Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure

Kingda Ka, Six Flags Great Adventure

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sweden's Wickedly Cool Wildfire

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I want to go to Sweden!  Leave it to Instagram, of all places, to allow me to find this wooden monster.  Oh, I subscribe to a few roller coaster and amusement world sites on there, and most of the photos I see are of coasters that I at least knew existed.  Not so with this one...

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Wildfire, the ride pictured, opened up at Sweden's Kolmârden Wildlife Park back in June of this year, and it looks like a doozy!  The coaster represents Idaho-based Rocky Mountain Construction's first foray into Europe and they have come up with one heck of a ride.  This woodie is the fastest in Europe, traversing more than 4,200 feet of track at speeds of about 70 miles per hour.  It is also the second tallest on the continent, with a 187-foot lift hill.

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Not only is Wildfire's structure impressive, it packs a punch on par with its look.  With a very steep 83 degree drop, this one moves through three inversions and some pretty wild twists and turns to boot.  Unfortunately, it is far away from where I sit on Long Island, NY, but luckily you and I can both take a virtual ride on Wildfire... 


Six Flags New Rides and Attractions for 2017

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Once again, even before the coaster season ends, we're being tantalizingly teased for next year.  In one sweeping announcement, Six Flags shared news of new coasters and attractions across its 13-park empire for the 2017 season.  Here's the lowdown:

Magic Mountain, Valencia, Ca / Great Adventure, Jackson, NJ / Six Flags Over Georgia, Austell, GA - Justice League

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Three of Six Flags parks, Magic Mountain, Great Adventure and Six Flags Over Georgia will be advancing their causes potential with an all new interactive dark ride.  Justice League: Battle for Metropolis - Ride, Play, Triumph will be an indoor thrill ride enabling riders to help Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Cyborg and Green Lantern save Metropolis from perennial evildoers the Joker, Lex Luthor and Harley Quinn. Participants, wearing 3D high definition goggles, will be given the opportunity to shoot at targets to earn points and help the superheroes in their mission.  Special effects will be interspersed throughout the ride and is sure to be loads of fun.

Great America, Gurnee, IL / Six Flags Over Texas, Arlington, TX / Six Flags New England, Agawam, MA - The Joker

With each coming year, Six Flags has made their parks similar to one another in adding the same rides to parks near and far.  In that vein, Six Flags Great AmericaSix Flags Over Texas in Arlington, and Six Flags New England will be adding The Joker, which debuted to great reviews by riders at Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ.  The addition of the ride will surely bring excitement to those who live in the area, for sure!

Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, TX - Thunder Falls

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Fiesta Texas, in San Antonio, will be adding the most unique of all the new rides for 2017.  In an unusual move, the park will be unveiling Thunder Falls, an all-new water coaster, and it will undoubtedly be an instant favorite!  This state of the art water coaster will feature five gravity-defying uphill blasts, four spiraling flying saucer turns, a breathtaking enclosed dive turn, all in a massive, 942 foot long, 3 story tall structure.  (sixflags)

Discovery Kingdom, Vallejo, CA - Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth


One year after upgrading its Roar coaster into the all-new wood/steel hybrid dubbed The Joker, Discovery Kingdom, in Vallejo, CA, looks to add a non-coaster, tamer ride for the upcoming year. Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth is one of those Frisbee-like thing-a-ma-jigs that combine spinning, height and lots of butterflies in the stomach.  Not my type of ride!

Six Flags Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico - The New Revolution

In what is fast becoming the newest transformation in roller coaster technology, Six Flags Mexico will be enhancing Medusa: Steel Coaster into a virtual reality ride dubbed The New Revolution.  The ride will offer participants the opportunity to wear Samsung Gear Virtual Reality Headsets, which will bring them into a fighter jet taking down aliens in a city being destroyed.  Seems like fun, no?

Six Flags St. Louis, Eureka, MO - Spinsanity

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Six Flags St. Louis is another park that won't be adding a new coaster for 2017.  Instead, the park will introduce Spinsanity, a new ride that's sure to get ya dizzy, spinning round and round both clockwise and counter-clockwise as it traverses a five story pike back and forth!

Six Flags America, Marlboro, MD - Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth

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Unlike the other new Wonder Woman ride opening up in Discovery Kingdom, this one is a new take on a classic ride.  At a whopping 242 feet, this swing ride will give riders a great view of the entire park and beyond.  I think I'll stay on the ground.

