Monday, June 24, 2019

2019 North American Regional Park Preview

In 2018, we didn't do one of these. A primary factor in that was, well, we were busy. But 2019 is a different story. I'm actually busier and that makes it inherently tough to get this thing out the door before Memorial Day when the summer season actually makes headway. So I failed even at that. It's now June. And here we are. 


Hard to argue that Volcano: The Blast Coaster's departure from this world wasn't the biggest single loss on the regional scene. Rumblings that the ride was in trouble got louder throughout the year after closing suddenly in May. The announcement was only official in February, as demolition was about to commence. Rumors we've heard since suggest something monsterous in its place; we'll have to see how true those come to be. Sad to have to dig a grave for this ride though; it was super unique with one of the most exhilarating starts of any attraction in the world. 

Many other losses in 2018 were midsized attractions that packed a punch but largely flew under the radar: Cannonball Run at Waterville USA was an early CCI-designed out and back wood coaster that outlived its usefulness as an anchor to drag in tourists in Gulf Shores. The list of operating adult Miler coasters shortened appreciably as the Screamer in Ontario, California and the Star Jet at Wild Adventures in Georgia both closed (both were really good rides!). New Jersey's two Flitzer rides at Jenkinson's and Morey's Piers were both scrapped, leaving 3 in regular operation (Rand Show in South Africa, Degeller Shows in the US, and Bakken in Denmark).

And then there's entire parks that disappeared. Missouri had two upstarts - Hydro Adventures and America's Fun Park - both shutter their dry rides. America's Fun Park barely even got underway when it was closed permanently. Parks for kids had issues too: Huntsville, AL lost Southern Adventures, Bowcraft in NJ finally closed for real estate development, and the Adventure Zone at Bear Lake ran for a whopping 6 weeks in Utah before shuttering. In this case, there were some seriously fly-by-night operations, and the rides were mostly new and will probably appear again.

More concerning were the parks that actually had some historical value, and we lost two of those. Sandy Lake in Carrollton, TX wasn't anything great, if we're being honest. It was a park for children featuring rides adults could even participate in, and most of the equipment was classic 50s/60s era. But the one thing it had that made it a standout was the existence of a very rare Pretzel dark ride. Spook-O-Rama this wasn't, but it was still something cool to see and experience. Heritage Amusement Park, once known as Heritage Square, has never had a fighting chance since it was constructed. The impressive Main Street USA-like entry way was to lead to attractions never built, leading to it being more akin to a FEC in ride options. Eventually it wasn't able to sustain itself in a real estate market that was simply too competitive, and it closed for the last time in June of 2018, with all rides being auctioned off shortly thereafter.


Well, while we lost a couple really cool small parks last year, we did manage to see Magic Forest in NY saved and it appears that Lakemont Park is reopening - that's really good! This isn't quite the bumper crop of coasters as 2019, but the likes of Copperhead Strike, Maxx Force, Steel Curtain, and Yukon Striker aren't chopped liver. This is a big year for dark rides though, with full rehabs of the likes of Challenge of Mondor and Elitch Gardens' conversion of a Sally ride to Meow Wolf: Kalediscope.


Edaville Family Theme Park (Carver, MA): Kersplash was on this list 2 years ago, and it's still on the list with a claimed opening date of 2019. Rumor has it that the cost of new vehicles is prohibitive, so don't get too excited about this. 

Funtown Amusement Park (Saco, ME): The Astrosphere is getting redone. 



Oh my god. Phew. Wow. Dodged a bullet.

Quassy Amusement Park (Middlebury, CT): Bouncing Buggies, a kiddie ride, will make it's debut at the park in 2019. 

Quechee Gorge Village (Quechee, VT): Kiddie coaster from Wisdom that had been moved from Fun Land of Fredricksburg in Virginia. 

Santa's Village (Jefferson, NH): Water fun zone called Polar Paradise.

Six Flags New England (Agawam, MA): CYBORG Hyper Drive, a Chance Freestyle (think a Trabant or Wipeout with seating that faces out) opens as yet another indoor attraction at this theme park that now operates 8 months of the year while being in Massachusetts. 

