Stratosphere

The Stratosphere is a casino and hotel on the northern part of the Las Vegas Strip.  The Stratosphere, however, is so special, due to its twist.  On top of the over 1100 ft tall observation deck, are 3 insane thrill rides, that add a new meaning to having a fear of heights.  The first rides to open on top of the Stratosphere were its signature attraction, The Big Shot, and a coaster that was dismantled in 2005, known as The High Roller.  X Scream and Insanity opened in 2005, to top of the hotel’s thrill lineup.  To top it all off, the park added an unreal experience known as Sky Jump Las Vegas, in which riders jump off the building and plummet 855 ft before being slowed down by a cable system and coming to a stop.  The Big Shot is an S&S space shot ride that launches riders up 160 ft, on a spire on top of the hotel’s observation deck, at 45 mph pulling 4 G’s.

Stratosphere Tower

X Scream is a single piece of track with a somewhat coaster vehicle on it that pivots down and over the side of the observation deck at 27 ft over the edge.

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Last, but not least, Insanity features a rotating arm that dangles riders over the edge, and then spins them at 40 mph.

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Throwback Thurday–Speed the Ride @ The Nascar Cafe

speed loadSpeed the Ride was a roller coaster located on the Las Vegas Strip at the now-defunct Sahara Hotel and Casino. The coaster operated from April 28, 2000 to May 1, 2011. The roller coaster is currently undergoing a remodel for the new Akita Plaza Shopping and entertainment area, across the street from the Mandalay Bay Hotel.  Speed the Ride was introduced in the Sahara’s 1999 remodeling, as part of the Nascar Café.  It was built in 2001 by Premier Rides as a steel launching shuttle coaster featuring 1 inversion, 2 launches, a 90 degrees angle, all while riders experience 3.5 G’s.  As of August 2008, the ride was shut down with no information from the venue. However, the ride reopened in February 2009, then closed again in May 2011 because of the closure of the Sahara.  It was dismantled in 2012.  The ride started with a launch from the inside of the NASCAR Cafe going from 5–45 mph in three seconds. 

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Riders entered drop that went under ground in front of the hotel and then through a 92-foot vertical loop.

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There is then another launch this time from 45–70 mph in three seconds. After a quick snaking turn, riders were shot up a 200 ft tall vertical tower before the train falls back and runs through the entire track backwards.  ROLLER COASTER AT SAHARA HOTEL-CASINO

This time the second launch area slowed the train down from 70–50 mph before it went back through the vertical loop and then underground. The train then makes it back to the station, where it stops. It was considered one of the tallest shuttle coasters and the longest in the world.  We never got a chance to experience this speed demon.  Have any of you tamed Speed the Ride?  

T’was the Nightmare Before Christmas

haunted man chrHaunted Mansion Holiday is a seasonal remodeling of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion ride. It blends the settings and characters of the original Haunted Mansion with those of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas film.  The Haunted Mansion typically closes for two and half weeks in September so it can be converted into the Haunted Mansion Holiday. The overlaid attraction is then open to guests from late-September through early-January, before being closed again during January so the holiday theme can be removed.  The idea to re theme for the ride for the holidays, came from 2 other re themed holiday attractions, The Country Bear Christmas Special, and It’s a Small World Holiday, which were always quite popular during the holidays.  Both of these attractions had been opened in 1984, and 1997 respectively, and due to their success, The Haunted Mansion Holiday opened up in 2003.  The outside of the building is covered with Jack O’ Lanterns, as Jack Skelington sits on the roof in  his coffin sleigh, trying to figure Christmas through a long and advanced equation, as a clock strikes stating 0 days til Christmas.  Guests enter the inside of the mansion, which is decorated with skull wreaths before entering the famous octagonal room featuring “no windows and no doors”.  The room stretches as usual, but the stained glass portraits have been replaced with ones representing Christmas, but with a little something off, such as a candy cane shaped serpent, etc.  A voice comes through reading a poem originally written by Tim Burton, titled “The Nightmare Before Christmas”.  The suspense builds until lightening strikes and Jack’s head appears on the ceiling wishing everyone happy holidays, following a loud scream and then a blackout, as in the original ride.  The inside of the ride isn’t changed in many ways, but just has added props.  The changing portraits have been changed to fit the festive spirit, with a snowman turning into evil pumpkins, Jack turning into a character he calls Sandy Claws, etc.  Riders board to a toon of young children singing Kidnap the Sandy Claws.  As riders ascend up, a vampire teddy bear holds a fishing pole over them.  The endless hallway features Jack’s ghost dog Zero floating instead of the traditional candelabra, and the suit of armor is wrapped in tinsel.  The famous room of the glass ball mistress known as Leota is entered, as she chants her own version of the 13 days of Christmas.  The riders then enter the famous ballroom of dancing ghosts.  The ghosts remain to dance the same way, but , the table is set for a Christmas party, with a huge gingerbread manor in the center, thus the room is filled with the scent of gingerbread.  haunted ginger

