Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Say It Ain't So, Ferris!

By now, you've no doubt seen this commercial that spread across the web last week of what looked to be Matthew Broderick bringing back his Ferris Bueller character.

When I first saw the 10-second teaser, I was admittedly excited.

My mind raced with all of the possibilities of what a big-budget "Ferris Bueller" Super Bowl commercial might entail.

Surely, we'd see Cameron Frye, Ed Rooney, Sloane Peterson... heck, I wouldn't even mind seeing Ben Stein show up to say "Bueller... Bueller... Bueller" a few times.

In my head, I built up this commercial to be one of the greatest pop culture moments of the decade!

But after watching it today... there was no Cameron, no Mr. Rooney and actually there wasn't even a Ferris.  Matthew Broderick was playing himself going though some scenes that vagely looked like they could have come from the original movie.

I realized that the term "anticipointment" isn't just for theme park rides.  Sigh.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Be Our Guinea Pig!

By now, you've probably heard that the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and Disneyland Park in California are going to celebrate Leap Year by staying open for 24 straight hours on February 29th.

This means that for the first time ever, people will get to spend a solid day in the parks (if they can actually stay awake for that long).

Here's our question... are any of you actually going to attempt to spend a full 24-hours in the park?

Will you get there at 6am on Wednesday, February 29th and stay through 6am on Thursday, March 1st?

If so, we want to hear from you!

We want to document your visit and create a WHOLE EPISODE of CoasterRadio.com around you.

E-mail us at feedback@coasterradio.com if you're planning on doing this Disney "marathon!"

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The "Reel" Design Contest Returns!

You've probably looked at a theme park attraction and said...

"I can do better than that!"

Well, here's your chance.

This is the time of year when all of the different Hollywood blockbusters are being honored at the various award ceremonies.  What does this have to do with theme parks and roller coasters?  Well, many of the best theme park attractions in history have based upon popular films.

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, Back To The Future, Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye, Jaws, Star Tours, Kongfrontation, Superman Escape, Terminator 2: 3D, Jurassic Park, Men In Black, The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman, Revenge Of The Mummy and countless other attractions have had their storylines adapted from popular movies.

For our first contest of 2012, we want you to design a theme park attraction around the movie of your choice.

Then, it will be time to have your submission judged by an all-star panel, including....

* Neil Patrick Harris
* Gary Goddard, Founder and CEO, The Goddard Group
* Dan Koch, President of Holiday World and Splashin' Safari
* Korey Kiepert, Engineer & Partner at The Gravity Group
* Dave Altman, President, American Coaster Enthusiasts
* Arthur Levine, Theme Park Guide, About.com
* Lance Hart, Editor of Screamscape.com
* Andre from Miami, FL - The 2006 "Reel" Design Contest Winner

The winner will receive the first-ever "Reel Design"Award!  YES! An actual award that has your name engraved on it!  You'll go down in Coaster Radio history!

Here are the rules:

1) Write one or two paragraphs that describe your theme park attraction and e-mail it to feedback@coasterradio.com.  Make sure your description includes the film your attraction is based on, the attraction's title, a description of the ride (including any storyline) and any other themeing or design elements that make it stand out.

2) Make sure the attraction is realistic.  Don't send us details of an attraction that couldn't be actually built with today's technology and budget restraints.  If we had to set a budget cap, it would be around 80 million.  You can make your attraction a dark ride, a roller coaster, a flat ride, a walk-though experience or anything else you can imagine.  Just make it realistic.

3) The entries that catch our attention will have a mix of imagination, creativity and fun.  Remember, we'll be reading the finalists on a radio-style show, so your entries have to be descriptive and entertaining.

4)  You can send in supporting materials if you'd like (such as drawings, sketches, No Limits and Roller Coaster Tycoon creations), but it will be the description of your attraction that we are most interested in.

5) Ten semi-finalists will be chosen and will have their theme park attraction discussed on CoasterRadio.com.  We will then narrow that down to three finalists who will have their attractions judged by a panel of industry experts.

6)  All entries must be received by Monday, February 20th, 2012.

To get an idea of what this contest sounded like when he first did it in 2006, here is a link to that show!