Story Land (Glen, NH): Fairy Tale Training 101 is a new show for the park which, hey, that's something new and so why not mention it? They're also doing an "90s Adult Night" which will feature the full complement of attractions, but no kids and wine/beer for sale and fanny packs. Tickets sold out in a matter of a few minutes. I'm guessing you'll see more events like this elsewhere in 2019.

Water Country (Portsmouth, NH): The Patriot, a speed slide, sounds like a replacement to me of the old Geronimo speed slide that used to be here and no longer appears on the site.


Casino Pier (Seaside Heights, NJ): Four new family/kids rides, the largest being Crazy Cabs, an SBF creation which could be best described as a tiny version of a Huss Calypso with their spinning coaster's cars.

Clementon Park (Clementon, NJ): Four new rides; a package of classic (used?) flats consisting of a swinging ship, scrambler, Tilt-a-Whirl, and a Dragon Wagon kiddie coaster (possibly relocated from Bowcraft Amusement Park).

Conneaut Lake Park (Conneaut Lake, PA): Eli Ferris Wheel going up in what has to be the first real addition to the park in years.

Dorney Park (Allentown, PA): Grand Carnivale and Monster Jam Thunder Alley, two travelling "entertainment" options from Cedar Fair, will stop in at Dorney during various points of 2019.

Enchanted Forest Water Safari (Old Forge, NY): Go-Karts are going in at this perennially overlooked and rad facility in Central NY. 

Fantasy Island (Grand Island, NY): Dragon's Flight; Apex Parks has moved the already kinda beat up Dragon Wagon to this park in Western New York that was better known with the "Martin's" in the name.

Great Escape (Lake George, NY): Hurricane Harbor, the outdoor water park portion of the park, is getting totally redone apparently - and by then, I imagine they're basically going to just repaint it and add a couple things (Bucket Blasters flat ride, Shipwreck Cove play area).

Hersheypark (Hershey, PA): Reese's Cupfusion just opened - it's a redo of the previous dark ride which I once described as having the art direction of Sports Illustrated for Kids with Reese Peanut Butter Cups as a secondary motif.

Kennywood (West Mifflin, PA): Steelers Country is a whole themed area and there's a 200+ foot tall 9 inversion monster called the Steel Curtain that anchors it. We'll have plenty of coverage when this thing opens later in 2019.

Jenkinson's Boardwalk (Point Pleasant, NJ): Tidal Wave, an SBF Visa kiddie spinning coaster with a layout more reminiscent of a Wacky Worm/Big Apple ride, replaces the old Flitzer coaster. 

Knoebels (Elysburg, PA): Downdraft was removed after the 2018 season to be replaced identical new version.

Lakemont Park (Altoona, PA): Reopening! It's minus a bunch of rides like the last Chance Twister in existence, but we get back the Skyliner and Leap-The-Dips (the oldest coaster in the world and only side friction ride left). Don't miss the antique cars if you go.

Morey's Piers (Wildwood, NJ): Runaway Tram coaster is a cool family ride with a very on-brand Wildwood theme.

Nickelodeon Universe Theme Park (East Rutherford, NJ): It's a new park with 5 coasters. Yes, of course Parkscope is going in 2019. But you'll need to see us wait until about October.

Seabreeze (Rochester, NY): New water slides here.

Six Flags Great Adventure (Jackson, NJ): Wonder Woman: Lasso of Truth, a gigantic Zamperla pendulum ride equivalent in size to Magic Mountain's CraZanity.

Storybook Land (Egg Harbor, NJ): CInderella Coaster, an SBF/Visa Spinning kiddie coaster, joins the lineup this year at one of the best kids parks in the nation.

Waldameer Park (Erie, Pennsylvania): Chaos, inverting Moser ride. Plus: Expanded heated relaxing pool because an even larger hot tub is most certainly what this park needs.

-MID-ATLANTIC (Maryland/Delaware/Virginia/West Virginia/DC)-

Busch Gardens Williamsburg (Williamsburg, VA): Finnegan's Flyer, an S&S Screaming Swing positioned near a huge drop off for maximum effect.

Kings Dominion (Doswell, VA): Grand Carnivale and Monster Jam Thunder Alley, two travelling "entertainment" options from Cedar Fair, will stop in at Kings Dominion during various points of 2019.

