Beyond CaliFlorida: Testing, testing, testing...

May 28, 2014, 9:26 AM · Update from Robert: Busch Gardens Tampa just released this statement, officially delaying the opening of Falcon's Fury until later this summer:
Busch Gardens’ new thrill ride Falcon’s Fury includes first-of-its kind design elements, systems and parts. Due to a delay in the fabrication of key component parts, neither the manufacturer nor Busch Gardens are able to complete the lengthy testing processes needed to open the ride to the public. The safety of our guests and team members remains Busch Gardens’ top priority and none of these delays involve safety systems. The ride has been safely operated in the initial stages of the testing process, and all other elements of the park’s newest re-imagined land Pantopia are now open to guests. Busch Gardens will provide updates on the ride opening as events warrant. We are committed to delivering world-class thrills and the best possible ride experience, and we look forward to the launch of Falcon’s Fury, North America’s tallest freestanding drop tower, later this summer.

And, now, back to Jeff:

Kentucky Kingdom – The park is open! Congratulations go out to Ed Hart and his team. Here’s hoping that you are once again able to build this park up and zoom past your previous attendance highs. I think now is a very good time for the following video to be reposted. Please watch carefully and take notes, there will be a test.

Question 1: Is it possible to start a regional park and through proper investments have more visitors than the metro population of the area the park is located in within 8 years?
Question 2: What is the primary driver of attendance in a regional park?
Question 3: What happens when you stop investing in a park’s ride portfolio?
Question 4: What happens when you remove rides from your park?
Question 5: If the previous questions were so easy to answer, how come there are so many parks that complain about their attendance figures when they are doing nothing about it? (Essay answer, please post your responses below. Answers will be graded on prose, sarcasm, facts, humor, and the proper balance of incredulity and indignation.)

Islands of Adventure – The rumored King Kong attraction is now a dirt pit reminiscent of Diggerland. I really hope that they aren’t done just yet.

Canada’s Wonderland – Wonder Mountain’s Guardian has opened. They dropped a bit of a hint during the below interview with the creators and mentioned that they intend to retheme the content of the ride to something haunted for Halloween. That leads me to believe that some of the internal scenes are on screens and can be easily changed, kind of like Toy Story Mania, but it sounds like this park will actually get around to changing the ride.

Tokyo Disneyland – Here is video for their Once Upon a Time castle show.

Dorney Park – Things aren’t looking good for Stinger. It looks like there was a bit of a mishap on the ride that could keep it closed for most of the season.

Holiday World – I don’t know about you, but I have already given up on the two-month long promotion before they actually tell us what they are going to build. Unless there is some sort of axe murderer running around the boat during the voyage, I have to say that I am really uninterested for the time being. We have also had our spies at work in the park who spotted some markers on the ground. This would seem to lean the conversation away from an Iron Horse treatment of the Voyage. Although every other guess (including doing nothing at all) is still in play. Hopefully it won’t be some sort of weird floating hot dog cart that sells gourmet pig leftovers to only the patrons of a particular ride.

Universal Orlando – While we all know that the dragon was installed, I found some video of the dragon before it was covered up. Other elements of the new land are also starting to come on line.

Six Flags Magic Mountain – Honda owners will be rolling in the good fortune thanks to a promotion from the local Honda dealers, including free parking, early admission to the park, and other free gifts in the park.

Schlitterbahn Fort Lauderdale – This park is starting to look like to may actually be built. A deal is currently on the table that needs to be signed off on by the city by July 15th. If this happens and everything else goes right, this park could open as early as 2017.

Star Wars Universe – is releasing installments of their documentary Star Wars to Jedi. Here are the first episodes to get you caught up.

Now Hiring: Universal Orlando – Auditions for the returning Rocky Horror Picture Show Tribute and anyone interested in being a Who will be held on June 3 and June 8. On June 2 is auditions for a female Jazz singer.

Test Answers:
1. Yes (Louisville has a metro area population of 1.3 million)
2. Big splashy rides & roller coasters
3. Attendance stagnates
4. Attendance drops
5. Answers will vary, post and review below.

Replies (8)

May 28, 2014 at 10:09 AM · I bought a Kentucky Kingdom Season Pass, so I'll take a few pictures of the new look of the park and some of the new rides. Last weekend, during opening, the big controversy was all about a viral video that shows Lightning Run's support columns "wobbling" after the car passes over them. This went viral on the local news and park officials were forced to respond by saying this was normal and the structure was built to move to handle the stress. In other words, it would be bad if it didn't wobble. Here's a link to the video. What do the coaster experts and engineers here think?


May 28, 2014 at 10:22 AM · Watched the first video and saw where they painted the old Amity restrooms brown. I was wondering what they were going to do with them in order to fit the London theme that is right next to them. They don't look too bad. I still wouldn't use them though.
May 28, 2014 at 12:46 PM · I just saw detailed blueprints for the new Kong attraction at IOA. I initially thought it was going to go where the old Triceratops Encounter was, but it is going next to the lift building for JP River Adventure.

Hats off to Universal for pushing the limits of theme park expansion. Diagon Alley will elevate this resort to an entirely new level and the new rides keep on coming.

Word is, a wooden coaster and flat ride are coming to JP as well. There was supposed to be a wooden coaster when they opened, and they scrapped it. I have the concept drawings...

These videos are great, Jeff.... thanks so much.

May 28, 2014 at 1:14 PM · And it continues: Six Flags Great America- ""Thanks to Mother Nature’s freezing temperatures this winter and unseasonably cool and rainy spring, the final touches on Goliath have been delayed," the Gurnee theme park said in a statement this morning.

A new opening date will be announced later this week, according to the statement."-Chicago Tribune

Admittedly, it was a rough winter, as anyone in the tri-state area will argue. However, the occurences of these delays is all too incredulous for a smooth 2014 theme park summer.

May 28, 2014 at 1:42 PM · Question 5: Many parks complain because they lack resolve to solve the problem. Six Flags is no regional operator, but they behave like a company in decline. Even in bad times, parks must be kept up or customers will not return. Let's hope the new park management will fix the problem. He must be in this for the long haul.
May 28, 2014 at 5:06 PM · Schlitterbahn Kansas City has delayed opening of their new mega water slide. It has a large drop, then a 'bump.' Rumor has it that test sandbags on a raft went airborne due to high speed at the bump and this caused Schlitterbahn to dismantle and re-engineer the ride to prevent disaster.
May 29, 2014 at 8:06 AM · Question - what used to be where the King Kong attraction is currently being built? If it was just storage or back of park operations, then I'm really impressed to see that Universal is maximizing their available space. I'd love to see Disney do the same thing.

And yes, the Winter was pretty unbearable here in the Midwest.

I'd love to see plans and location of the Fort Lauderdale Schlitterbahn park. Great area for a quality park, depending on where it is.

May 29, 2014 at 9:20 AM · Gabriel, that area has been a staging / storage area since the park opened. If you open Google Earth and roll it back to the early 2000s, you can see all sorts of different things in there. There are boats, trailers and storage pods mostly.

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