Direct Podcast Link

Good luck!

Friday, January 27, 2012

CoasterRadio.com #617 - Mannequin Accidents = PR Gold!

There were some crazy stories in the press this week... and a lot of them had to do with theme parks.

For instance...

Disney decided to drop a decades old rule that Walt Disney himself instated.  Starting next month, workers will be allowed to sport beards and goatees. Hipsters rejoice!

Thorpe Park in England said that their new coaster "The Swarm" was apparently having some trouble making its height clearances during testing.  Apparantly, some of the test mannequins came back without their limbs.  But the park's PR team didn't see this as a negative... they saw a golden opportunity!

I like this story for a lot of reasons, but mostly because it gave the the opportunity to post a still from one of my favorite 80's movies ever - Mannequin.  Emmy was one hot Egyptian, man.

The guys also take an opportunity to preview upcoming shows and contests!  You won't believe what is in store for February!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Close-Up Look at Verbolten

Here is a video we edited (courtesy of Busch Gardens) of the final track piece of Verbolten being installed.

This is shaping up to be a pretty cool ride!  The video shows some new angles that we haven't seen yet.  There look to be a lot of fun twists and turns... especially in the "forbidden forest!"

I'm excited about the high level of theme that Larry talks about.

I also like how the finale is essentially a nod to the best part of The Big Bad Wolf.

This could be a major hit for 2012 and beyond!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Their PR Professors Would Be Proud

I want to know what PR school the flacks at Thorpe Park attended.

Because year after year, these guys amaze me with the stories that they get published.

And I'm not just talking about press in the United Kingdom... their wacky stories about Thorpe Park always go worldwide!  Here are some examples from the past few years:

* They once had a contest where they asked members of the public to donate urine to create a "signature stench" for their new "SAW Alive" horror maze.

* One summer, they banned roller coaster riders from putting the hands in the air due to complaints of body odor.

* At one point, park management called in a paranormal expert when the park was experiencing ghostly encounters.  They said they had to suspend six members of their staff after a late-night Ouija board seance at the park was blamed for a series of supernatural events.

These are not the happy, put a smile on your face type stories that we're used to hearing from Disney, Universal, Six Flags and Cedar Fair.

I'd be shocked if any of those companies ever asked their guests to show up at the park with a cup of pee in their hands.

But once again, Thorpe Park managed to get a story in the papers this week that has raised eyebrows all over the world.

According to The Telegraph, "theme park officials had to take drastic measures to the £20million project after dummies were ''alarmingly'' damaged. Thorpe Park in Surrey said a number of the crash test dummies returned with scratches and limbs missing, forcing a costly operation to make changes to comply fully with health and safety requirements."

This is usually the type of thing that, if it happened, theme park PR people would try to keep out of the press.

I remember when Kingda Ka was testing, there were all types of crazy rumors about how the test dummies were flying out of the seats during the launch.  One of the PR people from Six Flags Great Adventure actually had to come on our show to refute the story!

Now, most theme park fans who know about Thorpe Park's PR past have come to the conclusion that this is a gimmick.

If you look closely at the picture, the dummies in the front row are different than the actual testing dummies that are in all of the other rows.

Most people, including me, believe this is just a way to drum up some interest (and some irrational fear) about how intense and "dangerous" this new roller coaster will be.

I don't know what PR school these people went to, but my professor always said that the ole cliche is true... "any publicity, is good publicity."

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bring On the Beards at Disney!

Will we see this guy working in Frontierland?
One of the things I find most magical about the Disney Parks are the traditions.

Many of them go back to Walt Disney himself.

He laid out a strict set of rules and guidelines that he believed would set his parks apart from others.

For instance, you weren't supposed to see any maintenance going on while the park was open.  You also weren't supposed to see a costumed cast member from one land walking through another.

Small things like this made Disneyland better than other parks that operated around the same time.

One of the rules that has been active for 60 years is that on-stage cast members would not have any facial hair.

In the 1950's and 60's, long hair and beards were considered to be what the 'beatniks" and "hippies" wore. When you went to a carnival or run-down amusement park, most of the people working there were sporting this "unkempt look."

