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Ultimate Rollercoaster > News > Archives > July 1998 News

News July 1998


July 31, 1998


Paramount's Kings Dominion announced today that Volcano The Blast Coaster will open to the public on Monday, August 3 at 3:00 p.m. Riders must be at least 54 inches tall to ride.

The news comes after more than a month of delays due to technical problems. Volcano is one of the most highly anticipated new rides of 1998 and the delays have been a disppointment to fans.

As promised season pass holders will get exclusive ride time on Volcano beginning August 17 and continuing through September 7, Monday through Friday only. The exclusive ride time begins at 9:30 am and is available to the first 800 riders only. All riders must be in line before 10 am.

July 28, 1998


Reports from Paramount's Kings Dominion claim that Volcano The Blast Coaster is beginning to rumble and may open to the public as early as August 8. Last week guests visiting the park witnessed the first full circuit tests of Volcano.

Volcano's opening has been delayed for over a month due to technical problems with the attraction. The park has not released any specific information about the problems, but speculating we suspect that the problems are with the high tech linear induction motors.

Volcano is one of a handful of rollercoasters that utilize high tech linear induction motors, also called LIM's for power. Over the past several years attractions using this technology have had a history of opening late, due to problems with the high tech motors. Last year, Six Flags had to delay the opening of three new rollercoasters using this technology for a year.

The news about Volcano is exciting to fans who have been anxiously awaiting it's opening. After the initial delay the park set-up a hotline for guests to call to find out the latest news on the opening of Volcano. As of July 27, the hotline reports that Volcano is beginning to rumble and to call back on August 3 for an exciting announcement.

A source close to the park tells us that Volcano is almost ready and if engineers give the green light the ride may open on August 8. This source also claims that the park has made significant progress in tackling the problems with the ride in the past two weeks, if the ride does not open on August 8, it should almost definetly be open by the following weekend.

Keep checking back as we will bring you the latest news about Volcano as it happens including the announcement from the park on August 3.


Local residents are complaining about hissing noises coming from the new Supreme Scream attraction at Knott's Berry Farm. The complaints were voiced by local residents, who say they have not had any peace since the new attraction opened.

The Supreme Scream is a new 300 foot tall triple tower Turbo Drop, that is designed to use pressurized air to accelerate riders down from the top at speeds up to 50 mph. The complaints come from the noise created by the air being used to operate the attraction.

Knott's has responded to the residents complaints and claims that the problem will be fixed within a month. Parts are being specially manufactured to fix the problem with the attraction. The ride would have been fixed sooner, but the parts are not readily available.

July 24, 1998


Jazzland, a proposed new theme park in New Orleans is supposedely going to go ahead with plans to build the park and have it open by the year 2000. A source close the project says construction is expected to begin within the next month and the park should open on Memorial Day 2000.

This source also reports that the park will be building two roller coasters in time for the park's opening. The first will be the previously reported Zephyr clone, which is going to be built by CCI. The Zephyr was a classic wooden coaster which closed in the early 80's. It was located at Pontchartrain Beach amusement park until the ride was torn down.

The second coaster planned for the park will be a Vekoma suspended looping coaster (SLC), that will be custom built for the park. Park planners are anticipating an annual attendance of about 1.4 million visitors.


Note: This is still a rumor and has not been officially confirmed with anyone at Knott's Berry Farm.

A source claiming to have a connection with the park has reported that Knott's Berry Farm park planners are looking into possibility of expanding the park across Western Ave, into an area currently used for employee parking.

According to this source, the park has been creating several plans for expanding the park. One plan calls for the park to expand onto land currently used behind Bigfoot Rapids. Another plan is to expand the park across Western Avenue into an area currently used for employee parking.

The second plan which calls for expanding across Western Avenue is being looked at, but planners are facing several obstcals. In this option planners are faced with the problem of how to create access to the land. According to this source there are four options currently proposed.

