My Thoughts on Some of the New Attractions for 2019
October 21, 2018
I will be writing an article for the February 2019 edition of The Streak, GOCC's newsletter with much of the same information as provided here, but I wanted to give my thoughts on some of the new attractions announced for 2019. I will not talk about Cedar Point's new attraction on Millennium Island until more information has been released. Information and pictures were provided for this article by the various parks. They have been credited at the bottom.
Steel Curtain and Steelers Country (Kennywood):
After weeks of teasing using various puzzles and other fun stuff on social media, Kennywood announced the addition of an entirely new area called Steelers Country, whose centerpiece is a brand new coaster named Steel Curtain. Steel Curtain is an S&S Worldwide design featuring a record-breaking 9 inversions, a 197-foot loop and a maximum height of 220-feet. It also will contain the world’s first “banana roll”. It will set the Pennsylvania record for the tallest coaster (until 2020 most likely when Hersheypark puts in their hyper), a North American record for most inversions and a world record for the tallest inversion.
Steelers Country itself will celebrate the history of the Steelers franchise and allow fans and others to interact with gameday experiences such as bursting through the entry tunnel, perfecting their touchdown dances and checking scores and highlights on a giant video board. The area being utilized lies next to Racer, where Log Jammer used to reside, as well as some additional land.
I’m a huge Browns fan, so initially I’m like, “ew Steelers”, but this is a great addition for the park. With Kennywood being a Pittsburgh staple for so long and having such a connection to the Pittsburgh area, this is a brilliant idea. I worry about S&S being the manufacturer only in the sense that they had so many issues with Gale Force and Merlin’s Mayhem, but hopefully they’ve gained some knowledge and learned from past mistakes and knock this one out of the park.
I’m curious as to whether or not the Steelers paid for part of the expansion or if Kennywood had to pay for the licensing rights AND cover the land and ride themselves.
Regardless, this is a great addition to the park and I look forward to riding it next spring or summer.
Yukon Striker (Canada’s Wonderland):
In spring 2019, Canada’s Wonderland will debut Yukon Striker, a B&M dive coaster. It was a pretty poorly kept secret, as track had been spotted on site for quite awhile and most enthusiasts and others who pay attention recognized it as dive coaster track. But who cares? It is another great addition to a great park. I love how it interacts with the soon-to-be-renamed Vortex and the dive under the lake looks really cool. The trains will seat three rows of eight riders across. It will set world records for the fastest dive coaster (80mph), longest dive coaster (3,625 feet) and tallest dive coaster (245 feet).
The first thing that jumps out to me is “another dive coaster themed after a bird” but I’ll tell you this - the logo for Yukon Striker is awesome (not sure about the color scheme though). I’ve watched the POV several times and there are a couple things that I noticed right away. First off, the drop looks really good, which is usually my favorite part of dive coasters anyways. Secondly, the inclusion of a vertical loop is interesting. I wonder what kind of forces you’ll feel going through that. Next, the MCBR is massively long. And finally, the last helix after the MCBR is really confusing. It reminds me of the end to Gatekeeper where you’re like “you could have put another inversion or something more exciting here”. I’m probably wrong, just visually that struck me as odd.
I hate the fact that another announcement leaked in the days leading up to the actual announcement. I think it truly takes away from the hype, but it is what it is. It isn’t as bad as Valravn leaking through the Cedar Point app two months before announcement.
This is a great addition for CW and I can’t wait to get up there and ride it. Especially considering the missing credits I have to get are Timp Warp, Flight Deck and so many other wonderful (LOL) and smooth (double LOL) coasters.
Tigris (Busch Gardens Tampa) and Gwazi RMC:
I am not a huge fan of how the Seaworld parks generally announce things. Sometimes it’s just a random video gets released. Other times it’s just a poster board with information on it and a logo. That’s pretty much what happened with Busch Gardens’ announcement for Tigris. Tigris is a Premier Rides Sky Rocket II model similar to Electric Eel at Seaworld San Diego, Phobia Phear Coaster at Lake Compounce and Tempesto at their sister park, Busch Gardens Williamsburg.
First off, I think the color scheme looks cool and I hope the train has some kind of tiger design similar to Cheetah Hunt, although I’m not going to hold my breath. I wish they had gone with the lapbars like on Phobia. Comfort collars are just annoying. The ride experience is pretty much the same as the others, smooth and fun.
