Throwback Thursday–Circus Wheel and Eagles Flight

Eagles Flight was a sky bucket ride that opened on the opening-day of Magic Mountain, and carried passengers from the Sky Tower to one of two stations: El Dorado Station at the back of the park near El Bumpo (bumper boat ride), and Galaxie Station at the front side of the park near the Galaxy ride (double armed ferris wheel).  Riders had a nasty habit of swinging the buckets which was clearly prohibited by the posted rules on board. That came to sudden and violent end in 1978 when a pair of newlyweds swung their bucket too far and it crashed to the ground. The ride was redesigned after the fatal accident, but in 1981 the El Dorado course was removed, followed by the Galaxie route in 1994. The entire ride was thus demolished, mainly due to the damage of the 1994 earthquake. Like the Sky Tower and several other early attractions, Eagles Flight was manufactured by Intamin AG.

eagle flight

Circus Wheel was a Sellner Tilt-A-Whirl, that also went by the names of Baile de los Flores (1981-1988). The ride duration was very long, which made it a favorite for flat rides at the park.  When it was named Baile de los Flores, it was located near Viper. It finally moved to where the three point challenge is today, and was renamed Circus Wheel.  It stayed there until 2007, when it was taken down. This Tilt-A-Whirl is currently in storage. Hopefully the park will soon find it a 4th place in the park for it to operate in, because the mountain needs flats!

 

Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem

dmmmDespicable Me: Minion Mayhem is a motion simulator ride in Universal Orlando, that is planed to be built in the California park in April of 2014.  Guests will experience themed queues, preshow videos and comedic dialogue that set up the fundamental plot: Gru schemes to create more mischievous Minions from human recruits.  Guests will be transported into Gru’s house as they meander through his living room and encounter visual elements as seen in the film, including the moon-shrinking SR-6 shrink ray and then zig zag into his lab.  The exciting journey continues as they swerve, bounce and plunge to get through the frantically humorous Minion training mission while donning specially designed 3D Minion goggles.  The fun continue in a post-show dance party where Minion walkaround characters invite guests to strut their stuff in an impromptu Minion-inspired dance party.  This ride, although not as thrilling as most of our articled rides, definitely will be quite an immerseive experience.

Despicable Me Minion Mayhem

SFMM Park Update 12/8/13

As often as we go, there is always something new that we notice! It never stops! So here’s today’s update (12/8/13)

As we were waiting to enter this morning, we noticed Bugs and Coyote in their fancy Holiday out-fits! Our guess is that the unofficial ‘Holiday in the Park’ has now started, as Santa Claus and his wife were there all day, and the snow-globe was finally opened to the public. We don’t have a picture, but the park also installed snowflake-lights in the trees that shine down on the paths. It is pretty need looking.

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Let’s move on to the talk most people have wanted to hear. Full Throttle is roof-less. Yes, it always was, but the station has no cover any longer. Construction of the actual station roof is starting soon. This is a great sign of it! Full Throttle was operating 2 trains after a humble 2 weeks in which it wasn’t always operating.

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Although Jet Stream has stayed open during the winter for the last couple of years, it was drained, and seemed closed for the season. We saw a spot along the flume track that you could just see the sun shine through. Either they give it a big refurb soon, or get rid of it, because this is seriously sad! Does any one have a clue why the Log Jammer logs are still on site?

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When we rode Apocalypse, we were surprised that the fire was working again! We were also surprised to see that the park did some sort of ‘re-tracking’, at least they added some wood to the structure, as well as the track, that has a totally different color.

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As we walked through Bugs Bunny World, which we don’t do too often, we noticed that there was some sort of construction going on next to Roadrunner Express and Magic Flyer. Also, we’re not sure if it’s new or not, but the weather sign seemed new.

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Last but not least, we saw that the pads under the Lex Corp suit in the Lex Luthor Drop of Doom line were replaced. It looks new, and unbroken! YAY! Also Viper was closed for a while around noon-1PM for no apparent reason. They were cycling empty trains for a while and then let us in. Oh well.

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Other than that, Sky Tower is still closed, hope for it to re-open soon. There was hardly anyone in the park all day, so lines were minimal. Colossus and Gold Rusher are said to be receiving seat-belts, but they don’t have them yet.

 

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.

insanity

 

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.

Speed-Loop

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?

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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.