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Ultimate Rollercoaster > News > Archives > August 1998 News

News August 1998


August 31, 1998


An advertisement in Sunday's Virginian-Pilot announced the latest rollercoaster to be built at Busch Gardens Williamsburg for the 1999 season. The Busch Garden's ad read "Apollo's Chariot, new hypercoaster, opening in 1999!"

Apollo's Chariot will be the second speed coaster (hypercoaster) being built by Bolliger and Mabillard for 1999. The other at Six Flags Great America was announced earlier this year. Apollo's Chariot and El Torro at Six Flags Great America will be the first hypercoasters ever by B&M.

Unconfirmed statistics claim that this hypercoaster will be 170 feet tall and feature a 205 foot initial drop, with a top speed of 75 mph. Busch Gardens will make a final detailed announcement about the new rollercoaster on September 4.


A reader of this site reports that Valleyfair has closed it's water park, WhiteWater Country ten days earlier than planned. According to the report the water park was closed as of last Friday and all of the slides and attractions have been drained.

According to the source the park has confirmed the closure and a source in the park reports that the decision to close early was made due to a shortage of employees to run the water park.


The Hercules Victory Parade at Disneyland will make it's final trip down Main Street on Monday, September 8. The parade originally opened in June 1997. The daytime parade will be replaced by the new Mulan parade, which was presented during the evenings this past summer.

Disneyland will begin to scale back operations after September 8. The Mulan parade r will now be presented in the late afternoons and early evenings Friday through Tuesday. Animazement The Musical presented in the Fantasyland theater, will continue to be presented in the afternoon Wednesday through Sunday. Fantasmic will also be presented in the evening, Friday through Sunday.

This September, October and November, Disneyland will be open late every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Last fall the park was open late on Fridays during September only. The rest of the week the park will be open until 8 p.m. For exact hours and an entertainment schedule, contact Disneyland at (714) 781-4565.

August 28, 1998


An employee of Joyland Amusement Park located in Wichita, Kansas, was killed Thursday after he was struck by the train on the park's classic wooden roller coaster.

According to reports the employee was doing some gardening work near the tracks and just got too close. He died instantly after the train hit him.

News reports stated that Joyland Amusement Park did not have any rules banning maintenance work near the tracks, while the Roller Coaster is in operation.

The wooden roller coaster has a classic out and back layout, designed by Herb Schmeck. The Roller Coaster opened in 1949 and is recognized as an ACE classic.


It was confirmed yesterday with Walt Disney World guest relations that Mr. Toad's Wild Ride will close on September 8. This aging but still popular Fantasyland attraction will be removed to make way for a new, yet unannounced attraction.

Rumors circulating around the internet on Disney fan web pages and on the newsgroups claim that the ride may be replaced by a new dark ride, themed to Winnie the Pooh's hundred acre woods. This has yet to be confirmed with officials at Disney.

Word of the closure of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride comes just weeks after Disneyland's announcement about the upcoming closure of the Submarine Ride on September 7 as well. It seems that Disney is forging ahead with plans to replace outdated attractions with newer attractions, that will feature the latest ride technology.

For all of the fans of Mr. Toad's Wild Ride, we suggest you take a look at this web site about saving Mr. Toad's Wild Ride at


A call to Disneyland confirmed that the Rocket Rods remain closed after eight weeks. The ride last operated over the 4th of July holiday weekend.

Sources inside the park have confirmed that the ride is almost ready to be open, but no date has been set. According to some the park is blaming the decrease in attendance this summer on the Rocket Rods sudden unexpected closure.

Still after eight weeks a source inside the park says the ride is still experiencing some of the problems, but progress is being made. Recently a reader wrote to inform us that the Rocket Rods were operating for a brief period of time during a recent visit. According to our sources the park has opened the attraction a couple of times in the past few weeks to give it a good test run.

August 27, 1998


Believe it or not, but five determined riders still remain in what is sure to become a record breaking coaster mararthon on the the Giant Dipper rollercoaster in San Diego, California.

San Diego radio station Star 100.7 is sponsoring this second annual event which began on June 30. According to the press release from the station, the riders have now ridden 7,500 miles, or the distance from Belmont Park, San Diego to Sydney, Australia.

The five remaining contestants are now called the "Party Of Five" and ride virtually non-stop everyday, from 8 am until 11 pm and on Fridays and Saturdays until 1 am. Contestants are allowed off the train for three ten minute breaks and one thirty minute break at the end of the day. During the night the contestants must return to the train to sleep.

According to the station the five riders are closing in on the unofficial record for the longest time on a rollercoaster which is 61 days. That contest ended on May 11, 1998 with three riders left after 13,000 riders on the Great American Scream Machine, at Six Flags Over Georgia.


A reader sent word yesterday that he received information through the mail from Busch Gardens Williamsburg, that states that the park will make an official announcement about their new attraction on September 4.

Inspite of the fact that the new attraction has not been officially announced, reports claim that the park will be building a brand new B&M speed coaster. The speed coaster is a prototype coaster by Bolliger and Mabillard, which is basically their version of a hypercoaster.

According to sources and the park's building permit, the new rollercoaster will be 170 feet tall and feature a first drop of around 205 feet into a ravine. The ride is expected to be similar in design to the already announced speed coaster that is being built at Six Flags Great America next year.


Check this out! As the inventor wrote "this is not a rumor, neither a joke. These are facts."

Yesterday we received mail from the inventor of this new type of thrill ride or transportation vehicle. The new design called "RollerVic," is described as a type of roller coaster, where people sit inside clear rolling balls and on the inside of the ball, is an independent rolling frame with a seat.

The design looks rather wild and the sensation experienced is described as "uncomparable," since the person inside the ball can go in any direction and use an internal brake that will cause the inner frame with seat to spin together with the external ball.

In our opinion it looks like a giant Space Warp(TM) kit where the riders will ride inside of the marble. If you wish to get a more information or glimpse of the ride, then check it at

August 26, 1998


Yesterday officials at Six Flags St. Louis announced plans for the largest expansion project ever at the park. The project is a water park named Six Flags Hurricane Harbor that will be built next to the current theme park in St. Louis, Missouri.

The new water park will feature a 750,000 gallon wave pool, seven water slides, a white water six-person raft ride, and an adventure river. In addition the park is also building a large childrens playground with five water slides and over 70 different water toys.

