Universal Studios Orlando: Volcano Bay Finally Unveiled

Posted by  r0llerc0ast3r / 22 Jun : 10:25

It has been over a year since Universal Studios Orlando announced the installment of their new state of the art water park, Volcano Bay. Since then the parks concept, rides & attractions have been shrouded in mystery leaving guests eagerly awaiting more details then just one piece of concept art. However, now those waiting to see what's in store for the new park can finally breath easy as Universal Studios has released additional works of concept art & details regarding the attractions that will call Volcano Bay home.

What We Know Now

It's A Theme Park
In our world we differ between water parks, theme parks and amusement parks... However, Universal Studios is breaking the walls down and calling their newest state of the art water park their third theme park. This comes as a surprise to us as neighboring Walt Disney World can either be described as four theme parks and two water parks or just six parks. So it looks like Universal Studios is planning on many families and guests to make a full day of Volcano Bay rather then a few hours before heading to one of the main theme parks.

Personally I don't spend much time in water parks as I find water slides thrilling the first time and categorize them as, "been there done that". Once I have done it, I rarely walk the many stair cases to re-ride. There have been a few slides I have enjoyed more than once. Usually you will find me poolside at the lazy rivers or wave pools.

Who Wants to Wait in Long Lines?
We all know Wet N' Wild has been tinkering with a new MagicBand-like technology which allows park guests to enjoy the thrilling rides and slides without waiting in long lines allowing them to see and do more throughout their day. Of course when this was announced many speculated this was a test for the new Volcano Bay. While it hasn't been officially announced by Universal officials that the MagicBand-like technology will be utilized at the new park, it was mentioned that Volcano Bay is being built and developed with short lines and wait times in mind. Hopefully as we near the opening of the new park we will find out more!

Four Themed Areas, Eighteen Attractions
To my knowledge and you might have to correct me, but I don't think themed areas in water parks are common. In fact I don't think I have ever heard of a water park consisting of numerous themed areas different from each like you would find in a theme park. Usually water parks take one general theme and it is cohesive throughout the entire park much like Blizzard Beach or Hurricane Harbor from Six Flags.

The four areas and attractions are as follows:

The Volcano
This fiery landmark towers over the landscape, beckoning guests to the center of this lush, tropical island.

At the heart of the island, Krakatau™, the mighty Fire and Water Volcano, towers 200 feet above the tropical landscape, streaming waterfalls during the day and fiery lava effects at night. Inside the cavernous volcano, the Waturi people dare you to brave a variety of pulse-pounding water slides.

Ko’okiri Body Plunge
Join in the centuries-old tradition of honoring the volcano god, Vol, by braving the incredible Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Featuring a 70-degree fall through a drop door and 125 feet of screaming, white-knuckle fun, this dizzying descent ends with a watery tribute from Vol himself. It is the only water slide to bring sliders through a pool of swimming guests.

Kala & Ta Nui Serpentine Body Slides
Join Kala and Ta Nui where sea and sky meet and take a leap of faith from high atop the volcano. Twin trap doors simultaneously drop two guests down clear, intertwining tubes before sending them joyfully splashing into the turquoise waters below.

Punga Racers
A favorite among Waturi children of all ages, Punga Racers send single riders on their manta ray mats sliding down four lanes through underwater sea caves.

Wave Village
This peaceful escape overlooks the sparkling waters of Waturi Beach at the base of the volcano.

Waturi Beach
Locals know — the surf’s always up at Waturi Beach. Swim, splash and relax right along with them in the sparkling waters and warm waves of this sparkling lagoon at the foot of mighty Krakatau™.

River Village
The scenic River Village has fun for people of all ages, including the very youngest Waturi.

Honu ika Moana
Just like the ancient Waturi people who rode the ocean waves on friendly sea turtles and whales, guests can enjoy these two twisting, turning, multi-person slides. Honu sweeps up two massive walls, while Ika Moana sprays water on riders from the center of the raft.

Tot Tiki Reef + Runamukka Reef
The little ones can frolic among the splashy slides and fountains of the Tot Tiki Reef toddler play area, while Runamukka Reef delights older children with its bubbling geysers, water guns, slides and dump cups.

