Cedar Fair Entertainment Company purchased Geauga Lake amusement park, formally known as Six Flags Worlds of Adventure, from Six Flags Inc. in April of 2004 thinking that the park would continue to be a popular tourists attraction. Over the past couple years, the costs of renovations, operating and maintenance costs, and a lower than expected attendance rate has caused the park to look into a direction and become a more regional based family-entertainment park.
With Cedar Point, also owned by Cedar Fair and known as the roller coaster capital of the world, being located not that far away from Geauga Lake. They have decided to give the park a more family based image to differ itself from the other major amusement parks in Ohio. This process of changing the park’s image has already begun with the removal of X-Flight and soon Steel Venom will be dismantled.
Both of these major roller coasters were located near the park’s main entrance, which Jack Falfas, Cedar Fair's Chief Operating Officer, stated made the park “not as inviting.” X-Flight has already been dismantled and will reopen this spring as the Firehawk at another on of Cedar Fair’s amusement parks located in Ohio, Kings Island. Steel Venom will be placed in storage for this season and it will likely reopen for the 2008 season at another Cedar Fair amusement park.
The park’s monorail, which runs through where Geauga Lake’s original water park once stood located near the park’s main entrance, will also be removed. Also, before the 2006 operating season, the park dismantled Mr. Hyde’s Nasty Fall freefall ride, which was located in the same area of the park where these rides that are being removed were located. So with these changes to the park, Geauga Lake has made it clear that they want the park to appeal to families and become regional attraction rather than be a destination for thrill-seekers.
Even with the removal of these major roller coasters and rides, the park is currently scheduled to have new expensive paint jobs done on two of its major roller coasters. One of these newly repainted roller coasters will now feature cameras in every seat so now visitors will be able to buy a video souvenir of their ride. The Raging Wolf Bobs wooden coaster has now been completely refurbished, and the park’s movie simulation ride will be rethemed for this season. In addition to all of this, the park also plans to add some new attractions but it is not known what these new attraction will be yet.
Kings Island, home to a number of thrilling roller coasters will let their 14th roller coaster take flight come Memorial Day Weekend of this year. In celebration of the park’s 35th anniversary, Kings Island will open a new thrilling roller coaster that will be known as the Firehawk.
The Firehawk is a flying roller coaster that will allow its riders to experience the feeling of human flight. This innovative flying coaster will be located in the park’s Coney Mall section where it will stand beside one of the park’s award-winning roller coasters, Flight of Fear.
Riders will begin by boarding the four-across red and yellow pilot seats, and then the passengers will be lowered backwards before there train begins to climb the 115-foot-tall red and gray colored lift hill. After about 2 minutes and 30 seconds, riders will have soared through a ½ mile of track and will have experienced five inversions and a top-speed of 50 mph.
The Firehawk, manufactured by Vekoma International, will join a number of world-class thrilling roller coasters at Kings Island, which include The Beast, Son of Beast, Flight of Fear, and the Vortex. The Firehawk is actually the X-Flight roller coaster that will now be relocated to Kings Island from another Cedar Fair owned theme park, Geauga Lake.
Kings Island will open for weekend operation on April 21, but will open for daily operation on Wednesday, May 23. The park will open at 10:00 am each morning, and the park’s Boomerang Bay water park will open Saturday, May 26. Also, Kings Islands is just the latest of the newly acquired Paramount Parks, owned by Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, to drop the Paramount name off of the park’s title.
SheiKra, Busch Gardens Africa newest roller coaster open in May 2005, and was America’s first dive machine style roller coaster. Now just two years after it’s opening, Busch Gardens Africa has decided to make a major modification, which will enhance SheiKra’s ride experience.
This new modification will be the installation of new floorless trains, and they will replace SheiKra’s current trains, which have a standard floor. SheiKra’s new cars will continue to hold eight riders across and each train will still be three rows deep.
SheiKra’s track will remain unchanged, but the station will have to have a retractable floor and handrails installed to accommodate for these new floorless trains. The retractable floor will rise and fill the gaps across the loading platform so riders will be able to board the trains.
These new floorless trains will let passengers enjoy SheiKra while having nothing but open air around them and a shoulder harness holding them in. SheiKra will close beginning Memorial Day, May 28, so the installation process for the new floorless trains can begin. This dive machine, created by Bolliger & Mabillard, will remain closed for approximately three weeks so these modifications can be made. SheiKra is planned to reopen with its new trains on June 16.
Busch Gardens Africa’s northern counterpart, Busch Gardens Europe, will be opening the Griffon this spring. The Griffon will be a dive machine very similar to SheiKra, and the Griffon will also have floorless trains. SheiKra features a 200-foot vertical drop at a 90-degree angle, and now with the addition of these floorless trains, Busch Gardens Africa hopes to make this highly rated roller coaster even better than it already is.