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Ultimate Rollercoaster > News > Archives > January 1999 News

News January 1999

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January 27, 1999

Knott's Seeks Couples To Be Married On The GhostRider

Buena Park, CA - Knott's Berry Farm is currently seeking couples who would be interested in getting married or renew their vows this Valentine's Day, while riding the GhostRider wooden coaster. According to a park source they are preferably looking for at least one couple to get married for the first time.

If you are a coaster enthusiast couple and are interested in getting married or renew your vows on the GhostRider, contact Bob Ochsner at (714) 220-5126 or Dana Hammontree at (714) 220-5120 at once.

Two New Theme Parks Are Still Planned For Indianapolis

Indianapolis, IN - Two brand new major theme parks are still on the drawing board in the Indianapolis area. According to local reports, the developers of are still planning to go ahead with their plans for the new theme parks.

The first project located in Hendricks County has been put on hold due to financing problems. The $135 million Entercitement City theme park was supposed to open this spring. The park's completion and opening is now being delayed until 2000 or 2001 pending new financing.

The second project planned by Premier Parks, Inc. is still on the drawing boards according to sources. Premier is planning to build a theme park on the former 330-acre Old Indiana Family Fun Water Park site. Premier purchased the site in 1998. It is unknown when construction on the new park will begin.

Coaster Works Wooden Coaster Put On Hold

Dania, FL - The new Coaster Works wooden coaster previously planned for Grand Prix Race-O-Rama has been put on hold according to sources. The new coaster was supposed to have been built this year, but the owners of Grand Prix have put the project on hold for the time being.

According to a news group reader the corporate office of Grand Prix feels that there is a lack of interest in the new wooden coaster. Further they have worries about the liability and financing.

If you would like to help encourage Grand Prix Race-O-Rama to build the new wooden coaster you can e-mail your comments to flcoasters@aol.com. They will then be forwarded to the park to hopefully encourage them to build.

January 26, 1999

Premier Rides To Build New State-Of-The-Art Coaster

Las Vegas, NV - Premier Rides, Inc. has announced that they will be building a new LIM-launched roller coaster at the Las Vegas NASCAR Cafe, currently being built at Sahara Hotel and Casino. The new coaster is labeled "the first of it's kind" for the west coast.

The new LIM-launched coaster will be similar to the two Mr. Freeze roller coasters also built by Premier Rides, located at Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis.

Riders wishing to ride will board the new coaster on the inside of the NASCAR Cafe. Once on board riders will be shot out of the station using the high-tech LIM's, which will accelerate the trains to a top speed of over 70 mph. During the launch riders may experience up to 4.5 G's!

After leaving the cafe the trains will travel alongside the Sahara hotel and then turn at Las Vegas Blvd. From there the track will continue over the roof of the casino and through the massive nineteen story tall Sahara marquee.

Following the path through the marquee the trains will then travel through a tunnel and into several inversions followed by a climatic 90-degree vertical climb, peaking out at just over 200 feet.

After the vertical climb the train will reverse directions and repeat the traveled course, this time backwards.

The new coaster will feature a specially designed loading station that was used for the Mr. Freeze coasters to allow for two train operation. This unique station allows one train to be boarded, while the other is on track.

The yet-to-be-named coaster is custom designed by Premier Rides, Inc. and is slated to open on December 31, 1999.

Fire Destroys Restaurant At Six Flags Great America

Gurnee, IL - An evening blaze at Six Flags Great America last Friday destroyed the Pizza Orleans fast food restaurant located inside the theme park.

The fire which broke out a little after 7:30 p.m. was first seen by an area resident. Firefighters received word of the fire shortly later after a Six Flags security guard phoned in a report.

According to a local news sources when firefighters arrived on the scene they found the restaurant completely engulfed in flames. The fire threatened the adjacent Bugs Bunny Theater, but firefighters were able to prevent the flames from spreading.

The restaurant was declared a total loss and damages were estimated at $125,000. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but it is believed that it may have been caused by the buildings hot-water heater or heating unit.

