Monthly Archives: January 2011

Sea World San Diego to build Manta Ray themed roller coaster

Posted on January 29, 2011 in News by

It’s been seven years since Sea World San Diego last added a major attraction.  Journey to Atlantis opened in 2004 and was an underwhelming cousin to it’s Florida counter part.  Since then the park has gone season after season without any new major attraction.  However, Sea World San Diego is currently in the process of getting permits to add a new multi-launch coaster for the 2012 season.  Fortunately for us coaster fans, blue prints of the new coaster surfaced on Screamscape.com .  The Manta-Ray themed ride will no doubt be San Diego’s take on Manta at Sea World Orlando with a Manta themed decorative piece on the front of the coaster train.

Sea World San Diego’s 2012 coaster has a layout that is custom made for the park.  According to an article Sign-On San Diego, the coaster will not exceed the 30 foot height limit that is set on most of the San Diego coastline, meaning that the ride will be a low to the ground speed frenzy.  The main features of the coaster include two laucnhes, the first being housed in a show building, numerous overbanked turns, and 9.900 square foot station.

In addition to having a custom layout, the coaster will feautre a custom designed Manta Ray decorative piece on the front train. From the one piece of concept art that has been leaked on the web (right) the coaster appears to be decorative piece looks very similar to the front car on the Manta coaster at Sea World Orlando (left).  In the California Coastal Commision’s prelimiary reccomednation document, the project is described as “a roller coaster type ‘Manta-Ray’ themed ride.”  This confirms that the blue prints are indeed real.

Needless to say I am very excited for this project.  While the coaster doesn’t seem to be as ‘epic’ as Manta was at Sea World Orlando, there is already a flying coaster in Southern California so the decision to build a multilaunch Mack coaster is definitely the right one.  Sea World San Diego looks like they will have a real hit with families come 2012.  In fact, 2012 is shaping up to be a huge year for Southern California; the highligh anticipated Carsland will opens it’s doors in 2012 along with Transformers in Universal Studios Hollywood.

For more of the blue prints of the new ride visit Screamscape and for more detailed information about the ride, check out the California Coastal Commision’s prelimiary reccomednation document.  Leave a comment with your Park Thoughts below.

Giant Dipper at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Review

Posted on January 23, 2011 in Reviews by

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a west coast amusement park icon. The crowd midway with the rickle and rattle of the multi-story attractions on one side and the crashing waves and whispers of the wind to the other. And what has kept the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk alive for more than 100 years is the park’s famous wooden coaster, the Giant Dipper. Constructed by Arthur Loof in 1924, the coaster is now the 5th oldest in the country. But don’t let it’s age fool you, the coaster continues to pack a punch. Reaching speeds of 55 mph, heights of 70 feet, all over half a mile of track.

The Giant Dipper is really one of the best wooden coasters in the West. The ride’s a non-stop thrill ride that is jam packed with plenty of turns and twists that idealize the turn of the century coaster. The smell of deep fried cheese cakes, the shoulder to shoulder crowd, and the often long journey to the boardwalk is all worth while after riding the Giant Dipper.

Upon entering the boardwalk I was immediately intrigued by locating the station. Due to the limited space the Boardwalk occupies, the station to the coaster is nicely tucked away in the middle of the coaster’s massive support structure. Guests enter under a large marquee above the midway that can be seen from essentially either end of the boardwalk. First there is a small hall of switch backs before a gentle semi-circle incline that hugs the station. Unlike most modern coasters, the Giant Dipper’s station is curve to the confines of the above turn around. Crews quickly assign guests seating as guests are loaded like machine gun fire shooting out each of the two trains long before the other one rushes back into the station.

Once the ride begins, the coaster immediately dips into total darkness and winds in a few directions completely disorienting guests before they reach the light as well as the chain lift. On the way to the top of the 65′ there is a great view of the Pacific Ocean and the thousands of happy park goers who come to explore the delightful sands. As the train slowly crests the top of the hill, the train whips over the top of the hill and the real fun begins.

