Friday, April 18, 2014

Coming to an amusement park somewhere in 2014

Cinecitta World (Rome)
'Imagine your own world. A world that resembles your dreams: where cinema fiction becomes reality, where the star of the show is you, where all of your dreams come true, where you can enjoy a fantastic world, where you will experience the greatest emotions of cinema. Cinecittà World is the world where cinema fiction becomes reality, where tradition and innovation join together, where doing cinema becomes amusement. The $700 million park is being built just south of Rome on an expansive site originally used by famed producer Dino De Laurentiis for studios built to rival Rome's storied Cinecitta Studios starting in the 1960s. The two remain linked, with the theme park expected to feature roller coasters and other rides based on some of the more than 3,000 films and television programs produced over Cinecitta's 75-year history. Cinecitta is best known for giving birth to dozens of iconic films, ranging from William Wyler's 1959 epic Ben-Hur, Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita from 1960 and 1963's mega-budget Cleopatra, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, to more modern productions including Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ and the HBO series Rome. And the studio's connection to the theme park will be unmistakable: Aside from the shared name, the park will include movie sets ("visitors will not move between movies but between sets," Gout said), themed rides and a sort of synergy between the two institutions.' -- collaged

Mammoth (Holiday World)
'“Air Time” on a water ride? Yes! When it’s a water coaster! Mammoth towers seven stories from highest to lowest point and covers more than three acres. The massive Mammoth begins with a conveyor ride up the water coaster’s lift hill. Following each breath-taking drop, LIMs will fly your boats back up hill after air-time-filled hill. What powers these six-passenger boats up the hills? Something called Linear Induction Motor (LIM) technology. In total, six LIMs will magically propel the boats on their way through this 1/3 mile water coaster. Mammoth’s rafts are six-passenger boats. Round boats: Nine feet in diameter, flying up and down hills in the 12-foot-wide channels and tunnels. That means your thrilling trek on the World’s Longest Water Coaster may be facing forward, facing sideways, or facing backwards. Facing backwards? Yes, and in the dark. There are five enclosed slide sections. And many twists and turns. Plus air-time, that incredible feeling of being lifted off your seat. Your whole family will be able to challenge Mammoth together – and watch each other’s delighted faces as you conquer this epic ride.' -- Holiday World

Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom (Six Flags Great Adventure)
'With a sheer drop of 415ft - higher than the Statue of Liberty - and travelling at speeds of 90mph, a new record-breaking ride will not be for the faint-hearted. A New Jersey company is planning to build the 41-story drop ride, making it the world’s tallest. Six Flags Great Adventure says Zumanjaro: Drop of Doom will hoist riders 415 feet in the air and drop them back to the ground at 90 mph. The stomach-churning attraction will be attached to what is itself the world’s tallest roller coaster, Kingda Ka in Jackson, New Jersey. Zumanjaro’s three towers, each 41 stories tall, will be nestled inside the green loop of the current ride. Three gondolas will carry brave riders up the face of Kingda Ka. They will drop from just below the coaster’s 456-foot peak as Kingda Ka’s trains rocket toward them at 128 mph. At the top - far higher than the 305ft Statue of Liberty - riders will be able to see the skyline of Philadelphia, which lies 52 miles away.' -- Daily Mail

Hotelli Kyöpelinvuori (Linnanmäki)
'Linnanmäki, Finland’s largest theme park, has just opened a new haunted ride ‘Hotelli Kyöpelinvuori'. Based on the story of an hotel operated and inhabited by witches, the ride replaces an old ghost train which has been a favourite at Linnanmäki over many years, but had become uneconomic to maintain. Technical Director Anssi Tamminen said “I am very pleased with our new ride and our guests have received it well. We had to satisfy guests who wanted something new and exciting, and traditionalists who wanted us to keep the old ride they remembered from when they were children”. Nick Farmer at Farmer Attraction Development designed and built the complete show, with Gosetto providing new cars and track. Farmer commented “the ride’s name is inspired by Kyöpelinvuori, a place of legend in Finland where annoying elderly relatives are taken and pushed off a cliff. As a grandparent myself, I am hoping this doesn’t give young guests any ideas!”' -- in park Magazine

unknown (Alton Towers)
'I know theme parks are naturals at overhyping, but the words 'GET READY FOR AN UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE' would still be very weird if this is just a splash battle. I'm leaning towards some form of dark ride, even if it is water based. Might there might be a chance of a whole new area being created? They've got the amount of land needed to create a whole new area.' -- Sazzle