Lance Burton To Pull Off Escape Act On The Desperado

Primm, NV - Sources in Las Vegas are reporting that magician Lance Burton has pulled off an incredible escape before being hit by the speeding Desperado roller coaster train. The daredevil act was filmed in December for the upcoming "Lance Burton Master Magician Top Secret" show which is expected to air in February.

According to on site sources, Lance Burton was tied to the Desperados track below the 225 foot tall first drop. He was then given just a fraction of time to escape, before the train plummeted down at nearly 80 mph!

Six Flags St. Louis To Build A New Coaster In 2000

St. Louis, MO - An inside source has confirmed that Six Flags has signed a deal to build a new B&M stand-up roller coaster for the year 2000. According to this source the park has recently finalized the deal and construction will begin after the close of the 1999 operating season.

Exact details about the new stand-up roller coaster are unclear, but an early report claims that it will be taller than than the current record holder, The Riddler's Revenge located at sister-park Six Flags Magic Mountain.

More Six Flags Great Adventure News

Jackson, NJ - Following last weeks incredible announcement we have learned more about this years and next years planned additions at Six Flags Great Adventure.

The popular aerial sky ride is slated to reopen for this year. According to sources the ride is currently being refurbished and a new haul cable is being installed. The sky ride is slated to reopen in May. The reopening of the sky ride may come as a surprise to many, since recent theme park trends have been to close and remove these sort of attractions.

As previously reported the year 2000 will bring a brand new water park to Six Flags Great Adventure. According to a source on the inside construction on the new Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is slated to begin this April. The land survey of the new site has already been completed. The next step will involve the clearing of the trees and shrubs.

January 20, 1999

Six Flags Officials Unveil $42 Million 1999 Expansion Plan For Great Adventure

Jackson, NJ - Six Flags Great Adventure is set to become the first super park in the nation. Officials today unveiled the plans for the parks $42 million expansion, the largest single year investment ever made at a Six Flags theme park.

The plans, which call for an unprecedented twenty-five new rides, are among the largest expansion plans ever announced for a single park in the theme park industry. The addition will increase the number of rides at Six Flags Great Adventure by 50 percent.

"We declare war on lines. Our guests will have more rides to ride and with the increased capacity, they will be able to more fully enjoy the Park's extensive entertainment presentation. The scope of the overall expansion is nothing short of spectacular," commented Kieran Burke, CEO of Premier Parks, Inc.

Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the most popular regional theme parks in the nation averaging over 4 million visits per year. Situated in the most densely populated region of the U.S., the park draws a large part of its attendance from neighboring states such as New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.

The popular theme park is experiencing a dramatic transformation during this off-season. "When the multiple projects are completed this spring, this property will become a superpark featuring several marquee, high-impact, captivating attractions for every age and every taste," stated Bill Muirhead, Vice President of Six Flags Great Adventure.

Twenty-five new rides, including the world's first "heartline" roller coaster, a new themed family section, and several new blockbuster entertainment shows. 1999 will certainly be the best season ever at Six Flags Great Adventure. The 1999 season opens April 2.

MEDUSA To Erupt This Spring At Six Flags Great Adventure

Jackson, NJ - Roller coasters fans from around the world have been talking for months about the newest Bolliger and Mabillard thrill machine currently under construction at Six Flags Great Adventure. Premiering this spring fans will be able to board Medusa, the world's first "heartline" steel coaster.

Medusa will break the traditional feel of a roller coaster by having passengers ride suspended between the tracks with nothing above or below them. The unique design entitles it to be the world's first "floorless" roller coaster.

Bill Muirhead, Vice President of Six Flags Great Adventure explains that "riders will sense utter vulnerability while strapped into their seats with no track above and no floor below them. It will be like dangling in mid-air with nothing to hold on to while you zoom at over 60 M.P.H. through all sorts of configurations. The sensation will be almost like zero gravity--MEDUSA will be unmatched."

Currently under construction, Medusa will be built in the Frontier Adventures section next to the Northern Star Arena. The track will be painted lime green with a purple support structure. According to park officials Medusa is ahead of schedule and will open in April.

Medusa is custom designed by popular Swiss coaster designers Bolliger and Mabillard. This one-of-a-kind steel coaster will feature seven exciting inversions, steep banked turns, a top speed of 62 mph and a three minute ride time.

