Leisure Management - Monsters, myths and motorbikes
|Monsters, myths and motorbikes
We take a look at some of the biggest ride openings for visitor attractions worldwide
Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Orlando, Florida, US
The Hagrid-themed ‘story coaster’ takes on a journey through the Forbidden Forest
Combining a world-class rollercoaster, and immersive storytelling, the new Hagrid ride at Universal Islands of Adventure takes visitors into the world of Harry Potter on a journey to encounter its animal inhabitants.
Called Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, the Intamin-manufactured steel coaster replaces B&M’s duelling Dragon Challenge coasters, which were closed in September 2017 to make room for the new ride.
Described as a “story coaster” by Universal, the experience starts with Hagrid taking a Care of Magical Creatures class, while Arthur Weasley tinkers with Hagrid’s flying motorbike. Hagrid’s boarhound Fang accidentally release Cornish pixies, which start to wreak havoc.
Riders travel up to 50mph (80kmph), encountering Fluffy the three-headed dog, Cornish pixies, Devil’s Snare, a Centaur and a Blast-Ended Skrewt along the 1,540m (5,053ft) track – the longest rollercoaster in Florida.
With seven launches, the ride includes more than any other in the world. It’s also the second coaster in the United States to feature a free-fall vertical drop at 17ft (5.2m). A signature feature of the track is a “spike” that sends guests 65ft (20m) into the air before gravity sends them falling backwards down the track.
Each motorbike-themed train has built-in speakers that provide theming for the ride, with a score inspired by music composed by John Williams for the Harry Potter films.
According to Alan Gilmore – art director for the Harry Potter films and for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal – To create the Forbidden Forest, more than 1,000 trees were planted as part of the ride’s theming.
The stars of the Harry Potter movies were on-hand for the launch of the new Hagrid rollercoaster
Vekoma/Industrial Light & Magic
Jurassic World - The Ride
Universal Studios Hollywood
Los Angeles, California, US
Revamped and reimagined, Universal’s popular Jurassic Park thrill ride has undergone a full rebranding and retheming as Jurassic World – The Ride.
Inspired by the new Jurassic World films, the Vekoma-manufactured ride, which first opened in 1996, now features Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard and BD Wong, who reprise their roles as Owen Grady, Claire Dearing and Dr Henry Wu.
The water ride includes an underwater encounter with the Mosasaurus, docile dinosaurs such as the Stegosaurus and Parasaurolophus and predatory dinosaurs such as Dilophosaurus and Velociraptor.
Following a battle between a Tyrannosaurus Rex and the Indominus Rex, riders are dropped 84ft (25.6m) for a big splash to conclude the experience.
Industrial Light & Magic – a division of Lucasfilm – collaborated with the design team at Universal Studios Hollywood to create a digital version of Mosasaurus and its environment for the ride. The giant sea monster is part of the Aquarium Observatory section – an area that responds to real-world weather. Motion parallax technology shifts the rider’s perspective as the dinosaur swims around its virtual tank.
The Aquarium Observatory section of the ride responds to real world weather
Steel Curtain - Kennywood
West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, US
Steelers player Cam Heyward was among the first to ride Steel Curtain
A new record-breaking ride dedicated to American Football team the Pittsburgh Steelers has come to Kennywood in Pennsylvania, US.
Named after the legendary Steelers defensive line from the 1970s, the Steel Curtain is the signature attraction for Steelers Country – a new area of the park which features football-themed games, food and merchandise.
Reaching speeds of up to 75mph (121kmph) with nine inversions, Steel Curtain breaks multiple records, including the most inversions of any ride in North America and the highest inversion of any rollercoaster in the world at 197ft (60m). It’s also the tallest rollercoaster in the state.
With a black and gold track designed to look like a football, the S&S-designed, 1220m (4,000ft) long attraction anchors Steelers Country. A group of Pittsburgh Steelers players past and present, including star defensive end Cam Heyward and Mike Wagner and John Banaszak were in attendance for the ride’s opening.
“A great deal of time and effort has been put into the design, engineering and construction of this terrific ride that we are confident will be worth the wait,” said S&S Worldwide President Tim Timco. “It’s a tremendous addition to this celebrated amusement park.”
Nui Lua -Rainbow MagicLand
Valmontone RM, Italy
Highly themed and spurting fire, a volcanic log flume ride has taken its inaugural plunge at Italy’s Rainbow MagicLand amusement park.
The new aquatic attraction – manufactured by French company Reverchon – is set inside a 1,250sq m (13,400sq ft) lake, with a 320m (1,050ft) track and two slides with an 8m (26ft) and a 12m (40ft) drop. The ride features eight boats and is centres around a volcano 18m (60ft) high. During the ride, guests enter the volcano, which is enriched with special effects including nebulized water and red and orange lighting for lava, as well as simulated flame effects. The volcano’s crater breathes fire, also using smoke machines to simulate periodic volcanic eruptions.