The highlight of the new park will be a six story tower with three speed slides coming off the tower. Two of the slides will be enclosed and the third will be a drop slide, falling 64 feet at a 45 degree angle, with a top speed of nearly 40 mph.

The new water park will be built on any area of the parking lot and the current picnic area. Six Flags officials said that they will relocate the picnic grounds to a new area within the park.

The new water park is one of a number of projects planned for Six Flags Theme Park across the country. Six Flags is now owned by Premier Parks, the world's largest operator of regional theme parks. Premier Parks currently operates two other Hurricane Harbor water parks, one in Los Angeles and the other in Dallas.

The new Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in St. Louis will open to the public on Memorial Day weekend 1999.


Several readers have reported that they have received printed material from Paramount's Kings Island in Cinncinatti, Ohio about the parks new rides for 1999. The information details two new attraction that the park is planning to build.

The first ride is a Drop Zone Stunt Tower, described as the world's tallest freefall ride. The Drop Zone will be a single tower ride with seats surrounding the tower. Currently, sources claim that the drop tower will be a new Gyro Drop, built by Intamin, but it has not been confirmed.

The second ride is called the "Face Off" and was described as the midwest's only face to face inverted rollercoaster, which will be a Vekoma Invertigo. Paramount installed the first Invertigo in the US this year at it's Great America theme park in Santa Clara, CA.

Both new attractions are expected to open on the opening day of the 1999 operating season.


Exactly how much is too much for a ride? That is the question fans of the Manhattan Express rollercoaster are beginning to ask, after management decided to raise the price on the Las Vegas Strip's most popular thrill ride.

Recently the New York New York Hotel and Casino raised the price to ride the Manhattan Express to seven dollars per ride. The increase now makes the Manhattan Express the most expensive rollercoaster ride in the country.

So how much is too much? Well, that is a tough question and the answer depends on who you ask. When you travel a great distance to come to ride the coaster, then you will be pretty much be willing to pay whatever it costs to ride it. But, if you are a local or frequently visit Las Vegas then you will probably think twice, especially if you have ridden it before.

For a coaster fan the price hike is especially disappointing, since multiple rides will be pretty much be out of the question. Three rides on the Manhattan Express is about what you would pay with a discount or coupon for an all day admission with unlimited rides, at many of the major theme parks!

Despite the increase, riders seem to still be willing to pay, but it does cause you to wonder, just how much is going to be too much for a ride?

August 25, 1998


A 21-year-old man died Monday evening after an accident on a reverse bungee jump at the Ottawa Central Canada Exhibition.

The accident occurred on a ride called the Rocket Launcher. The man died after suffering severe injuries from the accident. Details about what happened are unknown. The Rocket Launcher uses bungee cords attached to towers to propel people into the air.


Yesterday, we were informed that Six Flags St. Louis will be building another Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park for 1999. The new water park isto be built next to Six Flags St. Louis and will feature a dozen new water slides, a lazy river and a wave pool.

An official announcement from the park is expected to be made within the next week.


Tickets are now on sale for the largest halloween event of it's kind, Knott's Scary Farm. Every year Knott's Berry Farm turns off the family charm and instead transforms itself into the Halloween Haunt, a "nighttime spoktacular" filled with mazes, monsters, themed rides, shows and darkness.

The Halloween Haunt begins this year on October 2 and 3, with two very special preview nights. Tickets for these special nights are only $26. Then on October 9,10, 16-18, 22-25, 28-31 and November 1, Knott's presents the regular nights. Tickets are $34 in advance and $39 on the night of the event, if available. The Halloween Haunt sells out every year.

This year the Haunt is going to be better than ever with ten mazes, three of which are new. The new mazes this year are the Alien Attack, Dead Man's Wharf and Horrorwood Hotel.

Also featured at the Halloween Haunt are three themed rides, two incredible scare zones, a haunted version of Edision International Electric Nights and Elvira(TM) will return for another year with "Elvira's(TM) Haunted House Party".

If the mazes, rides and shows are not enough, Knott's will also release 1,200 live monsters who will hide, lurk, follow and scare the unsuspecting, as you trace down dark, foggy streets.

Tickets for the event are now on sale at Knott's Guest Relations and through TicketMaster outlets. For more information on the event call the Haunt Line at (714) 220-5200.

August 24, 1998


Sources working on the project at Six Flags Magic Mountain are beginning to slowly release details about the rumored hypercoaster to be built for 1999. So far the rumored statistics are incredible, almost unbelievable.

Several readers and a source in the park has called the rumored hypercoaster "the world's, tallest, fastest, and longest steel rollercoaster." So far rumors claim the first drop will be in the 250 foot range, breaking the current record holder the Fujiyama located at Highland Park in Japan.

Other statistics claim the coaster will have a second drop that will be nearly as big as the Desperado at 225 feet. The ride is expected to have a top speed of 90 mph, if it is built with a first drop of over 250 feet.

The coaster is rumored to be nearly 8,000 feet in length, beginning at the old "TAGS" store next to the Dive Devil. The coaster will then run behind the Riddler's Revenge and Batman The Ride. It will then curve to the left over the end of Batman and head towards Colossus, where the coaster will actually pass through the structure. It will then begin a high speed helix turn.

The latest twist comes from a source in the park claiming that the coaster will have a second lift hill after the high speed spiral around Colossus. The coaster will then run back with several more sizeable drops, followed by a series of bunny hops to another high speed helix located behind Psyclone before running back to the station. The coaster will have the ability to operate with four or possibly five trains at once.

Our source in the park says that those working on the project have only one goal in mind and that is to create some incredible "airtime." Currently there is not a coaster in the park that generates any significant airtime, this would be big achivement at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

The new rumored coaster will be built by Giovanola, a new designer to enter the US market. Giovanola has built several rides in Europe, but this will be first in the US.

As for the some facts, on my most recent visit I noticed that Six Flags has been cleaning the land around Colossus. This used to be a former graveyard for old rides and their parts.

Also employees who work on Colossus claim that they have been informed that they will be relocated to other attractions in the park, since the ride will be closing for several months while the new coaster is built. Colossus is expected to close on October 4 and remain closed until May 1999.

