Kings Dominion Announces Planet Snoopy in 2013
Written by Russell Meyer
“Kings Dominion is breaking records again” was the tagline for today’s media event. While there was no indication from sources that this announcement would be the addition of another record breaking roller coaster or thrill ride, many were probably hoping for something a little more thrilling than what was actually announced with that tagline. Kings Dominion did announce that a multi-million dollar expansion to their kids area would be completed in the upcoming off-season and create the “World’s Largest Peanuts-themed Children’s Area.”Tweet
Planet Snoopy will be a complete revamp of the existing children’s area, Kidzville, and unify all of the children’s attractions under the Peanuts theme. For those who have been to Kings Dominion, Kidzville was created in 1997 under Paramount Parks’ management, and added a number of new attractions to the former Hannah Barbara themed children’s area. In fact, a few of the old attractions were not dramatically changed from their Hannah Barbara roots (Boulder Bumpers, Jeep Tours, and Treasure Cave, which has been closed this season) during the Kidzville expansion.
Planet Snoopy will feature 12 new and re-themed attractions, 2 new live shows, an expanded family care center, and an open air marketplace featuring fresh fruit and food. Based on conceptual drawings, it appears that there will be 5 brand new rides for the park, 3 flat rides, an elevated track-based ride, and a Peanuts-themed railway. The 3 new flat rides will include a teacup-style ride, a lay-down glider-style ride, and a spinning tugboat ride (Zamperla Rockin’ Tug based on the drawings). The elevated track-based ride looks somewhat similar to The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride at Islands of Adventure, but featuring individual spaceship-themed cars instead of long trains.
To make room for the new attractions, it appears that Space Port, Virginia Clipper, and Hot Rods will be removed along with Treasure Cave based on the conceptual map of the new area. Aside from the elevated track ride and Peanuts-themed railway, there doesn’t appear to be much expansion of the existing area’s footprint.
Park officials were clear to note the importance of having attractions and activities for the entire family, and creating exciting rides for young thrill seekers to enjoy before they’re ready to step up to the big rides is key to the park’s future growth. By refreshing and expanded their children’s area, Kings Dominion is introducing youngsters to the world of theme park rides, and is hoping to create future theme park fans. As the father of a small child, it’s always great to see parks make a concerted effort to target younger children and families, especially those that focus so heavily on bigger, taller, and faster. However, the billing for this media event was perhaps a bit much for a refresh of an existing area along with a few new small attractions. Additionally, by referring to the expansion as “record breaking” is a bit dubious in the theme park world, especially from Cedar Fair, a company that boasts a number of record breaking roller coasters. I don’t have an issue with parks touting the size or number or rides, but making up silly records is just a marketing trick.
Planet Snoopy is a much needed renovation of the aging Kidzville, and a welcome addition to Kings Dominion. It may not be the “record breaking” addition many fans would have wished for, but it should serve the park well, and entertain the next generation of theme park fans for years to come
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