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Mark Rosenzweig

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Posts posted by Mark Rosenzweig

  1. I have been recently searching around information on Morgan coasters for no true reason, and I came across a coaster that seems to be probably the most odd coaster - Steel Eel. What's up with it's support work? It looks horrible. Is there any reason it was built that way?

     

    Steel Eel's custom column support structure was designed out of necessity. The site in and around Steel Eel's lift through the mid-course block contains tons of underground infrastructure (pipes, etc.) running to and from water sources and exhibit buildings. There is no doubt the design added cost both to the ride hardware itself as well as the actual in-ground. The standard steel/turnbuckle structure used on other Morgan Coaster lift hills (and also lots of Arrow Coasters) requires more footings, but all at a fraction of the size/expense of the massive column footings that were needed for Steel Eel's installation.

  2. ^It had a good pace, decent pops of air, some some lateral forces just for good measure! Definitely a hidden gem.

    That pretty much sums it up. It was just an overall solid, fun ride.

     

    I'd be curious to find out if any of the designers/engineers who worked on it, and/or it's "sister" coaster in TN, moved on to positions with competitors over the years?

     

    It has a sister coaster in TN? Where?

     

     

    The other Coasterworks ride was the short lived Thunder Eagle, which operated (mostly hidden from view) just off the Parkway strip in Pigeon Forge. It was dismantled and sent north to Mont Saint-Saveur north of Montreal. The site is home to one of the best (and mostly unknown) waterparks in North America full of diabolical concrete trough terrain-driven slides. The owners had ambitions of developing a dry park to accompany the hugely successful waterpark but for whatever reason (permitting most likely) it never materialized.

     

    The ride's hardware (trains/lift motor/queue gates/etc) were later sold by M&V as part of the ride package that became Zippin Pippin at Bay Beach in Green Bay.

  3. This is definitely a loss. In a way, it was almost like a cult coaster, provided a great ride but not too many people knew about it. I too felt that the "stand-alone" aspect of it was a bit odd, but at least I had a chance to ride it. It shall be missed.

     

    -Gary T.

     

    The three times I went to ride DBH were all on Saturdays in December, when working for Zamperla and visiting clients set up nearby at the Winter Carnival. All three times I paid the ludicrously low unlimited rides pass for the coaster (in the $10-$15 range- a real bargain considering I believe they were asking $6 for a single ride) and rode 7-10 times. Many laps I was the only one on the train.

     

    DBH was in many ways the sister ride to SFGAm's Viper (same designer). Built well, great douglas fir track that held up even through Florida's intense climate (compared to Gwazi) and ran 5 car PTC trains with the 3 bench coaches. This type of ride would fit like a glove at parks like DelGrosso's, Western Playland, etc.

     

    All in all, a real shame. The feasibility study surely showcased the 100,000 cars that pass the site on I-95. What many don't realize is car traffic does not equal foot traffic. Especially when the overall park is so underwhelming.

  4. The reality of the situation is the rides in Jersey were involuntarily closed (as in destroyed) and didn't represent a poor business decision like DBH. DBH was a great ride (easily FL's best woodie), but really lost money since it's debut as a stand alone ride. Had Boomers purchased the ride and made it part of their attraction roster/included in POP plan, there could have been hope.

     

    Love it or love to not love it, Casino Pier's Star Jet probably paid for itself ten times over the course of it's decade or so of service. It was custom designed to (not quite) mimic the Schwarzkopf Jet Star I it replaced.

  5. DHS has the best collection in terms of variety for sit-down restaurants in a North American theme park in my eyes

     

    WHAT.

     

    Brown Derby, Momma Melrose's, Sci-Fi, and Prime Time? I guess Hollywood & Vine if you want to count a buffet?

     

    That's a better variety than Epcot?

     

    I agree that Disneyland's dining trumps Magic Kingdom's dining, but I would stop giving DLR the win after that. WDW as a whole has MUCH better dining than DLR, thanks to Epcot and the huge variety of unique resort dining options.

     

    I hardly think of Hollywood Studios as the dining theme park capital of North America. But I guess that's just me?

