Dear Coaster Friends,
I know many of you are attending HoliWood Nights, or wish you were like me, this weekend. To add to the excitement we wanted to give away a desktop wallpaper to keep the memories fresh even after you leave. Please feel free to share this with all of your coaster loving friends, and if you want to say thanks give us a subscribe on some or all of our social media.
Dear Coaster Friends,
The 2019 season is now in full swing, there are a handful of new coasters open, and another good number scheduled to be opened. Lots of fun to be had and lots of fun to look forward to. There is something that has not happened yet and people are already all fired up. That would be the 2020 ride announcements. I did speculate before the season started for 2019 that 2020 was already looking to be epic. The lead time on some of these 2020 projects were so long that many parks were having a hard time keeping it a surprise, or were forced to give limited info out very early. The excitement has turned into frustration among many because of the shear amount of time they are chewing these rumors up. I have to say rumors since the parks have not announced or have only teased limited info. I wanted to take a moment to rant at your rain cloud and blow some sunshine on these rumors.
Hersheypark has been open for weeks now and guest have been entering the park through the construction zone that will later become Chocolatetown. The park has guests walking past teasers that point out all the park records there new roller coaster will take. The park had to show a glimpse of the ride last year since the construction process for the revamped entrance and roller coaster would be tied together and take two years to complete. This new ride appears to be a B&M hyper coaster that would be an awesome addition to any park just based on ride type, but nobody seems to care at all. Hershey already has Skyrush, and enthusiasts took issue with having two hypers at the same park. I didn’t see this option coming and was extremely surprised when this info was released. However once I took a step back and thought about it I got on board fast. Skyrush is one of my favorite rides so anything good at the same park is good news. Skyrush is a hyper, but not the style of hyper that immediately jumps to mind if I told you to imagine a hyper. Right now Comet would be the airtime ride, and I like Comet, but it does not feel like a large signature ride. However a new B&M hyper coaster will feel like a large signature ride, but nobody seems to care. The ride has the potential to offer a comfortable ride with loads of capacity, and a long layout. The park is making a choice that would improve the experience and value of visiting Hersheypark. The other issue with this ride that people take issue with is the leaked name, Candymonium. Sorry, Hershey I’m going to leave you to defend that choice yourself. (Disclosure: Hersheypark is my favorite park.)
Let’s head south to Busch Gardens Tampa where Gwazi is getting the Iron Horse treatment. This transformation has been something enthusiasts have been clamoring for, for years. So everyone is happy? WRONG! Gwazi was originally a dueling coaster so many assumed that the RMC version would be a dueling coaster. The park had a different plan, they wanted to go big and claim records. I think they made an interesting choice because it allows them more freedom to use any of the footers or structure from either side to create their layout. They also save money because they only have to design and fabricate one circuit, they then took some of that savings to really build up the lift structure and turn this into a very large ride. Bigger is better so everyone is happy? Wrong again! This will be the tallest, fastest, and steepest hybrid coaster RMC has made in North America. The next non-issue was if it will be better than Steel Vengeance, and that would make it worse? I don’t understand how some people can enjoy or not enjoy a ride based on another ride existing. My favorite candy is Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, but that doesn’t mean a plain chocolate bar is bad. In fact if you cannot enjoy a candy bar or a massive RMC then we aren’t really friends. RMC has a great resume right now and I have no reason to believe that they cannot be creative enough to make an awesome experience that is unique, even if it doesn’t match whatever you were imagining.