The development is part of larger plans to revive the attraction, which was acquired by Pillarstone Italy in December 2018 – an equity turnaround firm sponsored by KKR. Larger plans include a €40m (US$45m) investment into the park over the next four years. More than €8m (US$9m) has already been invested in 2019 so far.
Brescia-based Panel System provided theming for the new attraction, with the set made from sprayed concrete and supported by metal structures.
The ride features two drops and comes complete with a fiery smoking volcano
Duelling Dragons - Guangzhou Sunac Land
Huadu, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China
A new rollercoaster from Intamin has made its debut at Guangzhou Sunac Land in China, with the new dragon-themed addition seeing a suspended and sit-down train duel with each other through the course of the ride.
Utilising Intamin’s LSM drive system, both trains are simultaneously launched forward into a loop before being stalled part way up by gravity and moving backwards. Passing back through the LSM section, the trains are launched backwards into a 50m-high vertical spike, before again being stopped by gravity and then launching again through the LSM at 100kmph. The suspended train passes on the outside of the loop, while the sit-down train simultaneously passes through the inside of the loop. Both trains then go through several inversions, with five ‘near-miss’ situations with the other train.
The sit-down track is 790m (2,591ft) while the suspended layout covers 830m (2,720ft). The travelled distance, however, is 980m (3,215m) and 1030m (3,380ft) respectively as a result of the forward-backwards-forward launch of the ride.
In addition to an integrated water-cooling system for the LSM drives the coaster also features the newest design for Intamin’s trains, with the manufacturer saying the ergonomically shaped seats, ensure the highest safety and maximum comfort.
Two dragon-themed trains sit above and below each other on the track
Fury - Bobbejaanland
Lands of Legends represents the biggest investment in the history of Bobbejaanland
Belgian theme park Bobbejaanland has made its largest-ever investment, opening a new themed area featuring a brand new rollercoaster.
Manufactured by Gerstlauer, Fury is a launch coaster standing at 43m high and stretching 600m. The ride reaches speeds of up to 106.6kmph (66.2mph), making it the fastest coaster in the Benelux region.
The track features four inversions, starting and finishing with a dead-end track for the rollercoaster train to stop on and then roll back in the other direction. The spikes are attached via a switch so that after rolling back, the train goes up a different stretch of track from the one it came down on, meaning the operator can work with several trains at the same time, increasing visitor capacity.
The model is a custom version of Gerstlauer’s Infinity Coaster, with the open design of the train characterising the ride.
The ride is the signature attraction of Land of Legends – the new addition to the park. Covering 20,000sq m (218,000sq ft), the area is a “mystical, mythical world, heavily influenced by popular video games”. The park’s existing Typhoon coaster, also a Gerstlauer ride, has been rethemed, with the track painted an icy blue colour and the ride getting a new starting point in the central area of the new land.
The Netherlands-based Leisure Expert Group handled theming for the land, working alongside contractors Themebuilders and 2Create, with Bobbejaanland’s project team.
Taiga - Linnanmäki
Tiaga is Linnanmäki’s biggest roller coaster project ever
The fastest LSM Double Launch Coster on the northern hemisphere, Taiga is the newest addition to Finland’s oldest theme park – Linnanmäki.
Passing through four other rides in the park, the ride’s 52m (170ft) peak can be seen from across the city of Helsinki - changing the city skyline. More than 1,000m (3,280ft) in length, Taiga reaches speeds of up to 106kmph (65.8mph), with four inversions over the course of the ride.
The ride’s two trains are themed like eagles (the experience is designed to mimic the flight of an eagle) and can seat 16 passengers each, offering an hourly capacity of 860 passengers.
Runaway Tram - Morey’s Piers
North Wildwood, New Jersey, US
Seaside amusement park Morey’s Piers has celebrated its 50th anniversary with the launch of its latest attraction – the Zierer-manufactured Runaway Tram.
A US$4m investment, the family-friendly coaster had its train and station custom-designed by attractions specialists JRA to honour the boardwalk’s iconic tram cars.
Originally debuted at the 1929 New York World’s Fair, the Wildwood Sightseer Tramcar debuted on the boardwalk in 1949, carrying an estimated 20 million people over its entire lifetime.
On the new ride, visitors climb 12.2m (40ft) before travelling across 281m (922ft) of track, reaching speeds of up to 30mph (48.2kmph).
To make room for the ride, Morey’s has removed seven rides and completely reconfigured its Surfside Pier area.
The new ride is a variation of Zierer’s “Force” family coaster model and cost the park US$4m
|Originally published in Attractions Management 2019 issue 3