The BLOGFlume - A Four Ringed Circus

Giant frisbees, uninspired rocket coasters, lawsuits, and penguins in California?

Written by Russell Meyer
Published: December 1, 2004 at 10:01 PM

Cedar Point Goes to the “maX”
Yahoo Finance 12/1/04

Cedar Point formally announced their plans for the 2005 season, which include the installation of a Huss Giant Frisbee named “maXair.” The rotating pendulum ride will carry up to 50 passengers on a swinging, spinning ride at speeds approaching 70 miles per hour and forces approaching 5 g’s. The ride will be located on the Cedar Point Midway near Disaster Transport, Troika, Wicked Twister, and Chaos. The addition of maXair will also bring a complete overhaul of the nearby arcade, building façade, and marquee. In addition, Cedar Fair announced a $7 million capital investment into Worlds of Fun which will include a multi-level children’s play area and a “luxury” camping complex (nothing says luxury more than pitching a tent in some grass!). The play area will be located in the Camp Snoopy section of the park, and the camping complex will feature cabins, cottages, RV sites, and will be the first overnight accommodations provided by the park.

It was pretty widely known that Cedar Point was going to add a large flat ride for 2005, but what is interesting is that they picked the giant frisbee, despite having Delirium, which was installed at Paramount’s King’s Island in 2003, in the same state. The renovation to the arcade was sorely needed, but if they eliminate all of those classic arcade games, Cedar Point will have some explaining to do. They probably have one of the largest collections of 80’s arcade games I’ve ever seen, and many are still in great condition. The loss of those classic games would be tragic.

Thorpe Park Blasts Off
Thrillnetwork 12/1/04

More details have leaked regarding Thorpe Park’s new roller coaster for 2006. The park has already announced plans for “The Slammer,” an S&S sky swatter, for the 2005 season. The new coaster, still being referred to as “Project Stealth” or “Rita,” has a profile very similar to the recently announced Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure with a top hat element and air time hill on the return trip. The size of the coaster will be about half the size, at 65 m/213 feet and with a launch speed around 100 kph/60 mph, but it will still be the tallest and fastest launching roller coaster in Europe. The theming of the coaster bears a striking resemblance to Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point with a grandstand and “Daytona-style” design elements. It’s good to see that the creative teams at Intamin AG are so hard at work coming up with ideas. The rocket coaster layouts, aside from Storm Runner, are becoming increasingly predictable. Is it really that hard to sit at a computer and come up with some interesting maneuvers instead of a boring down and back design?

Disney Sued for Thunder Mountain Crash
Los Angeles Times 12/1/04

A passenger who was aboard Big Thunder Mountain on September 5, 2003 during its fatal incident has filed a lawsuit against the Walt Disney Company for unspecified monetary damages. The suit not only alleges negligence against Disney, but also claims that the company continues to endanger the public by maintaining the operating condition of Big Thunder Mountain. Don’t get me wrong, I feel that the passenger is entitled to compensation equal to her medical expenses and any permanent injury the accident may have caused. However, for some lawyer to tell Disney that they are running a “defective” attraction, especially after the State of California has gone over the ride thoroughly and deemed it safe, is nothing short of slander.

Mary Poppins Turns 40
USAToday 12/1/04

With all the glitz and glamour of a major Hollywood premier, Disney celebrated the 40th anniversary of Mary Poppins Tuesday night at the El Capitan Theater. The event featured the reunion of many of the cast members, including the immortal Julie Andrews and charismatic Dick Van Dyke. It was also complete with chimney sweeps, oom-pah band, sidewalk chalk artists and penguins. The affair was staged to not only honor the stars and longevity of one of the greatest family movies of all time, but also to promote the upcoming release of Mary Poppins to DVD on December 14. The movie has been restored to its full brilliance, and should be a real treat to see on DVD in a couple of weeks. Mary Poppins is a movie that has truly lasted the test of time. Like the Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, it will continue to appeal to kids and adults alike for many decades to come.

Readers' Opinions

From Jason Lester on December 2, 2004 at 11:03 AM
I think the boring layout at Thorpe is due to the lack of space in the park. Especially in the Amity area where it's going in is short on room due to Tidal Wave. Hopefully it'll be fun, but I hope someone will come up with something interesting soon. How about an indoor rocket coaster. Kick a$$ dude!
From Tim Hillman on December 2, 2004 at 11:24 AM
Wow! Forty years have gone by and no theme park attractions associated with Mary Poppins. Kevin, if I were you, I wouldn't be holding my breath on this one. Forty years is a long lead time to get a ride in a park even by Disney's abysmally slow development times.
From J. Dana on December 2, 2004 at 11:42 AM
From Justin Smith on December 2, 2004 at 2:52 PM
The person suing Disney for the Big Thunder accident is nothing new.The family of the dead perosn is even suing Disney. I'd don't think the family would win because it wasn't Disney fault Thunder Mountain crashed. That's why they call it an accident. Disney better make sure Thunder Mountain is perfectly safe before another lawsuit comes. As for Mary Poppins turning 40 it isn't too shocking. I'm a bit surrprised it isn't older. Well I can't wait to buy the 2 disc DVD and put it in my collection.
From Ben Mills on December 2, 2004 at 3:17 PM
Couple things about Thorpe Park:

Two new rides should be appearing at the park in 2005. The previously mentioned Slammer will be joined by Rush, one of those Giant Swing things.

And Russell, RITA is actually the codename for Alton Towers' rocket coaster, launching sometime next year.

From Robert Niles on December 2, 2004 at 4:24 PM
Thanks for the spit-take, Justin: "it wasn't Disney fault Thunder Mountain crashed."

Actually, heck, yes, it *was* Disney's fault that Thunder crashed. If Disney had continued to maintain the ride the way it had up until Pressler's "ride it to failure" policy, it would not have crashed and no one would have died. The state of California pinned the blame squarely on Disney for the wreck in its report. This was no "act of God."

The only way the injured and the family of the dead do not win in court is if Disney cuts them rather large checks not to go there.

From Russell Meyer on December 2, 2004 at 6:27 PM
I actually confused myself on this one, since rita is a rumored rocket coaster for Alton Towers and project stealth is a rumored rocket coaster for Thorpe Park. Both parks are owned by Tussaud's. I have not been to either park, and my lack of experience on the two UK parks has been revealed. I stand corrected and apologize for the misinformation.
From Lisa Jones on December 2, 2004 at 9:02 PM
How can it be slander to say that Disney still does not operate the attraction in a safe manner?

Only one month after Thunder Mountain Railway was reopened after the investigation of the fatal accident (March 2004), there was another crash. Two empty trains collided. (April 2004.)

Three months after the two trains collided (only four months after the reopening), another accident occurs. (July 2004.) No "serious" injuries that time.

I was fine riding Thunder Mountain after OSHA completed its investigation thinking it would be the absolute safest time to ride it. Silly me. With an accident occuring 1 month and again 4 months after Thunder Mountain was reopened --- no thank you! I believe the ride is still dangerous and I will not ride it again until Disney proves to me it is safe. (I've skipped it on two subsequent trips so far, and I loved this attraction.)

How will they prove it? I don't know, but a year without an incident would be a good start.

From Jason Lester on December 2, 2004 at 9:06 PM
Well at least you got the theming right. I still don't understand how a Daytona themed coaster is going in a land themed as a sunken town. Bit strange. Rush and Sky Swatter should be fun though.

And of course it was Dinsey's fault that Thunder Mountain crashed. I'm not even going to bother explaining why it's their fault! And as for a Mary Poppin's ride, that would be a great dark ride for Fantasyland.

The maXair thing sounds pretty fun, but I havn't seen one. At least I don't think I have.

From Ben Mills on December 3, 2004 at 3:40 PM
Well Jason, it's not like Tussauds have ever let us down in terms of great themeing before.

Too easy, too easy...

Re: Thunder Mountain, it's way more than a coincidence that although there are four BTMs in the World (three of those almost the same design), NONE of the others have had accidents anywhere near the scope of Disneyland's original accident. It may be the oldest, but I'm sure that's not the only reason it's the most dangerous.

Ooh, and let's also not forget that the Mary Poppins musical premieres soon in London. Appropriate timing all around, it would seem.

From Justin Smith on December 4, 2004 at 11:32 AM
The second and thrid accidents were 100% percent Disney's fault. But was the first one? I heard that a CM let a train run that Disney wasn't sure it was safe or not. Dose anyone know if that rumor is true? If it is it's 100% Disney's. Wheter it was Disney or nobody's fault I will feel (like alot of you) much safer at the Thunder Mountain in Florida
From Jason Lester on December 5, 2004 at 8:47 PM
If it is true shame on Disney. You can't compromise your guests safety just to have a higher ride capacity. Tisk Tisk Tisk.

The others were Disney's fault but yes, the first is up for question. This ride needs to be renovated. I mean hey, they're doing it to Space Mountain and the Mattehorn, why not Big Thunder?

From Lisa Jones on December 5, 2004 at 11:05 PM
Is the fault of the first accident a question? I thought the OSHA report, as Robert mentioned, placed the blame squarely on Disney. We'll have to find the link to the OSHA report. I think I found it previously on this website.

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