Cedar Fair, the company that owns parks such as Cedar Point, Carowinds, King’s Dominion, and Knott’s Berry Farm, used National Roller Coaster Day (August 16th) to announce their major new attractions opening in 2018. The lineup included several new coasters across the chain, as well as flat ride expansions at other parks. The Coaster101 team decided to get together and discuss our thoughts on the new attractions, including what we’re most excited about, what we were surprised by, and some predictions for the future. If you missed the announcements, you can check them all out here.
Eric: So with all the major attraction announced, and a pretty good collection of announcements, what are the general feelings on what Cedar Fair is doing in 2018? Happy with what Cedar Fair is doing (I think I know the answer to this)?
Andrew: While each park in the Cedar Fair chain added something in 2017, outside of Mystic Timbers at Kings Island, it was largely just a variety of water park enhancements and flat rides. Like I mentioned last year, expansion is always a good thing, but as a coaster fan, only having one major roller coaster announcement from Cedar Fair last year was a bit of a let down for me. This year, we had as many unique major roller coaster projects (4) announced across the chain, as we did flat rides. (2 at Canada’s Wonderland, Valleyfair, Worlds of Fun). Combined with adding Winterfest at Kings Dominion and the re-branded and expanded Camp Snoopy at Carowinds, I think Cedar Fair as a whole is still in going a “full steam ahead” direction. There’s still the chance we hear from Dorney, Kings Island, and Michigan’s Adventure after the fact, too!
Nick: Kings Dominion announced an amazing looking coaster in Twisted Timbers yet I almost feel bad for them. Any other day, Twisted Timbers would have been an incredible announcement, and for the locals especially I’m sure it was. But nationally, this ride almost gets lost in the shuffle behind the other outstanding announcements of the day. If it had opened this past season it easily would have been the #1 most anticipated roller coaster of the year in the US. But in 2018? It might not even be top five, and that’s not a knock on Twisted Timbers, that’s how GOOD the class of 2018 roller coasters worldwide is shaking out to be. In fact, it might even give 2000 a run for best class ever.
Sidenote: what ever happened to the AmusementDark rides? Did the Triotech rides installed at Wonderland and Knotts not perform as well as expected to warrant adding those style rides to more parks?
Kyle: I think it’s safe to say 2018 is turning out to be a stellar year for coaster enthusiasts. Also, a clean sweep for a construction company out west, as well as Cedar Fair. Twisted Timbers is going to be huge for Kings Dominion, it’s exactly what that park needs right now. Steel Vengeance, while turning out to be pretty much exactly what we all thought it would be, still blew everyone away with its sheer size and numerous record breakers. I have to say though, that I was most impressed by RailBlazer and its theming. Cedar Fair is killing it by raising the bar with theming among the regional parks and RailBlazer is no exception.
Eric: Yep, I think there’s no doubt about that, Kyle. I don’t think there’s any way to not be happy with these announcements, at least on the national level. All of the coasters are things I’m excited for, and it looks like Cedar Fair is going full steam ahead with RMC (who they haven’t worked with before, right?). I think the more people across the country who have an RMC nearby the better. And I like the design/concept/theme going on with all of them, they’re all coasters that fit with the parks and areas they’re going into. No sore thumbs. I do hope the parks we didn’t hear from have something happening (new events, re-furbished sections of the park, etc.).
Oh, and Nick, just anecdotally based on the lines for Voyage to the Iron Reef now compared to when it opened, I think they maybe didn’t have the staying power Cedar Fair hoped for. But maybe Sally can get in on it…
Larry: It’s been quite a few years since Cedar Fair has had a huge coaster year and yeah, 2018 is shaping to be their biggest coaster year since 2008. The four coasters, three of them being from RMC and a new one for Gerstlauer, are all looking to be best in class, especially Steel Vengeance. With Carowinds converting their Planet Snoopy over to Camp Snoopy, makes me wonder if we’ll see some of the others switch over too.
We do still have 3 more parks that have yet to make any announcements, but hoping we’ll hear from them soon.
