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Doug | Park Thoughts

Posts by Doug

Doug takes on the Midwest

Posted on July 21, 2015 in Updates by

In a few weeks I will be embarking on my biggest road trip alone yet. I’m attending a business conference in Louisville, KY and I’ve decided to make good use of the road trip. During the days I’m not at the conference, I will be visiting four parks (two of which I’ve never been to before). Here’s where I’ll be at:

Kentucky Kingdom, Sunday, August 9

Kentucky Kingdom

I’m looking forward to seeing how the rebirth of Kentucky Kingdom is going, as I used to live in Louisville as a child and was a season pass holder. I interviewed Ed Hart several years ago during his first go at getting back the park and he has so much passion to make it a solid destination once again for the Louisville metro.

Holiday World, Monday, August 10

Holiday World

Where do I begin with Holiday World? 3 world class wooden coasters, the brand-new Thunderbird (which we named #4 on top coasters we’re excited for), and one of the best waterparks in the world. The park has won the “Cleanest Park” Golden Ticket award every year since the Golden Tickets started and “Friendliest Park” for 13 of the 16 years it’s been awarded. But I’m most excited about the unlimited soft drinks.

Kings Island, Thursday, August 13

Kings Island

With 14 roller coasters, Kings Island is one of the most coaster-filled parks in the world. While there are only a few standout coasters (Banshee, The Beast, and Diamondback), it’s a great place to easily increase your coaster count. I always wanted to visit Kings Island when I lived in Louisville, but never got to go. Excited to finally cross this park off my list.

Cedar Point, Friday, August 14

Cedar Point Gatekeeper

The mecca of all coaster fans, this will be my 3rd time to Cedar Point. My last visit was in 2009, so I have yet to ride Gatekeeper, Rougarou, Shoot the Rapids, and Windseeker. Cedar Point is my favorite amusement park and offers a great variety of things to do. It’s one of the few parks where it’s a challenge to get it done in one day. I wish I could spend more time, but my schedule doesn’t permit an extra day.

During my trip I will be doing my best to Tweet throughout the day and occasionally Periscoping. I’m still on the fence about bringing my Cannon T1i, so we’ll see. It’s been several years since I’ve ridden a major roller coaster, so I’m excited to feel the rush again.

Top 5 Coasters We’re Excited For in 2015

Posted on March 5, 2015 in News, Thoughts by

Top 5

According to Roller Coaster DataBase, in 2015, 130 roller coasters are being built worldwide. Most of these coasters are being built in China where there is currently an explosion of theme parks being built. Unfortunately, information about these parks and their coasters is scarce. However, there are plenty of other coasters being built we know lots about! We’ve looked over all the stats, renderings, and videos to decide the top 5 coasters we’re excited for in 2015. Let’s start…

#5: Fury 325, Carowinds

Fury 325 Construction

Bolliger & Mabillard are back with another giga coaster for Cedar Fair, and they’ve up the ante even more. This time Carowinds gets the privilege of owning this towering machine. Reaching a top speed of 95 MPH, Fury 325 will fly through bunny hops, overbanked turns, and even dive under the pathway leading to the new park entrance.

Why we’re excited: B&M learned from the mistakes of Leviathan at Canada’s Wonderland and Fury 325 has a much better pace. They’ve kept their signature bunny hops alongside exciting near-ground turns to create one of their best. It’s also their longest ever at 6,602 feet. Carowinds is now home to two world-class mega coasters and is definitely a “can’t miss” for any coaster fan in the southeast.

Website | First Test Run POV Video

#4: Thunderbird, Holiday World


Holiday World said they wanted to go over-the-top for their first major steel coaster, and boy, did they… Thunderbird will launch its 5 car winged trains to 60 MPH in less than 4 seconds into a 140 foot tall Immelmann. And that’s just the start. You’ll then wind your way through the park’s trees and even over the legendary Voyage wooden coaster. They’ve also constructed a building around the track cutting it just enough to fit inside the train’s safe zone.

Why we’re excited: This is the wing rider we’ve been waiting for. No long climb up a lift, just a countdown. The fact that the park is leaving as many trees as they can, along with constructing a fly-through as close as they can will take full advantage of the winged trains. This is also B&M’s first attempt at their own launch system (The Incredible Hulk at Islands of Adventure was developed by Universal).

Website | Animated POV Video

#3: Twisted Colossus, Six Flags Magic Mountain

Racing coasters are lots of fun. But what happens when you throw in Rocky Mountain Construction? You get insanity. Their Twisted take on the classic Colossus coaster at Magic Mountain (you may remember it from the classic movie National Lampoon’s Vacation) is nothing short of magic. You’ll twist, turn, flip, and nearly get ejected from your seat as you race along. Even better, you actually get to race on both sides each ride. You’ll first go on the blue track, then come back around and switch over to the green track to do it again.

Why we’re excited: Rocky Mountain Construction avoids straight lines whenever possible, and that’s why we love them. All of their previous work has been outstanding and we’re loving the elements they’ve added in to heighten the racing aspect.

Website | Animated POV Video

#2: Cannibal, Lagoon

This is one of the very few coasters that has made us go ‘WOW’. Lagoon certainly has the sleeper hit of 2015 with their $22 million custom built 208 foot tall insanity machine. You’ll rise all the way to the top inside an elevator lift, then plummet down a 116º drop into a maze including 3 inversions. The top speed will be a blazing 70 MPH, which will certainly make the turns through the intricate rock work intense.