The first option involves digging down into the current street (Western Ave.) and creating one or two tunnels which cars would travel through. The park would then be able to have one or two large walkways which guest could travel across between the new and old sections of the park. If the tunnel is long enough, the park could possibly expand onto the land above the street as well.

The second option would be to close Western Ave. between La Palma to the north and Crescent to the south. This plan may be least costly and most favored by the park, but is unlikely to receive approval from the city planners.

Two other options being looked at, involve creating pedestrian walkways either over or under the street. Two of the crossing points being discussed are the old west enterance gate near Big Foot Rapids or the space behind Headache the ride and the Pacific Pavillion.

Currently the Headache attraction is rumored to be on the chopping block for this fall and the park has announced that they are closing the Dolphin and Sea Lion show this September. The removal of these attractions may be an indication that the park might be thinking of expanding the park across the street from this location.

According to this source, the park has not made any finalized plans for new attractions in these areas and is concentrating on getting the expansion plans finalized and approved before making any firm decisions on future attractions.


Marine World in Vallejo, California was the big attraction winner in California this year when the park suddenly expanded and built over a dozen new attractions, including two rollercoasters.

The big word around the park is a rumored new wooden rollercoaster to be built in the current parking lot for 1999. The new wooden coaster is expected to be built by Great Coasters International (GCI) and could very well be a replica of the wooden rollercoaster Roar, which was built at Adventure World this year.

Unannounced plans say that the park will be building a new parking area this winter and the parks owner Premier Parks wants to forge ahead with expansion plans to increase it's competitive edge against the only other major theme park in northern California, Paramount's Great America.


Declining attendance and an un-finished appearance has lead to an announcement that MGM Grand Adventures will now be open seasonal basis. The park announcement came as no surprise since the park has been reporting hard times with declining attendance.

Over the past year the park has seen it's demise. The park became the target of a hotel pool area expansion which dropped the size of the park from thirty to eighteen acres.

When the park was downsized the park also lost it's enterance and it's identity. Many visitors to Las Vegas claim that it is too hard to find the enterance to the park which used to be accessable from a long shopping arcade off the hotel's casino.

A source who works for the park claims that the park never really took off because of a lack of major attractions. "Every ride in the park with the exception of the Sky Coaster is really a disappointment. It is the exact opposite of how things are usually built in Las Vegas."

According to this source the park may still use the Sky Coaster during the down time. That is the one attraction that continues to bring visitors into the park and seems to be very profitable.

It is hopeful that the down time will be good for the park. Possibly the park will build a more visible entrance and regain it's identity along with some lost attendance.

July 23, 1998

Note: News has been light lately, so updates have not been as frequent. We have not forgotten you and as soon as the latest news breaks we will update as soon as possible.


Inside Track, a once well recognized amusement park industry publication has fallen into limbo and the state of the publication is unknown. Over the past several month's Inside Track subscribers have been complaining about false promises, made by Inside Track publisher Mark Wyatt, as to when the publication would resume delivering issues. Recent subscribers claim they have yet to see an issue and old subscribers say it has been nearly a year and the last issue received was several month's lete. Current subscribers complain that their phone messages have gone unanswered and requests for subscription refunds have been ignored.

The World Of Coasters web site posted a special report on July 20, about the problems with Inside Track. The article is titled Inside Track Derails and was written by Bill Childs.

July 22, 1998


This is a follow-up to what was printed in last week's update about a possible amusement park being built in New Orleans. An article titled "We're investing in theme park" by Jim Beam appeared in the Lake Charles American Press on July 16,1998. The article outlined the proposed park that has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade in New Orleans.

Jazzland a proposed $80 million theme park, is slated to open Memorial Day 2000. The park will feature 25 major rides, including a replica of the Zephyr rollercoaster. Themes for the proposed park include Cajun Country, Gospel Garden, Jazzland, Kid's Section, Mardi Gras, and Pontchartrain. The park is expected to draw 1.4 million visitors a year.