     

    Variety was the wrong word, admittedly. I think I was going more for variety in terms of theme/feel. Each sit-down restaurant has an interesting quirk/theme/general feel (with decent food). Not discussed, but I do think DHS has an underrated collection of quick dining options also. From the pretzel-wrapped sausages at the small boat-themed "diner" to the many great options along Sunset, there is quite a bit to choose from that isn't as bland as Pecos Bill's.

     

    Regarding resort dining, that's where it is at for me. I really enjoy The Wave, Yachtsman, Boma, and Artist Point. But DLR resort dining is no slouch either (especially considering they only have 3 resort hotels). Napa Rose and the DL Hotel Steakhouse are stellar high end options.

  6. DLR easily has some of the best food options I've ever seen at any theme park (I haven't been to WDW so don't get on me about Epcot having better food) so I don't get why EoS was so needed and why it's such a big deal to the extreme fanboys.

     

    I disagree. Most food at DL is hardly at the level of a Chili's or TGIFridays IMO. And this is even with the positive changes they've made in the past year at DCA's restaurants.

     

    If the food was better I don't think EoS would be such a big deal. Personally, I'm happy it's here but I'm not rushing down to eat there anytime soon. We ate at the one in Orlando once and it was good, but not even close to the best sandwich I've ever eaten. It's probably on the level of a Jersey Mike's (IMO). Even the Philly Cheesesteak I had at the Ramada hotel in PHI a few months ago was better than Earl of Sandwich.

     

    My personal favorite sub is at a local place in Woodland Hills called Dan's Super Subs. I try and get there when I'm down that way for work.

     

    The food options at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure are (in my eyes) top tier, at least for a North American theme park setting. Many go on and on about Epcot, Busch Gardens Williamsburg, etc. Epcot (and WDW in general)'s food has gone from great to merely good (thanks in my opinion to the quantity over quality that has resulted from the discounted dining plans).

     

    I mean, just stack Disneyland itself up against Magic Kingdom in Florida. It's like a joke. Even the Buffeterias (Plaza Restaurant's Pot Roast/Fried Chicken) or French Market's many offerings run circles around the nasty crap served at Tony's or Crystal Palace in Florida. You've got far more variety and interesting options for quick service also (i.e. Bengal BBQ). Nothing 4 stars to be sure, but worlds better than Magic Kingdom's burgers/hot dogs/chicken. BOG will go a long way to finally offer something new and different at Magic Kingdom, but given ADRs are sold out until seemingly 2015, good luck eating there unless it is for a quick service lunch.

     

    Can't speak to the new offerings in Carsland at DCA, but I thought the new Boardwalk food court area was an amazing net positive for the park (replacing a crappy McDonald's with decent pizza and great Mediterranean dishes). Also can't speak to Carthay Circle, but I don't think I've heard anyone rip it to shreds.

     

    DHS has the best collection in terms of variety for sit-down restaurants in a North American theme park in my eyes, but like Epcot, quality in general has gone downhill over the past decade or so. DAK, for a park with the shortest hours, actually has what I believe to be the best "moderate" sit down restaurant at WDW- Yak and Yeti (which isn't owned or run by Disney itself).

  7. No photos, but my general thoughts on Verbolten:

     

    Maybe it's social media, countless photo trip reports with

    construction shots, or just stronger word of mouth. There is little

    left in the way of surprise when it comes to experiencing a new

    attraction these days. Even most custom layouts can pretty much be

    ridden through Keith McVeen's stellar simulations or actual POV

    footage and provide reasonable expectations based on the park it

    resides at or manufacturer/designer of the hardware.

     

    With that said, here comes Verbolten. Given BGW is not your "typical"

    park that installs "typical" coasters (at least at their time of

    installation), there was one mystery factor. Given Zierer has but one

    major non-tivoli style coaster installation in North America in their

    one-off tower launch at Lagoon in Utah, there was another mystery

    factor.

