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Ultimate Rollercoaster > News > Archives > December 1998 News

News December 1998

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December 28, 1998

Happy Holidays! The Ultimate Rollercoaster wishes every one of our readers a wonderful holiday season and we hope you have a happy new year! This is the mid-holiday update to the news and rumors section. Beginning January 4 we will be back online with more regular updates.

Two Injuried, One Dies After Christmas Eve Accident At Disneyland

Anaheim, CA - The holidays were not the happiest place after all at the Magic Kingdom in Anaheim, California. On Thursday, December 24 Christmas Eve an accident occurred on the Columbia sailing ship critically injuring two guests and one employee.

The injuried tourists, a married couple visiting from Duvall, Washington were both admitted to UC Irivine hospital with severe head injuries.

On Saturday evening the male victim, 33 died at UC Irvine hospital after he was taken off a respirator. He was the ninth victim to die in an attraction related accident in the park's 43-year history. The female victim remains in fair condition.

The employee who was also involved in the accident was admitted with severe injuries to her foot and ankle. She remains now in stable condition.

The accident occurred at 10:45 am on the dock where both the Columbia and Mark Twain ships dock for loading and unloading. As the ship was coming to dock a rope was cast around a cleat on the ship's hull. When the rope became tight the cleat broke loose and was suddenly yanked back into the crowd of waiting guests.

According to witnesses the cleat shot through the air and hit the two victims while they stood in the nearby waiting area. The boat was returning from a trip around the Rivers of America.

On Friday, December 25 The Los Angeles Times reported that the 10 foot long line was designed to break to keep the boat from being jolted if the boat did not stop. Unfortunately, that was not the case and instead the plate and cleat broke free.

The Columbia was closed immediately following the accident for both an internal and state investigation. Cal/OSHA has sent investigators to the scene because an employee was involoved in the incident. According to Disney officials the ride will remain closed until both investigations are complete.

Disney employees anonymously blamed the accident on the lack of regular maintenance to the boat. Park officials have declined to comment on the allegations of poor maintenance and the cause of the accident remains unknown.

Passholders Receive Six Flags Magic Mountain Renewal Flyer

Valencia, CA - 1998 season passholders should now have received their 1999 season pass renewal flyer from Six Flags Magic Mountain. To the disappointment of many there was no mention of a rumored hypercoaster that may be build at the park for 1999.

The flyer instead highlighted improvements to Bugs Bunny World and the return of concerts to the park as the highlights of the 1999 season. Still sources remain very optimistic about the possibility that a hypercoaster may still be coming.

Many have pointed out that the renewal flyer usually is mailed in early November. The late arrival of the flyer may indicate that something is still going on, but cannot be announced or it could be sign that the project was cancelled.

Investors Win $197 Million In Damages Against Six Flags

Atlanta, GA - On Saturday, December 19 The Atlanta Jouranal-Constitution reported that a state court jury issued the largest award in the state history of Georgia, ordering Time Warner, former owners of Six Flags and others to pay $197 million in compensatory damages to investors in Six Flags Over Georgia.

According to the article the damages may go even higher when the court was to begin consideration of punitive damages as well.

Time Warner confirmed it will be appealing the verdict. The investors involved in the suit were seeking $250 million in damages.

Six Flags Theme Parks including Six Flags Over Georgia are now owned by Premier Parks, Inc. According to the lawsuit, investors in Six Flags Over Georgia sued Time Warner one the original owners, accusing the company of mismanging the park.

Investors charged that Time Warner delayed the installation of major thrill rides which would have boosted attendance and revenues at the park. They also accused park officials of reselling rides at inflated prices and purchasing out dated rides for the Georgia theme park at prices higher than when the rides were new.

Six Flags Must Pay An Additional $257 Million In Punitive Damages

Atlanta, GA - A Georgia jury has ruled against the former owners of Six Flags Theme Parks charging that the owners had mismanged the Six Flags Over Georgia park. In the verdict announced on Monday, December 21, the jury awarded the investors an additional $257 million in punitive damages. The total award now stands at $454 million.

