It’s December 31st 2015. It’s hard to believe that another year has passed. 2015 was one heck of a wild ride, what a year it was for us here at California Coaster Kings, and the amusement industry as a whole. Let’s celebrate the great memories of the year past, while also looking for even better things to come. Please join us as we look back at 2015 and all the amazingness it brought and as we look into the magical future of 2016, which seems to be another amazing year for parks and park-goers in California!
A huge part of the theme park industry is world building, and in 2015 we got that in spades. We increased our coverage of one of the world’s quickest changing theme parks, Universal Studios Hollywood. And quite a ride it has been! Fast and Furious: Supercharged was added to the world famous Studio Tour. Bringing guests an immersive 3D experience the size of the famous King Kong 360 3D! A few months before the Fast and Furious addition, a whole new themed area was constructed, bringing Springfield, the home of The Simpsons to life with new dining and retail opportunities. In addition the Special Effects Stage closed and the brand new Special Effects Show (a hundred times better than the original) opened just a few weeks back! Looking to next year, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will be opening in April of 2016, one of the most expansive additions in Universal Studios Hollywood history, which by the construction we have been covering, looks nothing short of spectacular. With the new year, we will get a new world for us all to become immersed in. But this isn’t the only new thing coming to the park in the next few years, the Upper Lot will also open the new huge dining and retail complex that is rumored to feature a year-round Walking Dead maze opening later in the year. Rumor also has it that we may see The Revenge of the Mummy close within the first few months of 2016 to make room for a new 2017 addition to the park’s Lower Lot! It wouldn’t be Universal Studios Hollywood if it weren’t changing at an incredible rate.
Disneyland Resort is one of the most visited theme park destinations in the world, attracting guests from all across the globe. The Happiest Place on Earth celebrated 60 years in 2015 with their Diamond celebration, including` new decoration, shows, and fireworks! California Adventure also got some love with Frozen Fun a group of shows and experiences that ran through the spring season. At the D23 Disney Expo in 2015, huge expansions were announced for the next couple of years including the addition of Star Wars Land! And Disneyland didn’t waste any time as the Season of the Force started only a few weeks back with a Space Mountain Make-Over into Hyperspace Mountain! The future’s looking bright for Disney, we just hope they can handle the inevitable crowds.
Rocky Mountain Construction has already become legendary in their young manufacturing life, having built some of the greatest coasters of all time since, both breathing life into poorly aged wooden coasters, and building masterpieces from the ground up. Their presence has graced California in 2015 with what we believe is the best coaster in the state, and one of the best in the world, Twisted Colossus! From day one, we did our best to bring you coverage of the construction of this masterpiece, and in fact, many of you may have discovered us that way. From the day it was announced, the hype built, and when it opened, Twisted Colossus did not disappoint. Featuring unprecedented EJECTOR airtime, awesome inversions, incredible dueling elements, and the most track of any hybrid coaster cleverly split between two unique laps, Alan Schilke and crew delivered to us Californians something we’ve been begging for since The New Texas Giant. 2015: the year in which California finally got a real taste of some real-good airtime. In the coming year, as if TC wasn’t enough, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will be receiving what looks to be a coaster so gloriously chaotic, The Joker couldn’t have been more appropriately named. We’re in the process of covering the construction of The Joker as well, and from a first hand point of view it should be amazing. Featuring an Expedition GeForce-esque drop, a brand new inversion (Step Up Under flip), and a relentlessly paced and forced layout, The Joker has potential to be something special. We can’t wait to keep showing you the amazing work that is being done to get the coaster open, and I’m sure no one, ourselves included can wait to ride it.
