---- UNITED STATES DEVELOPMENT NEWS ----
(8/21/19) Jolly Roger Coaster Incident Update (MORE...)
(8/20/19) Coaster Accident In Ocean City, Maryland (MORE...)
(8/12/19) Kentucky - Lost Park Documentary On Ludlow Lagoon (MORE...)
(8/9/19) Snow Park Approved For Florida's Pasco County (MORE...)
(8/6/19) California - Dark Harbor at The Queen Mary 2019 Details (MORE...)
California - (8/6/19) Dark Harbor at The Queen Mary revealed a new haunt is coming this year at the Midsummer Scream event that took place over the weekend. The new haunt will be called Rogue and you can see a great teaser video all about it below. This is just one of six haunted mazes to be offered this year in addition to other frightful entertainment.
Look for Dark Harbor at The Queen Mary to run on select nights from Sept. 26 through to Nov. 2, 2019.
(7/29/19) An interesting redevelopment proposal has come forward for San Diego’s Seaport Village area that would see the new 70-acre Seaport site enhanced with new shops, hotels and a large observation tower project made to look like it was built from a series of disc shaped sections, that would actually feature a ‘vertical aquarium’ inside itself as well that would be part of an attraction called OdySea San Diego.
(6/22/19) Who wants to miss a chance to win a free private Tea Party invitation to Miss Jezebel at 60out? Escape Authorty is running an online contest right now for that from now through to 3pm EST on Monday. Follow the link to find out how you can enter to win.
(6/19/19) Every so often we hear stories of a new Escape Room that is just so above and beyond all the rest, we have to point it out. In this case we have Escape Authority to thank for this crazy review for Miss Jezebel's Tea Party, one of three Escape games at the “60out” in Los Angeles, CA.
In addition to great game and scenic elements, the adventure is also heavily enhanced by the interactions of Miss Jezebel herself into the environment. It is her Tea Party after all, and you’ll have to find a way to seek out the clues you need without getting caught by her watchful eyes. Half Escape Game and half Interactive Theater, a visit to Miss Jezebel's Tea Party sounds like an experience you won’t soon forget.
(5/17/19) Would you believe that a Taco Bell themed resort will soon open? Time to make a run for the border, because your wildest Taco Bell fantasy will come true this summer when “The Bell: A Taco Bell Hotel & Resort” opens on August 9th in Palm Springs, CA. According to the release The Bell will feature several unique menu items only available on site, as you are services by “Bell’hops” and endulge in Baja Blasts, and sauce packet themed floats in the pool. They claim that everything… the food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), the room decor and even the poolside cocktails will be given a Taco Bell twist. I have to admit… I am very curious to see how this one plays out… and while reservations will be taken on the official website this June, The Bell will only be a temporary attraction that will vanish into the desert like an oasis.
(2/9/19) The local news has confirmed the rumor we reported last week, that the Scandia fun park in Ontario has indeed been sold to a new owner. Currently the park is now closed and will not reopen. The identification of the new owner has not yet been released.
The other two Scandia locations in Victorville and Sacramento will reopen open and get some upgrades from equipment, video games and even some rides to be moved from the closed Ontario locations.
(2/7/19) Tyra Banks has announced the intention to open her own themed attraction called ‘Modelland’ inside the Santa Montica Place mall. The 21,000 sqft attraction hopes to bring the world of modeling to life as a themed attraction of some kind. I’m not sure what all will be involved inside, but look for it to open by late 2019.
(1/30/19) Screamscape sources tell us that the Scandia Fun Park in Ontario, CA is rumored to be closing down for good very soon. How soon? If the rumors are true, then this Sunday, February 3rd is expected to be the last day, so if you are in the area you might want to head on over for one final visit. After it closes, the rumor goes on to state that the site is being sold and the park to be demolished.
(1/16/19) A new flying theater attraction called “The Flyer - San Francisco” has opened in that city at Pier 39. The new attraction was created by Triotech in partnership with W. A. Alter, Inc. It’s not cheap however, as the website reports that the initial ticket price to ride is a whopping $25 for adults and $16 for children (12 and under). While they don’t say how long the ride experience itself lasts, they do say that the entire experience, which includes a pre-show of some kind, is “About 20min”.
(12/18/18) According to CNBC a new VR experience chain is starting up this week when Dreamscape Immersive opens their first permanent location in LA at the Westfield Century City mall. Dreamscape is backed by IMAX, AMC, FOX and Warner Bros. and has plans to open four more centers in yet to be announced locations around the country. The experience will cost about $20 and guests will get geared up with a backpack, VR headgear, sensors on hands and feet and set loose into one of three possible virtual worlds (Alien Zoo, The Blu or Lavan’s Magic Projector) for a 20 minute experience that they say is a cross between living in a movie and being in a theme park.
Oh, and if you’re local to the area and this sounds like deja-vu… that’s because they tested out the concept of the Alien Zoo experience at the same mall for a few weeks in early 2018 as a pop-up proof of concept test.
(12/5/18) A new and very unique VR attraction has now opened in Lon Angeles called “Chained: A Victorian Nightmare”. Located at GreatCo (1655 Beverly Blvd) from now through January 6, 2019, the experience is mixture of VR with live actors in motion-capture gear to create an immersive theater style experience. According to a report at BlooLoop, guests enter one at a time into a fully created Victorian world where you are fitted with VR gear and interact with a live actor. During your experience you will not only interact with the live actors, but also be able to touch and move various objects that are represented in both the real and VR world.
