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Everything posted by bkroz

  1. Thank you! I'm excited about it, and I hope other people get excited about it too. It's been cool to mail out member cards and postcards and see a little community to develop. I encourage anyone on here who's into theme parks to sign up! Like I said, it's free! I would love to do an in-depth write-up on Phantom Theater, but I don't personally know of a lot of photographs, descriptions, history, etc. If anyone can connect me with some great resources or share firsthand experience of the ride's design or operations, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to message me.
  2. Oops, great idea. Since some are "Lost Legends" and others are "Declassified Disasters," regional parks stories are scattered around a bit. Here are a few direct links to regional parks rides and stories folks here may appreciate! TOMB RAIDER: The Ride at Kings Island Big Bad Wolf at Busch Gardens Williamsburg Curse of DarKastle at Busch Gardens Williamsburg THIRTEEN at Alton Towers Drachen Fire at Busch Gardens Williamsburg Disaster Transport at Cedar Point Son of Beast at Kings Island VOLCANO: The Blast Coaster at Kings Dominion Other stories for big name rides you may enjoy: STAR TOURS The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man WESTCOT (never-built park at Disneyland) Space Mountain: De la Terre a la Lune Alien Encounter Expedition Everest Jaws and Kongfrontation Mystic Manor Thanks for taking a look everyone!
  3. Hi folks! If you don't know me, I was a loooonnnggtime poster here back in the day (miss you, Terpy). I've stopped by here and there over the last few years but largely I've been out and about exploring parks far and wide! You may have seen some of my one-off articles on the history of Tomb Raider: The Ride, Son of Beast, Geauga Lake, Disaster Transport, or a few other Cedar Fair favorites. I wanted to swing by to let you know that I started an online collection of all my theme park writing in one place - PARK LORE! These are the in-depth, fully-researched, detail-packed stories of attractions from Disney, Universal, Cedar Fair, SeaWorld Parks, and beyond! It's meant to be an all-in-one place where you can start a story and "fall down the rabbit hole" (Wikipedia style ) by digging into in-depth histories of the world's most-missed Lost Legends, flopped and failed Declassified Disasters, industry-changing Modern Marvels, and never-built Possibilityland rides, lands, and parks! If you're super into theme parks, Imagineering, attraction design, ride histories, or just the themed entertainment industry, this is the site for you! I'm really trying to get this collection off the ground and get people excited about it and bookmarking it and stopping by to see what's new. If you're interested, do me a favor and swing by to check it out! You can sign up for an account to leave comments on stories (like sharing your own memories and opinions) and to get a monthly email Newsletter on what's new on the site. It would honestly mean the world to see people visit, share it with their friends, talking about it, etc. It's literally just a one person site, run by me. There are no ads or ad revenue. I just want it to be a cool place to visit and read stuff. (And if you have no idea where to start, there are recommendations on the home page). I literally got my 'start' in theme park stuff and caring about the industry at Kings Island and here on KIC (as you can tell by my post count) so sharing the park's stories really, really matters to me, and I pretty quickly learned how interconnected those stories are with things happening across the industry. No pressure whatsoever, but the site does have monthly memberships to support new writing, fresh content, special features, etc. If you join as a Gold Passholder, you unlock a hundred(!) exclusive features (which you can browse here and here), rare concept art & construction photos in every story, streamable attraction audio (hello Tomb Raider music!), plus get a real membership card and postcard set shipped to your door. If you decide to sign up as a Silver or Gold Passholder, I created a special promo code to use at check-out - "KICentral" - that will take $2 off the monthly price, making the Gold Pass just $6 a month!! And you actually recieve stuff in the mail for it!! Anyway, I hope to see you all there! I have been around here long enough to know that you guys would make good use of the comment section. But really, I hope you find it a cool place to relax, research, dig in, and learn a lot. Like I said, KIC was my start to caring about theme parks and learning from friends. Maybe Park Lore can be a secondary place for you! Haha. You can sign up for a free account or a Park Lore Pass here! See ya there!? If you read a story and love it, feel free to share recommendations in this thread.
  4. Their request for a 315 foot height waiver was approved. It's in relation to 2021 or 2022 project though, and just marks the maximum allowable height of something... maybe not a coaster, and maybe not fully 315 feet! We'll have to wait and see...
  5. Looks like the rendering is pretty much exactly accurate. Which is great! I was worried some of those banks and turns were just conjecture, but the layout has them as depicted by the ride envelope. Which is good to know, because some of those track sections that look like straightaways are actually really dynamic moments.
  6. Looks like this prediction got it right on the money, including little track flourishes like outward-banked turns. Having seen that, I don't think this looks short at all. As a matter of fact, I'd say it looks spectacular. Clocking in a 90 seconds from first action to last, it seems like one of the longer thrill coasters out there. Definitely a great fit for Busch Gardens, especially considering we're likely to at LEAST be diving around ancient Roman ruins and statues if not more. The first inversion coming out of a mild launch, a 72 mph launch while cresting an airtime hill, the ride's big moment (the 95-degree river dive) happening halfway through, the upside down return to the river, the tilted airtime hills... Not to mention the quick-switch track, which Intamin also used on Universal's new Hagrid's Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure and earns stunned response from riders. I've always been a proponent of Busch Gardens' "quality over quantity" and argue that each of its 7 (soon to be 8!) coasters is the best of its type. Verbolten, Invadr, Tempesto, Griffon, Apollo, Alpengeist, Pantheon, Loch Ness... For me, I'd rather ride Busch Gardens' 7 coasters than all 17 at Cedar Point. Each feels custom made and custom themed for the park's landscape and stories. And frankly, I'd rather ride this than an out-and-back B&M giga of big swooping airtime hills. While I adore Kings Island and I'm excited for what's coming, this is the sort of ride that feels like an event! It has personality and surprises and unexpected manuevers. in other words, the kind of customized, unique, and tailor-made ride Kings Island could admittedly use more of, like Mystic Timbers! Congrats to Busch Gardens!
  7. bkroz

    Decoding 2020

    This is obviously going to be an awesome ride. But just to be a negative Nancy for 10 seconds, I feel the slightest bit of disappointment that it's another giant Cedar Fair B&M of swooping drops, soaring turnarounds, etc. I feel like Mystic Timbers put us on a good path to having coasters from smaller manufacturers, with more-than-just-a-barn-for-a-station theming, and with personality. X-Base (quasi-dystopian, questionably-governmental flight and technology research testing facility) totally lends itself to an epic, different kind of coaster with amazing personality and re-ridability! It seems like the perfect area to have a twisted, compact Mack coaster like Walibi Holland's Lost Gravity, diving around set pieces and props, right? Something nimble, bright, colorful, and twisted, with some iconic, spinning, light-up sculpture (this example isn't what you expect, but is perfect) in the middle of the layout "tearing space and time," and pulling props toward it. Obviously Alton Towers' Smiler has its own issues, but wouldn't a wild Gerstlauer be fantastic in X-Base, and unlike anything in Kings Island or Cedar Point? Anyone who's been on a Eurofighter knows they are truly unique in the sensation and pacing. Smiler has an LED screen at its center with mechanical "spider legs" coming from it, and each leg has its own weirdo props that are part of the ride's "hypnotizing" process. It's eerie, but comical, and no one but Gerstlauer could've built a roller coaster that looks and feels right for such a story. Or, to borrow from my favorite, Verbolten, imagine if X-Base got a multi-launch Zierer coaster. Imagine that we, as guests, are cast as trainees being dispatched to an old, retired, unstable facility back in the woods leftover from the '70s where X-Base scientists were working on experimental interdimensional technology. The coaster might start by just coasting out of the hi-tech station and into the woods slaloming through trees before coming across a massive, rusted, old government warehouse that's all dilapidated. Then, inside, the coaster immediately turns toward the glowing portal and launches into a spiraling, twisting interior of pulsing lights and sounds. The train finally escapes through a tear in time, screeching to a halt back in the old, broken down facility, and that's where a vertical drop track falls, with the ride launching back through the woods to the station. If it's got to be a B&M (which is understandable! High reliability, high capacity, very showy, feel like "headliners"), how about a Wing Coaster that's intentionally positioned as an OPPOSITE of GateKeeper, keeping low to the ground and spiraling through set pieces, like Thorpe Park's Swarm? It could be themed to a prototype flight experiment that's escaped from an X-Base office building and is tearing through the facility. Even a Dive Machine would be awesome if it were given X-Base theming, which essentially means it would just need looked at like Alton Towers' Oblivion. Is this new coaster going to be amazing? ABSOLUTELY. Don't get me wrong. And I'm sure its station will look metal and it'll have a quosnet hut queue building, and it will play high-energy techno-music while you wait, and it'll be blue or gray and have a name that kinda sorta feels like a "secret project" that X-Base might be working on. It's just a little disappointing that after all that famous "Cedar Fair theming lite," it'll be a big, tall steel coaster with airtime hills and sweeping turns and (gasp) maybe an overbanked turn. While I love that Cedar Fair is getting braver when it comes to queue theming, it almost makes it worse when the "build-up" leads to nothing. There's barely the insinuation of a narrative, but then that narrative has no conclusion at the end, which means it might as well have not even been there. Each of the rides above are rides that set their respective parks apart because just a little extra care and attention was put into them. To my thinking, each is the roller coaster equivalent of a "viral post." You WANT to tell your friends the backstory; you WANT to bring first-timers who will be amazed by the "surprise" element; you WANT to ride again and again. Another big, tall, fast roller coaster will be amazing. But it that what's needed in Kings Island's lineup? Maybe for LOTS of people, it is! I just hope we continue to see projects like Mystic Timbers, too.
  8. With Defunctland's video "made possible by" my in-depth feature on the ride here! I also did a Son of Beast feature here! Check out the link in my signature if you're into in-depth theme park stories!
  9. bkroz


    You can always call the park for the official answer! I suspect at the very least, you'd need the confirmation number from the order. You can almost certainly get the pass without issue if you have the credit card that purchased the pass with you and take it to the ticket window. There, they can re-print the e-ticket. The easiest thing to do would be to get the confirmation / e-ticket print off, which is probably sitting in your stepmom's email from when she purchased it!
  10. Did you know you're likely to walk 5 - 8 miles a day when visiting a theme park? But if it's worth it to you to park 300 feet closer to the gate, by all means. In all seriousness, I totally understand in the case of mobility or access considerations and I guess it makes sense if you're looking to use your car as a locker, but I'd say most people who pay for premium parking are probably just doing it to cut out that extra 3 minutes of walking... never mind the 10 hours of walking that'll follow.
  11. How interesting would it be to have the ride closed this summer and debut a new Peanuts Holidays dark ride at Halloween / Christmastime?
  12. Without having ridden Lightning Rod, I can guess that answering that is like answering, "Which is better, Raptor or Racer?" Very different rides, very different concepts, with very different goals and purposes.
  13. I liked it too. But what happened to Son of Beast was not the nature of wooden roller coasters. Sincere engineering missteps lead to two dozen people being injured at least once, and many many more physically suffered from the ride experience to varying degrees. As for "would you have ridden it if it re-opened?" I think I would've, but I was more naive 7 years ago haha. If it had re-opened, I would've felt sure that Cedar Fair had done its due diligence. In retrospect, despite all of our hopefulness, I don't think Cedar Fair ever seriously considered re-opening it in a form similar to the one it had closed in. I think for them, it was major, sincere, structural overhaul or demolition.
  14. If I'm not mistaken, you reserved time slots. So you were only able to go tubing during your time slot.
  15. What if season passes were discontinued? What if Banshee was torn down and Son of Beast was rebuilt in its place? What if Kings Island opened for the year in February? What if The Beast were replaced with an animatronic dinosaur park? Anything could happen; most things won't. I think we all understood what you meant: *if.* So *if* Backlot Stunt Coaster was removed, maybe it would be replaced by a slushie stand. A Chick-Fil-A. A roller coaster. An arcade. A dark ride. A garden. Antique cars. You asked, "So if you had it your way what would you do with that section of land?" Given the reality we have, my answer is that given my way (and it seems others here share the same preference), I'd have Backlot Stunt Coaster on that section of land. Rawr.
  16. I just feel that amusement park operators aren't in the business of removing multi-million dollar roller coasters unless they have a compelling reason. If ever something drastic were to happen to the ride, I could see it being reskinned to fit into either Coney Mall (as a "Steeplechase" or classic cars as you suggested... the "shoot-out" scene could be a diner with flaming grills cooking up burgers hahah) or Rivertown (imagine if the fire scene were made into a saloon shootout and all the "near-misses" with police cars instead being near-misses with towering trees and wagons...) I don't know. I don't foresee anything like that happening. I might also argue that Backlot is like a compact version of Maverick or Manta.
  17. I suspect the daily capacity of the park will be set pretty low.
  18. It's been about two years since I bumped this, and a lot has changed! Lots of new folks here and lots of new stories linked to in the first post above! A little plug for myself here, but it's a nice cool Sunday night and a perfect time to pick an in-depth history or two and read about some "Lost Legends" you may remember (Son of Beast, TOMB RAIDER, Disaster Transport, and tons of Disney rides that may have influenced you as a kid); be amazed by some disastrous "Disaster Files" of flubbed-and-failed rides; or just check out a countdown of the best Audio Animatronics on Earth! Also a good place to get your COSI primer or your Adventure basics for those joining us later this month... If you read any, share them and let me know about it! And by the way, you can always access this page via the link in my signature, so revisit it often to see what's added!
