Wednesday, May 28, 2008

EB checks in from Indiana!

EB checking in on the blog!  The move was successful and we're all settling in here in Indiana.

So far, so good, and we really like it here.  Over the weekend we visited Brown County State Park, and more importantly, the Indianapolis Zoo.  

Why is the Zoo so special?  Because it has a roller coaster, of course!!

It's just a wee little kiddie coaster, but it still adds one to my coaster count, right?  And speaking of one coaster on your coaster count, young Mark rode, too - his very first coaster!

We just barely convinced the ride op that he was 38", so he got to ride Kombo, a kiddie coaster at the Indianapolis zoo!  It was awesome and he really loved it - I was so worried he'd be freaked out and scared, but he thought it was the best part of the zoo!  The op sent us around for three circuits, too - Mark yelled "Again Again" everytime we came around to the station. Yay!

Next up, the Howler at Holiday World!

Talk about it in the Forums!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Come on Discovery Channel!

Memorial Day weekend is a time for Americans to honor their war heroes.

But for those of you who read this blog, you also know it as the official kick off of the theme park season.

Sure, the parks have been open for a few months already, but mostly only on the weekends.

After today, they're all open everyday!

Earlier this decade, I used to look forward to Monday night of the Memorial Day weekend because Discovery Channel used to run a block of programming dedicated to theme parks, amusement parks and water parks.

From about 6pm until midnight, they ran new programs that showed the latest rides and attractions.  Sometimes they even had a show that gave viewers a behind the scenes look at a certain park.

Most of these shows were excellently produced.  More importantly, they signaled the start of summer.  Watching these shows always got me pumped up for upcoming park trips.

If you turn on Discovery Channel tonight, you get shows about catching crabs.  Yes, a whole night of "Deadliest Catch" is on tap for Discovery Channel.  The Travel Channel doesn't have anything amusement park related either.

Since I work in TV, I know the reasons behind why we don't get any new theme park shows.

Maybe the programs were too expensive to produce.  Maybe there wasn't enough compelling content out there.  Most likely though, there just weren't enough people watching to justify the production costs.

Regardless, tonight there won't be any theme park programming on and Memorial Day weekend just won't feel the same.

Talk about this in the Forums.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Trip Report from X2 Media Day New Forum Forum member Ryan120420 had a chance to attend the Media Day for X2 at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

You can read his complete trip report and see some great pictures of the event by visiting this link.

Ryan says the ride has some pros and cons.....

The Pros being a great new color scheme, an overall smoother ride and a upgraded station.

However, he did find a few cons... such as no separate unload station, some audio problems and a few rough spots.

All in all, it sounds like a great upgrade to one of the most unique rides on the planet.

Thanks Ryan for the trip report!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Motivation for Weight Loss

Over at, a few of the guys are holding a weight loss contest inspired by NBC's "The Biggest Loser."

From what I read, there were some problems fitting on coasters and they're using roller coaster riding as their motivation to lose weight.

If you've surfed any of the coaster forums over the past 5 years, you know that not fitting on roller coasters is becoming a bigger problem all across the U.S. (Pardon the pun.)

It might be because technology is advancing to the point where coasters can be built higher and faster... so the restraints need to be that much better (and tighter).

It might be because more lawyers are getting into mix and making the designers create restraints that aren't friendly to those with a bit more girth.

Or.... it could be that American's are just getting fatter.

I had a wake-up call a year ago when I visited Disneyland.  I didn't have a problem fitting on any rides, but when I got my pictures back, I couldn't believe the picture of the fat guy riding the Matterhorn.

Yeah, it was a picture of me.  I was pissed that I looked so awful in the pictures.  I didn't even want to show them to anyone.  It was then, I decided to do something about it.  So, I started watching what I ate, I exercised more and before I knew it, I had dropped 30 pounds.

It's been so great going to parks this year and not giving a second thought to whether or not I'd fit on the rides.  I also feel a lot better and have even been getting some compliments from the ladies at work.  (That's right, baby.)

So, I'm proud of the guys over at   I'm gonna show some solidarity with them by rededicating myself to diet and exercise so I never gain that 30 pounds back.