According to the creator the combination of VR and immersive theater, “lets the audience see, converse with, and even touch the impossible.”
(11/4/18) Southern California just lost a small attraction as a flyer is now making the rounds showing off that virtually all the rides at the Scandia fun center in Ontario, CA are now for sale including the park’s coaster, the Scandia Screamer. I'm not sure if this means the center is planning on closing in the future, or selling off some property and shrinking in size, or if perhaps there are plans to expand and build something else where the ride’s are currently located instead. Anyone know more?
(10/19/18) Would you believe a new aerial gondola system for transportation has been proposed for San Diego? Before Walt Disney World began construction on their version in Florida, one was pitched for San Diego that would run from the downtown area up towards the San Diego Zoo, but those plans were eventually dropped. A similar plan is now back in play, proposing a line of aerial gondolas that would run from the San Diego Airport over to the Convention Center / Petco Park area. Unlike the proposed run to the Zoo area that would have just run through urban blocks, this new proposal would run along a much more scenic pathway that would entertain as well as transport.
(7/12/18) While I'm not familiar with what kind of studio tour Warner Bros. currently offers at their studios location in California, AT&T, the new owners of Warner Bros., announced to Los Angeles officials their plans to build a $100 million aerial tram ride that would run from the studios up to the famous "Hollywood" sign.
The idea for just such a project has been tossed around for a couple of years now as the local residential neighborhoods near the sign suffer from heavy traffic and unwanted parking from tourists trying to get a closer look at the famous landmark. While there are other solutions being talked about as well, AT&T pointed out that their plan would be the best for tax-payers, as it would be built at no cost whatsoever to the taxpayers, while providing great benefit to the public residents in the area.
The proposed aerial tram route would be a little over a mile long and take about 6-minutes to travel from the studio "up the back of Mt. Lee to a planned visitors center by the sign." If approved, and I don't really see any overwhelming negative reason why it wouldn't at the moment, the project would take about three years to complete.
Connecticut - (9/14/17) According to this report the Foxwoods Casino has opened a pair of new thrill rides next to their hotel tower. The two rides are from Stan Checkett's Soaring Eagle Rides company and combined into a single 120 foot tall tower called the Sky Launch and Sky Drop Thrill Tower. Follow the link to see pictures, details and pricing.
Florida - (8/9/19) Florida’s Pasco County, often the butt of quite a few Florida local jokes, even long before the location gained national fame as one of the regular locations used for A&E’s “Live PD” television show, just got approval to go ahead with a unique attraction for the Sunshine State… a snow park.
After a few setbacks and some locals not wanting it, a proposal to build a “snow park” was just given the final approval needed to proceed this week. From the sound of things this will be a seasonal attraction open only during the cooler months of the year, open only a 120-day season, as the snow making process can’t handle things if it gets above 80º, but the plan is to set up some ramp structures and produce enough snow to allow for some snowtubing runs. Look for it to open up just west of the site used for Tree Hoppers Aerial Adventure Park and the Scream-A-Geddon horror park in the fall.
(5/19/19) Remember last year when the Sandblaster coaster at the Daytona Beach boardwalk area derailed and injured several riders? In the aftermath that followed it was revealed that the ride had suffered from wear issues and had a history of derailments in the past.
At the time I predicted that it would probably never run again.
Jump ahead to the start of the 2019 summer season and while the coaster is still standing at Daytona Beach. It has never run again and now the “Boardwalk at Daytona Development” company is filing a lawsuit to evict the owner of the coaster and have it removed from the property, siting that they have ‘waited long enough” and that the coaster was supposed to have been removed back in September 2018.
(3/27/19) According to a local news report someone is setting up a new “amusement park” on the site where the last Mircacle Strip park location was in Panama City Beach, FL. It will be called Swampy Jack’s Wongo Adventures and it will feature attractions aimed primarily at the 10 and under crowd. Check out the video below to see the site already well under construction with several rides already set up along with props and decor done by local artists. So nice to see amusements returning to the Miracle Strip once again. It will start small, but everything will be pay per attraction and they have plans to grow and add even more as time goes on, including a mini-golf course by next summer.
(11/4/18) It has been quite awhile since we’ve heard anything about the SkyRise Miami project since it appears to have stalled out ahead of starting actual construction. According to this article the project is still alive and the 1,000 foot tall tower is actually set to begin construction in Q1 2019 and be completed by 2023. The list of attraction is now said to include:
Skyplunge – Jumpers attached to a wire take a high speed controlled fall at 55mph.
Skydrop – A 600 ft tall freefall ride experience with a 540 foot drop, hitting 95mph.
SkyRise Flying Theater – A 72 seat flying theater experience.
Skyway – “World’s tallest rotating observation attraction”
Skyfly – Virtual skydiving
Skywalk – Fixed to a tether, guests walk an open deck 908 feet up with no handrails
Skyglide – Ride down a transparent slide "outside".
Skyledge – Walk across a transparent skydeck 866 feet up.
(9/7/18) Remember how Schlitterbahn was trying for years to build a new waterpark in Fort Lauderdale... and just when they were ready to proceed, they had the whole deal ripped away from them after Premier Parks filed a lawsuit with the city. Well... I've got some bad news for you, because after all that... and all the years of wasted time... Premier Parks just pulled out of the deal entirely on Thursday, killing the Wet n’ Wild Fort Lauderdale park proposal.