Kopiko Wai Winding River
Take a slow ride on the Kopiko Wai Winding River. Sprays of water surprise along the way, and beneath the lava rocks, Stargazer’s Cavern reveals the magical night sky above.

Rainforest Village
Rainforest Village stretches along the shores of an action-packed river and features the perfect mix of relaxation and exhilaration.

Ohyah + Ohno Drop Slides
Test your mettle and get into the Waturi spirit. Ascend cliff side and plummet down the twisting waters of Ohyah before dropping out four feet above the pool below. To achieve even greater bragging rights, brave the rope bridge and plunge down Ohno, a serpentine adventure that ends six feet above the pool below. Be sure to yell your battle cry on the way down.

Maku Puihi Raft Rides
Ready for the high adventure of the Maku Puihi lava tubes? This six-person rafting adventure is a favorite of Waturi families, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Choose one of two paths or try them both—just be ready for a thrilling ride. Puihi careens through a dark, winding tunnel before the stomach-flipping thrill of zero gravity hang time. Maku slides you through a deep volcanic gorge before spinning wildly around bowl-like formations.

TeAwa, The Fearless River
Up for an adventure? Take a thrilling whitewater ride along TeAwa, The Fearless River. Race along a roaring, watery onslaught of churning rapids and choppy waves hanging tight to your inner tube.

Taniwha Tubes
There’s a place where the puka trees grow abnormally tall. Inspired by their twisting roots, the Waturi built four twisting water slides called the Taniwha Tubes. Riders can try all four twisting tracks, but beware — mischievous Moai statues spray jets of water when you least expect it.

Opening June 2017
Universal officials haven't provided an official opening date for their newest park we can speculate that many "soft openings" will take place much like the themed attractions at both Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. In fact I wouldn't be surprised to see the park open by at least June 1, 2017 or earlier.

Blog: Six Flags Great Adventure Closes The Joker During Media Day Event

Posted by  r0llerc0ast3r / 26 May : 14:35

Today Six Flags Great Adventure was finally ready to unveil the newest addition to the park to the coaster world. The weather has been more on the dry side, the sun was beaming and the temps were finally reaching what we see along The Jersey Shore this time of the year. It was a perfect day for a Media Preview Event minus the chronic sweating, that I could have done without. Kristin Siebeneicher, John Fitzgerald and Joe Piscopo were on site to ring in the new coaster for a day full of flips, spins, rotations... whatever you wanna call it! Select members of The Boys & Girls Club of New Jersey were present and taking part in the first official rides of The Joker. Soon after the inaugural rides, working media, coaster sites and enthusiasts were welcome to give The Joker a try.

Upon arriving to the newly renovated area I was in shock at how fast they got it done from just three weeks ago. I have to say I am quite impressed with what Six Flags Great Adventure has accomplished despite the recent string of weather. The entire area was clean and ready to go for the event! The main entrance to the queue house or should I say Carnival of Criminals is great!

As for the ride itself, it looks rather intimidating watching it from ground level. Your eyes fixate on the rotating seats as they sway back and fourth completing anywhere from four to sometimes six rotations, no single ride is the same.

After taking it in, it was time for Joe and I to get our Joker fix. So we got in the very short line, made our way up the "B" side or better known as purple and took our seats. As our car began its ascent up the 120 foot lift hill, the seats begin to move freely, tipping forwards and then backwards. As you crest the lift and begin your first drop of many, your entire car begins to rotate on its own. With the mixture of bunny hills and the weight of the vehicle your car begins an onslaught of flips. Now as mentioned above, your ride should consist of anywhere from four to six individual flips. However, during our ride I am pretty sure we did nine full rotations. It was insane! Your body is thrown forwards, backwards and jolted as the cars momentum can take you either way in a second. The best thing you can do is just to relax your body and allow the car do the work. There was no chance to rock this car as your body couldn't predict which way you would flip next.

