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Everything posted by bkroz

  1. A few things: 1) I have to ride a coaster at least a few times to make a judgement on it. Certainly for me, point-of-view YouTube videos wouldn't be enough! 2) We're getting a ride similar to Stork Chaser? I learn the darnedest things here, too! From vague, potentially-fake blueprints to a RMC coaster in mere hours. (bkroz, who, in his mid-20s, has a few friends who are stork chasing.) 3) The Golden Tickets aren't considered a legitimate gauge of the industry. Companies that pay big advertising bucks to Amusement Today tend to come out on top of Amusement Today's Golden Ticket Awards. Strange, huh? Anyway, c'mon. Cedar Point, Best Amusement Park on Earth? Better than Disneyland? Tokyo DisneySea? Universal's Islands of Adventure? Busch Gardens Williamsburg? Dollywood? Kings Island has the Best Kids Area on the planet? Better than Fantasyland? Seuss Landing? LEGOLAND? Idlewild? Puh-lease.
  2. One guy's opinion: Without naming names, if anyone actually DOES know anything, then either... 1) they're truly in-the-know and thus should say nothing that might reveal what is not yet to be revealed. No sly little "hints." No glib "winks." Nothing. It doesn't matter if they learned the "truth" directly or indirectly, they're still in no position to tell us what track is or isn't passing under this or that, what is or isn't being removed, what is or isn't coming. It's poor decorum at best, and potentially job-threatening to someone down the line on the worse end. 2) they know as much as the rest of us, but sprinkle in these would-be "winks" for attention. Neither is really acceptable, fun, or entertaining. It's not cute or coy to talk like you know what's coming if you don't, and it's REALLY not cool to talk like you know what's coming if you do. In other words, even if by some friend of a friend of a friend you even think you might actually know what's coming, excuse yourself from the conversation. If you don't know (like many of the rest of us), then welcome to the club. I maintain what we long have said: those who speak don't know; those who know don't speak (at least if they've got any good sense.)
  3. Technical issues aside, Rip Ride Rockit just isn't a very good roller coaster. I certainly don't see the allure of the vertical lift (especially given that the drop isn't vertical?) and then it's loop, block brake, dip, block brake, turn, block brake, helix, block brake, hop... It's just not a very attractive coaster (especially given that they could've had a B&M like Universal Studios Japan) and the whole "music video" theme is odd, dated, and not fitting in a park that's moving away from the bare-bones "studios" theme. the songs from the Choose-Your-Music gimmick (to my knowledge) have never been updated, don't sync up to the ride experience at all... And the X-Cars were supposed to be the starring point of the ride, but half of them gave infamously rough experiences while the other half were fine (which is odd in and of itself) and they caused enough problems that, for a long time, the rumor was that Universal was just going to buy a new fleet of trains from someone else.
  4. Team Members and invited guests are currently on day #3 of Technical Rehearsals for the ride. An animatronic in the queue: Another (at 3:20) Wow! Meanwhile, the presence of live Scareactors in the queue is earning some mixed feedback (granted, from those who haven't actually ridden the ride yet). I tend to agree, though. Even the "scariest" rides aren't really scary in the way that a Halloween Horror Nights house is. I don't mind bugs flying at me on a 3D screen, or an impressive animatronic. Doesn't mean I want people jumping out at me and shouting in a dark, claustrophobic line. That's a different kind of fear, you know? Adding live actors to the queue is likely to be pretty controversial. I'm thinking even of my own little cousin, 9-years-old.... He's a good 20 inches taller than the minimum height requirement for Reign of Kong (which is only 34 inches, by the way!) but like many kids his age and younger, he starts to get very antsy in "scary" queue lines (DarKastle, Indiana Jones, Haunted Mansion, Gringotts, etc), and you can see him beginning to want to chicken out. I think that if a live actor popped out and scared him, he'd totally shut down and the rest of the day would be a wash. That alone makes me think / hope they have an "alternate queue" for people who want to skip this experience. Either that or the actors would only be in the queue after 5:00 or something like that. It'll be interesting to see how that develops.