According to this report Premier couldn't afford to "renovate Lockhart Stadium" on the site, which was part of the deal. But I've got a feeling that the competition from the upcoming indoor waterpark to be built as part of the American Dream Miami mall project to the south was also makeing them a bit nervous. Unfortunately this all leaves the Fort Lauderdale area in the lurch, with no waterpark on the way and no redevelopment plan at all the site. Considering the state Schlitterbahn is in currently, on top of how they were ousted after working hard to lock in their own deal for years, I wouldn't count on seeing them looking to get back in the area either.
Georgia - (6/7/19) I finally found a POV video of the new Georgia Mountain Coaster, now open in Helen, GA. Be warned that this Alpine Coaster is quite a bit shorter than the ones I’ve become more accustomed to riding in the Pigeon Forge / Gatlinburg area. The whole video is only 4 minutes long and it takes 2:50 just to get to the top of the lift hill. That minute of downhill bliss however looks extremely fast and wicked however. Give the video a quick watch yourselves.
(5/19/19) Way back in December 2017 I decided to visit the quiet little town of Helen, Georgia, set deep in the countryside, and usual for having an extensive German / Bavarian theme to all the buildings and decor. The design aspect of all the buildings is actually a mandate of the town that was adopted back in 1969 and is present everywhere.
At the time we noticed signs were up, along with some early land leading for a future attraction called the Georgia Mountain Coaster. After an extensive build time, one that was apparently delayed quite a bit by the very wet weather the region has had over the last six to nine months, I’m happy to report that the Georgia Mountain Coaster quietly soft opened this week. Officially the website says the attraction wont open until Memorial Day Weekend however, so you may want to try and call ahead to see if they are planning on any more soft open runs between now and then.
Our reader who spotted it open got in a couple of rides and loved it. “We rode it a couple times today and it’s fantastic, has some great little pops of air and some wicked turns!” So far I haven’t spotted any POV videos of it on YouTube just yet, but you can also keep an eye on their Facebook page to see if they announce anymore preview openings.
(2/1/19) Hard Rock will open a new hotel project in Atlanta soon after announcing that they have secured the $37.5 million needed to fund the “Reverb by Hard Rock” hotel. The new themed hotel will feature 195 rooms and go up next to the city’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in February 2020. Atlanta will be the first location for the new “Reverb” sub-brand of Hard Rock Hotels.
(7/4/18) For anyone wondering about the status of the Georgia Mountain Coaster under construction in Helen, GA... I've got good news and bad news. Bad news... it wont open this Summer as they had hoped. The good news is that they are working on it and according to an update on Facebook, the extra rain we've experienced this year has caused them extra construction delays that will push the project back to at least this fall, if not even later. (The pictures posted were taken back in mid-December when I visited Helen.)
(2/2/18) According to our friends at BlooLoop the massive Georgia Aquarium is planning to expand the facility. They call the plan “Expansion 2020” and it would see the majority of the work added to where the current entrance is now, creating an entirely new larger entrance area as well as allow for “new larger exhibit space”.
I’m looking forward to seeing this in 2020. I had the pleasure of visiting the Georgia Aquarium about six years ago and it was just an absolutely stunning attraction that made for a fantastic afternoon with the kids as we visited it and the World of Coke attraction that was within walking distance.
Illinois - (7/4/19) If you live in the Chicago area a new exhibit at the Elmhurst History Museum has opened called Worlds of Wonder: Remembering Chicagoland’s Amusement Parks. The exhibit looks back at the various attractions that have come and gone in the region over the year will be open now through August 18th, 2019.
Indiana - (4/14/19) Indiana Caverns just outside Louisville is said to be adding a new Zip Coaster attraction that could be ready by the end of May. They are calling it the Bat Chaser and say that it will be the second of it’s kind in the US, and if the brief clips of animations shown on the news piece are anything to go by, this will be the same attraction system as the one used at the Rowdy Bear in Gatlinburg.
Kentucky - (8/12/19) Kentucky and Ohio locals may remember a long-lost amusement park located not far from Cincinnati called Ludlow Lagoon. Screamscape was contacted by Then Again Productions who have produced a documentary all about the lost Ludlow Lagoon amusement park (1895 - 1918) which is airing on the local PBS station in Kentucky, but they have also made it available on YouTube for everyone else as well. Check it out below!
Louisiana - (7/7/19) The ruins of Six Flags New Orleans have been sitting idle, slowing being overtaken by the local vegetation ever since Hurricane Katrina laid waste to the area in August 2005. Finally after all these years the site is now close to being officially torn down as the city is now “targeting the site for demolition”.
(7/16/18) Escape Games, once a new early fad, are now virtually everywhere. Seriously... they have popped up in the most odd-ball locations, filling in just about any space available. As such the quality of the experience can vary quite a bit. which is where our friends over at Escape Authority excel at reviewing Escape Room games from locations all over, pointing out the ones to avoid and ones that are worth of your time and money.
While their team started out with a rating system of 1 to 5 Keys, it wasn't long before they were forced to create a special 6 Keys award level for locations that truly stand above all others. Today came an epic new development with the discovery of the first Escape Room to be worthy of a scale-breaking 7 Keys rating.
