Last week at your amusement park...May 16, 2011

A digest of amusement park news and rumors...and a couple of rants...with a sense of humor...

From Jeff Elliott
Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:39 AM
Bert the Conqueror – In a very interesting side quest last week, I found out via my wife who works at the tourism bureau in Denver, Bert the Conqueror (a Travel Channel program about a guy going around to different states and riding their roller coasters (while screaming like a little girl) and doing interesting sports) is going to be filming a portion of his show at Elitch Gardens on Wednesday morning. A notification for extras was posted on the Elitches website and Facebook page. I would have mentioned it, but by the time I found out about it, even I was too late to get on the program. My wife, on the other hand, is going to be on the show. FYI, she is the hot one, no, not that one, the other one, yeah, her, the one that looks Australian. Since we know he is filming, keep a close eye on your local theme parks, you might also get a chance to be an extra on the show. If they are filming at Elitchs, they are going to be willing to film anywhere.

Joyland (Kansas) – Apparently not all teenagers are too concerned with overly violent video games and the trifecta of S, D & RR to participate in society. A group called “Project Hope", led by 17-year-old Alex East, is attempting to get city council behind a plan to reopen Joyland. Alex earns kudos of the week for taking over when the adults have failed miserably.

Shanghai Disneyland – OK, I was wrong on what I reported a while back on this project. They are currently constructing the roads first…and then the FastPast kiosks. My bad…

Hello Kitty Park – OK, maybe I just don’t understand the whole Hello Kitty thing, but some genius is going to spend $215 million on a Hello Kitty Amusement Park in Anji, China. Not to sound too snotty here, but isn’t that about what they spent on Hard Rock Park? Wouldn’t more people like music than a poorly drawn cat rip-off of Snoopy? What was that saying….something about something and his money are soon parted…..or was it three nuns carrying Hello Kitty dolls walk into a bar…..I don’t know….

Islands of Adventure – Another scene of Spiderman is now being projected in digital. The Electro scene and the Hydro scenes have graduated from rehab for celluloid dependency.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg – Many plans, blueprints, and technical documents were posted on the BGWFans website. They have unfortunately been pulled off of the site. The good news is that Screamscape had reposted them with permission and still has them online. Take a look while they are still up. There are plans showing what the buildings look like, the interior of the mystery building, a CG rendering of the bridge, lotso lotso stuff. Gimme Verbolten!!

Universal Studios – The announcement is on Thursday, May 19. The smart money right now is predicting that Universal Studios Florida is going to announce their Grand Opening. Feel free to join us in the speculation, rumor mongering, and agonizing over what it could be. Click here for Terri Pierce’s “USF Announces" Speculation thread

Six Flags Over Georgia – Dare Devil Dive is doing full cycle test runs. The coaster is scheduled for a May 28th opening with a Passholder preview the day prior.

Bush Gardens Tampa – The Cheetah Hunt mascots Kasi and his best buddy Labrador puppy, Mtani, appeared on the Jay Leno show….a move that will make a lifetime of solitary confinement much more palatable.

Universal Studios Singapore – The Madagascar Ride is now open. There is a discussion thread open on this that has a link to a ride through. The ride is much longer than I would have expected, considering they took the entire second story of the building out. There are some signs of surgery in the plot of the ride… Daniel Etcheberry’s Madagascar Opening thread

Disneyland – Cast Member previews are in full swing now. Posted on the interwebs are some pretty good ride accounts of what happens. Before you click on the following link, this article is so full of spoilers, that you will easily imagine that you are actually on the ride yourself, and protein spill because you just ate. With great care, click the following (Theme Park Insider is not responsible for cleaning expenses): I can’t possibly wait another moment before reading everything there is to know about Star Tours II

Universal Studios Hollywood – Actual headline “Students Take Over Universal Studios". Their first order of business was to, like other executives, grant themselves golden parachutes and massive raises.

If I have missed anything (and I have, so no worries there) please post below. If you have some inside information, more news, more rumors, first rides, please share with the rest of us.

Sources: Screamscape, Amusement Today, and whatever else I happened to read this week...

From Jeff Elliott
Posted May 17, 2011 at 6:35 AM
Disney's Hollywood Studios - Star Tours II has soft opened and reports are starting to come in. The official opening is on Friday. There was some mention about the "spy" member of the audience is picked by cast members....which of course means that if you want to be the "spy", be really nice and friendly, while you slip them a twenty.

Busch Gardens Tampa - Cheetah Hunt has been tested with live people. Expecting them to soft open the ride soon.

From steve lee
Posted May 17, 2011 at 12:00 PM
I can't believe I'm actually responding to one of these threads...

While the idea of a Hello Kitty theme park in China seems like a foolish venture to you, I'm thinking maybe the folks in charge looked at Sanrio Puroland, which pulls in 1.5 million people a year. Hello Kitty and the other Sanrio characters are HUGE in Asia.

And Hard Rock Park cost $400 million.

From Mark Migliaccio
Posted May 17, 2011 at 2:16 PM
I know screamscape is still going with verbolten, but it may have been a curveball by bgw. An alternate name "Elementum" has been thrown around on the bgwfans forums over the last couple days by people that saw the drawings...

From Derek Potter
Posted May 20, 2011 at 6:55 AM
Joyland is indeed a sad story...another small local amusement park in disrepair. The Nelson's were the driving force behind the park for 30 years before retiring and leasing the park to another operator. That last management group managed to really run it into the ground, they fought with the city over liquor permits, and ran out of money. The park closed for good in 2004 and has been repeatedly vandalized since...just the latest in a long line of parks that have met the same fate.

I really hope that someone in that area can make things happen again before it's too late. Lord knows that if I lived in that area, I would have tried to do something years ago. There still is a place in this country for the small local amusement park, and there also is a sustainable model as long as there are enough people around to enjoy it.

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