I think everyone knows where we are going next, and that is Kings Island our favorite place to speculate and complain about. The level of excitement coming out of Kings Island from their fans for the lead up to the plans that leaked was epic. People were ready to see the most record setting giga, to the first B&M strata. When you start with a list of never been done befores you are only going to be let down. Many fans and enthusiasts felt let down when the scale of the ride layout seemed to more closely resemble Leviathan than exceeding Fury 325. The economics of building a roller coaster really don’t play a factor into enthusiasts imagination, but they do for the ones making the investment. A 300 foot roller coaster is going to wow the population around Southern Ohio, and that is who Kings Island is trying to attract and impress. Going a bit taller and a bit faster, or adding length to the track is going to add cost, but not add to the impact it will have to their target audience. The ride looks interesting from the leaks, it looks to combine some of the best elements from Fury and Leviathan together. It also still has the potential to show us something new, we only have a limited glimpse of the plans and not a full picture. So many people who are disappointed now, may feel differently when the park releases a rendering of the ride. There are many who are grasping at anything to try and find that these leaked plans are not authentic from outdated logos, to speculation that the documents are a hoax from Kings Island, or they just feel like they know these plans can’t be real because they aren’t labeled, “THE BEST COASTER IN THE WORLD”. If you think I’m talking about you personally, I’m not, so many people have sent us messages all saying the same thing.
These three examples just show how exciting 2020 may be, but the emotions I am seeing run in contradiction to the information. How can it be that we are getting a year with the most major installations in recent memory; and the reaction to this news is a combination of disinterest and Monday morning quarterbacking the design decisions you don’t even know are real? I just have a thought, if someone buys you a multi-million dollar shiny new toy don’t criticize it. Just say thank you, because it may just be a world record Super Loop next time.
Dear Coaster Friends,
No one is excited for for Universal Islands of Adventures new roller coaster? No one? Intamin fanboys? ::crickets:: Hmmm, what went wrong here? Universal is spending untold millions of dollars to create perhaps one of the most immersive themed roller coasters ever in Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and the enthusiast community seems silent about it. Maybe the name is too long? Nah that can’t be it, plus I’m sure it will simply be referred to as Hagrid’s anyway, thoosies love nicknames. Is it the theme? I don’t think so either, people have generally been enamored with the Harry Potter theming at all the Universal Parks. Too family, maybe but I have heard many people freak out over Oscar’s Wacky Taxi & have even been told Verbolten is the best ride at BGW. I think the real reason it has been willfully ignored has to do with Dragons. The plot of land was home to the first ever scrapped B&M coaster, and I think that people are still coming to grips with that.
If you have been ignoring or shunning this ride it might be time to start paying attention, because it is opening in less than a month and has already been testing. While the park has told some secrets about the coaster, and offered limited previews much is still unknown. The most important question that needs to be answered is what will the full layout look like? However we do know that it is manufactured by Intamin and will feature a brand new style of train with asymmetrical seating. It will combine show elements and theming on a new scale. The trains themselves will offer slightly different ride experiences with vantages of scenery and shows, so multiple rides will be needed to get the full experience. The motorcycle and sidecar trains will feature on ride audio including engine sounds to help sell that you are speeding along on Hagrid’s motorbike. Even though we don’t know the full layout we do know that there will be multiple launches, lots of sweeping and swerving turns, and a dynamic track. What types of things will the track do? The ride will feature a drop track, inclined launches, and shows along the way. The ride duration is over three minutes and covers almost a mile of track. Don’t let the long duration fool you into thinking this will be a slow kids ride the max speed will exceed 50 MPH. It will also have a record breaking seven launches, so expect lots of changes in speed.
Since the main point of this ride is the theming and shows I don’t want to give out any spoilers. I may have discovered some potential spoilers from previews the park has been offering and from peeping drones. For people who want to go in cold I promise not to spoil any details. The queue is elaborately themed and will tell a story as the guests explore it. After the long wait guests will be told the story in a pre-show before they board their train. There will be show elements both indoors and out during the ride itself, as well as enough scenery to completely transport guests from Florida into the Forbidden Forest. The show building has the largest hand painted mural in the state to help it blend in with its surroundings. The riders will even be subjected to smells from the beasts they encounter.
I feel like there's a lot of potential for this ride to be very different and offer a totally new experience for roller coasters. Even though so much is unknown I think we can look at three attractions that I really love for some indications of what to expect, coincidentally they are all in Florida! The first point of comparison is Cheetah Hunt at BGT another Intamin multi launch coaster. People often qualify this ride as a family coaster and not a thrill coaster. I think it really delivers even though it was built to bring in a wide audience and be not a pure thrill ride. Extreme rides divides the guests into the brave and the wimps. It isn’t surprising that Universal wants to deliver a family ride that appeals to the widest audience possible. Cheetah Hunt features low swooping turns and utilizes the scenery to enhance the ride experience. The feel of Cheetah Hunt and the re-rideability of it makes it a really special ride. Even though it isn’t the most thrilling ride at BGT I find when I visit it is the one I end up riding the most times. This isn’t just my opinion as Cheetah Hunt typically has the longest line, and typically runs four trains.
