Thursday, November 28, 2013 #807 - Two Thumbs Down!!!

     * News from the annual IAPPA Conference 
     * There were a lot of new attractions unveiled.
     * A Live Trip Report from Castles 'N Coasters
     * A winner in the Soundwave Contest!
     * We review "Escape from Tomorrow"
     * What listeners are NOT Thankful for at the parks. 

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Tower of Terror: Disney Immersion

By Terry Mulcahy

EB prepares to take on The Tower of Terror
A haunting melody echoes from unseen speakers nestled in the foliage. A pair of gloves lie haphazardly on a chair, covered in dust. A statue is choked with Ivy that has gone unclipped for decades. That’s immersion. That’s Disney.

It’s that addictive feeling that you have left your world behind, even if only for a few seconds. For us theme park fans, we know that it’s what Disney does best. In few places is this more evident than on The Tower of Terror.

Mike and EB recently asked listeners to clue-in a puzzled fan on what it is that the Disney parks have that others do not, and for most people it was attention to detail. This one attraction is so densely packed with detail that it is the perfect case study for imagineering as an art form. So carefully does it ratchets up tension and so dramatically does it instill a sense of place that the experience begins long before the ride, before the line even. It begins with the first glimpse of The Hollywood Tower Hotel dominating the Disney’s Hollywood Studios skyline.

The ride itself is spectacular; the sensation of falling and rising as the elevator goes through its tricks is less intense than many first-timers might imagine, but twice as fun. What really gets the pulse-pounding though is the eerie buildup, the narrative that is told through visual clues and audio tie-ins.

The Hollywood Tower Hotel might be the most breathtaking thing in a Disney park (at least at Walt Disney World, Disney’s California Adventure and Disneyland Paris are simpler takes on the theme and Disney TokyoSea is completely different). That’s not to say it’s pretty per se; it’s crumbling, menacing and dusty, but in a way that The Haunted Mansion is not. It feels real, to a point. It feels sad.

A game of Mahjong is set up with painstaking accuracy in such a way that it suggests the game was left in a hurry. A menacing eagle statue plays host to cobwebs and grime and outside, the grounds are peppered with broken garden furniture and ornaments, hidden under layers of green. Even the carpet, though worn and threadbare, suggests the glamor and luxury that the hotel supposedly once lay claim to.

The details are everywhere, and they captivate long before guests enter the library (which is equally mind-boggling in its details, especially as the time spent in here is mostly in darkness). Being there for the first time, frightened and excited, is pure magic. Perhaps it is not something that can be explained, it is something that needs to be experienced.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

What are you LEAST Thankful for at the parks?

Is it Thanksgiving time already?

Geeze, wasn't it just Opening Day of the 2013 Theme Park season just a few weeks ago?

Anyway, if it's Turkey Time, that must mean it's also time for the Annual Coaster Radio Thanksgiving Show.

For this week's show, tell us about what you're least thankful for at the parks you have visited this year.

We'll talk about your answers on our next show!

Send us your comments to us by Sunday, November 24nd at 7:00pm EST by posting them right here on the blog by using the "Comments" link below.  You can also e-mail us your answer by using the address over on the right, write on our Facebook Page or use our Contact Page!

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013 #806 - Mike Helps a Coaster Phobic

     * The PolarCoaster is coming to Florida!
     * It will break world records for height, speed and length!
     * Kentucky Kingdom unveils "Lightning Run!"
     * A listener calls in from his Honeymoon!
     * Soundwave lives on for another week!
     * Mike helps a friend get over her fear of roller coasters.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Kings Dominion Goes "Old School" for 2014

By Terry Mulcahy

"They're Baaaaaaack!"
There was once a time when bleach-blonde hair was all the rage, when flannel shirts weren’t just for hipsters and when Virginians could ride the movies. This time was known as the 90s, but for Kings Dominion fans it was the Paramount era.

The Outer Limits: Flight of Fear was once a terrifying ordeal in the dark void of outer space, complete with vindictive aliens and queue-line theming. Today The Flight of Fear (sans Outer Limits theming) is a jiggly journey through a well-lit maintenance shed, complete with ladders, cables and toolboxes. Once The Hurler was a hotbed of Wayne’s World humor. Now it’s a hot mess of rough turns and horrendous design.

These are two of the many attractions that suffered when Paramount sold the park to Cedar Fair in 2006, who had to flush out the movie tie-in theming. Attention to detail and character, (which were around long before Paramount took the reigns too) took a backseat to profit and marketing. But for the first time in years, that might be changing.

Here’s what we know so far:

• Singing Mushrooms. The two words that make Mike and EB giddy. They’re coming back, and that blurry picture that the park released on Twitter (that Screamscape thought might be a big dog) is a piano-playing frog. Families will also be glad to see the return of Candy Apple Grove as a themed midway area. This is great news as, with 2013’s huge overhaul of the only kids’ area, Planet Snoopy, this brings a touch of whimsy and magic back to the park.

• Blue Ice Cream. It was popular in the 70s and 80s, because it’s ice cream and IT’S BLUE. And while you’re battling a brain-freeze/sugar-high combo you can enjoy a restoration of the entry fountains, including a new LED light package.

• But the change generating the most hubbub so far is the restoration of the park’s Congo area (which features a lot of the park’s biggest and best thrill rides), to be renamed Safari Village (as it once was in decades past). The area is currently one of the park’s most well-defined, despite featuring two (admittedly great) coasters themed to race cars, The Flight of Fear and a bobsled coaster that cheerfully proclaims “this ride features live bees.” With a loving touch, a lick of paint and maybe (?) some new theming elements this area should start to shine again.

• But wait, there’s more! The park also promise improvements to Volcano and Anaconda, the parks Arrow loop-screw. Although the details of what that might entail are hazy at the moment, the latter is especially welcome. The ride is showing its age, if a re-track is on the cards that might smooth out some rough transitions, but even if its only a shiny new paint job and, hopefully, a restoration of the cool water-splash effect as the train dives “under” the water it can only do good.

Okay, it’s not a sparkly new GCI woodie, but it’s a start. They could have added another parking-lot coaster (looking at you, Dominator), they could have shoe-horned in another flat. Instead they’re injecting just a little magic back into a park that was once full of it.

More announcements are on the way. What retro icon would you like to see come back? Could The Hurler see a re-theme? Will anyone ever find Grizzly now that the entrance is hidden behind a gift shop? Will that helicopter on The Backlot Stunt Coaster ever do, well, anything? You know Mike and EB will be right on it when more details come to light.

Thursday, November 14, 2013 #805 - Woody Harrelson?

     * A rumored theme park based on "The Hunger Games"
     * A friend of the podcast has hired Woody Harrelson?
     * A Live Trip Report from Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
     * More parks are opening their doors for the holidays.
     * A listener wants to know why Disney Parks are a big deal. 

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Thursday, November 07, 2013 #804 - Disney Overlays and Criminal Activitays

     * The Disneyland Dry-Ice Man Isn't Allowed Back
     * Have we found the Robin Hood of Busch Gardens?
     * Mike checks out Ghost Galaxy and Haunted Mansion Holiday
     *Will Google Glass ever be a thing at the parks?
     * EB might buy a "trash house."
     * Mike is creating a one-man illusion show.

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