Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #5 - "Enchanted"


Attraction Name: Enchanted
Based upon: Walt Disney Pictures' "Enchanted"
Contestant: Michael from Brazil

As we all know, the movie “Enchanted” pokes fun at Disney movies, so an attraction based on this film would logically poke fun... at Disney attractions!

The ride would take place in Giselle's cottage. The pre-show would introduce us to the story: Giselle had a dream about she meeting her true love, so Pip decides to reconstruct the dream in ride format. We then become guests in Giselle's dream, learning about her adventure with Prince Edward and his evil stepmother.

Each scene would poke fun and be an homage to something different.

The first scene would have Giselle being an audio-animatronic, while everything around her is obviously cardboard, followed by the introduction of Prince Edward fighting against an animatronic troll that isn't working (disco lights would be used in this scene to simulate motion). After he saves her, we visit the Queen's dungeon, and we find out her evil plan to stop the two from ever marrying- she turns into an old hag in an effect similar to the one in Snow White, but ends up being blinded by the lights and complaining about the special effects team.

While Giselle waits in her room (that is still being painted by audio-animatronic Imagineers due to them "moving too fast through the dream"), the Queen captures the Prince.

Giselle, deciding that a "soon to be princess has to do what a soon to be princess has to do", goes after him, and almost stops the Queen, until she turns into a menacing dragon. However, noticing that she will lose if the ride goes to the "next scene", the Queen sends the guests directly to the backstage area of the ride, complete with video projection cast members running around, trying to fix the situation

The guests do return to the ride, and come back to see the final scene, complete with chorus, fireworks, visual effects, singing animatronics and Pip telling them that "a ride is a dream your heart makes".

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #4 - Ghostbusters: The Ride


Attraction Name: Ghostbusters: The Ride
Based upon: Columbia Pictures' "Ghostbusters" and "Ghostbusters II"
Contestant: Carson from Dallas, TX

Guests enter a re-creation of the Ghostbusters Firehouse from the movies, where they are to be given a tour of the vicinities by Ghostbusters accountant Louis Tully.

According to the story, this was Tully's own idea—it seems the various expensive escapades of the Ghostbusters have put them in a financial rut, (mostly due to a prototype Ecto-2 vehicle that has gone way over budget).  Louis decided that they could use the tours to generate additional cash.

A live actor portraying Louis Tully takes guests through the firehouse (which is filled with props and jokes from the movies)  and then down into the basement where he shows the guests the Ecto-Containment Unit.

Louis begins to explain to the guests the wonderment of the unit when a projection of Slimer the green ghost appears. Louis is startled by the ghost, and falls backward, hitting the containment unit. The unit begins to malfunction, and the lights go out. Projections of ghosts are then seen flying out of the unit and out of the building.  The lights return to find Tully, cowering behind a desk. He proclaims to the guests that there may be a slight problem and their tour may be cut short.  The voices of the Ghostbusters are heard over Louis' radio. They tell the guests that they need their help to capture all the escaped ghosts.

They will ride in the "somewhat secure" Ecto-2 prototype.

A garage door opens in the far side of the room to reveal the load station where the 8-person vehicle is waiting. The vehicle is an EMV (themed to an upgraded version of the Ghostbusters vehicle from the movies).  The vehicle is in the style as the ones used in “The Indiana Jones Adventure” at Disneyland, with a mounted proton gun component.

The guests follow the Ghostbusters through the streets of New York City, shooting at ghosts to increase their "Capture Count." Ghosts may be in windows, hiding behind walls and in alleyways, in trash cans, manholes, buildings, and just about everywhere else. Various ghosts and creatures from the films are used throughout the ride, including Vinz Clortho and Zuul, Terror Dogs, Vigo the Carpathian and The Librarian Ghost.

The climax of the ride Is the transformation of Gozer into the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, where the guests zap him until he turns red and explodes.

The ride ends with AA representations of the Ghostbusters (covered in Marshmallow) thanking the guests for their help, and that payment for the tour won't be necessary. However, peter Venkman adds that donations will be accepted to cover the mass amounts of property damage caused by them and the guests. Slimer once again appears with a board that tells the guest how well they performed in accordance with their "Capture Count."

The unload transitions into a Ghostbusters retail opportunity, as well as a character dining opportunity with the Ghostbusters that is housed on the second story of the firehouse.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #3 -"Night Fury"


Attraction Name: Night Fury
Based upon:Dreamworks’ "How To Train Your Dragon"
Contestant: Ryan Farrugia

Night Fury, based off the film "How to Train your Dragon," is located in an area of a theme park designed to look like Berk.