My favorite ride at BGT is actually my next example, Montu. Montu is an incredibly intense B&M invert and I love B&M inverts. While I think they all ride well and have their memorable moments, Montu stands out because of the built in scenery and trenches. Ripping around these elements with scenery whizzing by enhances the excitement and increases the sensation of speed. One added bonus of lots of scenery is that it can obscure your view of what is coming up next, another experience I think we can look forward to on Hagrid’s. The area around Hagrid’s hut in the movie series has ruins and zipping through a forest could have similar benefits of enhancing the sensation of speed and hiding the next element.
The last attraction isn’t a roller coaster, but stick with me. It is Tower of Terror, a ride some describe as their favorite dark ride while others describe it as their favorite drop tower. I think this ride’s ability to not be defined as just one thing is part of what makes it great. The drop part of the ride is enhanced by the theming and the dark ride portion of the attraction would fall flat if not for the drop. I think this synergy may help Hagrid’s be a sleeper hit. The theming of Harry Potter is going to excite more people's imagination than the Twilight Zone, and a roller coaster is going to be more exciting than a drop tower.
There is a final opportunity I believe Hagrid’s has an opportunity to satisfy. When Magic Mountain announced West Coast Racers I think many people jumped to the conclusion that they wanted to take the concept of dueling roller coasters and make it more successful by engineering the ride so it had to duel to run. I think there is a similar situation with Hagrid’s. When Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts was announced as a roller coaster many people were imagining themselves flying around a magical track just like in the movies on some sort of goblin ultra twister. The reality was a dark ride with some roller coaster elements. The ride was very successful for Universal and tourists visiting Orlando, but didn’t really move the needle for roller coaster enthusiasts. Hagrid’s has the promise of doing it right, instead of adding thrill to a dark ride they are adding an immersive story and environment to a roller coaster. I think it will be a satisfying addition to the Wizarding World and roller coaster enthusiasts. If you think I forgot about The Mummy, I didn’t but feel free to tell me about it in the comments.
Dear Coaster Friends,
They say all publicity is good publicity, however the news coming out of Rye, NY is sounding crazy the last few months. Most people are familiar with Playland Park in Rye, NY from popular culture it has been in many notable movies like; The Sweet & Lowdown, Muppets Take Manhattan, Fatal Attraction, and Big. It has also been featured on television shows like the Nanny, Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, and was even the set for a Mariah Carey music video. With its waterfront location on the Long Island Sound, easy access to New York City, and a nostalgic art deco vibe the park should have a solid standing. The fact is that its unique ownership and operating arrangements over the years have taken its toll on the park. The park itself is owned by the county of Westchester, but they are not really equipped to operate an amusement park. The county has made a deal with Standard Amusement to take over operations, but as the handover approaches both sides started bickering and trying to renegotiate their deals and responsibilities.
The unusual thing about this particular argument is that it has three sides. The county is looking to bring in an experienced operator and is hoping that with mutual investment that the parks revitalization and growth will benefit Westchester and the private business. The city of Rye feels left out of the conversation and feels their concerns aren’t being addressed and that they will endure the negative side effects while most of the benefits will be distributed around the county in an inequitable way. To add a wrench into this gear they are all public politicians who undergo election cycles, and many of the current principals have been elected after the deals were crafted with the third party, Standard Amusement. Standard Amusement wants the county to invest more than they originally agreed to, and that is causing stress on the situation as well as they try to invest less.
