Sunday, November 27, 2016


The 2016 holiday shopping season is upon us and if you’re on the hunt for that special gift for a friend or family member who happens to be a roller coaster fanatic, you’ve come to the right place! We’ve organized our gift ideas into several sub-categories of books, games, toys, and more.


  • Roller Coaster Tycoon World — the long-await sequel to 2004’s Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 — is now available. The game is touted as the “newest installment in the legendary RCT franchise” with “fan-favorite features as well as incredible new advancements! Buy Roller Coaster Tycoon World online for $19.24 (as of this posting).
  • Or you can get the classic RollerCoaster Tycoon Triple Thrill Pack instant download for just $9.99, my personal favorite!
  • Planet Coaster has brought the roller coaster and theme park simulator genre roaring back to life. The game has received rave reviews, and was made by the developers of Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. Like RCT3, Planet Coaster allows players to design and manage their dream theme park, as well as ride their roller coaster creations — and share them with other players. Planet Coaster isavailable for purchase on Steam for $44.99 (as of this posting).


  • 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.
  • 50 Groundbreaking Roller Coasters: The Most Important Scream Machines Ever Built by Nick Weisenberger is a comprehensive list of the most influential scream machines that drove the evolution of the modern roller coaster. It’s a new and interesting look at roller coaster history. What makes a majority of the roller coasters listed in this book even more impressive is the fact that they were designed using pencil and paper rather than computers.
  • Theme Park Design and the Art of Themed Entertainment is the most thorough book on theme park design available. David Younger’s book is literally a textbook on every single aspect of theme parks you could think of, with quotes from real designers with priceless knowledge. Reading Theme Park Design is like taking a college course on the subject, and your professors are Walt Disney Imagineers. I recommend if you want to go from RollerCoaster Tycoon to real life theme park designer!
  • American Coasters 2 by photographer Thomas Crymes. The pictures are large and crisp. The colors are vivid. The book’s simple design places more emphasis on the photographs. Nothing beats seeing pictures of roller coasters printed on a physical page (sorry, internet). The book is available on Amazon for $30.36 (as of this posting).


  • Lego Disney Castle. Launch the fireworks and let the magic begin! The Disney Castle measures over 29” (74cm) high, 18.8” (48cm) wide and 12” (31cm) deep. This set includes over 4,000 LEGO® pieces. Be sure to buy directly from LEGO where the set is only $349 (not $479 like on Amazon).
  • LEGO Creator Expert 10247 Ferris Wheel Building Kit – Build the iconic Ferris Wheel, featuring 12 colorful suspended gondolas with opening doors, ice cream stall, kiosk, 10 minifigures and more.
  • CoasterDynamix Nancoasters – Stainless steel coaster models that are pretty affordable, though non-working. Great gift to display on your desk or in your home.
  • K’NEX Space Mountain Roller Coaster. I loved playing with K’Nex as a kid and I’m glad they’re still around with more roller coaster sets to choose from than ever before. Recreate the excitement of the popular Disney Parks attraction. Includes 2 roller coaster cars and 25 ft of track that glows in the dark!


  • 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.
  • Catalyst: A Rogue One Story by James Luceno. If you’re a Star Wars fan like I am you’re probably anxiously awaiting Rogue One: A Star Wars Story movie on December 16th. This book will wet your appetite before the new movie comes out. The story takes place during the Clone Wars and the formation of the Empire. Not required reading for the movie, but will give you some additional background information on the characters.
  • Laptop Privacy Screen Protector. Whenever I visit a customer I always take my privacy screen protector for my Dell laptop. It keeps your personal or confidential information safe from prying eyes as you’ll see the information on your display while people on either side only see a darkened screen. If you’re ever on an airplane or in a coffee shop and feel like your neighbor is constantly looking over your shoulder at your screen then you need to get one of these today!
  • Amazon Prime Membership. If you haven’t joined Amazon Prime yet, why not? I do almost all my shopping online and I get free two-day shipping on nearly everything. You can also borrow books, watch movies, and stream music. Click here to start your 30-day free Amazon Prime trial membership.


The Coaster101 2017 Roller Coaster Calendar is the perfect gift for any thrill seeker. The photographs featured were all taken by members of the Coaster101 team. And best of all, they’re donating 50% of net proceeds to Give Kids The World Village in Florida. Each calendar costs only$15 and includes free shipping in the United States! Purchase your calendar(s) here!

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.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Is there a Six Flags park in Florida?

