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Six Flags to Open New Hurricane Harbor in Mexico

Chain is renovating an already existing park

February 9, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

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Six Flags Entertainment Corp. (NYSE: SIX) is expanding its international footprint with a new water park in Mexico. The Grand Prairie company, which operates 18 theme parks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, plans to open a 67-acre Hurricane Harbor water park in Oaxtepec, Mexico. Six Flags first approached the water park’s owner, Mexico’s national social security entity, two years ago about acquiring the facility. Six Flags plans to spend between $16 million to $18 million renovating the property, which has been shuttered for roughly five years. Improvements will include new rides, upgraded food areas and retail facilities and infrastructure that will make the park run smoother. Continue article...

Morey’s Nor’Easter coaster getting makeover for 2017

90% of track being switched out

February 6, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

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In 2017 the Great Nor’Easter rollercoaster at Morey’s Pier will get a makeover.

“Ninety percent of the track is being completely moved and replaced with the newest bending technologies that will make it very smooth,” said Jack Morey, co-owner of Morey’s Pier. “It’s being made right now in Holland as we speak.”

The company in the Netherlands making the new tracks, Vekoma, has an extensive resume making coasters.

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Global search by 'ride pickers' nabs vintage thrills for Cedar Fair

Carowinds and Worlds of Fun to benefit

February 6, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

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A team of scavengers scouring the globe for vintage thrill rides to bring back to Cedar Fair amusement parks in the United States hit the mother lode in Europe and plans to continue the search in Japan. The transcontinental trek took Monty Jasper and a small crew of Cedar Fair maintenance coordinators to Scotland, Holland, Italy, Switzerland and Germany where they collected seven classic flat rides — industry-speak for spinning thrill rides that travel near the ground and/or rise up into the air. “To be honest, I was surprised at all we found,” said Jasper, a 42-year industry veteran and chief ride curator for Cedar Fair’s chain of 11 amusement parks. Continue article...

Islands of Adventure: Hulk Roller Coaster on Its Way Back Up

Segments of rail are in place for the enhanced version of the Incredible Hulk coaster at Islands of Adventure

February 6, 2016 - Daniel Westfall

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The Incredible Hulk roller coaster is being rebuilt, and theme-park visitors now can see parts of the bright green rail being put back into place inside Universal's Islands of Adventure. Some elements of the thrill ride can be seen going into place from the nearby Storm Force Accelatron ride and from over the wall that surrounds the construction site. The chute that encased the Hulk's lift hill stands empty. Construction activity can also be spotted from outside the park along Hollywood Way, a street that connects Universal Boulevard and Turkey Lake Road and runs along the back side of IOA's Marvel Super Hero Island. Continue article...

Dollywood Gives Peek at New Coaster

Pete Owens, director of communications at Dollywood, shows cars for the new Lightning Rod roller coaster on Wednesday

February 4, 2016 - Daniel Westfall

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When Dollywood kicks off its 2016 season March 18, it will do so with a new roller coaster that's like nothing park visitors have ever seen. Lightning Rod will not only be the world's fastest wooden roller coaster, but the world's first launching wooden roller coaster as well, said Pete Owens, Dollywood's director of communications. The coaster, which will have a drop of 165 feet and a length of about two-thirds of a mile, has a wooden structure, but some advanced features designed to improve the ride, Owens said. He described the experience as riders start up for the first hill. Continue article...

Schlitterbahn: World's Tallest Water Coaster Coming To Galveston

The new ride, MASSIV, will be 926 feet long.

February 4, 2016 - Sam Natcher

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As Schlitterbahn Waterpark gets ready to celebrate 10 years in Galveston, the company has announced the construction of the world's tallest water coaster on the island. Called MASSIV, the German word for "massive," the water coaster remains a bit of a mystery since its opening day has not been set and its exact height won't be announced until spring, the company said Wednesday in a news release. But this much is certain: MASSIV will be 926 feet long, twice as long as any waterslide already in the park, according to the statement. A water coaster is more varied than a traditional, gravity-based water slide and has the feel of a roller coaster, the company said. Continue article...

Universal Acknowledges $130 Million Property Purchase

Comcast Corp. revealed the purchase in an earnings report released Wednesday morning.

February 3, 2016 - Daniel Westfall

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Universal Orlando's corporate owner says it paid $130 million for property that appears to be a large tract of land near International Drive and the Orange County Convention Center. Comcast Corp. revealed the purchase in an earnings report released Wednesday morning. Comcast has other Universal theme parks, including another in Hollywood. Executives did not say which city the property is in but the timing and the size – 475 acres – indicate that it's the same Orlando tract that an LLC closed on in December. The property was transferred through a simple quitclaim deed Dec. 18 to the obscure Delaware company and the price was not revealed at that time. Continue article...

Universal Studios adopts 'demand pricing' before its Harry Potter world opens

Universal Studios Hollywood is putting a price tag on the demand for fun.

February 2, 2016 - Daniel Westfall

The theme park is anticipating huge crowds for the April 7 opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you want to be one of the first to experience it, be prepared to pay more than if you want to go, say, on a slow Tuesday in September.

So-called demand, or variable, pricing is nothing new to airlines and hotels. They have long charged higher prices on holidays and during popular seasons. Uber and Lyft charge higher rates during hours when the car-hailing services are in most demand. (Remember New Year's Eve?)

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Will Widespread Drone Ownership Influence Theme Park Design?

Parks utilizing new tech to improve park experience

February 2, 2016 - Andrew Rybarczyk

2016 is poised to be the year of hot new technologies, from the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to the increased use of drones in theme parks. We’ve already discussed how Disney and Puy du Fou are using (or planning to use) drones to bring their nighttime spectaculars to life. That space is heating up and recent developments have raised an interesting question: could drones be incorporated into rides themselves or for interactive activities in theme parks? There’s already some interesting applications in the field. For example, a recent article profiled work done by Tippett Studios using a 3DR Iris+ drone to capture video footage. Continue article...

Cedar Point adds park-wide WiFi for 2016 season

No sense in burning all your data uploading selfies at Cedar Point. Those days are done as the Sandusky scream park is unleashing park-wide WiFi in the 2016 season.

January 31, 2016 - Daniel Westfall

SANDUSKY -- Valravn isn’t the only new feature coming to Cedar Point for the 2016 season.

After much anticipation, Cedar Point Vice President and General Manager Jason McClure says free WiFi will be available to guests throughout the entire park.

“WiFi is good to go,” McClure tells WKYC. “Those guys are installing it through the winter, and we fully anticipate park-wide WiFi for Valravn premiere weekend.”

Kings Island, which is Cedar Point’s sister park near Cincinnati, debuted its free park-wide WiFi last year.

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