If you’re unfamiliar with these types of coasters, they launch you a short way forward up the front part of the track before you fall backwards back through the station and launch about three-quarters of the way up the back part of the track, before falling back into the station for a third and final launch up the spike and into a 150-foot tall slow heartline roll before falling back down through the rest of the track and into the station.
Its a great addition to the Stanleyville area of the park where the defunct water ride Tidal Wave had been sitting dormant for years.
All that said, in an unusual turn of events, the park showed a map with “coming in 2019” written where Tigris will be placed, but then “coming in 2020” over their defunct GCI racing coaster Gwazi, which has been rumored for years as a possible coaster to get the RMC treatment. In a shocker, he then basically confirmed it by saying something to the effect of “we know its had a rocky past, so we’re going to turn it into a hybrid coaster” in not so many words. I am in a group DM with a bunch of coaster photographer friends on Instagram, and I immediately typed “did he just say that?”. We were all pretty much shocked how that went down but also extremely excited about it. I think the idea is the same as was for Steel Vengeance - it will be such a large-scale project that they have to start early if they want it finished for 2020, so they just announced it now instead of pulling a Cedar Point and denying any knowledge of it when there are RMC trucks and track onsite. I truly hope they keep it a non-mobius racing coaster with two unique tracks. It has the potential to be one of the top RMCs out there, I just never thought what was left of the structure would be able to be salvaged for the project. I’m super excited to head down there and ride it when it eventually opens.
Maxx Force (Six Flags Great America):
On August 30, Six Flags Great America announced the addition of Maxx Force, another coaster from S&S Worldwide and the fastest launch coaster in North America. This air-powered launch coaster will launch riders from 0 to 78 in less than two seconds. It will take riders through the fastest inversion in the world, a 60mph zero-G roll as well as the tallest double inversion in the world at 175 feet above the ground. The trains will be modeled after Formula One race cars and the ride will debut during summer 2019 in the Carousel Plaza area of the park.
My first impressions of Maxx Force were that it looks pretty cool, especially amongst some other great coasters in the park. The dive loop thing that makes up the second inversion of that tallest inversion record looks really neat. Again, while it is a great fit for SFGAm, I still worry about S&S being able to open it on time without any issues. I’m hoping they prove us all wrong and that their past troubles are behind them, but time shall tell.
As an aside, it was discovered by a friend of mine that if you accidentally (or intentionally) search for Maxxx Force (with three x’s instead of two) that the first search result is an Amazon page for a giant purple marital aid. So not sure about the name considering it will be googled many many times, including by many youngsters who might put three x’s in there.
Kentucky Flyer (Kentucky Kingdom):
On closing day 2018 at Kentucky Kingdom, Ed Hart announced the edition of Kentucky Flyer, a Gravity Group family coaster in the same vein as the highly-regarded Wooden Warrior at Quassy and Roar-o-Saurus at Story Land in New Hampshire.
While the addition disappointed lots of people who were expecting a hyper, flyer or something else and the dingbats that thought Firehawk was heading there upon its removal from KI, its a great addition for the park. They know their clientele. Coaster enthusiasts come for Lightning Run and Storm Chaser. But they need to keep the families coming. Kentucky Flyer will be great for the kids that are ready to step it up to a bigger coaster, as well as enthusiasts and others looking for a great ride.
Also, the fact it was done in Planet Coaster or whatever doesn’t really bother me. I just didn’t like the fact it was put in there on a plot of land that didn’t show its location. I knew where their next addition would be going just based on land clearing and construction equipment. Although I predicted a Gravity Group coaster about 10 days before the announcement, I honestly had no idea it would be a family coaster.
The teasing was both cool and annoying, more in the sense that it didn’t give basically any information or hints other than the name of the ride.
That said, it is a fantastic addition for the park. The cost will be extremely affordable (not sure it has been announced but The Voyage and Ravine Flyer II were only like $6-ish million and obviously those are much bigger-scope projects). It will draw in all kinds of people, children, families, enthusiasts. The ride will serve its purpose plus some. Hopefully it gives the park some increased attendance and revenue for which to add something extremely large in the 3-5 year range.
PS - I also love Timberliner trains.
West Coast Racers (Six Flags Magic Mountain):
On August 30, Six Flags Magic Mountain announced the addition of West Coast Racers, the world’s first racing launched coasters. A total of four launches take place during this low-to-the-ground experience backed by West Coast Customs. This mobius coaster has a “pit stop” halfway through designed by WCC themselves and narrated by their CEO and founder Ryan Friedlinghaus.
