Thursday, February 28, 2008

Aquatica "tube" rendering

We had a lot of discussion on our show about what the underwater segments of the waterslides at Aquatica would be like.

This rendering is the best that I've seen so far at givng us an idea of what's in store.

It really is innovative. It will be interesting to see how this is received by the public. I'm just surprised we haven't seen something like this from the waterpark industry before.

I'm just thankful that they're not trying a "looping waterslide!"

What do you think? Talk about it in our forums!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mail from Beech Bend Park

I'm used to getting mail from all of the different parks promoting one thing or another. But most times it comes addressed to our mailing address.

That's why I was surprised to receive a brochure from Beech Bend Park and Splash Lagoon today. It didn't come to the Coaster Radio mailing address, it came to my home address.

The park is almost 700 miles away from our home, so I'm not exactly sure why I'm on their radar. Maybe they got my name from a hotel near Holiday World? Or Maybe Admir from Budget Rent-A-Car gave them my address. After all, he wanted us to "ride in styyyyyllleee!"

(You have to be a long time listener to get that last joke.)

Anyway, I'm happy to get the brochure, but I'm just a bit puzzled.

Maybe Beech Bend is stepping up their marketing efforts. From what I've heard, the Kentucky Rumbler is worth it!

Discuss this topic in our forums!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I hope Disney brings the hammer down!

Nobody likes waiting in lines, especially when you're at the theme park.

But I came to the realization long ago that long lines are just a part of the whole theme park experience. They go together "like ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong." There's no getting around it. Or at least that's what I thought until recently.

I was reading an article on Jim Hill Media about how Disney is experimenting with ways to stop guests from creating and using counterfeit FastPasses on attractions at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Are you kidding me? Are there really people out there who open up their copy of Photoshop and spend time creating fake FastPasses? Even worse, are there actually people who create these fake tickets and then sell them online?

Apparently so! From what I read, the parks deal with hundreds of counterfeit FastPasses a day. Unbelievable!

I'm not naive enough to believe that the world is a fair place. There are jerk-offs around every corner looking to rip people off. But what this shows is that there are people out there who have a fundamental lack of respect for everyone around them.

Yeah I know, they're not actually stealing anything. But you'd be mad if someone forcibly cut in front of you while you were waiting for your favorite ride, right? That's what's happening here! What's worse, is that it throws off the whole carefully calibrated FastPass system that supposedly keeps the attractions running at full capacity.

That's why I hope that Disney brings down the hammer on these fools. They shouldn't just take the fake FastPasses away, they should kick their counterfeiting asses out of the park and ban them from the friggin' property.

While they're at it, Donald Duck should kick 'em in the balls too!

Nothing pisses me off more than someone taking advantage by cheating.

What do you think? Talk about this travesty in the Forums.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

It's Oscar Night!

Tonight, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will present the 80th Annual Academy Awards.

We thought it would be fun to take a stroll down memory lane and bring out three classic episodes of that had a "movie theme".

First, is our "Reel" Design Contest, where we invited listeners to dream up their own attraction concept based on their favorite movie.

Second is our tribute to the Universal motion picture "Roller Coaster." This 1977 classic features tons of action shot at Kings Dominion and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Don't forget, we also produced a full-length DVD commentary!

Last, but not least, is the paraody of Titanic from our Series Finale. Sure, there's horrible acting all around... but it does bring a tear to the eye.

Enjoy the Oscars and talk about these classic episodes in the forum!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Are you ready for your closeup? I'm not.

I'm a television producer, so I live my life around video cameras.

In fact, I even spent part of my career performing on-camera. Yeah, that's me over there playing a "Doc Brown" ripoff for a kids science show on PBS.

So you'd think that because I'm a ham, I'd like the fact that parks are starting to add on-board video cameras to roller coasters.

Surprisingly, I don't like it at all. In fact, it creeps me out.