Keep checking back, more details about this monster project are coming in daily.


Imagineers at Disneyland are going to use their own terminology to describe the new rollercoaster planned for Disney's California Adventure. The new coaster will look like a wooden rollercoaster, but actually be built of steel.

Source say the new coaster will feature at least one inversion and will be a launched coaster similar to Space Mountain at Disneyland Paris. A source close to the project informed us that in the beginning the coaster will start off at a high speed to avoid a "wave of water" that will appear to almost crash onto the train.

We have also received information that the new coaster will not be a replica of the Cyclone Racer wooden coaster that once stood at the Pike seaside amusement park in Long Beach. A source working on the project claims the rumors circulating are untrue. Disney is planning on building a new coaster, not a replica of a past one, which is what we have suspected all along.


The new B&M prototype "speed coaster" being built at Six Flags Great America for 1999 has been named "El Torro," according to sources. Although the name has not been confirmed with the park, several reliable sources are reporting the news.

The new "speed coaster" is B&M's first entry into the hypercoaster field. The coaster will be over 200 feet tall, have no inversions and travel at speeds in excess of 75 mph.


The most recent issue of ACE news that was sent out to members in the past week, confirms our earlier report that Leap-The-Dips will re-open in 1999. Leap-the-Dips was built in 1902, at Lakemont Park, and is the last coaster standing to use side friction wheels.

The coaster has been closed for some time, but the effort to save the coaster by the Leap-The-Dips foundation has been successful. The re-opening will be the end to a long fund-raising campaign to save the coaster from demolition.

Improvements on the coaster began last summer and have continued ever since. Most recently the improvements have become more noticeable with work being done on the structure and track.


A reader reports seeing B&M coaster track at Six Flags Over Texas on a recent visit. It has been reported that Six Flags Over Texas will most likely install a Batman The Ride clone for 1999. The B&M track arriving at park almost confirms this, even though the park has yet to make an official announcement. The new inverted rollercoaster will be the second coaster built by Bolliger and Mabillard in the state of Texas.


In a recent newsletter to season passholders, Paramount's Kings Dominion announced that they will expand their waterpark in 1999. The waterpark will actually double in size for the 99 season.

The list of additions and improvements calls for several new water slides and attractions, including a new wave pool. Also included in the plan are new changing rooms and lockers.


The American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE), the largest coaster enthusiasts club in the United States, recently held an election for its key positions. The results of the election are as follows:

Congratulations to the new officiers. If you are interested in joining ACE, there is a link to their web site on the links page.

August 21, 1998


After much fuss, officials from the South Whitehall Planning Board, decided to recommend that the township approve Dorney Park's rezoning request. If Dorney receives the approval the park will be allowed to build a new 200 foot high Turbo Drop and a 180 foot high Sky Coaster attraction for 1999.

The planning board also is making a recommendation that the township study the affect the new rides will have on parking and traffic. The second recomendation comes after local homeowners voiced concerns over the appearance of the new rides, but more important the increase in traffic and visitors to the town.

Many residents of a local homeowners association showed up to protest the project. Many spoke out against Dorney's proposal, claiming the park's growth is causing serious problems in the town. Among the concers voiced were traffic, parking, crowds, noise and the appearance of the attractions.


Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, is planning a multi-million dollar expansion of its marina in one of the largest capital-improvement projects in its 128-year history, park officials said Thursday. And that's not all.

"Over the years there have been periodic maintenance and improvements, but this is the first major expansion since it opened," said park spokesman Stephen Norton. He wouldn't say how much the park is investing, but called the project one of the park's largest.

As a part of the inprovments the marina will receive a facelift which will include replacing concrete docks with floating docks in the permanent slips, a pedestrian mall from the marina to the park, landscaping, parking lot improvements, limited-access docking, relocating Marina Services to two new buildings and a new gas dock with a "signature" Harbor Master building.

Work will begin after the last boat is pulled from the water in October or November and will be complete before the first boat goes in in early April. A smaller, second phase of renovation is slated for the 2000 boating season, officials said..

Floating docks will be added to the guest slips after the 1999 boating season.

Along with the news about the Marina improvements park spokeswoman Janice Lifke, said, "We've got one more major project that will be announced in mid- to late-September and that will be in the park itself."


For years devlopers of the Wonderful World of Oz theme park have been searching for a location to build their park. Most recently officials had beeing looking at two locations, one in Johnson and the other in Wyandotte counties in Kansas. Unfortunately, these locations did not work out, so officials with the project are now looking at a new site.

Developers have recently begun to look at new site near the Smithville Lake area. Officials from the town don't really know how to react to the proposed project. Some local folks are downright opposed and others are willing to listen to the posibility of having the theme park be built.

Smithville has a population of only 3,999. The theme park alone would bring nearly twice as many jobs as their are residents to the area. The park if built is estimated to cost around $585. That fiqure has risen nearly four times what the original estimate was when the park was originally announced in 1992.


Mark your calendars for one of the most exciting coaster events of the year will happen on Saturday, October 10. Phoenix Phall Phunfest is an annual coater event put on by the folks at Knoeble's Park. The event is open to the general public as well as all coaster club members.

Traditionally those attending the event dress in festive costumes to celebrate the time of the year, Halloween. Pre-registration for the event is not required, everyone wishing to participate should just show up on October 10. The admission price has not been determined yet.

August 19, 1998


After 13,440 laps and 50 days on the Giant Dipper rollercoaster in San Diego, "Rollercoaster Rob" dropped out yesterday at 7:30 pm leaving only five riders remaining in this crazy coaster marathon, put on by Star 100.7 FM. The remaining riders will continue to battle it out for the grand prize of $50,000.

According to a press release from Star 100.7, the "Psycho Six" completed 13,000 laps as of Monday, which equates to 6,500 miles, the equivalant of San Diego, California to Rome, Italy in 49 days. Hard to imagine especially considering the riders are riding a wooden coaster.

In the contest riders ride the Giant Dipper rollercoaster located at Belmont Park in San Diego, everyday from 8 am until 11 pm and until 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays. They are allowed three ten minute breaks during the day and a thrity minute break at the end of the night. The contestants must sleep in the coaster train at night and ride in designated seats.

The winner of the contest will receive the grand prize of $50,000. If more than one contestant remains when the contest is called to an end, the prize will be divided evenly among them.


Officials from Sea World in San Antonio, Texas announced the park's plans to build the only hypercoaster in Texas, The Steel Eel. According to the press release the new coaster is already under construction and will open on Saturday, March 6. The Steel Eel will be the biggest addition since the park opened in 1988.

The Steel Eel will be built by D.H. Morgan Manufacturing, Inc. of California. The new hypercoaster will travel over 3,700 feet of track, will have an initial drop of 150 feet and a top speed of 65 mph. Following the initial drop the coaster will feature a camelback hill, before a second drop of 65 feet towards a second camel hump.

The coaster will then drop 113 feet into a wooded ravine while traveling at 62 mph, headed straight for a steep 44-degree banked curve. On the return to the station the coaster will travel over four more bumps, creating the popular airtime that coaster fans love.

Two 36-passenger trains will be used, with a maximum capacity of 1,200 riders per hour. The ride will take aproximately 3 minutes to complete.


Officials at Darrien Lake have announced their intention to build the park's sixth rollercoaster for 1999. If built the new coaster will be the tallest in New York at over 200 feet. Park officials did not comment on the rides designer, but did say that the coaster will be a hypercoaster.

The new coaster is estimated to cost around $12 million and will be built along Route 77. The coaster is part of an expansion program currently going on at Darrien Lake. The park is owned and operated by Premier Parks, Inc, the second largest operator of theme parks in the world.

Premier Parks has been in the news lately after it aquired the chain of Six Flags Theme Parks. Premiere Parks plans to continue to make big investments in all of their parks to improve attendance and revenues. The new rollercoaster at Darrien Lake would be one of the companies many expenditures on new rides for the 1999 season.

August 17, 1998


Last Thursday Premier Parks stock fell 28 percent after the company said that cash flow for the year would be less than expected.

Premier Parks Chairman Kieran Burke blamed the decline on poor marketing decisions made by the past management. He commented by saying that Six Flags Over Georgia's attendance drop was the most significant and most affected by decisions of the past management.

The stock fell $7.50 a share to $19.31 when it closed on Thursday. On Friday the stock rose 7/8 and closed at 20 3/16. Premier Parks trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol PKS.


The latest unofficial report from Six Flags Magic Mountain claims that Flashback may be the latest rollercoaster to join the once was list at the park.

According to a source, officials from White Water, a waterslide manufacturer have been at the park this past week looking at the Flashback site as a future locaton of a new waterslide attraction for Six Flags Hurricane Harbor.

Previously it was reported that an expansion of the waterpark was off for 1999. Well that information now appears to be incorrect and we have been told that the waterpark will be receiving a new attraction with about six to eight new waterslides.

If the expansion is true then Flashback, the park's least popular rollercoaster a one-of-a-kind space diver coaster built by Intamin AG would be removed to make way for the waterslides.

Many coaster fans have been hoping to see Six Flags Magic Mountain tie Cedar Point and eventually win the title for the most rollercoasters in one park. If Flashback is removed and Six Flags does install the rumored hypercoaster then they would still remain one coaster behind Cedar Point, a disappointment to some who were hoping to see the parks tie.

Reports from Cedar Point claim that the park will not be receiving another major coaster until the year 2000. If that holds true then this would be Six Flags Magic Mountain's big chance to tie the record, but only if the park keeps Flashback.


A report from Knott's Berry Farm tells us that construction on the park's new wooden rollercoaster, Ghost Rider is moving along at a rapid pace. Many sections of the coaster have been completed and it looks as if Knott's will make their latest target opening of Thanksgiving.

Construction on the new coaster began last spring and Knott's had originally announced that the new coaster would open in the spring of 1999. After Cedar Fair took over managing the park, construction rapidly progressed and the park announced the ride would open in Decemeber.

The most recent estimate says the ride will open the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. The Ghost Rider is the first wooden rollercoaster to be built in California since the Psyclone was built at Six Flags Magic Mountain in 1991. When completed the Ghost Rider will be the tallest and fastest wooden rollercoaster in California.


Just to spite our report last Friday, Volcano decided to prove us wrong and began blasting again. The ride was down Monday through Thursday. According to reports the coaster operated all weekend without any major downtime. We will keep you updated to any major developments with this coaster.

August 14, 1998


Guests traveling to Paramount's Kings Dominion this past week have been arriving to the park expecting to be blasted out of the mouth of a volcano on the parks newest rollercoaster, Volcano The Blast Coaster. But to the surprise of many that hasn't been happening, since Volcano has suddenly stopped blasting.

On Monday and Tuesday guests anxious to ride the new attraction stood in line for several hours hoping for the ride to open. Little did they know that Volcano would not operate at either day.

With no official word on why Volcano is not blasting some guests are beginning to get irritated. One individual claims that when he called the park he was told that Volcano would be open. When he arrived he was still assured that it would be operating, just later in the day. After spending all day in the park hoping and waiting for an hour for a ride that never opened, he feels the park should have been more up front.

"They have to know what is going on with the ride and if they don't have a clue what is wrong, then why should they even be telling people that it might operate when they don't even know what to fix."

Another guest to the park who e-mailed us said that he stood in line for an hour and half and was told by employees that the ride would open, but was down temporarily. After an hour and a half he walked to the front gate and demanded his money back, saying he felt the park had lied about the ride being in operation.

With all the hype last week and now the closure this week it is only normal for people to be disppointed. According to a good source close to the park, ride engineers are continuing to work on the problems and the park hopes to get the ride up and running as soon as possible, but no one knows when.


The celebration at Whalom Park continues today, August 14. The park is currently celebrating their 105th birthday and as a gift to everyone, the park is offering special prices on admission and food.

Admission to the park on Friday will be only $5.00. Admission will include unlimited rides and use of the waterpark. As a part of the celebration the park will also be selling food and drinks for a quarter.

Whalom Park is located in Lunenburg, Massachusetts.


A small fired occurred Wednesday evening on the Jack Rabbit rollercoster at Seabreeze Amusement Park in Rochester, New York. The fire occurred on the chain lift of the rollercoaster.

The report indicated that damage was minimal and the park expected to reopen the rollercoaster the very next day.


According to a source at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Drachen Fire, the Arrow Dynamics multi-looper is most likely not going to operate for the remainder of the season.

The ride has been closed for weeks and reports claimed that the park was doing work on the coaster because the ride is too rough. According to one employee, he has heard that the park is currently having legal problems over the ride.

Although there has been no official announcement, rumors claim that Drachen Fire is going to be removed this fall and moved to another park. While this may be disappointing to some coaster fans, others are thrilled to see the coaster go, claiming it was too rough.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg is unofficially slated to be getting a new B&M Speed Coaster for 1999. Watch for an official announcement this fall.


If your in the mood for some sweets while in Hersheypark, then skip the candy shop and head for the exit. Continuing now through August 16, Hersheypark is giving guests samples of the Payday candy bar on their way out. From 5:00 pm on guests leaving the park will receive one large Payday candy park. It is sort of like a sweet treat and one more thing to keep the kids up for the trip home after spending all day in the park.


Premier Parks, Inc. announced it's results for the past quarter on Wednesday. Revenues for the quarter ending June 30, 1998 increased to $237.2 million. Total operating costs and expenses increased to $184.8 million.

The increases were partially affected by the inclusion of Six Flags, Walibi and Kentucky Kingdom during the period.

The report also indicated that Premier intends to continue making management and operational changes at the existing Six Flags parks, as well as expand the use of the Warner Bros. Characters and the Six Flags name into the companies other parks beginning in early 1999.

August 13, 1998


Cedar Fair, L.P, a publicly traded partnership which operates five amusement parks, today announced results for the second quarter of 1998.

Net revenues for the quarter ended June 28, 1998, increased 52% to $120.5 million, from $79.2 million for the quarter ended June 29, 1997. Operating income increased 67% to $28.4 million from $17.0 million, and net income for the period increased 37% to $19.8 million, or $.37 per limited partner unit, from $14.4 million, or $.31 per unit, in 1997.

Richard L. Kinzel, president and chief executive officer, explained that the operating results for the current period were significantly impacted by the addition of Knott's Berry Farm, which was acquired in December 1997. Excluding operations at Knott's Berry Farm, net revenues and operating income for the period increased 11% and 41%, respectively, on an 8% increase in combined attendance, a 5% increase in combined in-park guest per capital spending and a 3% increase in out-of-park revenues at the Partnership's original four parks. These gains were partially offset by higher interest expense resulting from the acquisition of Knott's Berry Farm and a $4.2 million charge related to the new tax on publicly traded partnerships.


Thrill seekers will be pleased to learn that Dorney Park located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the home to Steel Force is seeking permission to build two new rides that will exceed the town's current height restrictions.

One of the rides, is an S&S Sports Turbo Drop tower and the other is a 180 foot tall sky coaster. The new Turbo Drop tower would be modeled after the Power Tower that opened this year at Cedar Point, another under the same management as Dorney. The Power Tower if approved would rise over 200 feet into the air and drop riders seated in ski lift style seats, while their feet dangled free.

The second attraction called the Rip Cord would be a 180 foot tall sky coaster. Sky coasters are currently installed at a variety of parks across the US and the world. A sky coaster is a cross between bungee jumping, sky diving and freefalling. Riders are harnessed into slings and towed to the top of the tower where they pull a rip cord that sends falling back to earth.

The proposal is going to be met with some opposition. A homeowners association opposes changing the height ordinance to build the new rides. The homeowners are concerned with the amount of noise, the appearane and the increased traffic these rides may bring to the area.

The plans for the new rides will be presented to the Planning Commission on August 20 by Dorney Park General Manager John Albino.


A brief new highlight mentioned that Darien Lake is planning to build another rollercoaster, possibly for the 1999 season. According to the report the park needs to complete an environmental imact report in order to proceed with the plans. The report mentioned that the rollercoaster if built will be 195 feet tall and span a body of water. From the sounds of the report it seems as if they are going to try to build a hypercoaster.

August 11, 1998


A source close to Lagoon Amusement Park located in Salt Lake City, has informed us that top executvies from Paramount Parks have made several informal visits to the park recently. The visits may indicate that Paramount Parks, which is interested in expanding it's theme park operations in the US, may be interested in acquiring Lagoon.

Over the years Lagoon has been targeted by several of the major theme park operators, including Six Flags and Premier, but park management has always turned them down. It is belived that Lagoon's owners have tried keep the park under local control, but times may be changing.

According to this source, this is the first time that a potential buyer has been invited to the park. If this is true it may indicate that Lagoon's current owner may be in negotiations to selling the park to Paramount.

Lagoon's future has been the topic of discussion, since the state of Utah has been getting a lot of attention since it one the bid to be the site of the 2002 winter Olympics. While the winter time is not the time for coaster riding, Salt Lake City continues to grow, as does it's tourism industry.

Information provided about Lagoon's future says that the park will be installing a new ride for 1999, but no specific details were given. As for the long term future, the park has supposedly just signed a deal for a new rollercoaster to be built by popular Swiss designers Bolliger and Mabillard. The coaster is expected to be built in time for the summer of year 2000.


Yesterday, Universal ran a full scale show for those passing by the Island Of Adventures. According to a report from the park many of the ride designers and top people working on the project including Steven Speilberg were at the park to view the progress and on going ride testing.

Some of the rides being tested were the new B&M coaster Hulk, Doctor Doom's Freefall and the Pteranondon Flyers. The testing went on all day long and for some of the attractions throughout the evening as well.

Construction on Island Of Adventures is moving along very rapidly. The majority of the construction is expected to be completed by the year's end and the park will open in the early part of 1999.

August 10, 1998


A tower holding up a bungee cord ride at Steel Pier amusement park in Atlantic City, NJ collapsed Sunday onto an adjacent attraction, injuring four children.

The injuried children, two 12 year-olds, a 16 year old and 10 year-old were all on the bumber cars, the neighboring attraction the tower fell on. They were all taken to the local hospital, three were treated and released, but the forth remains in fair condition.

The ride is designed with two 180 foot tall towers that support a cage or gondola suspended from the towers on bungee cords. The gondola is held to the ground as the bungee cords are pulled up the tower, stretching them. When the gondola is released riders are shot up in the air like a slingshot.

As a precaution the state closed three similar bungee cord rides on the New Jersey shore.


Ogden Corporation has officially announced that it's entertainement division has secured financing and officially started construction on Jazzland a 140 acre theme park located in eastern New Orleans. The park will be owned and operated by Ogden is expected to open on Memorial Day 2000.

Jazzland is projected to attract 1.6 million visitors annually and will be the only major theme park in a three-state region including Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas. The nearest major theme park is located 350 miles away in Houston, Texas.

Showcasing the unique culture of New Orleans and Louisiana, JazzlandTM will include distinct themed areas including Jazz Plaza, Cajun Country, Pontchartrain Beach, Mardi Gras, and Gospel Gardens. These areas will offer a variety of thrill rides, regional food, games, live entertainment, and music. Additionally, popular music concerts will be held at the Great LawnTM amphitheater, located on the grounds of the park.

For coaster fans Jazzland has already planned to build a replica of the Zephyr which was torn down in the early eighties. The Zephyr a wooden rollercoaster will be built by CCI, Custom Coasters Inc. Another coaster a Vekoma SLC is also planned.

August 8, 1998


Last month Vekoma International sent out a notice asking park operators to suspend operation of it's model of roller coaster known as the "Suspended Looping Coaster" or "SLC". The recall was prompted after a hairline crack was found in one of the models at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

The manufactuer has asked all parks who have this type of coaster to close the ride and inspect it for what is being called a "design variance." According to the report, operators should throughly inspect the track, trains and supports for possibly hairline cracks.

Premier Parks which operate several Vekoma SLC's at it's various theme parks, choose to shut down the rides as a precautionay measure. As of today, most of the SLC's have reopened, but the individual parks are performing daily inspections of the rides. Riverside park another park operated by Premier is performing inspections several times a day.

The flaw found in the Kentucky Kingdom ride may be unique to that particular ride, but Vekoma decided to take no chances by ordering all of the parks to peform the inspection. If cracks eventually are found in other installations it may suggest that there is a design flaw with the type of coaster in general. So far there have not been any other reports of any other cracks found.


The manufacturer of the log chute attraction located at the Mall of America claims that the ride is safe without safety restraints, but a safety consultant disagrees.

According to the safety consultant the 12 year old boy who fell to his death could have been saved if safety belts had been installed on the log ride. The accident was preventable since the boy would not have been able to climb from his seat.

While the consultant claims restraints would have helped the manufacturer disagrees. O.D. Hopkins, the manufacturer of the ride claims that seat belts wouldn't help since you can get out of them if you wanted.

David Craig a 12 year old was riding the log ride at Knott's Camp Snoopy. The boy who became frightened tried to climb out of the log. When he grabbed a railing next to the log he was pulled from the car and fell forty feet. He died on Sunday, a day after the accident.

The death on the log chute was the first death on any attraction built by O.D. Hopkins. The manufacturer does not have any intention in modifying the design of this particular ride.

Maureen Cahill, spokeswoman for the Mall of America, said Camp Snoopy will follow the manufacturer's advice and will not install seat belts or implement changes on the ride.

She also added that signs inside and outside the boat warn passengers to remain seated and keep their hands and arms in the ride compartment. To ride unescorted, a person must be 52 inches tall.

Accidents on log flume attractions are rare and amusement park experts consider them to be among the safest attractions. The log ride reopened at Camp Snoopy this past Monday.


Officials at Six Flags Magic Mountain have kept a tight lid on this one, but rumors are starting to surface that Six Flags Magic Mountain may be building the world's largest hypercoaster for 1999.

According to a source in the park information has been limited, because the park is working with Giovanola, a new manufacturer entering the US market for the first time. Giovanola has already built several attractions in Europe and has done work for B&M overseas.

The new coaster is said to be the world's tallest hypercoaster and will run on land in the rear of the park behind several attractions, parallel to a service road. The loading station is rumored to be where a clothing store once was, next to the restrooms, located to the left of the Dive Devil.

The rumor says the lift hill will rise to the north and the first drop will bottom out behind The Riddler's Revenge. According to this source the coaster will be an out and back design.

Another rumor claims the helix will be located in land between the Superman Tower and Colossus. On a recent visit to the park I personally noticed that Six Flags has been cleaning up this area which used to be one of the parks old ride grave sites.

In the coming year Six Flags Magic Mountain is going to be facing some tough competition. In November, Ghost Rider a new wooden roller coaster will open at Knott's Berry Farm and in the spring Universal will open the new Terminator 3-D attraction. Rumors are also surfacing that Knott's may be looking into building another attraction for the summer of 1999 as well.

Without a major new attraction for 1999, Six Flags would really be left in the dark. Competition in Southern California is getting fierce with Cedar Fair know running Knott's, Disney in the process of a major expansion and Universal's investment in another high tech attraction, claimed to rival their last addition Jurassic Park The Ride.

Over the past several years Six Flags Magic Mountain has been working towards improving attendance and has increased the number of days the park is open. It would be a shame to see the park fall behind after all they have accomplished.

According to a source close to Premier Parks, the parent operating company. Premier is very interested investing a lot of money into Six Flags Magic Mountain over the next several years. Of all the parks Premier operates, Six Flags Magic Mountain has a lot of potential to increase attendance and a major new coaster for 1999 would be the right investment to keep the park headed in that direction.

If Six Flags Magic Mountain does install a new rollercoaster for 1999 they will tie Cedar Point for the title of the most roller coasters in the US, which would bring a lot of publicity to the park which Six Flags would benefit from.


Still unofficial news, but a source close to the park claims that he has gotten information that the park will be transforming the children's section of Cedar Point into Camp Snoopy for 1999 to capitalize on Cedar Fair's purchase of the rights to use the Peanuts characters.

The park wants to begin using the Peanuts characters to improve what the park has to offer to the younger guest. Cedar Fair's purchase of Knott's was two sided, on one side they got an outstanding year round park in a market with huge potential, but on the other side they gained the rights to some of America's most well known and loved characters. The Peanuts characters are proven, they sell tickets and from a shareholder's perspective that looks good.

It is important to remember, that while Camp Snoopy may be disappointing to the thrill seeker it can be a really winner at the ticket window. With every child admission purchased, an adult admission is purchased as well. When you install a new roller coaster you fill the park with teenagers, who choose to leave their parents at home.

