Dear Coaster Friends,
Is there anything left to be excited for in 2020? Are we taking all the fun out this season's reveal for next year by looking at some of these projects with such a long lead time? Some say yes, and some are impatient. I'm impatient and had the thought the other day that this has to be it right? If not who is left to build it, because many companies have been booked, some even beyond 2021 already. So let's take a look at what we believe is yet to be announced, if anything, and who could be building it.
Let's start with the old guard, B&M. They have typically taken on many projects for a single season, and they appear to be busy right now. We know they are building Mako a dive coaster at SeaWorld San Diego. Hersheypark recently revealed Candymonium their front gate hyper coaster, and we believe that B&M is building the unannounced Kings Island giga. They are also building a wing coaster in China and are booked for two 2021 projects. I think it is safe to say they are booked for 2020 and they aren't looking for more work.
We recently got a peak at Pantheon, Busch Gardens Williamsburg's multi launch coaster being built by Intamin. This is the only project Intamin has scheduled in North America for 2020, but they also have one in China and another in Europe. Additionally they have two projects in Europe for 2021 and 2022 already announced. Intamin is used to doing multiple projects at the same time however with 5 projects in progress they may be booked as well. We do have an idea that all of the SeaWorld owned parks will be getting a new roller coaster in 2020 so there is a possibility that the rumored launch coaster for SeaWorld Orlando could be an Intamin. I am going to put that one on Premier Rides dance card until I know otherwise.
There are two other SeaWorld parks SeaWorld San Antonio and Busch Gardens Tampa. SeaWorld San Antonio has not announced their ride but it is already visible and it appears to be a wooden coaster by Gravity Group. This is the only project Gravity Group is working on in North America, but they are doing another wooden roller coaster for SeaWorld in Australia. But they have opposite peak seasons so they can do one project at a time as this project has a projected opening date in December.
The other park is BGT and they are working with Rocky Mountain Construction to turn Gwazi into a hybrid roller coaster. With no other announced or anticipated plans RMC could be a builder of an unannounced project. This is typically the time when last ride notices are out out there for potential candidates for the iron horse, but at this time none have been revealed. So if RMC has other 2020 plans it will be ground up. I know Holiday World is teasing a 2020 addition, but with all of the animal clues I am going to assume it is for the water park until I know for sure. I think the best possibility would be a single rail. The real question is where and which style? With only one Cedar Fair coaster in the works another raptor track could be possible. If they have the larger T-Rex model ready then Six Flags Great Adventure could be the park to see the first one. They did recently tease that Great Adventure would get a new world record breaking project. There is also one wildcard in the mix and that is Lagoon, they have begun building a ride called Primordial. Not much is known about this project other than it will open in 2020 or 2021, park officials are very vague with the details so anything is possible.
We also speculate that Mack has an unannounced project at Six Flags Over Texas. This rumor was stated when shipping records were uncovered and point to the possibility that they may have purchased a PowerSplash. Mack has two other projects in Europe for 2020 and a whopping five more in 2021. It is safe to assume that their dance card is pretty full. So who still needs a date in 2020? S&S has one project in Asia, so they could be a possible manufacturer for an unknown attraction. GCI has nothing announced at this time so they could be a possibility too. Gerstlauer has had a very busy 2019 and only one project for 2020 overseas so it is hard to say if they are looking likely for next season. Premier Rides is the last likely player who also has nothing announced for 2020, but it isn't unusual for them to do one project at a time and I believe they will have work in Orlando.
While we did know that several large projects were in the works for 2020 for a while now I see the potential for a few surprises that could present themselves especially with the Cedar Fair and Six Flags announcements. I would guess each brand will have at least two projects each and we only know about one. If that isn't enough Universal Island of Adventure has a velociraptor themed coaster in the works as well. So who is getting what?
Today Busch Gardens Williamsburg announced their 2020 addition. It will be a large multi launch roller coaster called Pantheon. Pantheon means all the Gods and BGW is using five of those Gods as part of the theme for this coaster: Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune, Minererva, and Mercury. Each God is related back to the announced stats and elements. Most people I have noticed have jumped straight to the building in Rome, but the Pantheon is more of a nickname than a formal name for the building. The layout is presented as simple artwork on the Busch Gardens Williamsburg website, but a full POV has not been shared yet.
It is presumed that the manufacturer is Intamin and that is a very exciting thing to look forward to. For years Intamin has been absent from the North American thrill coaster market. They have done some drop rides, family coasters and water rides. However Skyrush was their last proper thrill coaster in North America, and the void they left is hard to ignore. I think if you are reading this you probably have a list of reasons why parks stopped working with Intamin on larger projects from rocky opening seasons, to redesigns after installation, to downtime. I often compare Intamin to an Italian sports car. You want to ride in one because it is exciting, not because it is reliable. The natural habitat for an Italian sports car is on the side of the road in a cloud of steam.
Pantheon will feature multiple launches both forward and backwards, the fastest launch will propel the train to its top speed of 72 MPH. The ride will have a maximum height of 178 feet, and dive back down to Earth at a beyond vertical 95 degree drop. As the train rips through the course it will negotiate two inversions. This all sounds good to me but I don't feel like I know entirely what to expect until I either see a more detailed drawing of the layout or a full rendering of an entire ride cycle. Busch Gardens Williamsburg is claiming a record for the fastest multiple launch coaster. I always feel that if you need to disclude all of the coasters that have better stats as part of your record then it is a marketing record. The main appeal of this practice is that it often confuse specifics of the record. The GP and often the traditional local news outlets who may help promote the ride get excited and confuse it as an actual record breaker.
I am really looking forward to learning more about Pantheon, and just on the strength of the info I have right now I think I would like to visit BGW again next season to check out this new addition. There is something missing, from this announcement. It isn't from the park it is from the enthusiasts...it's the hate. Where is all the complaining, I am used to may more dissatisfied thoosies. I am already hearing people speculate if it will be a favorite coaster. The reception for the ride if not the name has been overwhelmingly positive, everyone I have talked to is excited about BGW. Except the Kings Island fans they are scanning some QRC Code they found on a wooden fence. Why has no one pointed out that it is essentially the same speed Volcano was? No one is complaining that it does the same thing as Twisted Colossus and Full Throttle in the very same park? Sorry, I meant Verbolten and Tempesto. It is probably because it has five flags instead of six and is surrounded by flowers.
Wallpaper Weekend: This Batman: The Ride desktop wallpaper was created last year for our loyal Patreons. One of their many rewards are that they get early access exclusive digitalt digital art like desktop, tablet, and phone background wallpapers. Since we have a supply of these images I wanted to start sharing some of them with our community.
Batman: The Ride often gets overlooked because it is a clone and available at many parks all over the world, however to me it is a classic. I grew up going to Great Adventure and in the summer of 93’ I was 14 and had never experienced a B&M or a coaster where your feet could dangle. This was such a dynamic shift it was totally insane. I remember the first time I stepped on line it was over two hours long and when I stepped off I got right back on line, I probably spent most of my time on this visit back in the summer of 1993 on line for Batman. If you are reading this you have most likely ridden a Batman no matter where you live. The ride quality was so different from everything else, and the ROAR! That sound that the box beam above the track and ride vehicle created was shocking and different. Before I road it waiting in the highly themed queue that sound was dare I say it, intimidating. Unfortunately most of the queue scenery has been removed, but thankfully the ride quality has really maintained for so many years. I can hop on that ride 25 years later and have a great time. This summer I had the pleasure of riding the original Batman: The Ride when the Coaster-net staff and their Giga level Patreons descended on Six Flags Great America. Please enjoy this OG Batman: The Ride desktop wallpaper.
Carowinds 2020 Rumor
The internet is a tricky place full of the most up to date information available to only those who search, and the most unreliable information on the planet. It is too early to know what category this rumor fits into, but a shipping manifest was discovered that suggests Carowinds is getting a shipment from Zamperla. The shipment record states it is packed in four packages and weights 1,602 kg, that is approximately the weight of a minivan for those unfamiliar with the metric system. That is not a very heavy shipment, so this could simply be parts for something Carowinds already owns, or perhaps it is only the weight of a single package and the four combined shipments are a new attraction.
If this is a new attraction what may be in store for Carowinds 2020, and where could it go? This year Copperhead Strike was the anchor for their new Blue Ridge Junction. However there is only one other flat in the area, Mountain Gliders, a flying scooter ride relocated and rethemed from Planet Snoopy. If they wanted to continue to develop this area they could install a super air race model. This is a fairly small footprint and it could be in the general area between the locker area and the Copperhead Strike entrance. They could theme it to a drunken crop duster to fit in with the moonshine theme of Granny's Farm.
Another possibility could be a more family oriented ride, since they did add a thrilling attraction this year. The Rip Roarin’ Rapids was retired and removed the last water attraction in the dry side of the park, so the only option for guests who wanted to get wet and cool off was to go over to the waterpark. They could install a Watermania or a Water Fight attraction. Both of these rides feature interaction with other guests and of course water. The two attractions have water cannons that guests can spray at the other ride vehicles. Both of these options could offer a great way to cool off for kids in the dry park. We will have to kick back and wait to see what Carowinds has in store for 2020.
The Highs & Lows At Kings Island
Dear Coaster Friends,
When people are passionate about a topic, they feel invested in the success or failure of their interest. It doesn't matter if the topic is politics, sports, or being a fan of something specific. I find there are two reactions to bad news from a community who feels passionately about something. The first is critical examination and often a call for improvement. I feel like I fit into this group most of the time. The negative side effect, is the perception that I am dissatisfied with something I am passionate about. I am often critical of things I love because I want to see them constantly improve. I also think I am naturally wired to brainstorm solutions to problems. The second large group is all about defense. They tend to defend their love, no matter the opposition. However, at their worst, they lash out at ones being critical. Both groups have something in common: they love the same thing - in our case, the amusement industry.