Walt wanted Disneyland to be different... he wanted all of the employees to look friendly and approachable.  He felt that a guy who looked like a biker probably wouldn't be the best ambassador, as nice as he may be.

So, the policy at Disney Parks has been that all male employees have short haircuts and no facial hair. There was a slight change to this policy in 2000, when Disney allowed male employees to have neatly trimmed mustaches.

But yesterday, Disney sent out this message to its employees:

“The Disney Look is an important part of the history and heritage of the Walt Disney Company. As the company continues to evolve, the Disney Look appearance guidelines must also be prepared to be re-evaluated with awareness to industry standards. Effective Friday, Feb. 3, facial hair, specifically beards and goatees are now an approved option for U.S. based Walt Disney Theme Parks and Resorts costumed and non-costumed male Cast Members, unless otherwise restricted by regulatory codes and standards."

Wait, what? Awareness to industry standards? Last time I checked, Disney IS the industry standard!

Look, I'm not one of those Disney nuts who freaks out everytime a change is made.

To tell you the truth, this issue doesn't really bother me at all.  Interacting with some guy in a goatee isn't going to ruin my day at Disney.  Just as long as that dude in the goatee keeps The Haunted Mansion running smoothly and keeps the monorails and buses on time.

But, I guess it's a bit of a bummer that one of the traditions that makes Disney special is gone.

It was one of the fun trivia facts that you could tell someone as they made their first visit to a Disney Park.  It was one of the interesting rules that was laid out by Walt Disney himself.  It was one of the things that separated Disney World and Disneyland from any other park.

It isn't something to get upset over, but it does bring Disney just a tiny step closer to Six Flags.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Better Late Than Never....

We owe you guys an apology... because we totally slacked off on one of our contests.

Back in October, I was waiting for a flight in the San Francisco airport and I was looking at some fun costume ideas that listeners were sending in.

We were so inspired, we decided to give CoasterRadio.com listeners a chance to show off their Halloween costumes to the world while promoting our Twitter feed... @CoasterRadio, by the way.

We decided to turn the idea into a contest! It was the first CoasterRadio.com contest conducted on Twitter.

Anyway, we had some really good submissions... but as it often happens around here, we got distracted by producing the show.  Unfortunately, the contest got pushed to the backburner.

Before we knew it, it was Christmas!  Now it's 2012, and Halloween was more than two months ago!

But, I think it's always a good time to check out fun Halloween costumes.  So, here are some of our favorites!

RC Mayer channeled famous CoasterRadio.com character "Bob The Lobster"

Kerri's Daughter promoted our Twitter feed as a beautiful (but shy) princess.

DVO_Tron designed a suit and disc that really lit up!

Jonathan's son was the youngest contestant as a Bumblebee.

Wally (as a Ghostbuster) posed with his daughter for this cute photo.

Let us know who you think should win by voting below!  We'll announce a winner on the first show in February and send them some fun prizes.  Like we said... better late than never.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I was reading this article about how there are plans in France to build a theme park that would honor French military and political leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

French politicians are backing the project and they hope construction can begin in 2014, with the gates opening sometime in 2017.

The complex is expected to include a museum, a hotel, shops and restaurants.  But, one of the bizarre attractions would be the daily recreation of the 1792 beheading of Louis XVI, who was executed following the French Revolution.

Another attraction would allow visitors to ski around the bodies of soldiers and horses frozen on the battlefield.

The park would reportedly employ 3,000 people and some believe it could actually become a rival to Disneyland Paris.  (I don't know about that... unless French tourists really like skiing around fake dead people.)

While this story is interesting and newsworthy, I really only wanted to blog about it so I could post this clip!  ENJOY!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Weekend Theater - The Jurassic Park River Adventure (Hollywood)

On this week's show, we announced that the first CoasterRadio.com Listener Meetup of 2012 will be in Southern California!

We plan to be in the Los Angeles area on March 14th, 15th and 16th.

We'll have more details on our exact plans soon, but to get in the Hollywood mood, here's a ride-though of one of the coolest attractions anywhere.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Nashville is Heating Up!

Just a day after we interviewed David Webb about his plans for Ole South USA, a proposed theme park in Nashville, TN, Dolly Parton announced plans of her own.