In a statement, Time Warner President Richard Parsons called the jury's verdict "unsupportable and unfounded." Time Warner said it would "vigorously" appeal the verdicts.

Florida Theme Parks Report A Strong Attendance Dip

Orlando, FL - On December 22, the Orlando Sentinel reported that Central Florida theme parks suffered from a huge attendance drop in 1998 according to information obtained from Amusement Business magazine.

According to the report attendance fell 8 percent at the Magic Kingdom, 10 percent at EPCOT, and 10 percent at Disney/MGM Studios. Universal Studios Florida and Sea World's attendance remained about the same as the previous year.

The deline in attendance is being blamed on the summer wild fires and the new competition from Disney's own Animal Kingdom theme park.

Cedar Fair Purchases Hotel Next To Knott's Berry Farm

Buena Park, CA - A press release dated December 18 from Cedar Fair, L.P. announced that it had reached an agreement to purchase the Buena Park Hotel, which is adjacent to its Knott's Berry Farm park in Buena Park, California.

According to the press release the transaction is subject to a number of conditions and conclusion of a definitive agreement. Further details were not disclosed.

"The Buena Park Hotel will be a first-class facility once an extensive renovation is completed in a few months, and should be an excellent complement to Knott's Berry Farm," said Richard L. Kinzel, president and chief executive officer of Cedar Fair. "We have had great success with the hotel facilities at our Cedar Point resort, and we believe the hotel business represents a good opportunity for us at our California park as well."

The Buena Park Hotel offers 320 guest rooms, more than 20,000 square feet of conference and banquet room space, and various dining and entertainment facilities.

"With the acquisition and renovation of the Buena Park Hotel, we will be able to offer the guests of Knott's Berry Farm all the amenities of a full vacation destination," said Jack Falfas, vice president and general manager of Knott's Berry Farm.

Cedar Fair owns and operates Cedar Point, located on Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo; Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California; Valleyfair near Minneapolis/St. Paul; Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom, near Allentown, Pennsylvania; and Worlds of Fun and Oceans of Fun, in Kansas City, Missouri.

SOURCE: Cedar Fair, L.P. Press Release dated December 18.

Disney Quietly Unveils Test Track To The Public

Orlando, FL - One day after a week long cast member preview, Disney officials decided to let the public take their first ride on the long delayed Test Track attraction at Disney's EPCOT theme park. The opening of the new attraction has been held off for over a year and half due to technical problems with the rides software.

The first soft opening occurred on Saturday, December 19 at 6:30 pm. According to a source the soft opening got off to a bumpy start when the ride broke down after only two cars had been boarded. After a two hour delay officials managed to get the atttraction started again.

Our source estimated that aproximately a thousand guests got the opportunity to ride during the first soft opening. An official opening date yet to be announced, but sources say that the park will continue to offer unannounced soft openings for the next couple of months.

Six Flags Great Adventure Employee Flyer Confirms New Attractions

Jackson, NJ - Last week former employees of Six Flags Great Adventure received flyers inviting them to attend an event if they were interested in working for the park during the upcoming 1999 operating season.

Also included in the flyer was information about the new rides and attractions being built for 1999. Here are the details given to former employees.

Medusa's Wrath Unleashed in '99

Medusa, a figure in Greek Mythology with snakes for hair and eyes that turned people to stone, is one of the world's most anticipated coasters in 1999, and where else can you find her but at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Medusa will be located in Frontier Adventures next to the Northern Star Arena, and feature seven gut-wrenching inversions, at speeds of approximately 60 mph and a completely unique coaster train with nothing above you and nothing below you.

$42 Million in New Capital Improvements

Six Flags Great Adventure will receive an unprecedented $42 million in new capital improvments for 1999 encompassing more than 25 new rides, shows and attractions. The new rides package will address the "war on lines" concept by providing many new rides for children, teens and adults.

1999 looks to be an exciting year for Six Flags Great Adventure fans. The park is expected to make the official announcement about Medusa with complete details in January.