Multiple airtime hills, extreme banked turns and several over/under near misses occur throughout the ride.
Personally, I love the way the trains interact with each other. I always thought the racing coaster was an underutilized option out there for parks. Dueling Dragons is just one example of creativity within their design that can be successful. WCR looks to be a great addition to SFMM, although I like many are still confused when the coaster you’re adding is essentially a mix between Twisted Colossus and Full Throttle combined. But then again, if the GP doesn’t care, Six Flags typically doesn’t care.
Regardless of any concerns, I think it’ll be a great ride. I can’t wait to ride it next summer when I head out to Cali.
Copperhead Strike (Carowinds):
It has been pretty obvious for awhile that Carowinds was planning on adding something big. Land clearing had taken place and some information had been leaked, although it wasn’t entirely clear what had been happening. Through the teasing and the eventual sighting of the Mack Rides logo on-site, everyone knew something great was on the way. What was coming ended up being the largest part of the biggest investment in the 46-year history of Carowinds.
Copperhead Strike will debut in spring 2019 as the Carolina's first double launch coaster and will be located in the newly-themed area of Blue Ridge Junction. I’m really happy to see a ride of this type finally come to the states. The Jojo roll looks really cool as does the inverted top hat and the hangtime loop.
I’m not a big fan of the logo itself, but its weird in that I feel like it probably looks good on merchandise. I also thought the track would be more copper colored and not as orangish, but whatever. The ride experience is far more important to me than anything else.
In a park that already has a giga and a hyper, I’m glad they went outside of the box and added something nobody else in the chain has. Hopefully, it is a successful addition and results in other parks in North America adding Mack launch coasters.
Wildwood Grove / Dragon Flier (Dollywood):
After months of clearing and prepping land, Dollywood officially announced the addition of Wildwood Grove, an area intended for families and children to explore, imagine and play together. At $37 million, it is the largest expansion in park history.
You enter Wildwood Grove by walking through the massive trunk of a fallen tree. The centerpiece of the area is the Wildwood Tree which grows from a cluster of natural rock and boulders and is contains a natural platform where performances will take place throughout the day. Butterflies fly lazily in the breeze underneath the leafy canopy. As the sun begins to set, the tree comes to life in a unique nighttime show of spectacular colors.
The six unique attractions in the Wildwood Grove area include:
Dragonflier - A suspended family coaster allows guests to ride along with a dragonfly as it dips and darts throughout geysers and the rolling landscape of WWG.
Black Bear Trail - Riders jump on the backs of some friendly bears as they trek through their natural habitat. Families will experience traveling through the woods during his unique experience.
Sycamore Swing - A thrilling “leaf boat” swing ride that simulates a leaf rocking back-and-forth in the wind as it falls to the ground.
Treetop Tower - A slow, 40-foot tall tower ride which allows guests to see the entirety of WWG from above while riding in giant acorns.
The Mad Mockingbird - The state bird of Tennessee gives visitors a lift as it flies in a circle around a tree at high speeds. Riders control their ride experience by moving a sail as the birds rush above the ground. (I wonder if they’ll frown on those that like to “snap” them as they go by)
Frogs and Fireflies - Friendly frogs hop up and down as they chase each other around the lily pad trying to catch the fireflies fluttering from the reeds and grasses. Guests can hop aboard to experience this incredible race.
Two other areas within WWG will allow for fun for the youngsters and those that are young at heart:
Hidden Hollow is a 4000 square foot indoor, climate-controlled play space featuring climbing structures, slides and multiple games.
Wildwood Creek has numerous water jets, splash pools and various musical “instruments” where guests can discover their musical side.
Till & Harvest will open as the featured dining establishment within WWG. Visitors will be able to order many Southwest favorites including burritos, salads and other items with a Southern twist. Traditional entrees like pulled pork and fresh coleslaw will also be available, as will desserts.
Over $1 million was spent on landscaping alone for WWG, and I have no doubt that adding a dedicated children’s/family area to the park will be an incredible addition. I can’t wait to head down there and experience it for myself hopefully this spring.
Information and photos in this blog post were provided by:
Nick Paradise, Kennywood Park
Wes Ramey and Pete Owens, Dollywood
Micaela McGinley, Six Flags Great America
Lisa Stryker, Carowinds
Grace Peacock, Canada’s Wonderland
As well as the individual media pages of the websites for Busch Gardens Tampa, Kentucky Kingdom and Six Flags Magic Mountain.
All images and data are property of the individual parks.