Dollywood and Gaylord Entertainment will develop a 114-acre site close to the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Convention Center.

Phase I of the $50 million project will be a water and snow park that will provide a mix of water rides and slides during the summer and innovative snow activities during the winter.  The group is projecting that the first-year attendance will be around 500,000 people.

The Dollywood company will serve as the project's operating partner and will employ 450 full- and part-time employees.  Groundbreaking is anticipated late this year or in early 2013, with the park's opening slated for summer of 2014.

Plus, an additional 35 acres will be reserved for future developments.

I think this is good news for David Webb and Ole South USA.

You see, Dolly and Gaylord are building a water and snow park... but no theme park.

Once the water and snow park is successful, I think that it will show potential Ole South investors that Nashville is ready for a theme park too.

Plus, this new venture between Dollywood and Gaylord will only bring more tourists to the region... exactly the same type of people would would go to Ole South USA.

This will be interesting to watch!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CoasterRadio.com #616 - The Birth of a Theme Park

Imagine if you had a chance to sit down and talk with Walt Disney when he started to brainstorm about an idea called "Mickey Mouse Park."

What if you could go back to 1959 and have lunch with Angus Wynne Jr. to hear his ideas about a park that would eventually become "Six Flags Over Texas."

Building a theme park from scratch is no easy accomplishment.  It takes hard work, a solid business plan and most importantly... a vision.

On this week's show, we welcome a man with a unique vision of his own.

He wants to see a theme park built in his home town of Nashville, Tennessee.

This week, David Webb joins us to talk about his plans for "Ole South USA".

It would be a theme park celebrating everything that is vibrant and special about the southern region of the United States.

David gives us a "virtual tour" of the different themed lands, including descriptions of some of their innovative rides and attractions.  He also talks about the steps being taken to make this dream a reality.

Most importantly, he fills us in on the Pioneer Club, which gives 3,500 people a chance to take part in the birth of this theme park.

We also have an update on the Valentine's Day Charity Song Auction and we announce the first CoasterRadio.com Listener Meet-up of 2012.

California, HERE WE COME!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

These might be the coolest coaster trains ever!

I've always thought that Busch Gardens and Sea World do an excellent job theming their roller coasters.  This usually starts with the coaster trains... the colors, the logo, the shape.

I think they've outdone themselves this time with "Manta."

I can't get over how unbelievably cool these trains are!

They'll look especially cool as they splash around the water elements!

Manta opens May 26th and will take riders over a course shaped like a giant manta ray, at speeds up to 43 mph and with a 54-foot drop.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

CoasterRadio.com #615 - The Mysteries of Universal Orlando

Among theme park fans, one of the most talked about locations over the past several years has been Universal Orlando.

Year after year, they blow people away with their incredibly detailed and truly scary (and fun) "Halloween Horror Nights."

They really turned people's heads when they unleashed the incredibly awesome "Spiderman" attraction on the world.  Some people claim that ride hasn't been topped yet.

Then, they shocked the world when they announced plans to build "The Wizarding World of Harry Potter."  What was even more amazing is that the new land and it's attractions actually lived up to the anticipation and the hype.

Most recently, they closed "Jaws", one of their original opening day rides and perhaps their most iconic attraction.  That lead to speculation and some controversial reporting on what might possibly replace the gigantic Amity area.

To make sense of all of this, we welcome Seth Kubersky back to the show. He is the author of "Universal Studios 2012: The Ultimate Guide to the Ultimate Theme Park."

We'll talk about the recent closure of "Jaws" and what the attraction has meant to the park's history.  We'll also talk about what it was like to be at the attraction on it's closing night.

We'll also discuss its rumored replacement.

Seth will give us a breakdown about the possibility of a new Harry Potter themed area in Universal Studios Florida and a new thrill attraction that would be unlike anything we have ever seen at a park before.

Fascinating stuff! 

Plus, EB and Mike announce a fun new project for all you romantics out there.

The Valentine's Day Charity Song Auction gives listeners an opportunity to bid on an original love song that will be written especially for that special someone in your life.

And, the best part is that all of the money raised will go to the winner's favorite charity.

