Sunday, May 15, 2016

Valravn Dives into Cedar Point

The world's tallest and longest dive coaster, Valravn, premiered at Cedar Point last weekend and I got to check it out before it opened to the general public. It's a fun ride and the view at the top of the 220 foot tall hill is incredible. The first drop is one of the best around but the rest is forgettable.


Off ride footage of Valravn: Valravn opening ceremony for LeBron James Foundation.
Valravn in slow motion:
Have you been on it? Do you think Valravn is the best dive coaster?

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Early contender for best new ride of 2016 is...

The early contender for best new ride of 2016 is Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom, Rocky Mountain Construction’s first all-steel roller coaster. The ride has not been talked about much because it is overshadowed by larger RMC projects like Dollywood's Lightning Rod (still not open). Storm Chaser may not be very tall but it sure does pack a big punch.


In fact, Storm Chaser couldn't be any taller even if they wanted to because the lift hill is nearly aligned to be pointed right in the direction of the flight path of landing airplanes at the Louisville airport. How close do the airplanes get to the roller coaster? See here:



If you know of an airport close to a theme park then this, please let me know!


The camelback hill following the first drop might be one of the best hills on any roller coaster ever. The extreme airtime took me by surprise every time. I think I literally yelled “holy crap!” (or some form of that) all six times we rode it.

Check out our multi-angle off-ride video of Storm Chaser below and be on the look out for extreme “hairtime”:



Read a detailed Storm Chaser review here.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Top 50 Legendary Roller Coasters - Corkscrew

If you could resurrect any deceased roller coaster which one would it be? I'm starting a new series examining what I believe to be the top 50 legendary roller coasters that no longer exist. We start with number 50:

50. CORKSCREW

Known for: First double-inverting roller coaster in Europe
Location: Alton Towers, England
Type/Category: Steel, Sitdown Looping
Opened: 1980 / Closed: 2008 / Dismantled: 2008
Age when closed: 28
Replaced by: Thirteen
Designer/Manufacturer: Arrow Dynamics/Vekoma
Height: 75ft (22.86m) / Drop: 68ft (20.73m)
Speed: 44mph (13.41kph)
Length: 2,400ft (731.52m)
Inversions: 2

Alton Towers, located in Staffordshire, England, is an amusement park with a unique history. It started out as a nobleman’s estate, and then became a garden and tourist attraction. Throughout the 1970’s, the park was built up into a modern theme park, and in 1980, Alton Towers got its first rollercoaster—the Corkscrew. The Corkscrew was exactly what Alton Towers needed to complete the transformation from quiet country estate to thrilling amusement park. A steel rollercoaster, featuring one of the first double-loop inversions in Europe, the Corkscrew reached speeds of 44 mph. There was nothing else like the Corkscrew anywhere in the UK, and it was an instant success. On its opening weekend, guests at the park waited up to nine hours for the chance to ride the Corkscrew, and months later park-goers were still waiting in line for hours to ride this new rollercoaster. Park attendance doubled from 1979 to 1980.


However, as the years passed, the Corkscrew’s appeal faded. While its inversions had once been new, now there were other rollercoasters with similar, or more extreme, elements. And while 44 mph had once seemed incredibly fast, compared to newer rollercoasters, it was tame. By 2008, the Corkscrew was an old rollercoaster with a rough, bumpy ride. Still, on the ride’s last day in November 2008, thousands turned out for one last ride on the Corkscrew. The ride was torn down, but parts of the track were saved and are now on display at the entrance to Alton Towers, reminding guests of the rollercoaster that launched the park into the successful theme park it is today.


50 Legendary Roller Coasters That No Longer Exist is the latest book by Nick Weisenberger and you can download the Kindle version for free between 4/21/16 - 4/25/16.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Play RollerCoaster Tycoon World Now


RCT fans rejoice: Roller Coaster Tycoon World is now available to play! Yes, you can actually purchase, download it, and start building coasters! Note that this isn’t the official final version of the game, but a working preview that will allow those with Early Access to try it while the programmers work to finish up all the bells and whistles as well as fix problems based on Early Access feedback. Currently Windows only.
“The Early Access release of RCTW contains the core features and content of the game,” says developer Nvizzio Creations, “Throughout Early Access and beyond we will be adding further content, including piece-by-piece custom-built structures, scenario editor, mini-rides and dark rides, additional scenarios, transport rides and more.”

There are two versions of the game you can download instantly: Standard, which goes for $49.99, and Deluxe which will set you back $59.99. What does the deluxe edition include? Everything in the standard edition plus:
  • Additional Mascot: Wow your guests with the RCT franchise’s classic “Panda” mascot.
  • Digital Art Book: A beautifully designed art book illustrates the story of RCTW art and park elements from concept to in-game.
  • 2 Additional Maps: Build your dream park on two new exotic map packs.
  • Zipper Ride: A brand-new flatride just for our Deluxe Edition users!
  • Golden Park Entrance: Delight guests and show off your solid gold style with an exclusive Deluxe-Edition park entrance.
Other features of RCTW Early Access include:
  • Freeform Object Placement: Control and place every single in-game object anywhere on the map at any angle. For our more casual users we are also providing ‘snap-to’ and ‘brush’ placement functionality to make this enhancement easy to use.
  • Curved Paths: Select your unique type of path from a of widths, styles, and shapes. You can make them straight or, for the first time in the franchise, curve them at almost any angle!
  • Innovative 3D Track Editor: Create the coolest and wildest coasters imaginable with our best track editor ever! For the first time, using our spline based editor, tracks can be fully manipulated in 3D allowing you to create any shape you can dream up.
  • Fully Deformable Terrain with Water: Build amazing rides and change your park’s landscape in full 3D with completely deformable terrain and water.
  • Expansive Selection of In-Game Objects: Entertain your park guests with many different types of coasters and rides, all in eye-popping next generation resolution. Choose from pre-made rides and coasters to scenery and shops
Get RCTW now and start building your dream theme park.