John: Cedar Point, Kings Dominion, Knott’s Berry Farm and California’s Great America are the winners this season. Cedar Fair has set the bar high for Six Flags (and other parks). Overall, I’m very impressed with the investments the company is making in some of its parks next year. And I’m very happy to see some new projects from the great minds at Rocky Mountain Construction.
To Nick’s point, I also wonder about the absence of any dark ride additions. With Six Flags adding Justice League dark rides at so many parks, I would think that Cedar Fair would want to compete within that realm of attractions, which can be a huge draw during sweltering summer months.
I do hope that the chain soon invests in the parks that seem to be forgotten in recent years: Dorney Park, Worlds of Fun, Valleyfair and Michigan’s Adventure. While I wouldn’t expect these parks to receive 300-foot-tall Bolliger & Mabillard (B&M) coasters, an RMC conversion or even a Gerstlauer would be a welcomed addition for frequent visitors of these parks.
Mike: These 2018 announcements are not helping out my coaster backlog at ALL. Of course, I’m incredibly excited for rides like Twisted Timbers and Steel Vengeance. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to Kings Dominion and Cedar Point. With these two coasters making an appearance in 2018, it looks like a great time to get a Cedar Fair Platinum Pass! I still haven’t gotten a chance to ride Fury 325 at Carowinds, and missed out on Mystic Timbers this year at Kings Island. Plus there’s Hang Time at Knotts… Yeah, Cedar Fair has definitely been doing its thing. Even being here in theme park central in Orlando, I’m still kinda jealous, heh heh.
Eric: I know that some of these new attractions were things we knew were happening, and most of the parks have been teasing things pretty heavily for the last month (see here, here, and here), but was there anything that was a surprise? Anything we were expecting that maybe didn’t get announced, or something that was a bit of a curveball?
Kyle: The length of Steel Vengeance. Watching the POV, there are a couple spots where you are like “its got to be over soon,” but it just continues. I love that the last lap is almost all underneath the main structure. Head choppers!
Andrew: I knew whatever Mean Streak at Cedar Point was becoming would be an amazing coaster, but the thing that surprised me most yesterday was that Steel Vengeance (great name, by the way) would have 27+ seconds of airtime. That’s absurd for me to even think about.
Nick: Yeah, think about it like this: from the time the train drops off the lift to the time it hits the brakes is about 80 seconds according to the POV animation. That means 34% of that time you’ll be out of your seat! More than a quarter of the ride! That’s insane.
And about that name, Steel Vengeance, I think Cedar Point really had to accomplish two goals with the name and they did just that. First, the name has to convey that it’s a brand new ride, because it is. Yeah, it’s reusing a lot of infrastructure but the experience is completely different. That’s why the name could never have been “Iron Mean Streak” or “Meaner Streak.” Second, I think adding the word “Steel” to the name was a great addition to help convey that the ride experience will be much different. The former coaster had a terrible reputation as being too rough. Steel implies smooth, which it will be. I also find it interesting how Cedar Fair is marketing these RMCs as hybrid coasters, which I have said should now be its own class of coasters.
Andrew: From a non-coaster perspective, I was pleasantly surprised by Carowinds’ re-branding of Planet Snoopy into Camp Snoopy, and the 6 new attractions that they’re going to be putting in the area next year. Though I’m not really the target demographic for this area, I think the addition of the Beagle Scout Acres play structure provides an area for kids and families that was previously lacking in the park, and will be a huge hit, especially with Carowinds adding the Pre-K pass option this year.
Nick: I was surprised by how well-themed Railblazer is. Six Flags Fiesta Texas obviously knew another park had ordered a Raptor for 2018, so they got the jump and announced theirs first. However, I think CGA clearly comes out the winner. Better name, better theme, better train design, better color scheme, etc. And theirs still might open first.