  5. An example of a Wildwater Kingdom often packed with people. Elsewhere... Well...
  6. Oh, I agree! A loose child is a foregone conclusion (increasingly, if you buy my points) and obviously modern zoological standards account for that. But what about this exhibit? We'll just have to wait for the investigation and the slurry of photos we'll see. Apparently this exhibit is 40 years old. Most of the articles mention from the zoo that in 40 years, no one has gotten in. What that says to me is that that'll be their defense: sure, if the exhibit were built in 2016, it would look much different, but it's always been functional. Am I wrong to think that the AZA maintains standards for fence height, distance between bars, etc? If so, wouldn't you expect that exhibits built 40 years ago would be "grandfathered in" within reasonable variation of the current standard? Here's where we enter a tough one: if the fault is in the width of the bars in the fence, or that a decorative rock or even informational sign was "climbable" enough to give this 4-year old access, what kinds of sweeping changes will, could, or should be mandated at zoos across the nation that are likely in the same position as Cincinnati's: made up of many exhibits built of many different standards and designs across many different decades? It may very well be that we find out someone was holding junior up and letting him sit on a fence when he squirmed away and made a bee-line for the gorillas.
  7. I'm trying hard to not put this in the same category as what I've seen prominently the last few months. First, a parent allowing their child to run around, sit on strangers' laps (I kid you not), kick strangers' shins, and literally climb walls during the Enchanted Tiki Room at Disneyland. (Everyone was so appalled, so speechless, as the mother sat on a bench simply mouthing "come here! Come here sweetie!" I physically made eye contact with her, pointed at the child and said "GO GET HIM. GO. GET. HIM." She finally stood up and brought him back to her lap and held him there. Free-range parenting! At Disneyland! During a show!) Second, a set of mothers letting children shriek at the top of their lungs, yank on the cords to lower blinds, step across said blinds once they'd bunched on the ground, slap the windows, climb under occupied tables, etc. at a local restaurant just the other day. Again, once in a while they'd look over and go, "Come here, honey." But the children didn't even register it, and the moms went back to their conversation. It's as if they can't imagine that people are trying to eat, or that someone has to clean those windows their children are pressing their faces again and fix the blinds that their children are yanking on. I work at a hands-on museum that is designed for young people and their parents to interact, discuss, touch, play, and try things together. The number of parents (young and older) who are now choosing to sit back and watch through their phone camera instead of with their eyes is astounding. They'd rather collect 200 badly-taken photos that will simply live on their phones forever than actually see or do with their children. Even more astounding are the many, many, many parents who don't watch at all. They're too busy with Twitter, Instagram, Facebook... Maybe I'm cynical but the anecdotal word I'm hearing is that this particular exhibit is blocked by a standard zoo fence followed by a wire fence, a line of shrubbery, and a 12 foot drop into a moat. I understand that as a parent your eyes can't be glued onto your child every second of every minute of every hour of every day, but there are times to be alert and standing at a zoo exhibit is one of them. Given what I've seen, I find it entirely plausible that a parent could be so disengaged that this could happen. And that, I think, ought to be criminal.
  8. Very cool! Unfortunately, the "No Expiration" option that made this possible is no longer offered when purchasing tickets. (It used to be available as an additional charge, just like adding "Park Hopping" or "Waterpark Fun & More" options.) Now, they expire 14 days after the first use. So 22 years from today, a ticket from May 2015 will be met with a closed gate. Especially if it's peak season!
  9. Not unheard of. Space World in Japan replaced its original Arrow trains with some from S&S (which, I mean, IS Arrow kinda). (Via Theme Park Review) It's a pretty intense switch, too - the old Arrow trains look nearly identical to Magnum's, and the new S&S trains are very sleek and apparently have on-board audio. Have any Arrow's in the US swapped out trains? None come to mind but I bet there are at least a few? (Paging Terp or other train aficionados...) Anyway, i think it's a good idea. But the fundamental "problem" (and I use that word loosely and subjectively) with Arrow loopers is in the physical track itself. Even with new trains, the jarring ride would still be the same. Probably less head-banging as a result, though, which would be nice. Maybe new, more comfortable trains with on-board audio would justify calling it a variation of "Vortex 2" and make it marketable as a significant change to the ride.
  10. So glad to have selective back. To paraphrase Kesha, the party don't start till he walks in. Speaking of walking in, it'll cost ya. Driving in, too. $18 now?! Yeesh.
  11. What, I wonder, can they do to "make it right?" Honestly... What would you hope to ideally happen next? You can email more people if you'd like and maybe you'll get a free ticket or a free Fast Lane pass for Valravn. If that would make you happy, keep pressing it. The problem in my mind is that you were admitted to the park at the advertised opening time. Sure, it doesn't seem "fair" that they were let in earlier, but I'd guess it was either a mistake / oversight, or like malem said, an attempt to "level the playing field" so that guests in-the-know waiting at the marina gate don't get the jump on everyone at the main gate. It would upset me if it happened to me, too, but (and I mean this in the least judgmental way possible) the park doesn't really owe you anything, you know? Yeah, if I were in your shoes, I'd probably call the park and politely, calmly explain the issue to the call center representative and ask to be forwarded to someone who can help me understand why it happened to help make sure it doesn't happen again. Certainly being told "too bad" isn't a professional reaction, and I hate hearing that that's the message you were given over and over. 5 minutes, 15 minutes... It doesn't really matter and isn't worth arguing with a front-line part-time guest relations person about it. According to electricsun, it wouldn't have made much difference anyway given the special event that had already packed the park. If you're going on a preview night for the premier of the new roller coaster, you've got to expect some headaches. You're lucky the ride wasn't plagued by constant downtime, splayed cables, or overturned ride vehicles... or delayed altogether due to too-intense inversions not discovered until testing.
  12. (Image via Kennywood.) Kennywood opened today for the 2016 season. The starring attraction is once again Noah's Ark – now 80 years old and the only Noah's Ark walkthrough "dark ride" left of the dozens built in the early 1900s. The large-scale redesign removed some of the more frightening Indiana-Jones-esque elements from a 1990 renovation, including a "crashing" elevator intro, jumping over pits of skeletons, and a flooding bathysphere. The attraction now once again sports classic animal scenes, old time special effects, and (most importantly to locals) the whale mouth entrance, where entering guests step down the length of his spongey tongue to begin their climb up to the ark. Very cool for Kennywood, its fans, and dark ride enthusiasts. Let's just hope The Old Mill Garfield's Nightmare is next! http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/05/03/kennywood-visitors-in-for-a-whale-of-a-time-this-summer/ http://www.cleveland.com/travel/index.ssf/2016/05/kennywood_restores_popular_noa.html
  13. Best Internet comment I've read in a long time below that article: "Everyone there should be arrested since there is clearly a 'No Trespassing' sign visible on the building." When you're right you're right!
  14. The space around Muppet*Vision at Disney's Hollywood Studios is all that's left of the Streets of America. As of now, it's been officially designated its own themed area and named Muppets Courtyard. The Toy Story 2 themed Pizza Planet restaurant there has closed for a rebuild which – if you catch the tone of the construction walls – is likely to be a Muppets themed restaurant. Which would be fair, since that space was originally intended to be its own land, Muppet Studios, which would feature Muppet*Vision 3D, a Swedish Chef restaurant, and a headlining dark ride called The Great Muppet Movie Ride. Jim Henson's passing delayed that, and eventually it was cancelled. Obviously Disney then bought the Muppets outright, so they COULD do it. The Great Muppet Movie Ride sounded wonderful, too. The contract between Marvel and Universal is the reason Tower of Terror could get a temporary Guardians of the Galaxy overlay. That contract forbids Disney's use of any Marvel characters present at Universal or reasonably associated with the characters present at Universal. The characters from Guardians of the Galaxy don't meet either of those requirements... yet. But Avengers: Infinity War Part I and / or Part II will likely include the Guardians of the Galaxy. Once that happens – but, apparently, ONLY once that happens – Guardians will be locked out of Disney World, as they'll be associated with the Avengers, who are present at Islands of Adventure with Captain America, Hulk, etc. Disney wants to use them while they still can to tie into Guardians of the Galaxy: Volume 2 being in theaters. But once the Guardians meet the Avengers, they have to be gone from Disney World. Or so I've read. bkroz, not a practicing attorney in this or any other state. Not even CLOSE!
