Insider's Update: Time for a safety check
Written by Robert Niles
Let's start with some unfortunate news: a teenager from Iceland died Monday after falling from the Inferno roller coaster at Terra Mitica in Spain. The ride, a 2007 Intamin ZacSpin, is closed pending the results of a police investigation, which appear to be focusing on a failure with the seat harness (which could mean a wide variety of things, by the way, including mechanical failure, a design failure, an operation failure to close or check it, or a rider finding a way out of it). If you are curious about tis particular model of roller coaster, Green Lantern: First Flight at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the only ZacSpin model in the United States.Tweet
Magic Mountain suffered its own coaster accident this week, though with far less severe results. A tree fell onto the track of the park's Ninja, a 1998 Arrow suspended coaster. The blockage forced a train to derail, stranding riders for more than an hour as a fire department rescue crew was called to the scene. Four riders were treated for minor injuries. The ride remains closed while Cal/OSHA investigates, and the state agency is bringing in an arborist to check out the tree. If only the state could order Magic Mountain's trees to move away from the rides to line the more of the pathways throughout the park, instead, where more shade is always welcomed.
While we're on the topic of theme park safety, for marine mammals, it's generally safer to live in a theme park than out in the wild. That's the conclusion of an Associated Press report looking at the lifespan of marine mammals at SeaWorld versus at other marine parks and zoos and in the wild. The life expectancy of dolphins and sea otters at SeaWorld exceeded that of those animals in the wild. The life expectancy of beluga whales at SeaWorld exceeded the industry average for belugas in captivity, and was within the range of estimated life expectancy of wild belugas. The survival rate of SeaWorld's orcas was the same as the industry's, though comparing life expectancies with wild orcas is tough, as the estimate is that wild orcas live to be to around 49 and SeaWorld's only had orcas for 48 years. (Its oldest surviving orca, Corky from SeaWorld San Diego, is thought to be 47 years old.)
Theme Park Insider editor Robert Niles, with Corky
Of course, this won't satisfy the anti-animal-captivity crowd, which would rather see animals die than live in anything other than what those activists consider the "proper" environment. (PETA's policy is to kill stray animals rather than allow them to be adopted, as the group opposes the keeping of animals as pets.)
Speaking of animal parks, Disney reports that its research shows that there's no one time of day better than another for seeing animals in the park, based upon observations of animals at Disney' Animal Kingdom. So there ya go.
Back in California, Disneyland's opening its new Legends of Frontierland: Gold Rush! interactive experience today, where guests can role-play Disneyland's Old West like it's a RenFaire. Neighbor Knott's Berry Farm responded to that this week with its own cheeky tweet:
Speaking of Twitter attitude, check out this offer from Cedar Point to current Miami Heat and former Cleveland Cavaliers NBA All-Star LeBron James:
We've thrown open a discussion asking which coaster should get the new name, if needed.
If you've enjoy our coverage of theme parks, and have found it helpful, we'd like to invite you to take a moment to recognize Theme Park Insider by voting for editor Robert Niles in this USA Today poll.
And if you'd like another way to connect with the Theme Park Insider community, please "like" and recommend our Theme Park Insider page on Facebook. For some reason, Facebook never recommends our page to its readers, and we don't buy likes as some other websites do, so your recommendations are the only way we can spread the word.
This article has been archived and is no longer accepting comments.
Enter the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Insider's Pick: There's only one place in America to where you can enter the world of Harry Potter: the Universal Orlando Resort. With Universal Orlando 2014: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park Adventure, you'll learn everything you need to know to save money and time while enjoying Harry Potter and all the other world-class attractions at Universal Orlando.
Top U.S. Theme Parks
Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom
Other Top International Parks
Features, News and Advice
"Stories from a Theme Park Insider"
Stories from a Theme Park Insider
Stories from a Theme Park Insider offers a warm and often-funny look at what it's like to work inside the world's most popular theme park. It's a great read for theme park fans!