Eric: I think I sort of expected RMC Mean Streak to be huge, since Mean Streak was huge, I figured Cedar Point would try to break records, and it seemed like they’ll have been working on it for almost a full two years, so I’m going to just say HangTime is what surprised me. I guess we knew there was a chance that Gerstlauer was going to be the company making it, and there were some rumors out there that it would be an Infinity, but I had this dread we were going to get something like an Intamin half-pipe. Infinity coasters are pretty rare in the US, and dive coasters non-existent here out West, so I don’t think this was on the top of my radar as the most likely design.
I’ll second Nick that I was also pretty surprised by the amount of theming on RailBlazer, and I’ll throw out that I was surprised a Larson Loop is coming to Valley Fair. RMC’s and Larson Loops? What is this, Six Flags?
Mike: Can’t say I’m surprised at all by Steel Vengeance. RMC + Cedar Point figured to equal something insane and record breaking. So my biggest surprise would have to be HangTime at Knott’s. Knott’s has done a lot to makeover the Boardwalk area since the last time I visited the park. The hold at 60 degrees before going forward into the beyond vertical drop is a great new twist for a diving coaster.
John: Even though the rumors pointed to Califonia’s Great America receiving an RMC single-rail roller coaster, there were still a few surprises in regards to that specific announcement. First, I was surprised that they’re receiving the same model that will open at Six Flags Fiesta Texas next year. But I was even more surprised by the level of theming featured in the animation. Of course, that may look completely different come the spring. but I do think that we’re entering a new era of Cedar Fair in regard to both the types of coasters the company builds (hello, RMC) and the theming (lighting packages included) that go along with those coasters.
Larry: I was pleasantly surprised with Knott’s HangTime. All I knew was that they were going to go with a Gesrtlauer Infinity model, but I had no idea how tall and unique it was going to be, especially with the beyond vertical drop. It’s compact enough to take over the former Boomerang and Riptide spots as it’s not exactly like Knott’s has the room to put up any giant coasters anymore without ruining the experience.
I did not expect the theming for RailBlazer either. It makes Wonder Woman look like it was just plopped down in a middle of a lake, RCT-style. And I’m also surprised that this didn’t get started earlier with all of the rock work being installed, but I’m expecting this to be a pretty quick vertical installation with the Raptor track.
Eric: Alright, so what was the most exciting thing from all of this? Obviously I’m biased based on my location, but I’m pretty stoked that both my home park (CGA) is getting something completely new and exciting. The more I watch the PoV of RailBlazer, the more excited I’m getting about the single rail, I think it’s going to be a pretty amazing (and possibly terrifying experience). And as we mentioned, the theming looks exciting. When CGA GM Raul Rehnborg told me that the whole area around the ride would also get some love and theming along with it, got me even more excited from that aspect. It’s great to see Cedar Fair putting that care into the parts of the ride that go beyond the ride itself.
Mike: Steel Vengeance, easily. The biggest, baddest RMC coaster of them all? Sign me up please.
John: Steel Vengeance no doubt. RMC continues to outdo themselves, and this monster is no exception. I hope that 2018 will be the year that I finally make it to Cedar Point. And this very well may be the coaster I run to first. Of course, I’m very excited to see Cedar Fair’s continued investment in CGA. For a park that was seemingly on the brink of death only a few years ago to come back to life like it has makes me very happy. I’m excited to see what the future has in store for this park.
I also love when landlocked parks have to get creative with their additions. So I find both Knott’s HangTime and RailBlazer’s placements within the parks fascinating. It goes to prove that “there’s no room” is never an excuse. If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Andrew: Like Eric, a little biased by location, but the addition of an RMC at my second-closest major park, Kings Dominion is definitely a good perk to have, and will add another stellar option to Kings Dominion’s already well-rounded coaster line-up. A “Big Four” of Dominator, Intimidator 305, Volcano, and now Twisted Timbers is a pretty solid group, if you ask me. Maybe the most exciting to me that I have a very good chance of riding three of the four new roller coasters announced by Cedar Fair last week, with Kings Dominion (Spring), Cedar Point (Summer), and California’s Great America (Fall) all being on my travel short-list for 2018.
