Written by Russell Meyer
Published: July 17, 2005 at 7:21 PM
Despite all of the goings on with Disney in the past week leading up to today’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, Holiday World has managed to one-up Disney for theme park news over the second half of this week. The “small” park, located in Santa Claus, Indiana, announced one of the biggest expansions of its near 60-year history. For the park’s big birthday party, they will add a new land, Thanksgiving, and what is likely to be the most anticipated roller coaster installation of 2006. The Voyage was designed by the Gravity Group, LLC, designers of Hades at Mt. Olympus Park, and it will be one of the largest wooden coasters in the world. The coaster will have a record-breaking 24.2 seconds of air-time and three drops of over 100 feet. The 1.2 mile long track will also contain not one, but two 90-degree turns (similar to the one on Hades), and five underground tunnels, which will create eight underground moments as the train will traverse some of the tunnels twice. The new coaster will be located in a brand new land themed around Thanksgiving, which, in addition to The Voyage, will feature an interactive turkey chasing dark ride. What better way to teach your kids about the traditions of Thanksgiving than riding around and chasing turkeys? The land will also feature a new restaurant and gift shops. Holiday World already contains two of the highest rated wooden roller coasters on the planet, Legend and Raven, and the addition of The Voyage will further solidify the park as the prime destination for wooden roller coaster fanatics. The Voyage will not quite break the height, speed, or length records, but the great layout (an on-ride simulated video can been viewed on the Holiday World website), underground elements, and 90-degree banked turns will possibly make this coaster the best in the world. It’s going to be hard for any park to top this announcement. Even the pending Six Flags announcement for Magic Mountain (B&M flying coaster) and Great Adventure (Intamin wooden coaster) will have difficulty overshadowing this expansion. Also, Holiday World has a great reputation of trying to cater to the desires of coaster fanatics. It is likely that The Voyage will be a huge hit with them as mass “pilgrimages” will be taken to Holiday World’s Thanksgiving land next summer.
The Big Day
With a mere $17 million and a dream, Walt Disney opened the eyes of the world to one of the most profitable forms of entertainment 50 years ago today. So how else would you celebrate the 50th birthday of Disneyland? With the Governator of course. After the scores of guests, complete with their golden Mickey ears, were treated to fireworks, confetti, and images of the park’s history, Mickey Mouse and California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger emerged from Sleeping Beauty’s Castle to praise the “happiest place on earth.” Disneyland spawned an empire that has spread around the world, even to the far reaches of the eastern hemisphere, including the soon-to-be-opened Hong Kong Disneyland in China. From Mickey ears to crazy pin traders to us here at Theme Park Insider, Disneyland has represented the epitome of what a theme park should be, even though the park has not always gone in the direction the fans have wanted it to go. Whether you are a little kid, a parent, or a grandparent, if you’ve been to a Disney park, it has probably touched you in a way that no place else on earth has done. I’m sure someone out there had the privilege to attend the very special day today, and I cannot wait to read about the amazing experiences of the 50th Anniversary Celebration today.
Not in My Pool
Chicago Sun Times 7/15/05
A woman who was breast-feeding her infant in a wading pool at Six Flags Great America’s Hurricane Harbor water park was allegedly told to move to another location by a Six Flags employee. The park is investigating the complaint, but feels that they did not violate an Illinois law that allows mothers to feed their children in any public area. The park believes that the employee may have directed the woman to a more private area, and that the mother may have taken that suggestion as an order to leave the wading area. There hasn’t been one of these public breast-feeding cases in a while, so I guess it was just a matter of time before something like this happened in a theme park. I’m all for the freedom of mothers to be able to nurture and care for their children, but the wading area of a public pool does not seem like an appropriate place to breast-feed a child. Not only is it not a terribly sanitary location with chlorinated water and spray, there’s also the possibility that people would be made uncomfortable by seeing it (which is almost always at the center of these breast-feeding cases). The woman is apparently considering legal action in this case, and unfortunately the law is behind her if she can prove that she was indeed asked to leave the pool. I would also expect a public sit-in within the next week at the park as well, since breast-feeding advocates generally band together when these cases arise. Al Bundy and No-MAAM will be staging a counter protest at Polk High later this month.
Walt Disney World
Tokyo Disney Resort