Wild Adventures To Build Two New Coasters

Valdosta, GA - A reader reports that commercials playing locally near the park report that Wild Adventures will be building two new roller coasters for 1999. Previously we reported that one new coaster, a Vekoma suspended looping coaster will be built for next season. As for the second new coaster we haven't a clue, but you are in the know feel free to e-mail us and let us know.

Colossus Will Run Backwards For Spring Break '99

Valencia, CA - On December 8 a press released from Six Flags Magic Mountain officials announced that Colossus will once again run backwards during the park's annual Spring Break event in April 1999. Colossus last ran backwards during the park's FrightFest event this past October. According to the release the decision to run the ride backwards was a result of the posistive response the park received from the FrightFest event.

Cedar Fair, L.P. Declares 4th Quarter Cash Distribution

SANDUSKY, OH - On December 14 Cedar Fair, L.P. a publicly traded partnership which owns and operates five amusement parks, has declared a regular quarterly cash distribution of $0.325 per limited partner unit, payable February 15, 1999, to holders of record January 6, 1999. This distribution continues the annualized distribution rate of $1.30 per unit.

According to Richard L. Kinzel, president and chief executive officer, the Partnership's capital improvements slated for the 1999 season are proceeding on schedule and on budget. "Knott's Berry Farm's new wooden roller coaster, Ghost Rider, opened this past week, and initial guest reaction has been very positive," said Kinzel. "Meanwhile, our other winter construction projects, including Cedar Point's Camp Snoopy and the Breakers Tower hotel addition, are well underway and are expectedto be ready for the 1999 opening day at the seasonal parks."

SOURCE: Cedar Fair, L.P. Press Release dated December 14.

Ultimate Rollercoaster Named Top 10 Website For 1998

Los Angeles, CA - According to an e-mail from Amusement Link One Source the Ultimate Rollercoaster web site has been named the number 7 web site for 1998.

 

December 15, 1998

Demolition Of The Original Elitch Gardens Set To Begin

Denver, Colorado - Memories will be all that is left in a matter of months after the Denver City Council meeting last Monday, December 7 gave developers the final approval to begin the demolition of the original Eltich Gardens park and begin a new multi-million dollar development.

As a part of the new development the carousel and old Elitch Theater will be preserved. The new development will be a mix of commercial areas and housing.

Sadly the start of the demolition will also mark the end of the original Mister Twister wooden roller coaster which is still standing but not operating. The cost of relocating the coaster to the new Elitch Gardens park was too prohibitive so the park left the coaster standing at the old site. Mister Twister was loved by many and now it will become just another memory as it becomes the next classic coaster to fall to the wrecking ball.

Six Flags Magic Mountain 1999 Announcement Expected Soon

Valencia, California - Several reliable sources have confirmed that Six Flags Magic Mountain will be making an official announcement about a new roller coaster to be built for the summer of 1999 in the next couple of weeks. According to one source, the 1999 season pass renewal forms have been delayed because the park has been holding off on making any sort of announcement about the new ride.

This year the park is expected to make the announcement about their plans prior to the start of construction. Last year the park waited until late-January to announce The Riddler's Revenge, the park's new stand-up roller coaster for 1998. Unfortunately by the time the announcement was made it was hardly a surprise, since construction had begun nearly four months earlier.

According to sources, the park will begin construction on a brand new hypercoaster in January. Parts for the new ride are expected to begin arriving at the park by the end of this month.

Many sources claim that Giovanola, the manufacturer confirmed the new coaster at the IAAPA conference held last month in Texas. Giovanola a European ride manufacturer, is a new to the US market. This will be their first major roller coaster and they want to enter the US market in style according to one source.

The latest statistics suggest that the ride will be aproximately 260 feet high and feature an initial drop of around 255 feet. The top speed is expected to be nearly 88 mph and the coaster is to be around 6,750 feet long. This will be the tallest, fastest and longest steel roller coaster in the US, making it the third year in a row that Six Flags Magic Mountain has opened a record breaking thrill ride.