The ride is a wing roller coaster in the same style as Raptor at Gardaland and Swarm at Thorpe Park; the trains are designed to look like a long Night Fury dragon, and the seats and restraints designed to look like they were handmade out of wood and leather.

Like all good rides, the story begins as we enter the queue through Gobber’s blacksmith shop. Hanging on the wall are different attachments for Gobber’s hand; from the back of the shop you can hear him hammering on his anvil stopping so guests can hear him ask out loud where Hiccup has run off to now.

Exiting the blacksmith shop, and along the queue towards the station, guests will notice statues of dragons with wooden signs classifying each one and their individual traits.  Outside the station is a sign welcoming you to Hiccup’s Dragon School, the interior of the station is covered in large hand drawn pictures of dragons straight from the dragon manual seen in the film.

Hiccup’s voice plays over the sound of the crowd, informing them that they’ll be training a new Night Fury he found for Astrid.  He also instructs passengers how to secure themselves to their dragon and that Night Furys can be temperamental, so it might be wise to hold on.  The far side of the station is windowless so the layout will be a surprise to the guests in the station.

The ride is situated around, and over, a small tree lined lake filled with rock structures and arches.

The ride begins with a 90-degree turn out of the station and a quick climb to the top of the 105-foot lift hill before dropping towards the center of the lake and through an 85-foot vertical loop around a large rock arch rising from the water.

The loop exits into a banked turn, rising 70-feet above the trees before inverting into a half-loop towards the ground.  Exiting the half-loop, the dragon takes riders along a banked 45-degree low to the ground high speed turn, immediately exiting into a corkscrew over a river fed by a waterfall close by.

The Night Fury turns 270-degrees around a boulder into a zero-G roll over the lake before swooping up into the mid-course brake section.  Riders are barely given a chance to catch their breath as the dragon swoops towards the ground in a banked 180-degree turn.

The track turns 90-degrees back towards the lake and quickly turns riders head over heels in two consecutive barrel rolls between rows of large rocks and arches jutting out from the water’s surface.

Back into the trees, the dragon turns 90-degrees before rising up in a final 270-degree helix into the brake run.

Riders exit through an unloading station where Hiccup thanks them for the help over the speakers.

Signs pointing towards the exit also point to the Night Fury pen where two animatronic Night Fury dragons (Toothless and Astrid’s now tamed dragon) can be seen sleeping next to each other and making their purring/snoring noise from the film.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #2 -"Tales from the Crypt Presents: Last Rite"


Attraction Name: Tales from the Crypt Presents: Last Rite
Based upon: Universal Pictures’ "Tales from the Crypt: Demon Night"
Contestant: Wally Phelps

Guests will queue in the Crypt Keeper’s mansion after passing the marquee that reads, “Tales From the Crypt Presents Last Ride”; however, the wording changes intermittently with to “Last Rite”.

Guests will be lead into the titular crypt that holds a few hundred people to see the preshow in which the Crypt Keeper himself introduces the “kiddies” to the attraction with equal parts wit and horror to set the mood.

After the preshow, guests enter the load area where they will strap into the flume type attraction.  The area is in contrast to the queue and preshow area as it seems you stepped into a bright colorful carnival type attraction with joyful music.

Despite the bright, happy looks, something just seems to be off kilter just enough to make you uncomfortable.  The ride starts out on a leisurely boat ride thorough a scene of whimsical singing animals as you get to a large conveyor that pulls you up the first hill; however, as you ascend the ride seems to be falling apart as the joyful music is replaced with dramatic music as you fall down a pitch black hill into a far more sinister scene.

Heat and the scent of burning surround you as demons crowd the shoreline waiting for your arrival.  Even the water has turned red.  A translucent figure scares the demons away (all achieved with digital projection and pepper’s ghost effects) and explains that there has been an awful mistake and he will guide you to safety.

After several close calls with demons on the shore and in the air in the next room that seems to be in flames, you are at a fork in the river that our guide tries to guide you to the safest route, but a large monstrous demon with sharp teeth springs out of the water taking a swipe at the boat, leading you the wrong way as you attempt to escape.

The boat goes down another drop and into a speed tunnel with a few hills and hops with projections on the walls giving the illusion of greater speed and red illuminated mist until you see our guide battling the scariest, most gnarly demon yet shouting at us to stay in the boat for the demons cannot get you there.  The demons watch as the boat is lifted onto the final drop.

