This past Saturday Randy from Metro Atlanta Coaster Club attended the ACE Winter Warm Up at Six Flags Over Georgia.
Not only did this event include some great updates for the Georgia Parks, but for a whole lot of parks in the South including Alabama Splash Adventure, Dollywood, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and more.
There's lots to get to, so let's get right to it.
Written by Randy Dewberry
ACE Winter Warm-Up – The Pre-Show for the Season
Getting coaster enthusiasts through the long cold offseason isn't easy if you don't live in California or Florida. Local amusement parks are still weeks away from opening for the new season, and new attractions may be weeks after that. Fortunately, ACE has found ways to bring fans back together with their winter meet-ups, where they give parks a chance to provide updates on their upcoming plans, and occasionally reveal new information. The Southeast Region's event, Winter Warm-Up, returned to the Crystal Pistol Music Hall at Six Flags Over Georgia for 2018 to get a look at the park's upcoming new toy, Twisted Cyclone, and learn about other parks in the region. Thanks to the representatives on hand, who took that "new information" item to heart, the attendees got more teases than an 80s hair-band video.
The first tease came about 12 hours before the event, when Six Flags told its Twitter followers to pay attention to its feed Monday morning for a major announcement. As Six Flags officials welcomed the guests to the event, they brought up the tweet again. Turning the intrigue meter up to eleven, park officials said they would spill the beans to attendees, but asked them to not share it until after they themselves revealed it. (Author's note – you'll read it here too, which means if you actually are reading this, the embargo has been lifted and we have permission to share it.)
Instead of sending staffers, a number of area attractions sent ACE video updates and presentations to share with the guests. Carowinds gave us a status update of Camp Snoopy, its renovated children's area, and talked about two of their coasters – Lucy's Crabby Cabbie and Flying Ace Aerial Chase – receiving new names, Wilderness Run and Kiddy Hawk, respectively. Kings Dominion shared a recap of the 2017 season and a status report on its RMC makeover coaster, Twisted Timbers (the former Hurler), which included a reveal of the ride's second green train, which will run alongside the already-introduced blue train. Fan-favorite Holiday World introduced its new kiddie slide complex and talked about some off-season track work going on at Voyage.
Lastly, various attractions in the Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area provided updates of their own, including Anakeesta (the complex is open, but the single-rail mountain coaster is still being fabricated), Mountain Mile (a new shopping/entertainment center with a Stan Checketts-designed tower thrill ride and an adjacent mountain coaster) and Pigeon Forge Snow (an indoor snow-tubing attraction operated by the team that runs the popular Goats On The Roof).
Alabama Splash Adventure – The little park that could
Six Flags and Alabama Splash entered into a friendly wager on the college football National Championship Game (played just down the road from the Flags at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium). So, Byron Hughes, the park's marketing honcho, took this opportunity to gloat about Six Flags' other new coaster, Alabama Scorcher. Good-natured fun aside, attendees were treated to a series of videos from park managers Dan and Pat Koch as they introduced a number of new additions to the dry side of the park. Guests to the rapidly-growing Birmingham park will get to enjoy four new family rides – Scrambler, Yo-Yo, Tilt-A-Whirl and Rockin' Tug – while their kids will have fun on a new train attraction and a waterslide complex similar to the one its Indiana sister park is receiving. Everyone will get to enjoy a new high-dive show being constructed near the park's former log flume.
Before concluding, Byron revealed that Amusement Today has selected Alabama Splash Adventure as the host park for the 2021 Golden Ticket Awards. Aside from the fact that the park continues to grow and gain respect in the area, Byron alluded to another reason why they’ll host the awards then … a big new attraction is on the horizon. While not saying it was a roller coaster, Byron didn’t say it wasn’t, either. ;)
Dollywood – There are showstoppers, then there are SHOWSTOPPERS!
Pete Owens “flew” down to Six Flags for the day (he drove, but at a rate that suggests a pretty good flight plan) to talk up the Pigeon Forge park’s 2018 event-heavy season. Dollywood will be open a remarkable 264 days this coming season, and just about every one of them will have some special event or festival adding to the fun. The season begins with the long-running Festival of Nations and new-for-2018 Spring Mix concert series. In summer, food and fun go hand in hand with the Barbecue and Bluegrass festival, followed by Dollywood’s Summer Celebration, featuring tons of fireworks and superb limited-time shows. As the leaves change in the fall, the Dollywood Harvest Festival returns with award-winning gospel music, and Great Pumpkin LumiNights returns with even more family-friendly Halloween decorations, expanding from Mystery Mine all the way around to Craftsman’s Valley. Last but certainly not least, Smoky Mountain Christmas covers the park in millions of lights that must be seen in person to truly be appreciated.