'I meant to post this photo last week. It's a massive ride area so I'm starting to believe that it's not simply a Splash Battle. There's a lot of land that has been moved to the left side of that image. It looks like they've been concentrating on landscaping the new area at the moment.' -- Rob

'Update: It seems they are actually stepping up a gear with new frame structures appearing around the site. and it looks like most of the landscaping is completed in the new mysterious ride area. The enthusiasts over in Spain seem to be trying the same a few of us lot do in the UK asking workers what it is they're building.. and of course they know nothing! According to rumours too the 2014 project will open in April 2014!' -- James

'This is an idea someone has of what the attraction may be like (I'm not sure if they're guessing or have evidence though).' -- Andrew

'Update: A new picture of the construction site at PortAventura has revealed lots of new details and clearly shows off not only a ride station, but support buildings and where crews have clearly dug a trough through the terrain. Could this be for a new boat ride of some kind? The park already has a log ride, a big splash boat ride and a river rapids ride, so I’m wondering if this might be a Splash Battle style ride. Of course, it may not be a water ride at all and could be something entirely different and unique. Anyone know more? Doesn't really look like an "unbelievable experience" at the moment.' -- Sam

Yumble (Roermond, Netherlands)
'An inventive indoor theme park with 8000m2 of interaction, innovation and entertainment. This is Yumble! An array of unconventional attractions, a first-class food & beverage concept and a digital setting based on projection technology, together present a unique and all-embracing happening. The varied use of projection technology and interactive software enables Yumble to create new marketing value time after time. Where traditional parks cannot escape building new (expensive) attractions, Yumble effects repeat visits by tailoring its content to the latest hypes or relevant themes (Christmas, Easter, Halloween). The digital stage setting enables Yumble to communicate with the audience, which makes the unique experience even more intense. The first Yumble is opening at the McArthurGlen Designer Outlet in the Dutch city of Roermond in late 2014, the European Fashion Outlet par excellence with over 200 leading designer brands under one roof. For good reason this outlet is already drawing 4.4 mn customers annually. And this number continues to grow as a consequence of further territorial developments. In addition, this triple-A location has a service area of 16.8 mn inhabitants within an hour's driving distance. The Roermond area is looking forward to the opening of Yumble and the expected economic and tourist impulse for the whole region. A visit to the Roermond Yumble is an excellent family trip, especially when combined with the nextdoor Fashion Outlet. We anticipate people will spend a half-day at Yumble. The Roermond Yumble expects approximately 300,000 - 350,000 visitors annually.' --

Goliath (Six Flags Great America)
'Goliath is a wooden roller coaster currently under construction at the Six Flags Great America amusement park in Gurnee, Illinois. It will be designed by Rocky Mountain Construction and will debut in May 24, 2014, Memorial Day. The ride will begin with a left turn out of the station before ascending the 165-foot-tall (50 m) chain lift hill. The track will then drop 180 feet (55 m), 15 feet (4.6 m) below ground level, at an angle of 85°. The track will then ascend to a height of 125 feet (38 m) for an overbanked turnaround. A small air-time hill will be followed by a dive loop. The ride will then enter a zero gravity stall, where the train is suspended upside-down as it crests over a hill. This element is followed by a second overbanked turnaround, leading to the brake run and a short path back to the station. One cycle of the ride will take approximately 90 seconds to complete. Goliath will claim three Guinness World Records when it opens in 2014. The ride's 180-foot-tall (55 m) drop at 85° will be both the steepest and longest in the world for wooden roller coasters. Goliath will also become the fastest wooden roller coaster in the world, with a top speed of 72 miles per hour (116 km/h).' -- collaged

WonderWorks (Pigeon Forge, Tennessee)
'WonderWorks is a ground-breaking attraction combining science education and entertainment and located at the site of the former Music Mansion on Pigeon Forge Parkway. Thanks to cutting-edge graphic and audio presentation techniques, the new attraction features some of the most imaginative displays and exhibits anywhere in the United States. WonderWorks is a place where reality and fantasy come together, said Sande Weiss, general manager of WonderWorks Pigeon Forge. There is just nothing else like it. We think of it as an amusement park for the mind. Guests arriving at the nearly 55,000-square-foot facility will know they’re in store for something different. The interactive science museums 82-foot-tall façade, part of a $9 million renovation project, makes it appear as if one building the mysterious WonderWorks Institute has crash-landed upside down atop a 1930’s-era brick warehouse. According to the folklore, WonderWorks began as a technically advanced research facility on an island in the Bermuda Triangle for scientists to study unexplained phenomena. When an experiment went awry and a man-made tornado was unleashed, the laboratory was hurled into the sky before crashing hundreds of miles away.' --