As the guests get closer to the top, angelic voices sing and a white light illuminates you, but when you reach the summit, the guide appears to wish you safe passage, but transforms into the very demon he was fighting!  The room goes red as you plunge several stories into a splash down as the demon’s growl fades to the Crypt Keeper’s maniacal laughter.

You float past the Crypt Keeper as he makes a bad joke about trusting strangers as you are taken to the unload area that leads into the scariest part:  The gift shop.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

"Reel" Design Semi-Finalist #1 - "Stark Expo: The Iron Man Experience"


Attraction Name: Stark Expo: The Iron Man Experience
Based upon: Paramount Pictures’ "Iron Man' (2008) & "Iron Man 2" (2010)
Contestant: James King

This attraction would be placed in Tomorrowland at Disneyland and at Future World in EPCOT.

Riders would enter an indoor version of Stark Expo, where the queue line would have actual items on display from the 1974 New York World's Fair. It would also feature video of Pepper Potts (played by Gwyneth Paltrow) and Tony Stark (played by Robert Downey, Jr.) thanking you for visiting.  They would tell you that Walt Disney was friends with Tony’s father, Howard Stark and that Tony decided to continue the friendly partnership with the Disney Company so that they could showcase of all the great advancements by Stark Industries.  In the queue, you would see a replica of Tony Stark's garage, a timeline of his life and a cabinet showing all stages of the famous Iron Man suits.

The riders then grab a pair of “Stark Speks” (3-D glasses) and board a car that can hold 8 riders.  Each seat will have a small video screen in the front of each person. Each seat also has speakers in the head rest for audio.

The ride begins as a tour of future products coming from Stark Industries... Everything that we see is typical of a classic Disney dark ride style. Once you approach the 4th scene of the ride, what would see is really a 3-D projection which is attacked by Iron Monger (who we find didn't really die at the end of the first movie.) The ride goes from a typical dark ride into a Spider-man type-ride as the car starts to move and have 4-D effects.

Immediately, the video screen shows Pepper calling to Tony to “get the suit on” to save the guests. Iron Man eventually arrives and starts to fight Iron Monger. Pepper stays on the video screens the whole time trying to keep the guests calm. After an intense battle, Iron Man is able to get you back to an unloading dock.  A cast member appears and tries to trigger the latch bar release, but then Whiplash appears, attacks the car, scares away the cast member and the ride continues.

Eventually Iron Man has to have War Machine help fend off the bad guys. The fight scenes are a mix of animatronics and 3-D projections, with one full size animatronic of each character near the end of the ride.

Once Iron Man and War Machine are victorious, you are lead to the real unload station.  After you exit the car, an interactive audio animatronic of Iron Man says goodbye. In typical Tony Stark fashion, he tries to pass off the experience as “just a mild disturbance.”

Friday, February 24, 2012 #621 - "Reel" Design Contest Semi-Finals (Part 1)

For weeks and weeks, people from all over the world have been dreaming up new ideas for theme park attractions based on hit movies.

They've tried to carefully re-tell a story from a beloved film using the latest and greatest technologies available to the amusement industry.

Some have been drawing up blueprints and schematics, others have been sketching out storyboards, while others have been writing simple paragraphs detailing their ride experience.

Today, we find out which ideas will take their first steps on the road to super stardom.

Today, we begin the Semi-Final Round of the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest.

On this week's show, EB and Mike reveal the first five Semi-Finalists and discuss each entry in detail.

What parts of the attraction concept work?  What are some things that might need to change?  Could the design actually work in a real-life theme park?

We'll announce the next five Semi-Finalists on next week's show.  Then, we'll narrow the Top 10 entries down to three finalists.

Those finalists will be judged by an esteemed panel of industry experts... 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,
* Lance Hart, Editor of
* Andre from Miami, FL - The 2006 "Reel" Design Contest Winner

Plus, we also have a LIVE REPORT from the Disneyland Resort.  Apparently, there has been a disturbance outside of the Terror or Terror at Disney California Adventure. We have a live microphone on-site to get to the bottom of the situation.

All that and much more, this week on!


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, February 23, 2012

The Vegas Experiment That Failed

I visit Las Vegas once a year and each time I return, I'm always amazed by what has changed.

Landmarks that I'm used to seeing have been blown up and demolished to make way for new hotels and entertainment experiences.

Back in the 90's, Vegas tried an experiment where they wanted to lure families to "Sin City."

They wanted to make Las Vegas into the Orlando of the west.  They wanted to turn the gambling mecca into a family-friendly destination where children and their parents could have fun together.

Sound familiar?

