Bye Bye 2015 Operating Season – By Jason Slone

Well coaster friends….. The end of the 2015 season is upon us.  Unless you are lucky enough to live in warmer climate areas with parks they stay open longer, right now you are trying to figure out how to make it through the next 5 or 6 months till your favorite park opens back up for business for the 2016 season.  To make matters worse the parks continue to torment us with photos of rides being taken apart for their off season overhauls.  Why must they do this to us?

 

 

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So after you have seen the 50 pictures that show up daily in your feed that you try so hard to ignore,  you bring yourself for the reality it is indeed the end of the season and YOU are going to need to find something to do constructively for the next several months.  Maybe you reintroduce yourself to your family, because you were on the road so much during the summer going from park to park they forgot who you were and what you looked like? Maybe you take up a new hobby? Knitting?  Board Games?  Card Games?  Maybe catch up on those sitcom reruns that have been on the DVR that you have not bothered to watch because you were never home, and your wife is nagging you because the DVR is almost full because of it?!  (Not that I am speaking from experience or anything 😉).

So what do I do in the off season?????  I lace these bad boys up and RUN!!!!  I participate in several spring races and use the winter off season to train for them.  It’s something that makes the off season go much faster and I really enjoy it.  It’s also great exercise and after a season of amusement park food we all know we could use all that we can get, if you know what I mean 😱😳.

 

So what do you do till your favorite park opens in the spring other than mark your calendar with the number of days to opening day and cross them off with each passing day.   Let us know how you cope with the winter park blues.  

 

Photos via Cedar Point and Kings Island Facebook Pages.

 

 

What Rides We Are Looking Forward To The Most In 2016

2016 is shaping up to be a great year for ride enthusiasts and theme park fans! Several big theme parks and smaller parks are planning to roll out significant additions.

Here’s our list of the most anticipated rides for 2016, in no particular order:

1)  Lightning Rod

Dollywood’s newest ride is going to be the world’s first launched wooden coaster and the world’s fastest wooden coaster.

The hot rod themed Lightning Rod coaster, built by Rocky Mountain Construction, will feature 12 airtime hills, taking advantage of the eastern Tennessee theme park’s terrain.

 

2) GaleForce

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The GaleForce triple-launch coaster, coming to Playland’s Castaway Cove in New Jersey, starts with a launch sequence to get the 12-person ride vehicle up to 64 mph.

The 125-foot-tall S&S Worldwide ride features a 100-degree beyond-vertical drop and multiple inversions, including a corked roll and a raven dive.

3) The Joker

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Coming to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, The Joker is the second DC Comics-themed attraction at the park. The villainous character’s personality is evident in the coaster’s chaotic twists and turns, including a first ever “step-up under-flip inverted roll” that takes riders horizontal. The Joker ride also features the ultimate “fake-out” with a unique breaking wave turn, the only one of its kind on the West Coast.

 

 

4) Storm Chaser

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Kentucky Kingdom will convert their existing Twisted Twins dueling coaster into a hybrid ride with multiple inversions with the help of Rocky Mountain Construction. Storm Chaser will be the second new coaster built at Kentucky Kingdom in the last two years. It will feature a patented “iBox track,” which is currently in use on just five coasters across the country. The track recreates the feel of a wooden coaster, while being supported by a steel superstructure.

The track will allow the 100-foot tall coaster to feature a 78-degree barrel roll drop from its highest point, plus a stall dive, corkscrew, and a twisted airtime drop.

 

5) Valravn

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Cedar Point will open the world’s tallest, fastest, and longest dive coaster. Riders on Valravn are carried more than 20 stories up to the top of the coaster’s 223-foot-tall first hill.  Once there, the train is held perilously over the edge of the first drop for approximately four seconds, giving anxious guests unparalleled views of the park before free-falling a record 214 feet at a completely vertical, 90-degree angle, reaching a top speed of 75 mph!

 

6) Mako

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SeaWorld Orlando will debut a shark-inspired roller coaster named Mako next summer that will have a top speed of 73 mph and a drop from 200 feet — the fastest, tallest, longest thrill ride in Central Florida.

The coaster’s track will be 4,760 feet long and its path will skirt the park’s central lake and form a loop in front of the Shark Encounter attraction, creating a new shipwreck-themed area within the park to be called Sharks Realm.

 

7) Cobra’s Curse

The former King Tut’s Tomb walk-through attraction will be reused as the queue for the new Mack Rides spinning coaster.

8) The Monster

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The Monster coaster, coming to Adventureland Park Iowa, will feature a vertical lift hill, a 101-degree beyond-vertical first drop, and five inversions, including an Immelmann and a pair of dive loops.

The new Gerstlauer Infinity steel coaster will replace the amusement park’s existing log ride.

