The Tallest Coaster in the World?

7 12 2008

We have recently recieved news of a new park in the Six Flags chain; Six Flags Dubailand.  Following the tradition of abbrv’s in the coaster fandom, I official call this new park SFDb (we cannot use SFDL, because that stands for Six Flags Darien Lake, and that acronym was retired when SF sold the park).  It will be 60 acres and include 40-60 rides with three or four major roller coasters.  Mark Shapiro said that they would be on the order of Kingda Ka, Nitro, El Toro, and X2.

What I am excited about is his mention of a Kingda Ka type ride going to the park.  There has been a rumor on Screamscape that Intiman was building a taller and faster rocket coaster for a middle eastern park, and this just makes it more exciting.

What will the tallest and fastest coaster in the world be like.  Will they just break the record by a couple feet (Kingda Ka vs. Top Thrill Dragster), or will they go for the big 500 (feet)?  I hope that whatever they do, they give it more of an exciting layout than the plain old vertical out and back.  Perhaps something more along the lines of the graceful Millenium Force.

SFDb is one of many parks going in at Dubai.  At this rate, Dubai will be the rightful Coaster Capital of the World in a few years.  Which means of course I will have to visit.

Sources:

http://travel.latimes.com/daily-deal-blog/index.php/six-flags-qatar-3468/

http://www.screamscape.com/html/dubailand.htm

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New “Timberliner” Coaster Trains by Gravity Group!

19 11 2008

Everything the Gravity Group has done has been very exciting. On November 18, the Gravity Group LLC, announced their Timberliner brand of coaster trains. The new trains will use ergonomic styling, shocks, and innovative restraints for increased comfort and safety. They will have “unparalleled ability to smoothly navigate the track for decreased train & track maintenance”. Reduced wear and tear on the tracks is important because wooden coasters have very high maintenance costs. They will also include compatibility with magnetic braking systems, on-board audio systems, and, most exciting of all, launch systems. It was very strategic for the Gravity Group to develop these trains, as they will do much to improve the overall popularity of wooden coasters. Many people complain about how wooden coasters are old-fashioned and uncomfortable, but these new trains will truly take wooden coasters into the 21st century. As for launch compatibility, maybe Cedar Point will finally get that rumored 500′ Intamin launched woodie!

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New for 2008 at Worlds of Fun – Prowler

15 11 2008

Great Coasters International has proven itself to be a very creative roller coaster design firm.  From their first coaster, Wildcat, to Lightning Racer, Thunderhead, and their latest, Prowler, GCI has shown its ingenious and twisted imagination.

Prowler is World’s of Fun’s (MO) new coaster for 2009.  Prowler is a 3,074 foot long out and back style terrain coaster.  It begins with the classic GCI spiraling drop of 85′, which turns you around past the station again.  The out and back portion is very twisted and low to the ground.  There is a total elevation change of 102′ with speeds reaching 51 m.p.h.  The back half will be very exciting with low to the ground, high speed twists and close encounters with trees.  Millenium Flyer trains will ply Prowler’s rails.  These are easily the best and most comfortable coaster trains I have ridden in.  Make sure to check out the POV video below.  While the design looks like an out and back, the ride feels very much like a twister.  For the latest on Prowler, visit the official site.

What do you think about Prowler’s design?  Post your thoughts in the comments.  If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe via email or rss.





New for 2009 – Manta

7 11 2008

Manta's graceful layout

SeaWorld Orlando is building a cool new flying coaster for ’09 – Manta.  At 3395′ long and 140′ tall it is very respectable in size.  The trains will reach up to 56 m.p.h., while swooping less than 10′ from surface of a lake.  This coaster is an evolution of flying coaster design. It incorporates swooping drops, ground flybys, a pretzel loop (see bottom right), and a wing dip (where the coaster touches and sprays water) into its twisted layout.  The color scheme of dark purple, ultramarine blue, and cobalt, as well as theming will enhance the total experience.  The ride will be only a part of a entire world

Construction on Manta

Construction on Manta

themed to rays featuring artwork and floor-to-ceiling ray aquariums.  No one can build a coaster to embody the grace and fluidity of a ray like Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) of Switzerland.  B&M have constantly been on the forefront of coaster innovation, design, and quality, which they reaffirm in this new coaster.

a pretzel loop

a pretzel loop

I have never ridden on a B&M flying coaster.  I have ridden on a Vekoma Flying Dutchman model, however, the restraints were awkward and the ride was a bit rough.  I will be interested to see how B&M handles flying coasters, because I know them to make the smoothest coasters and most comfortable restraints in the industry.  Hopefully I will get to ride their Tatsu at SFMM this January.

Sources:

http://www.johnnyupsidedown.com/manta0.html

http://rcdb.com/id4190.htm

http://rcdb.com/document292.htm

Readers:  Is Manta a new stage in coaster design, or rehash?  Post your thoughts in the comments!  Please don’t miss a single post of coaster goodness.  Subscribe by rss or email!





Man Struck by Roller Coaster at Six Flags

31 08 2008

A man was hit by a roller coaster on Saturday, August 30th at Six Flags Magic Mountain.  At approximately 4:00 P.M. the man was struck by Ninja, an inverted roller coaster (pictured above).  Michael Rohrer, a 20 year old from West Hollywood, CA, had climbed into a “visibly restricted area” in the act of retrieving his hat.  He was found unconscious, attended by park first aid within 2 minutes, and was airlifted to the UCLA Medical Center.  He died around 2 AM.