The honor goes to Cutthroat Cavern at 13th Gate Escape in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and simply put... it blew the team at Escape Authority away in every way possible. They put it best at the top of the review:
"Imagine if Disney built an official escape game. We’ve all wondered what that could be like. And then we went to Baton Rouge and realized it could probably never be this good. Welcome to the World's Greatest Game"
Still skeptical? Follow the link and read the rest of the review for yourself, along with some great pictures highlighting the ultra-themed experience. I don't think I've ever had the urge to visit Louisiana myself before, but I do now.
One other fun note... if you are an escape room fan, be sure to check out the site's Free Play Escape Game Giveaway page, where they hold a drawing to win a free play experience at a new location each week.
Maine - (3/22/19) The local news reports that a small local park in York, Maine called Wild Kingdom is now up for sale, with an asking price of $14 million. The park will still open for the season, and the owner says they are not in a hurry to sell the property. According to the park’s website, it seems to be a mix of a small zoo attraction along with a small amusement ride section focused on mostly kiddie sized rides, though it does also offer a haunted house and a few medium sized flat rides as well.
Maryland - (8/21/19) I’m told that the coaster collision at Jolly Roger took place on the park’s Wildcat coaster, a fun compact Schwarzkopf roller coaster that previous ran at Cedar Point at Wildcat and at Valleyfair as Rails.
(8/20/19) I’ve seen several online reports about how an incident involving a roller coaster at the Jolly Roger amusement park in Ocean City, MD sent five passengers in for precautionary medial treatment after a train failed to stop in the brakes and collided with a second car in the station. Of the five sent for treatment, four were children and one was an adult.
I haven’t been able to find a confirmation as to which coaster was involved in the incident however as all the coverage I’ve been able to find thus far is fairly vague on that matter.
(12/24/18) A new Great Wolf Lodge location is being considered just north of Baltimore that would be right off the busy I-95 freeway. Great Wolf is said to be looking over the area and in preliminary talks about the site with the local Perryville and Cecil County officials, but if they opt to move ahead the plan would be to build a 500-room 44-acre resort on a site very close to the Hollywood Casino in Perryville.
Michigan - (4/14/19) According to the local news a Jeepers location at the Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights, Mighican was ordered to shut down all of their rides after numerous safetly violations were found with them. The list of rides shut down include the Banana Squadron, JJ’s Driving School, the Python Pit coaster and Yak Attack.
The list of violations include leaking hydraulics, unsafe restraint systems, cracks in equipment and a list of missing ride parts that include brake fins, seat latches, rollback levers and more.
(8/23/18) The C. J. Barrymore's attraction in Michigan announced three new rides were on the way in 2019... a new tower attraction that would feature a 130 foot tall drop tower experience as well as a "saddle sling" ride, so I can only assume this is a new installation from Soaring Eagle Rides who has been selling a lot of these combo-tower attractions, featuring their Daring Drop and Saddle Sling rides. The third attraction appears to be a SBF/Visa Spinning Coaster attraction.
Mississippi - (4/19/19) According to this report the new amusement area expansion coming to the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi will feature a rather unique attraction fitting to the brand called the AEROBAR. Riders will strap into seats around a circular shaped bar, complete with bartender standing in the middle, and then slowly rise up 137 feet into the sky for an awesome view while you enjoy your drink. According to the description it takes about 2 minutes to go up and town the tower, and you’ll spend five minutes at the top. A video showing off the first AEROBAR in action in France at Futuroscope can be seen below.
(7/4/18) Since it was announced last year, I had figured this project must have been completed by now, but it seems the expansion of the Margaritaville Resort in Biloxi was delayed after getting caught up in some issues with the state over land use. As of last week the project was finally cleared by the state to go ahead and the resort will begin working on their $140 million expansion that will include a new hotel tower as well as an expansion to the amusements being offered that will include a giant ferris wheel and other outdoor rides on site.
Missouri - (7/29/19) A couple of fun new photo updates of local new attractions in the Branson area have been posted by MidWestInfoGuide this week. You can see a few new photos of the Branson Buzzsaw attraction that went up at the Branson Sawmill, as well as a look at a new Skyscraper ride installed at the Track 3 Complex of Branson Tracks.
(7/17/19) The local news reports that construction on the new St. Louis Wheel attraction at Union Station has begin. The new wheel will stand 200 feet tall and be just one of several new attractions which include: an aquarium, mini-golf course, carousel and more.
(6/4/19) One of our readers sent in a couple of pictures of a new attraction going in next to The Branson Coaster attraction, which appears to be a faux-StarFlyer style ride of some kind. Photo credit goes to Ali McCance.
(UPDATE - It is a Vertigo by Illumitech).
(3/24/19) Ripley’s has announced that the former location of their closed Ride The Ducks attraction in Branson will reopen as something new called “Branson Top Ops” in time for Memorial Day. They haven’t released much in the way of details yet, only a brief description that Top Ops will be a patriotic-themed experience that will include an indoor laser tag arena, an outdoor maze attraction and a few other adventures.
(2/23/19) The newly launched website for a new National Enquirer Live attraction set to open in Pigeon Forge in Spring 2019 also mentions a second location is coming in Branson, and the artwork shown for the headline covered building there has clearly labeled the attraction as a new Flying Theater. More as we find out, but according to the site it will be located at 3115 West 76 Country Blvd where it will take over the current Starlight Theater building.