Check out our link on the CoasterRadio.com Blog for more info on how to bid!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The CoasterRadio.com Valentine's Day Charity Song Auction

(Ed. Note - We now have a winner! Find out who won the auction and hear the World Premiere of their song on Episode #619!)

We're all romantics here at Coaster Radio.  We bet you are too.

So, we have an idea that is going to help one of you love sick puppies out there.  And, it's going to help out a worthy charity as well.

Imagine the look on your significant other's face when you present them with a completely original love song that has been written specifically for them.

I know what you're thinking... I'm not a musician! I don't know how to play instruments or write witty lyrics!

Well, we've got you covered... for a price.

Today we are unveiling our "Valentine's Day Charity Song Auction." Here's how it works...

From now through January 26th, you can submit a bid by e-mailing your dollar amount to feedback@coasterradio.com.  You'll see an updated list of bids and know who is winning by looking at the CoasterRadio.com blog.

On Thursday, January 26th at 10:00pm est, the listener with the highest bid will win an original song composed by London's own Nick Hutson with lyrics by Mike Collins and EB.

We'll premiere the song on our February 9th Valentine's Day episode and present the winner with sheet music for the composition.

The best part is that the winner will decide what charity will receive the winning bid!  That's right! The winner can chose what charity will benefit from the winning dollar amount.

Also, you have to be over 18 years old to participate in the auction. Sorry, young dudes.

So if you're feeling romantic, why not bid on an original love song for that special someone in your life!

You might just end up with the greatest Valentine's Day gift ever! And you'll be helping your favorite charity too!

So bid RIGHT NOW! E-mail feedback@coasterradio.com and become a romantic legend!

Friday, January 06, 2012

The New Texas Giant - The Best New Attraction of 2011

On this week's show, we took a look back at all of the new theme park attractions that debuted in 2011.

There were a lot of excellent roller coasters, dark rides, shows and other attractions that could have been named the best.

But after carefully analyzing and debating them all, we have decided that The New Texas Giant is the CoasterRadio.com Best New Attraction of 2011.

All you have to do is watch the ride video below to understand why The New Texas Giant won the award.

Six Flags Over Texas Park President Steve Martindale came on the show to accept the award and said that they "took a great wood coaster and turned it into an incredible wood and steel monster.  There's tons of airtime, a world record first drop, inverted banked turns and it's as smooth as glass."

Here at CoasterRadio.com, we received dozens of trip reports during the summer stating that The New Texas Giant was an amazing ride and had been completely "re-born."

Listeners marveled at the speed, smoothness and surprise of the banked turns.

Even though it's not a completely new attraction, it really is impressive how the park decided not to give up on the aging ride.  Instead, they used technology and ingenuity to make it better than it was when it originally opened.

Congratulations to Six Flags Over Texas for having The New Texas Giant be named as the CoasterRadio.com Best New Attraction of 2011!

Thursday, January 05, 2012

CoasterRadio.com #614 - Bob The Lobster's Rockin' New Year's Eve!

The crowd in Times Square has gathered...

The giant crystal ball is hovering above the masses, ready to drop...

The New Year is just minutes away!

And, there is only one host who has the charisma, sparkling personality and giant red claws to bring it all to you...

Bob The Lobster.

This week, the Original Theme Park Podcast rings in the new year with a "live" broadcast from Times Square in New York City, where our own "Bob The Lobster" is standing by to count us down Dick Clark style!

We also will review all of the new attractions that made their debuts in 2011 at theme parks across America.

Which ones worked?  Which ones didn't?  Which ones made an impact and which ones were bombs?

After the clock strikes midnight, Mike and EB will give away the "CoasterRadio.com Award for Best New Attraction of 2011!"

Plus, we'll go live to Universal Studios Hollywood to meet our exclusive correspondent who will give us the inside scoop on what's happening with their version of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Happy New Year from Bob The Lobster and everyone here at CoasterRadio.com!


Direct Podcast Link
Or you can listen online by using the podcast player on the right hand side of this page. 

Talk about this episode by leaving a comment here on the blog.

All Original Content Copyright 2005-2016 - Lift Hill Media, LLC