This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Park News

ParkHoppin’ with Paul Ruben

Harry Potter's Magic Universal has discovered the magic of Harry Potter. The resort operator has now rolled out Potter attractions at its parks in Orlando and Osaka, much to the delight of the millions of Potter-heads who have visited. This magic for Universal has boosted attendance and proved very profitable. I’m not a Potter-head, but I can appreciate good theming. At Universal Orlando, I found that the theming of the new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley was not just good, it was spectacular. It’s as good as it gets. Themed as a portion of London, my Brit friends tell me this environment appears authentic in every detail [except perhaps the geography of certain buildings/landmarks – Ed]. Those imbued with the culture of Harry Potter can't get enough. Here I found boys, girls, and a few adults too, strolling the streets in their wizarding robes. The robes are sold at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, together with all manner of “wizardwear”. If guests had a robe, chances are they also carried a magic wand.

Selling magic wands is surely a very profitable enterprise. Universal retails a variety of styles for $35 or more – and they were flying off the shelves. The more expensive ones were longer and more elaborate, but all were deemed collectible. Guests would wave them in front of some of the windows of the buildings in Diagon Alley, triggering special effects like dancing trolls or levitating feather quills. They would wave them outside in the street, and light all the lamps and chandeliers in Flimflam’s Lanterns window. I was curious, so I went into Ollivanders: Makers of Fine Wands since 382 BC.

I asked if it was better to have a long magic wand or a short one, and was told they all make the same magic. I then called into Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. It’s a vibrant shop selling novelty items, magical jokes and toys. I was taken by the poster in the window. “Why are you worrying about You-Know-Who? You should be worrying about U-No-Poo. The constipation sensation that’s gripping the nation!” Inside I found the display of U-No-Poo, a product that apparently causes constipation in the unknowing taker. OK, it’s really just chocolate candy, but the kind of candy you want to offer your worst friend.

The best magic in Diagon Alley is found on its two rides. To ride the Hogwarts Express you pass through the brick wall at King’s Cross Station to arrive at Platform 9¾. To enter the multi-dimensional thrill ride Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, you must first descend by elevator “nine miles” (14.5 km) to the depth of Gringotts’ vault. Since the water table in Orlando is about 10ft (3m), this magic requires a suspension of disbelief! For my final piece of magic I visited Florean Fortescue’s Ice-Cream

Parlour for a dish of Butterbeer ice cream, which tasted very much like butterscotch ripple. I consumed the entire dish and didn’t gain an ounce of weight. I suspect this, too, required a suspension of disbelief.


Six Flags 2015

US park chain plans big investments for next season

The Six Flags corporation has announced new offerings for almost all of its 18 amusement parks and waterparks in 2015, including more wood-steel hybrid coasters, an S&S wing coaster, a handful of Giant Loops, another Star Flyer and a couple of interactive dark rides. Here’s what to expect, park by park

Six Flags Magic Mountain, Valencia, California, has unveiled plans for a world record-breaking hybrid coaster, Twisted Colossus. Featuring two lift hills, the 4,990ft-long (1,521m or almost one mile) monster will use the wooden structure of the park’s famous Colossus coaster and add new Iron Horse track from Rocky Mountain Construction. New technology and engineering techniques provide for new ride experiences never before possible on wooden coasters, such as over-banked turns and inversions. The focal point of the newly themed area of the park called Back Alley, Twisted Colossus will feature exciting components including a “Top Gun”, Zero G roll and the western hemisphere’s first “High Five” element. Wicked Cyclone is the name of Six Flags New England’s planned hybrid coaster in Agawam, Massachusettts. Also from Rocky Mountain Construction, this brand new ride will combine the extreme characteristics of steel and wood, and be the first hybrid coaster to hit the east coast. Standing over 100ft high (33m), the ride will feature 3,320ft (1km) of track and offer more airtime than any other coaster in New England. Six Flags Fiesta Texas, San Antonio, has unveiled plans to debut the next generation of S&S Worldwide’s 4D Wing Coaster. Batman: The Ride will flip passengers head-over-heels at least six times. Riders will begin their

Looping Dragon at Six Flags Great Adventure is one of four Larson Giant Loops on order

Wicked Cyclone, Flags New England

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80