Sochi Park (Russia)
'All eyes are on Sochi, Russia with the 2014 Winter Olympics officially underway. But for theme park enthusiasts, the main event may not be the sports. Touted as Russia’s first modern theme park, Sochi Park stands unfinished among the glimmering Olympic facilities, despite Russian officials’ promises after rushing construction. Locals refer to it as “Putin World” due to Russian president Vladimir Putin’s involvement with the project. Mystery has shrouded much of the park’s development. TODAY’s Matt Lauer recounted a story circulating in the area that the oversized steel bolts crucial to attaching the roller coaster to the concrete slabs in the ground somehow got “misplaced.” Russian officials later apparently “found” the bolts after tracking them down. The park’s hotel, which lights up at night, is reportedly occupied but there's no official word about who the tenants are. Word on the street, however, has it that members of the Dutch and Sri Lankan royal families are staying there. According to RCDB, the $371 million Sochi Park will feature three roller coasters: Dragon – a Mack launched coaster, Quantum Leap – a Vekoma “Giant Inverted Boomerang” (think Six Flags’ former Deja Vu coasters), and Sharolet – a Mack wild mouse. Also included in the ride lineup are a drop tower, ferris wheel and other standard theme park attractions. At the moment, officials promise that the park will premiere in July, but the prominent theme park enthusiasts website Screamscape is advising people to avoid the park, even when or if it does open. "We shudder to imagine," it writes, "what kind of corners may have been cut inside the amusement park."' --

The Lost Temple (Movie Park Germany)
'The new attraction coming to Movie Park Germany will be a new 4D Dinosaur themed attraction where guests are taken “on a thrilling adventure deep beneath the park in a mysterious prehistoric world”. To do this, they will travel through a 23 meter long “immersive tunnel” on expedition buses loaded with 4D effects through a 360º screen. Sounds like the park is making their own version of a King Kong 360º 3D style attraction. I’m told that this will be one of the Simworx Immersive Tunnels. The new addition is set to cost €5 Million, and Screamscape speculated that the attraction would utilize one of two ride systems. The first being a Dynamic Attractions Immersive Tram system, which the company describes as: ‘Imagine boarding a tram to begin a simple tour, when all of a sudden, the tram is rocked up and down and side to side by a pack of wild animals! That is the thrill your guests experience with the technology of a multi-axis motion base coupled with high definition 3D A/V. After entering the Immersive Tunnel, visitors take their seats on a ‘tram’ styled simulator and are taken on a fun-filled journey that assaults the senses – physical platform drops, dynamic motion, blasts of air, water spray, vibrations, dramatic light, surround sound and 3D film projected to the front and both sides of the tram combine to give the most realistic experience possible.' -- collaged

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (Disney World)
'For more than two years, construction walls in the center of Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom have shrouded the final element of the New Fantasyland expansion. A skeletal white steel structure has grown into a lush mountain, hiding a mine inside. “It’s a unique experience unlike anything else in our parks,” writes Mine Train Creative Director Dave Minichiello. “This attraction is more innovative in its ride system and vehicle. It gives the guests a new sensation they’ve never had before.” During the ride, Minichiello said the passenger vehicles will slow so riders can take in the thematic scenery. The slow periods of the ride were created by design. Visitors will be able to get their hands on some of the jewels. The queue line leading to the boarding station will feature an interactive element where future riders will wash the gems, much like a Dwarf at work. Another question still on the minds of theme park visitors will wait to be answered: When will the attraction open to guests? Minichiello did not reveal an exact date, rather simply responded with “Spring.”' -- collaged

Wonder Mountain's Guardian (Canada's Wonderland)
'For more than 30 years, a familiar darkness has surrounded Wonder Mountain at Canada’s Wonderland. Guests and employees alike have suspected a dark mythical presence hidden within this iconic landmark. In May 2014 the park will throw speculation about these myths aside and blast into Wonder Mountain to unveil a thrilling new interactive 4-D dark ride, Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. Wonder Mountain’s Guardian begins with a perilous climb up the side of Wonder Mountain then plummets into its core traveling through five different layers of this dimensional world. Riders will encounter mythical creatures as they navigate 1,000 feet of coaster track through a desolate forest, underground lake and Draconian City. The quest culminates as riders enter the dragon’s lair for the ultimate battle with a heart stopping finale that will shock thrill seekers of all ages. Montreal based TRIOTECH, a leading manufacturer of multisensory attractions for the amusement industry, has developed the ground breaking technology for Wonder Mountain’s Guardian. This next generation ride will allow guests to experience stunning 3D effects overlaid with 4-D elements: simulating wind, movement and more. Real time graphics and the fastest most accurate targeting system will be installed to create an ultra-immersive interactive experience.' --