One of the focal points for these festivals will be the new Plaza area, currently under construction on the former site of River Battle, in the Wilderness Pass section of the park. Dollywood is converting the site into a new open space that will change with the seasons, just as the park itself does. In the spring and summer, an animated fountain will keep things cool. For LumiNights in the fall, guests can take in a new animated pumpkin tree, with a giant LCD Christmas tree helping to transform the area in December to Glacier Ridge.
Pete Owens then talked about the park’s BPOD – the big pile of dirt – occupying a rather large chunk of land behind Thunderhead. Pete confirmed what it was, a big pile of dirt, and that it was a rather nice pile of dirt, at that. Pete also said that the BPOD was part of the largest capital expenditure in Dollywood history, and that details would arrive sooner (rather than later) this year. During a Q&A session prior to lunch, an ACEr asked about the Lightning Rod Run event and if it would return for 2018. ACE officials said there were no plans to run the event in 2018, but Pete noted that it might be better to have it in 2019, anyway. <wink wink> <nudge nudge>
Six Flags Fiesta Texas – Girl power
After a catered lunch provided by Atlanta’s legendary Varsity Drive-In, communications manager Sydne Purvis took the stage to give attendees a status update of their RMC Raptor coaster, Wonder Woman Golden Lasso. Sydne shared new renderings of the Greco-Roman theming being applied to the queue line and station building, which will suggest Diana’s home island of Themyscira. The first of three trains will arrive this week so they can begin testing in advance of a planned early March opening. One astute attendee did bring up just how long Fiesta Texas will be able to claim the superlatives attached to the coaster with its sister ride (RailBlazer at California’s Great America) hot on its heels. Sydne admitted they were indeed in a race to get the ride open … safely of course.
Other guests inquired about the ride’s loading procedures and potential capacity. Each train will hold a grand total of eight riders, and with three trains … well, do the math. The ride will utilize a “magic-
carpet” loading system, where the trains never stop moving. In advance of this, the park has been testing various loading procedures with its year-round employees in order to find the best fit for the attraction. Unfortunately, no information was available about how these procedures would be adapted for guests with disabilities.
Speaking out of the realm of coasters, Sydne expanded on the park’s popular Mardi Gras festival, which debuted in the spring of 2017. Guests seem to love the parade and the authentically-designed floats, so much so that two new floats were being added to the parade this year, along with a nighttime run. Foodies will enjoy New Orleans-style cuisine during the festival, too! In the summer, the Summer Nights Spectacular will return with more fireworks and effects projected onto the park’s quarry walls.
Sydne concluded her presentation with a reminder that the park’s Scooby-Doo interactive dark ride was retired and would be replaced by a new dark ride experience that would open up later in the season, but did not provide any new details.
Six Flags Over Georgia – Surprises everywhere
Park president Dale Kaetzel introduced their presentation with a warm round of thanks to the enthusiast community for their support and their constructive criticism that keeps them improving the product. Dale handed off hosting duties to communications manager Gene Petriello, who provided a status update on Twisted Cyclone, the RMC conversion of Georgia Cyclone. About 25% of the track had been
installed, with construction on schedule for a Memorial Day weekend opening. The coaster would be the centerpiece of the new Coastal section of the park, replacing the British theme with a more island/beach theme reminiscent of the Georgia barrier islands. The adjacent Johnny Rockets restaurant would also receive a more beachside theme to match the coaster itself. In similar news, the park’s French section (home to honestly nothing that’s French) will be renamed Piedmont, in honor of the north Georgia mountains.
As if that surprise wasn’t enough, it was now time to pay off the tease from before. Visitors put their phones away as the park unveiled a special surprise for the season kickoff – in honor of its 45th anniversary, the venerable Great American Scream Machine would run backwards for a limited time! After a very positive reception, Gene provided more details on the planned conversion. The old trains from the Georgia Cyclone would be used to travel the Scream Machine’s course in reverse; since both sets of trains carry 24 passengers each, capacity should remain basically the same. Gene and Dale both reiterated the “limited time” for the conversion, but there right now is no definitive ending date. They also would not rule out the ride remaining in reverse the entire season, but just the same, they did advise against procrastinating. And again, park officials exclaimed “but wait, there’s more!” as each attendee received a piece of the removed Georgia Cyclone structure, tagged in a limited 1000-unit edition.
After a short Q&A session, the highlight of the day arrived: a tour of the Twisted Cyclone site. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas, with frequent rainshowers turning much of the site into a soggy bog. Nevertheless, the hard-hat-clad attendees headed into the park and down to the site, where they got some of the first in-park pictures of the new steelwork and the other changes coming to the Coastal area of the park.