Six Flags America (Largo, MD): Firebird, a rethemed version of the Apocalypse stand up coaster that is not merely rethemed and repainted BUT given floorless trains so it might not be as miserable to ride!

Water Country USA (Williamsburg, VA): The Mid-Atlantic's Aquatica equivalent from SeaWorld Entertainment is getting a new water coaster - looks nifty!

-DEEP SOUTH (Alabama/Carolinas/Florida/Georgia/Louisiana/Mississippi/Tennessee/Kentucky)-

Alabama Splash Adventure (Bessemer, AL): Three new attractions were announced for the upcoming 2019 season - Galleon, a swinging ship for the dry park and a new slide complex for the water park featuring FreeFall (speed slide) and Twister (appears to be a twisting body slide). 

Busch Gardens Tampa (Tampa, FL): Tigris, a Premier Skyrocket II model coaster, is the rage at this park
for 2019, while the much more interesting RMCed Gwazi continues to take shape a short distance away.

Carowinds (Fort Mill, SC/Charlotte, NC): Copperhead Strike, a multilaunch Mack coaster, opened this past March to strong positive reviews.

Cool River Tubing (Helen, GA): The Georgia Mountain Coaster was on this list the last time we did it in 2017, but it ran into a lot of resistance from the local neighborhood. Two years later, and it's finally constructed and has opened for the public.

Dollywood (Pigeon Forge, TN): Wildwood Grove, the largest expansion in park history, features a Vekoma suspended coaster called Dragon Flier, multiple flat rides, and a new show venue. It is suspected that there is a phase 2 coming, which hopefully comes with a dark ride.

Fun Spot America (Orlando, FL): Splash pad and a replacement Ferris Wheel for the Orlando location. 

Kentucky Kingdom (Louisville, KY): Kentucky Flyer, a family Gravity Group coaster, opened this spring. Like similar rides installed at Sesame Place, Quassy, and Story Land, it has Timberliner trains and an airtime filled layout.

Owa Theme Park (Foley, AL): Mystic Mansion Dark ride from Sally opened this past June. If you've seen one of their Ghost Hunter dark rides, you've kinda seen em all.

Six Flags Over Georgia (Austell, GA): Pandemonium, another Zamperla giant pendulum ride. 

Stone Mountain Park (Stone Mountain, GA): Rockin’ Land & Lake Tour is announced as "new" for the year - seems to consist of a double decker bus tour and a boat ride. 

Tweetsie Railroad (Blowing Rock, NC) Two kiddie rides (look like Hampton motorcycles and buggies) have been added to the lineup at Tweetsie Railroad. 

Wild Adventures (Valdosta, GA): DIscovery Outpost is a new themed section to the park that returns several rides which the park had in storage like their Zamperla Mini Mouse to action. 

Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster (Banner Elk, NC): Another alpine coaster for the Smokies, this time on the NC side of the border. Owners are shooting for a July opening. 

-TEXARHOMA (Arkansas/Oklahoma/Texas)-

Frontier City (Oklahoma City, OK): Timber Town family section, complete with new kiddie coaster.

Joyland Amusement Park (Lubbock, TX): In what could be the single greatest step down in the history of replacement rides, Joyland has dispersed of it's Herschell Wild Mouse (now headed to Arnold's Park in Iowa) and replaced it with Sand Storm, an apparent Cavazza Diego Blizzard coaster. Why do I call this a step down to trade one used steel coaster for another? The Blizzard model is generally considered one of the worst ever engineered and fabricated, for starters. 

Legoland Discovery Center (San Antonio, TX): Opening in Q1 of 2019 was another location of the indoor FEC chain, complete with trackless Kingdom Quest dark ride. San Antonio has 3 dark rides, all of which are Sally shooters.

Morgan's Wonderland (San Antonio, TX): Morgan's Inspiration Island, a new water park featuring a scenic themed boat attraction called the River Boat Adventure, is the new addition for the park known for being the most handicap accessible ever built.

SeaWorld of Texas (San Antonio, TX): The Turtle Reef section opened on May 3rd, featuring a couple flat rides and a new sea turtle exhibit.

Six Flags Fiesta Texas (San Antonio, TX): Joker: Carnival of Chaos is yet another huge Zamperla pendulum, and joins the inhouse retheme of their shooting dark ride, now called Pirates of the Deep Sea.

