Sunday, January 31, 2016

Do You Wanna Buy A Dark Ride?

© Ital International
A reader alerted me to an interesting used ride posting over on Ital International - what appears to be Escape From Dinosaur Beach from Wildwood's long shuttered Dinosaur Beach amusement park.  The park was built on what was formerly called Hunt's Pier, and only operated from 1996 until 1998.  If you've never heard of the park or want a refresher, check out this story we did years ago with a brochure and map.  It was also the longtime home of the Golden Nugget before Knoebels saved it and reopened it at their park as the Black Diamond.

© Ital International
Dinosaur Beach, as you may have guessed, was an attempt at having a cohesive theme across the entire pier, with dinosaurs invading other attractions such as the log flume and river rapids ride.  The largest addition that the park opened was the dark ride, which cost $1.5 million and resided in a 10,000 square foot building.  Riders rode in safari jeeps though a "dinosaur holding compound" with animated dinosaurs all around.  The ride theming and dinosaurs were created by Sally and the ride mechanics by SBF.  It has sat in storage for many, many years but is now listed for sale for an undisclosed price.

So, if any readers want to pick up a "very good" condition used Sally dark ride, now is your chance!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Busch Gardens Williamsburg Already Teasing 2017 Ride Project

Never too early to start to tease a new ride!  That seems to be the thought of the marketing team at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and I'd be happy to cheer them on.

The park has released a new video on YouTube titled "Interrogation" that features the park's Vice President of Marketing, Dan Dipiazzo, doing some snooping around the theme park's Engineering department.  Naturally he sneaked in a camera to show what happened...

As the video shows Mr. Dipiazzo was met with quite a bit of resistance when he tried to take a look at the plans that were being reviewed.

As a park teaser meant for fun, not too much was given away but if you listen closely a couple interesting phrases can be heard.  For one I believe you can hear the park's Vice President of Engineering, Larry Giles, be asked "where's the cliff clearing," to which he points "where the drop" would be.

Busch Gardens Williamsburg has a lot of steep hills that a ride could interact with, and the first thing I think of when I hear "drop" is a coaster, that's for sure.  For now we won't speculate much more, but this is certainly sounding promising.

The park has a new page up for what I hope will be future videos and clues, so keep an eye on it!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Joker Takes Over Total Mayhem at Six Flags Great Adventure

© Six Flags Great Adventure
The Joker is up to his tricks again, and has totally taken over the previously announced Total Mayhem roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure.  The new for 2016 ride will now be known as The Joker - 4D Free Fly Coaster, and will sport dark gray supports with track that is purple and green.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
This new concept art gives us an idea of how The Joker will look in its location near the park's Great Lake.  “The Joker is undeniably one of the greatest DC Comics Super-Villains ever created.  Only someone with his warped sense of humor could provide this level of insanity ─ or spinsanity ─ with a new, vertical coaster that delivers gravity-defying somersaults with utter unpredictability.  It is the perfect addition to our dynamic line-up of award-winning roller coasters because this ride delivers total mayhem with its next-generation, cutting-edge thrills,” said Six Flags Great Adventure President John Fitzgerald.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
The Joker is a coaster designed by S&S Worldwide and follows the successful instillation of a similar ride at Six Flags Fiesta Texas in 2015.  Individual cars that seat eight passengers will rise vertically up to 120 feet above the park to start the experience.  The winged-seat cars feature "onboard magnetic technology" that creates "smooth head-over-heels free-fly flips that provide guests the feeling of weightlessness as they soar outside the confines of a traditional track."  Each ride on The Joker will produce at least six inversions as the cars traverse the multiple levels of track.

© Six Flags Great Adventure
Along with a new name comes a new theme for this coaster, as seen in this snip of concept art for the ride.  The Joker looks to have an appropriately themed entrance and queue area, adding to the experience.  We will have to wait and see just how the final product looks.

This is actually the second year in a row that Six Flags Great Adventure has renamed their new attraction after initially announcing it.  Last year's ride was originally called Looping Dragon and then eventually renamed El Diablo.  Both changes were smart moves in my book!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Crews Install First Inverted Track on The Joker at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

Not long ago the already-impressive Joker roller coaster at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom looked like this:

© Six Flags Discovery Kingdom
We had already seen several views of the green and purple track that had been installed on the lift and first drop, however this additional view is a great look at that plunge.  The steepness (78 degrees) is really evident from this elevated angle - but what comes next is equally special.

