With June just around the corner (where did time go?), several amusement parks are already preparing to make way for new rides and attractions. Here are five developments to keep an eye on over the summer.
1Dollywood Park Expansion
Earlier this year, Dollywood began clearing a five-acre plot of land behind Thunderhead, opening up the woods at the back of the park. According to Dollywood spokesman David Taylor, the park plans on adding about eight new attractions in the area.
Blueprints discovered by a local news station reveal that the entrance to the new park section will be just in front of Mystery Mine and the new rides seem to be aimed at families, with something of a river theme. Considering the lack of family-friendly attractions on Wilderness Pass, this is a great move by Dollywood.
One of the new rides in the area has been discovered to be an exact clone of Orkanen—a new Vekoma Suspended Family coaster.
As for Dollywood’s next big coaster, I would expect an opening date of 2020 or 2021. A B&M Hyper or even a Chance rides Hyper GT-X would make a great new addition for the park’s thrill seekers, but we’ll just have to wait and see what Dolly has up her sleeves.
2Project Alpha-Digital at Carowinds
According to Lance Hart and the coaster sleuths at Screamscape, Carowinds is planning a dual-launch steel coaster from Mack Rides, codenamed Project Alpha-Digital. Judging by the layout Screamscape dug up, the ride will have four or more inversions, two launch sections, and possibly a top hat element.
If this rumored coaster turns out to be a reality, and it looks like it will based on the Mack Rides parts that have been arriving, this coaster would really take the park’s coaster lineup to the next level. After visiting Carowinds in 2015, I wrote that one of the things that most stood out to me about the park was the absence of a launch coaster. Now, it looks like the missing ride has finally turned up, taking the place of the park’s long-gone White Lightnin’ coaster.
3Project Madrid at BGW
Last year, Busch Gardens Williamsburg requested approval for a 315-foot structure in an expansion area codenamed “Project Madrid”. While we don’t know any details about what new rides or attractions will be included in this expansion, it seems likely that Project Madrid refers to a new park section themed to Spain.
What about the height request? If the 315-foot height refers to a new ride, it could point to Busch Gardens getting a B&M Giga coaster like Fury 325 or a drop tower similar to Falcon’s Fury at sister park Busch Gardens Tampa. Conflicting filing found by BGWFans suggests that the park might be planning an amphitheater on the cleared land instead.
4Kings Island’s Giga Rumors are Back
Remember all those rumors from 2016 pointing towards Kings Island getting a B&M Giga? They turned out to be a little premature, as the park ended up adding a GCI wooden coaster instead. But now the rumors are back, fueled by the park’s removal of their Dinosaurs Alive attraction and a telling clue left by management during the off-season.
With the space at the back of the park opened up by the removal of Dinosaurs Alive, there’s plenty of room for an out-and-back layout behind the X-Base area. The ride’s station would likely be near the old Dinosaurs entrance, with the lift-hill heading East towards the outside of the park.
Then there’s the message Kings Island wrote in the snow during their off-season. In full view of one of the park’s live webcams, someone shoveled the word “GiGA.” Whether this is a red herring or a genuine hint remains to be seen, but it certainly points to activity in the near future.
It’s too early to jump to conclusions, but I, for one, would have mixed feelings if Kings Island announced a Giga for 2019 or 2020. They already have Diamondback, which is a solid B&M Hyper and very similar in concept to a Giga. I would be more excited to see them invest in a launch coaster of some sort or maybe an RMC. I’m still disappointed that they added Mystic Timbers instead of an RMC Topper Track coaster, and now they’re unlikely to add another wooden coaster any time soon.
On the other hand, B&M coasters are extremely reliable, and Cedar Fair has become wary of the issues that plague innovative coasters. After seeing the success of Leviathan and Fury 325, Kings Island really couldn’t go wrong to add a Giga themselves.
5Dive Coaster at Canada’s Wonderland
It’s been years since Canada’s Wonderland added a major roller coaster, but the all signs are pointing towards a B&M Dive Coaster for 2019. In January, they filed a permit for a new attraction and began clearing land.
To start off construction, the park installed track in a new underwater tunnel in the lake occupied by Vortex. Judging by the width of the track, it has become clear that the ride will indeed be a Dive Coaster similar to Valravn at Cedar Point. Whether the tunnel will be part of the first drop or incorporated with a later part of the layout, it is certain to make for an exciting element.
Here are a couple close up shots of the tunnel that was made during the off season at @WonderlandNews! The green tarp is covering the already installed coaster track! What do you think #cw2019 will have in store? #canadaswondwrland #cw2018 pic.twitter.com/HaH5Ht1jkp
— J-Forces (@JForcesOfficial) April 27, 2018
As for the theme, fans hoping for Ziz may be disappointed. The park already has Behemoth, the Biblical beast of the land, and Leviathan, the beast of the sea, so Ziz, or the beast of the air, would complete the trio. However, Canada’s Wonderland has begun to tease the coaster with signs inside the park promoting the “Historic Chilkoot Trail”. Unless the park is planning to tie that in with the legend of Ziz, it looks like we’ll be getting another RailBlazer nature-themed ride.
What new-for-2019 addition are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
Read next: Top 15 New Coasters for 2018