Six Flags Over Texas (Arlington, TX): El Diablo, a 10 story version of the Larson Super Loops/Fireball, is going in here adding to one of the most impressive flat ride collections anywhere on the planet.

Traders Village (Grand Prairie, TX): 

Wonderland (Amarillo, TX): Gets Spin-O-Saurus, an SBF/Visa spinning kiddie coaster.

-GREAT LAKES (Ohio/Michigan/Indiana/Illinois/Wisconsin)-

Bay Beach (Green Bay, WI): The Big Wheel, a new Chance ferris wheel, will open for the 2019's season.

Cedar Point (Sandusky, OH): Forbidden Frontier on Adventure Island, an immersive experience/game that mimics things previously seen at Knotts and Disneyland, is open and doing business along with some new restaurants.

Cedar Valley's Wild Frontier Fun Park (Comins, MI): Water Jumping, a really, really weird Fabbri ride that involves cars leaving track and flying through the air before splashing down, is being moved from Australia to here. No word on an opening date.

CJ Barrymore's (Orchard Lake, MI): SBF Visa Spinning coaster and a 110 ft ferris wheel opening here in 2019. 

Grady's Family Fun Park (Bloomington, IL): The Orient Express opening at Grady's has been up and down the road, operating at Rockin' Raceway in Pigeon Forge, Como Town in the Twin Cities, and Thunder Road in South Dakota.

Holiday World (Santa Claus, IN): Merry Marketplace, a new building with food and wares.

Kings Island (Mason, OH): Antique Cars are back, replacing what seems to be the abandoned ride pad for Flight Commander which had been removed in the 90s back by Windseeker.

Santa's Village AZoosment Park (Dundee, IL): New water play area called "Santa Springs", which is really just killing time until 2020 when something way bigger is planned to show up.

Six Flags Great America (Gurnee, IL): Maxx Force is among the most exciting coasters opening in 2019;

-GREAT PLAINS (Dakotas/Iowa/Kansas/Minnesota/Missouri/Nebraska)-

Adventureland (Altoona, IA): Phoenix, a Maurer Sohne spinning coaster, will be opening for the 2019 season. This is their second coaster addition in two years, following Monster in 2017.

Arnold's Park (Arnolds Park, IA): Wild Mouse, the former Joyland Texas Herschell Mouse, will be opening for this summer season at the Iowa Great Lakes' coolest classic facility.

Six Flags St. Louis (Eureka, MO): Supergirl, a Zamperla Endeavour, is the new for 2019 attraction. Good, strong flat ride. 

Valleyfair (Shakopee, MN): Renovated bathrooms. Sorry, guys. Better luck next year.

Worlds of Fun (Kansas City, MO): Grand Carnivale, a parade event, and the Boathouse Grill (restaurant) aren't rides, but they're what the park is getting.

-MOUNTAINZ~! (Colorado/Montana/Utah/Wyoming)-

Elitch Gardens (Denver, CO): Meow Wolf's Kaleidiscope might be an abberation in history. It might also be the future. Which, we can't be certain. 

Evermore Park (Pleasant Grove, UT): I guess they're going to finish the park, maybe. This is the new HYPER IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE PARK~! that basically asks guests to LARP. There's no rides or shows, just a world was partially finished last year for previews with actors. Maybe that sounds exceptionally cool to you! That's possible!

Lagoon (Farmington, UT): Biergarden, a, well, beer garden. It's Utah, people, this is very novel for that area. Meanwhile, you can also look at the massive space being cleared for whatever exactly Primordial is; just know that project is 2 years off.

Lakeside Amusement Park (Denver, CO): The old Z47 Zyklon that ran at Fun-Plex and Delgrossos is now standing there in Denver, but an opening date is anything but certain.

-GREAT NORTHWEST (Idaho/Oregon/Washington)-

Enchanted Forest (Oregon): Challenge of Mondor, their wacky dark ride, has been updated for the 2019 season.

The Rides At Long Beach (Long Beach, WA): Wacky Worm coaster being added as part of the renovations at this park. 