9) Skull Island: Reign of Kong

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The Skull Island: Reign of Kong dark ride at the Universal Studios Orlando Islands of Adventure theme park will combine massive 3-D screens, larger-than-life physical sets and huge animatronic figures.

As you journey deep into a mysterious island, your 1930s expedition is swarmed by enormous prehistoric predators. Your only hope is the most colossal ape ever to walk the earth. As the gargantuan beasts fight for dominance, you will just fight to survive.

10) Phobia Phear

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The vertically-oriented Phobia Phear triple-launch coaster, coming to Connecticut’s Lake Compounce, will sit on a compact footprint but pack a sizable punch.

Identical versions of the Premier Rides SkyRocket II coaster can be found at Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Tempesto) and Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Superman Ultimate Flight).

 

11) Total Mayhem

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Guests coming to Six Flags Great Adventure in New Jersey will experience Total Mayhem next year. After being lifted straight up a 12-story, 90-degree hill, this 4-D, free-fly coaster will wreak havoc as riders flip head-over-heels at least six times along the weightless journey. Thrill seekers will experience exhilarating leaps and dives along a horizontal plane, along with unexpected drops as they tumble from one level to the next. The wing seats amp up the pandemonium since riders will experience all of this chaos with no track above or below – just the sky, ground and adjacent Great Lake churning around them.

12) Delirium

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Kings Dominion will add the Delirium thrill ride to the Candy Apple Grove area of the Virginia park, in place of the Shockwave stand-up roller coaster.

The Mondial Revolution pendulum swing ride will propel riders 115 feet into the air at a 120-degree angle.

13) Skyhawk

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The Skyhawk thrill ride, coming to Canada’s Wonderland, will lift riders 135 feet in the air aboard single-seat gondolas at the end of a cantilevered arm rotating around a central tower.

Riders control the wings of the Gerstlauer Sky Fly ride with their hands — choosing to simply sit and enjoy the ride, or manipulate the wings to wildly rotate like a plane’s propeller.

NEW RIDE DETAILS FROM MOTIONGATE™ DUBAI

NEW RIDE DETAILS FROM MOTIONGATE™ DUBAI

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We are very pleased to be sharing details of two attractions which are located in the Sony Pictures Studios zone of motiongate™ Dubai…

Zombieland

Lovers of all things undead will be thrilled to experience Zombieland Blast Off. Inspired by the Sony Pictures Studios’ hit Zombieland, motiongate™ Dubai will have a 56 metre-high free fall tower, set in the post-zombie apocalypse area of the theme park.

motiongate™ Dubai guests will venture into an abandoned funhouse, fleeing from zombies which roam this area of the park. As they walk through the once bright and happy funhouse, guests are now faced with barricaded doors, scrawled survival tips, and improvised weapons.  As the zombies begin to close in, the only way to escape is straight up!  Riders are sent screaming into the sky over the Pacific Playland Boardwalk on a thrilling drop tower experience.

 

Underworld

 

Step into a supernatural universe inspired by the blockbuster Sony Pictures Studio franchise, Underworld, motiongate™ Dubai will offer a multi-sensory 4D theatre attraction which takes audiences on a non-stop, cinematic thrill with the powerful vampire warrior. 

Guests begin their mysterious journey by entering the courtyard of a production soundstage in the Sony Pictures Studio zone of motiongate™ Dubai. Passing through the doors, guests find themselves in an entirely different world. The battle between vampires and lycans has endured through the ages.  Selene has just escaped from captivity when the world has declared war on vampires and the government has ordered a mass cleansing.  In a desperate search for her love Michael, and the daughter she never met, Selene fights off monstrous lycans.  The audience quickly finds themselves in the middle of a supernatural war in this action-packed theatrical 4D experience.

motiongate™ Dubai coming in October 2016

 

To visit a smaller park, or not to visit a smaller park? That is the question. By Jason Slone

We all hear about the large corporate parks such as Six Flags and Cedar Fair. But there is a whole another group off smaller parks that don’t get all the hype like the big boys do.  These are the family owned independent parks.

 

I’m used to going to King Island and Six Flags parks for most of my life.  This year the family and I decided to try something  different and visit a very small park in Northeast Cincinnati Ohio called Stricker’s Grove.  This park is owned by the Stricker’s family and could be considered as non-traveling carnival rather than an amusement park.  They have 2 wooden coasters and about 10-15 other flat rides.

One of the park’s main attraction is the Tornado Wooden Roller Coaster that can be seen when driving up to the park.  It is not the biggest tallest or fastest but it’s a nice coaster.

Their other coaster was the Teddy Bear, a kiddie coaster was down on the date of our visit.

The park had a modest admission price of $12.00.  With that you got all you can eat popcorn, snow cones, cotton candy and free soft drinks.  One of the more interesting things about how the park is run,  rides all stop for 1 hour while all the operators take their dinner break.  That is something you don’t see everyday!

