Carowinds Opening Weekend

In the Midwest and eastern U.S. we are always excited for the reopening of our seasonal parks and the start of another coaster season. Among the parks with the earliest season opening is Carowinds. So on March 11th my friend Pete and I made the trek from central Ohio to this unique Cedar Fair Park. We arrived very late on Friday night and went to bed with visions of Fury 325 in our dreams.

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Weakest Links of The Cedar Fair Chain


This past summer Alex, Sean, and Sven recorded an episode of Coaster Kings Radio discussing attractions they consider the weakest link at many major theme parks. Inspired by this episode we’ve decided to expand the concept to more parks starting with the Cedar Fair chain. Do note that we’ve decided to exclude kiddie coasters/rides while they might not be the best attractions, they do serve an important role at most parks.

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In Defense of Rougarou

Here’s the hottest take we’ve got:

We think Rougarou is the best Floorless coaster in the USA and possibly the World.

Is it? That’s irrelevant – there’s no true way to measure that figure anyway. This article, like all “best/worst” statements, are always subjective and merely an opinion. But to say we, personally, enjoy this more than any other Floorless coaster, is a fact – and here’s why:

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Knott’s Scary Farm 2021 Details!

Southern California’s largest immersive Halloween experience, Knott’s Scary Farm, returns with innovative new scares and bone-chilling thrills for its 48th frightful year. Terror comes to life as the theme park shifts into your worst nightmare, with horrifying monsters and hair-raising scares looming around every turn. This year, guests will have to confront their greatest fears with 15 haunted attractions, including five sinister scare zones, eight mesmerizing mazes, and two seasonal ride overlays to some of your favorite park attractions. Knott’s Scary Farm returns for 27 terrifying nights from September 16 – October 31.

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The Missouri Triangle: Part 2 – Worlds of Fun

In part one of this series my friend Pete and I started our Missouri trip with an amazing Thursday at Silver Dollar City. Friday’s park was one of Cedar Fair’s mid-tier parks, Worlds of Fun. Worlds of Fun opened in 1973 at the height of the regional park boom. Despite some dramatic changes since the park’s 1995 sale to Cedar Fair, Worlds of Fun still very much feels like a product of the 70s. Loosely themed to Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, the park is divided into various international regions such as Europa, Africa, and the Orient. These areas are more distinguished than I expected and are united by a streamlined 70s aesthetic. For coaster enthusiasts World of Fun features some impressive coasters including the tallest full-circuit coaster in the state, Mamba and the well regarded GCI woodie, Prowler. The biggest question for the two of us was how did this Cedar Fair property compare to it’s Ohio siblings.

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Lost Coasters of California – Part 9: Stealth

Paramount Park’s 13 year foray into the theme park business resulted in a significant number of successes and industry oddities.  The application of Paramount theming in existing regional parks gave us two significant B&M Top Gun inverts and the world’s first major linear induction motor launch coaster, Flight of Fear.  However their tendency to experiment and take additions in different directions also resulted in a string of failures and disappointments.  Kings Dominion opened the late Volcano, The Blast Coaster in 1998, a prototype Intamin inverted catapult coaster that never seemed to run reliably throughout its 20 years at the park, and the ill-fated prototype air launch coaster Hypersonic XLC in 2001.  Carowinds opened a Setpoint suspended water coaster in 2000 called Flying Super Saturator which lasted less than 10 years.  Canada’s Wonderland still has an odd collection of mid-size coasters for the world’s most popular regional park including 1995’s SLC Top Gun and 2004’s Zamperla flyer Tomb Raider, The Ride.  The chain’s flagship, Kings Island, received one of the most notorious failures of them all, 2000’s wooden hyper coaster, Son of Beast.  That same year the chain would add a unique prototype to Great America, the world’s first major flying coaster, Stealth.  

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Lost Coasters of California – Part 8: Invertigo

Last week we focused on Windjammer Surf Racers and how it was a product of Knott’s Berry Farm’s attempt to navigate the space between the family and thrill market.  It faced the problem of Magic Mountain dominating the thrill market with major coaster additions, many of which we’ve discussed here, and Disneyland’s hyper detailed themed experiences.   Northern California in the late 90s had a far less competitive theme park market.  After the construction and runaway success of Tidal Wave in 1977 Marriott’s Great America, eventually Great America in 1985 and then Paramount’s Great America in 1993, had remained consistent with coaster trends.  In 1986 they opened the wooden Grizzly, 1991 saw the addition of the B&M standup Vortex, and 1993 saw the addition of the still-beloved B&M invert Top Gun.  These consistent additions, despite changes in ownership, resulted in a solid coaster collection any regional park could be proud of.  

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Lost Coasters of California – Part 7: Windjammer

Today’s roller coaster landscape is becoming increasingly international.  With the rise of streaming video, social media, and even Google Translate the coaster enthusiast community and industry is more connected than it’s ever been.  With the recent rise of Chinese theme parks and Chinese ride manufacturers it’s easy to forget a time when Japan seemed second only to the United States as a thrill ride destination.  The undisputed king of the Japanese coaster manufacturers was “Toyo Goraku Ki Kabushiki Kaisha” or TOGO.  TOGO opened their first roller coaster in  1953 at Hanayashiki park in Tokyo and soon began building rides all over Japan.  In 1983 their stand-up coaster model was opening at Kings Island as King Cobra, bringing TOGO to North America.  Over the next two decades TOGO would try to capitalize on this success and expand into the American and European market.  They eventually opened a subsidiary named TOGO International headquartered in Middletown, Ohio. While there was some success an ill-fated 1997 project at Knott’s Berry Farm would mark the end of TOGO’s presence as a leader in the coaster world. 

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Lost Coasters of California – Part 3: Tidal Wave

As we discussed in the last article on the Whizzer the Marriott’s Great America parks were bold designs that applied many lessons learned at other regional parks.  Part of this was a plan and specific plots designated for expansion.  In 1977, a year after its opening, the Santa Clara park was the first to receive a major coaster addition, the Tidal Wave.

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Lost Coasters of California – Part 1: Corkscrew

The Golden State has long had the reputation as one of the recreation capitals of the world.  Beautiful weather combined with a diverse landscape created an environment where leisure became a serious business.  It is no surprise that California is home to some of the world’s most famous roller coasters.  Unfortunately many great rides are no longer part of the California coaster landscape.  In these series we will be exploring some of California’s great coasters that are no more!

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Weakest Theme Park Areas

Since their creation amusement and theme parks have utilized landscaping and theming as an important part of the experience. The massive popularity of Disneyland standardized the idea of themed lands within a park. Most parks which opened in the resulting regional park boom incorporated this idea. Theme parks have the ability to transport guests to different times and worlds. A well-themed area can be an attraction in and of itself. But these areas often fall flat. The following are five of the weakest theme park areas. Also included are some ideas on how they might be refreshed. This is by no means an exhaustive list so please make your own suggestions, they may find their way to a part two!

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