-SOUTHWESTERN US (Arizona/Nevada/New Mexico)-

Cliff's Amusement Park (Albuquerque, NM): Darton Downdraft ride; like Knoebel's old and new ride.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Phoenix, AZ): Rebranded from Wet N'Wild, this water park is looking to try and use season pass sales to extend the audience for Six Flags Magic Mountain more than anything. That's very transparent when looking at the website. 

Western Playland (Sunland Park, NM): El Paso's one true park bought another SBF Visa ride, getting a Dance Party 360 for the 2019 season.


Sea World San Diego (San Diego, CA): Tidal Twister, a Skyline Attractions "Horizon Coaster" smaller but not entirely dissimilar in concept from the Skywarp opened at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in 2018, opens for Memorial Day weekend. Trains are sent through the track launched by tires with an airtime hill and barrel roll on multiple laps. 

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom (Vallejo, CA): Batman: The Ride enters the newly rethemed DC Universe, in which Six Flags has wisely realized that everything in the zone should be themed to the same thing (A) and that they might as well use the most popular and well known property they've got (B). The ride itself is a S&S Freefly, not terribly different from the other recently constructed Joker and Batman coasters installed by the chain over the last 5 years.

Six Flags Magic Mountain (Valencia, CA): West Coast Racers, a new dueling Premier coaster, might open this year if they ever get stuff put in the ground. 

Splash Kingdom Waterpark (Redlands, CA): The owners here are making a lot of changes, but they made the mistake of not bothering to ask for permits first so they got shut down for a little while. What will it look like in 2019 sans go-karts, mini golf, or the Pharoah figure that's looked over the park for decades? I dunno, probably terrible honestly. But we'll see.


Atlantic Splash Adventure (Hammonds Plains, NS): Rebranding from Atlantic Playland, the park is listing a large coaster addition (the Runaway Train formerly at Gillian's Wonderland Pier) and a bunch of new slides.

Calaway Park (Calgary, AB): Gosetto is an Italian ride firm known primarily for building large portable dark rides. In this case, they've decided to use their track and car technology to copy someone else (SBF/Visa) and Calaway will be the first US park to get a kiddie spinning coaster from the firm. This ride is joining two others built in France and one in Saudi Arabia from the company.

Canada's Wonderland (Vaughan, ON): Yukon Striker is open and cycling right now; B&M's largest dive machine to date is a mighty impressive addition to the skyline and should continue to draw in the masses. 

Cultus Lake Adventure Park (Cultus Lake, BC): 150 ft Drop tower: manufacturer indeterminate from the minimal info provided.

La Ronde (Montreal, QC): El Diablo, the former Larson Fireball from Six Flags Great Adventure, was packed up in 2018 and shipped north to be set up at La Ronde for it's new for 2019 attraction.

Mega Parc (Quebec City, QC): The park had a significant makeover and reopened after a couple years of closure: it's an indoor amusement facility inside Galeries de la Capitale, a large shopping mall. Part of the redo is a new suspended coaster caled Télégraphe built by Extreme Engineering. It's a step up engineering-wise from the zipline "coasters" that have been built with steel track, and justified itself as being included on RCDB. There's also a really cool hubless ferris wheel as the centerpiece. 

Pays des Merveilles (Sainte-Adèle, QC): When wild west-themed New Hampshire park Six Gun City closed its doors temporarily prior to its new "Fort Jefferson Fun Park" sale and rebranding, it got rid of a bunch of stuff, including a 20 ft tall Miler junior coaster that will now reopen at this Quebec fairy tale park. 


Kataplum (Mexico, DF): A trio of family coasters from SBF and Vekoma have opened here at an outdoor amusement facility located at a large shopping mall in North America's most populous city. Mexico City's metro area now has 4 full size amusement/theme parks if you include Bicentennial Park in Queretaro.

Six Flags Hurricane Harbor (Oaxtepec, Mor): The Polin King Cobra slide that used to be at Six Flags Great Adventure has been moved here where liability laws are a little looser.

Six Flags Mexico (Mexico, DF): Kids sections DC Super Friends and Bugs Bunny Boomtown have opened, utilizing the best IPs Six Flags has available. Maybe their only ones?


Well, that does it! Yeah, it's late, but honestly a good number of the big coasters still aren't open and we're a week from July. 

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