Despite having the MGM Grand Adventures Theme Park, Wet and Wild, Pirate Stunt Shows, roller coasters, simulators and a bunch of other family friendly attractions... the idea failed miserably.

Today, Las Vegas is well on its way to becoming solely an "Adult Disneyland" once again.

There is a great article in Vegas Inc. about how GameWorks, the Strip's giant arcade, is shutting down.  It's joins the MGM Grand's Lion Habitat which also closed down last month.

The article talks about how 38 million of Las Vegas' annual visitors come from California, where they have easy access to Disneyland and Universal Studios.

Why would these visitors want to leave home for a family friendly experience when they have the best ones in the world in their own backyard?

Heck, I'm a giant theme park fan and I haven't ridden any of the rides in Las Vegas since my first trip back in 2004!

I go to Las Vegas for blackjack, interesting meals and people watching... I don't necessarily need to pay $14 for a mediocre, head-banging roller coaster.  (Sorry, New York, New York).

After saying all of that, there still are some new park-like attractions opening out there.

Circus Circus is still alive and well and recently opened the "Chuck Jones Experience," celebrating the creator of Looney Tunes.

And... in 2013, we'll see a 500-foot observation wheel across from Mandalay Bay! The ride will have 32 24-seat gondolas and offer unbelievable views of the world famous Las Vegas Strip.

So, maybe that "family friendly" dream isn't totally dead after all.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The "Reel" Design Contest - Wildcard Round!

The 2012 "Reel" Design Contest judging begins today... with our Wildcard Round!

During the NCAA tournament, after they pick the first 63 teams, they have a "Play-In" game between two more teams to decide who is the last team in the "Big Dance."

We decided to do something similar with our movie-themed contest.

We chose eight out of 10 semi-finalists, but had a hard time choosing the final two.

So, we created a "Wildcard Round" where we take our next four favorite entries and debate them until we have two left.

And, we decided to do this during our weekly video podcast that can be found exclusively on Facebook.

If you have "Liked" us on Facebook, you'll be able to watch and see which two "Reel" Design entries move on to the next round!

We'll have the first five Semi-Finalists on this week's show which drops Friday morning!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

MacLaren's Pub - Here We Come!

See those people in the background, that'll be us soon.
Whenever we do an interview on, I like to have what I call a "Getaway Question."

Basically, it's the last question of the interview that is either funny, shocking or just ends the conversation in an interesting way.

When we interviewed Neil Patrick Harris on the Season Premiere of the show last October, we had several "Getaway Questions" ready, based on how well the interview was going.

We had questions about Denise Richards, Starship Troopers, Howard Stern and a few others... but we also had one specific question ready to go in case the interview went really well.

As it turns out, the NPH interview was one of the best ever on our show.

So as the interview was wrapping up, I tossed the Denise Richards question aside and said:

"Neil, I'm gonna lay all my cards on the table.  EB and I have been practicing just in case you need more background actors to sit in MacLaren's Pub on "How I Met Your Mother."

I admit... it was cheesy as hell.

But after a few minutes of witty back and forth with NPH, he said:

"Well, the next time you're out in California visiting the parks, let me know and we'll set it up."

I honestly thought he was just being polite and that was going to be the end of it.  But once we were off the air and thanking Neil for doing the interview, he said that we should seriously let him know what dates we would be on the west coast so that we could set up a time to visit the set.

Now, EB and I didn't have any immediate plans to visit Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm or Universal Studios... but we had always wanted to get out there.

So, we figured there was no time like the present!

Neil told us what dates they would be shooting and after a lot of travel planning, we are officially going to be in Southern California on March 14th, 15th and 16th.

Two of those days will be spent at the parks and the third day will be spent in MacLaren's Pub on the set of "How I Met Your Mother."
The visit should be "Legend... wait for it... dary!"
The best part about this turn of events is that we're going to have some excellent stories to tell you when we get back.

Plus, it will be the first time that EB and I have recorded in the same room since 2006!  Add in a little NPH magic and we should have a pretty good show!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Surreal Scene at Disneyland

I don't know what's the strangest part of this video.

Is it the (allegedly) drunk, belligerent man who keeps throwing punches even after being doused with pepper spray?

Is it the group of "dudes" who keep a running commentary going throughout the incident?

Is it the annoying lady (who Lance Hart from says sounds an awful like our own "Hysterical Disney Mom?")

Is it the three or four park guests who jumped in to help the cast member?

Disney Security must have been dealing with something on the other side of the park, because most times, they're on an incident like this within 60 seconds!

Anyway, there is some strong language and a bit of violence in this clip.  It's PG-13, so watch at your own risk!