Big thanks to ACE Southeast Region, Six Flags Over Georgia, Dollywood, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, Alabama Splash Adventure and all the other parks that made Winter Warm-Up an exceptional coaster event!
For more details on Great American Scream Machine Backwards, be sure to check out the full press release here.
Considering the last time we did a "Magic Mountain Update" other than Media events was last May we figured it was way past time to head up to the park and see what's going on.
So here we go!!
Written by Gregg Condon
In celebration of being open 365 days in 2018, the park got a new sign.
Lots of ground clearing going on all around the park. In the front for what is probably more office buildings, in the back for Newhall Ranch.
How long until people start complaining about noise from the park?
Please Neal, keep it this way!!
Hey Viper!!! (had a really great ride on it today)
It was a gorgeous day at the park
Let's take a look at CraZanity progress
Honestly not a lot to report, but there is one tiny piece of Metro track back there
Should start seeing some progress soon
Lots and lots of walls
A peek through the wall
Goliath seemed to be having some issues, train was stuck at the top of the hill all day
One last shot before heading out
We had a really great morning at the park, not busy at all.
Be sure to take advantage of the operating days during this time of year, during the week you should pretty much have the park to yourself.
Don't you just love waking up to early Christmas presents?
Well today was one of those mornings as our good friend Cliff sent us these pictures from Six Flags Mexico where Wonder Woman has definitely arrived on site!!
We hope you enjoy!!
Pictures by Clifford Lake
Unfortunately the trains are pretty hidden.
Six Flags Corporation announced their 2018 expansion plans for all of their parks today. For the first time in a few years we really have no leaks, just lots of rumors. We are very excited for a few of the announcements, kind of perplexed by a few based on what they were teasing, but overall happy that some parks are choosing to not just focus on new rides but overall park improvements.
Hopefully with the new rides will also come general park improvements around those rides. As always we'll start on the West Coast and work our way east.
Be sure to take our poll at the bottom of the article.
Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
Harley Quinn's Crazy Coaster
Time to get twisted! Opening in Spring 2018, an epic new thrill ride attraction is coming your way:
HARLEY QUINN Crazy Coaster, the world's first dueling looping coaster!
This exciting new figure eight coaster joins our Super Hero line-up of thrill coasters and family fun: SUPERMAN Ultimate Flight, The JOKER, WONDER WOMAN Lasso of Truth and The PENGUIN.
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Six Flags Magic Mountain, the undisputed “Thrill Capital of the World,” today unveiled plans for a crazy fun 2018 when CraZanity, the world’s tallest pendulum ride, makes its debut in late spring. At a record-breaking 17-stories in the air, this impressive giant disk will reach speeds up to 75-miles-per-hour, as it whips back and forth—higher and higher to give riders a staggering view of the world below them.
Six Flags Fiesta Texas
Wonder Woman Golden Lasso Coaster
Debuting in Spring 2018: WONDER WOMAN Golden Lasso Coaster, the world's first single rail coaster, joins our Super Hero line up of BATMAN: The Ride and SUPERMAN: Krypton Coaster to complete the trilogy.
Six Flags Over Texas
Harley Quinn's Spinsanity
Click here for the full press release
HARLEY QUINN Spinsanity features a unique futuristic triple box design that allows the gondola to spin around three separate axes while rotating forward, backwards and sideways simultaneously at up to 70 feet in the air. Seated 24 across with over-the-shoulder harnesses, riders will experience a thrilling combination of negative and positive gravitational forces. By night, the attraction promises to light up the North Texas skies beckoning thrill seekers from near and far.
Six Flags St Louis
Debuting in Spring 2018: Typhoon Twister, a new water thrill, is heading to Hurricane Harbor in 2018. Typhoon Twister is the latest addition to the 12-acre water park which is offered free with theme park admission.The hybrid coaster joins our other water park thrills of Bonzai Pipeline, and Tornado.
Six Flags Great America
World's Largest Looping Coaster
Click here for the full press release
This ride will have riders traveling in unique “face-off” seating. Thrill seekers will go through a whirlwind series of 360° revolutions suspended upside down for the most insane, inverted hang-time of any coaster in the park before reeling down in the opposite direction.
Six Flags Over Georgia
Click here for the full press release
Six Flags Over Georgia—the Thrill Capital of the South—today announced the all-new Twisted Cyclone hybrid roller coaster will arrive in 2018. Twisted Cyclone will offer guests the best of both worlds—a classic wooden structure combined with a modern, steel track for multiple inversions and a smoother, more thrilling riding experience.