Ratatouille – L'Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy (Disneyland Paris)
'Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy is an upcoming motion-based trackless dark ride based on the Disney/Pixar animated film Ratatouille in Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris, France that is currently under construction and is scheduled to open in summer 2014. This attraction will be one of the biggest projects ever in the Disneyland Paris complex, with speculation that the show building could be as tall as The Pirates of the Caribbean ride at the neighbouring Disneyland Park, and will cost an estimated $120 million-$150 million to complete. The attraction's exterior, according to conceptual paintings and blueprints, will be that of Gusteau's restaurant, and the surrounding buildings of the Parisian plaza. The attraction is rumoured to use LPS trackless ride technology, similar to Pooh's Hunny Hunt (in Tokyo Disneyland) and Mystic Manor (in Hong Kong Disneyland), which offers using vehicles shaped as rats to automatically slide across the ground with no track. It also could contain a 3D dome segment of the ride that the vehicles will ride into. The ride begins with a pre-show by Remy to show the rules of this ride, and then a ride through the kitchen on mouse cars, the ride should take about five minutes and twenty seconds approximately, then exit to the boutique where you can buy Ratatouille related items, then meet and greet with Remy and then a simulator ride will take you to the locations from the film, after that, exit the ride.' -- collaged

Banshee (Kings Island)
'The first female-inspired thrill ride at a Cedar Fair Entertainment Company amusement park, Banshee will send riders screaming through 4,124.1 feet of track and seven mind-bending inversions at speeds up to 68 miles per hour during the 2-minute, 40-second ride. It will be the longest inverted steel roller coaster in the world. Built over hilly terrain, the ride layout for Banshee is specifically designed for Kings Island and features several unique elements that distinguish it from other roller coasters. The ride experience on Banshee begins with a lift taking riders up to the maximum height of 167 feet. After plunging down 150 feet, riders will go through a curved drop, dive loop, looping interacting with the lift, zero-G-roll, batwing, outside loop, spiral, in-line roll and carousel. Two of the most unique features about Banshee are the massive size of every loop, and unlike other roller coasters, the top speed isn’t reached until halfway through the ride’s course. Since Banshee’s lift hill is on a higher elevation of terrain than the other side of the ride that goes down into a valley, the total elevation change is 208 feet from the highest point at the top of the lift hill to the lowest point, which is the bottom of the batwing between loops four and five.' -- theme

Red Sea Astrarium (Aqaba, Jordan)
'The Red Sea Astrarium (TRSA) is an integrated resort destination on the shores of the Red Sea. It is considered the first themed entertainment attraction at the coastal city of Aqaba-Jordan, and the first to use green energy to minimize adverse environmental impacts, and it is scheduled to open in late 2014. The Red Sea Astrarium occupies 184-acre (70 hectares) of land and, when fully open, will employ more than 4,000 people directly. The resort’s design features three major zones of entertainment: The Summit, The Old Waterfront, and The New Waterfront. The resort is set to feature four luxury hotels, botanical gardens, a collection of entertainment, dining areas, 4D cinema, 16 attractions and retail stores. The Red Sea Astrarium will house an array of international theme-park level attractions suitable for all ages. Some attractions use highly-advanced Jordanian 3D technology. In 2013, a signing ceremony was held at the Jordanian-American Business Forum under the patronage of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. King Abdullah had suggested Star Trek be included in The Red Sea Astrarium, being a big Star Trek fan who had an uncredited cameo (as background Starfleet crewman) on an episode of Star Trek: Voyager in 1996.' -- collaged

Thunderbolt Reborn (Coney Island)
'Like its equally famous sibling, the Cylone, the original Thunderbolt was a classic Coney Island coaster. Built in 1925, it thrilled generations of riders until it was closed in 1982. It was immortalized in Woody Allen's 1977 film, Annie Hall, in which the filmmaker's character, Alvy Singer, lived in a home under the coaster. Incredibly, there was a real house with occupants beneath the actual coaster. lt may share a name and location with the original, but it’s built to deliver modern day thrills. The new Thunderbolt will stand 125 feet tall, have 2,000+ feet of track, and hit a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour. The ride's layout starts with a 125 foot plunge downward, and up into a large vertical loop. After that is what looks like a modified corkscrew, stretched out so that it slightly resembles a heartline roll. A heavily banked wave turn is after that, and then trains quickly enter a reverse dive loop, for lack of better words. Two long camel hills lead the trains back to the final brakes. The ride will be built on a very narrow piece of land, close to the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium and partially next to where go-karts and a Skycoaster were opened last Summer. The rest of the open space near where the Thunderbolt will go is not owned by the city, forcing the ride to have a very narrow but long layout.' -- Zamperia

Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter)
'Visitors to Diagon Alley will see the Gringotts facade rising at the end of alleyway, with a fire-breathing dragon atop. You're visiting Gringotts to open an account and get your own vault but, of course, because this is a theme park, you can expect something to go terribly wrong. Walking inside the bank building, you'll step into a small Entry Hall with three chandeliers before entering the Bankers Hall, the elaborate main hall filmed inside London's Australia House for the Harry Potter movies. The Bankers Hall will be lined by animatronic goblins behind the tellers' desks. From this room, the queue will split, with the regular queue heading outside to a large supplementary queue located behind the Gringotts show building leading into a hallway of Gringotts offices. The offices will include a Security Office where you'll have your picture taken (yes, more souvenir sales!), before ending up in Bill Weasley's office. After his presentation, the doors on the far side of his office will open, leading your half of the queue to one of the two waiting elevators. These elevators will take you down 30,000 feet to the subterranean Gringotts vaults — juuust like those "hydrolators" at Epcot's The Living Seas used to bring you up from the bottom of the ocean. ;^) Once "down" at vault level, you'll pick up your 3D glasses in a tunnel-like room, before climbing a spiral staircase to the load platform. After the load platform, the two track channels merge to the south, then bearing to the left and entering Scene 1. In this scene, you'll face a brick wall, with two tunnel entrances, to the left and right. You're really facing a 3D screen, though, and here's where it all starts to "go terribly wrong." Within a moment, the car then drops 70-80 feet into the tunnel, for a kinetic ride section through a stalactite-filled cavern, which is only the beginning.' -- Theme Park Insider

Falcon's Fury (Busch Gardens)
'In spring 2014 Busch Gardens Tampa is taking guests’ experiences to new heights with Falcon’s Fury, the first drop tower of its kind in the world. Additionally, with no connecting structures, it will be the tallest freestanding drop tower in North America. No bird can match the speed of a falcon in its hunting dive. The falcon is the fastest animal on Earth, reaching speeds of 200 mph. Designers were inspired by this bird of prey during the development of the new attraction. Falcon’s Fury will stand at 335 feet and take riders soaring 60 mph straight down. Located in the Timbuktu™ area, Falcon’s Fury will be visible from any location in the park and even across the Tampa Bay area. At the ride’s highest point Busch Gardens has added an element of surprise. Like its bird of prey namesake, riders will pivot 90 degrees in midair to a face-down dive position. An instant later they'll plunge 60 mph at 3.5 Gs straight down with speed and power like they’ve likely never experienced before. Construction in the Timbuktu area of the park has already begun, and Falcon’s Furyis scheduled for completion in spring 2014.' -- collaged

Sanrio's Hello Kitty Park (Anji, China)
'A $215-million Hello Kitty theme park celebrating the cute cartoon cat with a cult-like following will open in China in 2014. Construction is expected to begin in July 2013 on the 150-acre theme park in China's Zhejiang province, about three hours west of Shanghai, according to China's Xinhua news agency. With a million visitors expected annually, the new Hello Kitty park will be targeted at families with preteen children and young women who collect merchandise bearing the likeness of the white bobtail cat with the red bow. The main entrance to the new Hello Kitty park will be topped by a skyscraping Ferris Wheel and flanked by nearly a dozen towers of varying heights, according to concept art released by the Hettema Group, a theme park design company. Pastel-colored rolling hills, giant leaves and oversized purple flowers will emphasize a nature theme found throughout the park. An aerial view of the park shows seven themed lands with four bodies of water and a distinct lava-spewing volcano surrounded by a roller coaster. The new theme park will include 35 to 40 costumed Hello Kitty characters, according to the Hettema Group.' -- The LA Times


p.s. Hey. As I mentioned belatedly at the top of the comments yesterday, I can't do the p.s. today. If you're interested in why, well, I'll be doing a daylong V.I.P. behind-the-scenes visit to the ballet school at the Paris Opera with Zac and Gisele Vienne because the movie that Zac and I are writing for Gisele to direct is centered around a Halloween haunted house attraction-cum-giant interactive sculpture whose setting is a bizarre ballet school, so our trip is for research. There you go. I'll catch up with the comments from yesterday and today when I see you tomorrow morning. In the meantime, here are some things that amusement park aficionados like myself have to look forward to this year.