Fans Try to Save Eagle Fortress
Last year the coaster community said goodbye to Big Bad Wolf, arguable one of the best, most intense suspended coasters ever designed. Now its looking like Everland's Eagle Fortress may be next on the chopping block.
With just 3200 feet of track and top speed of 40 mph, the stats are anything but terrifying. But this ride was custom built into a forested hillside in South Korea giving the illusion of vastly increased speed and the swinging motion nearly clips some trees.
As a matter of fact, Mitch Hawker's latest steel coaster poll had Eagle Fortress coming in at the #2 spot amongst all steel coasters. For sure this ride has a dedicated fan base. And now, with Everland's decision to not re-open the ride this year, those very fans are trying to save their most beloved coaster by way of a petition.
If the scenario sounds a bit familiar, fans tried to save Big Bad Wolf from its unfortunate fate in the same way. And of course its obvious to see how that went. Perhaps the owners of Everland will listen to the many voices of a petition, but those in charge of BGE sure didn't.
The unfortunate fact is that these tremendous rides designed by Arrow Dynamics are starting to get old. Parts are wearing out and braking and since Arrow is no longer in business, spares are not easy to come by. It seems as though we might be coming to the end of an era.
Expedition Everest Hides Yeti
For a couple of years now, Animal Kingdom's premier E-ticket attraction, Expedition Everest, has been having problems with its large yeti animatronic. In fact for the past few months it hasn't moved at all. Well now it won't even be seen.
For the next couple weeks, riders will dive into the coaster's finale confronted by only a large black sheet. The intent of this minor rehab is to restore some level of motion to the yeti's head and arms, though nothing quite as dramatic as when the ride first opened.
On opening day, back in 2006, Everest's yeti was one of the most technologically advanced animatronic figures ever created, with its lightning fast and very large motions. Unfortunately the stresses created were too much and the yeti often went into still mode due to an overheated motor.
To get the yeti back to his original form would take some re-imagineering and a much more lengthy rehab procedure that would most likely include multiple months of the ride being inoperable. Obviously, Animal Kingdom would take a huge hit with its star attraction out of commission.
Hopefully though, this patchwork fix will be enough to get things moving again and restore some of the thrill to the ride's final scene. And maybe some day, the yeti will be restored to his former glory.
Mark Shapiro Leaves Six Flags
Not even two weeks since Six Flags came out from under bankruptcy and let Dan Snyder go, Mark Shapiro is now leaving as well. Alexander Weber Jr. has been named president and interim chief executive while SFI searches for a replacement.
Mark Shapiro was appointed CEO by Dan Snyder in December of 2005 and since then has stood by the company and helped guide it through some of its most trying times. His vision to bring more focus on families seemed to be helping but the company's $2.4 billion debt and the recent economic slump overcame the company.
After coming out of bankruptcy, a new board of directors was named. Mark Shapiro was one of the nine people included, though his friend and business partner Dan Snyder was not. But now he has decided to vacate his chair on the board.
There is still some speculation as to the reason for his strangely timed departure but it is believed that the other eight members of the board essentially asked him to leave, as they wanted to take the company in a different direction.
Their chosen interim replacement is Al Webber, who served as the President of Paramount Parks from 2002-2006. During his tenure with Paramount Parks, it was seen that, while still appreciating the sorts of family friendly attractions which Shapiro was so focused on, he also strove to bring in big thrills for the adrenaline rush seekers.
It is rumored that some changes may already be in the works to some of the previously planned 50th anniversary additions. But beyond the rumor mill, much remains to be seen regarding the future of Six Flags Inc. under its new management, and only time will tell if it has been a change for the better.