According to this source exact details about the introduction have not been finalized, but expect an official announcement this fall. When asked about the future for thrill seekers, this source says, watch the year 2000, it is going to be big!


Workers have begun repairs on the Jack Rabbit roller coaster and the neighboring building that was damaged when the train jumped the track. Although there has been no official word about when the ride will reopen. Sources say that it is good news that work has begun.

Some speculation earlier in the week claimed that the Clementon Park would leave the Jack Rabbit closed and tear it down in the off season. Now it appears that the park will indeed reopen the ride, which is good news to coaster preservationists. The Jack Rabbit is currently the second oldest operating wooden coaster in the US.

August 7, 1998


Officials working on the Heartland Festival theme park have committed to opening the new theme park by next summer, even if they must pay extra to get the construction completed. The pledge was made before the Hendricks City Council by Greg Williams, president of Entercitement.

The promise came as Heartland received approval to use $2 million in funds from the county to help complete a $6 million road improvement project. The road improvements are being done on Interstate I-70 and Ind. 39. The developers are responsible for any additional costs incurred to get the road work completed because of the tight schedule.


It is rumored that Premier Parks the largest operator of theme parks in the world has made an offer to buy Busch Gardens Williamsburg for $280 million. Premier has recently acquired parks in Europe and in the United States, Premier Parks purchased the Six Flags chain of from Time Warner, Inc.

Kennywood Entertainment recently claimed that a large theme park operator made an offer to purchase Kennywood, but the companies owners decided that they were not for sale. Kennywood declined to comment on who made the offer. Many suspect that Premier Parks was behind this offer.


The ride operator of the Clementon Park Jack Rabbit has been blammed for the accident that caused the train to jump the track, injuring several riders. According to an unofficial report the operator had disengaged the breaking system and was allowing the train to pass through the station to allow riders multiple rides in a row.

Unfortunately, by disengaging the breaks the train was traveling too fast to negotiate the turn just before the lift hill. Fortunately, all of the injuries were minor. It is unknown if the ride will reopen to the public.

A rumor about the accident claims that the local police have now arrested the ride operator and are charging him with reckless endangerment. The operator is claiming that the park is passing off the blame, claiming that the park told him to run the rollercoaster like he did.


On Wednesday afternoon poop was found in the Lazy River at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor in Los Angeles, prompting a shut down of all attractions using the same water circuit for health reasons. According to reports from the park at one time only three attractions remained in operation.

Earlier this summer several children became violently ill at a water park on the east coast after swimming in water that had been infected with samonela after another child pooped in the water.

The closing of most of the major attractions caused a major fiasco, that forced Hurricane Harbor officials to call upon Magic Mountain employees for help. According to one employee, they pulled all of the Magic Mountain guest relations representatives over to Hurricane Harbor to help out.

Park guests coming to the park had to be warned about what was happening, so for awhile park employees stood in front of the ticket windows warning guests. In the parks defense they were honest about the situtation, according to one guest who walked off. After about an hour or so a decision was made to stop selling tickets to the water park.

For awhile the line for refunds stretched on and on as if it were for a new ride or something. Park employees tried to make the most out of the situation by handing out free ice cream to guests who were waiting for a refund. Management tried to be very accomodating, they offerred refunds or the option to go to Magic Mountain.


Recently many of the Vekoma suspended looping coasters have been closed across the United States. While there have been no official reports about the ride closures, unofficial reports claim that hairline cracks have been found in the steel supports and structure of the T2 rollercoaster at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

T2, the rollercoaster at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom is expected to remain closed until September. The park and Vekoma are supposedly inspecting the ride and performing tests. They are expected to begin repairs soon.

In light of the find, Vekoma has asked the parks to perform an extensive inspection of this type of coaster. Parks are to check for similar hairline cracks that are rumored to have occurred on the T2 coaster. Supposedely the inspections are the reason why so many of the parks have had their SLC coasters closed over the past several weeks. Reports from some parks claim that the major inspection has been completed, but daily inspections are still being performed.

Riverside Park, Agawam, Mass. closes it's suspeneded looping coaster for an inspection each afternoon, for about an hour. Signs around the park announce the closing time to guests. While the park has not given any official word on why they are closing the ride, rumors say it is to inspect the track and supports for cracks or damage.

August 6, 1998


Four teens were taken to a local hospital after an accident occurred on Mr. Hyde's Nasty Fall at Geauga Lake Amusement Park. The teens were transported to the hospital as a precaution. The victims were treated for minor injuries and released.

The accident happened when the car the teens were riding in hit another. The ride lifts cars into the air and drops them to the ground in free fall. According to the park, the car stalled and the operators were lowering it to the ground into the loading area when it hit another car.


The Clementon Park, Jack Rabbit train jumped the track at 4:15 pm on Wednesday afternoon crasing into an adjacent building. Five people sustained minor injuries and were treated at a local hospital.

According to witnesses at the scene, the train jumped the track at the turn between the lift hill and loading station. The Jack Rabbit is not designed with under track wheels and fortunately this is a slow speed turn.

The Jack Rabbit rollercoaster is the second oldest operating coaster in the United States. The coaster was built in 1919 by John Miller. There was no word on when the park may reopen the ride and investigation is pending.


Dubbed the "fastest inverted coaster in the world" the media certainly did their job in promoting Paramount's Kings Dominion's newest roller coaster Volcano The Blast Coaster. Local news stations across the country did short features and showed footage of the new coaster.

At the park the hype was just as great. When security opened the gates at 2:30 pm there was a mad rush to get into line. At times the line streched for nearly three hours.

Most riders were thrilled with the new ride, but many questioned whether the wait was worth it. Some said that they would not wait again, while others raced to get into line again for another ride. Estimates for the upcoming weekend claim that the wait for Volcano may exceed five hours.

Volcano is currently operating at a reduced capacity, which is resulting in longer lines. The coaster is operating with three trains, but only eight of the sixteen seats are available. The park has not commented about when the ride will become fully operational, still guests are pleased that the ride is atleast operating.

August 3, 1998


To the surprise of some guests Paramount's Kings Dominion decided to have a soft opening for Volcano The Blast Coaster this past Saturday. The ride opened at around 1:00 pm and operated until the park closed.

