During my epic cross-country (and back) trip I decided to stop by a few amusement parks to cut the drive up even though my trip wasn't necessarily about going to amusement parks. Luckily there were some great parks on my way from CA to PA and I was able to visit some parks I've wanted to visit for awhile, and re-visit some favorites. The first of the latter was Adventuredome at Circus Circus, Las Vegas.
Before we begin, a HUGE thank you to Krista and Kylee at Adventuredome for setting up our on-ride video and for just being awesome people.
If you haven't seen the video yet, it's just below.
It had been a few years since my last visit and of course the big draw was the new for 2014 El Loco. Without question it's the best coaster in Vegas and really is worth the trip for any enthusiast. It's a great addition to this park, the unique setting makes it even more amazing and the on-ride audio makes it even better.
Below are a few shots of the ride in action.
The ride is very photogenic and we had a great time walking around the park getting pictures in different spots.
A full layout of the ride
Overall I'd say the ride is about a 9.5 out of 10. It is a bit short, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in uniqueness. It's a winner!!!
Elsewhere, the parks other coaster Canyon Blaster is holding up great considering it's 21 years old.
You know you are in Vegas when you see this in a park!!
A look at the other rides around the park.
Sling Shot, which is one of the better ones I've ridden.
Who lives in a pineapple under the dome? Sounds like some Nickelodeon/Stephen King mashup.
That's going to wrap it up for this update. Run, do not walk to Vegas and get on El Loco. You certainly will not be disappointed!!!
Tomorrow will be our next update from Glenwood Cavern's Adventure Park in Colorado.
Updated March 19th - Welcome to the Park Journeys 2014 Project Tracker. We will be updating this page once we get firm opening dates for attractions coming in 2014.
We are hoping you will be able to use this tool so you can better plan your summer trips and make sure you don't miss anything.
*Project is on schedule
*Project is in danger of opening late
*Project has been confirmed to be opening late
El Loco - Adventuredome
Circus, Circus - Las Vegas
Get ready for negative G-force.......Over-the-edge twists.
Status: Now Open!!!
* All Photo's courtesy of Adventuredome - Circus, Circus - Las Vegas
El Loco Fun Facts:
* Note: We are hoping to be in Las Vegas shortly after El Loco opens or during it's Grand Opening. Stay Tuned!!!
Goliath - Six Flags Great America
Coming in 2014, Six Flags Great America will introduce a brand new triple-record-breaking wooden coaster that will be the new staple of the park’s skyline.
Status: Opening Spring, 2014
* All Photo's courtesy of Six Flags
This giant new beast will feature impressive heights, astonishing speeds, and stomach-tightening inversions: Goliath will be the world’s fastest wooden coaster with the tallest and steepest drop, plunging riders down 180 feet and rocketing through twists and turns at 72 miles per hour.
Holding three world records, Goliath is the most extreme coaster of its kind and provides adrenaline rush like no other. Riders will elevate up to touch the sky atop the 165-foot lift hill. Then, you’ll whip over the peak and conquer the world’s tallest and steepest heart-racing drop, at an unbelievable 180 feet and a near-vertical 85 degrees. You’ll reach the bottom of this gut-wrenching slope before you even have time to scream.
Reaching top speeds of 72 miles per hour—the fastest of any wooden roller coaster—you’ll then thunder around surprising curves and outrageous twists. You’ll face three intense over-banked turns, a 180-degree zero G-roll twist, and two wild inversions, flipping head-over-heels through a winding inverted drop and a spiraling inverted zero G stall.
The extreme, record-breaking, first-of-its-kind roller coaster is set to debut in spring 2014 in the County Fair section of the park. Are you ready to conquer Goliath?
For more information on Goliath visit the Six Flags Great America Website.
Hersheypark - Family is the Focus for 2014
Hersheypark - Hershey, PA
Three New Rides Will Offer Thrills for All Ages
Enhanced Hersheypark App to Debut in Spring
Status - Opening Spring 2014
The roller coaster count at Hersheypark will increase in 2014 when the Park introduces a new coaster designed for families to ride together.