The riders begin their climactic finish with a trip through the graveyard, featuring projected snow.  Jack welcomes you, replacing the old man and his dog in the original ride.  The riders then pass singing jack o’ lanterns which replace the singing statues.  Finally, the antagonist of the film Oogie Boogie appears, offering guests a gift before they leave, and as they pass the mirrors that usually depict the hitchhiking ghosts, they are instead given a “special gift”.  This ride is definitely one of the best re themed rides in the a park for the holidays, and isn’t one to miss out on.

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Worst looking park at night?

It has become very clear that Six Flags Magic Mountain is lacking creative, or good, lighting at night. The ‘Thrill Capital of the World’ has huge structures, that can be seen from the entire valley, and from the mountains through which the Interstate-5 winds. Yet, almost-free advertisement at night is not their thing.

Six Flags Magic Mountain has super rides that tower over the park such as Superman Escape From Krypton, Tatsu, Goliath, Viper, X2, etc. As well as rides that are very visible from the freeway although they don’t tower over the park; Colossus, Scream!, Riddler’s Revenge, etc. Now why in the world are these rides not lit up at night?

All you see is the lift-hill lights, that are often defunct. The Superman structure could receive a nice package of LED’s and the park could program the tower to change lights at night. The park could even go creative and have the changing tower lights correspond with the drop-sequence of Lex Luthor! This is just one example! (Pic below is an example of how it could look)

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Scream! and Colossus are both located right next to the parking lot. Now, wouldn’t it be great to have a 150 ft tall super coaster (Scream!) that towers over you as you leave change colors? It doesn’t even have to be the entire ride, perhaps the interlocking corkscrews that stick out into the parking lot! Or the super-white structure of the classic woodie, that stretches out along almost the entire parking lot. That’s the easiest structure to light up! Yes, the park has tried it before, changing colors, but this was done by a system of which the color filters burnt through, so all you see is the white structure. Why don’t the try to project patterns on the white track at night? Or just simple LEDs to light up the structure, and have it change colors at, perhaps, a fast or slow, peaceful pace?

Say we look at Tatsu and Goliath, both are very noticeable from almost anywhere in the park. Next to the fact that they need a desperate repaint, both structures look dominant, and lighting, other than white lights shining at them, could make them standout from anywhere in the park, and outside the park. This could be easily done by adding LEDs to the bigger support structures of Goliath, and the simple attachment of LED strips to the Tatsu supports, perhaps not even the supports for both, but the track! (Pic below is an example of how it could look)

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When we talk about Riddler’s Revenge’s lights, we talk about the lasers in the station. Remember the time of the good music and ‘question-mark-lasers’ all over the station? Combined with the lift-hill lights that used to all work? Yes, those were the times! Only thing they have to do to change it is to simply turn up the volume, and replace some light bulbs, isn’t too much work is it?

Lastly, rides like Goldrusher, Ninja, Revolution, and Full Throttle are fine the way they are, the first three are built in a forest, and Full Throttle has the equipment to light up the loop in different colors at night. Apocalypse is fine the way it is too since it adds to the ride’s initial theme. Viper on the other hand has a white support structure, it’s built on one of the highest parts of the park, and can be seen from everywhere! (Not always in the park, but outside the park) So wouldn’t it be great if SFMM went back to previous times, and were to light it up in different colors? Same counts for X2, and since it’s such a popular ride, and its location and structure… let you’re fantasy do the rest…

These 2 pics show what Magic Mountain looks like at night now-a-days, could be changed right?