Six Flags America
In 2018, Six Flags America debuts the all-new Wahoo River! Wahoo River will be the new centerpiece of Hurricane Harbor Water Park, with a faster current and an endless array of watery surprises.
Six Flags Great Adventure
Cyborg Cyber Spin
Click here for the full press release
CYBORG Cyber Spin features a unique futuristic triple box design that allows the gondola to spin around three separate axes while rotating forward, backwards and sideways simultaneously at up to 70 feet in the air for intense and continuous movement. Seated 24 across with over-the-shoulder harnesses, riders will experience a thrilling combination of negative and positive gravitational forces. By night—this bold, new attraction promises to light up the New Jersey skies beckoning thrill seekers from near and far.
The Great Escape
Debuting Summer 2018: Pandemonium, this sensational spin on a classic thrill ride will have guests catching maximum air delivering fun for families of all ages. This electrifying new attraction will be located in the popular Alpine Fest area in the center of our beautiful park.
Six Flags New England
Harley Quinn's Spinsanity
HARLEY QUINN™ Spinsanity, a colossal swing ride that will send guests screaming to new heights towering over 147 feet, is the newest attraction at Six Flags New England!
Since tomorrow is #NationalRollerCoasterDay & even though Six Flags doesn't announce until the 31st, I wanted to share some thoughts about my home park, Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Update 8/23: Magic Mountain made a pretty big operational announcement today, scroll down to see how we feel this may impact 2018's announcement
Written by Gregg Condon
The last time SFMM had so few rumors coming out about a new attraction was the year they got both X and Deja Vu.
Obviously two rides on that scale AREN'T happening, but last year we all knew they'd announce Justice League. Twisted Colossus wasn't a shock either. Full Throttle was in the works for almost 1 1/2 years and the signs were there for the Bugs Bunny World and DC Universe expansions.
We aren't going to speculate "what" they are going to get, but just because there are no solid rumors doesn't mean it's going to be small.
For us, there's a reason they didn't re-name Tidal Wave. Only thing that makes sense is the ride is on it's way out. While we don't think the park can afford to lose yet another water ride (they have too few now), a ride with a water feature could suffice.
Or a collection of smaller rides to fit the DC/Metropolis theme (splash battle, Giant Frisbee) themed to Penguin and Suicide Squad. Which would be TOTALLY fine with us. More kinetic energy in that area of the park is a really good thing. And would help draw people to JL.
Anybody who's been to the park has seen the "lines" for JL, it's an AMAZING ride, but they spent too many years being the XTREME park. So people have this thought about SFMM as just a park for thrill seekers, which it is, but they have a chance to continue adding family rides to change that perspective. Or they're going to double-down on the XTREME and go big.
Realistically, the last "new" big coaster was Full Throttle, and that was in '13. Everything else has been an addition by subtraction except for Green Lantern (boo) and Justice League.
The other thing that's a definite possibility (and MUCH needed) is a face-lift of Cyclone Bay. It's the last area of park to not get redone. All of the re-doing area's along with new rides began after Terminator/Apocalypse opened and it's been amazing for the park.
So it's possible Tidal Wave could survive another year and they concentrate on Cyclone Bay next year with a couple of flats. And maybe another re-theme of Apocalypse? That area could definitely be a "boardwalk" type area very easily.
What do you think? Is Six Flags Magic Mountain poised to add something big in 2018 or are we looking at some much needed smaller rides to fill in some of the gaps to their already amazing line-up of attractions?
Today Six Flags Magic Mountain announced that in January the park would be open 365 days per year. Yes, even on Christmas. With their popular Holiday in the Park it's probably not that surprising.
I think it's safe to say that whatever SFMM is adding in 2018 it's going to be enough to justify them staying open every day of the year. Sure, they've got a great collection of coasters already, but even some of the days they are open now (weekdays in late April/May) are pretty empty. This is going to mean some prime coaster riding days a lot of the year. This also means planning those Southern California theme park trips is going to be easier now, since all of our theme parks are open daily now (with the exception of Knott's which is still closed on Christmas).
So taking into account the above, I think we're looking at something in the back corner of the park to go along with Apocalypse, and a complete (and much needed) re-do of the area. It's probably not going to be a Giga or Dive Coaster or anything of that size, but a medium sized coaster along with a new flat ride is definitely not out of the question.
Certainly can't see the park trying to bank a new operating schedule on a flat ride alone.
Of course, this could be strictly a corporate decision and have absolutely NOTHING to do with 2018. If that's the case, I'd anticipate Six Flags dumping some assets (parks) and using the year-round capability of SFMM to make up for it.
So what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.