  19. The Motley Fool asks, "Is Disney World's Top Rival About to Make MagicBands Obsolete?" http://www.fool.com/investing/2016/11/05/is-disney-worlds-top-rival-about-to-make-magicband.aspx Universal released more details about the upcoming Universal's Volcano Bay "water theme park" opening in Orlando next summer. Along with details about the dark ride / water coaster, the big takeaway is a new wearable technology the park will utilize called TapuTapu. This waterproof wristband will be the cornerstone of the park's claims that it'll be the first water park ever with no waiting in lines. Guests will simply tap their TapuTapu (get it?) against a tiki idol at a ride's entrance to reserve a place in a virtual queue. Then they can explore the action river, lazy river, wave pools, etc. while they wait for their reservation time to arrive. But here's the difference. Disney's RFID-enabled MagicBands are not powered devices. They work via radio frequency, connecting to receivers throughout Disney's parks. BUT they rely on smartphones for information input and feedback - making reservations, checking your reservation time, receiving reminders about dining reservations and Fastpass reservations... Universal's TapuTapu is a powered, two-way communication device. So when your time nears, your wristband will vibrate and display "15 minutes!" to tell you to head to the attraction. Think about how this technology could (and indeed, will if all goes as planned!) be used inside the theme parks... vibrating when a favorite character is near, signaling when a queue is shortest, activated at key points during attractions, or working in conjunction with the Wizarding World's wands for sensory feedback. Already, one of Volcano Bay's most striking features will be interactive "tap-to-play" idols around the park. Just touch TapuTapu and water cannons will blast action river riders, geysers and stone whales will spout in the kid's area, and (coolest of all) you can illuminate hidden cave paintings in caverns within the park's iconic volcano. We have yet to see whether these devices are yours to keep, how they charge, etc. but we do know they'll be free (read, included with park admission) and given to each guest upon arrival... See the TapuTapu in action here:
  20. You hit the nail on the head! There's too much unpredictability but Boo Blasters has a lot rallying against it. I'd bet money that the ride will re-open next season in exactly as bad a shape as it's in at the end of this season. There's been no noticeable attempt since its opening to repair the broken guns, unresponsive targets, faltering music, or key special effects. The upkeep (or lack thereof!) tells me a lot about its priority in the park's lineup. No one would be happier than me to see Kings Island have a really good dark ride. Boo Blasters – even if it were radically repaired to optimal conditions this winter – would not be a really good dark ride. Given the new push for 21st century dark rides at the parks, Boo Blasters is liable to get left behind. A thoughtful, gun-free transformation into a Peanuts dark ride through the seasons would be the simplest scenario. It's what I'm rooting for, too!
  21. I'm not so sure I'd expect Boo Blasters to be around in Summer 2018. Which is why I wouldn't bet on Boo Blasters being open for Winterfest in December 2017.
  22. I love the idea of Journey to Atlantis, and I really love the progression of it (and its finale), but the ride itself is very, very, very disjointed. There's such potential – a protective seahorse spirit guiding you through the city as it's swallowed by the ocean, an evil siren luring you in deeper – but to the average rider, there's no plot, lots of flickered-out effects, and some very corny, odd moments. Also, that stupid Beetlejuice songs takes me very out of it, every single time hahaha. Antarctica was a let-down for me, too, which is sad. I mean, it's an enjoyable ride and probably as well as they could've done given the tiny space, but it would've been awesome to see them hit it out of the ballpark with the first trackless darkride in the U.S. – before Disney or Universal; who could've imagined! It's not a bad ride, but it's not what it should be. I actually would've preferred if it more closely resembled the concept art - sliding, skidding, and spinning through a bright, icy, cold "Arctic" exhibit with real Arctic animal enclosures built along the ride's path. Instead, it's circling around in a rainbow-lit dark cavern. The concept art: The end result: And then to everyone's surprise, the BULK of the ride parks the sleds in front of large, flat walls with rectangular movie screens, lightly jostling along to a flat CGI "motion simulator" film (with some of the worst transitions I've ever seen). Very strange... So far, we're in agreement. Thanks for sharing!
  23. I remember visiting Busch Gardens' Christmas Town the very first year it was offered. It was a very cold year with an unusually high snowfall, but the park was empty. My friends and I made some tremendous memories that year. Three days, no coasters. Just food, shows, DarKastle, lights, space heaters, meeting Santa... And back then, they only opened half the park! There were a few dozen cars in the lot, all parked right in front of the gate. It felt like we had 'discovered' some hidden gem that just hadn't caught on yet. I especially cherish those memories because every year since then, the park's Twitter is just a series of "closed for capacity" notifications almost every day of Christmas Town, and that's now that it's expanded to the whole park! I'd also guess that Busch Gardens must have a pretty conservative threshold for capacity (lower than required?) given that they close almost every weekend of Halloween, Christmas, etc. but much smaller parks with similar attraction capacity (Universal Studios in Orlando and Hollywood, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Busch Gardens Tampa) close maybe one or two days a year (Christmas and New Years Eve, usually). I don't know...
  24. From what I understand, if the ride doesn't have a test seat, you're always welcome to walk up the exit to the station and test out a seat there!
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