  15. You stand correct? I'm surprised they announced Grizzly this early in the season! Link?
  16. ^^ Already implemented. http://wdwnt.com/blog/2016/02/breaking-shanghai-disney-puts-financial-strangle-hold-on-domestic-disney-parks/ Front-line cast members limited to 32 hours per week. Allegedly, US resorts were ordered to cut 20% off their operating budgets. Reduction in nightly performances from 2 to 1 for most nighttime spectaculars and parades at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Parade going dark at Disney California Adventure for the next month. Minor attractions (Redwood Creek Challenge Trail, Red Car Trolley, etc) closing hours before the park does. Character meet-and-greets cut and hours reduced for those that remain. Citizens of Hollywood troupe disbanded at Disney's Hollywood Studios... one of many cuts to the small entertainment offerings that set Disney apart. Perhaps the worst of all, Disney California Adventure's hours were cut to the levels they were at before its $1.2 billion transformation. That means that on many summer nights, Disneyland Park closes at 11 PM and Disney California Adventure closes at 9. That may sound frustrating, but the worst part is that at 9, guests flood out of California Adventure and fill the Esplanade as they all rush into Disneyland across the plaza. And right about then is when Main Street USA is roped off and PACKED to show the new nighttime parade and fireworks that are THEE attractions for the 60th Anniversary. This led to a scary sight last weekend as Disneyland became entirely gridlocked. People couldn't move into or out of Disneyland due to the crowds from DCA all moving in at once WHILE the nighttime parade packs Main Street.
  17. Because of Disney California Adventure? But that's because California Adventure is a loving tribute to the story of Walt Disney and to the memories of Californians who frequent Disneyland Resort. California, in and of itself, is a pop culture marvel that's, in many ways, transcended into its own Mecca for people around the world. Disney California Adventure merges Walt's story of California, Californians love for California, and esteem the rest of us hold California in by recreating timeless past versions of the states many sights: snow-capped peaks, evergreen forests, Pacific beaches, the vast and inconceivable deserts... Then there are the stories: car culture, Victorian boardwalks, the melting pot of San Francisco's wharfs, the Golden Age of Hollywood, and the bustling, optimistic, ideal Los Angeles that Walt encountered in the 1920s. It's a smorgasbord of stories and settings that enchant us all. Disney's Florida Adventure? They had their chance to buy Cypress Gardens and they didn't. Florida doesn't exactly have the cultural gravitas that California does, nor the varied sights to show and stories to tell. "Soarin' Over Florida" wasn't a thing. In fact, Epcot's ride was Soarin' Over California. Maybe there is more to be announced for the park currently known as Disney's Hollywood Studios. But a land based on Star Wars and a land based on Toy Story will be joining an idealized and beautifully created Hollywood Blvd. of the 1940s and an intricate Sunset Blvd. anchored by a 1930s lost Hollywood Tower Hotel. I'd say that the new resulting park will still be about Hollywood, but instead of being "behind-the-scenes," it'll let us step into our favorite movies; it won't show us how movies are made, but why - how they feel and the impressions they leave with us. But Star Wars, Toy Story, Hollywood, The Muppets, Indiana Jones, and The Twilight Zone... Disney Florida Adventure? I don't think so. In fact, it's probably closer to Disney California Adventure Orlando!
  18. More than a month out from Shanghai Disneyland Park opening, guests got their first chance to visit Disneytown (the resort's Downtown Disney equivalent) when a metro station opened last week. In mere hours, photos began to spread of guests urinating and defecting in planters, trampling through flowerbeds, literally stepping on and crushing "please stay on the path" signs, leaving garbage everywhere, vandalizing walls, and carving graffiti into lamp posts. http://shanghaiist.com/2016/05/03/shanghai_disneyland_trashed_before_opening.php This, unfortunately, is what many analysts predicted would happen to the Shanghai park, as such behaviors are more-or-less accepted in Chinese culture and a sort of hallmark of Chinese visitors in the US and UK. Keep in mind that a one-day ticket to Shanghai Disneyland during peak times is 499 yuan, or about $76 US. This is a very inexpensive park to get into. Of course, Disney says that over 300 million people – roughly equivalent the entire population of the US – live within 3 hours of the park and can afford it. So... There you have it. Disney has already faced a tremendous uphill battle in negotiating with the Chinese government to get this park off the ground. Dangerous levels of smog slowed construction and alleged budget overruns have reportedly forced major executive changes at the Walt Disney Company. Disney has also had to contend with the fact that, due to their very filtered entertainment industry, the Chinese have very little knowledge of "classic" Disney characters. A controversial (and 100% altruistic) program called Disney English set out to teach Chinese children English while also, you know, maybe, accidentally teaching them Disney characters, songs, and stories. Just a few weeks ago, a Chinese crackdown on US media closed DisneyLife, an on-demand streaming site offering the Chinese instant access to Disney movies, TV, and songs. Meanwhile, Shanghai Disneyland will have almost no attractions whatsoever in common with existing Disney Parks in Florida, California, Tokyo, Paris, or Hong Kong. All the more reason, in my mind, that this park could've been built outside Chicago or Columbus where it could've charged $110 a day and would've been packed to the gills. I trust that Disney has done its due diligence and that they have data and evaluation that satisfies their belief that the U.S. is saturated with Disney Parks. But something tells me a Midwest Disney resort that had absolutely nothing in common with any existing Disney Park on Earth would be a mega-sized hit. I know that Disney Parks aficionados would find their way to a Disneyland in Chicago to experience the TRON Lightcycle Power Run, 21st century Pirates of the Caribbean, Voyage to the Crystal Grotto, and Roarin' Rapids. Will they make it to Shanghai? I won't...