Northern California has had an excellent year in 2015 already however. With Joker on the horizon, it can be easy to forget the additions that have been made in the past year. Six Flags Discovery Kingdom has been adding solid park-perfect attractions year after year and 2015 was no exception. Dare Devil Chaos Coaster was one of the handful of Larson Loops installed in the Six Flags chain. Despite the scrutiny these attractions received by some very unenthusiastic enthusiasts when they were announced, Dare Devil Chaos Coaster is one of the most fun, and for lack of a better word, flippiest flat rides in the state. California’s Great America didn’t have such an uneventful year either. Celebrating 40 seasons, the park made an impressive expansion to planet Snoopy with three new rides for the kids, as well as adding new shows and landscaping. In addition, the park will be renovating their current 4D action theater into the brand new 4D experience, Mass Effect: New Earth. Based on the acclaimed video game franchise in partnership with the creators at Bioware and Electronic Arts, this should be a welcome and exciting addition for gamers and coaster enthusiasts alike.
California’s Great America is not the only Cedar Fair Park to have a good year however. Knott’s Berry Farm, ‘America’s first theme park’, brought to us the Triotech 3D shooting dark ride, Voyage to the Iron Reef. Making use of the building which formerly housed classics such as Kingdom of The Dinosaurs, Knott’s has made the old new again by adding another dark ride for families to enjoy for years to come. Speaking of making the old new again, and years to come, Knott’s Berry Farm is going all out with a renovation of the classic area, Ghost Town in 2016. The famous Ghost Town is being restored and brought back to life in ways almost unimaginable. Knott’s Berry Farm is bringing back the large-scale panning for gold, the horse-stable where guests can pet the four-legged friends. In addition, the park’s bringing scenes around Ghost Town to live with live-actors. If this wasn’t enough, they’re also bringing guests new stores and experiences such as a barber-shop! This, though quite a change already, is not the only thing changing in Ghost Town. With the departure of Screamin’ Swings, the new Calico stage will be located in Screamin’ Swings’ former spot, creating a larger area for the audience to watch and connecting Ghost Town with the Calico Mine Ride and the Timber Mountain Log Ride. A new Calico Park will establish this connection with live entertainment, new scenery, benches, and more. And then there’s the biggest announcement of them all… GhostRider, the iconic Knott’s Berry Farm large-scale wooden coaster is receiving a complete overhaul by Great Coasters International, with new Millennium Flyer trains, altered (improved) banking on the tracks, magnetic brake-system, and the removal of the dreaded mid-course brake-run, to restore the ride to its original glorious state!
GhostRider isn’t the only coaster that’s getting restored to its former glory. Just about an hour up the 5 Freeway Six Flags Magic Mountain is restoring the world’s first successful looping coaster, Revolution to become the New Revolution. The ride will receive new trains, eliminating the hated OTSRs, and will have lap-bars only. In addition, the trains will be made in-house, closely resembling the original trains, but with a cool art twist to it. The ride will also receive a repaint adding a new color that the ride hasn’t seen before; blue. The station and entrance to the ride will be refurbished and we can expect to see a new light package for the ride. This classic sure deserves the attention, as it remains to have one of the best loopings of any coaster in the world!
This year also marked another year of our annual California Top 50. We’re not much into ranking, as people generally take issue with such lists. Quality is a subjective matter, and that is why, subjectively, we rank the top 50 rides and attractions in the state every year. Twisted Colossus was a major contender for number one this year alongside rides like Tatsu, X2, and Xcellerator. We can think of an attraction or two that might break the top 10 in 2016.
We here at California Coaster Kings are a somewhat international team, and thus we were ecstatic that we could bring our Brazilian friend and international correspondent Raphael on board to give us some unique perspective on the parks and attractions we experience so frequently. He made a trip out to California and visited every major park in the state, giving his thoughts and opinions on the Californian amusement parks and giving us some much need reminders that what we have here is special, and should be appreciated. The coverage is so extensive and detailed it was split into four parts and is available on the site. Just as we should appreciate the parks and attractions we have here, we appreciate your unique coverage and self Raphael, so thank you!