Now let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of the smaller parks versus the larger parks.  The larger parks have the more expensive admission prices I think we can all agree with that, but most of them offer season passes and if you visit the park enough it will pay for itself.  They offer the larger rides and have more of them to offer.  Several are offering dinner plans as up charge options to season passes, again using it enough will pay for itself.  Some of the disadvantages,  larger crowds, longer wait times, higher priced merchandise and food.

The smaller parks don’t typically have the larger crowds,  although the date of our visit to Stricker’s the park was crazy busy.  The parks generally have smaller amounts of rides and generally don’t take a whole day to go through, so have another place in mind to visit just in case.  Prices are lower for food and merchandise.  Most don’t offer season passes, but I know there are some that do.  One of the disadvantages for this trip for us was the drive length.

Over the years several of the small independent parks have really grown and continue to do so.  Holiday World for example has grown by leaps and bounds from what it once was.  It all started with the Raven roller coaster.  Once the park built it the sky was the limit.  Kentucky Kingdom is still growing after its 2nd year after reopening.  Next year the RMC coaster Storm Chaser they are adding is going to put the park on the map as a major Midwest amusement destination.

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So when you are planning your trips for summer vacation and you are looking at stopping at some amusement parks, don’t forget the little guys. They don’t get the notoriety but they may surprise you with the hospitality you just don’t see everyday in their big brother parks.

*Editor’s Note: My favorite independent park by far is Knoebels. The rides, food, free admission, and awesome employees make this small park one of my favorite on the planet

Review: Monster Mountain Haunted Attraction in Hendersonville, TN

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We were invited by our friends at Monster Mountain to come experience their one-of-a-kind Haunt. Located approximately 20 minutes outside of Nashville, TN this outdoor haunted attraction has you walking through approximately 30 minutes worth of different scenes, buildings, and paths. When you first enter you must navigate through a clown infested black-light lit maze. After escaping the maze you find yourself outside, walking up a dark mountain path. Along the way you will encounter an alien crash site, a school, a town over-run by zombies, a creepy doll house, a haunted dance club, a morgue, and several other scenes that will be sure to scare and terrify you.

We greatly enjoyed our time at Monster Mountain, the scenery is all very well done, the scareactors really go out of their way to try to scare you, and the location make it a truly unique venue. I prefer outdoor haunts over enclosed ones, and this one is my favorite to visit every year. If you are anywhere near the Nashville, TN area, I HIGHLY recommend making plans this Halloween season to stop out at Monster Mountain and have the fright of your life.

For more information, check out their website at http://monstermountain.net/ or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/MonsterMountainHaunt

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Coaster Insanity/AtmosFEARfx Halloween Contest

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Coaster fans are like Halloween fans – we will regularly put ourselves in head-spinning positions where we are almost too terrified to scream.

To celebrate this happy convergence, Coaster Insanity is sponsoring a contest to celebrate the Halloween season. We want to see how Coaster Insanity fans decorate for this spooky time of year. We know it‘ll be good: We suspect Coaster Insanity fans, like Halloween fans, relish things that make other people queasy.

Here’s what to do: Decorate your home in the scariest, most innovative, most head-spinning fashion. Do it up! Then send us photos, or YouTube video links, by October 4. You can post your pictures or videos on our Facebook  page and use the hashtag “#CIHalloween” or tweet @coasterinsanity  with the same hashtag. *You can also use pictures from years past.*

We’ll go through the entries with the help of our friends, the Halloween decorating experts, AtmosFEARfx. They’re a digital decoration company that got its start designing special effects for the amusement park industry. Now, anyone can use their stuff – it’s a totally new way to decorate for Halloween and other spooky occasions. How spooky? Like a digital-ghosts-floating-though-your-house spooky.

We’ll be posting some of the coolest creations on both CoasterInsanity.com and AtmosFX.com. We will randomly draw a winner on Monday, October 5.

What’s in it for the winner? Pure awesomeness. They will receive an AtmosFEARfx Digital Decorating Starter Kit, featuring Night Stalkers and Ghostly Apparitions Digital Decorations, as well as AtmosGEAR Window Projection Material . The retail value is $99.97.

Moreover, anyone who enters the contest can get 20% OFF anything in the AtmosFX.com Store. Just use the promo code ‘Coaster Insanity’ at checkout.

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So let’s get decorating! And be sure to send your entries by 11:59 PDT, October 4, to have a chance to win.
*By submitting your photos and/or videos you grant Coaster Insanity and AtmosFX the right to share them on our webpages and social media channels.