Despite the consistent rumors, there are currently no Six Flags parks in Florida. This rumor may have been started on April 1st, 2014, when posted an April Fools Day article containing a fake news release about the announcement of Six Flags Orlando. An excerpt from the fake announcement:

Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter will soon have to make room in Orlando for Bugs Bunny and Batman. The Six Flags Entertainment Corporation announced late Monday night that they plan to build the 12th United States park under the “Six Flags” banner, Six Flags Orlando. The park plans to break ground later this year and be completed by mid-late 2016. “It was a logical decision to build our next United States park in Orlando,” said Brett Petit, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Six Flags. “The greater Orlando area entertains more than 50 million worldwide visitors on an annual basis, and we wanted to expose these guests to the excitement and thrills that Six Flags’ guests have experienced for decades at our other parks around North America.” 

Shortly after, on May 24, 2014, the Spring Hill Courier published an article stating Six Flags was expected to break ground in Hernando County in 2014 on a new theme park slated to open in 2018. This article was completely faked, with one of the biggest red flags being that the author names Will Feinstein as the CEO. That might come as a surprise to Jim Reid – Anderson who had been serving as the Six Flags CEO since 2010. Later on, a follow up story on the Spring Hill Six Flags was posted in July 2015 and should prove without a doubt this is a made-up ongoing story. 
six flags orlando

Historically, Six Flags has had a presence in Florida, even Orlando, but maybe not exactly what you would expect:

Six Flags Stars Hall of Fame in Orlando, Florida was a wax museum was located near SeaWorld Orlando from 1975 to 1984. Like SeaWorld, it was acquired by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, but it was closed almost immediately after the sale.

Six Flags Atlantis was a water park located in Hollywood, Florida. Begun as a private venture originally known as 'Atlantis the Water Kingdom', funding ran out before construction ended. The park sat partially completed for several months before Six Flags opened in 1979 "Six Flags Atlantis." The park included a wave pool, a lake with water ski shows, a seven-story slide tower, picnic area, stores & arcades, shows, and activities for all ages. In 1989 the park was sold. was eventually demolished in 1994. Today most of the area is now occupied by retail shopping.

Six Flags is lending their brand to new parks in Dubai and China but no, there are no Six Flags parks in Florida, but we could always use more theme parks and would welcome Six Flags Florida if they did build one ;)

Wednesday, June 29, 2016


Roller coaster enthusiasts get an extreme adrenaline rush from the act of being blasted to 100 miles per hour, four hundred feet in the air. But there are many individuals who deeply fear this activity and the mere thought of climbing aboard a coaster car chills them to the bone. These phobias are often grounded in the irrational belief that one has a possibility of dying or "falling out" of a roller coaster.

The first step to overcoming your fear of roller coasters (or anything for that matter) is to determine the root cause of that fear. Why are you afraid to go on roller coasters? You need to drill down to figure out what’s driving those fears. Roller coaster phobia appears to actually be based in several other phobias, any of which can be enough to trigger a fear of coasters.

The most recognizable treatment for phobias is known as "exposure therapy". During this type of treatment, a client is gradually exposed to whatever is at the root of their anxiety until they come to the realization that these fears were based on irrational thoughts or beliefs. Basically, to get over your fear of roller coasters you need to start riding roller coasters. Do you really want to spend all that money to go to an amusement park if you can’t enjoy all the rides?

tips to get over fear of roller coasters
My guess is you or someone you know has suffered from the fear of roller coasters, and wants help to overcome it. I’ve been in the same boat. The purpose of my new book is to provide an understanding of what that fear is, where it stems from, and the actions you can take to be able to ride the roller coaster of your dreams.

Have you ever turned down an amazing vacation or day out with your friends because of it? Your fear of coasters could actually be something very specific or a combination of fears rolled into one. The best way to conquer any kind of fear is to face it.

In order to overcome your fear, you need to understand it. In the first half of this book, we’ll examine why people like to ride roller coasters in the first place while others are deathly afraid of them. Then we’ll get into the tips and strategies you can use to overpower that fear and ride that awesome and thrilling roller coaster.

Coaster enthusiasts strap themselves into these scream machines simply because they love being scared in a safe environment. Know that your fear is treatable, manageable, and that you can overcome it.

Here Is A Preview Of What You'll Learn...

• Examining what about the roller coaster makes you scared
• How roller coasters are safer than your car
• Benefits of riding roller coasters
• How riding a roller coaster could save your life
• Where to sit on a roller coaster
• How to choose the best ride to get over your fear
• Much, much more!

(Kindle version will be free the first week of July 2016)

Monday, June 6, 2016

How Pirates of the Caribbean at Shanghai Disneyland Works

Shanghai Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for the Sunken Treasure is a new take on the beloved, classic boat ride. It uses a combination of physical sets, audio-animatronic (AA) figures, and giant projection screens to help bring the story to life. What makes the technology behind the ride system so incredible is the engineers have complete control over the speed, position, and orientation of the boats.

Learn more about how Pirates of the Caribbean works here.

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:


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?