(2/8/19) The proposed “Aquarium at the Boardwalk” attraction for Branson has revealed a few more details. The overall budget for the attraction is said to be $51 million, but they are attemping to get $7 million in ‘Tax Increment Financing” assistance. If everything gets approved the hope to open it in 2020 where it will contain a number of exhibits of fish, jellyfish, seahorses and much more. That said an article on BlooLoop mentions that the project is from Kuvera Partners (who are also behind Branson’s Hollywood Wax Museum) plan to complete the aquarium in phases so there is no telling how much will be finished when it opens.
(1/4/19) In a strange bit of news, “City Museum”, a unique attraction in St. Louis, was sold to Premier Parks LLC this week. Apparently the owners of City Museum, American Milling, had been seeking a new owner for the attraction for the past year or more and notified their staff of the sale on Thursday.
(8/25/18) Interesting news for the Branson area as a developer has announced they want to build a huge Aquarium on the site of the Grand Palace in Branson. If plans are approved the 46,000 sqft attraction will be called Aquarium at the Boardwalk when it opens in Spring 2020. The proposed artwork for the building is pretty near, appearing as if a giant octopus is now sitting on top of the building with massive tentacles stretched out in all directions, so it sure is going to be an eye-catcher.
New Jersey - (12/23/18) The new spinning coaster has arrived at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk. A reader stopped by to send us a couple of photos of the new coaster on site.
(11/27/18) Jenkinson’s Boardwalk pushed a new roller coaster that was on display at IAAPA. The coaster is an SBF Visa Group Spinning Coaster 5.0, and it will replace the park’s old Flitzer (Zierer) coaster.
(11/12/18) While the official Bowcraft website didn’t have much to say previously about a possible 2019 season, this ad posted on Facebook that puts most of the park’s rides up for sale tells another story. Meanwhile the official Bowcraft website also appears to be taken down for good, which seems to confirm that the park is now closed for good.
New Mexico - (8/6/18) New Mexico could soon have the state's first Alpine Coaster is plans in place for the Sandia Peak Ski & Tramway move forward as expected. The company pitched a plan to spend about $2 million to build an alpine coaster to help boost the weaker business levels during the hotter months of the year when skiing isn't possible. The latest plans call for a 3,000 foot long run that would drop about 400 feet in total along the way from the top to the bottom. At this point they just need a final approval from the U.S. Forest Service as the land the Ski Resort is on is actually federal property. They expect a final decision to be made on the land use issue sometime in the next six months, with the hope of starting construction in early 2019 and opening before the end of the year.
New York - (7/1/19) According to the local news the Mount Van Hoevenberg Olympic Sports Complex is planning some interesting upgrades that will come over the next year or two. The list includes a new alpine coaster project is on the way. Meanwhile a local area brochure for the area shows artwork for the alpine coaster, along with what appears to be a zip line attraction as well.
(12/5/18) According to the local news the former Magic Forest attraction will soon become “Lake George Expedition Park”. Along with a sale of the park to a new owner the plan is to update the park and bring in new attractions, one of which will be the Dino Roar Valley, a new dinosaur themed educational area. They also claim the
much of the Magic Forest area will remain intact as well, with 23 of the existing 25 rides to remain. More future changes and additions are planned, but will be built in phases over the next several years. You can see their new teaser website here.
(11/24/18) According to the local news the Magic Forest roadside attraction in the Lake George area that features ton of giant figures on display is being sold and the new owners are putting up most of the old figures up for sale which can be seen posted here. While the new plans for the site have not been made known, it was indicated that they do plan on keeping the site open as some kind of new park or attraction, though no plans for anything have been finalized yet.
(10/26/18) Remember a few years ago there was talk about building a 630 foot tall Observation Wheel in New York’s Staten Island? After five years of development the planners have announced that the project is now officially dead.
(10/24/18) Our friends at BehindTheThrills have posted a quick preview of the soon to open “The Trolls Experience” walk-through attraction in New York City, a project from Feld Entertainment working with Dreamworks Animation and Universal Studios. Follow the link and check it out.
North Carolina - (7/18/19) The first Alpine Coaster in North Carolina is set to open sometime this fall near Sugar Mountain. It will be called Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster and their website is already live so you can sign up to find out the latest project updates. It will feature a 770 foot lift hill and a 2,100 foot long run back down the mountain.
(4/15/19) According to the local news a new alpine coaster is coming to North Carolina on Sugar Mountain that will be called Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster. This will actually be the first alpine coaster in North Carolina when it opens later this year. It will have an approximate downhill length of 2,160 feet. Look for it to open sometime in late Summer if all goes well and the weather cooperates… but that’s been a tough one to predict this year so far.
(4/3/19) The former Land of Oz theme park atop Beech Mountain in North Carolina has set dates for their Journey with Dorothy interactive tours taking place on select dates from June 6 through July 5, and tickets for the 2019 Autumn at Oz dates will go on sale sometime in May. You can find out more about how to visit this very limited availability experience at the official website.
(12/12/18) While the weather has been rather sour here as of late, I figured it was worth mentioning that Frankie’s Fun Park in Charlotte is now fully open for your enjoyment. So while it may be too cold or wet outside for some of the outdoor attractions, there are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy so if you live in the area, so check it out!
