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Holiday World announces Thunderbird, America's first launched wing coaster

Robert Niles

By Robert Niles
Published: July 24, 2014 at 7:47 PM

Holiday World tonight announced the most expensive single new attraction in the Santa Claus, Indiana theme park's history — Thunderbird, the nation's first launched wing coaster.

The $22 million Bolliger & Mabillard roller coaster will debut in April 2015, next to The Voyage coaster in the park's Thanksgiving section.

Here are some of the specs: A 3,035-foot track, and 60 mph top speed for a 1:18 ride time. The LSM launch leads into a 140-foot Immelmann loop, followed by another loop, a horseshoe, an elevated spiral, a zero-G roll, an S curve, a carousel, and a barrel roll. There will be two keyholes and two crossovers with The Voyage on the route.

Concept image courtesy Holiday World

This will be the park's first all-steel roller coaster, joining the line-up with Raven, The Legend, and The Voyage. Construction already has begun.

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Halloween News: What's been announced so far

Jacob Sundstrom

By Jacob Sundstrom
Published: July 24, 2014 at 10:09 AM

We are less than two months away from the official start of Halloween season at theme parks across the globe. As we’re always sitting on the curve here at Theme Park Insider, for the next 10 weeks we’ll be bringing you a weekly roundup of news and information relating to Halloween events. For the inaugural edition, let’s start with a bit of a recap on what we know so far.

Let’s start with the big guns: Halloween Horror Nights. The Orlando/Hollywood events are separately designed and operated (follow Orlando creative guy Michael Aiello and his Hollywood counterpart John Murdy on Twitter for great insider perspective) but share many of the same independent properties (IPs from here on out). Here’s what the lineup in Hollywood looks like so far.

  • The Walking Dead maze returns which is shocking to no one. It was easily the most popular maze the past two years, even after its move to the backlot last year. Dead is a combination of a great IP with a concept people can’t get enough of: zombies. We love the heck out of the living dead.

  • From Dusk Till Dawn is a new maze based on a Robert Rodriguez produced TV show for the El Rey network. A vampire maze checks off another box on the horror theme hit list and the tone of the show seems to be a good fit at Horror Nights.

  • Face Off, a competitive horror/science fiction/fantasy makeup show on SyFy, will fill Universal’s House of Horrors. This means that Universal Monster’s Remix will be no more, which I’m sure will upset at least a dozen people on the Internet. The show is a lot of fun and the #synergy will be strong as an episode of the show will focus on designing a monster for the maze.

  • The Purge: Anarchy scare zone ought to be a lot like the scare zone from 2013; at least, I hope it is. The Purge was phenomenal last year as the figurehead scare zone, complete with the Actor With The Microphone that has become a staple of the central area of the upper lot.

    Orlando has announced the same IPs as Hollywood; but that doesn’t mean these will be carbon copies of one another. Think of it as two different directors making difference movies from the same source material. Also unlike Hollywood, tickets are already available for the Orlando event. The event does sell out frequently, but you’re probably okay waiting until at least August to purchase your tickets.

    Sticking in Florida, Howl-O-Scream at Busch Gardens Tampa has yet to announce any mazes or scare zones, but they do have this nifty highlight reel of last year’s event. You can also buy tickets, if you are so inclined. They’re offering a discount for a limited time if you buy now, so, you know, do what you feel. Their counterpart in Williamsburg has released no information other than their operation dates.

    Hopping back to the west coast, Knott’s Berry Farm is having their annual maze-unveiling on August 6 and you can bet we’ll be there to cover it. They have already announced the return of Elvira and their Skeleton Key promotion.

    In more general news, the ScareLA Halloween convention announced they’ll be hosting a “Making Monsters” panel which will have creative types from many southern California events on the same stage. The panel is on August 9 at 5:30 PM and will discuss the makeup aspects of these Halloween events. Tickets are on sale now.

    Get that countdown rolling -- just over 60 days until the gates to these events open for fans all over the world; we’ll keep you abreast of the latest information until you get to see -- and scream -- for yourself.

    Update from Robert: Here is a report from the media preview for Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Singapore. It's got four houses and four scare zones ("four" is associated with the word "die" in Chinese tradition), and an original IP in General Jonah Goodwill.

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    Paper ride-reservations tickets return to the Magic Kingdom, for the Anna and Elsa meet-and-greet

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM

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    Beyond CaliFlorida: Taking a leap of faith here

    Jeff Elliott

    By Jeff Elliott
    Published: July 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    Comments (7) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

    Looking back at a colossal history for Magic Mountain's Colossus

    Jacob Sundstrom

    By Jacob Sundstrom
    Published: July 22, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    Comments (8) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

    What are the world's most underrated attractions?

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 21, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    Comments (16) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

    Take a look at the latest Disney Springs construction photos from Walt Disney World

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 20, 2014 at 8:26 PM

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    The Week Ahead: Disney and Universal schedules for July 21-27, 2014

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 20, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Comments (5) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

    Insider's Update: New Soarin' theater, new Boardwalk restaurant, and new raises for Disney employees

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 19, 2014 at 11:57 AM

    Comments (20) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

    Motion Picture Academy elects theme park designer Bob Rogers to its Board of Governors

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 18, 2014 at 5:20 PM

    Comments (3) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

    Vote of the Week: Should Disney change Epcot's Norway pavilion to Frozen?

    Robert Niles

    By Robert Niles
    Published: July 18, 2014 at 11:26 AM

    Comments (36) | Submit Comment | Archive Link

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