     

    Starting on the midway, the new attraction's installation completes

    the look of the revamped Oktoberfest. An area of the park with decent

    attraction density, there had been nothing major added with the

    exception of DarKastle since Big Bad Wolf's debut in 1984. Reworking

    the area's layout, moving out the Eli Scrambler to New France for the

    installation of the Moser Mach Tower drop tower, and the installation

    of Verbolten now make this area the center of activity in the park.

     

    Because Verbolten is mostly track in a warehouse, a quick run to the

    Rhine River drop and "S" curve, much of the attraction's theming takes

    place in its richly detailed queue and loading station. This is very

    much the "Fahrt" of Expedition Everest queue lines. The queue also

    moves at about the clip of Everest thanks to an efficient dual-loading

    station and easy to enter/exit trains with a simple lapbar restraint.

    With no downtime and four train operation, the queue proper holds

    about a 45 minute wait. When the queue stretches about 1/3 of the way

    across the Rhine River bridge to Italy, you're looking at about a 60

    minute wait. Not too shabby. I pegged hourly capacity in the 1150

    range, which would probably bump close to 1300 when the Yellow (fifth)

    train is put into operation.

     

    The trains look sexy, and as previously stated, the simplistic

    restraint system allows for quick load/unload/dispatch. The initial

    dip and run to launch one roughly follows the old Big Bad Wolf's run

    from station to lift one. An uphill launch takes trains into the

    large event/show building where this "Italian Job" becomes a "Skull

    Mountain". Several of the helices were tight enough for me to see

    stars. After hitting a block, trains take another drop and rise to a

    second block leading trains onto the drop track.

     

    My understanding as to the difference between the Intamin and Zierer

    version of this element is that the Intamin drop track is

    hydraulically powered, whereas the Zierer version is a true freefall

    into magnetic brakes. Whether or not that is true or if my

    information is reversed doesn't really matter- the element works.

    It's a short drop to be sure, but it will catch you by surprise unless

    you're really paying attention.

     

    Back on ground level, trains advance forward and dip into the second

    LSM rolling launch- this one taking trains from about 10-53 MPH in

    quick fashion. The launch is forceful enough that if you're not

    prepared, you may introduce the back of your head to Mr. Headrest in

    somewhat of a sudden and uncomfortable manner. The track rises and

    zig zags its way to the (not quite) collapsing bridge perched about

    100 ft above the Rhine River where Big Bad Wolf riders once braced

    themselves for that ride's legendary finale. Verbolten trains glide

    slowly through a set of magnetic brakes and suddenly plummet down

    towards the river before taking the same famous "left/right/left" that

    the Big Bad Wolf traversed for 25 years. In lieu of being able to

    swing side to side, Verbolten throws a (not quite) airtime hill into

    the mix before gliding into the brakes alongside would-be riders

    waiting their turn in the queue.

     

    Riders exit left and now cross over the track towards the front end of

    the station directly over the hold position where trains dispatched

    from positon 2 await for the train dispatched from position 1 ahead of

    them to clear the first block. An on ride photo point of sale (taken

    on the not quite airtime hill near the end of the ride) and a merch

    shop completes the Verbolten experience.

     

    Description complete, the ride perfectly compliments the rest of BGW's

    roster of rolley rides. It certainly walks the line between family

    coaster and intimidation, but does so in an admirable fashion and is

    sure to act as a great compliment to Nessie as a building block for

    guests to step up to the B&M trio on property.

  8. The park is planning to start shooting their new Verbolten commerials "next week." My guess is that they're shooting for a Memorial Day Weekend opening for Verbolten, as they did for Mach Tower last year.

     

    BGW has had soft openings for attractions in the past (I recall riding Alpengeist in April of 1997- about a month before its "official" opening.) If in fact V-Bolt is cycling for a commercial shoot next week, it wouldn't shock me to see a soft opening.

     

    The hang-up here would be the many unique thematic elements (mostly contained within the show building), which the park would likely want to complete prior to opening the attraction to the General Public.

  9. I highly recommend Blizzard Beach. It has a good mix of "thrill" and "family" rides, and the theming makes it enjoyable even for those who don't care for waterparks. The lazy river is particularly good.