Sources have been unclear to pinpoint the exact location where the coaster will be built or the path it may take. All sources say it will be built near Colossus, but where it will go from there is unclear. One of our inside sources claims the coaster will travel straight across the parking lot after going directly through the Colossus structure.

Expect to hear more about this new ride in the very near future as we wait for the season pass renewal mailer and the official announcement.

Did The Spokesperson For Six Flags Magic Mountain Say 300 feet?

Valencia, California - [RUMOR] Unfortunately we have had no success in confirming this report, but according to several readers the spokesperson for Six Flags Magic Mountain made a statement about a new 300 foot tall roller coaster during an interview on the KCAL Channel 9 (Los Angeles) news on December 8. The statements about the new coaster were made while the spokesperson was being interviewed about the Colossus vs. GhostRider height controversy.

According to the readers the spokesperson mentioned that Six Flags Magic Mountain would be building a brand new 300-foot-tall record breaking roller coaster for the year 2000.

If this statement is in fact true this would confirm several rumors we have heard about the parks plans for 2000. According to the rumors the park is planning to build the world's largest B&M vertical drop "spin-off prototype" coaster. The rumors claim that the proposed coaster will be built on the hillside between Roaring Rapids and Psyclone and open in the year 2000. It is believed that the coaster may be code named the Millenium.

Bell's Amusement Park Warns It May Be Forced To Move

Tulsa, Oklahoma - Last Wednesday, December 9, Bell's Amusement Park warned the Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority that if the board increases fees and surcharges at the Expo Square they will be forcing the park to move to a new location.

The increase in fees and surchages at the Expo Square is being proposed to finance a $20 million renovation of the entire Tulsa County fairgrounds. The proposal includes new fees and surcharges that if passed, would double the $400,000 that Bell's already pays to Expo Square.

According to Robert Bell III, the park's general manager, if the fees are increased they will not be able to stay in business and will be forced to move.

Chessington To Build A New Racing Wooden Coaster

United Kingdom - Last week it was announced that a new racing wooden roller coaster would be built for the 1999 season at Chessinton. According to a report from the Roller Coaster Club of Great Brittan, the new coaster will be built in the Circus World section of the park and parts of the coaster will go underground to avoid the building height restrictions.

Disney Reorganizes Theme Parks/Resorts Segment

Burbank, California - Last Friday, a press release announced that Judson Green has been promoted to chairman of a reorganized Walt Disney Attractions segment, by Michael D. Eisner, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company.

Green, 46, who has been head of the theme park and resorts segment, has named Paul Pressler, 42, to be president of the newly formed unit. Pressler has been president of Disneyland.

The reorganized segment will now include Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney Regional Entertainment, and Walt Disney Imagineering.

Green, who has stewarded the Disney theme parks for the last four years of record earnings, replaces Richard A. Nunis, 66, who is retiring after a distinguished 43-year career with Disney, but will continue serving the company in the role of consultant on theme parks and resorts.

Holiday World Announces $1.2 Million Expansion

Santa Claus, Indiana - Holiday World theme park announced a $1.2 million expansion plan for the 1999 season which includes a new roller coaster and the largest family play structure in the US.

"Since our long-term focus is on families, we've been wanting to add a huge family attraction to Holiday World & Splashin' Safari for several years now," says the parks' president, Will Koch. "Holidog's FunTown will include America's biggest family-play super-structure, plus a family roller coaster, a jeep ride, a theater for Holidog, and an attraction we're calling Magic Waters. We're very excited about being able to add so much to Holiday World in one year, and really feel our Guests will love it. It's big, it's interactive, and it's something that Moms and Dads can do with their kids, instead of just watching them have fun."

Holidog's FunTown, which will cover three acres in the park's Fourth of July section, will include the following:

Holidog's Treehouse--a three-story, family-play super-structure with more than 150 ways to play, including numerous slides, a net climb, web crawl, periscopes, games, bridges, and more.

The Howler--a family roller coaster themed around the park's Holidog costumed character. The Howler will have a single, six-car train which will accommodate 12 riders.