If you’ve already played RCTW, please share your experiences and reviews of the game in the comments below. We’d love to know what you think of it!

Monday, February 22, 2016

How to reset your Disney MagicBand pin number

For every transaction you make with your Disney World MagicBand you have to enter your pin number, so if you lose your band no one can spend your money unless they know the pin. The problem we had on our last trip: our pin numbers were somehow already assigned to our account. Maybe they were set up when we went on a Disney cruise two years ago? One big negative – the pin number could only be reset at the front desk. Why you can’t change it by logging into MyDisneyExperience online or using the app, I don’t know.
Well, you can now save a visit to your hotel front desk by using MyDisneyExperience website or app to reset your MagicBand PIN number. Go to MyDisney Experience then Profile then Payment Methods then Reset PIN.  

Friday, February 12, 2016

Incredible Hulk’s new track not completely new?

The Incredible Hulk coaster at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park is undergoing an extensive refurbishment this winter. IN fact, all of the the coaster’s track has been removed and sent to the scrap yard.  We can only assume that after 18 years of nearly constant use, it’s reached the end of its service life.

Crews have recently begun installing new track. But now the question has come up: is this track really new? Universal has not released many details about the refurbishment. They have not even confirmed or denied that the Incredible hulks layout would remain exactly the same or be changed.

incredible hulk new track

In the most recent construction images, the block brake is there but there is no evidence that brakes will ever be installed here. If the plan from the beginning was not to include a block brake on Hulk 2,0, why keep a boring, flat piece of track? Why not replace this section with a thrilling air time hill? Perhaps the answer is because the track was already manufactured as straight before the decision to remove the block brake was made. Perhaps the decision was made years ago.

Maybe this isn’t new track at all, but was originally intended be an Incredible Hulk coaster clone themed to Men in Black for Universal Studios Dubailand. I know for a fact that track was manufactured for a fourth Revenge of the Mummy the Ride that was mothballed. Could they have also made track for the B&M coaster?


One question with this theory is, where have the track pieces been sitting all these years? Not at the factory in Ohio. Were they sent to Dubai? Have they been sitting in storage somewhere on Universal Orlando’s property? One way to answer this question is how much new track has come out of the Ohio factory? We know for a fact at least some new track has been made. New track is required for a new, energy efficient launch system. Would they really use a mix of old and new track? And is the track that has been sitting even still good to use?

We may never know the full story. What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

2015 Gift Guide for Theme Park Lovers

The holiday shopping season is upon us once again and if you’re on the hunt for that special gift for a friend or family member who happens to be a roller coaster enthusiast, you’ve come to the right place! The obvious gift is to buy a season pass to your local amusement park, zoo, or aquarium but if you want to give something a little bit different this time then check out our list below.

Coasters 101: An Engineer’s Guide to Roller Coaster Design. Learn how roller coaster designers spend hundreds of hours creating, tweaking, and re-imagining ride paths to push the exhilaration envelope while carefully maintaining the highest safety standards. Features design example problems real roller coaster engineers face in the field today as well as career advice for any aspiring roller coaster engineers. For 25% off, enter discount code: UY8WJQMM when purchasing directly from: https://www.createspace.com/3737443

Theme Park Design by Steve Alcorn. Take a peek behind the scenes, with a theme park engineer – a must read for all aspiring theme park designers! For more information readour review and interview features with Steve.

Creating My Own Nemesis by John Wardley. The story follows John’s professional career beginning with how he got out of the boring family business and into the crazy world of theme parks. If by any degree you’re into magic, illusions, theater production, theme park design, or roller coasters I highly recommend you read this thoroughly entertaining book.Read our full review here.


RollerCoaster Tycoon Triple Thrill Pack Instant Download.  This compilation of RollerCoaster Tycoon 2 and expansion packs Time Twister and Wacky Worlds brings together all the rides, building tools, as well as five real-world Six Flags amusement parks and 25 of their signature coasters.

Want to bring a little piece of Walt Disney World into your home? Looking for an alternative to putting a train around your Christmas tree? Then check out the Walt Disney World Monorail Playset. This working monorail is inspired by the real thing and has sound and light effects.

The carnival is coming to town with this super cool new Fairground Mixer LEGO set. A portable spinning ride and several carnival games can be built with the more than 1,700 pieces.

Google Cardboard - Want to see those virtual reality coaster videos parks are now creating to market and preview their new rides? Get a Google Cardboard. Take a spin on Lightning Rod or Valravn. Google Cardboard is described as Virtual Reality (VR) on a budget. Gives you a taste of the capabilities of the Oculus Rift at a fraction of the cost. Though be warned it may cause motion sickness if the app you’re looking at doesn’t perfectly track your head movement. It’s fun to assemble and play with.

Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens - Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. If you’re a Star Wars fan like I am you’re probably anxiously awaiting The Force Awakens movie on December 18th as well as the additions of Star Wars Land to Hollywood Studios and Disneyland. This book will wet your appetite before the new movie comes out. The story takes place during the original trilogy but offers a new perspective in which the main characters don’t really know anything about The Force, the Jedi, the Dark Side, etc. which I think is a theme that will carry over into The Force Awakens. The story also ends about a year or two after The Battle of Endor in Return of the Jedi and does contain the Battle of Jakku and how at least one of those Star Destroyers ends up smashed on the desert planet. If you’re only going to read one Star Wars related book, this is the one.

What gifts are you getting your coaster enthusiast friends? Which coaster gifts are you hoping to find under the tree this year? Discuss in the comments section below.