  19. Yep. At this point, it'll probably happen in conjunction with the Star Wars land and Toy Story Land openings – no reason to change the name and make headlines with the park as it is now. But it's not a studio anymore. Instead, it'll be immersive, detailed lands that let you become part of your favorite stories instead of just finding out how they're made. For a long time, the new name was rumored to be Disney Hollywood Adventure. Now, insiders say that the most likely name is Disney's CineMagic Kingdom. I don't have to explain how stupid that is or how much I PRAY it's a joke. My choice would be Disney's Hollywoodland Park. Helps reconcile the new immersive cinematic lands with the Golden Age of Hollywood that is the park's entry, icon, and Sunset Blvd.
  20. When the charm of seeing "behind the scenes" is a thing of the past, a studio-themed park makes little sense. In a post-Animal-Kingdom / post-Islands-of-Adventure world, creating a catch-all park with big boxy tan showbuildings instead of detailed, themed environments looks like a cop-out... and it is. At Disney's Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios Florida, big boxy tan showbuildings and the "Hey, it's a real movie studio!" excuse are going away, and with them go the landmarks of a studio, like giant water towers and enormous glittering sorcerer hats. Er...
  21. Mako doesn't strike me as being $2 million or less. (Is that KK's figure?) It would take a lot of years of saving up Kentucky Kingdom's yearly investment from here on out...
  22. If you visit a SeaWorld or Busch Gardens park, you'll likely see a "pet" show where common, domesticated animals (dogs, cats, rats) do funny things. I'm sure this is the formula Kings Island is hoping to emulate. The difference is that the SeaWorld parks are wildlife-focused parks where I believe that vets, zoologists, and animal trainers are part of the full-time staff. To me, that's what makes it feel different at Kings Island, even if the care is just as top notch. Same reason I felt a little "ehhh" about Kentucky Kingdom having seals. Still, even without seeing the "behind the scenes" care and housing of the animals, I suspect there'll be nothing "cruel" about the way this show will be done at Kings Island. Far from it. I hope that Kings Island borrows something else from the SeaWorld Parks, where they always make sure to point out that all the animals featured in the show were adopted from local animal shelters (with a "check your local shelters first" message) and often comment that many of the animals were dropped off at the shelter when their previous owners decried that they were "untrainable" (earning a nice laugh from the crowd). But if the animals are loved and cared for by their trainers and positive reinforcement is used to patiently modify behaviors, it's really no different than teaching your dog to fetch or sit or shake. Where I work, we train animals to perform behaviors they wouldn't naturally. Luckily, our position as educators gives us the benefit of being able to explain how conditioning and positive reinforcement work, and how training behaviors can be beneficial to society. If there's anything we've learned from Blackfish, it's that intelligence does have something to do with. Training lab rats to play basketball feels different from hauling elephants around in trucks and leaving orcas to grow up in tanks doing tricks.
  23. Not unless they packed up Disneyland Paris and shipped it over. Or, at this rate, packed up Shanghai instead.
  24. Mmmhm. Maybe like their Spain park (eh hem) they'll pack this park with lovable, timeless intellectual properties like an entire Frontierland rip-off dedicated to Rango, a Fantasyland based on beloved and unforgettable films like Stardust and The Spiderwick Chronicles, and a Mission: Impossible dark ride. Pop culture coups! And all arranged in the exact clockwise layout (adventure, frontier, fantasy, future) as Disneyland.
  25. Doesn't mean they have to publicly list the entries. Just the opportunity to send them in before the park or its representatives select a final four or five for the public to then vote on.
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