CIMG0433 view3

Rides could be cheaply, easily, be made prettier, only if the parks, in this case Six Flags Magic Mountain, were to install LEDS, or any form of creative light package. We used SFMM as an example since they have the rides to show off, and are currently using mediocre lighting. Nothing against the park’s rides, but this is something they could improve on. We do factor in the local restrictions and such, and maybe that could apply to the superman structure, although that’s lit up at night now too. But when it comes to most other rides, like Viper, X2, Colossus, Scream! And Goliath. They are lit up at night at this point, but use bad lights, that don’t make the rides stand out whatsoever. LEDs could easily change that!

Comment below what you’re thoughts are when it comes to this topic, as well as which other parks are in need of new lighting. Or share your fantasies, or ideas of how parks could make their rides look better at night.

Six Flags Magic Mountain Kiddie Coaster 2014 Model announced!

RCDB has announced the all new kiddie coaster model that Six Flags Magic Mountain will be getting next year!

Six Flags Magic Mountain will add the new Zamperla Family Gravity Coaster 80STD. This coaster is 13.1 feet tall and is 262.5 ft long. It’s the same model as Road Runner Express at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom. It exists out of a small lift hill, followed by a small drop, which is followed by a down-wards helix, and will then turn a 180′ degrees back into the station. When Magic Mountain said kiddie coaster, they literally meant kiddie coaster. This Zamperla model will be located where Foghorn’s little train is located in Bugs Bunny World, and will be part of the new Bugs Bunny World expansion. Below you’ll see a picture of the same model located at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom!960

 

Opening of Grinchmas!

Yesterday, Wednesday the 27th was the official opening of Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood! It was also the award ceremony for the Who-Manitarian of the year! Florence Henderson, the famous TV Mom, from Brady Bunch was handed the award this year! Below you’ll see pictures of the event Universal Studios Hollywood! We’ll be going to Grinchmas this winter, and a detailed update will follow soon!

Universal Main Gate Grinch and Max Florence Henderson-Close Up with Award-2 Florence Henderson-Close Up with Award-1 Florence Henderson_Who-Manitarian-3 Florence Henderson_Who-Manitarian-2 Florence Henderson_Who-Manitarian-1 Florence Henderson with Whos

Knott’s Berry Farm Overall Report part 2.

Here we are! Part 2 of our Knott’s report! We will show some cool night pictures, and everything else we couldn’t discuss in the previous report. Also, on the bottom of this post we have great news regarding the Calico Mine Ride!

Let’s get started with our walk-through of the back of the park. The old Roarin’ 20’s was the second area in the history of the park. It houses bumper-cars, a 2 theaters for the shows, and seasonal events, as well as shops and Hollywood-related apparel.20131116_143604 20131116_143533 Below you’ll see the stadium in which Snoopy on Ice will start tomorrow! (November 28th) as part of Knott’s Merry Farm!

20131116_143509 The basis of the park is of course Ghost Town. Ghost Town is the original and the best, it sets the tone of the park. And is our favorite area in the park. Yes it might have very minimal rides, but lots of shops, small museums, remodeled Calico buildings, good food, and lots more. A MUST VISIT when at Knott’s! It houses Mystery Lodge, an anamatronics show about Indians.

20131116_124238 20131116_124304 20131116_124649 Here’s the bumper-cars we talked about earlier!

20131116_143503 The Rio Grande Western and Southern trains have been bought by Knott’s, and were refurbished to run on a rail-road in the park, and this is one of those rides that makes a visit to Knott’s complete! Riders will get a great view of the park as the train travels through the park. Additionally there are actors in the train that will interact with the guests on the train.

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TIPS: Visit the back of the park, or of course Ghost Town, when lines seem to get long, and you want to get something to eat or relax. Say you just ate, ride the train, visit Ghost Town, and relax. When ever you are even slightly tired of the rides, go to Ghost Town, since there is a lot to do, it’s educational and very interesting and calm. Great that Cedar Fair kept this in tact!

 Sierra Sidewinder and Silver Bullet

Sierra Sidewinder is a great family ride, and is one of our favorites, but due to extreme lines on the day we went, we decided not to ride it. Sierra Sidewinder was only operating 1 train, with a line extending all the way into Camp Snoopy! Check out a full review of Sierra Sidewinder, from our visit when they ran 2 trains.

