what feels like the longest month ever draws to a close, we look forward
to the 2005 season. There’s just over a month to go, and we can look
forward to one of the most exciting years in Europe for a long time.
are three launched coasters planned, two X-Car coasters, as well as
numerous other exciting rides. 2005 also heralds several classic rides
closing, ride relocations, and several notable anniversaries.
a mixed bag, although we plan to bring some order to this chaos with our
alphabetical preview, from a all the way through to z.
Tarantula, Parque De Atracciones Madrid
our preview with a ride from a manufacturer that was virtually unknown a
few years ago. Their rise from obscurity has yielded many excellent
rides such as Dragon’s Fury and their line of standard Wild Mice (such
as those at Chessington World of Adventures and Flamingoland), yet as we
look forward to 2005, their name appears no less than three times.
is probably the most subdued of their 2005 installations (the others
being X Car coasters), yet nevertheless, this agile arachnid spins
itself over 2000ft of track (compared to Fury’s 1771ft) and blows the
cobwebs off by spinning you through an immelman, banked turn entangled
with the immelman, a 51-degree drop and a series of wild mouse-style
to the challenge of fitting the coaster into the park, with the many
legs of this spider tip-toeing over and under existing attractions, with
the track plunging through tunnels and buildings.
Winja’s, and like most other Maurer spinners, Tarantula focuses on an
exciting layout and passes up the opportunity to use see saw elements
and trick track, and, even with space constraints, uses a standard chain
lift as opposed to a vertical elevator.
for... Bye Bye
Bullet, Bonjour Booster Bike
what can best be described as a gamble, Flamingoland put two of their
best coasters on sale to finance their ambitious masterplan of
investment over the next few years.
Bike gives us a good idea of what to expect from Flamingoland's
version. Picture: Coasters
a wooden coaster and a semi-custom Vekoma SLC are on the cards, 2005
will see the unveiling of Vekoma’s second Booster Bike, Velocity, a ride which
won the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions’
prestigious “Best New Product” award for the hydraulically-launched
family coaster design that has riders on the back of a train of
Velocity will be of a similar layout to
Toverland’s, Flamingoland’s promises to be larger, with a greater
launch speed and a longer circuit.
fate, meanwhile, is currently unknown. The ride was placed for sale in
industry publications last year, and it is heavily rumoured it will be
moving elsewhere in the country. Reassuringly, Magnum Force is still
featured in park literature, although is rumoured to be going back home
to Germany in it’s native environment; the German fair.
for... Cowed Comeback
Hydro re-opens at Oakwood
after Hayley Williams fell from Hydro, the
circumstances leading to her death are still unclear. Since the ride closed in April,
William MacNamara has kept the ride closed to accommodate the joint
investigations by police and Health and Safety.
investigation has been anything but transparent, and from the earliest
days it was warned it could take months. Nearly a year after the
accident that closed the ride, nothing has yet been announced, either in
terms of how the accident happened or whether any charges will be filed
against either Oakwood or the manufacturer, Intamin.
the ride is expected to reopen in 2005 with the single boat retrofitted
with new restraints. Overhead restraints are the most
likely alternative to the T-shaped lapbars that the ride currently has,
although it cannot be ruled out that overhead seatbelts like that on
Perilous Plunge or Magnum Force are a consideration, despite the obvious
inefficiency with regards to the already dreadful capacity of the ride.
for... Dawn of the Dodo
El Volador, Bellewaerde
is known about the Dodo, and whilst Coaster Kingdom isn’t going to
foray into ornithology, we can exclusively reveal that one of two
remaining Dodos can be found in Ieper, Belgium.
to popular opinion, as well as taxes and death, one thing you can be
certain of is finding a bloody big bird at Bellewaerde.
those not up on creatures great and small, this one most certainly falls
under the category of ‘great’. El Volador weighs in at a hefty 213
tons, is 60 feet tall and has a 40ft deep nest.
taller than 1.2m can enjoy the Dodo-themed El Volador as the 40-person
gondola rises to 60ft, and the entire tower that it is on can sway back
and forth by 60-degrees as the entire ride rotates with a Top Spin
favourite also forming part of the entourage of fun; fountains.
Volador is essentially an upside-down Frisbee, using the same-style
gondola at the top of a tower that rocks in a similar nature to a
metronome. What is interesting, though, is that the ride is marketed as
a family spin ride, so white knuckle purists shouldn’t visit
Bellewaerde expecting the new messiah of spin rides.
for... Everything Must Go
Blackpool Pleasure Beach Removals
either the historical Whip or Turtle Chase verges on blasphemy at the
cathedral of historic amusement rides, Blackpool, yet in a quite
remarkable move, both Whip and Turtle Chase are being removed from
Pleasure Beach Blackpool’s 2005 line-up, apparently along with
Vikinger and Black Hole.
Whip has been on borrowed time for a few years now
Hole, the enclosed Waltzer ride near Big Dipper’s entrance, has been
flagged for removal ever since the Beach have been pursuing the idea of
a launched coaster across the Golden Mile, and Vikinger has long been on
borrowed time, but the prospect of Whip and Turtle Chase is quite a
opened in the park in 1914 and was relocated from near the Captive
Flying Machines to be tidily tucked in underneath Revolution’s first
drop. Turtle Chase’s heritage dates back to 1935 when it opened as
Tumble Bug, again in the vicinity of the Flying Machines.
it was relocated onto a landscaped pasture on the banks of Tom Sawyer
Lake with the Big Dipper and Big One’s lift hill forming a picturesque
Chase fans need not despair – not that much, anyway. The chase
continues at Southport, where the ride will be back on stilts due to
problems that the ride had with the landscaped terrain in the current
fans, well, there’s nothing to console you, sadly. Whip will be going
into storage to be replaced by the Alpine Dodgems, relocated from
elsewhere in the park.
is one of the smallest parks in the country in terms of acreage, yet has
the most rides. There is often a price to be paid for the parks’
expansion, but its rich heritage is normally spared.
for... Family Fun
Legoland Windsor's three new rides
on Jungle Coaster’s wave of success, Legoland have announced that
they’re installing three new family rides for 2005.
