The BLOGFlume—To the Other Side and Back
Astroworld blackout, and trips to Hades and Everest
Written by Russell Meyer
Houston Chronicle 5/15/05
Due to an equipment failure at a transformer, Six Flags Astroworld lost power at the height of the afternoon on Saturday. At approximately 4:15 PM, the entire park experienced a power outage that actually stranded riders on two of the park’s larger roller coasters. Riders were stranded on the lift of the Texas Cyclone during the outage, and riders on the Serial Thriller were left hanging, literally, at the block just prior to the station. Everyone was evacuated from the rides safely, and no injuries were reported because of the outage. The guests who were in the park at the time of the outage received rain check for a future visit. I’m surprised that only two rides were active at the time of the outage, which means that there probably weren’t a lot of people in the park at 4:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday. However, what’s most important is that the park staff did a good job at evacuating the rides that did get stuck because of the loss of power, and did so safely and efficiently. It’s good to see that even a Six Flags park can execute a safety plan properly, and respond quickly to an emergency. Kudos to the management and staff of the Houston theme park!
Into the Depths
While Thunderhead at Dollywood has been one of the most talked about new wooden roller coasters this season, another woodie is preparing for its debut with some of the most unique elements found on a wooden roller coaster. No, it doesn’t go upside down, but Hades, at Mt. Olympus in Wisconsin Dells, does feature the longest underground coaster tunnel. Not only that, but the 750-foot long, completely dark tunnel will also feature a 90-degree banked turn. Riders will probably never realize that the tunnel contains the turn since they will be in total darkness, but the photos of the turn are pretty interesting to see. The coaster is being constructed by The Gravity Group- a spin-off of the now defunct Custom Coasters International, creators of Raven and Legend. Hades will be added to an incredible roster of wooden coasters including Pegasus, Zeus, and Cyclops. I have not a chance to experience Mt. Olympus - I actually have never been to the upper Midwest of the U.S., but with the addition of this potentially legendary wooden roller coaster, this Wisconsin theme and water park could catch up with Holiday World as one of the best small parks in the country.
A Real Expedition
While Disney’s Animal Kingdom is quickly assembling its newest roller coaster, Expedition: Everest, The Walt Disney Company, in conjunction with Conservation International and Discovery Networks, is planning a real expedition to Mount Everest. Expedition Everest: Mission Himalayas is expected to run from August to October of this year, and likely the Discovery Network program will air prior to the grand opening of one of Disney’s most ambitious roller coasters. The trek to one of the most formidable landscapes in the world will search for evidence of the mysterious Yeti, as well as act as a cultural journey. While Disney will not be able to incorporate their findings into the impressive attraction, the expedition will be great publicity for one of the most anticipated Disney additions since Mission: Space. While some may view Disney’s foray into this expedition as strange, Disney’s Animal Kingdom does have a relationship with Conservation International through Disney’s Wildlife Conservation Fund. Yeah, this expedition is a publicity stunt, but a smart one that will get the general public more interested in the lowest performing Disney park in Orlando. Not only will Disney’s Animal Kingdom gain a lot of publicity, but Discovery is likely to get a lot of publicity from the Disney marketing machine that will be advertising the documentary all across the Disney broadcast empire. Even if the expedition does not uncover the secrets of the Yeti, all parties are winners, and hopefully Disney’s newest roller coaster can live up to the hype that is being created around it.
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