Theme Park Insider's 2011 Year In Review - September
Published: December 31, 2011 at 12:45 PM
September, the month of Smurfs and ride exchanges where Six Flags introduced the concept of "new to you but not really new" rides. Very little happened this month, so we could almost skip this, but as my duty to you, I should probably mention the one or two things that did take place.
The captain has just jumped out of the back of the plane with a parachute and two armloads of hot ladies. Mayday! Mayday! Is there a pilot on board? How about anyone that plays flight simulator games? Anyone? Maybe someone who always dreamed of flying?
Theme Park Insider's Year In Review – September
Disney's Animal Kingdom – The park announced that they had secured the rights to 10 foot tall blue creatures that hate humans when they unveil that they had signed a deal to bring Avatar to Animal Kingdom. This is kind of a confusing choice in many respects. The movie of Avatar and even the word avatar means people controlling different bodies, that, and war… brutal bloody war… using large unforgiving machines against the plucky courage of a native tribe trying to save their own planet. The story of one human using an avatar to become a one point of bright light that tips the balance of the war against the humans. It is also about death. Such subject matters seem to go against the grain of what is otherwise an animal park with rides that attempt to teach conservation and the love of all living things while holding them in tiny cells. Do you see a mixed message here or is it just me?
I understand that Avatar is the highest grossing movie ever… by a lot… and there are at least two more of these movies on the way. Also in consideration here is the fact that James Cameron really didn't spend a whole lot of time on the story, in his eyes this was a showcase for special effects and nothing else. Even many months later, there have been no details leaked as to what is going to happen in this land, most likely it is because they took this idea to the Imagineers who are all sitting around an empty design pad with WTF looks on their faces. The fact that so little time was spent on crafting a story on the original movie is very apparent. If you have helicopters that are armored and can carry missiles and machine guns, shoot the lizards that are flying around first and then the rest of it is a turkey shoot. And, really, what is up with the military personnel who act like complete morons, your base camp is not being overrun, therefore you have all the time in the world to negotiate with the indigenous people. And even if that tree is sitting right on top of where you want your mine, the minerals are underground, so burrow into it sideways… we have the technology… poor, poor Imagineers.
Busch Gardens Williamsburg – This month, the park announced that the replacement of the Big Bad Wolf roller coaster is going to be called Verbolten, which is German for "Did we really lose a classic coaster for this piece of ^&^$?" Verbolten features a similar track layout to the Big Bad Wolf and in many cases, used the same footers as the old coaster. What this new coaster also features is a large building with tight corners and a surprise like we have not seen in the United States, although Alton Towers already has it. But, as unoriginal as this is, at least you are not hunting cheetahs.
Dollywood – The park confirmed this month that their new roller coaster is going to be called Wild Eagle. This looks like a strong entry in the category of best new roller coaster. It has size, speed, beautiful scenery and landscaping all around it and two oversized hills, just like Dolly herself. In most cases, to keep the noise down, coaster track tubes are filled with sand, but this coaster is going for something unique and is planning on filling the coaster tubes with silicone.
Six Flags – The company decided that instead of buying new hardware, they would just shift everything around a bit. Six Flags Great America gets a new coaster after they ship one off to Six Flags America. Six Flags Magic Mountain gets a Velcro drop tower attached to the side of Superman: The Escape after shipping a coaster off to Six Flags New England. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom gets a new launched coaster after they ship off a coaster to Six Flags Mexico. In a way, I guess this all makes sense. Buy two new coasters and shuffle all of the other ones around so all of your customers think that they have new stuff. It's almost as if they expect us to act collectively like my golden retriever; when you hold up a ball, she goes nuts, you throw it, she brings it back, and as if it were a new toy or a new game, you hold the ball up and she goes nuts again. I refuse to be excited about Six Flags going through the trash of different parks and presenting it as new stuff in other parks.
So there you have it: August. If you don't remember the month like I do, please set a monkey-boy straight in the discussion below.
All monkey pictures have been lovingly borrowed from the amazing artist Frank Cho and his long deceased comic strip Liberty Meadows. Monkeys were harmed during the production of this article… oh, yes… definitely harmed…