The theme park will be located on 140 acres, in eastern New Orleans, near the intersection of Interstates 10 and 510. The park will operate from May through October will create about 4,500 jobs during the operating season, 500 of which will continue in the off-season.

On a side note, the Zephyr rollercoaster, was a classic wooden rollercoaster at the Pontchartrain Beach amusement park. The coaster is no longer in existence.
Special thanks to David for submitting the extra details.


The New York Times newspaper printed an article about the success of Premier Parks, since the company began, went public and their latest acquisition of Six Flags Theme Parks. The article also talks about Frontier City Amusement Park and how Premier has saved the park and is now pouring money into the park. The article can be read on the New York Times web site. Search for the article titled "The New Monster Of The Midway." You wil have to register to read it, but registration is free.

July 16, 1998


Tampa, Fla.-Thrill seekers at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay can ride a new legend as the park gears up to premier, Gwazi, "Florida's first" dueling wooden roller coaster in June 1999. Boasting one million feet of twisting lumber, Gwazi also will be the "Southeast's largest and fastest" dueling wooden roller coasters. Named after a fabled lion with a tiger's head, Gwazi will take riders through almost 7,000 feet (total of both sides) of track at speeds exceeding 50 mph. "At Busch Gardens Tampa Bay we are committed to offering the best shows, animal attractions and rides to our guests. Following the recent opening of Edge of Africa and Akbar's Adventure Tours, Gwazi will deliver another one-of-a-kind, thrilling, family-oriented experience for them," said Robin Carson, Busch Gardens Tampa BayŐs executive vice president and general manager.

According to African legend, the Gwazi lion, with its superior strength is locked in an intense battle over territory with the Gwazi tiger, known for its cunning and superior speed.

At the African-themed adventure park the legend, involving two of the animal kingdom's most powerful beasts, will come to life in the form of two wooden roller coasters. Each coaster will have distinct theming symbolizing the different personalities and environments of the ferocious cats. Gwazi LionŐs territory will include lava rocks in an African desert atmosphere, while the Gwazi Tiger claims the lush landscape and cool streams of Asia. The Gwazi lion and Gwazi tiger will depart the station in unison and immediately head towards each other six times at combined dueling speeds of 100 mph (50 mph each coaster). Forty-eight riders will join the competition, plummeting 90 feet during the three-minute adventure.


Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, Idaho is planning to build a new single track wooden rollercoaster, named Tremors for 1999. The new 3,000 foot wooden rollercoaster will feature a 100 foot tall lift hill, top speeds near 55 mph and will be configured with a twister style layout. Tremors is expected to feature several underground tunnels.

The new wooden coaster will be custom designed by CCI, Custom Coasters Inc. Tremors will be the second wooden coaster at the park built by CCI, the first was Timber Terror.


Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom received permission to build a tunnel under Lincoln Ave. to help guests travel between the parks and one of the park's parking lots. Until the tunnel is completed guests will still have to cross into traffic on Lincoln Ave.

The new tunnel will allow pedestrians to travel in both ways and traffic to travel in only one direction. The idea for the tunnel presented to the South Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners by John Albino, Dorney Park General Manager, came from Knott's Berry Farm, which has a similar tunnel that passes under Beach Blvd in Buena Park. Knott's Berry Farm and Dorney Park are sister parks, both owned by Cedar Fair LP.


The new Disneyland Rocket Rods attraction remains closed after last weeks report. The new high tech attraction is expected to remain closed for the next four to six weeks according to someone in guest relations, after a call to the park.

According to a source in the park, the problems with the ride is greater than expected and the four to six weeks is just a guess, no one really knows how long they will be closed.

The closure is disappointing news for park guests who are visiting during the busy summer period. One reader wrote that he was extremely disappointed, he expected the Rocket Rods to be open since they operated on the opening day of the new Tommorrowland.

Stay tuned for further details about the problems and when the attraction will re-open.