Fire Academy will have four fire crews, four fire engines and a terrace
of burning buildings. Firemen and Fireboys alike can join their female
counterparts as they provide the necessary muscle power to get the
four-person fire engines across to the buildings, put out the fire and
get back to base pronto.
archaeologists are cordially invited, meanwhile, to enjoy Dino Dippers
(an infant round ride) and Dino Safari, a journey from a Lego base camp
around various scenes created from another export so good, the Danes
hate to see it leave – Lego.
most of Legoland, the rides are a mix of overlaid humdrum (Dino Dippers
and Dino Safari) and inspiring and interactive fun (Fire Academy), yet
all three share the same park-wide problem: capacity.
at a park like Legoland, this is a problem as big as the queues they
form. Children have annoyingly short attention spans, and queues
simply do not help. It is a sad fact that most of Legoland’s family
rides simply are not up to the job with dealing with the amount of
visitors the park gets.
Rumoured last seasons for...
are always casualties in war, and the theme park business is as big a
battle as any. As new warriors rise, old comrades fall, and as the new
season starts, so too does the rumour mill as the fate of many rides is
2005 could be your last chance to enjoy the following attractions.
Diablo, always an unpopular ride, is rumoured to be on the verge
of a much needed revamp
Despite persistent rumours that Magnum Force is
going back to the German Fair circuit, it seems the Force is still very
much part of the park’s lineup in 2005. Nevertheless, the ride has
been on sale for a year now, and its removal does seem inevitable. 2005
could well be Magnum Force’s last operating season, as the ride will
no doubt hinder Flamingoland’s bid to become more of an ‘adventure
Diablo & Silver River Flume, Port Aventura:
A popular ride since
opening, the Mack flume Silver River has reportedly become an endangered
species. While a no-frills ride, our sources report that 2005 could be
the last season for the ride.
Diablo, meanwhile, is back to running forwards after the backwards cars
were chronically unpopular. The ride is apparently going to be closed
for a major retheme in the forthcoming season, so it might be worth
getting your last rides in, even if only for prosperity reasons.
Beast, Fantasy Island: Another
popular, yet unfounded rumour is that Beast, the Mondial Top Scan, is
leaving the park to be replaced by either a new version of Mondial’s
floorless Inferno or even a double-ended Top Scan.
is for... Happy Birthday to...
Djurs Sommerland and the River Caves
Sommerland: Known principally
for their newest coaster, Falken, Fårup Sommerland celebrate their 30th
Anniversary this season.
Fårup Sommerland’s heritage is quite a unique one for a theme
park. The history dates back to when the Kragelund Family operated a
wholesale business. By the 1970s, the Kragelund Family had to adapt
their strategy as the supermarket business took off, and so did their
A niche they identified was that families now had more leisure
time, and so Fårup was chosen as a site for Fårup Sommerland, a
recreational park with trampolines, canoes, horse trails and sand pits
which opened on 21 June 1975.
Since then, a water park has been added, a spinning roller
coaster, river rapids, log flume and their most successful ever
addition, Falken, which helped the park with record attendance of over
West Carousel is one of two attractions for Sommerland's 25th
birthday. Picture: Djurs Sommerland
Djurs Sommerland, also in Denmark,
celebrates its silver anniversary at 25 years old. For 2005, the park
plans to add two Wild West themed rides; a Pony Trek where children go
on a trail on a fibreglass stead, and also Wild West Carousel, a heavily
themed Wave Swinger.
The River Caves: Following on from the
subdued celebrations of Sir Hirim Maxim’s Flying Machines at Pleasure
Beach Blackpool, the historic River Caves are a century old this season.
The park have a similar predicament as they did with the Flying Machines
in that the obvious celebration of restoring the ride to its former
glory is a moot point owing to the fact that, much to the park’s
credit, the ride is in pristine condition anyway.
Black Hole closes
credit to Alton Towers’ marketing department. Who else could make good
news of their ailing ride count and the forthcoming closure of the
park’s last classic Schwarzkopf by inviting you to “enjoy one last
ride on the famous coaster [...] from £29.50 per person”?
closure of the Black Hole unfortunately broadens the gap between
accessible family rides and thrill rides, and although the Black Hole
was low capacity, and while it did attract queues as a consequence, it
was still vital in bolstering the park’s ride count.
I appreciate why the Black Hole is closing, it’s interesting to
compare two very similar rides: Black Hole and Space Invader.
opened in the same year, both – for the sake of argument – are
similarly proportioned. As soon as Space Invader nears the end of its
useful life, Kumbak are employed to give a new lease of life. Yet, as
the Black Hole nears the end of its useful life, it is removed.
biggest complaint here really is the lack of replacement at a time where
the park really needs to have a broad choice of rides to maintain its
image as a ‘resort’. Spinball is not a replacement, as it is a
headliner ride at the park, as will be Rita. The park needs more high
capacity, good quality rides to replace the admittedly aging rides that
are constantly being removed.
Towers is clearly going through a tide of change. A new management
structure could herald many positive changes. It could, however, not.
Whatever the case, Alton needs to research viable alternatives to the
rides it removes from their lineup instead of opting for crowd-pullers
that go hand in hand with long queues. Continues...