Doggone Trail--a family jeep ride, including six, four-passenger jeeps.

Magic Waters--a 35-foot area with water squirting out of the ground in a random pattern.

Just for Pups--a mini-Holidog's Treehouse, just for the little ones.

Holidog's All Star Theater--children of all ages can sing and dance along with Holidog and Friends.

Holidog statue--for decades, families have made a tradition out of taking the family's photo at Holiday World's famous Santa Claus statue, now they can pose with Holidog's statue, too.

Hot Diggity Dogs--a food outlet featuring an offering of hot dogs with a variety of toppings, and other fun foods and drink.

Koch says the addition of Holidog's FunTown will create 50 new seasonal positions at Holiday World & Splashin' Safari. He predicts the new attraction will increase the parks' annual attendance by 10 percent, to 600,000 visitors in 1999.

Islands Of Adventure Will Have A Soft Opening In March

Orlando, Florida - A reader forwared a note stating that Seagram chief Edgar Bronfman Jr. announced to analysts yesterday that they are less than three months away from the soft opening of Islands of Adventure. According to the note he also mentioned that the park's official grand opening will be in May of 1999.

Bland's Park To Expand The Water Park

Tipton, Pennsylvania - Last week a report in the Altoona Mirror Newspaper stated that Bland's Park will build five water slides for the 1999 season. According to the article the additions will be the second of four expansion phases planned for the park. The new expansion area to include the new slides will be named Tipton Rapids.

December 9, 1998

Knott's Unveils The Much Anticipated GhostRider Wooden Coaster

Buena Park, CA - Yesterday Knott's Berry Farm opened what has been one of the most talked about new rides in the recent months, the GhostRider. Beginning at 5:30 a.m. members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts, ACE joined members of the media to begin what would be a busy day of opening festivities.

The excitement could be felt and sounds of screams suddenly filled the cold morning air. The first riders had to endure unusually cold temperatures for Southern California with morning temps in the low 40's.

After one or two turns around the 4,533 feet of track the word was out, this ride is "awesome." "Another wooden masterpiece", exclaims another.

Members of the media took advantage of the free rides. In Los Angeles, a KTLA channel 5 news reporter took a front seat ride live on the air during the 7:00 am hour. When the live footage momentarily switched to a brief overhead shot, on anchor Sam Rubin insisted that reporter Gayle Anderson immediately ride again.

At 12 noon the public joined the media and members of ACE to get their first chance to ride the GhostRider. Thousands piled on to take the first plunge and try out what was now being called the only real wooden coaster in California.

By days end the word was beginning to spread online that the GhostRider is a must ride attraction. Overall reports and feedback from the riders on opening day are very positive, stating lots of good laterals and plenty of air time.

Six Flags Magic Mountain Claims They Still Hold The Record

Valencia, CA - Six Flags Magic Mountain quickly rebuted Knott's Berry Farm's claim to to having the longest and tallest wooden roller coaster in the west coast. A press release quickly sent out by Six Flags officials, claims that Colossus still holds the title at 125 feet tall and a top speed of 62 mph.

Doing some research of our own we found the latest Colossus facts to be possibly distorted. It should be noted that the first drop of Colossus is aproximately 115 feet tall and dives about 10 feet below level ground which if taken in consideration would make the ride only 105 feet tall at the highest point, considering it is on pretty level ground.

The official specs for GhostRider are 118 feet tall and a top speed of 56 mph. If our observation is correct then GhostRider is truly the tallest wooden coaster. No one is debating the length and Knott's did not claim the title for the top speed.

Did we sense some jealousy or possibly a sore spot? Possibly, since Knott's seems to have overshadowed Six Flags Magic Mountain ever since the opening of the Supreme Scream in July.

In any case the media loved the dualing press release and made a point to question the stats of the ride while on the air with Knott's spokesperson. The resulting answer was simply, it depends upon how you measure and look at it.

The West's Best Wooden Coaster Opened At Knott's Yesterday

Buena Park, CA - GhostRiderSM, one of the tallest, longest and most massive wooden roller coasters in the world, opened yesterday at Knott's Berry Farm.

