Showing 11 - 20 of 22 posts found matching keyword: amusement parks

Trey and Leslie's first trip to America's Roller Coast. Ride on!

For the Memorial Day weekend, Trey took Leslie and me to Ohio. Our first stop was Sandusky's Cedar Point amusement park, still the most awesome place on Earth. Trey and Leslie had never been before, and I'm sure they enjoyed themselves as much as I did. For the record, I'm not getting too old for this.

As I did for my last visit to the park in 2010, here's a trip summary in postcard-sized chunks:

Trey and the T-Rex
The new "ride" in 2012 is "Dinosaurs Alive!", the old riverboat retooled with dinosaur animatronics replacing animal animatronics.

Magnum ascending
Magnum heads up its lift hill into the clouds.

View of the Midway during an Icee break.
The Midway as seen from a shady picnic table behind the Dodgem pavilion.

Pink's slips into Ohio.
New since last visit: Pink's on the Midway.

Roller Coaster twilight.
A last look at the Millennium Force before nightfall.

Rest in peace, Wildcat.
Passing by the remains of the Wildcat. The space is being cleared for an outdoor "Luminosity" laser show.

After we left Sandusky, we headed south to Columbus, Trey's real destination. More on that later.

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Those of you with long memories (and iron stomachs) will recall that back on June 22, 2007, I blogged about a 13 year-old girl who was made a paraplegic on a Superman ride at a Six Flags amusement park in Kentucky. Now a different Superman ride in New York has stepped up to finish the job.

One week ago today, a paraplegic Army Sergeant was thrown from the Ride of Steel roller coaster in Darian Lake Theme Park in New York state. The soldier, who had lost his legs in an explosion in the ongoing Iraq War, was thrown from the coaster when the lap bar restraint -- designed to fit securely over his non-existent thighs -- surprisingly failed to restrain him. When Iraqi insurgents are unable to kill someone, it sounds like a job for Superman!

According to published reports, the soldier's sister told reporters, "that minute he was on that ride, he probably felt the happiest and most normal he's felt in three-and-a-half years...." Of course, in the seconds afterwards, when he was thrown from the ride onto the track and struck by a steel coaster moving 50 MPH, he probably wished he was back in Iraq. With all due apologies to his family, it must have been a real roller coaster of emotion.

It will come as no surprise that in 1999 when the coaster was built, Darian Lake was a Six Flags park and the Ride of Steel was originally named Superman: The Ride of Steel. The park was sold in 2006, but that only proves that you can take the park away from Six Flags, but you can't take the Six Flags out of the park.

This isn't the first time that a Superman Ride of Steel coaster has killed. There were three such coasters built for Six Flags parks in 1999/2000, one in New York, one in Massachusetts, and one in Maryland. The Ride of Steel in Massachusetts killed a man in 2004. The Ride of Steel in Maryland hasn't killed anyone. Yet. Don't let your guard down, Maryland: Superman coasters are killers, and disaster can strike faster than a speeding bullet.

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Welcome back, those of you who avoided Superman Month. You're just in time for a slide show of my summer vacation!

Now on this next slide, you'll see my cousin and his fiance, a beautiful (but a bit chunky) girl from Mississippi, who we ran into at a quaint internet cafe down the street from the residence once commandeered by the district wartime governor.

Wait, come back! I can't afford to lose any more readers! Fine, no slides! How about if I just post some pictures I took of Cedar Point instead? You can pretend that they are postcards! Ok? Whew. Crisis averted.

In case you are unaware, Cedar Point is an amusement park on the Ohio shore of Lake Erie. Cedar Point is the second oldest existing amusement park in America, and it is home to more roller coasters than any other amusement park in the world. This year's semi-annual pilgrimage marked the 10-year anniversary of my first trip to the park for the unveiling of Millennium Force, at the time the tallest and fastest coaster in the world. I would like to hope that I have aged as well as that coaster.

Ferris Wheel by the lake.
Giant Wheel and Wicked Twister define the shore of Lake Erie as seen from Space Spiral.

Millennium Force ascending.
Millennium Force crests its second-tallest hill as seen from the Cedar Point & Lake Erie Railroad.
(Footnote: This image was taken by my friend Michael Foster, though it was my camera so I am taking credit for it.)

Who needs 6 flags?
Max Air proves that good parks don't need 6 flags.

Sometimes the old ways are still the best ways
View of Dodgem bumper car pavilion with inset of sign lit for night.

Raptor never sleeps.
Sky Ride passes by Raptor as seen from the Midway at dusk.

Wildcat, King of the Park.
Composite view of Wildcat, the greatest little coaster in the park.

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Just in time for the July release of the latest sure-to-be-schlock Batman movie, The Dark Knight, Batman has killed again. But it wasn't some policeman or stunt driver this time. This past Saturday, the Batman: The Ride roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia decapitated a 17-year old boy.

Sure, the boy had jumped some fences to enter an unauthorized area around the coaster, but isn't that what Batman would do? The boy was only trying to protect his property, after all, and Batman is all about defending one's territory and goods. And what was the boy in search of? That's right: his cap, which as we all know is the key to any teenaged Southern boy's identity.

Six Flags, you've done it again. Like every great super villain, you attack your heroic nemesis where it hurts the most: their reputation. Last year you rip the feet off of a girl on a Superman: Tower of Power ride, this year, you tear the head off a boy with a Batman ride. (This is actually the second reported fatality for this ride. In 2002, it killed a ride operator.) And these aren't the only instances. Six Flags Darien Lake's Superman: Ride of Steel nearly killed a rider in 1999, a manslaughter successfully perpetrated five years later by the identical ride at another park when Superman: Ride of Steel at Six Flag New England killed a rider in 2004.

