Friday, January 06, 2006

Ride Roundup for June 2005

Copied from my LJ-6/22/05
Ride Roundup -June 2005

Record-breaker Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ) had some serious down time in its first weeks of operation. Technical difficulties are common with new coasters, but try telling that to frustrated visitors who came to ride the tallest, fastest coaster on the planet. Prospective guests should check the park's website, which currently advises the coaster will be closed for several weeks.

Mt. Olympus Theme Park (Wisconsin Dells, WI) is testing Hades, a new woodie that plunges riders twice into "the underworld", the world's longest underground roller coaster tunnel. Among the underworld's terrors: a ninety degree banked turn in complete darkness.

Geauga Lake (Aurora, OH) opened their new water park, Wildwater Kingdom, on June 18. Lots of photos here.

Universal's California and Florida parks have added a new interactive attraction based on the TV show Fear Factor. Guests compete in stunts and gross-out challenges for an eager live audience.

How'd you like to own your own amusement park? Mosey on over to eBay, where Joyland Amusement Park (Witchita, KS) is listed for sale. The property covers 40+ acres and boasts many historic rides, including a classic 1949 wooden coaster. All this can be yours for a cool $1.6 million.

Rumors are flying about upcoming expansions for Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN). A survey the park is giving to visitors illustrates a Huss Topple Tower and an indoor/outdoor coaster with a vertical drop. Screamscape noted the drawing looks similar to this coaster in Belgium's Bobbejaanland park. It could be the first of its kind in the U.S., making Dollywood a serious destination for coaster enthusiasts.

Nearby (sort of) Beech Bend Park (Bowling Green, KY) just debuted a wild mouse coaster with spinning trains.

Tragedy struck Disney's Epcot (Orlando, FL) last Monday when a four year old boy riding Mission: Space passed out and later died en route to the hospital. Reports indicate the ride was not at fault. Sadly, state representative Ed Markey (D of Mass) exploited the child's death to advance his pet crusade for stricter government regulation of rides.

While amusement park rides are generally recognized to be safer than the drive to the park, someone must be listening to Markey and his ilk. The California Supreme Court just reclassified amusement rides as "common carriers", making them subject to the same laws that govern public transportation. Critics fear the law could be used to force closures or modifications that would take the thrill out of thrill rides. The ruling comes in the wake of the tragedy at Epcot as well as ride accidents in Atlantic City, NJ, and Omaha, NE.

Music: The Radars-Finger Licking Chicken
Mood: Silly