     

    I actually prefer Typhoon Lagoon to Blizzard Beach for the exact reasons you list above. To me, Blizzard Beach is a bit too heavily weighed towards the higher thrill slides (for the average waterpark guest), whereas Typhoon Lagoon has the better mix of family oriented attractions. And I love the old school tube runs built into Mount Mayday. My favorite slides at Blizzard Beach are "Runoff Rapids", which are traditional tube slides. While also topo-driven, they are more commonplace fiberglass tube slides that are elevated above the terrain.

     

    Typhoon also has the great wavepool, unique (for a waterpark at least) snorkeling opportunity, and great, lush tropical landscaping. This is nothing to take away from Blizzard Beach, but I just feel more driven to return to Typhoon Lagoon.

  10. This has become a great thread with interesting comments from both sides (with Rastus making up seemingly one side on his own).

     

    With that said, I openly admit to being the Disney Park visitor who is at the gate at opening, and collecting fastpasses as early as possible (getting the next one as soon as I am eligible) for use later in the afternoon/evening. Not sure I ever considered it "cheating" or "breaking rules", as the CMs openly would tell guests (including me the first time I became aware of this) that there was no need to return during the window- just after the minimum return time. While Corporate Policy didn't state this, it came across as yet another positive in the customer service arena that Disney has mastered in the amusement industry.

     

    With all that said, while I was initially upset at the news that the return windows would be more strictly enforced, after letting it sink in, it makes a whole lot of sense. It is absolutely a money grab with regards to the Resort Guest "X-Pass" that is on its way, but beyond that, it will help balance out the actual standby wait times throughout the day. While Rastus mentioned that Stand By lines to tend to rarely spill out physically beyond the attraction's entrance (much like the Kennywood Racer), when you have a mass return of Fastpass guests following a show, parade, fireworks, etc, the stand by line will come to a virtual standstill.

     

    For guests used to the "old way" of collecting early and riding later, the "park hopper" option may diminish in value to that person. If return times are being enforced, it makes more sense to visit one park and spend a whole day using a mix of standby and fastpasses for attractions. This is especially true at WDW, where (even with a rental car), it takes considerable time and effort to hop and ride E Tickets in each park.

     

    Beyond all of these random thoughts, the "extra pay" virtual queue systems require that you return during your window, so why shouldn't a system that is included with your admission ticket?

  11. Am I the only one who finds it slightly sad Sooperdooperlooper is losing its classic Schwarzkopf trains?

     

    The trains being replaced on Sooperdooperlooper are actually second generation trains that were built by (based on the Schwarzkopf design) Giovanola. They were introduced on the ride in 1988. Rest assured that one of HP's goals has been to maintain the ride experience that SDL has delivered since its opening in 1977.

  12.  

    Three years ago, I bought my first Six Flags season pass. Last year, I bought them for my whole family. This year, not only did we buy season passes, but we also paid extra to attend a special "SFA Preview Day" event hosted by a local enthusiast group. Next year, I get to save $300.

     

    On the plus side, that puts me one-sixth of the way toward paying for the TPR Italy trip already!

     

    /rant

     

    I understand your frustration regarding the September buy-out issue, but it is not as if the park scheduled these just to personally mess with the days you had free. And not to beat a dead horse, but when will people stop complaining about the cost of Six Flags season passes? IMO, they have been vastly underpriced forever and continue to offer one of the greatest values in the entertainment industry. Is SFA not allowed to raise the price of their season pass? Should they just continue to drop the price? Does that make sense for a company emerging from financial reorganization?

     

    And regarding the parking, let's compare to CF- in order to get chainwide parking, one must spend about twice what a SFA season pass with parking costs. Even if parking is $15-$20 at each SF park, that still means you need to make at least 4-5 visits to other SF parks to match the value of a CF platinum pass.

     

    I've always been more a fan of the Busch Gardens model- one that does not offer much in the way of gate discounts and in doing so keeps the riff-raff out and invites people who are more likely to have a longer length of stay and spend more towards Food/Beverage, Games, etc.

     

    Even if SFA's product doesn't change much, I just don't understand how $100 for an entire season is not an amazing deal. Many towns/villages charge that much for a local leisure pass.