The Joker will feature the first "step up under flip" in which the train rises into the curve and rolls to the right until passengers are upside down.  Instead of fully rolling out of the inversion the track turns into a sharp downward curve, completing the element.

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom was understandably excited to get the track on the new element, and released this video update of just that:

Monday, January 25, 2016

New Views of GhostRider's Complete Refurbishment Released

© Great Coasters International
Hard at work under the beautiful California sun and not 30 inches of snow (can you tell I'm jealous?), Great Coasters International is making great progress on the refurbishment of Knott's Berry Farm's GhostRider.  The massive coaster may be the tallest, longest and fastest wooden roller coaster on the West coast, but was showing signs of its age in recent years.  GhostRider opened in 1998 and has thrilled millions since, and as part of Knott's 75th Anniversary of Ghost Town celebration this Summer the ride will be given much love and care.

© Great Coasters International
The careful hands of Great Coasters International have been hard at work on replacing the coaster's track - start to finish - for months now.  The work includes some slight reprofiling of the ride's elements, and also the removal of the mid-course brake run.  The above photo shows that former spot (on the right) with new track being put in place with no brakes to follow!  That change alone has many fans excited, but the entire GhostRider experience will be different in 2016.  Three new Millennium Flyer trains will also take to the course, designed to better handle to long ride that GhostRider gives.

For more photos of the recent work taking place on GhostRider, check out the full gallery from Great Coasters.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

The Gunslinger Spins its Way into Frontier City in 2016

A ride not commonly found in permanent theme parks will be added to Frontier City in 2016, the Oklahoma City park has announced.   Named The Gunslinger, the new flat ride will be a Zamperla Power Surge, an extreme thrill ride more often found at fairs than theme parks - making this instillation even more interesting and unique.

© Frontier City
The Zamperla Power Surge seats 24 riders at a time and features the combination of three motions at once.  If you've even seen one in person you know that just watching it in operation can be a dizzying experience, let alone riding!  With legs dangling, passengers in pairs of two are spun, flipped and twirled around at heights of 60 feet above the park.  This new ride will certainly have a huge appeal factor for thrill seekers!

As noted in the flyer above, The Gunslinger will be the third new ride that Frontier City has added in three years.  New for 2015 was Brain Drain, a Larson Super Loop, and 2014 saw the addition of the Winged Warrior, a set of Larson Flying Scooters.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Dollywood Shares Wintry Aerial Photos of Lightning Rod

Seems fitting that as I take a break from trying to clean up around 30 inches of snow that we take a look at some beautiful aerial images of Dollywood's Lightning Rod set against the just fallen white stuff.

© Dollywood
I love that Dollywood is sharing some aerial photos, because it really helps you understand the size of Lightning Rod, and also just how it uses the park's hills and valleys to the fullest.  A considerable amount of the ride's structure is complete and track is done through the epic looking wave turn you can see above on the right.  

© Dollywood
This 'top down' version lets us see that even more track has been placed on the mid-section of Lightning Run as well.  After the wave turn the trains will encounter a section that banks heavily to the left, only to the dive downward into a 180 degree turn to the right.  Then there's another hill with extreme banking, a floater hill and then the ride will race back up the hillside.  We still get to see photos of the yet to be completed quadruple-down element that has us all drooling.  What a beauty!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

PortAventura Shows Off New Ferrari Land Images and Details

© PortAventura
Spain's PortAventura Theme Park has announced the official opening date of their new Ferrari Land park, which will be in 2017.  As part of the announcement, the park was given a new website as well, which shows off the attractions and features it will offer visitors.

The interactive website gives a lot of new details of the park, but this video (also just released) does the same:

The star attraction of Ferrari Land, for many at least, will be a new Intamin launched roller coaster, designed much like Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure and Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point.  The ride will stand 368 feet tall and feature a launch at 112 miles per hour - it will be the 5th tallest roller coaster in the world when it opens, and the 4th fastest.

Other attractions that are featured include a pair of shot towers that stand around 180 feet tall, elaborate go-karts that fit with the Ferrari theme, driving simulators, and food, beverage and retail options that are all Italian themed.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Dorney Park Highlights Improvements to Thunderhawk Wooden Coaster in 2016

The focus of the changes that will be apparent to visitors to Dorney Park in 2016 will the park's classic Thunderhawk wooden roller coaster, which is being totally refreshed this winter.