And on a separate note, when will people learn to shoot video the correct way?  They should be holding their phone horizontally, not vertically! Fill the screen, gentlemen!

"Inception Park"

Buenos Aires - Inception Park from Black Sheep Films on Vimeo.

Ahead of our "Reel" Design Contest deadline later on tonight... here's something to get you inspired.

Take the movie "Inception" and mix in some theme park attractions.

This is what you might get...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Don't Be Intimidated!

The deadline for the "Reel" Design Contest is quickly approaching!

Anyone interested in partcipating has to get their ride design in to us by the end of the day on Monday, February 20th.

We've been getting a lot of great entries.  But, we've also been getting a lot of e-mails from people who say they don't want to enter because they feel "intimidated."

They've heard that people are sending in schematics, blueprints, sketches and digital re-creations of their rides and they feel that they might not have a chance if they only send in a few written paragraphs.

Well, let me put your fears at ease.

At, the thing that impresses us most is creativity.

Last time around, someone won just by sending in a few paragraphs that described the ride in detail.  They didn't have any supporting materials.  They got our attention and eventually won the contest with an excellent, compelling idea.

If you have an attraction design that is original, tells a compelling story and does things we haven't seen before, it's going to get our attention and impress our distinguished panel of judges..

So, don't be intimidated! Send us your entry by Monday night!  Good luck!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Weekend Theater - An Oldie But a Goodie!

I was looking for a fun video for "Weekend Theater" and remembered something that I posed back in 2008!

I have no idea if this is for real, but it is funny. Viewer discretion is advised!

With friends like these, who needs enemies!

Friday, February 17, 2012 #620 - The 200th Episode!

The "Joint Chiefs" back in 2005, during the first episode!
"This is going to be a very interesting project. 

When you first look at it, it does sound a little bit strange... you know, an entire radio show dedicated to roller coasters and theme parks.  

But there are shows dedicated to all types of things, like sports.  People talk for hours and hours about sports... why not talk for hours and hours about theme parks?"

This is what I said on the very first episode of our show to explain what set out to be.

We wanted to create a fun, accessible show about theme parks and thrill rides that was for the average fan... but could also be enjoyed by even the most hardcore enthusiast.

Back in 2005, I don't think anyone (including us) expected the show to go past 20 episodes.

Now, here we are seven years later celebrating the 200th!

On this week's show, we take a look back at favorite moments from the past 199 episodes and hear from each of the "Joint Chiefs" who were a part of the show back in 2005.  Mario, Flava and Greg K. return to talk about their thoughts on this milestone.

Also, since our listeners are the heart and soul of it's fitting that we celebrate by  having our annual "Listener Question Show" this week.

As per tradition, the questions are all over the map!  Some are about theme parks and thrill rides, others are about pop culture and some are about Mike, EB and the podcast itself.

We also unveil some big news about the upcoming West Coast trip and count down the days to the entry deadline for the "Reel" Design Contest!

Thanks to each of you for listening and participating in the show. We say it several time this week, because it's the truth - you guys are the show... and we're thankful that you're here.


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, February 16, 2012

Learning (and Growing) from Failure

This week, we celebrate the 200th episode of Coaster Radio.  As part of the festivities, I did a lot of thinking about how the show began.

Longtime listeners may not know this, but Coaster Radio only exists because another show failed... and I was that show's Senior Producer.

Mario and Flava join other cast members on the set of our show.
Walt Disney once said... 

"It is good to have a failure while you are young because it teaches you so much."

When I was in my 20's, I would have laughed this quote off as something that "old" people say.

But as I look back on that time and on one of the biggest disappointments of my professional life... I totally agree with Uncle Walt.

When I was 26 years old, I was hired by a Washington, DC television station to create an interactive show for teenagers that "educated as it entertained."

I was young and energetic and believed I could do anything.  I guess that's why the station managment gave me a shot.  But looking back now with the benefit of more experience and more wisdom, I realize I had no business leading a show like this.  I wasn't ready and I was in way over my head.
A young EB shows one of the interns how to run a camera.
It was during this time that I met a few other television producers who worked on the show with me.

Mario and Mike (who you know as Flava) were the backbone of that show and made it run each day.  They were also on-camera hosts.

I also met a guy named EB... a producer and director who had a knack for building monstrous soundstage sets out of junk.
The amazing cast of our show... with Mario and Flava in the center.
The other really interesting part of the show was that it was hosted by local high school and college students.  These were "real kids" and not professional actors like you'd see on "The Mickey Mouse Club."  It led to a more authentic and raw program.