Or I might end up taking the "walk of shame" after I don't fit on a ride.

Talk about this in the forum.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Segway Tours at a Park Near You?

On one of my recent trips to Walt Disney World, I had a chance to take part in a Segway Tour of World Showcase at EPCOT.

Yeah, I look pretty goofy in that helmet, but it turned out to be some of the most fun I've ever had at a theme park.

The experience started before the park opened with an hour-long training session at the Innovations exhibit.  The trainers taught us how to balance and steer the Segways and then let us give it a try on an indoor obstacle course.

After the group was prepared, a guide led us out into World Showcase for a tour of each country.  It was a real thrill to have World Showcase all to ourselves as we were zipping past Mexico, China, Germany, Japan and France.

The guide took us into each country.  It was particularly memorable to wind our way through the tight corners and winding walkways in Morocco.

Surprisingly, the Segways seemed to be moving pretty fast.  I think I had mine going as fast as 7 miles per hour (which seems speedy when you're not inside a car.)

So, this gets me thinking.  If people can have a blast zipping around EPCOT... could this work at your local theme park as well?

Why couldn't Cedar Point or Six Flags Great Adventure offer similar tours?  I'm sure that there would be willing participants to come into the park a few hours early, take part in a quick training session and then Segway past their favorite roller coasters.  Maybe the tour could even include a ride or two!

Do you think it could work?  Talk about it in the forums.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Weekend Theater - Human Slingshot

Could this be coming to a theme park near you? I doubt it.

Maybe in Europe.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Is it time for the CAVE?

A few years ago, I remember hearing about a new technology being developed at Virginia Tech called The CAVE.

You'll have to check out this video to get a good idea of what it is, but essentially it's a multi-person, room-sized, high-resolution, 3D video and audio environment.

When it was first unveiled, many people thought that it was a perfect fit for a theme park environment.  I even thought it could be the answer to the ultra-realism of The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman... if left in the right hands.

Imagine riding on a Disney EMV and heading into one of these CAVE rooms.  For the first time ever, the story would completely surround you with no screen seams or obvious sets.

It's been several years since the CAVE was announced... and technology has advanced a lot since then.

Maybe it's time to think about The CAVE once again?

Talk about it in the forums.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Not Everybody Liked Honest Abe

Sometimes when I'm doing research for my "real job" in TV, I come across articles that cross over into the "Coaster Radio Universe."

It happened the other day when I found this old Chicago newspaper article from 1964.

When Walt Disney and his Imagineers created the "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" exhibit for the 1964 World's Fair, it was seen by most as a technological marvel.

It was widely praised by all who saw it and went a long way towards cementing Walt Disney's legacy as one of America's greatest entertainers.

Today, Disney fans across the world have come to see that moment as the birth of Audio Animatronics and beginning of Disney's mastery of theme park technology.

So it's interesting to read the op-ed by Mr. Lerner where he says that the exhibit was "tasteless" and an "amateurish mess."

He said that when the curtains opened, he saw what looked "like a dead man with a knife stuck in his back." He went on to complain about an "imperfectly timed sound track" and a "12-minute forgettable speech."

You'll have to read it for yourself, because there are a lot more complaints. Frankly, it's surprising because it's generally agreed upon by most historians that the "Great Moments" exhibit was a pivotal moment in entertainment history. It was easily the most popular exhibit at the World's Fair. The technology was so good, it led to attractions like "Pirates of the Caribbean" and other Disney theme park blockbusters

I don't bring this up because I think the author is at all right. I bring this up to show that no matter how great an accomplishment is, there will always be someone who doesn't think it's great.

I guess there's something we can all learn from that.

Talk about it in the forums.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Dominator at Kings Dominion is Testing

I don't know if we're the first site to be reporting this.... but Dominator was testing on Saturday, May 3rd around 4:00 pm.

I just got back from a trip to Kings Dominion with Greg K.  (A trip report will follow later on.)

Greg and I watched them test the ride four or five times.  We got to see it move through the entire course.

It's looks like it's gonna be a winner, just like it was a Geauga Lake.

And from what I heard in the queue lines, no one knew it was a hand -me-down.

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