So be careful out there, people. If a dancing centenarian or screaming Asian arrives on your doorstep with a can of Coke offering a Six Flags admission discount, it's probably a trap.

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Last year I was pretty rough on Superman rides at theme parks, especially Six Flags. (Especially after they made a girl a paraplegic, as noted a year ago yesterday.) However, I do have to give them credit for being some of the only places on Earth where you can see statues devoted to Earth's greatest hero.

Superman Krypton Coaster in Six Flags Fiesta TexasSuperman Great Escape at Six Flags Magic Mountain (c) www.joyrides.comSuperman Escape at Waner Brothers Movie World, Australia

To be fair, the ride above right is not a Six Flags park but Movie World, a former Time Warner venture, now divested, in Australia. Maybe not so coincidentally, it's also my favorite concept, with the Superman figure attached to the rear car, pushing the cars around the track. That's inspired!

Though they have more of a life-sized cardboard cutout than a statue, I think that some credit should go to the all-but-defunct Six Flags New Orleans for including Superman aside the JLA Fountain, where he's much more approachable than his brethren pictured above.

Superman at Six Flags New Orleans.Superman at Six Flags Atlantis.

These are pre- and post-Katrina pics, obviously. (Note the wall, visible clearly in the photo on the left, appears as barely a curb in the picture on the right. That's quite a leaky fountain.)

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In a rather unexpected footnote to my blog entry earlier this month on June 11, it was reported late yesterday that a 13 year-old girl had her legs severed on the Superman Tower of Power ride at Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

No, wait, don't bother scrolling down. See, here, I'll me quote myself:

"You can forget about those Superman rides in Six Flags parks across America. Six Flags is the worst theme park chain by far, and their run-down, cramped attractions that like Kryptonite sap the life from the Man of Steel can hardly be called Super-parks."

Now Six Flags has cost some poor girl her legs, and she'll never walk again. And unlike that Adventures of Superman episode "Around the World with Superman," I don't think Superman is going to be able to repair the situation by carrying the crippled girl around the world.

(Yes, I am taking the opportunity of some girl's debilitating accident to say, "I told you so." That's just how I roll.)

I tell you, by not building one great super-park, we're just dooming more children to wheelchair-bound lives. Do you really want that on your conscience, amusement park builders of America? Remember, if you don't build it, you're letting the terrorists win.

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Wait just a darn minute. How come Harry Potter gets 20-acres of theme park before Superman? Just because Potter has sold more than 325 million books in his short, six-book publishing career, making J.K. Rowling reportedly the first author-turned-billionaire, he gets the run of a Florida theme park? Why, if Superman and Action Comics are conservatively estimated to have sold a mere 40,000 copies per issue (which is not bad for a modern comic, but laughable compared to the titanic numbers of even 10 years ago), Superman has moved almost 25% of Harry's haul with two comic book titles alone. Where's his theme park?

Now THAT's a theme park!

You can forget about those Superman rides in Six Flags parks across America. Six Flags is the worst theme park chain by far, and their run-down, cramped attractions that like Kryptonite sap the life from the Man of Steel can hardly be called Super-parks.

Roller Coaster Database tells me that there are 12 active Superman themed coasters worldwide. Think about how awesome it would be to ride a dozen Superman themed rides through a single park divided into areas representing Krypton, Smallville, Metropolis, and the Fortress of Solitude. Coasters simulating flight, cyclotrons demonstrating Superman's ability to drill through solid rock, shooting ranges with heat vision, and, of course, a few carnival games testing your strength, speed, reflexes, and mental dexterity, among other comparisons to Superman's many, many powers. I can hear the barkers now: "How many people can you hear yelling for help?" "See a man blow on this cup of water until it turns to ice!" "I challenge you to hold your breath during a brief trip around the moon!" "Guess the number of people trapped inside the burning building!" Why, even the metal detectors checking guests for weapons as they come in the door could be turned into a comical demonstration of Superman's X-Ray Vision!

I understand that Metropolis, Illinois, has pursued a Superman themed attraction for years, but I'm sure it would end up more like South of the Border than Cedar Point. (No offense to South of the Border, but it's not really all that Super, unless third-world truck stops are your thing.)

Oh well. I guess I'll just have to keep wearing my Superman underoos while leaping off my roof. At least the admission price is right.

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I know that I said that I wouldn't buy it, I know I said that it was all diminishing returns after Vice City, I know that I said that the PS3 was way too expensive to earn a return on the price paid, but...

GTA IV: as in,

That's a roller coaster. Oh well. I did buy a PS2 just to play Vice City. Maybe by October I'll be able to afford this one.

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I just realized that I've wasted my entire afternoon (the last few hours, anyway) looking at pics of abandoned amusement parks on the internet. I can't help it. I know I've mentioned it before, but I'm just fascinated by scenes of manmade structures overcome by nature. Best of all are the fallen amusement parks: titans of technology devoted to staving off mankind's worst enemy -- boredom -- left fallow and destroyed by sun, wind, water, and time. If these haunted steel and concrete skeletons are discovered by future archaeologists, what conclusions will they draw about their ancestors?

See the ruins of Chippewa Lake Park in Ohio. Wander through abandoned Dogpatch USA in Arkansas. Or, if you're feeling adventurous, visit the orient to see the remains of "waste recreational area T" or "Nominal Koka family land" in Japan, the home of the decaying theme park.

>sigh< It's like poetry for the eye.

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I was so looking forward to returning from Ohio to get to work on a shockwave animation I've been working on in addition to updating the D and D pages. But instead I've caught a cold -- did I mention the 5 hour line in frigid wind for the Top Thrill Dragster? -- and all I'm looking forward to now is sleep. NyQuil is my friend.

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To be continued...

 

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