There were a few news articles I posted over the time that I have worked on the Coaster-net team that I knew would amp up people's emotions and could upset some of our community. Our collective passion is our strength and commonality, but as individuals we express it differently. However, our news section is for relevant news, and I made the decision to put them out there so we could be better informed. There was an article recently that illustrated the diversity of our reaction even though we share a common love.
Kings Island is facing a lawsuit from one of their female team members. The accusations are detailed and very specific. The allegations seemed to be contained inside of a single department, and I am sure Kings Island and Cedar Fair will make sure that the issue is addressed now that the story is out there. We do not know if the allegations are credible; it is not something we cannot determine as outside observers. However, the reaction from our community is something we can observe. Most of the reactions were shock and sympathy from our community to the woman who was allegedly a victim at her workplace. Yet that wasn't the only reaction; some people reacted without empathy for these allegations. They defended the park, saying she was trying to get money. While others were concerned that the alleged perpetrator and direct superior she made aware of the situation were at risk of having their reputation damaged.
I was disappointed. I was disappointed that this woman felt so helpless at work she had to go public with her story. I was disappointed that Kings Island didn't address this problem themselves when she brought it to the attention of a superior, but I was very disappointed that some members of our community didn't treat these allegations seriously. No one was calling for action against the park, no boycott was suggested; a lawsuit against the park will not take away your giga. Right now, we don't know if these allegations against the park are fair. We don't know if they are actually worse than the news outlet felt comfortable publishing. I feel until we know otherwise compassion should be shown towards the victim. That doesn't mean that Kings Island fans shouldn't love the park too, and shouldn't enjoy every visit. I think what it means is that Kings Island has the opportunity to be a leader through action. We are a community that celebrates charity, when it boosts our fun. I feel we should also be a community that cares about the team members who facilitate our fun as much as we care about the health of the larger organizations that we give our hard earned dollars to. Hopefully this story is the result of two peoples poor behavior, and not a systemic problem with the park's work culture. If the story gets updated I will post those updates in our news section. I look forward to seeing this matter resolved in a fair way, and I look forward to visiting next season when they introduce something that appears to be out of this world.
Heads back and hold on! That’s good advice from the ride ops as you leave the station on Six Flags Great America’s newest addition, Maxx Force. This pneumatically launched coaster packs a punch and claims the record for fastest acceleration on a launch coaster in North America. It reaches a speed of 78 MPH in only 1.8 seconds and is punctuated by a loud bang as the waste gate of this powerful launch motor expels all of that pressure. The sensation of speed is impressive on this race themed coaster, as it holds the world record for fastest inversion, too.
So what should you expect if you head out to Six Flags Great America to experience this new for 2019 coaster? First of all, as of the second weekend of operation, the queue area is not complete. Not all of the switchbacks are complete, so the line will often spill outside the normal queue. I would estimate only about a third is being used, so the line may not be as bad as it seems. Unfortunately the queue area is also not shaded. I hope that will be added in because this is sure to be a popular ride in the park. It is not uncommon for brand new rides that you cannot choose your seat, and this ride has this policy. Staff was very efficient at sending every train out full, and dispatches were brisk. I know many people were curious about how the train would track and if it would be comfortable. I was happy to find that S&S has a very comfortable seat and restraint system. The ride was smooth, and the ride experience is great.
I really love hydraulically launched coasters, so Maxx Force was on my radar last year, specifically because of the launch. I like to try new rides with an open mind, but it was hard for me to not immediately think of Storm Runner at Hershypark when I saw the rendering for Maxx Force. Both rides feature powerful launches and unique inversions. They each deliver in both regards; the layout of of Maxx Force is very well done and gives a unique experience - not an inch of the track is wasted as it delivers big thrills in a small footprint. The inversions are great and offer a wild experience despite its short duration. The two double inversions give an unexpected experience as direction changes are both sudden and fresh. I actually don't know what to call them. However, the transitions are smooth and look similar to stalls, but the added speed adds centripetal force to offer a different sensation.
Maxx Force has a lot of pluses for the park. It gives the park a new signature steel coaster. It adds a launch coaster that features inversions. It also has the powerful launch that goes unanswered across the continent. The ride does have a few quirks that go with it. In an effort to minimize space, the brake run starts on your final descent on the last inversion. It is a bit jarring in the back as you decelerate when you are steeply angled down. If they could get a dispatch every minute, it would only have approximately half the capacity as Raging Bull. However, the ride crews I observed at Maxx Force were dispatching trains at the most ideal pace. Before you say low capacity rides are just an attempt to push guests into buying flash pass, the policy currently in place is that only platinum level can use the flash pass line and they only get a single reservation. I felt that was a fair policy for the opening season that gave a perk for flash pass buyers and prioritized the majority of guests. Right now, out of the two new launch coasters I prefer Maxx Force to Copperhead Strike, so West Coast Racers… the ball is in your court.
Happy Fourth of July
Dear Coaster Friends,
COASTER-net would like to wish everyone a happy and healthy Independance Day. Enjoy a day with your family and friends at the park, a BBQ, or local fireworks display. Unless you are in England, then go ride an SLC! We can be friends again tomorrow.