The Ride

Batman: The Ride

The ironic thing about this accident is that the same thing happened earlier this summer at Six Flags over Georgia.  A 17-year old was decapitated by the Batman: The Ride train while attempting to retrieve a hat.  The parks are in no way at fault in either case.  In both cases, there were 6′ fences with warning signs surrounding the ride.  It seems that it would be hard to get hit by a roller coaster, but at 50 m.p.h. (the speed that Batman: The Ride was going during the accident) a coaster can sneak up on you.  Perhaps it is best to know that without caution, a roller coaster can take both your hat and your life.

Sources:

ThrillNetwork.com

MSNBC.com

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King’s Island Trip Report – Day 2 (1/2)

29 08 2008

On the second day of the trip, I started out by going straight to the back of the park.  We really wanted to get on the Firehawk, but the line was 2 hours long, so we decided to ride the Flight of Fear.

3. Flight of Fear ***1/2

As soon as we got in line, it began to pour and the t.v.’s warned of thunderstorms in the area.  We were glad to be under a roof in line for an enclosed ride.  The air conditioned warehouse where most of the line is was quite a relief.  A well-concealed mirror makes the whole warehouse look twice as big.  The themeing on the line is very good including a U.F.O which houses the station.  Once you are in the station, it is no relief to watch the trains in front of you get blasted out of the station (and come back empty).  The ride itself was better than all the themeing and took a few members of our group by surprise.

The rain had stopped by the time we left Flight of Fear, and our group decided to head to The Crypt.  When we got to the ride, we learned two things; first, this is a ride where you have to put your stuff in a locker; and second, it was broken down.  We learned the second thing as soon as we stepped in line, so we were not that disappointed.  I suggested that we ride the Beast since it was close by, and everyone agreed.  This turned out to be a much longer wait than last time, but it was worth it.  I think that riding it after the rain made the coaster go faster, making for a wilder ride.

4. Flight Deck ***1/2

After a walk across the park and a long (but scenic) wait, we were on the Flight Deck.  My only other hanging coaster experience being Iron Dragon, I was surprised at the intensity of the ride.  The faster pacing and changes in terrain make this a better ride than the “Draggin’ Iron”.

5. Adventure Express ***

This mine-train style coaster is above average in both theming and layout.  We appreciated the Indiana Jones music that played in the station.  Above all, it was a fun ride that didn’t hurt like some other mine-rides.

After that, we had lunch at the nearby Subway.  Prices were inflated as usual and selection was limited, but we both got a 6″ sub for $6.  I got a free cup of ice water to drink.  This is one service that every amusement park should have and I compliment King’s Island for doing this.





Holiday World Rumor Season – A Guide to the Madness

24 08 2008
The Voyage

The Voyage

A visit to the Holiblog these days can be exciting, excruciating, and most of all confusing.  It seems that Paula is playing with us all – and having a lot of fun doing it.  I’ll help you examine the hints and give you some of my theories.

The 2009 attraction is currently shrouded in mystery and could be practically anything.  We do know that the budget is 8.5 million; approximately what The Voyage cost.  That doesn’t mean that the new attraction will be a coaster, but it doesn’t eliminate that possibility.

Hints about riding a simulation, riding “in the back”, a lift, and a drop seem to suggest a roller coaster.  Still it could be a cross-park aerial tram ride, but that would leave a good chunk of the budget wide open.  One post mentioned the visit of a Gravity Group employee, claiming that the purpose was just to “ride the Voyage“.  Sure.  That post also made a reference to his physical height by calling him “The World’s Tallest Coaster Designer”.  This could be a hint that he has designed the world’s tallest coaster.  Of course, I do not think that the Gravity Group would build a 500′ or even 250′ (to be the world’s tallest woodie) wooden coaster, or that 8.5 million would buy it, or that Holiday World would choose that to be their next coaster.  It is, however, a prime example of how the HoliBlog has fun at the expense of coaster enthusiasts. Someone did point out in the comments that the Gravity Group also designs waterslide complexes, so it is possible that they are getting the world’s tallest waterslide or water coaster.

Vertigo

Vertigo

A very interesting post claimed that the name ‘Vertigo‘ was already taken.  I did some digging on RCDB and found that there was only one coaster in the world with the name Vertigo.  It was a Mountain Glider with an elevator lift, which would fit one hint.  The ride seems to be similar to a zip line, but with fixed track. Even though it fits many of the hints, I do not believe that Holiday World would build one of these rides because Vertigo was so problem ridden that it is currently SBNO (Standing But Not Operating).

Everything from a vertical impulse coaster to a water slide has been suggested.  Here’s my two cents:  Another Gravity Group coaster would undeniably win them the title of ‘Wooden Coaster Capital of the World!’ and would not be disappointing, but would be somewhat redundant with the already well-rounded collection of woodies at the park.  A recent post suggested that the ride would be “a leg up on the competition”.  I suggested that it could be a racing coaster, which would be a unique and fun addition to the park.  If they get a new woodie I hope that it is a replica of a classic ride such as the Rye Playland Aeroplane Coaster or the Riverview Bobs.  This hasn’t been hinted at, but what I think the park needs right now to round out their coaster collection is a nice B&M inverted, flyer, or hyper coaster.

If you have any ideas about the new ride please post them in the comments and stay tuned this Tuesday for the announcement!

The Voyage

The Voyage