The mammoth, 4,533-ft.-long themed mega-woodie looms 118 feet over historic Ghost Town, changing forever the look and feel of the front section of Knott's and giving the Buena Park, Calif. theme park its single-biggest attraction in its 79-year history.

"Knott's Berry Farm will never be the same," explained Knott's General Manager and Vice President Jack Falfas. "More than just a ride, GhostRider is a coaster for the record books, a signature icon for the park and the exciting new heart of Ghost Town."

Designed to blend stupendous, state-of-the-art wooden coaster thrills with Knott's rugged Western roots, GhostRider is the first major attraction to be added to the park's Ghost Town themed area since the Timber Mountain Log Ride debuted in 1969.

Easily Knott's highest-profile attraction to date, GhostRider begins at the former site of the park's Pan For Gold attraction, which has been permanently relocated to Boot Hill. Upon entering the old Pan for Gold mine shaft, rethemed as the GhostRider entrance, intrepid GhostRiders make their way through the wooded frontier wilderness to the giant GhostRider Mining Co., the three-story base of mining operations serving as the ride's loading building.

From here, gold, silver and copper mining cars begin their slow ascent to the top of GhostRider's towering first hill before taking a 108-ft, 51-degree banked plunge to previously uncharted (backstage) territory. In all, GhostRiders will experience more than two minutes of classic wooden coaster thrills, including harrowing drops, sudden dips, 42-degree banked turns, speeds of up to 56 miles per hour and maximum G-forces of 3.14.

"GhostRider will give our guests an exhilarating new and different coaster experience - one that actually intensifies the passengers' sensation of weightlessness," Falfas added. "GhostRiders will feel as if they are moving, shifting and swaying with the giant wooden structure."

A design accomplishment in its own right, GhostRider's sprawling track boldly goes where no Knott's ride has ever gone before, veering onto former backstage property, crossing over Grand Avenue (the street running in front of the park) four times, arching over Knott's California MarketPlaceĻ and Mrs. Knott's Chicken Dinner Restaurant and coming within several hundred feet of bustling Beach Blvd. From there, GhostRider doubles back on itself in classic "out-and-back" fashion to return to the loading building - but not before offering riders more surprises and unparalleled new views of Orange County along the way.

A total of three 28-passenger trains will travel the coaster's 4,533 feet of twisting timber, delighting 1,600 guests each hour. GhostRiders must be at least 48".

The culmination of a five-year design and construction effort, GhostRider was built with 2.5 million board feet of treated southern yellow pine, which will be left unpainted to blend in with the classic Old West look and feel of Knott's beloved Ghost Town themed area. The project list also included 50,000 pounds of nails, 1,000 tons of nuts and bolts, 250 tons of steel and 1,410 cubic yards of concrete to create the ride's 1,113 concrete foundations.

A joint design effort of Knott's Berry Farm and Custom Coasters International of West Chester, Ohio, the country's foremost wooden roller coaster builder, GhostRider is Knott's sixth coaster, fifth major coaster and first-ever wooden coaster. The Dec. 8, 1998 opening comes just six months after the debut of another record-breaking Knott's attraction: Supreme ScreamSM, the world's tallest descending thrill ride.

Source: Park Press Release

Knott's Opens New Shops, Resturants and Attractions

Buena Park, CA - Adding to the Ghost Town atmosphere Knott's Berry Farm opens new shops, restaurants and attractions - on property that was originally part of Knott's California MarketPlace but is now inside park gates - is the new Ghost Town Bakery (formerly the Farm Bakery); GhostRider Goods, a new signature retail facility, and Bandit Bob's Arcade (both housed in what was formerly the Candy Parlour, which has been permanently relocated to Grand Ave.); GhostPhoto, an on-ride guest photo opportunity; Worth Your Weight in Gold, a guest weight-guessing game; and Auntie Pasta's Pizza Palace, a themed pizza and spaghetti house (formerly Knott's Family Steak House). A rethemed MarketPlace fountain also returns to form the heart of the new GhostRider Square.