Le Ronde, Montreal, Quebec, Canada - Titan

Now like the new Wonder Woman ride at Discovery Kingdom, Six Flags only Canadian park's newest addition will be the very same Frisbee ride.  The naming of all three rides is kind of curious, no?  Maybe Titan means Wonder Woman in French?

The Great Escape, Lake George, NY - Bonzai Pipelines


Finally, the smallest of the Six Flags parks in upstate New York will be adding Bonzai Pipelines to the waterpark section of the property.  The new attraction will feature two slides with more than 300 feet of twisting and turning, starting from about 30 feet above the ground.

So there you have massive announcement from Six Flags.  Should be cool for those in the area of parks getting new rides.  In the meantime, there's still some coastering left for the season, so go on out and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Roller Coaster News: Cedar Point's Mean Streak, Hershey's New Drop Ride and King's Island's All-New Mystic Timbers

Once upon a time, big news out of the theme park world usually came during the off-season, but that's all changed as the coaster wars have become hotter than ever.  These days parks are getting early jumps on new attractions by making big announcements year-round, and sometimes even years ahead of the project (check out Skyscraper Unveiled).  Well, there have been two noteworthy announcements over the past week or so, one each out of Cedar PointHersheyPark, and King's Island, three of my favorite amusement parks.

Mean Streak Closing

Cedar Point announced this week that as of September 16th, its notoriously fierce wooden roller coaster Mean Streak will be shut down.  

The park released a cryptic video, "Goodbye Pard'ner," showing the coaster and a crazed lumberjack attacking the ride's wooden beams with an ax. "Mean Streak gets the axe Sept. 16," said a video posted by the park. (

The park known as America's Roller Coast declined to elaborate on what the future holds for the ride. At this point it's not clear whether it will be torn down in favor of something new and exciting or whether it will be refurbished with an all-new steel track, a method that's become common these days. I will say this, no matter the outcome, I have confidence that one of the world's greatest theme parks knows what it's doing and that future announcements will be sure to please.

I'm not surprised at this move. I've ridden Mean Streak twice in my life, once in 1995 and again in 2012, and though I marveled at the structure and the ride itself the first time, that second ride made me feel like my insides were being torn apart. It either needs to be replaced or a makeover, which is what I am predicting the park will do. The coaster is a classic and should be resuscitated in whatever form they choose.  Anyway, if you haven't ridden Mean Streak or are looking to do so one last time, here's a virtual ride...

Hershey's Big Announcement for 2017

Over the past several weeks, HersheyPark in Hershey, Pennsylvania, has been dropping clues for its newest ride set to open next year.  Just yesterday, all of the guessing was finally put to rest as the park held a press conference to announce its all-new Triple Tower

Yes, as many people had guessed, the park's all-new attraction is going to be a drop ride, but not just a single drop ride, but three towers, blasting off to new heights and surrounded by chocolate.  Erected up on the Kissing Tower Hill, these three towers will give riders a choice as to how high they wish to go.  The Kisses Tower (80 feet), The Reese's Tower (131 feet), and The Hershey's Tower (189 feet) will bring riders downward in just 50 seconds and at a notable 45 miles per hour.  Though drop rides are not my favorite, and I probably won't ride these, it is exciting news for the park.

King's Island's New Mystic Timbers

King's Island, in Mason, Ohio, is one great park, with awesome coasters such as Diamondback, Banshee, Firehawk, The Beastand more, and the park has recently announced it's newest thrill ride, Mystic Timbers.

This new coaster, the park's 16th, will be built by Pennsylvania's Great Coasters International and will have a theme of a lumber company being overrun with an overgrowth of vines.  The woodie features a 109 foot first drop, speeds of up to 53 miles per hour, a tunnel, an over-banked S-turn, lots of airtime and a mysterious shed towards the end of the ride ( The ride is set to open in the spring of 2017 and is exciting news indeed!  Take a virtual ride...

Pretty cool stuff, huh?  Stay tuned to john's amusement world for more on everything roller coasters!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

China's new 'Coaster in the Clouds'

Until now, I've posted news and videos on several new roller coasters that have made their debuts in 2016, such as Dollywood's Lightning Rod, Great Adventure's The Joker, and of course Cedar Point's wicked Valravn.   But the coasters I've shared on this blog all have one thing in common...they're all in the United States.  Theme parks and rides are not a uniquely American thing by any means, and there are some great parks, and coasters, all over the world.

