Do you like coasters? Of course you do. Otherwise you probably wouldn't be reading this right now. How about RMC's do you like them? GCI's? Intamin? B&M? Mack? Sure, there are probably some coasters you like better, some manufacturers that you think make better rides. But that doesn't necessarily mean rides by the "other guys" are inherently bad. Or does it?
There's enough room in the amusement industry for all these guys, variety, it's the spice of life. Last year I wrote an article about "not limiting yourself" to one theme park chain, well this year, it's coasters.
Written by Gregg Condon
Last night Kings Island announced their all new coaster Mystic Timbers, coming in 2017. It's a GCI wooden coaster with some surprise elements we haven't even seen yet. And the crowd that showed up to see the unveiling was pretty big.
But before the ceremony even started a chant of "RMC, RMC, RMC, RMC" started in the crowd. Even though many recognized members of GCI there and it was pretty obvious what was coming.
Look, I get it, RMC has taken the coaster world by storm. They have a LOT of fans, myself included. But would you REALLY want every coaster to be an RMC? Isn't there a place for the traditional wooden coaster along with RMC's?
And if it had actually turned out to be an RMC, there would have also been an equal amount of gnashing teeth on the other side. This isn't just a one-sided thing, it's not an us vs them thing, it's an us vs us.
As long as there have been coaster manufacturers there have been people who were fans of different ones. And that's great. There are some that I like better than others as well.
But the most important thing a coaster manufacturer does is create FUN. Not everything has to be the biggest, tallest, fastest, loopiest, spinnyest, throwingupinest ride in the world. I'm sure many of you reading this have a #1 wooden coaster that is NONE of these things. I know, it's my #1 wooden coaster too.
So sure, while there may be some disappointment in "another GCI" or "the video doesn't look very good" ... the ride looks FUN!! Nobody thought much of Gold Striker at California's Great America when it was announced, and that's one of the best GCI coasters of the last decade.
We are now just at the beginning of "Ride Announcement" season. Different chains do it different ways. There will be more announcements coming out of Cedar Fair in the coming weeks. Heck, Kings Island even said there was going to be another announcement in a few weeks.
Six Flags will be making their announcements towards the end of August, and already there has been the gnashing of teeth regarding some of the leaks, never mind that we don't actually have any details yet.
Lets, as a community, take a step back, realize that we are here for fun, rides exist to be fun.
So (insert ride manufacturer here) isn't making a ride at your favorite park next year. Get out, travel, see the country/world and visit that park that has a coaster from your favorite manufacturer. Realize that business decisions aren't made at the park level, they are made at the corporate level, and that decision is made to get the most amount of people to show up at (insert park here).
So I don't like rides from (insert ride manufacturer here) and my favorite park is making (insert monstrosity here). Skip the ride, but look at the faces of those coming off the ride. Are they happy faces? Are there A LOT of them? Are they spending money? Guess what, that gives (insert park here) more revenue to do MORE things.
So (insert park chain here) is making ANOTHER of (insert ride I don't like here). This is a common practice, one that many parks do (yes, even Disney). It's a nature of the business. Yes, theme parks are a business. They are in the business of making money. Sometimes chains realize they've gone too far too late but that's for them to figure out.
And sure, while certain parks have great social media, amazing park managers and staff that love to host coaster enthusiasts, at the corporate level, these rides aren't built for us.
While it's fun to speculate and have fun with "what we would do with (insert park here)" at the end of the day, most of the things we'd like to do to parks would end up bankrupting them.
Keeping that in mind, let's remember to have fun, remember that there are those future coaster enthusiasts that are going to LOVE a ride like Mystic Timbers. Remember that there are families that can ride this together. Remember that there are those little pops of air found on GCI's that make them great. Remember that there is a place for all different types of rides. Remember that innovation is a great thing and that no park we visit is a museum.
Happy riding ...
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Comic-Con announcement round up
Today was a HUGE day for Comic Con announcements (movie trailers, unveiling of new stars and even a Disney Parks announcement. So we figured we'd compile them all in one spot instead of just posting 10 updates today.
Enjoy the run-down.
Written by Joshua Condon
We'll start off with the big Disney Parks news, a Guardians of the Galaxy retheme is coming to Tower of Terror at Disney California Adventure.
This has been met with decidedly mixed ... mixed, who are we kidding ... decidedly negative reaction for a tower that is generally referred to as "bad tower".
So we're taking a wait and see approach with this one. You can find out more about the addition being headed by Joe Rohde here.
Next, we'll switch over to DC which held their panel before Marvel and a new trailer for Justice League was released. Apparently DC has figured out that they can actually have fun with their superhero movies. This looks to have a decidedly lighter tone than Batman vs Superman.
They also unveiled a trailer for Wonder Woman, which also looks great. It's going to be interesting to see if the tone is different in Suicide Squad which comes out in a few weeks.
Not to be outdone, Marvel unleashed a new trailer for Doctor Strange, which is a significantly shorter wait than the Warner Brothers movies.
Some of the other big news is the long rumored star of Captain Marvel was announced ... it will be Bree Larson. And it's perfect casting as far as we're concerned.
There were also some new logos revealed for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Thor Ragnarok.
Moving beyond comic books there was also an awesome trailer revealed for Kong: Skull Island.
Not to be outdone, a new trailer for "Fantastic Beasts and Where to find them" was released.
Don't call it a prequel or a sequel, but lots of nods to the Potter universe it shares.
Last but not least (for now), a new King Arthur movie is coming out that nobody really asked for. This one seems to be leaning more towards the "magic" side of the legend unlike the last King Arthur movie from maybe a decade ago?
There's sure to be more coming out of Comic Con on it's last day, we'll be sure to add it tomorrow.
If we missed anything be sure to let us know.
Last week was supposed to be our big summer road trip to Las Vegas, Lagoon and then back home through Tahoe and a stop at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom for Joker.
Unfortunately we had to do some "adult" stuff (new washer and dryer) so our trip had to be cut down significantly.
But because we're always up for an adventure we quickly devised a California Road Trip using one of our original hotels (due to Priceline) which made it a truly epic weekend. We hope you enjoy.
Written by Gregg Condon
From our place in Southern California to the Bay Area there are 3 main routes we can take, the 99 (which really only makes sense if your'e going to Sacramento), the 5 (the quickest/most boring way north) or the 101 (which usually makes the most sense for us). Throughout our 3 day trek we'd actually travel on all 3 at one time or another.
We started off on the 5 North, passing Six Flags Magic Mountain, through the Grapevine and ended up turning back West somewhere in the middle of nowhere.
Our fist stop, "The last place James Dean got gas".
After explaining to my son just who James Dean was we found the place just off Highway 33. Unfortunately this was about all there was to the place. There was a shop inside, but it was severely lacking in James Dean merchandise, not even a magnet for our magnet collection. Still, it was interesting and it's only about 10 or so miles off the 5 so it's a nice side trip.
We also made note of the "Wonderful Pistachio" visitor center that was nearby for a visit on a subsequent trip.
After our stop we headed north on Highway 33 and caught up with Highway 41 and headed back East. Which eventually brought us to "Bravo Land".
Turns out this is a pretty popular stop along the 5, and we could definitely see why.
Shooting range anybody?
It's definitely unique and kitschy which is a hallmark of any great roadside attraction.
We made note to stop here on the next trip for Cheese Curds and eat at the restaurant. But we had more places to be.
Our next stop was supposed to be a large homemade Transformer (Bumblebee to be exact) but you can actually see it from the 41 on the way to Fresno, it looked cool, but there was no reason to turn around to see it up close.
After a long trek through farms it was time for the "Largest Box of Raisins in the World".
Now of course, the question came up "are there raisins in it". We honestly don't know. We didn't even think to ask. But the Sun-Maid has a nice visitor center, some samples and of course a whole bunch of different varieties of raisins. After getting a couple of magnets it was on to our next destination just up the 99 in Fresno.
Blackbeards Family Fun Center!!!
Considering it was 110 degrees there were literally no other people in the park, let alone kids to ride with to get the credit.
Fortunately our good friend Cliff came out to play with us and after a bit of sweet talk we were able to get on the ride.
Well, almost. Somebody (yours truly) was unable to fit in the ride at first, I mean, it's a kiddie coaster afterall. So Cliff and Josh rode first.
After standing in 110 degrees for about 10 minutes I lost the inch I needed and got the credit. Be sure to check out our POV below.
Some more pics of the amazing ride. =)
We did it!!! =)
After our ride it was time to hit the road again and for our hotel for the night, oddly enough back on the 33 in Santa Nella. After a nice dinner at Pea Soup Andersen's it was time to get some rest for our next day of fun.
The next morning our first stop was at Denny's (hadn't actually eaten at a Denny's in at least 5 years) to have breakfast with our good friend and site contributor Stephen. After catching up a bit it was time to hit to road to ... Six Flags Discovery Kingdom!!
This is one of our favorite Six Flags parks
Unfortunately something is still "up" with Joker.
When we rode on media day the ride was smooth and fast and fun. They were having some issues but that was to be expected.
It's now a few months into the rides life and they are apparently still having some issues. The ride is still running 1 train, there is definitely something up with the wheels as they are loud and rattle a LOT and the train just seemed to meander through the course without any real force or urgency.
I'm sure whatever it is that's going on RMC and the park are working hard to fix it, and despite some growing pains we're sure this ride is going to be amazing for many years to come.
Nearby, V2's trains are back on the track and we've been told that the train was entirely rebuilt. No sign of any change in theme to make this blend better with Joker, Penguin and Superman ... but it would make sense.
Speaking of Penguins
One of our favorite animal shows at ANY park is Odin's Temple of the Tiger. It's so entertaining and fun to watch, but also very educational. A rare chance to see these beautiful animals.
If you'd like to help the plight of the Tiger you can do so at TheFundForTheTiger.Org or WorldWildLife.Org
After the show we stuck around to say hi to our good friend Captain Lee who then asked us if we'd actually like to meet (meat?) the stars of the show ... who are we to say no to meeting such amazing animals.
Last year I got to meet my favorite Penguins at Sea World, and that was amazing. This was just as awesome. The Tigers have so much personality and are so amazing to see up close.
Odin likes milk as you can see below. (click any of the pics to see a larger version)
If you'd like to see more amazing pics of the tigers be sure to check out Matt's "Photographic Tour of Discovery Kingdom" from last year.
After some lunch at the all new Pick Six and a few more rides it was time to head east and a stop at Jelly Belly!!
We'll have a full update from the tour next week but we'll share a couple of pics for now.
If you are going to do this tour we HIGHLY suggest going during the week when the factory is operational.
Because if not, you just find yourself looking at machines that aren't doing anything.
We hadn't actually done the tour since about 2005 but it's all self guided now instead of having a tour guide. Which is probably great during the week when stuff is going on.
When we were planning our original Utah trip we had planned on staying in Sacramento the night before heading home. We had pricelined the room so we had to keep it, turns out Scandia was less than a mile from our hotel.
So while it was quite out of the way for our Bay Area trip we weren't going to waste a paid for hotel, and well, we got a credit too!!
This is definitely one of the more unique mouse coasters out there.
We were also able to get some POV of the ride, so be sure to check it out.
Some more pictures of the ride (click any of the pictures to see a larger version)
After the coaster and Go Karts (really not much more of the park to show off) it was time to get some rest before our last park of the trip and drive home.
The next morning we found ourselves at California's Great America!!
Still one of the better B&M inverts
The park is home to many classic flat rides including this awesome Enterprise (my favorite kind of flat ride)
One of the main reasons for our visit was to check out the all new Mass Effect New Earth.
So some thoughts on the new attraction (you can also check out more pics and Andrew's review here)
Loved it. Now, I'm totally unfamiliar with the franchise. Have never played the games, don't know the characters, etc ... it didn't matter. The story was easy to follow, was fun and well done.
But the effects, WOW. The video is literally the best "4D" I've ever seen. EVER!! Some of the shots, I honestly don't know how they did it without actually having some kind of physical set come crashing through the wall. It looked THAT good.
I had heard a lot of good things about it, but I'm not a huge "3D/4D" fan, but this one is worth doing a few times.
We had a great time at CGA, this park gets a bad rap due to it's lack of thrilling coasters but they have a great collection of flat rides and we always seem to have a great time at the park.
We would love to see Grizzly get some RMC love though, that ride is just boring. =)
And the last stop of the trip, to the Garlic Shoppe in Gilroy. We were out of "Garlic Dude Dust" and a few other things. ;)
Overall we had a great 3 days exploring central and northern(ish) California. We hope you all enjoyed checking out our journey.
Be sure to check back next week for our full report of the Jelly Belly factory in Fairfield.
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