The Lake Charles American Press had an article on July 9 that a new park named Jazzland will be built in New Orleans. The new park will be built in two phases, rides and attractions in phase one and a waterpark, hotels and retail space in phase two. According to a reader of this site, the park has been a rumor for years.


Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California was forced to change the name of their dual track steel racing coaster known as the Windjammer, to Jammer. The change became necessary after another company bearing the same name filed suit against Knott's for using the name. The change is just one more blow to this coaster, that has already received a lot of negative comments about it being to rough.

Knott's has already changed the name on the coaster's logo at the enterance and on the parks web site at

Rumors still continue about whether or not the park is going to keep the attraction or replace it with a new attraction.

July 9, 1998


The new Tommorrowland Rocket Rods attraction at Disneyland is presently closed and has been since Monday. When asked about the attraction, employees declined to comment about what was wrong, but said that it would most likely be open again on Saturday.

The Rocket Rods are one of several new attractions in the recently renovated Tommorrowland. The Rocket Rods employ high tech futuristic vehicles that travel the path of the old People Mover at speeds up to 35 mph.

Unofficial reports coming out of the park earlier this year told of all sorts of problems with the Rocket Rods. Still the park managed to open the attraction with the opening of the New Tommorrowland. Guests visiting the park since the opening have had to deal with long lines, sometimes exceeding two and half hours. The lines are result of the popularity and the unexpected short technical breakdowns that have been happening.

Although there is no official word on the reason for the closure, one source claims that the park was getting tired of the continous technical breakdowns, that were increasing in numbers over the past few weeks. This source claims the park chose to close the ride for a week or so to try and correct some of the problems that have been troubling the ride. All of the breakdowns were destroying the guest experience, so it was in the best interest to close the attraction and work on the problems.


Local news stations in Los Angeles were reporting that a 16-year old girl nearly drowned after swallowing too much water on a water slide at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor water park. According to the reports the girl took water into her lungs while slidding down one of the slides. When she landed in the splash pool she just sank to the bottom and was quickly rescued by one of the parks lifeguards. The girl did not suffer any major injuries and was only shaken from the incident. There was little the park could have done to prevent such an incident, which according to many water parks happens frequently.

July 7, 1998


A reader forwarded the wording from an invitation to a press event at Busch Gardens Tampa, in Florida. The event is scheduled for July 15 and the invite read the following:

Attention Warrior

They're coming! One is powerful with superior strength while the other is cunning with unmatched speed. Both are locked together in an intense battle over a territory neither one can ever share....and neither one can ever leave.

A drum call summons the bravest of warriors as these two forces prepare to bring their intense battle to, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.

With all the rumors circulating about a wooden rollercoaster being built at Busch Gardens Tampa this sounds like the long awaited official announcement. From the way the invitation is worded, I would speculate that Busch Gardens Tampa is going to be getting a new dual track wooden coaster for 1999. Keep checking back for more details.


Premier Parks Inc. announced on July 2 that it had successfully completed it's tender offer that began in May 1998 for the outstanding stock of Walibi, S.A. As a result of the offer, Premier now owns approximately 94 percent of the outstanding Walibi stock.

In concluding the offer Premier will now delist the Walibi shares from the Brussels Stock Exchange and make a new offer to purchase the remaining shares of Walibi stock on the same terms and conditions of the previous tender offer.

Walibi owns six theme parks, two located in Belgium, one in The Netherlands, three in France and two smaller parks in Belgium. Premier Parks Inc. is the world's largest regional theme park operator. The company operates 31 regional parks in markets around the world, including the Walibi parks.


The following article from the Daily Press, Willimasburg Edition was forwared to my attention and I found it to be quite humorous. It must have been a slow news day.

Alpengeist-Busch Gardens talest, fastest, and most popular coaster- may also be it's scariest.

At least one person would have to agree. On a recent Saturday afternoon, someone wet himself while riding the coaster. Daily Press reporter Mark Di Vincenzo, was waiting in line when the incident occured. When the Alpengeist staff realized what happened, they scrubbed the seat, sprayed it with something and dumped powder all over it. Then they sent the coaster out on a run without passengers to let it dry. When it returned, they repeated the process. The seat wetter didn't claim responsibility. A spokeswoman for Busch Gardens said, "the Alpengeist crew didn't report the mishap", and said "no one there has ever heard of that happening before."

When in fear just wet the seat...and let the ride op's worry about it.

July 3, 1998


A weeklong strike continues at Disneyland Paris and park officials hope to make some progress in talks aimed at ending the weeklong walkout. The strike began when entertainers and technicians walked out demanding higher pay. Restaurant workers joined the other strikers later in the week.

Euro Disneyland officials said the daily parade is continuing and of the 13,000 park workers the majority are still on the job. Strikers countered by claiming that only 35 of the usual 140 performers performed in the parade.

The union representing the employees is looking for a minimum salary of $1400 a month. The park says it will not agree to the terms and says the employees have had a raise of 8% over the past three years. -- Source the Associated Press


Earlier rumors are becoming a reality at Paramount's Carowinds theme park. Original rumors about the park receiving a B&M inverted roller coaster for 1999 are coming true. The latest announcements claim that Paramount's Carowinds will be getting a 113 foot tall B&M inverted rollercoaster named Top Gun for 1999.

Early statistics on the coaster claim the ride will be 2,956 feet long, have six inversions and travel at a top speed of 55 mph. The new coaster will have similar themeing to the other Top Gun roller coasters at the other Paramount parks.


On Saturday, July 11 members of the American Coaster Enthusiasts (ACE) will get unlimited ride on the Coney Island Cyclone and other rides at Astroland in New York City for a discounted price. The offer is for unlimited rides for $8.50 between noon and 4:00 pm. Interested ACE member should meet at the Cyclone at noon with your membership card. If you are interested in becoming a member of ACE you can link to the American Coaster Enthusiasts web site from the links page.


Rumors circulating among Knott's employees claim that the parks Windjammer rollercoaster, may be taken down in the near future. One source claims the park's new President can't stand the ride and is the one who could make the decision to have the ride removed.

The Windjammer was built by Togo Manufacturing of Japan and opened in the spring of 1997. Reviews about the coaster have been lack luster and many park guests complain about the coaster being too rough. Shortly after the coaster opened, the park closed the ride down to make track modifications to help correct the problems with the ride. The trains over the shoulder restraints were also modified to make more room for riders heads in an effort to prevent head banging.

Even after all the modifications, the Windjammer remains one of the most disliked attractions in the park. According to another source, the park may remove the ride to replace it with another rollercoaster, possibly a B&M inverted coaster.. Until then we will have to wait and see what happens, but if you are a fan of the Windjammer, you may want to race over to Knott's, to soak up what may be some of the final rides this coaster will offer.


Knott's Berry Farm in Buena Park, California unveiled to the public the park's newest thrill ride the Supreme Scream today. The new triple tower Turbo Drop rises 312 feet above the ground, the tallest free standing tower in Orange County.

Anxious thrill seekers board one of three 12 passenger cars and are towed up the 30 story tall tower to wait five short seconds before plunging to earth at 50 mph. The ride is designed so compressed air forces seats downward sending riders up out of the seats creating the popular sensation of "air-time." After hitting the bottom riders bounce back up the tower for a second a third shorter freefall.

The new $10 million ride was built by S&S Sports Power Inc. of Utah. Supreme Scream is a part of $35 million in improvements currently in the works at Knott's Berry Farm. The next major attraction being built, Ghost Rider, a wooden rollercoaster is scheduled to open in December.

Knott's Berry Farm was purchased earlier this year by Cedar Fair LP, an amusement park operator based in Ohio. Cedar Fair plans to continue it's investment in Knott's to help boost the park's attendance. At one time the park had a yearly attendance of nearly 5 million visitors. In recent years the park's attendance has slipped to around 3.5 million, ranking the park the 12th busiest in the U.S.

July 2, 1998


On April 17, 1999, when Dollywood theme park opens for its l4th season, Dolly will unveil a one-of-a-kind major roller coaster called the Tennessee Tornado. Not only will this coaster take riders through twists and turns, upside down loops, and a double "butterfly" loop in honor of Dolly, the Tennessee Tornado actually goes through the side of the mountain for a ride experience that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

"This Tennessee Tornado at Dollywood is going to thrill all the kids," Dolly said, "and we've added some things to this ride that you won't find anywhere else. This ride has big features and curves, just like me! I made them put an iron 'butterfly' in the design, and I thought that the most exciting thing I could think of for this ride would be to actually take it through the mountain. I promise -- it's going to be a mountain of thrills and fun!"

Located just beyond the Craftsman's Valley area of the park at a site literally carved out of the foothills of the Smokies, the Tennessee Tornado captures the majestic beauty of the Smoky Mountains -- at high speed -- while providing thrills upon thrills in a fast moving ride. As you leave the station and head into the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood's new coaster will take you on a mountain climb into the treetops unlike any hike you've ever experienced. The coaster climbs to a height of 163 feet above the valley floor for a spectacular view of the mountains' majesty, and then sends riders flying over the summit and heading downward over 125 feet straight through the mountain.

After emerging from the mountain tunnel, the Tennessee Tornado immediately turns riders upside-down on a breathtaking vertical 360 degree loop screw, with the top of the loop screw reaching a height of over 11O feet, followed by a series of thrilling twists and turns, including a butterfly pattern in the coaster that features two upside-down loops. The ride concludes with several more loops and turns that showcase the splendid Smoky Mountain scenery like you've never seen it before. When you pull back into the station after riding this mountain of a coaster, you'll truly feel like you've been around and through the Smokies in the whirlwind of a Tennessee Tornado.

The technical statistics for the new coaster are 2,682 feet of track, a 137 foot tall lift hill, 128 foot initial drop with a maximum speed of 63 mph. The ride will last 1 minute and 48 seconds and will be built by Arrow Dynamics, Inc., of Clearfield, Utah.

Arrow officials say that this new roller coaster at Dollywood is truly the most unique ride they have ever manufactured because of the combination of its drilling loops, twists and turns combined with the fact that this roller coaster actually goes through a mountain. This $8 million ride addition to Dollywood for the 1999 season is the largest single attraction ever added to Dollywood and brings the total investment in the Pigeon Forge entertainment complex to approximately $75 million since its opening in 1986.


Knott's Berry Farm opened their newest attraction, Supreme Scream to the media on July 1. The new triple tower Turbo Drop attraction is scheduled to open to the public this Friday, July 3. Local television channels showed footage of the new attraction in operation, during the evening newscasts.

The Supreme Scream is the world's tallest Turbo Drop attraction. The ride's tower exceeds 300 feet and riders will experience a drop of aproximately 250 feet at 50 mph. The Supreme Scream is the first new ride to open at the park since the park was purchased by Cedar Fair LP. Cedar Fair installed a similar attraction this summer at Cedar Point, another park the company owns and operates in Sandusky, Ohio.

This summers attraction won't be the only new ride this year. This winter Knott's plans to introduce it's second major thrill ride for 1998, the Ghost Rider. The Ghost Rider is a custom built wooden rollercoaster, that will be the tallest and fastest in California upon completion. The Ghost Rider is being built by Custom Coasters Inc. and is scheduled to open in December.


The Atlanta Jornal-Constitution ran an article on Monday, June 29 about Six Flags Over Georgia. The article stated that the park would proceed with a plan to develop 63 additional acres along the Chattahoochee River.

Presently county planners are looking over the preliminary drawings for a new roller coaster that would be the main attraction in the expansion. Additional parking is also included in the plans.

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