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Next up, the star ride of the park! Silver Bullet is, arguably, the best ride in the park! Luckily they were back to 2 train operations when we were there last week! It ran incredibly smooth, and we are, as always, in love with the combination of elements! Simply a great long ride!

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Just like GhostRider and Xcelerator, Silver Bullet has TV Screens in the station with safety videos!

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 Pony Express and the Water Rides

Let’s start of with our good ol’ Pony. Yeah, we weren’t satisfied whatsoever this time. The time before, we went with minimal crowds, and a 10-15 minutes wait for 1 train operations was okay. But it was a Saturday, and we waited 40-45 minutes this time for a 30 seconds ride… Great ride, but the line ruined it! Just being honest here. Read about the entire ride experience and everything else in our ride review. (Which is a lot more positive)

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Let’s talk… Big Foot Rapids! NO LINES ALL DAY! YAY! This is a fun raft ride, you don’t get super soaked, like on MM’s Roaring Rapids, but you definitely are able to get wet! It’s actually pretty long, and is a fun ride, even when it’s cold! Each boat has a pouch in the middle that is water-proof, in which you can put and protect your articles.

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Perhaps the best news in this report yet, Timber Mountain Log Ride is seriously the best themed ride in the park now, and we even choose it over Splash Mountain! The make-over it under went did the ride so extremely well, we can’t even describe! A bunch of new scenes have been added, a new light package, sensory effects, etc. The ride looks extremely nice from both outside and inside. We strongly advise you to ride it next time you’re at Knott’s!

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This relates to the great news that Garner Holt productions will also do a make-over of Calico Mine Ride, after the success with TMLR! Take a look.

Knott’s at Night!

We took some pictures of the park at night. Some parts of the park, especially the New Boardwalk, and the Timber Mountain Log Ride look great at night! So does GhostRider of course!

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This was the Knott’s overall report! More detailed articles to come soon! Go to our Knott’s overall report part 1 by clicking here!

Comment your thoughts of the park and anything else coaster related you feel like sharing!

Tomorrow Tuesday–El Loco @ Adventuredome

Yellow-El-Loco-Rendering-588In 2014, Circus Circus’s Adventuredome will have its new ride El Loco opening.  El Loco will be an El Loco model coaster from S&S, and only the second of the model to be placed in America.  El Loco models are characterized by a beyond-vertical drop, tight corners and abnormal banking.  The first El Loco was that of Steel Hawg at Indian Beach.  The ride was announced in November 2007 as having a 120° first drop and a planned opening date in mid-May 2008.  However, these were revised to a drop angle of 111° and an opening date on July 5, 2008.  The ride drop angle was the steepest in the world at the time, taking the record from a series of Gerstlauer Euro-Fighters which shared the record with drops of 97°. The design of the outward banking turn found on the ride was developed by Alan Schilke of Ride Centerline LLC.db_2013_1022_ElLoco51

This angled drops on El Loco models continued to increase, and the record is now held by Green Lantern at Warner Bros. Movie World Australia, at an awe inspiring 120.5 degrees.  Although El Loco (LV), is slated to open in December, it has yet to be announced what its angle for the first drop will be.  The majority of El Loco will begin with a u-turn out of the station. Riders ascend a chain lift hill before going down a small dip and into an s-bend followed by a u-turn. After a slight ascent, the car enters the beyond-vertial drop. The track then returns to approximately two thirds of its original height before entering the first set of block brakes. These brakes lead into a left turn with reverse or outward banking. It then drops under the block brakes and into the first inversion – a Dive Loop. The inversion begins with half of an inline twist which transitions into half of a vertical loop. Upon exiting the inversion the track makes an incline and into a second set of block brakes. The train then goes around a right u-turn and into the second inversion – a downwards inline twist. This leads into a cutback-style turnaround before entering the final brake run and returning to the station.  This ride, is sure to take the new title of most extreme title for coasters in Vegas, and here at CCK, we can’t wait to ride it.  el-loco-2
The train seen above is the one from Steel Hawg, below you’ll see the new design for El Loco in Las Vegas.

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