Six Flags Great Adventure To Offer More Fun And Thrills In The Park's Nine Sections

Jackson, NJ - Six Flags officials announced today that a part of the $42 million expansion plans will be spent on an additional 13 rides and attractions to be built throughout the park's nine themed sections. Among the new rides to be built will be another steel roller coaster with a pirate theme for families. "This is unprecedented that any regional theme park will introduce three distinct coasters during one season," Bill Muirhead, Vice President of Six Flags Great Adventure said.

With the addition of the family roller coaster, the children's coaster in the Looney Tunes Seaport and the addition of the new mega-coaster Medusa, Six Flags Great Adventure claims a total of 13 coaster tracks, more than any other park on the East Coast.

Additiona new rides announced for 1999 include the Time Warp, an inverting Ferris wheel, Houdini's Great Escape, an indoor rotating house, Pendulum, a massive spinning swing and the Road Rally, which will be the park's first go-cart track.

Another exciting attraction scheduled to open this spring will be a new Iwerks TurboRide 3-D theater featuring Escape from Dino Island 3-D, a one-of-a-kind innovative 3-D fast moving adventure ride. Escape from Dino Island 3-D was filled in the 70mm large format. Iwerks Turbo Ride theaters are wildly successful and this lastest installation is sure to be a crowd pleaser at Six Flags Great Adventure.

Six Flags Announces Looney Tunes Seaport For Families At Great Adventure

Jackson, NJ - Six Flags Great Adventure officials announced that a part of their $42 million expansion and enhancements would be dedicated to families in 1999. Park officials today unveiled plans to build a new six-acre family section called LOONEY TUNES(TM) SEAPORT.

At the top of the list is a six-acre, brand new section for young children and their parents called LOONEY TUNES(TM) SEAPORT. This festively themed section will be a wet, wild and wonderful seaside community. Eight exciting new rides and interactive attractions designed for the entire family to enjoy form the heart of this new section.

Among the new attractions is the Acme Seaport Railway, a new steel roller coaster featuring Wild E. Coyote. Other new attractions planned include the Michigan J. Frog's Crow's Nest, Granny and Tweety's House, Sylvester's Seaport Weather Balloons and an interactive fun house, The Acme Seaport, just to name a few. Bugs Bunny Bay water play area, a totally re-themed and expanded area (formerly) Koala Canyon adds splashy new delights that give this new section something special for everyone.

The park's current family section Bugs Bunny Land, will also undergo a major renovation during the off season. Officials announced the addition of several new rides for this well-loved section of the park. Included among the new rides are The Little Wheel, a mini-Ferris wheel, Baby Buccaneer, a mini-pendulum ride and a Speedway for tykes.

Park officials expect the additions and enhancements to be complete in time for the parks opening on April 2.

January 11, 1999

First US LEGOLAND Theme Park To Open This March

Carlsbad, CA - The first US LEGOLAND theme park is scheduled to open on March 20, 1999. The 128-acre family theme park is located in the beautiful hills overlooking the Pacific ocean in Carlsbad, California.

The park will feature six major themed areas clustered around a man-made lake. The LEGOLAND themed areas are referred to as "blocks."

LEGOLAND California will be the third LEGOLAND park in the world. The park will feature 40 rides and attractions, each of which is somehow "kid powered." The park is targeted to the 2 through 12 age group.

Ogden Entertainment Expands Plans For New Jazzland Theme Park

New Orleans, LA - Ogden Entertainment announced that it has decided to expand their original plans for the new 150-acre Jazzland amusement park. The revised plan will now include $15 million worth of additional rides and attractions.

Ogden stated in an announcement that they had decided that they needed to expand on the original plans, to ensure the Jazzland will be able to successfully compete against theme parks in neighboring states.

Among the newly added attractions is a major steel roller coaster. The new coaster will rise to a height of 116 feet and travel through eight major elements along 3,400 feet of track. It is unknown who will design this coaster.

Additional new attractions include an air boat journey through simulated swamps, a simulated rocket ride, an indoor themed "dark ride" and a log ride.

Officials have stated that some of the new rides were a part of a planned second phase.

