Since the beginning of the year, Dollywood has been hard at work clearing land behind the Wilderness Pass section of the park. While we knew that the entrance to the new zone would be across from Mystery Mine and that the attractions would be aimed at families, we didn’t know any specifics about the area’s theme. Yesterday, the park made their full announcement, revealing Wildwood Grove, home to 11 new family friendly attractions that the back of the park has been needing.
Guests will enter Wildwood Grove through a hollow tree and arrive in a vibrant area surrounded by brightly-colored leaves and butterflies. At the center of the zone stands the Wildwood Tree—representing the heart of the Smoky Mountains.
Wildwood Grove will be home to six new rides, including Black Bear Trail, Sycamore Swing, and the Mad Mockingbird.
The Dragonflier will be a family suspended coaster from Vekoma with a dragonfly theme. The ride’s layout is believed to be a clone of Orkanen at Fårup Sommerland.
Children in the park will get to meet new costumed characters Flit and Flutter the butterflies, Franklin the frog, and Benjamin Bear. A 4,000-square-foot indoor play area will make a great place to cool off, and a new restaurant, Till & Harvest, that will offer a new Southwest dining experience.
Wildwood Grove will be the largest investment in Dollywood history, at $37 million. The plethora of new attractions in the back of the park will be a welcome addition to families, and I can’t wait to check it out.
What are your thoughts on Wildwood Grove? Leave a comment with your thoughts below.
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.
Dollywood 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.
Project 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.
Project 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.
Kings 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.
Dive 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.
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.
Regardless of the name, the new dive coaster is sure to be a great addition for Canada’s Wonderland. Since it’ll be their first big coaster with inversions, I would imagine that they’ve got plans for some great elements. [td_smart_list_end]
What new-for-2019 addition are you most excited about? Share your thoughts in a comment below.
Along with Twisted Timbers, Kings Dominion has been giving the Candy Apple Grove section of the park a facelift. Improvements include repaving the midway, adding a new plaza, upgrading the restrooms, and adding new seating.
The park also announced that it will be renaming two of its rides: Richochet and Rebel Yell. Richochet will become “Apple Zapple” and will receive a red paint scheme. While I’m not crazy about the name, I think that tying the ride into the area is a great idea.
The other name change has sparked some controversy among the enthusiast community, as the legendary Rebel Yell racing coaster will now be known as Racer 75. Kings Dominion describes the name as a nod to its 1975 entry into the park as well as giving recognition to ACE, or the American Coaster Enthusiasts (rACEr 75). This second statement is pushing it a little, as the coaster club wasn’t founded until 1978.
While this move is clearly an attempt to remain politically correct, I’m cool with a name change as long as it is reflective of the ride’s past. Racer 75, though, is about as bland of a name as they could have picked, and will be sure to prick the nostalgia of long-time visitors. The ride isn’t 75 feet tall, Racer already exists at Kings Island, and the trains only race on crowded days. I just wish the park could have picked a more creative name.
Meanwhile, Twisted Timbers is nearly ready for testing and construction crews are finishing up the electrical and mechanical side of the ride. I’ll close out with a picture from Kings Dominion.
Cedar Fair’s first IBox coasters are quickly taking shape, with crews hard at work at both Cedar Point and Kings Dominion. Earlier this month, track installation was completed on Steel Vengeance, and now the Twisted Timbers site is buzzing with activity. The parks have taken to social media to share their progress, and the new coasters are truly works of coaster-art.
The 205-foot hill on Steel Vengeance towers over Lake Erie and puts Mean Streak’s former height to shame. Imagine the ejector air riders will experience on that 90-degree drop!
Cedar Point also shared a few pictures of the track winding its way through the ride’s structure on its final lap around the course. The near-misses will be plentiful on Steel Vengeance for sure.
Now that all of the track has been laid, the park will turn its attention towards adding catwalks and railings to sections of the ride like the lift hill and mid-course break run. When Cedar Point closes for the season, they will add mechanical components such as the chain lift, sensors, and braking systems. At the rate construction is going, Steel Vengeance will be ready for testing in early 2018.
Meanwhile, Twisted Timbers is beginning to take form at Kings Dominion. Ledgers have been installed throughout the layout and the ride’s lift hill has been topped off.
It will be exciting to see the coaster’s barrel roll drop up close as construction progresses. For now, we’ll have to content ourselves with the early renderings of the coaster and count off the weeks until Opening Day 2018.
Do you have any thoughts about the progress Rocky Mountain Construction has made on Steel Vengeance and Twisted Timbers? Leave a comment below.
It’s that time of year: Construction is in full swing, leaks and teasers are circulating at a breakneck pace, and amusement parks are set to reveal their new additions in a matter of days. This year, Cedar Fair is making their 2018 announcements on August 16th, which happens to be National Roller Coaster Day. At their first quarter earnings call, the chain confirmed that they will be adding four new roller coasters in 2018, and with the amount of development going on, we can expect a major addition to Cedar Point, Kings Dominion, Knott’s Berry Farm, and California’s Great America.
The steel Rocky Mountain Construction transformation of Mean Streak is continuing to take shape at Cedar Point, and with the park now open, there’s not much they can do to hide it. Instead, The Point has taken to posting short teaser videos on Twitter, revealing stunning new thrill elements and giving us clues to the new ride’s theme.