If you remember the thrill of your first coaster and want to share that moment with your child, or another young family member, Hersheypark will give you more opportunities to do so with the arrival of Cocoa Cruiser, new gravity coaster.
“Many of our guests share roller coaster memories with us and tell us their first coaster experience was here at Hersheypark,” said Kevin Stumpf, general manager, Hersheypark. “We are happy to offer another ‘first coaster’ opportunity for our younger guests and look forward to hearing their stories in the future.”
Cocoa Cruiser’s layout is a compact oval featuring a midcourse helix, or turn that forms a radius of more than 360-degrees. The ride, with a six car train that holds up to twelve riders, will be located in the Park’s Music Box Way area.
Two other family favorite rides will open in the Park for the 2014 season—a Tea Cup Ride and Sweet Swing. All three rides are designed and built by Zamperla Rides, an Italian-based company known around the world for designing family thrill rides.
An all-time classic, Tea Cups will feature six cups that hold two adults and two children in each cup. The iconic tilted tea pot is the centerpiece of the attraction and the surrounding cups include a central steering wheel which allows riders to spin the ride at their own pace.
Sweet Swing resembles a large bench swing with two sides; each side of the swing will accommodate up to six riders, with a maximum of two adults. The swing motion provides both exhilaration and air time for riders.
"Everyone at Zamperla is excited to be adding these three new rides to Hersheypark," said Zamperla Sales Director Ramon Rosario. “Our rides are designed to attract and entertain the entire family, so they will be a perfect fit."
In addition to the new rides, Hersheypark will expand its food offering with the arrival of Chickie’s & Pete’s, the legendary Philadelphia/South Jersey eatery known for their signature Crabfries. Other tempting menu selections include Chickie’s & Pete’s favorites like the Philly Cheesesteak, Crabby Sweets and the Crab Pretzel.
"We are very excited to bring some of Chickie's and Pete's signature food to Hersheypark, especially our world famous Crabfries,” said Pete Ciarrocchi, chairman and CEO of Chickie’s & Pete’s. “We have joked that The Sweetest Place on Earth just got a little crabby with the addition of Crabfries.”
Park guests will be able to easily locate the new rides and food locations by using the 2014 enhanced and customized Hersheypark Map App. The new App, anticipated to be ready in the spring, offers guests the ability to search attractions based on rider height, locate all items from baby food to roller coasters, and utilize a "take me there" directional function allowing guests to map their route to and from any location within the Park. Users will be able to connect to the App through Facebook or personal email.
The three new family-focused rides and Chickie’s & Pete’s are scheduled to debut in May when Hersheypark opens for its 107th season of family fun. For more information please visit http://www.hersheypark.com/general_info/new_2014.php or call 1-800-242-4236.
FireChaser Express - Dollywood
Pigeon Forge, TN
Dollywood theme park adds another innovative coaster to its lineup with FireChaser Express, the nation’s first dual-launch family coaster that travels forward and backward.
Status - Opening March 22, 2014
* All Photo's Courtesy of Dollywood
FireChaser Express launches twice, traveling forward and backward on a winding 2,427-foot track. The coaster launches from the loading station traveling from zero to 16 mph in just 1.1 second. As the journey ends, a backward launch from zero to 20 mph in two seconds sends FireChaser Express back to the station traveling in the opposite direction. Perched 12 stories above the park’s Wilderness Pass area, the coaster’s 39-inch minimum height requirement invites families to ride together.
“FireChaser Express is truly special to me because families can ride this coaster together,” Dolly Parton said. “Most four-year-olds are tall enough to ride FireChaser Express so I’m excited that lots of families will take their first coaster ride together at Dollywood. I’m thrilled to offer folks a memory like this to cherish forever. That’s a blast!”
FireChaser Express is the first capital investment in a 10-year plan that includes more than $300 million in future developments, including attractions and resorts, all to be at or adjacent to Parton’s Dollywood theme park, located just miles from the entrance to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
A 79-foot lift propels FireChaser Express through a “trick track” section where the passenger trains twist from side to side. Riders also encounter two helices and six zero-gravity moments on a journey that lasts two minutes and 19 seconds. FireChaser Express features three 14-passenger trains with an hourly capacity of 750 riders.