Source: Park Press Release

December 7, 1998

The Man Better Known As "Mr. Kennywood" Passes Away

West Mifflin, PA - For the past 60 years Anthony S. "Tony" Sacramento has worked at Kennywood Amusement Park located in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania. Over those 60 years Anthony become sort of a fixture of the park and became better known to thousands as "Mr. Kennywood."

For many of the past years Mr. Sacramento spent his time working on Kennywood's historic carousel. It was there that he gained an incredible reputation with the public. Some have gone as far as to make Mr. Sacramento out to be the celebrity of the park. A year round employee of Kennywood since the mid-1930's, he spent his time maintaining Kennywood's well liked attractions during the off season and worked in the park with the public during the summer. Those who knew him knew that Mr. Sacramento loved the guests, especially the children.

Sadly this past Thursday, Mr. Sacramento passed away at the age of 81.

To honor Mr. Sacramento or "Mr. Kennywood" the funeral directors at Patrick T. Langigan Funeral Home have arranged a special tribute to him. The procession today (Monday) will drive through Kennywood Park and will make one last pass by the carousel where he spent the majority of his past years working. Mr. Kennywood will be missed.

Only A Day To Go Until Knott's Unveils The GhostRider

Buena Park, CA - Opening day is just a day away until Knott's Berry Farm unveils it's largest attraction ever built the GhostRider, the tallest and longest wooden coaster on the west coast. The testing period is nearly complete and reports from park employees who have ridden it have been very positive. Most of the reports state that the ride is much faster than was expected and that the air time is outstanding.

The park plans to open the ride to the public at 12 noon on Tuesday, December 8. The opening will be preceeded with a ribbon cutting ceremony and a few official first rides.

Paramount's Great America To Remove The Yankee Clipper

Santa Clara, CA - Word arrived last week that the Yankee Clipper, a water flume ride located at Paramount's Great America will be removed from the park during the off season. The Yankee Clipper which has been operating only on peak days during the past few seasons was one of the parks original attractions. There is no word on what will replace the attraction in the future.

Six Flags Great Adventure May Be Getting More Than A Few Coasters

Jackson, NJ - Reports from sources say that Six Flags Great Adventure will be getting more than just three new roller coaster for 1999. According to two different sources the park is slated to also receive a dozen or so new flat rides to complement the parks current attractions.

One source reports that a Giant Evolution ride by Nauta-Bussink is headed for the park. According to this source the ride is being relocated from Mirabilandia, an amusement park located in Italy. Other attractions mentioned to be on the list of additions include a Huss Top Spin and Chance Rides Chaos.

Chance Rides Inks Deal With Jazzland For Five Rides

New Orleans, LA - Chance Rides has signed a deal to build five rides for the Jazzland Theme Park currently under construction in New Orleans. According to a press release from Chance Rides an eight-member committee selected Chance Rides' Chaos, Aviator, Inverter, Wipeout and a 36-foot Classic Carrousel. The rides are scheduled to deliver to the park during the third quarter of 1999.

Zamperla Purchased Soriani & Moser Rides

A report last week stated that Zamperla has purchased the rights to the attractions built by Soriani & Moser rides. According to the aggreement, Soriani and Moser rides will continue to build the rides and operate the factory, but Zamperal will take control of the sales. Some of the rides mentioned in the report include the Engergy Storm, Top Star, Windshear and a 100 foot plus portable freefall ride.

Disney/Epcot Schedules Test Track Cast Member Previews

Orlando, FL - Disney cast members have been invited to a cast member preview of Disney's newest Epcot attraction, Test Track. The previews will take place from December 12-16 from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Sat and Sun and from 8:00pm to 1:00am, Monday through Wednesday. Test Track has been long delayed due to various technical problems with the ride software. The cast member previews is a good sign that the long awaited attraction may be opening in the very near future. Our source informs us that Cast members are allowed to bring guests to the preview, so if you know any I suggest you e-mail them now to be included in the preview.