The original plans for Jazzland included two roller coasters. The first coaster announced was a wooden coaster named the Zephyr. The Zephyr will be a replica of the original one which was located at the long gone Pontchartrain amusement park.

The second roller coaster in the original plans was a Boomerang coaster designed and built by Vekoma International. The track for this coaster has already arrived and is currently in storage.

Construction on the new park is currently in progress with land clearing. Officials expect to open Jazzland in May 2000.

Martin's Fantasy Island Names New Wooden Coaster

Grand Island, NY - Last Wednesday, Martin's Fantasy Island announced the name of their new wooden roller coaster. The new coaster will be called the Silver Comet, named in honor of the famed Crystal Beach Comet.

The Silver Comet is currently under construction and is expected to open this Spring. The new coaster designed by Custom Coasters, Inc. features a double out and back layout and a steel support structure.

Universal Is Looking For Individuals Who Fear Roller Coasters

Orlando, FL - The Orlando Sentinel reported on January 9, that Universal is currently seeking 15 to 20 candidates who are "coasterphobics" to participate in a first ever stress-management course. The ideal candidate should be too afraid to ride today's incredible thrill rides.

According to the article the selected candidates will be taken through a course taught by two psychologists from Harvard University. Individuals will learn techniques on how to deal with their anxiety. Those treated successfully will be invited to be among the first to ride the new roller coasters at Universal's new Islands Of Adventure theme park which opens this Spring.

The two Harvard trained experts will also be used to train the employees at the new park to spot and assist those who are too scared to ride the park's thrill rides.

Disney May Be Planning Another Overseas Attraction

Last week a reader forwarded some information they found on the Yahoo! financial pages. The following is a quote from a letter from the Chairman of Disney, Michael Eisner. In this letter Eisner mentioned that Mickey Mouse may be headed for China.

"We could be getting close to the time for a major Disney attraction in the world's most populous nation," he said in his letter. "I am completely confident that the Chinese people love Mickey (Mouse) no less than Big Mac," he wrote, referring to the success in China of the fast-food giant McDonald's Corporation.

It is not clear exactly what Disney is planning. It could quite possibly be a new Disney theme park, or another Disneyland. It a theme park is built, it would be the first major Disney attraction is a communist state.

Old news, but still news worthy.

Six Flags Web Site Attacked By Web Hackers

On December 29 the Six Flags Theme Parks web site was taken over by hackers. sometime Monday night. The hackers broke into the site sometime Monday evening, replacing the front page with several inappropriate pictures accompanied with text messages.

The hacker, or group of hackers signed off on the page calling themselves "The Lamerass." It is unknown exactly who the hackers were or what their motive was.

Six Flags officials had the hacked site removed early Tuesday morning and the entire site was fully restored a few days later.

January 6, 1999

1998 Results: The Top 10 Theme Parks Based On Attendance

The numbers for 1998 are beginning to roll in and here are the statistics that we have so far. Remember these are estimated since many of the parks do not release the official numbers.

	Theme Park				Attendance
	
	1. Magic Kingdom			15.6 million
	2. Disneyland				13.7 million
	3. Disney EPCOT				10.6 million
	4. Disney/MGM Studios			9.5 million
	5. Universal Studios Florida		8.9 million
	6. Disney's Animal Kingdom		6 million
	7. Universal Studios Hollywood		5.1 million
	8. Sea World Florida			5 million
	9. Busch Gardens Tampa			4.2 million
	10. Sea World California		3.7 million
	

Roller Coaster Track Begins To Arrives At Six Flags Astroworld

Houston, TX - Pieces of track for the new Vekoma SLC roller coaster have begun to arrive at Six Flags Astroworld according to a reader. The red track with teal colored supports is being stored in an old car dealership parking lot next to the park.

Demolition Of Old Eltich Gardens Begins

Denver, CO - The Denver Post reports the the demolition of the old park has already begun. According to a reader it could be any day until the demolition crew begins to destroy the classic Mr. Twister wooden coaster. If you are in the area and want to take one last look, the time is now.

On another interesting note, the Ultimate Guide reports that not everyone is sad to see the old coaster go. According to the report one Denver resident cannot wait. He feels the old wooden coaster and closed theme park has been an eyesore for the city.