(9/3/18) Good news for all my local Charlotte, NC area neighbors...a new mini amusement park attraction called Franie's Fun Park will be opening in "Early Fall 2018" about where the north-end of the 485-Loop and I-77 connect on the south end of Huntersville. I've never seen one before, but there are four other Frankie's locations in the region (Raleigh, Greenville, Columbia and Charleston) but from what I can tell the Charlotte location may be the biggest one yet, mixing the style of attractions you might find at an FEC, with a Dave & Busters, with a couple full size amusement park rides for good measure.
According to the official description Frankie's of Charlotte will feature 24-lanes of Luxury Bowling, a full-service Restaurant & Bar with a private Event Room available, a Fast-Casual Cafe eating area with indoor and outdoor seating, one of the largest arcades in Charlotte, a Laser Tag arena with a Post-Apocalyptic Charlotte theme, a 30-foot "Drop Zone" indoor ride overlooking the arcade, a 3-story Funhouse play area for the little kids, LED illuminated bumper cars, a Triotech 7D interactive motion ride, The Hologate (a VR game attraction), and in the 20-acre outdoor fun area they will have 3 Go Kart Tracks (Road, Slick and Drifter), 3 18-hole Pirate Mini-Golf Courses, a Tea-Cups ride, Family Swings, a Mega Disk'O, and a 360º swinging Discovery ride.
(8/10/18) According to reports a new iFLY branded indoor skydiving simulator is on the way to the Charlotte area, that will be built next to the freeway just down the road from the local Great Wolf Lodge location, near the Charlotte Motor Speedway / Concord Mills area. Depending on how fast things go they expect to open it sometime between very late 2018 and early 2019.
Ohio - (6/6/19) Readers may remember the horrible accident that took place at the Ohio State Fair in 2017, and now Ohio’s House has passed a new law (88 to 6) named after one of the victim’s called “Tyler’s Law”. Officially it is known as House Bill 189 and will toughen inspection requirements on amusement rides as well as require better ongoing maintenance records, including before & after photos of areas in need of repair.
In detail, it requires the Ohio Department of Agriculture to establish new rules regarding the number of inspectors and inspections to be required for rides, based on their complexity and design. They must also hire inspectors who are certified by an official amusement ride safety organization.
All that is left is for the bill to get approved by the Ohio Senate, after which it will put it into effect immediately.
(3/27/19) IRM Rides announced that Funtimes Fun Park in Alliance, Ohio will add three new kiddie rides this season: Salt Water Tugs, Lickety Split and Star Shooters.
(3/8/19) The Columbus Zoo has announced that they are adding two new rides to Jungle Jack’s Landing. Look for Falcon Fall, a 50 foot drop tower ride, and Sugar Glider (a classic Paratrooper style ride) to be coming for the 2019 season.
(12/29/18) The previously announced Planet Oasis retail/entertainment complex for Ohio didn’t last long without a major conflict coming up. In October it was announced that the teams behind it, Blue Horseshoe Ventures Ltd., were splitting up. Each side began to lay claims to still being the owner of the project, and both sides vowed to continue to move forward with it. Then in early November the two sides filed suits against each other, each laying claim to the venture, which is surely going to put the project into limbo until they can either come to legal resolution, or they all just opt to walk away and the dream of Planet Oasis dies. Neither is good for the project, as the clock is ticking that assuming that the funds were in place to meet the construction deadline and start work on the site by early 2019, any delay will see the costs of the project rise and make it more difficult to set in motion.
(7/5/18) A developer is proposing a large new attraction development in the Columbus, Ohio area called Planet Oasis. If you see the local news headlines... just ignore them however, as they are trying to overplay it with claims that this will be a $2 billion theme park project 'bigger than Disneyland" and such... but this is seriously stretching the truth. The new project appears to look more like a modern retail mall, but packed full of entertainment options instead of retail stores. While I'm sure some retail will be part of the overall experience, along with some restaurants, the plan here is to fill the site with a variety of attraction experiences ranging from a small coaster to a skate park, BMX bike park, indoor skydiving, a "Medieval Times-esque" dinner theater experience, E-Sports arena, giant wheel, go karts, bowling, laser-tag, movie theater, ice skating rink and more.
The vision is interesting and looks attractive from a guest standpoint purely from the huge variety of activities they are trying to include, but the problem is that each of these attractions are being asked to build their sites in close-quarters to their competition. Unlike a theme park where guests arrive and pay one admission price to do everything, this is more like a retail mall, but in this case guests will arrive and likely pick one experience, maybe two, and call it a day.
The concept itself isn't entirely bad... because if they modeled this kind of site more like Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach, it could be successful... if they can get the bodies in to visit. There-in lies my other question-mark with this project... because to my knowledge, Columbus isn't exactly a major tourist destination, and being in Ohio will limit the use of any of the outdoor attractions to the warmer months of the year. We will know if Planet Oasis is serious about this project before too long, as they stated that construction would begin by December.
Pennsylvania - (7/17/19) Who remembers Bushkill Park in Pennsylvania? The last time I had heard anything at all about Bushkill was back in 2004 and 2005 when the park was ransacked with repeated flooding that pretty much ended the life of this once old style amusement park. Imagine my surprise to hear that there is still life in the old park yet, as a small but dedicated team has been working to restore the park after all these years.