The ride, which originally opened in 1923, will be operating for its 94th season this year, and will look better than ever when it does.

© Dorney Park
Thunderhawk will be receiving a pair of new trains from the Philadelphia Toboggan Company, known as PTC, that feature more modern upgrades with a classic look.  The trains will replace the older PTC running stock that have been on the coaster for many years.

The concept art for the trains can be seen above, showing off a nice open-air front car with the ride's logo attached to it.  The trains will feature two main colors (blown up in size on the left), a deep shade of red that is accented with orange near the top of the car.  The concept photo above notes that the colors will be inverted on the second train to differentiate it.  The trains will feature individual lap bars and at least if we go off this art there will be no seat dividers or headrests.

The trains are big news, but Thunderhawk will also have a different look this year as it will be fully repainted "sharp white" and feature all new white running lights that outline the structure's curves.  The white paint, along with the new trains, will have the ride looking like it's only 4, not 94 years old!

Dorney Park notes that Thunderhawk is the 8th oldest wooden roller coaster operating in the United States, and the 10th oldest on the planet.

© PTC / Michael Fehnel
Since we're talking so much about Thunderhawk, I also thought it made sense to feature this photo of the ride when it was simply known as The Coaster, taken shortly after it opened.  The photo was given to Dorney Park's General Manager, Michael Fehnel, by PTC and he was nice enough to share it.

The Coaster's track had not yet been modified into the more twisted layout it has today, as you can see the not-yet-fully-painted ride is still an out-and-back design.  Wonderful look at the 'old' version of the coaster that is hard to find!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Thorpe Park's Ghost Train to Alter Minds in 2016

The U.K.'s Alton Towers has announced a new attraction, named Darren Brown's Ghost Train, as the big addition for the 2016 season.  I've been reading about it but I'm still not totally sure what the attraction is; however I think that's the point.

The park's press release explains that Ghost Train "is a head-spinning train journey of between 10-15 minutes, the like of which guests will never have taken before; providing a heady mixture of exhilarating live action sequences, 4D special effects, grand-scale illusions, next generation technology, and physical transit.  No place for spectators, guests will play a major part in the action which will leave them questioning where perception ends and reality begins."  So it sounds like an attraction that's a grab-bag of all sorts of effects, though I can't decipher if it's a walk through or ride.  I'm thinking walk through.

© Thorpe Park
Visitors to the park will enter Ghost Train through a dilapidated Victorian-age warehouse, seen above on the attraction's new website.  Once inside is where things get fuzzy, though the press release also states that there are 12 different "journeys" that can be taken inside, and two endings - planned to make the experience unique to members of the same group.  How this will happen is also cloudy, though I believe one article noted that virtual reality headsets may be used either just for a segment, or all, of this attraction.  That would certainly explain how to easily create multiple journeys once inside.

© Thorpe Park
Inside the big warehouse is "a 20 metre long, four and a half metre high, seven tonne Victorian train carriage that is suspended in mid air over three metres above ground by iron chains. A carriage which passengers enter via a metal bridge, and where the mind-bending journey begins in earnest."  The train locomotive certainly looks pretty neat in the concept art - I'm eager to see the finished product to see how it compares.  It sounds like not much more will really be revealed until the attraction opens, and even then the park and Derren Brown are already urging visitors not to spoil any secrets and tell what they experienced.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rocky Mountain Shares New Photos of 3 New For 2016 Coaster Projects

© Rocky Mountain Construction
We're grateful to Rocky Mountain Construction for helping us coaster fans pass through the winter months - they're keeping us occupied by posting great updates of their current projects.  Above is one shot of several that they uploaded of Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom.  After pausing for the holiday season the crews are back at work placing track onto the structure.

© Kentucky Kingdom
This image was actually released by Kentucky Kingdom itself, however it was far too good to ignore for this story.  This view, taken from the top of the 100 foot lift hill, shows off the entire layout that has been completed so far.  Looks beautiful!  It's pretty interesting to see all the leftover footers from when the coaster was all wood and had two tracks.

