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Grizzly details about new coasters
Parks share updates about 2023 rides
In what has become an annual tradition, I joined my buddies, Mike and E.B. of CoasterRadio.com, for a preview of the coming season at parks and attractions. There are so many new rides opening and other developments this year, it took two episodes of the podcast to cover it all. You can listen to part one, in which we discuss SeaWorld Orlando’s Pipeline: The Surf Coaster, DarKoaster at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, and a slew of other attractions. Part two is slated to drop tomorrow (Friday, February 10). Find CoasterRadio.com, the “Original Theme Park Podcast,” wherever you get your podcasts.
As we get closer to the 2023 season (yay!), parks have been releasing more details about their new–and in some cases, improved–coasters. Let’s catch up with the latest news, starting with Kings Dominion.
Like many older wooden coasters, the Virginia park’s Grizzly (which dates back to 1982) had become exceptionally rough. Rather than bringing in RMC to do its IBox makeover magic, GCI to install Titan track, or, heaven forbid, tearing it down altogether, Kings Dominion turned to The Gravity Group to re-profile, re-track, and “restore the roar” to the classic ride.
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Among the changes, the company is making the first drop longer by extending the track and bringing it closer to the ground. It is also altering the angle of descent to a steeper 55 degrees. The Gravity Group will be using precut track for some of the replacement sections. It should all add up to a slightly faster, more airtime-filled, much smoother, and overall more enjoyable ride experience.
One of The Gravity Group’s engineers, Brian Kosmac, explains all of the updates in a deeply nerdy and enjoyable video. Coaster geeks (does that describe you?) should love it. Check it out.
Another Cedar Fair park, Ohio’s Cedar Point, recently confirmed that the SBNO Top Thrill Dragster, its troubled, 420-foot-tall, 120-mph Intamin Accelerator coaster would return in 2024 with “a new formula for thrills.” It too released a promotional video, although it wasn’t nearly as forthcoming as the one issued by Kings Dominion and TGG. In fact, the cryptic piece doesn’t really reveal anything other than the reborn ride will be returning next year (to once again scare the daylights out of passengers, no doubt).
There has been all kinds of online chatter speculating that the re-imagined coaster may include multiple magnetic launches (replacing the balky hydraulic launch), including forwards and backwards multi-pass sections of track that could send its trains racing up and down an enormous spike. According to the parks and attractions grapevine, which includes preeminent sommelier Lance Hart at Screamscape, Intamin is out, and Italian ride manufacturer Zamperla is likely handling the TTD makeover.
Perhaps the most anticipated coaster of 2023, TRON Lightcycle/Run at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom has an official opening date of April 4. To help park fans gird for the Grid, the resort recently released a partial POV of the ride. It gives a great sense of the highly stylized loading station and ride vehicles as well as the giddy initial launch. The video seem to go a bit haywire when the train reenters the show building, however. Must be that pesky Master Control Program.
Finally, Hersheypark just posted a full-length, animated POV of Wildcat’s Revenge, the IBox hybrid makeover of its 26-year-old wooden coaster, Wildcat. Among its much-hyped features is “the world’s largest underflip.” I must say, the element looks positively wild. Look for it just after the first drop. The zero-G stall looks pretty sweet as well.
With the new info and sneak peaks, are you even more (or, perhaps less) excited about the coasters? What are you most looking forward to?