FireChaser Express celebrates the volunteer-based fire departments of the 1940s who protected the neighboring Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Coaster passengers are volunteer recruits needed to help Chief Pete Embers spot any potential fire hazards in the area. They are especially mindful of recent lightning in the area and Crazy Charlie Cherriebaum’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium. Recruits never know when they might be called to save the day.
Once the five-bell alarm sounds in Station 7, it’s go time in Dollywood’s Wilderness Pass as FireChaser Express launches from the station and careens through fire towers and the mountainside amid crashed rockets, a destroyed fireworks storage shed, fallen telephone poles with “rocket darts” and other charred remnants that litter the coaster’s path. FireChaser Express takes its volunteer recruits through the fireworks testing area where they encounter the mythical “Big Bertha” skyrocket and a lightning hit at Crazy Charlie’s Gas & Fireworks Emporium. As FireChaser Express races to extinguish the blaze, the coaster encounters a fireworks explosion, catapulting FireChaser Express into a backward launch sending the coaster on a reverse ride back into the station!
FireChaser Express is the latest addition to The Dollywood Company’s list of unique new rides. In March 2012, Dollywood opened the $20 million Wild Eagle, the country’s first wing coaster. In 2013, Dollywood’s Splash Country followed with the addition of RiverRush, Tennessee’s first and only water coaster.
For more information on FireChaser Express visit the Dollywood Website.
Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (New Waterpark)
Six Flags Over Georgia, the premier theme park in the South, announced today that it will soon break ground on Hurricane Harbor, an all-new tropically-themed water park.
Status: Opening Spring, 2014
Hurricane Harbor will be free with park admission and completely transform the area formerly occupied by the Southern Star Amphitheater while offering wet and wild thrills for guests of all ages.
“Our entirely new water park inside of Six Flags Over Georgia will further support our goal of delivering of a world-class destination for all ages,” said Dale Kaetzel, park president. “When combined with our continuing focus on creating a safe, family-friendly environment in our park, this multi-million dollar investment will be a “must do” experience for anyone living in or visiting Metro Atlanta.”
“This year’s investment in Hurricane Harbor complements many other economic initiatives in Cobb County and is the first step of our multi-year investment plan that includes future expansion of the water park into an adjacent parcel of undeveloped land,” added Kaetzel.
Hurricane Harbor, set to open in late May 2014, will include an 800,000 gallon wave pool, a multi-slide tower, and a “world’s first” single slide tower combining two extreme slide thrills, plus an interactive children’s water play area. A tropical island theme will include new food locations, shopping, cabanas and expansive deck, lounge and shade amenities.
“The addition of a huge new water park will add a whole new dimension that our guests have been asking for. In the South, you can never have too many opportunities to cool off and Hurricane Harbor is the perfect complement to our world class ride and entertainment package,” noted Kaetzel.
Six Flags White Water in Marietta, Georgia, featuring Typhoon Twister new in 2013, will also expand its “guest-popular” Dive-in Movies during the 2014 season by adding an all new entertainment stage featuring music and new ways to enjoy the legendary Atlanta Ocean wave pool. Six Flags White Water will operate from mid-May through Labor Day and continue to offer a total water park experience, serving guests with thrills from mild to wild.
Construction plans for Hurricane Harbor are well underway and groundbreaking of the site will begin in September. The new Hurricane Harbor will kick off its’ inaugural weekend with an opening spectacular that will be an historic event and remain open throughout the summer season.
Calico Mine Ride and Camp Snoopy improvents at Knott's Berry Farm
Buena Park, CA
Knott’s Berry Farm is proud to announce two major projects for 2014 that continue reinvestment in the park’s rich history and heritage
Our most recent Knott's update (Feb 4) can be found here.