As our car came to a stop, something odd happened... Joe and I went head over heels one last time but instead of completing a full rotation our bodies stopped upside down. At first I thought that the car would fix itself, but after a minute of sitting there, I realized the coaster had just malfunctioned. Without hesitation, maintenance crews and personnel were onsite attending to us, making sure we were alright and comfortable. Of course the coaster enthusiast in each of us was delighted we were the first official riders stuck on The Joker. But we were in no danger, we were safe and sound just had some blood rushing to our heads but we didn't mind. The guys working to fix the situation were professional and really had our safety in mind the entire time. Considering both Joe and I have worked these massive pieces of machinery we knew that nothing could go wrong that would put our lives in danger.

Just for the record, neither Joe nor myself were attempting to rock the car on purpose. The Joker vehicles weigh so much and add that to the force of the rotations taking place, there is no way anyone could alter the way the car moves. It's just impossible. We were told by park officials that the "dampeners" which are the breaks for the "free spinning" feature needed to be tightened. However, later to our surprise we heard that certain people were blaming us for the break down as we were "attempting to flip it."

Uh I would love to take the credit for closing down a ride, but I am not that special or strong. It just can't happen! Once you get to ride it, you will see what I mean.

Anyway, I would like to thank and applaud the crews at Six Flags Great Adventure for handling this as smoothly as they did. We have all been seeing media outlets, mainly mainstream news paint terrifying pictures with headlines and words when crews perform simple and required procedures when coasters malfunction. I am glad that this happened to us, rather than a pair of riders from the general public. For some reason I feel it would have been blown up into something much bigger.

After a two hours of testing and safety checks, Six Flags Great Adventure reluctantly opted to keep The Joker closed until further notice. With new rides there is always a chance of a malfunction. Again the personnel had everyones safety in mind. For those waiting, the park handed out Exit Ride Passes to come by on another day to ride The Joker. The park will be making their decision tonight if the new coaster will open this weekend.

Blog: Mainstream Media Has Got It All Wrong

Posted by  r0llerc0ast3r / 14 May : 19:41

Thanks to technology and social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook breaking news of all sorts can be easily accessed at our fingertips allowing for a more immediate reaction and response. We have all seen the many trending death hoaxes that have taken Twitter and Facebook by storm causing mayhem from the reader to the actual celebrity that just found out about his or her own death. Well in the theme park world simple procedures like an evacuation can be blown up into something far much worse. The mainstream media is fantastic at painting a dismal and tragic picture for those watching or reading. When in reality the parks are executing simple designated procedures that ensure the safety of everyone involved. When it comes to reporting about theme parks, the mainstream media has it all wrong, and this is why!
Let's face it, roller coasters and rides are heavy, elaborate and expensive pieces of machinery. But much like any piece of equipment from an electronic toothbrush to a thrill machine that hurls riders at 120 miles per hour, there are bound to be some kinks and breakdowns along the way. I know comparing a toothbrush to a roller coaster is like comparing Android to Apple... and if you want to debate about that then send me a message, I can go on for hours!

Roller coasters are assembled piece by piece, wire by wire, computer by computer. Therefore with as much moving and working parts there is no doubt that sometime during its life cycle there is going to be something that breaks or malfunctions. Some malfunctions are bigger than others, but theme parks are smart and have designated certain procedures that once activated, ensure the safety of everyone involved. In fact most of these procedures and policies are implemented by the given state to allow the theme park the certified operation of the attraction. Without certification by the state the attraction cannot operate with any human riders.

Over the last few months there have been quite a few incidents taking place from a small church carnival to a monster theme park chain and that should come as no surprise to any of us considering theme parks have just opened up for the summer season! However, within these numerous accidents and hiccups there are a few that are worthy of making headline news. Then there are those majority incidents which we will break down that shouldn't even be made public news...

Headline Worthy:
The most recent accident took place at a Cinco de Mayo Carnival in Nebraska where a young girl nicknamed Lulu (more about it here) was scalped while riding a spinning ride called the King's Crown. Elizabeth Gilreath has been hospitalized while doctors fear her eyelids may never work again. Her hair somehow got caught around a moving piece of the attraction ultimately ripping it from her head and fracturing her skull. Early reports suggest it was just a freak accident, however, now reports are surfacing that the ride did not have proper seat belts installed allowing riders to sit whichever way they wanted. While gruesome, the media is correct in reporting this tragic story. Personally I feel that the Carnival operator is at fault for not installing seat belts on this attraction and for not stopping the ride the minute Lulu screamed for help.

