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News June 1998

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June 28, 1998

ACCIDENT ON WILDWOOD'S SEA SERPENT ROLLERCOASTER INJURES RIDERS

Details are still limited, but an accident on the Sea Serpent rollercoaster was reported on local news channels Friday evening. According to the report, the Vekoma boomerang rollercoaster, located at Wildwood Pier in New Jersey, valleyed injuring several riders. According to the reports aproximately twenty riders were on the train when the accident occurred and several were seriously injuried. It is unkown what caused the accident, but the ride will remain closed until further notice.

VOLCANO THE BLAST COASTER OPENING DELAYED FURTHER

Paramount's Kings Dominion has just announced that the park will not be opening their newest coaster Volcano on July 6 as was previously announced in a season pass newsletter. As of now the park does not have a planned opening date for the new attraction.

The park is presently having problems with the new coasters LIM (Linear Induction Motor) technology. In the latest memo the park states that while they are anxious to open the new attraction, all of the bugs have not been worked out. Officials from the manufacturer and the park are working at every moment to correct the problems and open the ride as soon as possible.

In the latest passholder newsletter, the park promised passholders exclusive ride time on the new rollercoaster, every weekday from 9:30 am to 10:30 am from July 6-30. Not to let down passholders, the park is still going to offer exclusive ride time on Anaconda and Avalanche. The park still intends to offer exclusive ride time on Volcano once it opens and will inform passholders when the time comes.

FANTASY IN THE SKY IGNITES DISNEYLAND NIGHTLY BEGINNING TONIGHT

Beginning tonight, Disneyland's popular "Fantasy In The Sky" fireworks show will be presented nightly through Labor Day weekend. The seven minute long aerial fireworks display, lights off in the sky above Sleeping Beauty castle at aproximately 9:35 pm, every evening.

Disneyland uses several hundred special selected shells, to put on this incredible fireworks display. The display can be seen from nearly everywhere in the park and is synchronized to a Disney themed soundtrack.

The aerial fireworks display has been the center of controversy between local residents and the park during the past several years. Residents have been complaining that the show is so loud, it disrupts children who are sleeping and upsets many household pets. Beginning last year the park scaled back the number of nights Fantasy In The Sky is presented. The fireworks used to be shown on Friday and Saturday evenings in April, May and early June, as well as nightly through the summer time.

June 24, 1998

KENNYWOOD WILL BECOME THE HOME OF "THE EXTERMINATOR"

Next year Kennywood will build a new indoor themed rollercoaster named, "The Exterminator." The new coaster a Reverchon Crazy Mouse will be built indoors and themed. The announcement about the new coaster was made at tonight's Coaster Con banquet.

CONSTRUCTION REPORTED AT BUSCH GARDENS WILLIAMSBURG

Reports coming from Busch Gardens Williamsburg are claiming that construction has begun on a building said to be the station for a new roller coaster rumored for next year. One reader reports that supports have poured and the floor of the station are already being built.

Rumors have been circulating over the past few months that Busch Gardens may be getting a new B&M speed racer coaster for 1999. The park has applied for a variance to allow the park to build above the tree height level. The yet unannounced coaster is rumored to have a first drop of over 200 feet.

The construction at the park is going on behind the Sea Dragon attraction and can be viewed from the park's tram.

June 22, 1998

UNIVERSAL ENTERS EUROPEAN THEME PARK MARKET IN SPAIN

Universal Studios enters the European theme park industry with the purchase of a signifincant interest in Port Aventura theme park. The major stake in Spain's most popular theme park give Universal control over the successful park.

After the acquistion is complete the park will rename the park Universal's Port Aventura. Universal will take over all management, including marketing, operations and future development. The park will share ownership of the park with Anheuser-Busch and Caja de Ahorros y Pensiones de Barcelona ("la Caixa"), a major Spanish bank.

The purchase of the major interest in the the park enters Universal into the European market. Universal currently operates several parks in the United States and is presently building new theme parks in Florida and Japan.

Port Aventura, which attracts approximately three million visitors annually, sits within a 2,000-acre site located on the Mediterranean coast, 60 miles south of Barcelona. The four-year-old theme park, features "Dragon Khan," the biggest roller coaster on the European continent.

