Gerstlauer Announcing Next Infinity Coaster at IAAPA Expo; Our Guesses Where It Lands
Gerstlauer and Ride Entertainment love their “surprise” teaser announcements. Earlier today, it was announced that the German coaster manufacturers have signed an agreement to manufacture a one-of-a-kind Infinity roller coaster for a soon-to-be-named customer in the United States. The attraction, which is scheduled to open in late 2022, will be formally announced at the IAAPA Expo in Orlando next month.
This is Gerstlauer’s second North American announcement for 2022, following the announcement of Defiance at Glenwood Caverns earlier this year. Defiance will be a custom Eurofighter model from Gerstlauer.
“I am constantly amazed at how the team at Gerstlauer conquers unique challenges thrown their way,” said Ed Hiller, CEO and Founder of Ride Entertainment. “This new Infinity coaster will have guests racing to it in order to be the first to ride as it is being installed at a high-profile location.”
This coaster will become the 12th custom Infinity coaster from Gerstlauer, and just the third in the United States. The to-be-announced roller coaster joins Monster at Adventureland and HangTime at Knott’s Berry Farm as Infinity coasters that operate stateside. Ride Entertainment’s world-renown Installation team will construct the ride for the client.
“This project will once again showcase the ingenuity and creativity of Gerstlauer,” added Hiller. “In addition, our outstanding Installation team will be able to show why they are the gold standard of the attractions industry.”
But Where Will It Go?
Now begins the fun part — getting to speculate where this new coaster might end up. While the announcement from Gerstlauer and Ride Entertainment wasn’t particularly long or detailed, there were three key takeaways that we took from the announcement.
- “Scheduled to Open Late 2022”
The timeline for this coaster’s proposed opening actually likely eliminates a large number of parks. Many larger and corporate parks, especially those with seasonal operating schedules, prefer to open their newest capital investments at the beginning of the season, and definitely by early-mid summer at the latest. (Obviously, there are exceptions to the rule.) If you’re hoping for this coaster to land at a Six Flags or Cedar Fair park, you’re probably out of luck.
Late 2022 also indicates a degree of seasonality, as a large capital investment like a roller coaster isn’t likely to open for a few weeks before closing for the winter and opening again. This coaster is likely headed to a park in Florida, Texas or California with 365-day/12-month operation, or a more temperate tourist destination with a year-round audience.
- “A High-Profile Location”
High profile location can mean many things, from a high-traffic tourist destination to a major metropolitan area, to even where it would be viewed by passerby. Tourist destinations like Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg or Las Vegas come to mind, as would a larger city like San Antonio or .
- “Guests will be racing to it.”
This is certainly an interesting choice of words, which leads us to believe that there could be some sort of racing tie-in. The coaster itself won’t be a racing coaster (we’re pretty sure!), but could fit in well at a facility with go-karts, a racing theme, or in an area with a history of and/or ties to racing.
We’re just having fun here. We don’t know where it’s going yet, but based on this information, we have a few locations in mind. These are listed in no particular order.
- Mattel Adventure Park – Glendale, AZ
You know what else has been announced to open in Late 2022? The Mattel Adventure Park at Crystal Lagoons Island Resort, in addition to a go-kart track and indoor Thomas and Friends attraction, the Mattel Adventure Park is also scheduled to have a Hot Wheels-themed roller coaster.
While this concept art doesn’t resemble a Gerstlauer at first glance (rumors suggest it could be a Chance Hyper-GTX looper), you never can tell just by a drawing. Maybe Gerstlauer came to the table with a better design after the concept art was released. It could open in Late 2022 with the rest of the park, fits into the “racing” theme, and as far as high profile locations, Glendale will host the Super Bowl in early 2023.
- Fun Spot Orlando
2022 is already going to be a HUGE year for Fun Spot parks, as Fun Spot Atlanta is opening their to-be-named Rocky Mountain Construction custom creation next year. Fun Spot Orlando (and Kissimmee) are mainly known for their multi-level go-kart tracks, so the racing theme “tracks,” and you truly aren’t in more of a high profile area when it comes to tourist travel and amusement parks than International Drive in Orlando. With Fun Spot’s 365-day operation, they don’t have to hit a specific time-frame for new attractions, and also haven’t opened a new roller coaster at their Orlando park since 2013 (Kissimmee has opened two in that time frame.)
- Andretti Karting Orlando
Elsewhere in Orlando, the Universal Blvd. tourist cooridor is rapidly expanding as well. In recent years, Andretti Karting and TopGolf were added, there’s access to ICON Park Orlando, and eventually, it will be home to Universal’s Epic Universe. Andretti Karting is quickly becoming a top name in the Family Entertainment Center space, and what better way to compliment their lineup of go-karts and other attractions than with a top-tier roller coaster, certain to draw tourists away from the “bigger” parks. High Profile Location, Racing, and Late 2022 could be in-time with the 2022 IAAPA Expo, located right down the road at the Orange County Convention Center.
- Las Vegas
Anything can happen in Las Vegas, an area designed for amusement that is constantly growing and evolving. While a new roller coaster hasn’t opened in Las Vegas since 2013 (El Loco at Adventuredome), it could be a new draw for any resort in one of America’s most popular tourist destinations. While the “racing” theme is less defined here, Las Vegas is home to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and the Sahara Hotel formerly housed a NASCAR Cafe and the indoor/outdoor Speed: The Ride roller coaster. There’s probably zero smoke to the fire of Las Vegas, and we’re mainly including it as a dark horse candidate, so if it does end up there, we can say “told you so!”
- ZDT’s Amusement Park
While Seguin, Texas isn’t the most high profile of locations, ZDT’s has surprised people before as home to the world’s first Gravity Group wooden shuttle coaster. ZDT’s also has multiple go-kart tracks, and is located in the San Antonio metro area, home to the recently debuted Texas Stingray at SeaWorld San Antonio, and the forthcoming Dr. Diabolical’s Cliff Hanger at Six Flags Fiesta Texas. 2022 will mark seven years since Switchback, and maybe ZDT’s wants to get back into the wild coaster game!
- NASCAR Speedpark, Sevierville, TN or Broadway Grand Prix, Myrtle Beach, SC
On the subject of the darkest of dark horse candidates, we wanted to include two more “racing”-themed establishments. First, NASCAR Speedpark in Sevierville, TN, located right in the middle of the ever-growing Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg area where mountain coasters (and other unique creations like the Zip-Line coaster or “Coaster Cart”) are popping up like crazy. It already has a roller coaster, Speedway, which is more of a family attraction. Could they be looking for some high-octane thrills to pull crowds from The Island or Dollywood?
Down in Myrtle Beach, could we be starting the next Myrtle Beach roller coaster renaissance after the debut of “Fun in the Sun” at Funplex? Broadway at the Beach is an area that is also constantly growing and changing an in effort to attract tourists, is home to go-kart tracks at Broadway Grand Prix (who were supposed to receive two roller coasters from the shuttered Pavilion), and an amusement park of its own. Is it time for the first mega-thrill coaster in Myrtle Beach since the days of Hard Rock park?
Guess we’ll find out in a few short weeks!