When I'm riding a roller coaster, it's the one time in life when I can lose all of my inhibitions and totally yell like a maniac. I have a really stressful job, so I see a roller coaster ride as therapy with a $49.95 admission fee. After a few laps on a roller coaster, my stress seems to melt away. I guess it's because I can yell and scream without anyone watching me.

But now, that's not necessarily the case.

Last summer, my brother Greg and I took a trip to an amusement park and we took a spin on one of our favorite inverted coasters. I had ridden it dozens of times before and was really looking forward to another ride.

But when I sat in the seat and pulled down my shoulder harness, I noticed a camera lens starting at me.

"What the hell is this?" I asked Greg, pointing at the electronic eye.

For some reason, I didn't like the fact that someone, somewhere would be able to watch me riding the coaster if they wanted. I'm sure they have privacy protocols in place, but what would stop a rogue employee from downloading a particularly embarrasing video and anonymously uploading it to YouTube?

Anyway, my ride on the invert just wasn't as liberating as in the past. I couldn't get over the fact that every yell, scream and occasional cuss word were being saved on a hard drive somewhere. But I guess I'll have to get used to it.

These days, video cameras are everywhere. Most times, you can't walk into a public place without a camera capturing your every move. So, why shouldn't it be any different on a thrill ride?

What do you guys think?

Join our discussion on this topic in the forums.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 Rocks the HoliBlog!

One of the best places we ever visited during the reign of the podcast was Holiday World and Splashin' Safari.

It was so great, it even brought a smile to EB's face.

Today, the relaunch of got a nice mention in the HoliBlog with a link to our review of The Voyage.

There's only been one time that I've traveled over 300 miles to visit a theme park that didn't have the name DISNEY in it. That trip was to Santa Claus, Indiana to visit Holiday World.

It was totally worth it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Walt Disney World should get "Lost"

I just finished watching a new episode of "Lost" on ABC and it got me thinking....

If Disney can shell out the big bucks to create an "American Idol" attraction (which airs on a rival network), why not take one of the biggest hits from its own network and turn it into something HUGE for their theme parks.

Then it hit me... the perfect idea!

Years ago, Disney was talking with the creators of the MYST video game series about creating an immersive and interactive environment for guests to explore. They even had a location picked out.

They were planning to create this MYST universe on Discovery Island, which is an 11½-acre island in Bay Lake at Walt Disney World. It originally opened as "Treasure Island" in 1974, and was a place where guests could observe different kids of animals. It was closed in 1999, when all of the wildlife were moved to Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Today, this island sits unused just waiting for an idea to bring it back to life. How awesome would it be to take the myth, storyline and legend of "Lost" and set it loose on Discovery Island?

Guests could be brought onto the island in groups of 10 to 15. They could start off on the beach, where the wreckage of Oceanic 815 would still be sitting there. Clues would lead the group to The Hatch, where they might find a cast member frantically entering the code 4 8 15 16 23 42 into a 1980's computer.

The adventure might take a dangerous turn, when the group comes across the camp of "The Others". The ideas could go on and on.

Technically, this would be more of a show than a traditional attraction... so the capacity would have to be capped at a certain number each day. That would mean the admission fee would be close to what you'd pay to enter the Magic Kingdom.

A good model to go by would be The Tomb at 5-Wits. Check out the FAQ for this attraction to get an idea of how the Lost Island could work.

I know that there are a lot of problems with this idea... especially the fact that the show ends in three years. But I really like the idea of an "adventure island" where a group of strangers need to work as a team to solve a mystery.

Do you think an idea like this could work? Join the discussion in the forums!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Food With A View

About 10 years ago, I didn't stop to smell the roses when I visited a theme park.

I tried to cram in as much fun as possible without stopping to rest or to eat.

Now that I'm getting older, I don't mind taking the time to find some good food and more importantly, a good atmosphere to dine.

