Monthly Archives: September 2011

Warner Brothers Movie World to add “Green Lantern Coaster”

Posted on September 27, 2011 in News by

Although the Summer season has just come to a close in the northern hemisphere, our friends in the south are gearing up for their summer season.  Warner Bros Movie World in Australia will add Green Lantern Coaster just in time for Christmas.  The S&S Power El Loco will be the 5th coaster in the park, the first one added in the last 6 years. Construction is well underway with the first pieces of supports and track already vertical.

Since its debut in 2008, S&S Power has had considerable success with their El Loco model.  For the average park guests, the 100+ degree drop, two inversions and completed twisted inversions provide for a great thrill that simply cannot be found on the common theme park ride.  From a park stand point, an El Loco brings in a high-thrill family attraction in a compact space, but also for an affordable price (according to a quick RCDB search, an El Loco will run at about $5.5 million).  Although these may not be the capacity eaters that larger parks need, the El Loco certainly seems to be gaining popularity with smaller and family own parks.

Below is a video of Timber Drop, an El Loco that opened this year in Fraispertuis-City:

 Green Lantern Coaster is expected to open sometime

 

James Cameron’s ‘AVATAR’ Coming To Disney Parks

Posted on September 26, 2011 in News by

In 2009, James Cameron unleashed AVATAR.  Pushing the boundaries of 3D technology and toying with our imaginations with its inventive and beautiful enviornmnets, Avatar went on to become the highest grossing movie of all time earning just over $2 billion.

Disney announced this week that they have stuck a deal with James Cameron and Fox Films to bring Avatar to Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, starting with Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  Construction is planned to begin in 2013, with an opening in the middle of this decade.

 

Animal Kingdom was always planned to include mythical creatures; when the park was originally designed it included a section called Beastly Kingdom featuring creatures such as dragons, unicorns, etc.  However Avatar, and the world of Pandora aren’t mythical creatures, there aliens.

Animal Kingdom’s central tie-in has always been animals (living, extinct, and mythical) of earth.  Blue-skinned aliens from a distant planet simply don’t fit into the cohesion of the park.  Would it really be approriate to carve the alien figures into the Tree of Life?

But facing the facts, especially the one impossible to deny, Avatar made $2 billion in the box office, the most ever.  Essientally assuring investors and stockholders that the new land will be profitable.  Not to mention, Disney is becoming increasingly aware of the Wizards across town, and have found their answer to stop people from leaving Disney property.

So will Avatar-land be cool?  No doubt, with the estimated $500 million budget, Cameron and the Imagineers will have a field day bringing Pandora to life.  But do I find it approriate for Animal Kingdom or any other Disney Park for that matter? No.  But why fuss? No turning back now.  Time to swallow the “purist” in me and enjoy what’s been handed.  More to come….

California’s Great America SOLD to JMA Ventures

Posted on September 19, 2011 in News by

UPDATE: The sale of the park was cancelled on December 6 by JMA Ventures. The park will remain under Cedar Fair and Cedar Fair’s new CEO Matt Ouimet has said he’s committed to making CGA a better park. A sign of this is the approval of the long-awaited Great Coasters International wooden coaster. Construction should begin later this year with an opening sometime in 2013.

Cedar Fair has sold California’s Great America to JMA Ventures.  Although the park continued to have rising numbers over the past few seasons, the news comes as no surprise to many. Cedar Fair, who received the park in a package by-out deal of the Paramount Parks in 2006, has had difficulty developing park due to set-backs from the planned 49ers stadium to be built in Great America’s over-flow lot.  JMA Ventures, who is involved with the 49ers stadium, has a history of operating ski resorts, and another tourist destinations, however has no theme park experience.  California’s Great America was sold for $70 million.

From Cedar Fair’s press release:

“Our decision to divest of our California’s Great America park was not an easy one,” said Dick Kinzel, Cedar Fair’s chief executive officer. “This is a quality park that has terrific employees and serves a strong market.  That being said, as part of our regular comprehensive review of our portfolio of parks, we determined that divesting a smaller park like California’s Great America at an attractive market value created a compelling business opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.  Among other things, it provides us the opportunity to immediately de-lever our balance sheet resulting in additional financial flexibility for growth and unitholder value creation in the future. California’s Great America and its employees have always demonstrated tremendous capability in providing its customers with the highest level of family entertainment in the northern California region.  I’m confident the park and its employees will continue to thrive under the ownership of JMA.”

“As we look toward 2012, we are building significant momentum for Cedar Fair to deliver consistent and meaningful distributions to our unitholders,” said Matt Ouimet, Cedar Fair’s president. “At the same time, we remain committed to driving top-line growth through a combination of new rides and attractions, marketing initiatives and related strategic expansion around our entire portfolio of premier entertainment venues. The divestiture of California’s Great America will provide us with additional financial flexibility earlier than anticipated to achieve these goals and maintain Cedar Fair’s position as one of the most attractive growth and yield stories in the leisure and hospitality industry.”

The transaction, which is subject to approval by the City of Santa Clara and customary closing conditions, is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2011. Cash proceeds received at closing are expected to be applied to the Company’s senior secured debt under the terms of the Company’s credit agreement.  A Form 8-K with the material terms of the definitive agreement will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission by the end of day Tuesday.

Cedar Fair does seem to imply that JMA Ventures plans to continue operations of the park.  However, if I could guess, the park will not be open for more than 1-3 seasons, just enough time to bull doze the park for a parking lot when the stadium opens in a few years.

Definitely a dramatic turn for my home park. Stay tuned for more….

“Verbolten” to Busch Gardens Williamsburg in 2012

Posted on September 18, 2011 in News by

In 2012, Busch Gardens Williamsburg will introduce Verbolten, a multi-launch, indoor-outdoor, Zierer family coaster.  As the park’s 6th coaster, Verbolten is geared towards both thrill seekers and families alike.

Anchoring the recently refurbished Germany area of the park, the experience will begin as guests enter the German Tourists Center and board 16 passenger, German sport cars.  The coaster starts as a gentle...

Poll Results: Best Busch Gardens B&M

Posted on September 7, 2011 in Polls by

In the latest poll, we asked for you, the readers, to decide what is the best Bolliger & Mabillard coaster at a Busch Gardens park.  Busch Gardens, has developed a love for the Swiss manufacturer over the years, importing a total of six coasters between it’s 2 parks: Tampa and Williamsburg.  The models ranged from the hyper style of Apollo’s Chariot, to...

Six Flags America to build “Apocalypse” in 2012

Posted on September 6, 2011 in News by

Today, Iron Wolf as Six Flags Great America is officially closed after giving die-hard fans their final ride last night.  Iron Wolf, will soon be disassembled and moved to reopen at Six Flags America in 2012 as Apocalypse.  The original B&M will rise from the ashes and offer park-goers a chance for their “Last Stand”.  Aside from a new paint...

Six Flags Magic Mountain announces “Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom”

Posted on September 5, 2011 in News by

In 2012, Six Flags Magic Mountain will add yet another world class thrill ride: Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom. Built on either side of the recently remodeled Superman: Escape from Krypton, these pair of drop towers will rise 400 feet, before dropping people back to earth while reaching speeds of 85 mph, making it both the tallest and fastest drop...