper at Geauga Lake was quickly torn down on Oct. 17th, 2016.
(10/8/16) According to this news update the planned demolition of the old Big Dipper coaster still standing at the closed Geauga Lake site is slated to begin in the next couple of weeks.
(9/23/16) For years the coaster fans have been waiting for someone to save the Big Dipper from Geauga Lake. The coaster was purchased at an auction right off the bat, but was never removed from the park itself, where it has simply sat rotting away for years.
With the waterpark now closed, and the site increasingly becoming an attractive lure difficult to resist for those who want to explore the ground, this report claims that Cedar Fair will soon come in to remove, demolish and dismantle about anything left on the site, and this includes the Big Dipper coaster as well.
Oklahoma - (7/16/16) Remember a few years ago when California’s famous Santa Monica Pier sold off their old ferris wheel and installed a brand new one? The old wheel was auctioned off and sold to someone who planned to restore it and reopen it in Oklahoma City and that time in now. You can see it now set up in OKC and lighting up the sky in the two tweets posted below.
Pennsylvania - (10/27/16) A fun video showing off the infamous Terror Behind the Walls haunt attraction at the Eastern State Penitentiary (Philadelphia) was posted by our friends at Midway Mayhem. It includes a look at the attraction, some details about the new Hex Challenge this year and an interview with creative director Amy Hollaman.
(10/8/16) It wouldn't be an exciting Halloween season with a new video showing off the latest offerings from ScareHouse, located in the Pittsburgh area. This year Scarehouse features three entirely separate haunted house experiences (The Summoning, Infernal and Nocturnia) and for those brave enough to try it... The Basement has returned more scary than ever. (Note: The Basement is a separate cost experience for those who are 18+ and willing to sign a waiver) Visit the official website for more information.
(8/8/16) According to a report at Onezumiverse the popular Pennhurst Asylum haunted attraction has been sold to new owners. Currently it is unknown if it will open as a haunted attraction this fall or not.
South Carolina - (10/28/16) The Pirates Voyage Dinner & Show attraction in Myrtle Beach will put on a Christmas adventure show this winter, starting on Nov. 10th and running through to New Year's Eve. The holiday show will show off the pirates, decked out for the Christmas season that will feature their own take on a classic Christmas tale as the Mystical Christmas Spirit takes the pirate Captain on a voyage through time and space to find the true meaning of Christmas.
(8/26/16) Looks like the Myrtle Beach area is getting a major new attraction soon. The exact location in town isn't posted, but as I just discovered that the large MagiQuest attraction at Broadway at the Beach had closed down, I have to wonder if this might be heading there, or somewhere nearby.
In any case, the new attraction in development is called "The Simpsons Experience" and a lot of details about the attraction were discovered in a job posting on the IAAPA website in the hunt for a GM to run the attraction for SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment. They describe the attraction as being "a world-class themed attraction completely immersing guests into the world of the Simpsons. The experience will incorporate a fully-themed exterior, full-size Simpsons characters for souvenir photos, a state-of-the-art 4-D Theater with a custom Simpsons 4-D film. The experience continues with a totally themed Kwik-E-Mart convenience store serving as a retail/food & beverage experience featuring Apu and his Squishee 3000 frozen drink machine, donuts, hot dogs, Buzz Cola, themed merchandise and much more."
The job opening for the GM was just posted on August 10, 2016 and is open for applicants through Sept. 15, 2016. I don't know where they are as far as construction goes, but if anyone is in the Myrtle Beach area soon and spots something, please do let me know what and where this is going.
South Dakota - (7/22/16) A new theme park has been proposed for South Dakota near the city of Deadwood to be called Gold Nugget. As far as I’m aware, this would be the only theme park in the local region, but don’t look for this to be a Six Flags size property as the proposed investment is said to only be between $40-80 million. For comparisons sake, the old Jazzland park near New Orleans (which eventually became Six Flags New Orleans before Hurricane Katrina wiped it out) was built for about $100-120 million back in 2001 dollars, so adjust your expectations for this park’s size and offerings.
