Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Universal Announces 2017 Showing of Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventures as its Last

While we all wait for mega-new-coaster-announcement-day tomorrow, Universal Studios Florida dropped some major news on fans of Halloween Horror Nights today.  The event's uber-popular Bill & Ted's Excellent Halloween Adventure show will be giving it's final performance this year, as the park shared on their Horror Nights website.

The event has quite a legion of followers, and the show itself has a significant cult following as well.  It has played at Universal's Halloween Horror Nights for 26 years, each year presenting a comical look at pop culture as Bill and Ted work to save the world from various forces of evil.  Fans are sure to want to visit this year for the finale to the duo's epic adventures.

© Universal Studios Florida
The performance has long called the theme park's Fear Factor stage as its home, with an elaborate set each year created for the show.  No firm reason was given for its retirement, though rumors suggest that a combination of an upcoming redevelopment of the Fear Factor stage along with a possible desire to move away from the "edgy" content of the show are big contributing factors.

Universal Studios Hollywood ran the show for several years before controversy over its content led to its sudden cancellation in 2013.  That park has since replaced it with Jabbawockeez, a hip hop dance crew.  Consumer tastes are a bit different on either coasts, so it remains to be seen what kind of live entertainment will join the Orlando event in the future.

Halloween Horror Nights 2017 has already announced several mazes based on popular franchises, including American Horror Story, Saw, The Shining and Ash Vs. Evil Dead.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Waldameer Continues Water World Expansion in 2018 + New Family Ride

© Waldameer Park
Shortly after opening their new-for-2017 attraction, Waldammer Park has spilled the beans on their planned expansion for 2018.  The park will build a new water slide in their water park, Water World, along with a family ride in the amusement area.

The expansion will cost the park around $1 million, which is on top of the $2.5 million they spent on additions this year.

Water World will open a new bowl style water slide, popular in water parks for many years now.  The slide will be one of Proslide's Cannonball 30 slides and will depart from one of the park's existing water slide towers.  Passengers will ride in two person tubes down a curving drop and into a large bowl where they spin around and round before existing in the center.

Coming to the amusement park will be a Zamperla manufactured Samba Balloon Ride, in which kids and their parents can both ride together in fanciful hot air balloon baskets.  The balloons rise and fall as they rotate, providing an exciting but gentle ride.  The attraction will be placed near Kiddieland.

© Waldameer Park
Also the park just recently opened their new for 2017 attraction, a giant water play structure named The Battle of Lake Erie.  Filled with small slides, different levels and tons of interactive water features, guests are already loving the addition.  Waldameer has spent several seasons expanding Water World, starting with the addition of a wave pool a couple years back.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Taking a Guess at Valleyfair's Looping Addition for 2018 Season

It seems that not only the four Cedar Fair parks that are adding coasters will be announcing additions this Wednesday, but all of them.  Valleyfair tweeted today that in four days we will find out their 2018 addition that will "turn things upside down."  The tweet, seen above, also featured a bit of what looks like blueprints for the addition.

It's hard to make heads or tails of what's going on in the image, with the top portion perhaps being the queue or some adjacent structure.  The bottom is even more vague without more context.  However...

© Larson International Inc.
I was browsing rides that seem possible and came across this schematic of a Larson Giant Loop, an attraction that most certainly turns things upside down.  A recent popular instillation at many Six Flags parks, the Giant Loops pack a thrilling punch in a small space.  Looking closer at the diagram revealed an interesting similarity to Valleyfair's image.

If you look closely at the supports for the base of the Giant Loop, it looks pretty similar to the shapes on the right of Valleyfair's image.  Here, allow me to rotate Larson's schematic for a comparison.
There.  Looks pretty close, eh?  Now this could be a coincidence, you just never know.  If it does turn out to be a Giant Loop then the park will have a nice thrill ride to advertise for the 2018 season, when many expected a water park expansion to materialize.  That might still be a couple years off, however, and one of Cedar Fair's recent conference calls seems to hint that Valleyfair's big expansion was pushed back a few years while they study the park's market a bit more.