Why we’re excited: It’s not every day a theme park decides to build its own roller coaster from scratch, let alone a hyper coaster with a 116º drop. With complete control over what they wanted, Lagoon crafted their dream coaster and they delivered. We also love the fact the park is taking the time to add in rock work which will greatly enhance the ride experience.

#1: Wicked Cyclone, Six Flags New England

While Twisted Colossus’s racing will be exciting, we think Wicked Cyclone will be even more insane. Rocky Mountain Construction has gone all out and has created a coaster that never lets up. This is their best work yet. Seriously. With two zero-g rolls, a 200º stall, and 14 ejector bunny hops it will probably be a good idea to empty your pockets before getting on.

Why we’re excited: If there’s any coaster not to miss in 2015, it’s this. There’s nothing quite like a good bunny hop, and with 14 your stomach will be begging for mercy by the end. Rocky Mountain Construction has outdone themselves and created a world class coaster in such a tight space on top of an old wooden frame. We predict Wicked Cyclone will enter most major top 10 lists.

Website | Animated POV Video


What coasters are you looking forward to in 2015? Do you agree with us that Wicked Cyclone is the coaster that can’t be missed? Leave your Park Thoughts below!

Why coaster awards and polls will never be accurate or fair

Posted on June 30, 2012 in Thoughts by

Every fall the Amusement Industry eagerly awaits the results of Amusement Today’s Golden Tickets. While the best new ride categories can be rather unpredictable, the other categories are usually consistant year to year. Since 2000, Millenium Force at Cedar Point and Bizzaro at Six Flags New England have had a tug of war for the #1 steel coaster spot. Coaster enthusiasts scream that the results are rigged and that Millenium Force has never deserved the #1 spot. So are the results rigged? Not by Amusement Today, but by the voters themselves.

World's of Fun proudly shows off Prowler's Golden Ticket honor

Think about it. How many people in the Amusement Industry have been on every coaster in the world? There are very few that have even come close to achieving the feat and all of them are enthusiasts rather than employees of an attraction. You’ll never be able to create a coaster award program that has enough fair data. It’s impossible because the industry is so huge.

To answer the calls that the Golden Tickets are unfair/rigged/just promotional material, Mitch Hawker created the Best Roller Coaster Poll for both steel & wooden. This allows enthusiasts to have their say in what they think is the best in the world. But still, it’s unfair and swayed. Very few enthusiasts have been to more than a few parks. A large majority of enthusiasts make claims about coasters from what they read online. A few enthusiasts with large online followings use it to their advantage and play up coasters they like. They don’t explicitly say “hey, vote for so and so,” because people would come running in with red flags slapping them. Instead they over emphasize in posts on forums, tweets, and Facebook statuses. Those over emphasized posts stick with people. It tilts their brain towards thinking it’s the most amazing coaster in the world. If the top players in the enthusiast group said a Eurofighter was in the top 10 in the world the rest of the enthusiasts would follow.

The only way we’ll ever be able to have an accurate coaster awards or poll system is by asking people in person and only allowing them to vote on parks they’ve been to. Who would do this? No one. It’d take an extraordinary amount of time and money to pull off an “accurate” poll, and I’m sure even this poll would tilt some way.

Expedition Everest may not be in the top 10, but it's loved by millions throughout the world

Despite all these awards and polls, people will always have a favorite coaster. How many millions of people have a Disney coaster as the top spot in their mind? The amusement industry is just like the film industry: we can hand out awards left and right to what the “experts” say is the best, but people will still believe in their own preferences. If you don’t like the Golden Ticket results, just ignore them. It’s not a sin to. You have all the right in the world to still think Barnstormer is the greatest coaster ever. Just don’t try to hold the awards & polls hosts accountable. They’ll never be able to make an accurate system. It has been, and always will be, a tilted system.

Do you agree that coaster awards and polls shouldn’t be taken so seriously and that we’ll never be able to come up with a system that works fairly? Leave your Park Thoughts below.

Interview with Jennifer Lauerman of Nickelodeon Universe

Posted on July 25, 2011 in Interviews by

We were able to sit down with Jennifer Lauerman, marketing director of Nickelodeon Universe, the largest indoor Theme Park in America located at the Mall of America in Bloomington, MN. The park operated as Camp Snoopy from 1992-2006 and The Park at MOA from 2006-2008 before opening as Nickelodeon Universe in Spring 2008.

We talked about how the park is doing so far...

5 ways to make your next Theme Park trip cheaper

Posted on June 29, 2011 in Thoughts by

So, you’re ready to visit the Theme Park? You’re ready to hop on those coasters and scream your head off, but you don’t want to break the bank. How do you have fun while saving? Here are some easy tips to save on your next trip to the park.

1. Don’t go wild with games

Do you really need that big plush...

Dream or Oasis?

Posted on February 14, 2011 in Thoughts, Uncategorized by

Disney just recently up the ante in the Cruise Ship wars. With their new mega ship, The Dream, Disney thinks they can battle the major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Everyone has associated Disney cruises with kids and Mickey Mouse everywhere. Disney decided that its next round of ships should cater to everyone, and they’ve done just that....