Sunday, February 26, 2017

Elitch Gardens' Skyline Shows Off New Star Flyer Ride

© Elitch Gardens
Debuting at Elitch Gardens this summer is Star Flyer, a 17-story swing ride that is now proudly standing over the park's landscape.  The Denver amusement park shared these photos of the ride, which was completed this past week.

Star Flyer's giant tower will support a main carriage that rises up and swings riders - suspended in a small seat with their legs dangling - at speeds of up to 48 miles per hour.

© Elitch Gardens
Needless to say, the view from the top of Star Flyer will be amazing, with the Denver skyline just beyond the park and the mountains after that.  The ride appears to possibly be a transportable model that the park picked up, though I do not know that for sure.  It has a nice, bright color scheme that helps it stand out at the park, especially so with the blue sky in the background of these photos.

Star Flyer will seat 48 riders per cycle and guests can check it out when Elitch Gardens opens for the season on April 29th.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Knott's Berry Farm's Boysenberry Festival Returns this April

Knott's Berry Farm has released details for this year's Boysenberry Festival, running April 1st through 23rd, showing that the popular event will be growing again in 2017.  Celebrating the theme park's boysenberry history, the festival offers special events, food and beverage, live entertainment and plenty more.  All the activities and entertainment are included in the park's general admission ticket.

© Knott's Berry Farm
Naturally a big part of the Boysenberry Festival is food, mainly foods that are created with boysenberries themselves.  During the event the park offers a very wide variety of these treats, from sweets to savory dishes.  There's everything from BBQ dishes like ribs, meatballs and wings to more unique offerings like boysenberry pizza, ravioli and boysenberry and apricot pulled pork.

If you have a sweet tooth, there's no way to sample all the park offers on just one visit.  Classic boysenberry pie is a good place to start, then maybe move on to boysenberry cheesecake, ice cream, a stuffed churro, or cotton candy.  New this year are more items like boysenberry fry bread, boysenberry nutella crepes and boysenberry cream soda.

© Knott's Berry Farm
The Boysenberry Festival also offers live entertainment and activities to keep the whole family busy, ranging from pie eating contests to a visit to Old MacDonald's Farm.  A neat experience offered is Interactive Pie Making, where visitors can buy Coredelia Knott's famous pies and kids can make their own boysenberry tart.  Since the festival runs during Easter time, the world-famous Easter Beagle (that's Snoopy, of course) is available to meet in his decorated home inside Camp Snoopy.

Live shows during the festival include Snoopy's Boysenberry Jamboree, a Studio K Classic Dance Party (80s themed) in the Cloud 8 Ballroom, Krazy Kirk and the Hillbillies in the Bird Cage Theatre and more.  Entertainment runs both day and night, so there are plenty of shows to catch and fun to be had.

For more on Knott's Boysenberry Festival, check out the event's webpage.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

New Photos Show Nearly Completed InvadR at Busch Gardens Williamsburg

Busch Gardens Williamsburg hosted a special construction tour this week for InvadR, the theme park's new wooden roller coaster.  Since the park closed after the holiday season we haven't been able to see the latest progress of the ride, only receiving a few updates from the park since, but we now can see the ride up-close and find that the coaster is nearly complete.

And, it's looking great!  BGWFans was at the park's tour, and posted a gallery of more than 50 photos of the ride.  Although I've been to the park, I couldn't quite recall the topography of the New France themed area of the park, but these photos really show how InvadR will us the hills and valleys to the fullest.

From the photos it appears as though only a couple parts of the ride still need to be built, with many sections - like the lift hill and first drop - already complete.  The recently announced tunnel on the top part of the first 74 foot drop is also being installed, added to enhance the sensation of speed during the plunge.

No official opening date has been revealed for InvadR just yet, but from the looks of the progress it would seem the ride will be ready for Spring. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Grona Lund Planning New Compact B&M Inverted Ride for 2020

Sweden's Grona Lund is known for it's super-condensed layout, with amusement rides layered on top of one another, regularly crossing paths and interacting as well.  The park is going to get just a bit more crowded in 2020 with the addition of a brand new B&M Inverted roller coaster.

The amusement park has started the process of applying for approval of their building plans, leaving plenty of time for the construction on the ride to start in 2018, with a 2020 opening.  The park's dense layout means that construction might be a bit more complicated that usual.

Here's the ride's layout, taken from this Swedish news article (translated) about the ride:

© Grona Lund
The new inverted coaster will be located near Insane, the park's Intamin ZacSpin, and if you look closely it appears as though the ride's station will be located below ground level.  The lift will rise up to 111.5 feet above the park, with a steep 180 degree drop right after.  The layout of the ride will stay above many of the park's buildings, navigating through 4 inversions, two heartline rolls and two corkscrews.  There are some nice looking curves and helices in the mix as well.  Total track length is stated to be around 2,296 feet with a top speed of 62 miles per hour listed (though that seems a tad fast for a ride of this size).

The translated article says that the ride is inspired by two similar rides in the U.S. - it does have the heartline finish of Banshee at Kings Island, but I'm not sure I can put my finger on what the other may be.  Looks like a fun coaster, though!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Slow Turnaround for Classic Conneaut Lake Park Continues

It's been a very long road, to say the least, but more good news has recently come out of the classic Conneaut Lake Park, located in western Pennsylvania.  The park had been under bankruptcy protection to shield it from being auctioned off to pay off millions in property and other tax debts.  However, the park has recently emerged from bankruptcy and has already made significant progress in reducing their debts.

At the start of the year the park completed their third sale of excess land that it owned which in total has reduced the property tax debt by more than $600,000.  The lakefront property was subdivided into six lots, so that means there are still three others that could be sold and aid in reducing the back taxes owed.

This past December the park also held an auction of unused park items, some related to rides (such as old Blue Streak cars) that raised nearly $30,000.

This all comes after a memorable 2016, which was the park's most successful season in many years - they actually turned a small profit instead of losing money.  Much of that can be attributed to the park's leadership and the reopening of the water slides and lazy river attractions.  In total revenues were up 26% in 2016 over the prior year.

Turning to 2017, there won't be any new rides but the park is looking to make other improvements that will lead to further profitability.  The park is trying to extend their hours and operate more days of the week.  Also, Camperland (the park's campground) is using the auction proceeds and expanding to include 47 new camp sites and more amenities to attract campers.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ride Kings Island's New Mystic Timbers Coaster First for a Good Cause

Many of us are excited to get our first ride on Mystic Timbers, the new wooden roller coaster at Kings Island, and now you have the chance to be one of the very first to take a spin.

Kings Island and Cedar Fair Charities are joining with the Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation to give ride fans a chance to raise money for a great charity and be some of the first people to ride Mystic Timbers.  To be held on April 13th, two days before the public will get a chance to ride, a First Rider Auction event is taking place at the park.  Those interested can commit to raising at least $100 for the Foundation, and if you do you will get to attend the event.  Rides will take place in order of the most amount raised, but all who meet the minimum will get to ride - and find out what is going on in that shed once and for all!

The Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation is "a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing life-changing experiences to seriously ill and physically challenged children and their families in the Cincinnati area."  They have created numerous community outreach programs in the past that benefit local hospital and their patients.

Mystic Timbers features a 109 foot tall lift hill, speeds of 53 miles per hour and 3,265 feet of track in the woods.  Be sure to stay up to date on the ride's progress via the official Mystic Timbers website.