Either way we will find out on Wednesday!

Friday, August 11, 2017

SeaWorld San Diego Wins Approval for New 2018 Roller Coaster - Electric Eel

© SeaWorld San Diego
SeaWorld San Diego will be electrifying guests with a brand new roller coaster, named Electric Eel, in 2018 thanks to a final approval from the California Coastal Commission.  The thrilling coaster will be a second phase to this year's new Ocean Explorer themed area, aimed at older guests looking for a high-intensity experience.  This year's additions in Ocean Explorer were aimed at younger guests, so the attraction will help to round out the offerings of the land.

The ride was previously announced but SeaWorld San Diego did not have approval to build the ride at the time.  With final approvals in hand, major construction on the ride can begin right away.

Electric Eel will stand 150 feet tall and feature multiple launches and a top speed of 62 miles per hour.  The coaster will be manufactured to Premier Rides, one of their popular Sky Rocket II models.  After the multiple launches riders will enter a heartline roll that completely inverts them 150 in the air.  The trains will then dive downward into a non-inverting loop before completing the circuit.

The theme park has agreed to use colors on the ride that will help it blend in with the sky, and also not illuminate it above the 60 foot level. 

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Wins Approval for 315 Foot Tall New Attraction

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has received approval to build a 315 foot tall attraction, according to news reports.  The local county's Board of Supervisors approval a height limit waiver to allow the attraction to be built, which the theme park applied for just recently.

There's no word on what the new ride will be, though there are a limited amount of attractions out there that reach heights of 315 feet.  Naturally a roller coaster comes to mind, though coasters of that size are quite costly and might not be a part of SeaWorld Entertainment's current plans.  The park already has a free fall, so that leaves other tall structures, for example a swing ride, as more likely possibilities.

© Google Maps
The planning documents that the park submitted when requesting the height waiver only give a few clues about the project.  First, the approximate location of the ride is shown, just South of the Fiesta Italy themed area, in a currently open area (see map above).  The documents also refer to the project as "Busch Gardens Madrid."  Spain has been a long rumored addition as a themed land, but has never come to fruition.  That begs the question of whether the land will finally be built, but it could also just be the park's name for a singular new ride that's meant to throw us all off.

The park has three years to build the attraction from the approval of the height waiver, and has already announced a new virtual reality simulator experience for 2018, so the earliest this ride will open is 2019, it would seem.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg's current tallest ride is Mach Tower, the 246 foot tall free fall ride added to the park in 2011.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Hersheypark Announces Multiple Attractions for The Boardwalk in 2018

© Hersheypark
Today was the big reveal for Hersheypark, which announced the addition of two large new water slide attractions for The Boardwalk in 2018.  One of the additions, Whitecap Racer, will be a giant mat racing slide and the other, Breakers Edge Water Coaster, a high-tech water thrill coaster.

As depicted in the concept art above, both new attractions will sit in the back of The Boardwalk, utilizing some previously undeveloped space along with some ground formerly occupied by Roller Soaker.  The additions are planned to open on Memorial Day weekend, 2018.

© Hersheypark
The most thrilling of the two additions is the Breakers Edge Water Coaster, which uses hydro-magnetic technology to blast rafts both downhill and uphill, much like a traditional roller coaster.  The park says that the water coaster will be the first of its kind in the world with flying saucer turns, seen above.

The ride will utilize the former loading station of Roller Soaker, and carry about 600 passengers per hour through a one minute and thirty second ride.  Breakers Edge Water Coaster will feature purple and blue slide sections, with bright green accents.

© Hersheypark
Whitecap Racer will be The Boardwalk's second new attraction, a giant set of mat racing slides that tower 70 feet over the park.  The attraction features six separate lanes for guests to race down, and two different sets of horizontal loops that each lane slides through.  The attraction will be the longest of its kind in the world when it opens, according to Hersheypark.

Both new additions are being provided by ProSlide Technology, and both have a 42 inch height requirement.

For more on the expansion, check out Hersheypark's page along with the video below.