California is indeed a state to appreciate as Raphael has shown us, and one of the may reasons for that is the outstanding seasonal events that just about every park in the state partakes in. Halloween is a much anticipated time of year here in California. After all, we have events such as Knott’s Scary Farm, Halloween Horror Knotts, Six Flags Fright Fest north and south, and Halloween Haunt. From meticulously manufactured mazes, to a slue of scare zones and other unique attractions, each park has their own unique take on the holiday. In 2015, new mazes such as Carnevil, Insanitarium, Paranormal Inc, and Halloween: Michael Mayers Comes Home made welcome debuts, and Aftermath had its final year of operation. We can only guess what expansions 2016 will hold but when the time of year rolls around we will all be there to enjoy it.
Halloween isn’t the only special holiday that brings these awesome seasonal attractions to our home parks. We are right in the midst of the winter season, which means events such as Six Flags Holiday in the Park north and south, Holiday Lights, Grinchmas, and Knott’s Merry Farm. Each park brings their own unique twist on the season, and in 2015, Holiday in the Park was expanded at both locations, including the brand new light show Dazzle! at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. Universal Studios Hollywood brought a new performance on the Who-Ville sets during Grinchmas, and Knott’s Merry Farm expanded their nightly snowfall across ALL of Ghost Town. California’s Great America will join the rest of the state next year as in 2016 they will start their own Holiday event as they will stay open year-round from then on!
We, California Coaster Kings, are a close team. We finish eachother’s sentences and work together like we’ve never done anything different. Our small, yet very efficient, crew has worked hard the past year to bring you coverage from all around the state, and we’re determined to continue to do so in better ways in 2016. To round-off the year each of our four crew-members has shared a little message below, to individually speak to, and thank our amazing readers!
As 2015 comes to a close, and I look back on the year, I realize the only thing I’m in a position to do is give thanks. I’m so happy have been a part of, for this entire year and more, something where I feel that I contribute in any small way to the passion that we all share. For that opportunity, I must thank Sean especially for giving me a chance to to work with him as well as Raphael and Zach on this website that we have all come to hold so dear, not only as partners, but as good friends. And of course, I must thank you, if you’re reading this, you’re the reason we exist, because our exceptional readers have been so supportive we get to exist within what we love, and without you, we couldn’t. So thank you, everyone, and let’s move on from this great year into an even greater one, together. – Byron
2015 brought us Diamonds, twisted fun, and great anticipation. 2016 will bring us dust clouds, laughs, and renewed interest in old friends thanks to magic from a powerful wizard. We are your home to all the wonderful future journeys in 2016. 🙂 – Zach
When it comes to all of our readers, so passionate for California, all that comes to my mind is keep changing for the better. Like our parks, start a new revolution in you at 2016. Come together with your loved ones to celebrate all the good things of 2015 and to spread hope for our state and world. Keep your spirits and determination unshaken and a wonderful year is coming ahead for all of us! – Raphael
Dear Readers, it’s been a tremendous pleasure to welcome you to our site over and over again, from the very beginning I’ve been doing everything in my power to bring you the best coverage I, and the rest of my crew with me, possibly could. And here we are, days turned into years, 2015 has come to an end and our wonderful audience is bigger than it ever was before. Without you, the reader, we wouldn’t be able to express our love for the industry the way we do. As the Owner, Manager, and Editor of californiacoasterkings.com I’d like to thank Byron, Raphael and Zach from the bottom of my heart, for the endless nights deciding on T5 articles, visiting parks together, and most importantly celebrating the wonders of the theme-park industry with our audience. I sincerely thank you for your continued support. 2016 is bound to be one heck of a year, and I can’t wait to experience it with my crew and you. – Sean
We’ve discussed a whole lot of 2015 and 2016 topics above. Below we’ve created a list with related articles and updates, make sure to check some out! 😀
- Springfield Opening
- Fast And Furious: Supercharged Opening
- Twisted Colossus Ride Review
- The Joker Ain’t a Joke!
- The Joker – NEW, biggest UPDATE available anywhere.
- The New Revolution
- Ghost Town 75th Anniversary – Knott’s 2016
- Knott’s Scary Farm 2015 Maze Reviews
- The TOP 10 coasters in California – 2015!