  13. The ZacSpin makes sense at a park like Grona and in "2nd tier" Flags parks like St Louis and America. From a capacity standpoint, they are essentially adding three new coaster experiences with a combined hourly capacity that a three train coaster like Viper or Goliath will run circles around on their own.

     

    Not to say Superman will see waits like it did in 1997 (when the queue snaked all the way down the hill to near Jet Stream), but that ZacSpin may see wait times that can only be described as Yikes.

  14. I've never been one for gimmick rides (unless the gimmick is a really good one). I personally do not understand the appeal in a ride like Kingda Ka or TTD- 18 seconds of ride time after taking a chance waiting in a queue because the ride is more likely than not to go down while waiting.

     

    With that said, I do enjoy launch coasters where the launch is but a *part* of the ride/big picture. One ride I keep coming back to (and which may very well be in my top 25 if I ranked coasters) is Powder Keg at Silver Dollar City. It has a perfect launch (sure, it is "only" 0-55 or so, but is done in a smooth manner with just enough force without making your face age 30 years). The bonus? After a great launch, you don't just come down a hill and hit brakes. Several perfectly designed airtime hills, overbanked turns, low to the ground speed runs, and even a lift and second big drop thrown in for good measure.

     

    I would also throw California Screamin', Volcano the Blast Coaster, and Mr. Freeze out there for other favorite launch coasters of mine- either thanks to the launch being only a part of the big picture, or because of some form of uniqueness that takes place after the launch that is not only unique, but also fun and effective.

  15. I'm normally one to want parks to shy away from clones, but instead of building the Toy Story version of DCA's "Flik's Fun Fair", they should have just done the standard (and proven) Toy Story Mania. Especially in a climate as nasty as Paris' where indoor attractions are in great need.

     

    I had doubts about Toy Story Mania when the first TRs came in, but no one can deny how overwhelmingly successful the attraction has been at DCA and DHS.

  16. I bet the coaster folk at La Ronde are as disappointing as I was when Michigan's Adventure got the "new" SLC in 2008. "Hey billy, it's just like that there Raptor at Cedar Point!"

     

    It doesn't make sense to me why they'd install that when they already have a B&M Batman clone.

     

    It doesn't have to "make sense" from an enthusiast's viewpoint to "make sense." There are several parks with more than one type of suspended coaster. While I realize that both of these rides are full-sized inverted coasters, the two across seating of the SLC, placement over the water, and different arsenal of elements will surely give the ride distinction amongst visitors to the park.

     

    In addition, the new ride is being placed further back towards a dead corner of the park, which through last season only really had a Ferris Wheel, Indoor Family Coaster, and Skycoaster. Smart park operators know that a new marquee attraction in a quiet area of a park not only spreads the crowds, but also helps food/beverage and games revenue numbers in the formerly quiet area of the park.

     

    We can question the choice of sending this ride to La Ronde until we turn blue in the face. Bottom line- it is marketable (nothing like it for at least a 4 hour drive in any direction from Montreal), and most importantly, it fit the challenging site requirements that the park was faced with.

     

    Like other high profile clone installations that enthusiasts may not be all that into, take this as your cue to enjoy more rides on Goliath, Vampire, and Monstre while the masses form a 2 hour queue for the SLC.

  17. Making of Me's most entertaining attritube was watching the reactions to parents with their younger children during the more "awkward" moments.

     

    Body Wars was horrible. It was as if Disney decided they didn't cause enough motion sickess with Star Tours and wanted a post show for an attraction called "barf".

     

    On the other hand, Cranium Command was one of my all time favorite WDW attractions. The show never ceased to entertain and was really the only major loss when this pavilion went into hibernation.

  18. - Favorite new coaster

    Wood: Ravine Flyer II

    Steel: Goliath (SFoG)

     

    - Favorite new ride

    Drop Tower (KD)

     

    - Favorite new park

    DCA

     

    - Best ERT session

    ACE Preservation Con El Toro/KK Summer 2007

     

    - Least favorite coaster

    Son of Beast

     

    - Most interesting ride you've seen introduced

    Coasters with seats suspended off the side of the track (i.e. 4th Dimension/Freefly/Furious Baco)

     

    - Least interesting ride you've seen intoduced

    Flying Coasters

     

    - Your favorite TPR moment (favorite post, trip report, video, whatever!)