It seems they were able to reopen a skating rink at the park sometime back in 2017 which runs on and off for certain days and for private events and birthday parties. They were hoping to have more of it open in 2018, but it seems another flood to the site had other ideas, so those plans were pushed back to 2019.
I’m not 100% certain of the park’s current status, as their official website looks like it hasn’t been updated since the original floods shut the park down, but they do have a Facebook page with limited information about the park, which seems to mostly talk about the skate rink and ice cream, though I’ve heard there may be a couple of tiny kiddie rides that may be working by now as well. The interesting news is that RCDB also lists that the park has a small powered coaster of an unknown design called Little Stingray under construction to open sometime this year.
I believe the park also has a Fun House they have been working to restore and possibly an old Whip ride, but for now the park lives on as mostly a Roller Skate Rink attraction.
(5/30/19) A quick correction about Lakemont Park today. Despite the park’s website making it look like the coasters were open, I’m told that they are not and are currently not set to open until at least June 10th. There is still a lot of construction going on in the park and as of last weekend the attractions open included two mini golf courses, batting cages, the train and auto rides, 4X4 kiddie trucks and the Little Leaper kiddie coaster.
(5/29/19) After a little prodding on our Facebook page, it turns out some of you are still wondering what’s going on with Lakemont Park. As posted last year, they made the decision to remove most of the park’s collection of flat rides, leaking it with the Leap The Dips and Skyliner wooden coasters, a train ride and a few small kiddie rides. For those wondering, as of Memorial Day Weekend, the park did reopen
along with the coasters.
(3/19/19) The former Lakemont Park has now been virtually emptied of the park’s collection of rides and attractions. Doing a little research it seems IRM is behind most of the sales, though they have not announced where any of the new rides are going. How many of the park’s former rides will reappear in new homes this year?
According to IRM’s Samuel Shurgott, “We have sold about 2 dozen rides and games and every single ride placement will make a difference in its new home. We don’t announce the buy until they do. But there are some surprise purchases out there that will definitely boost the owners facilities.”
(1/30/19) A Singapore based company is looking at sites in the Philadelphia area to build an indoor VR based “theme park” to be called “Legend Heroes Park”. The attraction will offer a variety of attractions, rides, games and other forms of entertainment that will feature VR, AR and hologram technology.
The first Legend Heroes Park opened at Studio City Macau earlier this month with plans to open an expansion of the site later this year. Beyond the interest in a US location in Philadelphia, their long term plans include adding more US sites in: Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, New York, Chicago, Boston and Washington DC.
South Carolina - (7/28/19) An very interesting article has come forward from the “Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project” website that details what exactly was going on behind the scenes when the failed Hard Rock Park was reborn for one final season as Freestyle Music Park. They’ve interviewed insiders involved with the park as well as doing some detailed research on the “company” set up to purchase the failed park, as well as some crazy money scam schemes going on for some time well after the park closed down.
In short, it seems like Hard Rock Park was purchased with $25 million funding from a Russian billionaire that sought to keep his identify anonymous the entire time. However a series of companies were set up in relation to the park to funnel the funding for the project through the “Troika Laundromat”, a series of offshore shell companies set up by a Russian investment bank, Troika Dialog. The network was responsible for moving billions of dollars through companies all around the world between 2006 and 2013, with millions still being transferred through one of the companies set up to own Freestyle Music Park for several years even after the park had closed.
The business map is complicated, but saw two separate companies with similar names brought into being with the creation of Freestyle Music Park, a FPI-MBE and a FPI US LLC, with one serving as a money lender to the other, which ran the park. So with Freestyle went under and defaulted on various loans and debts, the park itself was listed as collateral on the loan to the other, so ownership simply shifted over to the lender company, while the other debts went unpaid, including final payments to park employees who stayed with the park through to the end. In short, they foreclosed on themselves, while claiming that the two companies were unrelated and built as separate entities. There was some fight against this, but in the end the park was put up for auction and purchased again for $7 million, meanwhile to fund that purchase the FPI-US company borrowed this sum from yet another company within the Laundromat system and once again put up the park as collateral, setting themselves up once again to be able to foreclose upon themselves again in the future if they needed to.
The sad thing is that no matter how things played out, Freestyle Music Park never had a chance of being a success, as the Russian investors had even tried to shut the park down just before the 4th of July in 2009, just two months after first opening the park in May. The local management talked them into letting the park stay open for the rest of the season to try to break even, but they would get no more money from Russian to keep the park operating.
In the end the mysterious Russians behind all this were able to sell off all the park’s major rides for a very healthy sum of cash, paid off their mortgage and finally sold off the park property to a former Myrtle Beach Mayor, John Rhodes, in January 2019, thus ending the last final wild ride of the park.
(5/21/19) We heard about it coming a year or so ago when they first opened the Simpson’s themed Kwik-E Mart storefront, and now SimEx-Iwerks has confirmed that The Simpsons 4D is now open in Myrtle Beach at the Broadway at the Beach attraction/retail complex. More details about what is in the attraction can be read over at BlooLoop this week.
(2/27/19) We had heard the rumor when the former Hard Rock Park site was sold to a new owner, but now we have confirmation as the local news reports that former Myrtle Beach Mayor, John Rhodes, is the one that bought the site and has confirmed that the property will not be used for a new amusement park, though he currently has no firm plans for the site either. Apparently he is still looking at ideas for the site, and may be willing to take up partners to develop the site in the future.