Kyle: Definitely Steel Vengeance. I am most likely to get to Cedar Point than any other of the parks with new coasters next year. I think this coaster alone will be worth the four hour drive.
Nick: With Cedar Point being the second closest park to me, my obvious answer for most exciting addition is Steel Vengeance. The first camelback hill on Storm Chaser at Kentucky Kingdom (also by RMC) has crazy good airtime, so I can only imagine what it will be like on that first airtime hill on Steel Vengeance.
Eric: You know Andrew, it wouldn’t be THAT hard to add a Knott’s stop to your Northern California visit next year if you just want to check off all four. I guess I’m also pretty excited by HangTime, as again, I’ve never been on an Infinity Coaster, and that combo of 96 degree drop and five inversions looks pretty nuts (plus the lighting package that’s apparently going to be even better than Monster). I guess it’s safe to say they’re all pretty exciting!
Larry: As with everyone else, it’s definitely Steel Vengeance and is only a few hours away for me so it’ll be no problem hitting that next year. Second being Twisted Timbers of course. I’m hoping to get to Kings Dominion next year for my first-even trip there to experience a park that will have the first giga and RMC combo in one park.
Eric: I know we like to stay positive here at Coaster101, but was there anything announced or not-announced that was a little disappointing? Anything we were really hoping would be a bigger deal, or something we were hoping to learn more about?
Nick: If we’re nit-picking here I would have to say the track length of Hangtime was a bit disappointing as I wish it had another element or two. However, if every boomerang in the country were replaced with something like this I wouldn’t be mad. I like the look of this layout more than the common Eurofighter designs. And that lighting package is going to be awesome! Another thing, not really a negative, I just think it’s odd how Cedar Point’s RMC has the word “Steel” in the title while Kings Dominion has “Timbers” like I wonder how many guests are going to assume Twisted Timbers is a full-blown wooden coaster?
Andrew: I don’t think I could call it disappointing just yet, but not hearing from Kings Island, Dorney Park, or Michigan’s Adventure yesterday was interesting to me. Coming off a huge year with Mystic Timbers, it’s understandable that Kings Island could lay low for a year, but after 2017 saw Dorney adding Bumper Cars and a Troika, and Michigan’s Adventure adding a Splash Pad and kiddie slides, I was hoping they’d make a little more noise in 2018.
Kyle: If I have to pick something, I would say the name Steel Vengeance. Don’t get me wrong, I think the name fits the ride and the story of the coaster. I just thought that with all of the Frontiertown and Western theming (and teasing) that went into the ride and its announcement, we would get a more creatively named coaster.
Eric: Agree with Andrew that it’s a little concerning not to have heard anything from from three parks, but Sol Spin at Knott’s wasn’t announced until November last year, so there is still hope. I think the only other thing, and it’s really more of a surprise than a disappointment, might be the layout of Twisted Timbers. I guess from the PoV it just looks less, uhh, twisty than I usually expect from RMC. Maybe I’m suffering a little RMC exhaustion, or I’m used to the very twisty layout of Joker and Twisted Colossus where the tracks are pretty much always wrapping around each other. Of course, the rendering isn’t always exact (as I learned on Joker), so there might be a few more little banks and bumps in there than we see now (and don’t get me wrong, doesn’t look BAD or anything, just more straight).
Larry: I was sort of disappointed that the 3 remaining parks did not announce anything. Also there were rather lacking water park announcements, only one being from Canada’s Wonderland. I still have no idea what sort of ride Worlds of Fun is getting. Kind of surprised there was no concept art at all. We still have a bit of a window for the other parks. They must of just not been ready to announce theirs yet. Also, what happened to the hotel expansions outside of Breakers?
Mike: Can’t say I’m disappointed with any of the announcements really. Carowinds is the closest Cedar Fair park to me, so I guess I could say I’m disappointed that there weren’t any major coaster announcements for the park. But then again, I still have yet to even experience Fury 325, so it’s not like I needed another reason to visit the park.
