Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cedar Point 2013 Coaster

The Sandusky Register is reporting that Cedar Point will remove the Space Spiral observation ride and the Disaster Transport indoor roller coaster in order to make room for a B&M wing rider roller coaster to open in 2013. According to the newspaper, a memo dated February 15, 2012 from Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet sent to Cedar Fair's board of directors claims the new 2013 roller coaster will be the tallest, fastest, and longest wing coaster in the world when it opens next year. Details at this point are thin but we do know the lift hill will rise 170 feet in the air and the ride will most likely be an out and back style design (think Wild Eagle as opposed to X-Flight). The front entrance to the park and parking lot will also be upgraded.

Cedar Point has not made an official announcement about the new ride but did confirm they will be investing $25 million into the park next year. Cedar Point's 2013 ride will keep their roller coaster count at 16 (was 17 then will drop to 15 after removing Wildcat and Disaster Transport and will return to 16 after new ride is built). After going years without removing a major coaster, Matt Ouimet has already signed the death warrants for two roller coasters not even a full year into his new job.

While this is great news for Cedar Point fanboys and roller coaster enthusiasts, families who like to visit the park and ride together have to be groaning. The park is once again removing family friendly attractions and not replacing them with something suitable. Though the Disaster Transport buiding has been an eyesore for years, the Space Spiral is an iconic structure at Cedar Point. While this makes me sad, I can't wait to see the Cedar Point 2013 roller coaster blueprints and layout.
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And in other exciting Ohio news, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium are building a huge expansion for the 2014 season. Safari Africa will include giraffe feeding, camel rides, and a new zipline experience. Read more about Columbus Zoo 2014 Safari Africa at Zoo Tails blog.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Skyrush Review: Intamin gets it right

I want to preface this by saying I only rode once in a middle seat in the back row and didn’t have to wait in a long, hot line. Skyrush is one of the 12 roller coasters at Hershey park. Where is Hershey park? Hershey park location (HersheyPark) is in Hershey, Pennsylvania, not far from Harrisburg, the state capital of Pennsylvania. Skyrush is easily the best roller coasters in Hershey park, if not the best in America.     

No, it’s not a perfect ride. The Stengel dive is actually quite boring, it’s short for a 200 foot coaster, and lacks a climatic ending (at least from the back seat it felt like it just ran out of gas after the last airtime hill). That being said, the airtime is very intense and the first drop is one of the best anywhere (due to it's three parts: flung over the top, 85 degree, curved bottom).

One of the reasons I liked the ride so much was because Intamin finally fixed their horrible restraint design. They actually modeled something after the kings of comfort, B&M. Now we get the best of both worlds – B&M comfort with Intamin airtime. Gotta love it!
I can't comment on the operations since I only rode it once during the sneak preview Friday night but watching the ride from a distance on Saturday I could tell dispatches were horribly slow. Many of the Hershey park coasters are operationally slow (I’m looking at you Fahrenheit).

How do I rank Skyrush against other roller coasters? Well, it’s really hard for me to say. For example, I hold Apollo’s Chariot very highly in my mind but I rode it over ten years ago. Thus, I have a hard time ranking coasters. Compared to Wild Eagle at Dollywood, which I rode earlier, Skyrush easily takes best new ride of 2012. While Wild Eagle is fun and unique Skyrush is extreme and intense. If you like airtime you have to get on this ride (before the public complains it's too intense and they add more trims to slow it down).

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New Thrills Connect Ad in AAA Magazine

Cedar Point (and Cedar Fair for that matter) are rolling out a new marketing campaign this year called Thrills Connect (which I detailed in an earlier post). I saw one of these new "emotion over promotion" ads today in AAA's magazine, Home and Away. In case you can't read it the white text says "If kids are going to wake you early, rides should be involved."