Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Trip to Dream City, Iraq

It's the election season here in the US and everyone is trying to figure out whether Barack Obama or John McCain will be our next president.

Of course, one of the biggest issues in this year's election is the war in Iraq.

One thing we tend to forget about is that real people live over there. And of course, those people also need a place to relax, unwind and have fun.

Jorrit Spoelstra, a blog reader from Europe, wrote in to tell us about a documentary by Thomas Kaan on the Dream City theme park in Iraq.

The film focuses on several visitors to Dream City who talk about their life in the war torn country. The movie features stories of fear, the role of ethnicity and religion, hate and violence, but also the future, dreams, courage and hope...and it's all set against the backdrop of the theme park.

You can check out the documentary HERE:

Talk about this in the CoasterRadio.com Forums.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Disney's Birthday Treat

Forgive me for not commenting on this earlier...but you're faithful blogger has been really busy lately. I've basically been living in the edit suite and I spent the last week in Phoenix (which sadly wasn't close to any theme park!) So there really hasn't been much time for pulling together thoughts on the amusement industry.

However, I had to stop what I was doing to comment on the latest marketing effort that was unveiled by Disney last week. The big travel trend these days is the "celebration vacation," where families gather together to celebrate a special day or event.

Starting in January, Disney is inviting all of us to celebrate our birthdays for free at any of its parks. The "What Will You Celebrate?" campaign lasts throughout 2009.
You can even register your birthday ahead of time and customize your special day with a variety of activities. You can find all of the information and start making your plans by visiting disneyparkscelebration.com.

This is BRILLIANT. Because who goes to Disney parks alone? If it's your birthday, you're at least going to take ONE other person with you. And unless it's that person's birthday too, they're gonna have to pay for an admission.

BINGO! Disney just got someone to buy a ticket who might not have made the trip otherwise.

Talk About This In The CoasterRadio.com Forums.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A "Voice" From The Past

I like it when friends we met during the heyday of the CoasterRadio.com podcast do well.

Do you remember the friendly voice that introduced the VisitPA.com Pennsylvania Theme Park Road Trip? Well, that voice belonged to talented voiceover artist

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Tales From The Parks....

We're unveiling a new feature here at Coaster Radio.com called "Tales From The Parks". It's a chance for all of us to share funny, interesting, weird, shocking, gross or strange stories from our visits to the theme parks.

We've started a new forum topic where you can add your stories. Some of the best ones will be featured on the blog. I'll get us started.....

A few years ago, I was at a park standing in line for a slightly intense roller coaster. In front of me, was a family of four...a father, mother and two young kids. The older daughter must have been 12 and the younger son was probably seven or eight.

It was obvious that the son wasn't interested in riding. He was begging and pleading with his father to leave the line. But the father wasn't having any of it. He kept telling the son to "grow a pair" and to "chill out".

As we moved along farther in the line, the son really started to melt down. At first it was a few tears, then a few sobs and it finally escalated into a full-on panic attack.

Here's where the world-class parenting began. The father grabbed his son, turned him squarely towards me and said: "You're making that man angry. If you don't shut up, he's going to beat you up!"

The kid stopped crying, but he looked at me like I was the friggin' Terminator. Any fear he had for the ride was totally replaced by fear of me. What was worse is that the father was making eye contact with me. I could tell that he wanted me to do something to confirm the threat to his son.

I wasn't in the mood to play his game. In fact, I was pretty disgusted by the whole scene. So I looked at the kid and said, "Don't worry. I'm not sure why your dad said that, but I really don't care if you ride or not. In fact, there's an exit right up here where you can get out of line if you want."

The kid seemed relieved, but his dad was angry... at me. He said "thanks a lot a--hole" in his most sarcastic voice.

Needless to say, it was an uncomfortable 10 minutes until we reached the ride platform. Once we got there, the kid and his mom walked through and didn't ride.

But I've always wondered what the situation would have been like if I had "played along" and become a menacing threat to make this kid ride the coaster. I've also wondered if that father has used the same tactic since.

It's like Keanu Reeves once said in the movie "Parenthood":

"You need a license to buy a dog, or drive a car. Hell, you need a license to catch a fish! But they'll let any a--hole be a father."

Talk About This In The CoasterRadio.com Forums.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

2008 Golden Tickets

Earlier this week, Amusement Today unveiled the 2008 Golden Tickets. For those of you who don't know, it's essentially "the Oscars" of the Amusement Industry,

You can check out this link to see all of the winners.

Here are some of the highlights:

Best Amusement Park
Cedar Point, Sandusky, Ohio

Best Waterpark

Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort, New Braunfels, Texas

Best Wooden Coaster
The Voyage at Holiday World, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Steel Coaster
Superman Ride of Steel
at Six Flags New England, Agawam, Mass.

Friendliest Staff

Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Cleanest Park
Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, Santa Claus, Ind.

Best Halloween Event
Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando, Orlando, Fla..

Best Landscaping
Busch Gardens Europe, Williamsburg, Va.

Best Food
Knoebels Amusement Resort, Elysburg, Pa.

Best Water Ride
Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls
at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best Waterpark Ride
Master Blaster at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort,
New Braunfels, Texas

Best Dark Ride
Amazing Adventures of Spiderman
at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Orlando, Fla.

Best New Ride of 2008 - Amusement Park
Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park, Erie, Pa.

Best New Ride of 2008 - Waterpark
Dragon’s Revenge at Schlitterbahn Waterpark Resort,
New Braunfels, Texas.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Memories of Summer '08

We just celebrated Labor Day here in the USA, which signifies the end of the theme and amusement park season for most of us.... except for you lucky bastards in Florida and California.

It seemed to be a quiet summer. Aside from the opening of a brand new park in the US, there really weren't any mind-blowing new rides. And with the exception of a few tragic events, everyone seemed to behave themselves.

What were some of your favorite memories from this summer?

What parks or rides really impressed you? Did you experience any disappointments during an amusement park trip? Did you encounter any surprises? Any really strange experiences?

Tell us all about them in the CoasterRadio.com forums!

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