The park is divided into five themed worlds: Mediterranea, Polynesia, China, Mexico and The Far West. In addition to its landmark roller coaster, Port Aventura offers more than 30 rides and attractions, retail locations, live shows, games and over 23 restaurants.

Today's announcement was made by Frank J. Biondi, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Universal Studios.

KENTUCKY KINGDOM OPENS NEW COASTER AND BECOMES A SIX FLAGS PARK

Kentucky Kingdom officials announced at today's press event, that the park will now officially become Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Kentucky Kingdom is the first of Premier's theme parks to announce the name change to Six Flags. More of Premier's parks are also expected to announce a name change, later this year.

The name change is part of Premier parks intention to use the more widely recognized Six Flags name, at many of their existing parks. Premier acquired the name when they purchased Six Flags Theme Parks from Time Warner Communications earlier this year.

In other Kentucky Kingdom news, the new dual track wooden rollercoaster, Twisted Sisters, opened to the public this past Saturday. The new wooden coaster built by Custom Coasters Inc., is a dueling coaster instead of a racer. The two tracks twists back and forth from one side to the other and in several parts head straight towards each other creating an illusion that the trains are going to crash.

June 21, 1998

HYPERCOASTER RUMORED FOR SEA WORLD ADVENTURE PARK

Unconfirmed sources are reporting that Sea World Adventure Park in San Antonio, Texas, will be getting a new hypercoaster for 1999. The unannounced coaster is rumored to be 200 feet high and to be built by D.H. Morgan Manufacturing. The rumor also states that the coaster will be erected near the enterance of the park and the 200 foot tall lift hill will loom over the front gate, for all arriving park guests to see. If built, the new hypercoaster will be Sea World's second rollercoaster, joining the B&M inverted coaster, The Great White, which opened in 1997.

June 19, 1998

KIIS FM (102.7) HOLDS FIRST WHIRL TIL YOU HURL COASTER CONTEST

Today the first KIIS FM, Whirl Til You Hurl coaster marathon contest was held at Six Flags Magic Mountain. The contest involves teams of four riders paired up with one of the radio station's DJ's. In total there are five DJ's for a total of twenty contestants.

The contest requires the teams to race around Six Flags Magic Mountain and ride the different rollercoasters for 20 minutes straight. After you ride one, you then race to the next rollercoaster and ride that ride for 20 minutes straight and so on. If you are late and miss the train or if you throw up, then you are out. Some of the coasters being used for the contest include, Superman The Escape and the new stand-up rollercoaster, The Riddler's Revenge.

Contestants for the coaster marathon are selected on the air by the DJ's. All contestants recieve a Six Flags Season Pass and the last remaining riders win a trip for two to Hawaii. In case there is a tie, the radio station has set-up a game for the contestants to play. The Whirl Til You Hurl coaster marathon is expected to be repeated again, later in the summer.

FRONTIER CITY RE-OPENS AFTER TORNADO DAMAGES PARK

Frontier City Amusement Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma reopened Thursday, after being ravaged by a tornado last Saturday. The park sustained over $3 million dollars in damage as a result of the twister that touched down while the park was occupied by more than 2,500 guests. Miraculously, only a few people sustained minor injuries.

The park had been hoping to reopen on Wednesday, but decided to delay the reopening for one more day, to give crews a little more time to do some necessary repairs. After an extensive inspection for damage to the rides, engineers from the ride manufacturers, state and park, found no major damage to any of the rides.

The decision to delay the opening was made, so crews could repair damage to two major reservoirs, that hold water for two different water rides. The one day delay would dramatically improve the experience guests would have in the park, once it reopened.

On Thursday, guests lined up again to enter the park for the first time since the disaster. The first visitors to the park were given t-shirts that read, I survived the Terrible Twister at Frontier City, mocking the disaster and the ride with the same name. But, the real terrible twister, is one attraction the park and the guests who experienced it, will never want to ride again.

June 18, 1998

TAKE DAD TO THE PARK FOR FATHER'S DAY

Several parks have announced discounted or free tickets to dad on father's day. Funtown USA, located in Saco, Maine will be offering free admission to dad on father's day. Funtown USA is the proud owner of the new CCI woodie, Excalibur. For further details, you can call Funtown USA at (800) 878-2900.

Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California has announced that father's living in zip codes 90000 to 93599 will receive a discounted admission of $12.50 when accompannied by two or more family members. The discount applies to one male 18 and older and is valid for Saturday and Sunday, June 20 and 21.

KENTUCKY KINGDOM SCHEDULES AN IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT

On Monday, June 22 Kentucky Kingdom has scheduled a media event to make the biggest announcement in the park's history. Event information claimed that there are six big reasons to be there.

This announcement is expected to be the park's official word on the name change to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom. Kentucky Kingdom will most likely use this event to hype their new dual track wooden coaster, Twister Sisters, as well.

June 15, 1998

TORNADO TOUCHES DOWN AT FRONTIER CITY

On Saturday, June 13 at aproximately 8:00 p.m. a tornado touched down in Frontier City Theme Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma. More than a thousand guests were safely evacuated to cover while the twister ripped through the park.

According to park officials, guests were housed in restrooms and other buildings, and were evacuated within five minutes after the storm had reached the the highest warning. Fortunately, only four guests were taken to the hospital for shock. At 8:30 p.m. park officials gave an all clear and guests were taken to the parking lot and the park closed.

Unfortunately, the park sustained some damage from the twister. Trees, branches and trash were scattered throughout the park. Many of the building facades were ripped from the faces of the structures they were once attached to. According to the park the rides faired better than the buildings and landscape, they suffered only some minor damage and all were believed to be in working order after an initial inspection. The major rollercoasters did not sustain any damage, according to officials.

The park will remain closed until at least Wednesday, while employees clean up and help repair the damage. Damage repair is expected to take longer and will continue in the park after the park resumes operation.

LOONEY TUNES NITES BEGINS SATURDAY AT SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN

Six Flags Magic Mountain's latest Looney Tunes Nite show will begin this Saturday, June 20 and continue nightly all summer long. The theme of this year's show will celebrate Marvin The Martian's 50th birthday.

The outdoor entertainment spectacular begins with a parade in the park and concludes with an exciting arial fireworks display that can be viewed from most anywhere in the park. According to a park employee, a very special viewing location is from the top of the Sky Tower. "Just head up there before the parade and the fireworks are at eye level."

Also opening at the park is the new International Acrobats Circus. This new indoor show replaces last year's popular Carnivale Du Futur. The new International Acrobats Circus opens on June 27.

RUMOR ON NEW 1999 COASTER AT BUSCH GARDENS TAMPA

The Orlando Sentinel has previously reported that Busch Gardens Tampa will be getting a ten million dollar major attraction for 1999. Now reports from the park claim that a large order of wood is begining to be delievered to the park. One report indicates that the wood is being dropped off in the old brewery location. Could Busch Gardens Tampa be starting construction on a new wooden coaster for 1999? We will have to wait and see.

KNOTT'S BEGINS TESTING OF SUPREME SCREAM

Testing of Knott's Berry Farm's latest thrill ride, Supreme Scream has begun. Testing is in the early phases and it is unknown if anyone has ridden the monster yet. The new 300+ foot tall triple Turbo Drop tower is slated to open to the public on July 3. The new Supreme Scream is the world's tallest Turbo Drop tower, built by S&S Sports Power.

June 1, 1998

FIRE DAMAGES CLASSIC WOODEN COASTER

A fire on May 19 damaged the classic Coney Island Thunderbolt roller coaster in New York City. The fire which started at around 4:00 a.m. took firefighters half and hour to extinguish. Investigators believe the fire was intentionally set. Damage to this classic coaster was reported to be significant.

The coaster was originally built in 1928 and closed down in 1983 due to safety reasons. The Thunderbolt is one of many classic coasters that enthusiasts would like to see restored. Unfortunately, the latest damage may have made the reality of restoration even harder. Pictures of this classic coaster can be viewed at the Joyrides web site.

KNOTT'S WILL CLOSE PACIFIC PAVILION IN SEPTEMBER

Knott's Berry Farm has decided to cancel the Dolphin and Sea Lion show when the park's contract with Marine Animal Productions expires on September 17. The show has been the center of controversy for several years. Every year members of Orange County People For Animals come to protest the show during the Memorial day weekend. In 1995 the protesters made headlines when several were arrested after they chained themselves to the enterance gates of the exhibit.