John: Again, Dorney Park, Worlds of Fun and Valleyfair seem to be the losers this year based on the announcements we’ve seen so far. I don’t expect much for Kings Island considering the huge year they’ve had with Mystic Timbers. I don’t have high expectations for Michigan’s Adventure. But who knows, maybe Cedar Fair will surprise us.
I’m also a little disappointed that we won’t see any new B&M coasters at Cedar Fair parks this year. Hopefully Cedar Fair will bring them back into the mix one day. I’d love to see a 300-footer in California.
Eric: Finally, with the big Cedar Fair announcements done, do we think there’s any more coming? And the bigger part, any first guesses about what we might be seeing in 2019?
Nick: I was really expecting to hear about more infrastructure improvements such as new hotels, more sports parks, continue the trend of upgrading park entrances, parking lot enhancements, etc. I was also surprised not to hear anything from Kings Island. I hope they announce a new attraction as well as that Pre-K pass in the near future (already signed my son up for Cedar Point’s Pre-K pass deal).
Kyle: My home park is Kings Island, so I am hoping we will hear from them soon. I am not expecting anything big, but there’s always room for small improvement throughout the park and it is always fun seeing what the plan is for your local park. And like Nick said, new park entrances are much needed at a few of the parks and I think we will see that in the near future.
Andrew: I think we’re done with major announcements for Cedar Fair for 2018. Hopefully we’ll get some Halloween Haunt announcements in the coming weeks, though. Regarding 2019, I love what Canada’s Wonderland’s VP of Marketing tweeted yesterday. Maybe they have something big up their sleeve for 2019.
With all this excitement today about new ride announcements…should we start teasing for 2019 already😱.
— Dave Phillips (@DavePhillips_1) August 16, 2017
In 2018, Both Carowinds and Worlds of Fun will be celebrating their 45th anniversaries. Hopefully each park will have a big announcement as part of this celebration!
Eric: Yes! I love that Canada’s Wonderland is already dropping hints! It seems like we’d hear something about things happening for next year at Dorney, MI, and KI, I mean, certainly King’s Island is one of the major parks in the chain. Like I said, you’d figure at least some new special events or shows or something might be coming, if not any new hardware. As for 2019, we definitely don’t have the obvious tips for things like we did with Hurler and Mean Streak shutting down. But maybe some of the parks with an “off” year could have something big coming?
And I’m expecting investment to continue getting poured into CGA. Definitely not a new coaster next year, but I wonder if we might see the start of some of the “entertainment” zone expansion they talked about, or some water park expansion stuff happening in 2019.
John: I’m interested to hear what (if anything) Kings Island will receive in 2018, but I’m not expecting anything groundbreaking. Beyond 2018, I’m guessing that Cedar Fair will continue doing business with RMC. Of course, there are plenty of wooden coasters in the Cedar Fair family that are prime candidates for the “RMC treatment.” If only Kings Island had kept Son of Beast a few more years.
I’m also excited to see what the future holds for RMC’s single-rail coaster. I think it has incredible potential, and I’m fairly confident we’ll see larger versions of this coaster at Cedar Fair parks if RailBlazer is a success.
Mike: We’ve been waiting on Dorney Park to get a big announcement for years now. Maybe 2019 will be the time? Other than that, looking forward to seeing more RMC-Cedar Fair goodness.
Larry: I don’t know if we’ll have another big year for 2019, but I’m hoping that the other parks that have not added anything major in a few years will finally get their chance. And I’m sure this is the beginning of the RMC relationship with Cedar Fair so hoping there’s still more to come from them. I know with the big 20 year plan at CA Great America there’s still a lot to look forward to out west.
Eric: Alright, so there you have everyone, our thoughts on the Cedar Fair announcements for what’s coming in 2018. Safe to say with four pretty good looking coasters coming, we’re excited, although there’s a little division (largely geographic) on what we’re most excited about. So, what are you guys most excited for? Let us know in the comments, or hit us up on Facebook or Twitter with your thoughts!