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Everything posted by A.J.

  1. There absolutely is an on / off switch, it's called government. If cases pick up again due to winter flu season and a vaccine has not been distributed to a large swath of people outside of healthcare professionals and front-line hospital workers, we're going to see 2020 all over again. If state and / or regional governments limit gatherings next year like they have done this year, parks aren't going to open again, or they will only open in areas of the country that are unashamedly pro-business. For the sake of theme parks, live events, museums, aquariums, and any other related businesses, it's important that the public trusts that a vaccine is safe to receive, otherwise no one will go get it.
  2. It's not that 2021 or 2022 are going to be "the bad years", it's that the 2020s will be "the bad decade". Five- or ten-year master plans are completely out the door across the board. In the short term, parks and operators are going to have to spend a metric ton of resources regrouping and coming up with new long-term strategies. That's not even taking into consideration how many of the decision-makers (the designers, not the executives) are currently on furlough and need to be brought back - and how long will it take to generate enough revenue to start paying those people again, especially as seasonal parks begin to wrap things up for the year again? Then, as with everything, it's going to take years for the new plans to come to fruition - less so for a typical flat ride and more so for a new Disney E-ticket or land. The vaccine isn't going to magically cure everything because it's going to take months and months to fully distribute it - and that's also not taking into consideration all the people who may refuse to take it for whatever reason. I wonder if documentation of a vaccine will be required for international travel in the future. Indie parks and small chains are most at risk here... And I wouldn't be surprised if executives with deep pockets are ready and waiting to scoop the properties up to convert to mixed-use if they were to go under. And certain states and regions are still prohibiting parks from even opening at all... If COVID gets worse due to the actual flu season, some previously-opened places may be forced to close again. TLDR: We will survive, but things are going to look a lot different in 5 to 10 years or less.
  3. They most certainly did. Right now, much like U.S. citizens are barred from entry into the E.U., E.U. travelers are currently barred from entering the U.S. until further notice. While plenty of companies have U.S. subsidiaries that can represent them, a whole bunch of ride manufacturers, for example, are based in E.U. countries exclusively. The U.S. is also still restricting travelers from China, a big contributor to the show floor. It's September, and the rate of daily new COVID cases in the U.S. is leveling off, and not decreasing as fast as it was a little while ago. And we're going into the traditional flu season. I don't see any travel restrictions lifting until early 2021 at the earliest. Plus, like we've learned from Six Flags, pretty much any 2020 investments have been pushed to 2021. Add that to a pretty substantial decrease in revenue, for obvious reasons, and you have an industry that just doesn't have the money to invest in anything but its survival right now.
  4. In news that's really awful, but shouldn't surprise anyone, the physical trade show portion of the IAAPA Expo has been cancelled this year due to the ongoing global situation. https://iaapa.org/news/iaapa-press-room/iaapa-cancels-iaapa-expo-2020-due-covid-19 In the expo's place, the IAAPA will be holding online education sessions for industry professionals instead. Note that this is coming off of 2019's expo, which was the largest attendance in the show's history. Now, discuss!
  5. My roller coaster headcanon is that Olympia Looping ends up at Knoebels after it retires from the fair circuit. A refurbished Dreier Looping would be an acceptable substitute.
  6. Interesting antecdote for weekend visitors... I've gone two weekends now on the reservation system. The first time, I was driving on the ramp at around 9:15, and got backed up for a long enough time that I wasn't able to get in the park before 10 AM for a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. But the second time, today, I got there at 9 AM on the dot and was in the park with a half hour to spare, even after a delay before they started letting people through the booths. I want to say that this would help people with their planning, but... Inconsistencies!
  7. Have we become complete wimps in this country? Good gosh this has gotten ridiculous. I cried the first time I rode a kiddie coaster - stuff is scary sometimes! I'm not particularly fond of snapping myself.
  8. To sum up my recent experience today, on a weekend: I got on Flight of Passage twice. That is all.
  9. I'm thinking really hard about ditching my SWO / BGT pass and getting a Universal one instead... At least for me, a full annual pass makes more financial sense than the "until December 24th" ticket. The ticket still requires you to pay for parking for each visit. Meanwhile, the Preferred and Premier passes get you free parking after the first visit, and three months for free. So it's 15 months with included parking, or 4 months without.
  10. Ugh, they're still doing this after all this time? I thought they'd be better by now.
  11. Good, you're going on a weekday. That should help you somewhat. You'll want to attempt to get a boarding group at the 10 AM opening. If the ride goes down in the morning / early afternoon, they will continue to backlog boarding groups that have not gone yet, so getting a group for the 2 PM distribution might mean you're still waiting a while. Ask the folks at your hotel when the shuttles depart for Hollywood Studios and plan accordingly. But after you get there and snag your boarding group, you needn't feel any pressure to "get everything done"... You can relax and rove around at your own pace. Even on weekends, the queues are never unreasonable.
  12. They likely closed it partially due to its reliance on live performances to actually make sense. With the Hollywood version, they can tack it onto the end of the Studio Tour, whatever. But to make that "whatever" work as a standalone experience, they have to either A) create an extended ride film or B) have a great big old exposition dump before you board. They took option B and designed the ride's pre-show experience based on a gaggle of people surrounding a live performance actor. The pre-show is LONG and necessary to "get" the ride, so it probably isn't the safest place for people to be right now, even with COVID safety procedures. The Orlando parks in general have been cutting live performances / shows all over the place. At least with the Hollywood version, the tour driver can be at least somewhat isolated from other guests, but here, they can't be unless they decide to put the pre-show actor in a snow globe. There are people I know who are insanely proud of the work they did on that ride, on both coasts.
  13. ^ Two free slices of Cesari's pizza with the Phunfest Combo. Worth it.
  14. When are you going, and are you staying onsite? I'm 1 for 1 based on my last weekend trip, though due to extended downtime in the morning, I wasn't able to return until late afternoon / early evening.
  15. Yeah... I would be legitimately surprised if the in-person IAAPA Expo even happened this year. Asia recently went digital and it was apparently more successful than anticipated. Just because the expo might not happen in person doesn't mean that negotiations and deals still aren't happening. I wouldn't get discouraged... yet.
  16. If I'm not mistaken, both Zamperla and SBF include automatic ride programs that don't go upside down. Saves power, I'm assuming.
  17. I think the double spine makes it look more intimidating... and kind of wonky. It's Intamin though, it'll be really good. I really like the forest green track color.
  18. Six Flags has announced their results for the second quarter of 2020. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200729005096/en/Flags-Announces-Quarter-Earnings
  19. Based on posted images from a local ACE member, the trough will no longer travel upward through that last curve to the first brake run, instead, it will remain at level and move into a lift. If they're doing this it means that the last switchback section may have been a potential point of valleying... This will help with that and give them a higher range of speed with which they can operate it. They've always said that the coaster can't run with guests unless it consistently passes a number of speed checks throughout the circuit.
  20. Hey everyone - I'm sure you may have seen these making the rounds earlier today... Intamin has presented four new roller coaster concepts. First we have a new single-rail, inline-seating racing coaster concept called the Hot Racer. Second, a super-compact multi-launch LSM coaster. And third and fourth, two single-rail water coasters - one a full circuit and one a shuttle like the Mack Power Splash. Annndddd. ready, go! Discuss!
  21. That ridge that the Scenic Skyway goes up is really steep... It would be cool but I don't think it would be suitable for a mountain coaster or alpine slide. Now, Knoebels with a Bobkart? Whoo boy.
  22. As soon as they told us to put the goody bags that they had just given us ten minutes before into the paid lockers at Hyperion, I knew how the day was going to go.
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