The new county executive now wants out of the deal and has been a polarizing figure in the press and has been very outspoken about the terms of the deal he does not like. He wants to see a bigger investment from Standard Amusement in the parks to offset the infrastructure improvements needed. Currently the county has pledged to invest 30 million dollars and Standard Amusement will invest at least 27 million dollars, however it is noted by the county executive that 7.7 million dollars is being spent on Standard Amusements overhead, that isn’t really investment and should not go towards the minimum agreed upon amount. Standard Amusement in turn has highlighted the decline in attendance year over year, the lack of investment, and has questioned the safety of the rides and food service areas. The politicians had a press day before the park opened where they gave a tour of the park to the press and then rode the rides and ate the food to personally attest to their safety. Everything was certified by the appropriate inspection agencies and are deemed acceptable. Standard Amusement has changed their tune a little recently, as telling the public they are going to die on the rides and get sick from the concessions is probably not helping for the upcoming transfer of operations. They have instead made public their plan for what the park could be in the future, and it is a solid plan.
The park infrastructure has been neglected since the 80’s and no new rides have been installed since 2008, a music express. The plan calls for a revitalized boardwalk with shopping and dining options that could be year round draws. New amenities will be addressed inside the park including concessions, bathrooms, and general aesthetic updates. Finally the reason you are reading the rides will be updated. The historic rides will be preserved and properly maintained. The flat ride collection will be updated, and the centerpiece would be to rebuild the Aeroplane Coaster. The Aeroplane Coaster is of course the most compelling part of the story. We already know that GCI was on hand at the park last summer doing inspections of the Dragon Coaster and that they have also had interest in the Aeroplane Coaster as they produced plans, an on ride rendering and model that they have shown off in the past. There seems to be a unique synergy there for these two parties to work together.
So what does the park have going for it? With so much about the future of Playland Park unknown it is tough to say, but there is a case to stay interested. They are a historic landmark with two historic coasters. They have a derby racer, a hold on for your life version of a carousel. This once popular thrill ride has been removed from modern amusement parks around the world, the one at Playland Park is one of three that survived. There is also the old saying there is no such thing as bad press, and the park has been getting a lot of press. I live on Long Island and I find myself passing this park all the time whenever I drive to points north, however I never stop in. I know I am going to pass it in a few weeks as I drive to an event. Now I am think I better stop by before this place implodes, and I think I will. I might skip the hot dogs though…
EDITOR'S NOTE: The author of this article is a community member and not a member of the site staff. We encourage all members of our community to submit similar op-ed pieces by e-mailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org for review by our editorial staff.
Life in the ASD has never been easy. At an early age I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. People look at you different when you are part of the ASD community. Growing up I was picked on at school all the time, being made fun of behind everyone’s back. During the summer time I was able to find my escape. I have lived in Cincinnati my whole life so during the summer time I would frequent King’s Island since it is my home park. It became my escape, a place where I could feel free and have fun without being judged.
I used to be afraid of roller coasters at one time until my Dad convinced me to ride what would be my first big coaster credit, The Beast. Little did I know that the legendary Beast would turn me into an enthusiast. Roller coasters were a way for me to forget the stresses of life and temporarily feel free. Overcoming my fears of roller coasters helped me grow as a person. Despite being shy by nature, riding roller coasters has made it easier to socialize with others and make new friends. Theme parks helped me reach big and grow in life.
Sadly in 2005 my Dad passed from a brain tumor and one of the most painful experiences I could have ever imagined. Going to King’s Island helped me keep his memory alive. It helped me keep his spirit alive by keeping his memory alive. Theme parks are so much more than just a business, for me it is a time vault where I can hold old memories and make new ones.
I have never let being born with Asperger’s Syndrome dictate who I am. Theme parks helped me overcome my fear of driving. I have become more social and make new friends whom accept me for who I am. For those who know me, I tell things the way it is. Riding roller coasters helps me destress from the hardships of the work I do.
Being a Patron on the Discord server has helped me form bonds with fellow coaster enthusiasts who accept me for who I am. Being a part of this community has helped me realize that being different is ok. The Coaster-Net community is a part of my life and I feel blessed to be a part of it.