© Rocky Mountain Construction
Dollywood's epic new ride is also making much progress.  This updated gallery of Lightning Rod shows that plenty of additional track has been placed on the support structure, like the giant wave turn seen above that takes place after the large drop.  Other photos show that supports are going up throughout the rest of the layout as well.

© Rocky Mountain Construction
Finally we have the super wintry conditions of Sweden where Wildfire at Kolmarden continues to rise.  The snow and cold temperatures may make work a bit more difficult, but it isn't stopping crews from placing the huge bents required to get the trains to the maximum height of 187 feet.  I don't see any track placed yet in any of the new photos, though I'm sure it won't be far behind.  I'm already looking forward to the next batch of updated photos.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

New Attraction Closures Announced for Disney's Hollywood Studios

The ever-shrinking Disney's Hollywood Studios, part of Walt Disney World in Florida, has announced that another set of attractions, dining and entertainment options will close for good April 2nd, 2016.

The news also includes the fact that the famous Earffel Tower, the 130 foot tall faux water tower that served as the park's icon for years, will also be removed.  With a new name for the park on the way, this is one step closer to giving the theme park a totally new identity.

Here is a quick look at the section of the park that is being cleared of its attractions with this announcement.  The biggest item leaving the park (which was quite expected) is Lights, Motors, Action!, the auto stunt show that resides inside the layout of the already closed Studio Backlot Tour.

Just above and to the right of the Lights, Motors, Action! stadium, on a part of Streets of America, are the other items closing.  The Honey I Shrunk The Kids Movie Set Adventure, a play area at the park since 1990, the Studio Catering Company and a Monsters Inc. meet and greet will also be shuttered.

This set of closings looks to be needed for the park to build the previously announced Toy Story Land, an 11 acre addition that will feature a family roller coaster, a pair of spinner rides, and more.  The park has still yet to give more details of where Star Wars Land, also announced previously and set to cover 14 acres, will be located or what it might replace.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Holiday World to Focus on Existing Wood Coasters in 2016

Holiday World has announced that for the park's 70th Anniversary in 2016 they will be making improvements to all three of their world-class wooden roller coasters.  Wood coasters require a great amount of maintenance and love to keep them in top riding shape, and Holiday World is already known for giving theirs plenty of attention.

The park's first wooden coaster, opened in 1995, is the Raven and that ride has already received some new track work meant to keep the terrain coaster as smooth as it can be.  Even more track work and improvements are coming to the Voyage, the massive wood coaster opened in 2006.  The ride is receiving "thicker uplift steel on the top of the second and third hills" and all layers of track have been replaced on a 300 foot section after the ride's triple down element.  Both changes are meant to gives Voyage riders a smoother experience.

The Legend, built in 2000, will see the most changes at the park as it is "reborn" and improved to feature a new themed tunnel and an additional air time moment.

© Holiday World
Work on the Legend, done by Great Coasters International, will include replacing all layers of track on the first drop and adding more support structure throughout the ride.  A new tunnel will take place as the coaster passes under the park's log flume, adding a new surprise moment.

The graphic above is of one of the other changes to the ride, a new double-down element that replaces a downward curve just after the exit of the helix.   Another change is a lowered turn just before the new tunnel that will increase the trains speed through the element.

Here is the full announcement video straight from Holiday World:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Alton Towers Transforming Air into Galactica for 2016 Season

Next season at Alton Towers visitors will be able to go on the "universe's first spaceflight voyager" when their B&M flying roller coaster, Air, is renamed to Galactica and virtual reality goggles are added.  The addition of virtual reality to one of the park's existing roller coasters will be a first for Alton Towers, and one of the largest rides yet to have the experience added.

© Alton Towers
Not surprisingly, Alton Towers has created a detailed backstory for Galactica, including an elaborate website for the ride.  According to the site the theme park has "partnered with Air Space Technologies to develop a multi-dimensional portal using the Resort’s iconic flying coaster as the propulsion device."  While on the journey, "Galactica will send passengers soaring through interstellar space for the first time in history, providing unrivalled access to the limitless wonders of space as never experienced before."  The addition of the virtual ride experience will be free to riders, and also optional - you can still experience the coaster as it was previously.

© Alton Towers
Some new thematic elements will come along with the transformation, including a new Launch Portal that can be seen in the above concept art.  Located throughout the new website are a handful of other concept images, including one that shows changes to the ride's station area.  Current plans have Galactica opening in April, 2016.