Many guests were surprised to find Volcano operating since the park had announced that the ride would officially open today, August 3 at 3:00 pm. For some the opening was not a surprise. A dozen or so coaster fans camped out at the enterance after hearing a rumor that Volcano might open.

As word about the opening spread throughout the park, guests quickly hurried to get into line to be one of the first to ride. At the peak of the afternoon the line stretched forever and wait times exceeded three hours. All the excitement about the soft opening seemed to drown out any complaints about the wait.

Guests exiting the attraction continually commented about how smooth the ride was. One amazed individual claimed that he had never been on such a smooth rollercoaster, it even beat B&M inverted coasters. Other guests commented about the rides three spine chilling heartline rolls.

Volcano operated without too many interuptions. The ride temporarly closed down about have a dozen times, each for about 15 minutes, due to technical problems. The ride ran with three trains, but only 8 of the 16 seats were used. In spite of the reduced capacity the line kept moving.

Volcano The Blast Coaster located at Paramount's Kings Dominion, officially opens to the public this afternoon, August 3 at 3:00 pm.


Six riders remain in the Whirl Til You Hurl 2 contest after a month of riding the Giant Dipper wooden rollercoaster at Belmont Park. The second annual coaster marathon is again sponsored by local San Diego radio station Star 100.

Last year the station gave away three cars to three remaining riders after nearly a month of riding the coaster. This year the contestants are battling for $50,000, the largest prize ever for a coaster marathon.

In this contest the riders ride the Giant Dipper from 8:00 am to 11:00 pm, with a ten minute break every four hours. From 11:00 pm to 8:00 am the riders may sleep, but must remain in one of the cars of the train.

We will keep you updated of the outcome of the event and possibly have an interview with one of the riders in the next week or so.

August 1, 1998


A 12 year-old boy was injuried today after he fell forty feet from the Log Ride at Knott's Camp Snoppy in the Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota. The accident happened when the child became scaried and attempted to climb out of the log before the final drop.

A ride operator saw the boy standing and stopped the ride, but it was too late. The accident happened at aproximately 11:30 am. The boy sustained substanial injuries and after several hours of surgery remains in critical condition.

The ride remained closed for the rest of the day for an inspection. Reports indicate the ride was found to be working correctly and is expected to reopen tommorrow.


Disneyland announced on July 29 that the Submarine Voyage will become a part of history this September. The announcement came as no surprise, since the Submarine Voyage is the second oldest attraction in Tommorrowland and has recently been the location of a high tech demonstration of new ride technology for Disney executives.

According to the announcement the ride will close after the Labor Day weekend and will be the site of future high tech attraction. In recent years, the aging ride has become one of the more costly to operate based on the number of riders. Newer more modern rides have over shadowed the aging Submarine Voyage, which is more nostalgic than futuristic.

A proposal for a replacement attraction calls for a new ride based on an underwater city called Atlantis. The new attraction would involve new high tech submarines to be incorporated into an exciting thrill ride.

Over the past several weeks key Disney executives have sat in a submarine at the dock, hidden by a tent to watch demonstrations of new ride technology. This could be the site of the next major Disneyland attraction. The new ride is expected to cost millions and be on the same scale as the last major attraction, the Indiana Jones Adventure.

According to the announcement the new attraction will not open until 2003. Disneyland already has a busy schedule for the next several years. Already in the works are a new summer parade for 1999, a new nightime parade for 2000 and the opening of Disney's California Adventure, a new theme park for 2001.


Drachen Fire an Arrow multielement steel coaster has been closed for several weeks at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. There has been no official announcement about the ride's closure, but park employee's claim it is because of complaints about the ride being too rough.

According to one employee, the park is currently working on the attraction and it is expected to reopen, but it may be the final season. Drachen Fire is rumored to have been sold to another theme park operator and the location will be used for future attraction.

Over the past few years coaster fans have complained about Drachen Fire being too rough. Problems with the ride became apparent when the park decided to remove the sixth inversion, a corkscrew in 1996.

If Drachen Fire is removed during the off season it will most likely become the site of an attraction in the distant future. The park has already begun work on a new roller coaster for 1999 in the Italy section. Land clearing has been completed and work is currently being done on the ride's station. The park has not made an official announcement, but sources say the park will be getting a Bolliger and Mabillard speed coaster.


Reports from Six Flags Over Georgia claim that the park has begun to receive shipments of Bolliger and Mabillard track. An official announcement has not been made, but sources claim that the park will be getting a new B&M stand-up roller coaster for 1999.

The new stand-up coaster is rumored to be one of the tallest and fastest stand-up coasters in the world and is modeled after The Riddler's Revenge at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Rumors about the name claim that park executives are considering Superman The Escape over The Riddler's Revenge. An official announcement is expected this fall.


A reliable source sent me a short bit on the future for Six Flags Magic Mountain. Last year the park was the center of attention with rumors circulating wildly about The Riddler's Revenge. This year not much has been mentioned, but a few sources still claim that the park has the a budget approved for major new attractions in 1999 and 2000.

This latest tidbit claims that the park is keeping real quiet about the new attraction for 1999 since plans have not been entirely finalized. According to this source the park's new attraction will be a new Giovanola roller coaster. Giovanola is a new manufacturer and is expected to enter the market in 1999.


Paramount's Kings Dominion's long awaited Volcano The Blast Coaster will begin blasting Monday, August 3 at 3:00 pm. The inverted LIM (Linear Induction Motor) launched coaster has been delayed for over a month due to technical problems.

The announcement came earlier than expected since the park was expected to make the announcement about the opening day on Monday. Volcano is expected to be a crowd pleaser and opening day is expected to be busy.

Coaster enthusiasts have been awaiting the opening of Volcano for months. The park will begin to offer special ride time to season passholders on August 17. The exclusive ride time will be offered Monday through Friday beginning at 9:30 am to the first 800 to arrive before 10:00 am through September 7.


A source has sent word that the world's largest theme park may be built in Arizona. According to the plan several businessmen have gotten the approval to build a theme park, water park, resort hotel, multi-purpose stadium and expon on land just south of Gilbert, Arizona.

While specific details were not give, this source claims that the new theme park has several state-of-the-art recording breaking rides on the drawing boards that will astound the mind.

Expect an announcement about the project in the next few months.

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