We worked long and hard to make the show a success.  And despite the odds of having a limited budget, a green crew and no promotion, the show ran for over a year.  But one day, we ran out of steam... management called us to their offices to tell us they were pulling the plug.

The good news was that none of us were fired.  But the bad news was that management wanted us to sit tight until they could dream up a new project for us to work on... one that ultimately would never come.

I had worked on this show day and night for more than two years! When it was gone, I felt numb.  It felt like there was a big empty hole in my life.  The worst part was, there was no new project to fill it.

I didn't know what to do.  I couldn't sleep.  I needed to be creative.  I needed to produce something.
Behind the Scenes of the show that preceded
 I was feeling kind of listless until my wife Molly brought me an article about something new called "podcasting."

I was always a big fan of theme parks and thrill rides.  And, I always had a secret desire to be on the radio.  As crazy as it sounded, I thought it would be fun to merge those two loves.

As I read the podcasting article, I started to realize that this new technology could actually make the theme park show a reality.

I also happened to know the perfect group of people to help me pull it off.

So, it was because one project failed that another one began and eventually succeeded.  It was the perfect hobby and one that took my mind off of "real-life" troubles until I could right the ship again.

That's me today... older and wiser!
I learned so much from that period in my life.  I credit it with making me a better producer today.  I went on to create productions for people like President Bill Clinton, Regis Philbin, Elton John, Michael J. Fox and other well-known personalities.

Many of the kids who were cast members of the show have gone on to have big success in their careers as well.  In fact, you can see some of them on Broadway stages, network television and on the pages of some of your favorite magazines.

And, without that show, I would have never met Mario, Flava and EB.  Those guys all have gone on to do great things and continue to thrive.  They are geniuses in each of their fields.

So, here's a series of clips from the old TV show featuring Mario and Flava.  This comes from the music video portion of the show, but you might be able to catch glimpses of what would eventually become (Come on! We're shooting at a water park!)

So watch, enjoy and remember... it's totally OK to fail.  But don't stay down.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

This Looks Interesting!

I've always said that the best theme park and water park attractions are the ones that are as much fun to watch as they are to ride.

The new "King Cobra" slide that's coming to Hurricane Harbor at Six Flags Great Adventure seems to fit that description.

King Cobra is designed so that two tubes race through a circular path at once. Each slide has twists, turns and surprises through enclosed and open sections of the slide. Riders move through the attraction at speeds up to 32 miles per hour!

The ride’s finale features a sudden, 25-foot plunge at a 50-degree angle with riders racing until they appear to be swallowed by the massive mouth of the cobra.

Cool stuff!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Our girl DeAnna Lorraine, a guest on this week's episode of, gave us some great advice about the art of successful dating.

Here's a clip of her on a California TV station giving some tips for Valentine's Day.

Remember fellas, BE BOLD!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Portable Tower of Terror?

Imagine you're visiting your local state or county fair and you see this rising up in the distance.

No, your eyes aren't fooling you.

Essentially, this is a portable version of drop ride that looks an awfully lot like Disney's Tower of Terror attraction.

You can read more about it from the site where the ride is currently being sold.

This faux Tower of Terror is almost 80 feet high and has two drop towers that can hold 20 passengers each.

Plus, the attraction has some type of 3D movie integrated within its ride experience.  (I guess that's one thing this Tower has over Disney's Tower... 3D!)

I've searched high and low for some video of this, but have come up empty.  I'd love to see this in action!

Sure, this thing doesn't hold a candle to the real Tower of Terror, but I bet it's a popular star on the traveling fair circuit!

If only I had some extra money lying around... this would look good in my backyard!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Can You Handle The Truth?

Our next show is going to be EPIC on many levels.

First of all, it's the 200th episode of  We're going to celebrate by taking a look back and also by hearing from original hosts Flava, Mario and Greg K.

But more importantly, it's the annual Listener Question Show!

The questions can be about anything!

You can stick to topics like theme parks, thrill rides and the amusement industry. Or, you can go Off-Topic and ask a question about movies, music or pop culture.

You can even ask us personal questions if you'd like. Sometimes, the best questions are about the podcast itself!

If you have a question that you've ALWAYS wanted to ask, now's the time!

Plus, we'd love to hear about your favorite memories from 200 episodes of!

Send us your questions to us by Tuesday, February 14th at 8:00pm EST by posting them right here on the blog by using the "Comments" link below.  You can also e-mail us your answer at, write on our Facebook Page or use our Contact Page!

The best option is to call our voicemail line at 206-339-3360!