Air originally opened at Alton Towers in 2002.  The Bolliger and Mabillard designed flying coaster features 2,756 feet of track, a top speed of 47 miles per hour and elements including ground hugging turns and dives and a heartline roll.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Huge Expansion Plans Revealed for Fun Spot America

Expansion is once again on the minds of the owners of Fun Spot America, located not far from the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida.  The park underwent a "huuuuge" (as the park says in its commercials) expansion a couple years ago, but it seems there is plenty more to come.

© Fun Spot America
The park has partnered with Falcon's Creative Group to develop a masterplan for expanding the park into what is the current parking lot and into new land across the street.  This will result in a much larger property and a considerable amount of new rides and attractions.  Falcon's not only designed a new masterplan but also a set of theming to be applied to the property; when complete the park will still be Americana themed, but with six distinct areas.

© Fun Spot America
These concept art pieces were released along with the announcement of the future expansions, though the park will point out that nothing is totally set in stone yet.  If you look closely at the art you can see several new flat and tower rides dotting the park, a water park area, log flume, a sky ride, and a parking deck and more park (with a new coaster) across the road.

The Orlando Sentinel got a few additional tidbits on the plans, such as the water park area will be the first to be completed and open in 2017.  That makes perfect sense seeing as Orlando's other major water park (not connected to a big resort) Wet n' Wild will be closed by then.  The other major additions are on a 5 to 10 year plan moving forward.  The future remains bright for this park!

New Concept Art Shows Reworked Rivers of America at Disneyland

© Disney
I'm not sure which I've seen more buzz about on social media lately: the enormous Powerball lottery jackpot or the temporary closing of the Rivers of America at Disneyland.  The large section of the park and its railroad closed this past Sunday for what will be more than a year.  The closure is necessary to rework the size of the river itself, and also the reroute the park's railroad tracks.

The closing day caused such a stir online that one might have thought the area was being permanently removed, but thankfully the next day Disneyland shared new concept art of the area to help fans pass the time.

© Disney
And this is the full sized art that was released - you can click to see much more detail.  It appears as though the overall river will be reduced considerably (Dateline Disneyland put together a neat map to show this), but the renovated area looks quite promising.

The park's railroad will cross a massive trestle, set among tall roaring waterfalls and intricate rockwork.  Many of the area's famous displays will be relocated, like the Indian village, which of course means some will not.  This new North part of the river will be backed by mature trees, creating a berm separating it from the new Star Wars land.  Disneyland isn't totally confirming that all current forms of water transportation will return, though several of them can be seen in this new art.

For now the bulldozers will roll in and heavy work will soon start - but we can count of plenty of updates as time goes by!

Monday, January 11, 2016

Valravn's Epic First Dive Installed at Cedar Point

© Cedar Point
Watching Valravn's initial lift hill rise was an exciting phase of the coaster's construction, seeing how the 223 foot lift hill forever changed the landscape of the park.  This past weekend the work crews finished building the 214 foot vertical drop from the ground up, and ended with the holding brake track that will momentarily keep the trains still before they drop.  With the lift and drop now completed, the park was rightfully eager to show off the finished product, seen above.

© Tony Clark via Twitter
We've seen large B&M dive coasters before, so we knew what to expect from Valravn - but it is still a bit awe inspiring to see photos like this!  The vertical drop on a ride of this size is so impressive from a wide angle, you can almost imagine the 24 passenger trains flying down the drop and into the rest of Valravn's elements.

Cedar Point has updated their construction gallery for Valravn to show the moments the holding brake track was installed, available via this link.

The park also posted a new Valravn Minute, embedded below, with some equally impressive footage.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Beech Bend Park Building Large Slide Tower + New Spinning Coaster in 2016

Another season of exciting additions has been announced by family-owned and run Beech Bend amusement park and Splash Lagoon, located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  The 2016 expansion comes off of the addition of a handful of family and thrill rides to the park this past season.

© Beech Bend Park

The largest addition that will take place in 2016 will be this huge 55 foot tall water slide tower, featuring four different experiences and created by Proslide.  The four slides will be named Cyclone Saucers, Riptide, Tidal Wave, and Polynesian Plunge.  The Cyclone Saucers will be the first of its kind to be installed in North America, and is one of Proslide's Flying Saucer slides.