One of the newest places to make a huge mark in the coaster world is China.  Yes, China and it territories have had some great roller coasters for years, but a developer by the name of Wang Jianlin has been aiming to steadily build an amusement park empire large enough to compete with Disney. The Wanda Group opened its first theme park in Nanchang, China this May and the massive Wanda Cultural Tourism City is only the first of a planned 15 new theme parks in China.

New to the lineup of worldwide roller coasters, located in the new park, is a fierce looking ride called Coaster in the Clouds.  This coaster, built by renowned coaster builders Intamin, is a hyper-coaster. That is, it is built for speed simply due to its construction with a lift hill of over 200 feet.  The lift hill on this monster is a whopping 242.8 feet, making it the tallest in China, and the drop comes not immediately upon the crest, but after a banked turn to the right.  Coaster in the Clouds reaches speeds of up to 84.5 miles per hour and it looks like a lot of fun!  Check it out...

We'll definitely be keeping an eye out on The Wanda Group to see where it goes next.  Who knows, it might make me finally have a desire to visit China.  Stay tuned. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Dollywood's All-New Record-breaking 'Lightning Rod' Debuts

After a few glitches along the way, Dollywood's new Lightning Rod finally opened this week down in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.  The new coaster gives fans yet another great reason to visit the beautiful space that boasts other great coasters like Firechaser Express, Mystery Mine, Tennessee Tornado, Thunderhead and Wild Eagle.  This record breaking, first of its kind launched wooden coaster, glides along 3,800 feet of track at 73 miles per hour and looks like a lot of fun.  Here's what the parkk has to say about Lightning Rod:

Themed after a tricked out 1950's-era hot rod, Lightning Rod launches riders from zero to 45 mph more than 20 stories up its lift hill to one of the ride’s first airtime moments. At the crest of the hill, riders face twin summit airtime hills before tackling the daring first drop. Lightning Rod races down the 165-foot drop and propels guests along its 3,800-ft. track to a top speed of 73 mph, the fastest speed for a wood coaster in the world.

Located in Dollywood’s Jukebox Junction, Lightning Rod rockets riders around its massive wooden structure on an adrenaline-charged lap through the trees in the hills and valleys surrounding Dollywood. During the ride, guests experience nearly 20 seconds of airtime. The coaster train is comprised of 12 cars, carrying two passengers each, for a total of 24 people per train.

I visited Dollywood a couple of years ago and simply loved almost everything about the place, and with the addition of this new one, another trip may soon be in store.  So click play below and have a virtual ride...

Friday, June 10, 2016

Sea World Orlando's New 'Mako' Hypercoaster

Another cool addition in the world of roller coasters just happened in an unlikely place.  When Sea World, in Orlando, Florida, first opened more than 40 years ago, it was merely an amusement park-sized aquarium, with plenty of sea animal exhibits set in extraordinarily cool settings.  Over the past 20 years or so, the park has been adding more and more amusement rides, such as Shamu Express, Journey to Atlantis, and even coasters like the floorless Kraken and the flying Manta.  Well, now the park has added its third roller coaster, Mako, making it a bona fide destination for coaster enthusiasts who visit the Orlando area.

Now hypercoasters are among my favorite types of rides.  These types of rides offer heights in excess of 200 feet and are built for speed and airtime, a favorite element of virtually any coaster lover. Sea World's newest measures exactly 200 feet on its first drop before careening into twists, turns, a unique 'Hammerhead' u-turn, and plenty of hills and airtime.  Mako reaches top speeds of about 73 mph as it traverses 4,700-plus feet of track in just under three minutes.  

The ride, with lead cars bearing the face of the well-known, fast-swimming shark that gave it its name, is located in the parks Shark Wreck Reef area and sits next to Kraken, the two coasters straddling a lake towards the back of the park.  The coaster debuted today and I am sure riders enjoyed the newest, tallest and fastest coaster in all of Orlando.  Here's your turn...  

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Adventureland's New 'Monster'

Looks like Des Moines, Iowa will be another hot destination for roller coaster enthusiasts this year. I'm speaking specifically of Adventureland Amusement Park in Altoona and their new Monster roller coaster.  I am loving the fact that these non big-name parks are whipping up some major thrills (see Lagoon's Cannibal).  When I first checked out a video of this one, which opened to the public this past Saturday, I salivated with excitement at that first, 101 degree drop.

Monster is the park's 4th roller coaster and by far the most fearsome.  Starting with that drop from a height of about 133 feet, this coaster whips through five different types of inversions at speeds of up to 65 miles per hour.  This new coaster won't warrant a specific trip to Des Moines, but if I am ever within 100 miles of it, I am going!  Check it out...