Knott's decision to cancel the show was made prior to the busy Memorial Day weekend and animal activists decided to cancel this year's protest and hailed it a victory for animal rights. Knott's claims that the decision to close the exhibit was not entirely based on past protests or arguements by animal activists. Knott's plans to use the outdoor theater for a new show to expand the popular Halloween Haunt event in October and in December will open a new attraction for the holidays.

KNOTT'S FINISHES TOWER AND PREMIERS NEW EVENING SHOW

The tower for Knott's new Superme Scream attraction has been completed. The new triple tower Turbo Drop attraction built by S&S Sports Power will open on July 1. Already rumors of a late June "soft opening" have begun to circulate amongst anxious thrill ride fans. The new tower is the tallest structure in Orange County at 330 feet and the world's tallest Turbo Drop beating it's sister attraction at Cedar Point by aproximately 15 feet. A picture of the completed tower appeared in this past weeks Orange County Register with the President of S&S Sports Power standing on top.

Knott's newest outdoor show Edison Electric Nights premiered this past Memorial Day weekend. The new show claimed to be Knott's version of an outdoor water, laser and fireworks spectacular, takes place over the parks Reflection Lake and replaces the Incredible Waterworks Show. The show will be presented nightly this summer.

GHOST RIDER WILL OPEN THREE MONTHS EARLY

It's official, the Ghost Rider, Knott's new wooden rollercoaster will open in December three months ahead of schedule, according to the park. The new Ghost Rider built by CCI will be the largest wooden rollercoaster in California. Construction on the coaster is coming along and parts of the structure can be easily viewed from Beach Blvd. Guests arriving to the park can see the coasters new wooden structure as they proceed through the parks main drag Grand Ave. The structure fits nicely into Knott's old west themeing.

The decision to open the ride in December could give Knott's a significant attendance boost in the end of 1998 and in 1999. The new attraction will undoubtly attract larger crowds during the slow winter months prior to Spring Break. Knott's Berry Farm was 11th busiest theme park in country during 1997 with an estimated 3.4 million visitors. If the Supreme Scream and Ghost Rider are well received as expected, Knott's attendance could well exceed 4 million for 1999.

Rumors circulating also suggest that the early opening of the Ghost Rider might be hinting to Cedar Fair's possible intention to build another attraction to open in the summer of 1999. Rumors speculate that the park may install a new flat spin ride. A second new attraction for 1999 could be exactly what Knott's needs to send it's attendance soaring to a record level.

RADIO STATION ANNOUNCES 2ND COASTER MARATHON

Star 100.7 FM in San Diego, California announced that they will begin the second Whirl Til You Hurl coaster marathon on June 30. Whirl Til You Hurl 2 will be feature a cash price of $50,000, the largest ever, to the last rider who gets off the venerable Giant Dipper rollercoaster at Belmont Park.

Last year's event lasted several weeks as riders competed for a brand new car. The event was eventually called to an end and the remaining riders were all awarded the grand prize. Last month another coaster marathon at Six Flags Over Georgia ended after two months, breaking the world record for a coaster marathon. The three remaining riders after 61 days and some 12,000 rides on the Great American Scream Machine and Georgia Cyclone received a brand new Jeep Cherokee. Stay tuned for more details on this latest coaster marathon.

NEW KID'S COASTER TO BE BUILT AT UNIVERSAL STUDIOS

A new rollercoaster named the Woody Woodpecker will be built in a new section of Universal Studios Florida. The new junior coaster will be a part of a new children's play area that will open at the park in the summer of 1999.

TWISTED SISTERS NEARS COMPLETION

The new dual track wooden coaster, Twisted Sisters at Kentucky Kingdom is nearing completion. The new coaster is expected to open in mid to late June. The dual track coaster will not be a racer as many dual track coasters are. Instead the coaster is designed to cross over and send riders towards each other in several points making an illusion of crashing.

In other Kentucky Kingdom news, T2 the Vekoma SLC, is being re-painted and is going to be renamed Batman The Ride. The new name and themeing is a part of the upcoming name change to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

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