The selfie stick debate. By Jason Slone

Over the past year a rather vocal debate about the use of selfie sticks in Amusement Parks and if they should be allowed.  Not only were folks taking them to the park to use taking photos while just walking around the park, but they also have been used to take photos and POVs on rides more specifically roller coasters (YES ROLLER COASTERS, THERE IS PHOTOGRAPHIC EVIDENCE).  This causes a great safety hazard for other park patrons that are in the immediate vicinity.  The social media out cry has been in full force to start having parks ban them.  Lately parks have started to ban the sticks, Disney Parks became the first chain to ban them from all their parks, with Six Flags parks quickly following.  Will this start a trend however? We can only hope, if not something very bad is going to happen and someone is going to be seriously injured.

I took this photo at Kings Island while waiting to get on Adventure Express and low and behold look what we have…… Someone getting ready to get on a roller coaster with a selfie stick.  IT SHOULD NOT BE OUT!!!!!

 

The Cedar Fair chain has even decided to sell them in all their parks.  This photo was taken at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City.  First thing is first…… If we are trying to get them out of parks we do not need to be selling them in the parks and give folks the opportunity to abuse the use of them.  I understand that they are another way for parks to make money, but I think there are plently of other revenue sources that we don’t need these for sale in parks.  Those $15.00 bottles of water should cover it just fine.

 

So the next time you head to an amusement park, think again before you pack up the old selfie stick.  Leave it at home and remember you have a better selfie stick that you carry around with you all the time.  Your arm! Heck,  maybe ask someone passing by if they will take your photo with whatever you are wanting to take a photo with, there’s something that hardly never happens anymore.

*Editor’s note: Join in the conversation here https://www.facebook.com/coasterinsanity/posts/934389606633023 *

Here a cup, there a cup, everywhere a drink cup! – By:Jason Slone

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Is this what your kitchen looks like after several years of going to Amusement Park after Amusement Park year after year?  Mine does……… and this is it!  Believe me there are several more I have that are not pictured , but you get my point.  These days most parks want you to purchase the cup and either get refills for that day and return trips for free or deeply discounted rates.  But, what do we do with these cups after the season is over?  Do you use them as pencil holders?  Maybe flower planters in your garden?  Or get a matching set and when the family sits down for dinner drink out of them?  Well, if your my family you throw them in the back of a cabinet and forget about them until you start looking for that long lost pot or pan and find 30 refillable drink cups that you have accumulated over the years.  Most of them end up sticking around for a few years and as the newer years cup makes it home and you have to make room for it you need to get rid of the oldest.

 

 

Luckily this year some parks have started experimenting with different levels of refill status in their parks.  Cedar Fair parks, for example, have cups that you purchase for $15.00 and get unlimited refills for that day for free.  If you were to bring that cup back and use it for refills it would only cost .99 cents to fill.  They are able to track the cup usage with the barcode on the side.   These cups are actually usable at other cedar fair parks as well.  We took or Kings Island cup to Worlds of Fun and used the .99 refills.  We had also hear that Carowinds was doing a test on an all season refillable cup for somewhere in the $25.00 range.  So, it sounds like the parks are tring to help us out so we don’t have to get 5 cups a year, right?  Ideally the industry will hear our cries for a cup that you purchase 1 year and then you have the capability to return the following year and (using the same cup) pay a said price to renew the refills on that cup and eliminate the need for another cup.  Sounds good to me.  Well…… One can only hope.  If this doesn’t happen soon you might find them hanging in our yard as decorations.  Then you would say ” They need to come up with a new use for those drink cups” 😉

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Yes, yes they do!!!!!!

USA Today’s 10 Best Awards -By Josh Cameron

After 6 weeks of online voting, the 10 Best New Amusement Park Attractions and the 10 Best Roller Coasters have been decided! I wouldn’t be surprised if over half the people that read this have voted in this, so the results are highly anticipated.

The Top 10 New Amusement Park Attractions are:

1.) Wicked Cyclone at Six Flags New England
2.) Impulse at Knoebels
3.) Thomas Land at Edaville USA
4.) Thunderbird at Holiday World
5.) Justice League: Battle For Metropolis at Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis
6.) Tempesto at Busch Gardens Williamsburg
7.) Laff Trakk at Hersheypark
8.) Fireman’s Landing at Silver Dollar City
9.) Switchback at ZDT’s Amusement Park
10.) Cannibal at Lagoon

The Top 10 Roller Coasters are:

1.) Bizarro at Six Flags New England
2.) Outlaw Run at Silver Dollar City
3.) Maverick at Cedar Point
4.) Boulder Dash at Lake Compounce
5.) Voyage at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari
6.) Fury 325 at Carowinds
7.) Apollo’s Chariot at Busch Gardens
8.) Manta at SeaWorld Orlando
9.) El Toro at Six Flags Great Adventure
10.) Banshee at Kings Island

Congratulations to the winners!