Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama Oath of Office from the National Mall

I know this has NOTHING to do with theme parks... but I was there and thought it would be nice to share this video with you/ ENJOY!

Live from the National Mall

Greetings from the Inauguration of President Obama!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The American Idol Concept Might Be Winning Me Over

When Walt Disney World first announced "The American Idol Experience" last year, I wasn't entirely sold on the concept.

The idea sounded like a "Karaoke Bar on Steroids" and a place where teenage guests could gather to scream.

But this week, the people over at MouseSteps posted pictures and details about the new attraction while it is in soft-opening.

Admittedly, I haven't seen the attraction with my own eyes. But the pictures make it look like it's the same type of fun as in the old "Who Wants to Be A Millionaire - PLAY IT!" attraction.

To me, the whole fun of Millionaire was that you were actually experiencing what it would be like to go to New York and attend a taping of the mega-popular show. It was really getting back to what the whole purpose of the Disney-MGM studios was all about in the first place.... to let people experience the magic of television and movie production.

Since most of us will never be in the audience for one of the American Idol live broadcasts (thankfully), this attraction gives us the chance to see what it would be like. We get to experience the drama of the competition while watching the interesting nature of the television production process.

The early reviews seem to all agree that the attraction needs a little tweaking. Supposedly there are a lot of video segments to watch during the actual show and not enough emphasis on the live performances. But I'm sure it's getting worked out during the soft-open process.

If any of you guys out there have a chance to see the show either during the soft-open or after the grand opening, let us know what you think in the CoasterRadio.com forums.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Free Beer Is a Thing of the Past

One of the most fun (albeit obscure) things you could do at the Anheuser-Busch theme parks was to take part in their free "Beer School".

In most cases, you'd get together in a bar-inspired classroom and learn about the beer making process while sampling some of Busch's finest brews.

It was actually an interesting experience and provided a nice break from the theme park day.

Today the brewer announced that they will stop giving free samples at the SeaWorld theme parks in Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego and its Busch Gardens parks in Tampa and Williamsburg, Va.

An Anheuser-Busch Parks spokesman says that the free samples had a "narrow appeal among park customers."

Bummer, man. But at least it gives me an opportunity to post that fun Octoberfest picture.

Talk about this in the CoasterRadio.com forums.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

What will be the story in 2009?

Happy New Year to everyone!

I hope you guys had a great holiday season and a very successful 2008.

When a new year begins, it's always interesting to look ahead and try to figure out what the next 365 days will be like. For our purposes here, let's focus on the theme park biz.

Just as it was in 2008, the biggest story in 2009 is going to be the economy. Sure, gas prices have dropped, but in this unstable time, will people still want to travel to theme parks?

We have a bunch of new rides and attractions premiering this year. Kings Island's Diamondback (pictured) looks like it will be a winner. Manta at Sea World Florida seems to be getting a lot of attention and rightly so.... the theming and layout looks very interesting.

Speaking of theming, we'll find out whether a wooden roller coaster at Six Flags Magic Mountain can be successfully themed to The Terminator series. We'll also see if the Saw movies will make a good theme for a roller coaster at Thorpe Park in England.

I also wonder if 2009 will be a good year for "coaster enthusiasm" in general. One thing that I've noticed over the past several years is that interest in roller coasters and theme parks seems to be waning. Back in the late 90's (during the "coaster boom") the community was engaged, excited and growing. These days, it seems like there isn't the same level of enthusiasm as there was back then. I could be wrong, but I'm curious to hear what you think.

So what does 2009 have in store? What will be the big story in 2009?

Let's talk about it in the CoasterRadio.com forums.

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