Status: Opening Early Summer, 2014
* All Photo's Courtesy of Knott's Berry Farm
Camp Snoopy celebrates its 30th Anniversary with the revitalization of the entire land of High Sierra fun. The classic Calico Mine Ride, Knott’s first major attraction and theme park industry icon, will undergo an all-encompassing refurbishment complete with new state-of-the-art animatronic figures and enhanced scenery. Camp Snoopy’s area beautification and the revitalized Calico Mine Ride are slated to open early summer of 2014.
“Camp Snoopy and Calico Mine Ride have delighted guests for decades and are classics that families come back time and again to experience together” said Raffi Kaprelyan, Knott's Berry Farm’s vice president and general manager. “The revitalization of these areas will once again demonstrate our commitment to Knott’s heritage and will preserve these experiences for a new generation of guests to enjoy.”
Camp Snoopy, home of the beloved PEANUTS Gang, has welcomed the young and the young at heart since its
grand opening on July 1, 1983. In honor of the land’s 30th anniversary, the High Sierra mountains camp theming will be enhanced throughout. Thirty years ago the five-acre nature wonderland was created by the Knott family to be a carefree place where nature, adventure and imagination come to life, and in 2014 it will undergo a number of exciting updates including new rides and restoration of the entire area with the original inspiration in mind.
Additionally in 2014, Knott’s beloved Calico Mine Ride will undergo complete refurbishment.
The Calico Mine Ride, Knott’s first major ride, opened in Ghost Town in November 1960 and was quickly
recognized as one of the world’s most immersive “dark rides.” The beloved attraction designed by industry pioneer- Bud Hurlbut, carries riders aboard ore cars, on a realistic adventure through dimly lit tunnels of a working gold mine. The winding journey takes passengers to underground lakes, waterfalls, caverns filled with thousands of mysterious formations, chambers filled with steaming, bubbling pots and geysers. At several points in the trip, riders find themselves along the rim of a sixty five foot deep and ninety foot wide scene filled with dozens of animated miners trying to strike it rich.
The Calico Mine Train attraction stands 7 stories tall. Every year over 1 million guests take part in the eight
minute journey. The mountain required over 275 tons of steel to complete and was the first attraction with a “hidden” themed queue that snakes upward to the loading station, out of sight of onlookers. The design preserves the impressive forced perspective of the mountain range, based on the sites in the authentic ghost town at Calico in California’s Mojave Desert.
In January 2014 the attraction will close for a comprehensive restoration by Knott’s Berry Farm’s design and
production team. The project will be another partnership with Garner Holt Productions, Inc., (GHP) the team that brought award winning new enhancements to the Timber Mountain Log Ride in 2013 with lifelike animatronics and stunning show scenes.
“It is our company’s top priority to preserve and enhance the original story of a working gold mine deep in the
heart of the Old West” said Garner Holt, GHP’s founder and president. “The Calico Mine Ride will be filled with lifelike sounds and motion, while maintaining the uniquely authentic feel of the attraction as designed by Knott’s and industry legend Bud Hurlbut.” The renovation of the iconic attraction includes the addition of over 50 new state-of-the-art animatronic figures, all new audio and theme lighting system, and special effects that will capture the imagination of would-be miners as they journey deep into the winding caverns of the attraction.
In 1954, Knott’s Berry Farm founder, Walter Knott, delivered an open letter to his employees in which he wrote “You know, we never fully enjoy the things we have until we share them with those we love.” Next summer, Knott’s invites the world to come back to Camp Snoopy and Ghost Town to enjoy these new adventures together.
For more information on Knott’s Berry Farm including admission, park hours and events visit www.knotts.com or download the Knott's Berry Farm app for your smart phone.
Update: January 14, 2014 - Three new attractions announced for Knott's Berry Farm. Full details here.
Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom - Six Flags Great Adventure
Coming in 2014, Six Flags Great Adventure will introduce Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom, a brand new record-breaking drop ride feature breathtaking views, impressive heights, astonishing speeds, stomach-tightening drops, and an adrenaline rush like no other.