Tennessee - (9/5/16) Unfortunately another accident has taken place at a fair this past weekend, this time at the Delta Fair in Memphis on a Moonraker ride. (Anyone know who makes this ride? I don't think I've seen this one myself before, though my wife remembers seeing one when she was much younger.) The ride itself worked as designed and when the system detected a problem it shut down the ride sequence. The disk stopped spinning and began to lower itself from a sideways position down to the horizontal loading position. Unfortunately the ride operator panicked during the safety shutdown procedure and pressed an override button that unlocked the seat restraints. While the majority of the riders were fine, it was the one's highest in the air that came out of their seats, but thankfully no one was seriously hurt. According to the report two adults and six children went in for a medical exams but were able to walk away under their own power and with no visible injuries, though one of the two adults was actually the ride operator who was just too shaken by the whole incident to function.
(8/12/16) It’s been a rough summer for the traveling carnival ride industry, with several high profile accidents hitting the news. There was the young girl who was scalped in Nebraska while riding a Hustler when her hair somehow got caught. Then in Virginia a woman riding a portable drop tower fell when her entire seat-unit somehow detached from the tower. Add in the other accidents we’ve had in the past few weeks, many involving children, at the established parks, and this is just not shaping up to be a good year for the industry in general.
The latest accident took place at a Tennessee county fair where three young girls fell from a Ferris wheel. I know what you may be thinking… wondering if they were standing up or doing anything wrong, but no… this is entirely not the case. What happened is something I’ve never seen before, as a mechanical problem somehow caused the capsule they were sitting inside to tilt 90º sideways half-way up the wheel, and the three girls (6, 10, and 16) spilled out as it overturned, dropping about 25 feet. The older girls have already been released from the hospital with minor injuries, but the youngest is still in critical condition.
Texas - (5/3/16) Horrible news this week as one teenager was killed in El Paso, Texas when she was thrown from a flat ride called The Sizzler at the El Paso church carnival. The Sizzler (from Wisdom Industries) appears to be their attempt to copy an Eli Bridge Scrambler style flat ride. They haven't said just how the accident happened but there were 3 girls in that particular rider unit, and according to the report a 16-year old girl was first thrown from the car into a metal barricade and later died at a nearby medical center. A second girl (15) was also thrown next, who suffered non life-threatening injuries. The third girl in the car managed to hook her arms around the safety bar and was not thrown out.
(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.
Utah - (10/17/16) It seems a new small theme park opened in St. George, Utah last week named Thunder Junction. This isn't a regular theme park however, and it has no roller coasters or major thrill rides, but instead this new park is described as an 'All Abilities Park' for kids and families alike of "all abilities". "Thunder Junction is touted as a park for people of all abilities. It includes accommodations for those with disabilities, including secured swings and a wheelchair trail, among many other thoughtful accommodations."
Admission to Thunder Junction is actually free, but guests have the option to pay $1 per person to ride the park's train around the park. You can see a ton of pictures and a video of the park shot during the grand opening on Oct. 8th here and find out more at the park's webpage.
Virginia - (10/1/16) While many feel that there is very little chance of this project happening given the cost as well as the likely to come push-back from the locals who dislike large projects of this nature in the area, there is an interesting new push for a 700-acre development project in Williamsburg to be called Kingsland USA. The project is large and includes a huge number of features ranging from skyscrapers for forward looking company space, assisted living space, hotels, virtual reality projects, retail areas and even an indoor theme park and indoor waterpark. You can visit the official website for more information, or hit up one of the local news stations to see how the locals are already trying to shut down the Kingsland USA project.
(7/28/16) An unfortunate accident took place in Virginia at a carnival operating at the Frederick County Fairgrounds on the portable “Super Shot” drop tower ride. According to the report a 47-year old woman was riding the attraction and as it dropped, somehow the entire seat framework she was in detached from the rest of the ride vehicle in mid drop and stuck the ground. Best estimates say she fell about 40 feet, still strapped into her seat, and sustained multiple injuries. She has been transported to a nearby hospital and her condition has not yet been reported. The local news report has aerial photos of the site where the Super Shot has been shut down and you can see the detached seat laying in the grassy field nearby.
Washington - (8/25/16) A new attraction is opening in Seattle this week at Pier 57, home to the Great Seattle Wheel. The new attraction is called "Wings over Washington", which can essentially be described as being very similar to Disney's Soarin' style flight simulation ride, (they even share the same hardware manufacture - Dynamic Attractions) but this smaller version is all about the sights of Washington state. The ride film itself is from our friends at Super78 and it will have a grand opening ceremony held today, August 25th.