Vertical Construction Begins On Knoebel's Twister

Elysburg, PA - Construction on the new wooden coaster continues at Knoebels Amusement Park. A report from the park states that alot of work has already been completed and the ride is beginning to take shape. The footers for the coaster continue to be poured and already some of the framing has been erected. Knoebels is using an in house team to construct the Twister, which is slated to open in late-May 1999.

Raging Bull Construction Update

Gurnee, IL - A reader reports that construction is proceeding along on the new Raging Bull speed coaster at Six Flags Great America. According to his report the brake run and the turn near the Giant Drop have been completed.

Last week an article in the Daily Herald stated that the coaster should rise up in the next week and will become easy to spot from the local tollway. The lift hill should be completed in the very near future.

Wild Adventures To Build A New Coaster For 1999

Valdosta, GA - According to an advertisement in a local newspaper Wild Adventures will be building a new Vekoma suspended looping roller coaster for 1999. According to a source the name of the new coaster will be Hangman. Last year Wild Adventures opened a new Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster.

Year 2000 Rumors, Here Are The Latest

Jackson, NJ - Six Flags Great Adventure has recently received wetlands approval to build a new water park. According to the report the new water park named Six Flags Hurricane Harbor will be built on a plot of land adjacent to the exisiting theme park. The water park is rumored to open in the year 2000.

St. Louis, MO - Six Flags St. Louis is rumored to be in the process of buying a $19 million stand-up roller coaster from Bolliger and Mabillard. According to the source the stand-up roller coaster will be around 200 feet tall and feature a variety of inversions. If built the stand-up will take away the tallest and fastest stand-up coaster record from The Riddler's Revenge, which is located at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Santa Clara, CA - The San Jose Mercury News reported over Thanksgiving weekend that Paramount's Great America has been busy working on a new top secret ride. The article mentioned, "In the marketing offices, staffers brainstorm the name of a new top-secret ride coming out in 2000." It would be interesting to learn more about this rumored attraction.

Dallas, TX - Six Flags Over Texas may remove it's Vekoma Boomerang roller coaster named Flashback to a new location in the near future. According to this rumor the coaster may be removed to make way for a new reverse freefall thrill ride built by Intamin AG of Switzerland. Currently Superman The Escape located at Six Flags Magic Mountain is the only Intamin reverse freefall in the US.

Dallas, TX - The rumors around Six Flags Over Texas continue with one more. The latest and most convincing tells of the parks plans for the year 2000. According to the rumor the park is planning to build a new of new stand-up roller coaster called, Poison Ivy, "The world's most seductive stand-up coaster."

The Story: The story begins when Poison Ivy lures her victims into the greenhouse-themed station near the Chamelion. From there you will ascend 125 feet in the air before plunging at 45 degrees into a 100 foot tall vertical loop. Another interesting features include "an attempt to seduce Mr. Freeze" by spiraling around the main tower twice before entering a inclined loop, which is then followed by four very flirty turns coming very close to Batman The Ride.

Theme: While entering Gotham City a green glow will lure both males and females alike to Poison Ivy's greenhouse hideout where you will become trapped standing up in venus fly trap like trains. You will ride with Ivy as she makes passes at Mr. Freeze and Batman before returning defeated.

Firsts: Poison Ivy will be the first escape themed ride that will not take you back to the place you started from. The unloading platform will be themed to Robin's half of the batcave.

The rumored statistics for the ride:

Height: 125 feet tall, 120 ft. first drop at 45 degrees

Top Speed: 55 mph

Five Inversions, including (1) 100 ft. vertical loop, (2) 80 ft. dive loop, (3) 70 ft inclined loop, (4 and 5) Heartlines

Sandusky, OH - This one is for the funny books. This seems to be the rumor that refuses to die. According to some clueless individual, Cedar Point is currently in the process of planning a new hypercoaster to be built by D.H. Morgan Manufacturing for 2000. Does it make sense, sure it does. After all they are going to need something to replace the Magnum after it sinks into Lake Erie.

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