Status: Opening Spring, 2014
First, your eight-person gondola will blast to the top of the 415-foot structure in approximately 30 seconds. You’ll pause for a moment to check out the aerial view of the park and anticipate the rapid heart-racing plummet coming up next. Everything soon becomes a blur as gravity pulls your gondola downwards at 90 miles per hour, reaching ground level again in less than 10 seconds—before you even have time to scream.
The three soaring Zumanjaro towers will share their structure and be built on the face of the record-breaking Kingda Ka coaster. As you rise and fall along the vertical track, the Kingda Ka steel trains will be thundering around the track at 128 miles per hour at the same time.
Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom was inspired by the African theme of Safari Off Road Adventure, last summer’s new attraction that created the world’s largest theme park. While waiting to board Zumanjaro, guests will pass an all-new animal area, where they can watch native African Anubis baboon play and interact in their habitat.
To make room for the newest addition to Six Flags Great Adventure, we must bid farewell to a classic. Rolling Thunder, our classic wooden coaster, will close to the public on September 8 to help make way for construction of the new ride. New technological advances and preferences have created a new generation of thrill rides, and Rolling Thunder’s popularity has decreased over the years. Be sure to tackle this coaster’s 85-foot drop and 10 dipping hills before it slips into history.
The extreme Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom is set to debut in spring 2014. Are you ready to take on this all-new drop ride?
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem - Universal Studios Hollywood
Universal City, CA
Coming Spring 2014, experience Despicable Me Minion Mayhem and join Gru, his daughters, and the mischievous Minions on a heartwarming and hilarious 3-D ride. Start your adventure in Gru’s home, where you’re recruited for his latest scheme – one where you’ll become an actual Minion.
Our most recent update from Universal Studios Hollywood (March 9) can be found here.
Status: Opening April 10, 2014
Universal Studios Hollywood announces the much-anticipated arrival of "Despicable Me Minion Mayhem," a 3D Ultra-HD movie motion-simulator adventure. Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment's worldwide blockbuster Despicable Me will come to life in Hollywood in an attraction modeled after the one in its sister park, Universal Orlando Resort® – with the addition of a few surprises unique to the Entertainment Capital of L.A.SM
"Based on the consumer feedback at our sister park, we expect the 'Despicable Me' ride experience to be a popular, family-friendly attraction for Universal Studios Hollywood. The ride continues the story line of the main characters from the blockbuster film through all-new 3D Ultra-HD animation, together with an interactive ride vehicle system," said Larry Kurzweil, President and Chief Operating Officer, Universal Studios Hollywood. "In 'Despicable Me Minion Mayhem,' our guests will experience the hilarious and heartwarming characters of the beloved film in a whole new way."
The fully immersive experience will debut in 2014 with the loveable cast of leading characters that have captured the laughter of audiences worldwide: super-villain Gru, his adorable girls (Margo, Edith and Agnes) and the unpredictably hilarious Minions.
"The 'Despicable Me Minion Mayhem' attraction at Universal Studios Hollywood will continue to push the creative envelope with its exceptional show content, sight gags, special effects and 3D digital animation. The exterior treatment will feature even more thematic and colorful creative touches that will literally place park guests inside Gru's world," said Mark Woodbury, President, Universal Creative.
Guests will experience whimsically themed queues, preshow videos and comedic dialogue that set up the fundamental plot: Gru schemes to create more mischievous Minions from human recruits.
Guests will be transported into Gru's house as they meander through his living room and encounter visual elements as seen in the film – including the moon-shrinking SR-6 shrink ray – while they zig zag through a zany adventure featuring Gru's super-villain laboratory. The exciting journey continues as they swerve, bounce and plunge to get through the frantically humorous Minion training mission while donning specially designed 3D Minion goggles. Fun and frolic continue in a post-show dance party where Minion walkaround characters invite guests to strut their stuff in an impromptu Minion-inspired dance party.
"Despicable Me Minion Mayhem" was produced in collaboration between Universal Creative and Illumination Entertainment, and was recently honored as Best Animated Special Production at the 2012 Annie Awards, which recognizes Outstanding Achievements in the field of Animation.
Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers - Six Flags Magic MountainValencia, CA
Six Flags Magic Mountain Announces Newest Roller Coaster
Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers will become 19th roller coaster
Our most recent update from Six Flags Magic Mountain (March 17) can be found here.
Status: Opening Early Summer 2014
Six Flags Magic Mountain, the “Thrill Capital of the World,” today announced its newest pint-sized roller coaster. Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers will anchor the revitalized Bugs Bunny World, becoming the fourth roller coaster in the children’s area, more than any other U.S. theme park.
Sitting in miniature hot rod race cars, riders will enjoy an action-packed adventure with plenty of drops and thrills on a roadster-themed racetrack. Kids and parents can ride together as they take a sprint around the grand prix track. Joining 11 other rides and attractions, from flying airplanes to pint-sized trucks and trains, Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers will debut in early summer.
“We are excited to introduce Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers to our coaster collection at Six Flags Magic Mountain,” said Bonnie Rabjohn, Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor park president. “This time it’s a fun adventure for our littlest guests. The mini-coasters in Bugs Bunny World are the perfect training ground for aspiring thrill seekers at the ‘Thrill Capital of the World.’ No doubt we will be creating lots of magical memories for them this year.”
With the addition of Speedy Gonzales Hot Rod Racers, the Valencia theme park will boast 19 roller coasters, more than any other theme park on the planet, including the new Full Throttle, which debuted in June 2013 as the world’s tallest and fastest looping coaster; X2, the world’s first 5th dimensional coaster; Tatsu, the world’s tallest and fastest flying coaster; Goliath, the giant among giants; Viper and more.
Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley - Universal Studios Orlando
2014’s Most Anticipated New Theme Park Experience Opens This Summer and Brings More of Harry Potter’s Adventures to Life
Expansive New Area Will Feature Something for Everyone:
The Hogwarts Express, A Groundbreaking Ride, Plus Spectacular Shops and Dining
Status: Opening Summer 2014
Never before has a theme park created a guest experience like this: you climb aboard the Hogwarts Express in Hogsmeade and moments later arrive at King’s Cross Station – where the wonders of London and Diagon Alley unfold before you. And it is all real.
With this summer’s opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. Entertainment will bring even more of Harry Potter’s adventures to life inside a new, magnificently themed area that includes a revolutionary attraction experience, as well as all-new themed shops and dining.
The two companies today revealed first-ever details about the new area and the one-of-a-kind adventures it will offer the whole family. The spectacularly themed environment will double the size of the sweeping area already dedicated to Harry Potter’s adventures at Universal Orlando, expanding it across both Universal theme parks.
And – just like in the books and films – guests will be able to travel between the two areas aboard the iconic Hogwarts Express.
Universal Orlando launched a global phenomenon when it opened The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at its Islands of Adventure theme park in 2010. That area includes the iconic Hogwarts castle – which houses the groundbreaking Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey attraction – and the village of Hogsmeade. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will be located within Universal Orlando’s second theme park, Universal Studios, and will create new experiences based on the signature areas of London, Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley.
Universal’s creative team has been working closely with Stuart Craig and the production team from the Harry Potter films to make the new area as authentic and spectacular as possible – just as it did with The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Hogsmeade.
The vision for The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley is unprecedented, with Universal Orlando creating the world’s first centrally themed, multi-park experience.
After arriving at King’s Cross Station aboard the Hogwarts Express, guests will pass through London and the iconic brick wall archway from the films into Diagon Alley – a bustling, wizarding hub within a Muggle city. There will be shops, dining experiences, and a new ride called Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts – a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional journey that will take theme park attractions to a new level.
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley will give visitors the exciting opportunity to:
Board the Hogwarts Express and journey between London’s King’s Cross Station (located in Universal Studios Florida) and Hogsmeade Station (located in Universal’s Islands of Adventure). The journey will be filled with views of London and the British countryside – as well as a few surprises. Park-to-park admission is required.
Explore some of Diagon Alley’s famous shops, including: