After a shorter day at Worlds of Fun, Pete and I had come to our final day and park of the Missouri Triangle. Six Flags St. Louis opened in 1971 as the third and final Six Flags park developed under the vision of Angus Wynne – before expansion switched from new park development to acquisition. It is apparent that the concept had been streamlined by the third try. While the six flag-themed areas remained, far less emphasis was placed on nation specific theming. By the 70s it was obvious rides are why people went to Six Flags and the park opened with multiple of what made the Six Flags concept work: two Arrow log flumes, two Arrow mine trains, and two Arrow car rides. While the park has undergone some dramatic changes through the years, it benefits from this simplified formula, and, despite the changes, the park feels cohesive. What was it about this “lower-tier” Six Flags park that made it a highlight of our trip?Continue reading “The Missouri Triangle: Part 3 – Six Flags St. Louis”
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.Continue reading “The Missouri Triangle: Part 2 – Worlds of Fun”
For us enthusiasts living in areas affected by seasons the spring is always an exciting time to look forward to. This year I launched the coaster season with a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania to check out some of the worlds best coasters. Accompanied by my patient boyfriend Andrew and our friend Pete we embarked on a two day, one night trip from Columbus, Ohio to Knoebels in Elysburg, Pennsylvania and Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Make sure to check out part 1 of my trip report which looked at Knoebels.Continue reading “Pennsylvania Weekend: Part 2 Hersheypark”
For us enthusiasts living in areas affected by seasons, the spring is always an exciting time to look forward to. This year I launched the coaster season with a whirlwind trip to Pennsylvania to check out some of the world’s best coasters. Accompanied by my patient boyfriend Andrew and our friend Pete, we embarked on a two day, one night trip from Columbus, Ohio to Knoebels in Elysburg, Pennsylvania and Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania.Continue reading “Pennsylvania Weekend: Part 1 – Knoebels”
In this series of articles the Coaster Kings teams look to share some advice that will help our readers plan their travel. This week Ian outlines the steps to prepare for a trip to a theme park in the United States. This article is specifically geared towards American theme parks in general. Look for articles on the Disney and Universal resorts in the future!Continue reading “How To – U.S.A. Parks”
In Part 9 of this series I briefly mentioned Six Flags ambitious expansion throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. A growing American economy made the expansion of the theme park market seem unstoppable. A series of park acquisitions and the acquisition of Six Flags by Premier Parks that was finalized in 1998 expanded the company’s portfolio to include European parks, movie themed parks, and animal parks. At the park level Six Flags unveiled park expansions and additions at a dizzying rate. From the years 1997-2003 Six Flags Magic Mountain received a brand new coaster every year. It is worth noting that with the exception of 1999 each one of these additions was a major, and in many cases record breaking coaster: 1997 saw the addition of the record breaking 400 ft tall Superman: The Escape. 1998’s Riddler’s Revenge remains the largest Stand-Up coaster in the world. 2000’s Goliath opened as the world’s tallest continuous circuit coaster. 2002’s X introduced the world to the 4th dimension coaster. And 2003’s B&M floorless Scream was built to be a reliable addition after X‘s problems. X was originally set to open in 2001 but was delayed significantly. Six Flags chose to open another major thrill machine from Vekoma. Unfortunately, this coaster would have its own set of problems. In August of 2001 Six Flags and Vekoma unveiled the world’s first “Giant Inverted Boomerang”, Deja Vu.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 10: Déjà Vu”
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.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 9: Stealth”
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.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 8: Invertigo”
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.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 7: Windjammer”
In Part 4 we looked at the construction and eventual transformation of California’s tallest wooden coaster, Colossus. Today’s lost coaster resided at the same park. This story includes a natural disaster, a young Swiss ride manufacturer, and the unfortunate death of a coaster design icon.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 5: Psyclone”
When a park sets out to build the biggest, fastest, and baddest coaster around the problem always arises that its records and stature will eventually be surpassed. For Magic Mountain’s Colossus this was not a problem for much of its life. From its construction in 1978 until the construction of Viper in 1990 it was the tallest full circuit coaster in all of California. After Viper Colossus reigned as the king of the California wooden coasters until it’s RMC conversion in 2014, passing the crown to the nearby GhostRider.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 4: Colossus”
In Part 1 of this series we explored Corkscrew which left Knott’s Berry farm in 1989 but lives on at Silverwood. Today we look at another steel classic that left the state a year earlier in 1988 and also lives on, albeit in spirit, at a different park.Continue reading “Lost Coasters of California – Part 2: Whizzer”
In the UK the Theme Park scene is pretty much over for this year but there are still a few places to get your rides in. There are not many of the Coaster Kings who have had the chance to visit Adventure Island and after my first visit I wanted to tell you all about it. I’m going to use the word cute a lot in this article because Adventure Island is a cute park! Continue reading “Adventure Island – The Island of, You’ve Guessed it, Adventure!”
Though we have known about it for some time now, Nigloland finally officially announced its new coaster for 2021: Krampus Expedition ! The park, as well as the local papers, unveiled artwork and picturess of the construction site as of today! Here is a recap of everything Krampus Expedition at Nigloland ! Continue reading “Nigloland – Krampus Expedition Details”
America has a few regions that are “hotspots” for roller coasters, regions with 2 or more parks within a short distance from each other. The most famous include Central Florida, Southern California, and Eastern Pennsylvania. Though long outshined by the plethora of parks surrounding Los Angeles and San Diego, Northern California holds the distinction of being a region with three parks with major thrill roller coasters. The roller coaster landscape of Northern California has changed dramatically just within the past 10 years.
After quite some time, we finally got out to Walibi Belgium again to take a look at the finished layout of their well-known new Intamin mega coaster coming in 2021. We got some shots of work being done in its new area and some amazing views of the completed track.
I visit Parc Astérix very often as it is quite near from Paris and I have changed my mind quite a lot about which is the best rollercoaster at the park. Dragging 2.3M guests in 2019, it is one of the top european park that you must visit if you’re an enthusiast. Here is our ranking of the 7 coasters present at the park:
We recently visited Blackpool Pleasure Beach, winning 11 awards this year in the theme park awards it’s rated as one of the UK’s top attractions. Having such a large amount of rides in one small park provides something for everyone. Today we are going to rank our favorite coasters! Continue reading “Blackpool Pleasure Beach – Top 10 Rollercoasters”
Honestly, I’ve never been more excited for a new coaster in Belgium. This new Intamin Mega Coaster looks so cool and you’ll want to read this update. After the completion of the lift hill and the Non-Inverting Cobra Roll, a new element has been finished! Continue reading “Walibi Mega Coaster Construction Update – August 18th 2020”
Alex: The French park Futuroscope is finally getting its first coaster this 2020 season. Check out the details and what’s new this season on this article!