For instance, during our trip to Disneyland, Molly and I decided to splurge and eat at the famous Blue Bayou. The restaurant is built in the same show building as Pirates of the Caribbean. Even though you're indoors, it feels like you're eating in an outdoor restaurant at nighttime. One of the best parts about eating there was that we had a perfect view of riders floating by in their boats at the start of Pirates.

If you're a theme park fan, you can't ask for any better entertainment than to watch one of your favorite rides in action while you eat.

At Busch Gardens Europe, guests can eat at the Bistro 205. This full service outdoor restaurant offers a picture perfect view of Griffon's entire layout... including the 205 foot drop. They even experimented with offering an early admission that includes breakfast at Bistro 205 and ERT on Griffon.

Of course, you don't need to spend big bucks and eat at a full service restaurant to have a similar experience. At Hersheypark last year, I grabbed a BBQ sandwich and found a perfect table directly below Stormrunner's Tophat. I must have seen 20 or 30 trains rush by as I enjoyed lunch with friends.

Hopefully this will be a trend. I'm hoping more parks will create restaurants with a view.

What do you think? Join our conversation on this topic in the forum.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Idol-Mania comes to Disney World

Since we're more of a commentary blog and less of a news blog, I waited a few days to gather my thoughts on the new "American Idol" attraction coming to Disney's Hollywood Studios later this year.

The story has already hit the mainstream press, so you know there is gonna be a lot of buzz about this one.

I should start off by saying that I'm not a fan of American Idol. I hate the fact that horrible singers, clueless to the fact that they can't sing, are paraded in front of the world to be ridiculed. With the exception of William Hung, who at least stretched his humiliation into 15-minutes of fame, I don't see anything good that comes from it. Sure, it can be funny sometimes, but a lot of times it is just sad.

But I'm clearly in the minority. That damn show is #1 anytime it is on and it blows away the competition. So I suppose it makes perfect sense to turn it into a theme park attraction. I guess the only question is why it wasn't done sooner.

This sounds to me like a theme park attraction that is essentially a karaoke bar... without the soothing effects of alcohol. Anyone who has even been to a K-Bar will tell you that after 15-minutes of hearing some soccer mom from Trenton sing "Love Shack", you'll need hard

When I see a show at a park, I want to be entertained by professionals, not some dude who was standing next to me in line for Tower of Terror three hours before. But I realize I could be totally wrong about this one. I just wonder if it will have more staying power than "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Play it!"

At least they're designing an attraction for Disney's Hollywood Studios that actually simulates a Hollywood experience. Which reminds me, I really miss the old "Superstar Television" that used to be in the same theater.

There is already talk in the Forum about this idea. Head there to join in the conversation!

Friday, February 08, 2008

How are you going to spend the government's money?

It was announced that the United States Congress finally passed a bill that will be sending between $600 and $1,200 to most taxpayers. The bill is a measure that they hope will give a boost to the slumping U.S. economy.

I know that if someone offered $1,200 to the readers of this blog, there's really only one place they'd want to spend it......

The Moonlite Bunny Ranch!!!!

Seriously though, $1,200 is a nice chunk of change. The smart thing would be to sock it away in a savings account in case the much dreaded recession hits. But I think George W. Bush wants me to get out there and do my patriotic duty by sinking this money back into the economy.... more specifically at a theme park!

Then again, Apple has been tempting me with the new iPod Touch and the new MacBook Air.

Join our discussion on this topic.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Featured Blog - Arthur's Theme Park Blog

You'll notice that one of the new features of this site is a list of our favorite blog links. It can be found on the right-hand sidebar of this page. One thing we'll do every now and then is highlight a particular blog or website that we think you'd enjoy.

Today's selected blog is Arthur's Theme Park Blog.

The blog is a part of, which is owned by The New York Times Company. It's filled with hundreds of helpful experts who write articles about their particular area of expertise. The section on theme parks is written and edited by veteran writer Arthur Levine.