We're ready to believe you!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Valentine's Day Song Auction - Winner!

A few weeks ago, we opened the bidding on an original love song that would be written specifically for "that special someone" in a lucky listener's life.

The bidding was fast and furious all the way up to the January 26th deadline.

But in the end, Kerri from Florida outbid everyone (with a top bid of $200) and won the 2012 Charity Song Auction!

The next step was for Kerri to meet with famed London composer Nick Hutson.

Kerri informed Nick that she wasn't asking him to write a romantic song... but instead, she wanted him to compose a song about her three-year-old daughter, Morgana Jade.

Nick asked Kerri a few questions to get better acquainted with her daughter and found some inspiration for his lyrics..

He learned that she likes Sci-fi and LEGOS.  She's also interested in Star Wars and Disney Princesses.  In fact, it's not uncommon for her to dress up in a princess outfit, grab a toy sword and announce to her parents that she's heading off to fight dragons!

With this in mind, Nick began the task of writing lyrics, orchestrating instruments and composing a completely original song for Kerri and Morgana Jade.

And... here is the result.  A song that had it's World Premiere on the February 9th episode of

Kerri chose to donate her $200 winning bid to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis!

The team here at is going to match that bid for a total donation of $400.

And... since we're not doing Theme Park Change this year... you might want to make a donation yourself!  Head to the St. Jude website to make a donation of your own!

Thanks to Kerri for bidding on this special item!  Thanks also to Nick for donating his time and talents!

Here's a special video message from the composer:

Friday, February 10, 2012 #619 - One on One with a Dating Expert is a show about theme parks and thrill rides... but we also try to be a lot more.

Whenever possible, we try to enrich the lives our our listeners, by providing them with information essential to living "the good life."

Since this week's show is so dangerously close to Valentine's Day, we've decided to dedicate this episode to enhancing your love life.

Buckle your seatbelts!

To help you become a better catch out there in the world of relationships, we've enlisted the help of an expert.

Joining us on this week's show is Dating Expert and Relationship Coach DeAnna Lorraine.

Besides being devastatingly beautiful, DeAnna is an expert on the art of romance.  She has helped men all over the world have more success on the dating scene by teaching them how to be cool, confident and most importantly, BOLD!

This week, listeners have sent in their questions for DeAnna and she is going to offer her valuable advice to make sure your Valentine's Day is a successful one.

Keeping with the spirit of love, we're going to have the World Premiere of the song written specifically for the winner of the Valentine's Day Charity Song Auction!

Nick Hutson has been working with auction winner Kerri from Florida on her special song.  But who has it been written for and what does it sound like?  You'll find out this week!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!


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, February 09, 2012

Advice From a Past Winner

Back in 2006, we had a lot of excellent entries for our first "Reel" Design Contest.

One of the underdog submissions was from Andre from Miami, Florida.  He sent in a description of a ride based upon the movie "Mirrormask."

Andre had a tough road ahead of himself in terms of judges' reaction... because none of us had ever heard of the movie before.

But, Andre's ride description and idea was so innovative and creative, that he moved to the head of the pack and won the contest.

As the reigning champion, Andre will be one of the judges for the Finals of this year's "Reel" Design Contest.  We asked him to think back to 2006 and give some advice to this year's contestants.  Here's what he said:

As the winner of the 2006 "Reel" Design Contest, Mike asked me to  share my experience with the premier competition.

At that time I had just watched the film “Mirror Mask” and was inspired because the visuals were so stunning. After giving it a bit of thought, it was easy to translate the visuals and the journey taken by the main character into an interesting and exciting dark ride

While listening to the results podcast and hearing the other great ideas being presented, I have to admit that I was really surprised and thrilled that my idea was chosen as the winner. I really felt like the underdog since I decided to base my idea on a film that really wouldn’t be considered a blockbuster.

To those considering entering the contest this year and may be hesitant because you may not think that your idea is good enough, I say just do it. You may be pleasantly surprised. Good Luck!

CLICK HERE to learn more about the 2012 "Reel" Design Contest.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Happy Birthday!

Today it's time for a birthday celebration of sorts... the website went online for the first time seven years ago today.

We registered the domain name on February 7th, 2005 and on February 8th... we launched the site that would be the eventual home of the podcast.

Our first show wasn't produced until April, but we used the two months in-between to get both the podcast and the website ready.

Thanks to the Internet Wayback Machine, you can take a look at what the old site looked like in 2005.

It's interesting to look back and see all of the different ideas we had during the show's beginnings.  It's also interesting to see what has stuck around in 2012 and what ideas were abandoned long ago.