Then we move a little bit further East to Six Flags St. Louis where the Boomerang coaster suddenly came to a stop injuring four riders. Early reports from the media surfaced stating just that, however, after close examination of the pictures and videos it seemed the coaster had in fact derailed ultimately causing the sudden halt. All passengers including the four high school students sent to a nearby hospital were evacuated and attended to onsite.

Lastly we fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and find ourselves in India where a Disco Dancer attraction completely derails killing one and injuring many. The ride itself was a copy of the famous Zamperla style disco coasters seen below:

The gondola carrying a full load becomes loose and falls to the side. This again is newsworthy and deserves headline placement from the media. We have linked a video of the accident, please watch at your own discretion. It includes a horrific accident.

Eventually two arrests were made, the park owner and manager were both arrested for forcing park employees to take part in the trial run of this attraction.

These accidents posted above are all worthy of headline news considering the magnitude, the danger and details regarding each. However, there are a slew of "breaking" or "developing" stories that the mainstream media uses for a brief moment in the spotlight.

Idiotic Reports:
Anyone who has worked in a theme park knows that roller coasters are designed in block sections. These block sections are specific points of the track that the first train must pass before the next train can move. Therefore if the first train does not make it to that specific point or is stopped there, the next train is halted. Sometimes this happens when the train full of riders is ascending the main lift and sometimes for some mechanical reason maintenance requires that all riders be evacuated from the trains to ensure their safety. It is a normal occurrence, happens daily and is part of theme park life.

However, the mainstream media has been painting gruesome and dismal pictures surrounding such events providing the general public with a false sense of danger. For example May 13, 2016 at Busch Gardens Tampa, America's first dive machine had a identical malfunction as we described. The computer system sensed the first train did not pass a specific point so the second train halted and the ride shut down. Therefore, all sixty-five riders were evacuated from the lift hill and considering the steep incline many safety procedures were implemented. Those aiding the evac must be harnessed to specific points of the ride to ensure their safety and those leaving the halted trains must also be harnessed to ensure their safety. Now of course you can't just take sixty-five people and say, "Ok it is time to get up and walk down two hundred feet!" I think if that were the way things happened at theme parks regarding lift hill evacuations, media would be right in reporting it they way they have.

The park did nothing wrong here, however, mainstream media provides a false sense of danger to the reader. Yes the riders were stuck, yes they needed to be evacuated and yes it took over two hours to complete. But no ones life was in danger, the ride is still safe, no one saw their life flash before their eyes, no one had to be "rescued" and the park is not at fault.

People it is a massive piece of machinery and can break down at any moment. What the park executed that day was a simple and elaborate evacuation plan that has been implemented since day one. The trains weren't going to slide back down and crash into each other, the harnesses weren't going to miraculously pop open allowing people to jump. Everyone on board was safe, scared, yes but safe!

In this case the media has got it all wrong. Of course there are many other similar stories that I have linked below to display the shear idiotic way media outlets report these incidents. Honestly whenever something like this is deemed "breaking" or developing" I can't help but break into hysterical laughter. And of course anyone who is not a coaster junkie believes what the media posts. You start reading comments like, "I will think twice before riding that coaster again!" Or, "I have never been so scared in my life I thought I was going to die, it was so dangerous!" No sir you were fine, you weren't going anywhere and everything was under control.

- Riders "Rescued" From Battle Star Galactica

- Riders Left Stranded on Blackpool's Big One

- Green Lantern at Movie World Closed After Abrupt Stops

- Beijing Roller Coaster Leaves Riders Stranded

Now of course these articles you are reading from our site. But the stories are actually gathered from real news outlets. This is what is considered breaking news! Within any of the situations linked above, no ones life was in danger... So I ask you, what is the media doing? Could it be journalists and news outlets are so bored with their day to day reporting on weather, crime and politics that any hiccup at a major theme park is worthy of main headlines?

It's kind of like telling yourself a lie over and over and eventually you start believing it.

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