© Beech Bend Park

This aerial view of the new slide tower allows the path of each slide to be easily traced.  The green and yellow slide appears to be the new Flying Saucer slide, but there is also a large (orange) wave wall style slide, one with two small funnels (blue) on the way down, and a large traditional bowl (purple) slide.  This news story posts the water park expansion at around $5 million, so this is by no means a small expansion.

© Beech Bend Park
On the amusement park side of things, a new spinning family roller coaster - named Spinning Out - will also be built at Beech Bend next season.  Well, technically the ride was already built!  The park received the new coaster, manufactured by SBF Visa Group, late last year and quickly had it installed.  The four passenger cars will spin freely during the course, which will make for a dizzying experience for riders.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

New Pacific Rim 5-D Experience Now in Previews at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom

A new motion based experience is previewing this weekend at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, named Pacific Rim 5-D and based off the popular film of the same name.  Pacific Rim 5-D will be presented in the park's Iwerks Theater, and will be the only location in the world to take in the experience with motion based seats.

The feature film Pacific Rim was created by Guillermo del Toro and is being brought to life at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in partnership with Warner Bros. Consumer Products and SimEx-Iwerks Entertainment.  The sneak previews are starting this weekend with an official opening of the attraction coming soon.

"Loaded with suspense, action and monstrous creatures, “Pacific Rim 5-D” pairs the explosive special effects from the popular action-based science fiction film with a thrilling new ride simulation experience."  The storyline follows that of the film, with huge creatures emerging from the ocean and attacking cities and mankind.  To combat the creatures, the nations of the world combine forces to create huge robotic fighting machines, like the one seen above.  The film's climax involves a battle between the surviving robotic fighter and the ultimate menacing creature.  The experience will feature 4-D film and in-theater special effects.

“Bringing in an intense, high-energy and popular movie like Pacific Rim to our Iwerks 5D Theater is a great addition to our thrill line-up,” said Don McCoy, park president. “As Northern California’s most thrilling theme park, kids and adults alike will be blown away being part of the ground-shaking action.”

Six Flags Discovery Kingdom previously announced a highly anticipated conversion of its wooden Roar roller coaster into The Joker, a new steel hybrid ride for 2016.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

SeaWorld Orlando Tops Out Mako in New Photos + Streamlined Tickets Announced

We've been watching SeaWorld Orlando's new roller coaster, named Mako, slowly reach for the sky in recent weeks, and yesterday it reached its peak.  The theme park added the highest point of the ride to the structure, officially making Mako tower 200 feet over the park.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Prior to yesterday the lift track for Mako stopped at the support you can see in the top right of this photo.  Crews had to carefully lift the next track segment into place before the top could go on, which is what is taking place in this photo.

© SeaWorld Orlando
While that piece was carefully held in place, the next and highest piece of track was ready to head upward to its new home.  You can also see in this photo Mako's proximity to Kraken, I'm sure the two B&M coasters will make wonderful neighbors.  I think their color schemes compliment each other nicely.

© SeaWorld Orlando
The top track piece slowly made its way up to the highest support while the other cranes waited in place.  Mako's lift only utilizes a handful of supports, which created the need for several cranes to be used when connecting these track pieces.  The track in the foreground of this photo is already installed and looks like it might be the base of the first drop.

© SeaWorld Orlando
Here is a real beautiful photo of the complete Mako lift hill - really shows off the size of this coaster!  The park has also already installed the track for the mid-course brakes, as it runs underneath the lift hill supports.

While SeaWorld Orlando is hard at work bringing Mako to life, SeaWorld Entertainment has streamlined the ticket options for their various Florida parks.

The "Choose You Adventure" tickets are perfect for tourists who purchase online before their visit.  One park costs $79, two parks $99, three parks $109, or a new length-of-stay ticket that is valid at all 4 parks for 14 consecutive days and includes free parking at each property is only $139.  That's quite a steal if you think about it!

Annual passes for local residents have also been redesigned for both SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa, and now include monthly "Instant Rewards" such as discounts, ticket offers and free gifts.  EZ Pay monthly plans are available for these as well.  A new Preschool Pass will be free for those ages 5 and younger, and get that person into SeaWorld Orlando free all of 2016.