    Big Mike elevating himself from random stalker to worldwide celebrity complete with stickers.

     

    - The decade's biggest flop

    DCA (purely from a business standpoint as I like the park quite a bit).

     

    - The decade's biggest success

    Tokyo Disneyland's evolution into the resort it is today.

     

    - The best meal you've had at a park

    Club 33 is tough to beat.

     

    - The worst meal you've had at a park

    Probably the $14 Papa John's "meal deal" consisting of two hour old pizza slices and rotted salad. Can't remember which SF park.

     

    - Best park turnaround

    (In progress)- DCA. Lots of SF properties belong in this category, chiefly SFMM.

     

    - What was the biggest trend of this past decade?

    Probably the economic crash putting a general freeze on capital being lent for the building and/or completion of park projects- worldwide.

  19. I was at the Magic Kingdom Saturday night (flying home after a week in Orlando). I will summarize things with the following points. Feel free to comment or inquire furher and I will be glad to expand upon them.

     

    1) The entire resort is seemingly being run on a budget that is "just enough" to keep things running.

     

    2) The free dining promotion *has* to go. It is filling the resort up with fat American and European families who are eating themselves into obvlivion and also pushing and shoving their way through crowds at the last minute to get in front of you to see Spectromagic even if you have been sitting on the curb for an hour. Don't bother trying to reason with these fat families- they are better than you.

     

    2a) Free dining means if you do not have priority seating times at a WDW restaurant before you leave, that you will be eating churros and hot dogs the entire trip.

     

    3) I'll close by saying the situation at the Magic Kingdom Saturday night was downright scary. The park was at least 25% understaffed to my naked eye. Crowd control? What crowd control. With a central plaza 5 times the size of Disneyland's, there was still no order at all. Couple this with arrogant fat tourists and you have the recipe for a magical celebration, indeed.

     

    With that said, we had a decent trip- knowing to work around Extra Fat Tourist Magic Hours, playing the Fastpass game to the best we could, and finding the best kept new ride of the year in Manta. Amazing ride, amazing installation, and best flying coaster by far IMO.

     

    Universal gets the award for most pathetic new installation in Rockit. Unreliable (doesn't open until at least noon everyday) and they haven't been able to run more than 4 trains on an given day (meaning hourly capacity in the 300-400 range leading to 90 minute waits even with the rest of the park dead).

     

    Back to the monorail situation, I am *so* glad we opted to leave around 11 and took the ferryboat.....

  20. ^ Huh? Have you been there? Did you read this thread? I think it was already posted that the Hong Kong version has a much SMALLER station.

     

    Disneyland's Space Mountain can easily have a single rider line if they felt it needed one.

     

    I've seen rides with equally fast dispatch times use a single rider line. It has more to do with how the people are grouped.

     

    Have you ever watched MiB's operations? They have a counter on the wall that tells them how fast they need to dispatch each car. (I believe it's 15 seconds) and they seem to be able to handle a standby line, express line, and single rider line with (what appears to be) little difficulty.

     

    From an operations point of view, it entirelly possible that it could be done. Maybe not "easily" but it could absoultely be done, and the ops would be trained to work it into their routine.

     

    --Robb

     

    From my experience traveling around and observing general operations, single rider lines are usually useless on any attraction with two across seating (or to a lesser extent, four across). The even number tends to lend itself to less open seats per cycle. At WDW, all you need to do is see how perfectly the single rider line works on Test Track (3 across) where seemingly every other car needs a single or two to join two other random couples who want to sit next to each other. Then for the polar opposite, stand in the stand still mess of a single rider line at R&RC or Everest. The single rider line on Toy Story Midway Mania barely lasted a month due to this very reason (and not the "guest confusion" issue which WDW PR would rather you believe).

     

    Could be wrong, just my 1.5 cents.

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