Perhaps this is only my own personal belief but I think that a wooden coaster is intedned to be rough. I am a huge fan ofGhostrider with this mentality and the same can be applied here. Giant Dipper shows no mercy on it’s riders at the bottom of the first hill (especially in the back row) by thrusting riders into the seat. The coaster pulls up and around in a 180 before 2 bunny hops into the mid course break run. The coaster once Terrarium again reverses directions heading back towards the lift and follows it’s original layout once more. Towards the end the coaster bounces over numerous bunny hills directly providing some added fear. Giant Dipper flies into the station seeming not to slow down until it reaches the loading dock.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk’s Giant Dipper is a great classic wooden coaster. A true mark of it’s early design is the lack of banked turns. The coaster for the most part does not seem to bank in any which direction more than 45 degrees, providing for some great lateral G-Forces. While short, the coaster’s layout weaves over and under itself in a fashion that maximizes it’s length in the available space. Fortunately, the Giant Dipper maintains it’s speed along it’s course providing for some nice airtime and butt to seat action.

Yes, the coaster does get a lot of praise, however there are still some flaws. The old fashion train design is not tall person friendly with minimal leg room. In addition the coaster is quite pricey for one time riders (listed at $4.50 per a ride as of January 2011). So if you going to hit up the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, even for just a couple of hours, it is worth getting a day-long wrist band.

Overall, the Giant Dipper at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a really solid coaster. It’s a shining star in the Pacific Coast park and is far better than it’s sister at Belmont Park in San Diego. Although, other wooden coasters including Roar!, Termina…er…. Apocalypse, and Ghostrider are all better, the Giant Dipper is unique for it’s classical design. I would give the coaster a 6 out of 10 being above average, but still not great.

Little Mermaid’s Undersea Adventure Preview

Posted on January 20, 2011 in Updates by

The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Undersea Adventure at Disney California Adventure is the highlight of 2011.  The park continues to spend that nice $1.1 billion shopping spree it received back in 2007.  Now, one of the most anticipated attractions of the expansion is almost ready to open.  While construction crews are still hard at work making the exterior structure look dazzling, the inside is nearly complete.  Disney Parks Blog released the first video from inside the ride and needless to say, it’s looking pretty fantastic.

The interior looks fantastically detailed.  The main show pieces are in along with most of the static set figurines.  The audio animatronics have yet to be placed inside, however once that happens programming the figurines will begin.  The OmniMover ride system that is similar to the ride system on Haunted Mansion and Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blasters (or Space Ranger Spin).  Little Mermaid is rumored to open the sea floor in May 2011 along with Star Tours 2, Mickey’s Soundsational and a newly rennovated section of Paradise Pier.

Stay tuned for more updates about Disney California Adventure.

Poll Results: Best New Addition of 2010

Posted on January 19, 2011 in Polls by

The most recent poll was about what was your favorite new addition of 2010.  The options consisted of a wide variety from shows, to coasters, to entire parks.  The options were: World of Color, the nighttime spectacular at Disney California Adventure with 1000+ fountains, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Islands of Adventure’s highly anticipated land themed around the billion...

Changes to WDW’s Fantasyland Expansion

Posted on January 18, 2011 in News by

Back in 2009 at the D23 Expo, Walt Disney World announced they would be doubling the size of their Fantasyland with “Fantasyland Forest”.  The original plans called for one cloned attraction, The Little Mermaid, two restaurants, both based on Beauty and the Beast, two Dumbos, and what seemed to be countless meet n greets.  While the attention looked far higher than...

ProSlide 2011 News

Posted on January 11, 2011 in Uncategorized by

ProSlide Technology Inc based in Canada is one of the world’s leaders in water park attractions.  They are the creators of many iconic water slides such as the Tornado, Bowl, Plummet, and so on.  2010 was a great year for the company as they built the new Wildebeest water coaster at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari which took the crown...

Unknown yellow B&M track found home!

Posted on January 7, 2011 in Updates by

The mysterious B&M track that was found at the Bolliger and Mabillard plant in Ohio over a year ago has found it’s home in Ocean Park at Hong Kong, China.  The coaster is rumored to be a Stand Up style ride however it may also be floorless or sit down.  The coaster is part of the park’s multi million dollar expansion and...