I like reading Arthur's blog because he reports on the amusement industry in a straight-forward, no nonsense manner. He also travels around the country to give first-hand reports on new attractions, whereas many other sites rely on press releases and ridethrough videos.

He also manages to secure some excellent interviews with amusement industry personalities. Arthur has brought us interesting conversations with people like Six Flags CEO Mark Shapiro, and most recently Disney Imagineer Tony Baxter. The Baxter interview was particularly interesting because he admitted to Arthur that Disney has been "experimenting" with something that will be the answer to Universal's Spiderman. Baxter said that Imagineering has created "something that goes beyond that."

Arthur has also always been a good friend to We had him as a guest on one of our podcasts and he recently wrote a nice article about our return to the web. So check out Arthur's blog!

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Paris Hilton says Magic Mountain is HOT!

Today I saw the ad we all knew was coming.

Eli Manning was on the field after winning Superbowl 42 (I refuse to say XVII), and when asked what he was going to do next, he said he was "Going to Disneyworld!" I'm guessing if you live on the west coast, Eli conveniently says that he's "Going to Disneyland!" Those Disney guys are amazing.

Anyway, the commercial got me thinking. If Disney can get a popular star to help promote their parks, why can't the regional parks?

I think it's time Six Flags, Cedar Fair or Busch Gardens pull out their checkbook and hire a vapid celebrity to be their official spokesperson.

Paris Hilton lives out in Los Angeles! I bet she's at least driven past Six Flags Magic Mountain once or twice. They should scoop her up, pay her some bucks and create some commercials.

They could take a cue from her home video and shoot the commercial in "night-vision!"

I know... I know... Paris Hilton is old news. But I used her for a reason. I didn't want to take away a good idea from you!

On our latest podcast, we hinted that this new blog would be interactive. Today, I'm proud to announce our first interactive posting.

We want you guys to take your favorite park and match it with a celebrity spokesperson. Which celebrity would deliver the best pitch for your park? What would the tag line be? If you want, you can even PhotoShop an image and post it in the forums.

We'll post some of the best answers here next week!

Good luck! Join our discussion on this topic in our forums.

Monday, February 04, 2008

An Imagineering attraction... about Imagineering?

Word got out the other day about how Walt Disney World is doing some construction work on the Imagination Pavilion at EPCOT.

I’ve always thought that the attractions there have been pretty good. I especially liked all of the interactive “Image Works” exhibits.

But what surprises me is that Disney Imagineering has not developed an attraction based on Disney Imagineering. It seems to me like this pavilion at EPCOT would be the perfect place to do it.

I don’t know the names of the people who create attractions for Cedar Fair, Busch Gardens, Six Flags or even Universal. But we do know that the people who create attractions for Disney Parks have a unique name created by Walt Disney himself…. Imagineers.

So I think it would be completely appropriate to have some type of attraction based upon the ideas and principals of WDI. I suppose they did this a few years ago when they had the “Imagineering Labs” at EPCOT. Here, you could test out some of the latest WDI innovations such as Aladdin’s Virtual Reality Flying Carpets.

But that attraction didn’t give anyone an insight into what it’s like to be an imagineer. Actually, it just gave me motion sickness.

Here’s my idea….

What better way to celebrate Imagination then by giving people a chance to somehow participate in the Imagineering process. Imagine giving people the opportunity to create an engaging storyline and then tell the story with some type of ride system… sort of like Cyberspace Mountain at DisneyQuest.

This attraction would be entertaining, interactive and most importantly… educational.

What do you think? Join our discussion on this topic in our fourms.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Announcing the the re-launch of!

Today we're re-launching with some all-new features, including this new blog and the return of the "New Forum Forums".

To help explain it all, we produced an all new podcast episode. You can download it here or receive it through the old podcast feed.

This is the first of three new episodes we promised our listeners for putting us over the $1000 mark during the 2007 Coaster Crew Single Riders Marathon.


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