I think it's always useful to take a look at what creative things we did in the past, because it just might serve as inspiration for things to come.

It's also fitting because on next week's episode, we're celebrating our 200th show!  Honestly, we didn't think this thing would last past 20!

We know a lot of you have been with us since that first show in 2005 and we're grateful.  We're also thankful for all of you who have come along since then!

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Arthur Levine - TV STAR!

One of my "go-to" places for theme park information is Arthur Levine over at

I always like reading his detailed, descrptive and informational posts... but the TV producer in me was really excited to see that Arthur has now started producing short video segments!

It's fun to see Arthur exploring different attractions and resorts while bringing his theme park reporting to life with footage from the parks.

Some of the more recent videos include...

I hope that this is just the first of many videos we see from Arthur!  Congrats!

Monday, February 06, 2012

What a View!

Over at the Coaster Crew Facebook page, they've posted some pretty amazing photos of Leviathan, a new B&M coaster under construction at Canada's Wonderland.

It looks a little unreal... almost like something that you'd only see in Roller Coaster Tycoon.

I especially like the photo above.  Imagine how cool it would be to live in one of those homes and see that monster outside your living room window.

Or... maybe it would get old after awhile.

Friday, February 03, 2012 #618 - The Live Trip Report Show

Last summer, we sponsored a contest here at where we would give the lucky winner a chance to produce an entire episode of the show.

We were so excited about everyone's ideas... we chose four winners!

This week, the first of those winners is stepping up to the plate to see if he has what it takes to live up to the pressure of producing a crazy podcast like this.

Tom from Louisville, KY has come up with the "Live Trip Report Show!"

He's gone though the dozens and dozens of backlogged trip reports that visitors have called in and has picked some of the most interesting ones to share with you.

Plus, to make things even more compelling... he has enlisted the services of the infamous characters to introduce each one.

As EB says this week... "this is a show you're either gonna love or gonna hate!"


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, February 02, 2012

Get Advice from a Real Dating Coach!

We try to be a lot more than just a theme park and roller coaster podcast here at Coaster Radio.

That's why we're really excited about our upcoming show!

For the Valentine's Day episode of Coaster Radio, we're going to be joined by internationally-recognized Dating Coach Deanna Lorraine.

DeAnna has helped hundreds of people invigorate their dating life by identifying possible stumbling blocks that hold them back from having successful dates and meaningful relationships.

On our next show, we're giving all of you a chance to write or call in with your questions for Deanna.

Your questions can certainly be related to dating at the theme parks... but you could (and should) also ask more general questions.  DeAnna can give you answers that will help you get on the right path towards a better dating life.

Send us your questions to us by Tuesday, February 7th at 8:00pm EST by  e-mailing us at  You can also write on our Facebook Page or use our Contact Page!

The best option though is to call our voicemail line at 206-339-3360. Be a part of the show!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Interactive Experiences and Games at the Parks

One of my favorite things to do at EPCOT these days is to play the "Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure."

Sure, I feel a little self-conscious playing a game that was essentially designed for kids, but I am noticing that more and more adults are playing too.

Basically, you get a device called a "Kimmunicator" (which is essentially a Verizon Flip-Phone) so that Kim and her friends can guide you around the different EPCOT countries to help them fight crime.

The best part of the adventure is that your actions actually case things to happen all around World Showcase.

For instance, Molly and I were playing in Germany and were told to activate our "Kimmunicator" when we reached the giant glockenspiel.  Once we pressed the button, the clock came alive to reveal the next clue for the game.

It was a lot of fun to play a game where we had control over giant EPCOT icons.

Imagineers also did an excellent job blending the interactive props into the existing World Showcase architecture.

Disney is currently testing a similar experience over at the Magic Kingdom that looks even more exciting. 

The Orlando Sentinel has an excellent article about "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom," which is the next generation of this type of interactive experience.  It looks to be more involved and have more interactive options than Kim Possible at EPCOT.

My question is, why haven't we seen these types of experiences at other locations around the country?

To me, this seems like a slam dunk for museums.  One of the best ways to educate people is to tick them into learning while they're playing a game.  Imagine if there was an interactive treasure hunt that took you all over the American History Museum.

I could even see this working at a shopping mall.  The game could take players to strategic places in the mall where they where would find clues for the game (and undoubtedly spend money too!)  It might even provide a return on the investment within a year.

Anyway, I'm excited to get down to Orlando and play "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom."  Hopefully we'll see similar experiences at entertainment venues outside of Florida as well!

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