Disneyland Raises Admissions Prices Once More

Anaheim, CA - Without a new ride or any sort of new attraction to justify it, Disney officials instead went ahead and raised the price of admission by one dollar at Disneyland. The new price of $39 is one of the highest in the country according to our research and is only one dollar away from hitting the next major step of $40.

California Assemblyman Plans To Reintroduce Amusement Park Safety Bill

The Los Angeles Time reported on December 29, that following the recent accident at Disneyland, assemblyman Tom Torlakson plans to reintroduce a bill he wrote that would require theme parks to receive state safety inspections.

The theme park safety bill was originally introduced after the 1997 accident at Waterworld Water Park, which left one teenage girl dead after a waterslide collapsed. The original bill died as a result of strong opposition from the amusement park industry.

Six Flags Magic Mountain Removes Two Flat Rides

Valencia, CA - Confirmed reports claim that Six Flags Magic Mountain officials recently closed and removed both the Jolly Roger (Tilt A Whirl) and Circus Wheel attractions. It is unknown exactly why either of the attractions were closed, but sources claim that the removals are a part of the preparations for a rumored new roller coaster to be built at the park in 1999.

According to sources, the loading station for the rumored Giovanola hypercoaster will be built in the vicinity of the old Jolly Roger attraction. Recent rumors circulating around the park claim that construction on the yet unannounced attraction will begin this month.

Earlier rumors reported on in December claimed that track for the new coaster would begin arriving in January. Also an official announcement about the new attraction is expected to be made prior to the start of construction.

January 4, 1999

Declining Attendance At US Theme Parks

This past year will more than likely not be remembered as a great year for theme parks in terms of attendance. Recent estimates of 1998 attendance have shown a considerable decline versus 1997. Sixteen of the top fifty North American theme parks are reporting a drop.

The following lists ten parks with the greatest drop in attendance since 1997.

	Theme Park				Attendance	Change
	
	Six Flags Great Adventure		3,421,000	<-8%>
	Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom		15,640,000	<-8%>
	Six Flags Astroworld			1,900,000	<-9%>
	Paramount's Great America		2,050,000	<-9%>
	Six Flags Over Texas			2,819,000	<-9%>
	Six Flags Magic Mountain		3,070,000	<-9%>
	Disney MGM Studios			9,473,000	<-10%>
	Disney's EPCOT				10,597,000	<-10%>
	Six Flags Over Georgia			2,321,000	<-17%>
	Six Flags St. Louis			1,556,000	<-24%>
	

Attendance Source: Amusement Business

Six Flags Over Texas and Six Flags St. Louis were the hardest hit. Such a large drop in attendance can take a park several years to recover from. It is unlikely that either park will fully recover in 1999.

Also among the top ten were the three Orlando Disney parks. All three parks experienced a drop of around eight to ten percent in 1998. Experts say the drop can be partly attributed to the newest theme park, Disney's Animal Kingdom, which opened earlier this year. Park management had expected that guests would extend their trip to see the new park. Instead most tourists stayed the same amount of days and therefore visited one less park.

Autopsy Report Points To Operator Error In Disneyland Accident

Anaheim, CA - On December 30, the Orange County deputy coroner released a report on the Christmas Eve accident at Disneyland, which killed one and seriously injuried two others. According to the report the accident on the Columbia sailing ship resulted from operator error.

According to the coroner's report, the employee who was also injuried in the accident, attached the mooring rope to the ship not knowing that the ship was traveling too fast. When the rope became taut, it ripped the steel cleat free swinging it into the employee and the couple who were standing in a nearby waiting area.

Luan Phi Dawson, 33, and his wife Lieu Thuy Vuong, 43, of Duvall, Washington., both received severe head injuries as a result of the accident. Luan Phi the husband of the couple, died two days later at UC Irvine Medical Center.

The employee responsible for the accident according to the report, had severe injuries to her legs and one of her feet was shattered.

The report states that "the normal operating procedure when the ship is coming in too fast is to not secure the mooring line." Workers should instead allow the ship to "overshoot the dock" and then allow it to reverse into the proper posistion.

In this situation the report states that the employee attached the line "not knowing that the helmsman planned to overshoot the dock."

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