I challenge the industry to step up to the plate and grow their ASD awareness. Kennywood in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania has become a Certified Autism Center as has Sesame Place near Philadelphia. Dorney Park in Allentown, PA has an Autism Ambassador and a sensory room in the Health Clinic. Great Adventure has had their second successful Autism Day where sensory stressors and distractions were minimized. More and more parks are accommodating families with loved ones who have ASD, and this trend lifts my heart. People on the spectrum love amusement parks and the industry needs to do their part to ensure we come and enjoy ourselves.
It is my hope to reach out to those in the ASD community and let you know you are not alone. God created you for a reason and embrace who you are. Do not let others dictate your life and you can be whoever you want to be. Don’t let fear hold you back for you can accomplish anything you want. Don’t ever let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do.
Dear Coaster Friends,
Kings Island fans are excited! Well they are always excited but they are excited speculating about the possibility of a new roller coaster, wait they are always doing that too, but this time it’s for a giga! Hold on that isn’t new either, let me regroup. We have known since last year that Kings Island was filing permits for construction and we also knew that B&M is connected to this new project. Then as the park opened for the season it was noted that the land being cleared is immense in scale and far exceeds the plot of the recently removed Firehawk. This is promising for a large scale project but since we didn’t have any additional information our imaginations were the limiting factor. Then we recently discovered two names were trademarked by Cedar Fair; Polaris and Orion. These to astrological names could be for a different attraction at a different park, but it has literally sent the fever for more information into orbit.
There are many Kings Island regulars and fans who have been chanting giga for years as the logical project that Kings Island should tackle next. I am not saying there is a rivalry between Kings Island and Cedar Point but I get the general feeling that Kings Island fans want to see their park one up their neighbor. I do think that is a possibility, but in a different way. I know I made a joke a few weeks ago that it was probably going to be a stand-up, but I don’t actually see that as a plausible option. I think the choices on the menu are; giga, wing, dive, something new, and with this name reveal I will add flyer. I know I have friends who thought this was a possibility since removing Firehawk would remove the unique perspective of changing the seating position, but I figured that was the least likely. Now with the star themed names I like the idea of a flyer, it fits the theme, but does it fit the space?
I am still tempering my expectations that a giga is the next logical choice but the land being cleared is very large so I can’t rule it out. I like the idea that Cedar Fair has been running with that dive coasters can have varied and have interesting layouts. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of them across the chain too. There is also always the possibility that B&M could be looking into trying something new or simply combining different existing technologies to create a new experience. I could see B&M wanting to experiment more with launches after how well Thunderbird was received. Launch coasters can offer an exciting twist on a familiar style, and save money on materials, as the lift and drop can be replaced with a smaller launch track. Maybe we could see a more traditional sit down train, or even a floorless launch. That would give Kings Island the first of a type and showcase innovation instead of stats.
I am still on the wing coaster bandwagon as the most likely option for Kings Island. I like how it could fit into the space or star themed names, and it could also lend itself to a long out and back plot of land. There is another reason I feel like this fits well and that is the leftover feeling of being duped by the Bat > Banshee tease. I love inverts and I know many people love Banshee, but the wing was a fresh new model before Banshee was revealed. It really captured many people's’ imagination and even though Banshee wasn’t a letdown I personally felt the reveal was anticlimactic and I feel like the installation of a wing coaster at Kings Island would provide closure.
So I know the remaining question would be, “So dude, why are they clearing so much land if it isn’t a giga?!” The easy answer is who knows, but it could indicate that whatever ride is being planned is going to very large no matter the style. There is another possibility though. That is that the ride will anchor a new midway that will be accessed from the plaza in front of the old Firehawk entrance and continue along to the old dinosaurs entrance. That would allow the park to have the opportunity to use the cleared area for future expansion, flats, services, and amenities. It would also allow the ride to do something that is clearly absent from the current plot of land, and that is interact with the terrain and the forest. If the ride starts around the turn around for Racer it could head on down the hill into the forest and maybe even interact with The Beast, something fans will surely view as an enhancement. The fun now I presume will to be totally wrong and have a giga finally be announced in August. Then we can have something new to speculate. How many weeks after the giga opens at Kings Island do fans wait before they start saying RMC ground-up woodie in 2021?