(1/22/19) The site of the former Hard Rock Park in Myrtle Beach, SC has been confirmed as being sold to a new owner. There is a lot of speculation about what could become of the property which was purchased by “FTPP Bishop Parkway LLC” for a bit over $3.5 million on December 28th, 2018, but nothing looks like a solid lead and it is highly doubtful it will be used for any kid of new theme park ever again.
(8/10/18) A first phase of a new Simpsons themed attraction will open next week at Broadway at the Beach in Myrtle Beach. It features a life-sized recreation of the Kwik-E Mart and Aztec Theater, with an assortment of Simpsons gifts for sale in the (Buzz Cola, Heat-Lamp Hot Dogs and Lard Lad Donuts) Kwik-E Mart store opening next Friday. The Aztec Theater portion will open later and offer some kind of Simpson's "4D Experience" created by SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment.
Tennessee - (3/3/19) According to the local news the developer of The Pinnacle retail development near Bristol, Tennessee has plans for a massive 350-acre expansion of the project on connecting property that goes over to the Virginia side. In addition to more shops, they also are planning to add a performance amphitheater, a resort hotel with an indoor waterpark, “an amusement park area”, though the later may be more of a collection of pay-as-you-go attractions like an Alpine Coaster, Zip Lines and a ropes course.
(12/5/18) Aquatic Development Group reports that Phase 1 of the new Soundwaves waterpark at Gaylord Opryland is now open. This indoor section is 111,000 square-feet, spread out over three levels, featuring five waterslides, a FlowRider Double stationary surf wave machine, an activity pool as well as both “rapid” and “lazy” rivers. While it may be cold outside, the temperature inside Soundwaves and kept at a warn 84º. It is also worth noting that Soundwaves also has an adults-only pool area as well for those guests who are 18 and up.
I’ve been to The Pinnacle myself and the only big issue here is that traffic in and out of the Pinnacle on crowded days is a mess since there is only one access road into the property, which comes from the Tennessee side. The developer has asked Virginia to fund a $10 million access road project to connect to The Pinnacle from the Virginia side, but unfortunately it was just confirmed that state did not approve funding for this road, even though they would benefit from all the tax revenue to be generated from the properties to be built on their side of the state line.
No word on how this will affect the future growth plans of The Pinnacle’s Virginia property.
The future outdoor phase of the waterpark is expected to be finished by Summer 2019.
Check out the video below to see what Soundwaves looks like.
Texas - (2/17/19) Who can say if this will ever happen, but the Mayor of Houston has issued a statement to propose building a new “one of a kind permanent amusement park” in the city as a replacement for Six Flags Astroworld, which closed after the 2005 season. The night before he issued the statement he also appeared at the Travis Scott concert that was taking place in Houston to give the performer a “key to the city” and mentioned that Scott’s “Astroworld” tour in memory of the lost park as a component to the movement to build something new gaining momentum.
(2/3/19) Astroworld fans… there is an online auction taking place over the next few weeks telling off some of the former theme park’s signs and fixtures. Some are pretty generic, but there are some standouts in there if you look like a Batman sign logo, some haunted maze signs, theater signs, a few three dimensional looney toons character statues and more.
(10/19/18) According to a statement from the park on Facebook, the owners of Sandy Lake Amusement Park in Dallas/Fort Worth area announced that they have sold the park property that they’ve owned for the past 48 years. The old amusement park was home to numerous festivals and musical event, private corporate picnic events, family parties and much more over the years. It featured swimming, mini-golf, paddle boats, food and games, and an assortment of classic midway style rides (Spider, Scrambler, Tilt-A-Whirl, Paratrooper, Pretzel dark ride, etc!), a collection of kiddie rides and much more.
As of today the park is now closed forever with the land now sold to their neighbors, Southwest Landscaping. The park, once open for public use, is now private property, though the new owners plan for now to preserve the site as-is, and use it for storage for their trees and plants.
Virginia - (12/15/18) Fun Land of Fredericksburg (Virginia) has broken ground on plans to build a new multi-level go-kart track. The planned addition, which is replacing the attraction’s old track, will cost about $1.2 million and feature a spiraling helix three-stories tall. They are also working on adding a “state-of-the-art lighting system” that will go inside the track and warn drivers if they are in the Caution or Red-Light or any other situation they should be aware of during their ride. The new track will feature a fleet of 40 new cars, 31 of which will be double-seaters. If the weather cooperates they are hoping to have the new track ready as early as April.
Washington - (2/13/19) Evil Dead 2 fans take note! An official escape room experience themed to Evil Dead 2 is coming to Hourglass Escapes in Seattle this summer. Players will enter into the infamous “cabin” and have just 60 minutes to find the Kandarian dagger and destroy the Necronomicon before the evil released into the woods come to swallow your souls.
Sounds like a dream come true to me as Evil Dead 2 is one of my favorite horror films of all time. Go to the official website to sign up for more information as they prepare to open the new attraction.
Washington D.C. - (1/16/19) Meow Wolf has announced that they will add yet another new location to their growing collection of exhibits, this time in Washington D.C. inside a three-story structure located in Fort Totten. Set to open in 2022, it will feature a new and unique storyline within the attraction.
Wisconsin - (12/17/18) New demolition pictures from Timber Falls in the Dells were sent in to Screamscape over the weekend, where the attraction’s former coaster and log flume have now been completely removed.