Here you’ll go into the wild blue yonder
RMC ArieForce One coaster to open in Georgia plus interesting news out of Spain
Before we turn our attention to coasters, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the reigning queen of theme parks (not to mention show business multi-hyphenate, beloved national treasure, and septuagenarian who can really rock a mile-high wig), Dolly Parton. She’ll be starring in “Dolly Parton’s Mountain Magic Christmas” tonight (Thursday, December 1) at 8 PM ET/PT on NBC, so tune in or set your DVR. And get this: The holiday musical was shot on location at Dollywood. Maybe we’ll be able to sneak a peek of Lightning Rod in between scenes of Dolly hanging with guest stars such as Jimmy Fallon, Willie Nelson, and Miley Cyrus.
Speaking of the Dollyverse, did you know that Ms. Parton has a line of Dolly-themed cake mixes from Duncan Hines? It’s true. Maybe you could pick up a box of her Southern Style Banana Flavored mix today, bake yourself a cake, and indulge as you enjoy Dolly bringing yet more joy to the world tonight.
It was announced last year and was expected to open this year, but it appears that ArieForce One is on track to debut in 2023 at Fun Spot America Atlanta. At 154 feet and boasting a top speed of 64 mph, the Rocky Mountain Construction IBox coaster will be a humdinger of a ride and a surprising addition to the modest park.
As opposed to most of RMC’s Frankenstein-ish creations, which reconfigure existing wooden coasters and trade out their tracks for the company’s patented steel tracks, ArieForce One is being built from the ground up with a steel structure. It should, however, behave like the ride manufacturer’s other IBox masterpieces; that is, it’ll likely be crazy-intense, loaded with airtime, and simultaneously feel out of control and deliriously smooth.
ArieForce One’s first drop will send passengers careening down 146 feet at a not-quite-but-almost-perpendicular 83 degrees. Over the course of its 3,400-feet, nearly two-minute run, passengers will experience four inversions, including a dive loop (which the park is calling a “Raven Truss Dive”), a zero-G roll, and what is being billed as the largest zero-G stall in the U.S. The trendy element, which can be found on coasters such as RMC’s own Iron Gwazi at Busch Gardens Tampa and Velocicoaster at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, inverts the train and leaves riders hanging upside down for a few agonizing moments as they barrel straight ahead. The inverted stall on ArieForce One will apparently be for a bit more than a few agonizing moments.
Other elements will include a double-up, which will send the train racing up one hill, followed quickly by a second hill as well as a quad-down, which–you guessed it–will propel the train down a succession of four rapid-fire drops.
Fun Spot America owner and CEO John Arie, Jr. is naming ArieForce One after his father, John Arie, Sr., who has had a passion for flying his entire life. Based in Florida, Fun Spot America also operates small parks in Orlando and Kissimmee. Other attractions at the Georgia park, which is really more what the industry would call a family entertainent center, include a kiddie coaster, some spinning rides, go-karts, batting cages, and an arcade. The $13 million RMC coaster represents an enormous investment for the chain.
In other news, PortAventura, Spain’s largest theme park, just announced that it will be debuting Uncharted, a hybrid dark ride/coaster, next spring. Based on the popular PlayStation video game franchise and movie starring Tom Holland, Mark Wahlberg, and Antonio Banderas, details about the new attraction are light.
Here’s what we do know: The coaster will be built by Intamin, which has been on a tear creating gems such as Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure at Islands of Adventure and Pantheon at Busch Gardens Williamsburg. It will travel a relatively short 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) and include five launches. The indoor coaster will include show scenes and animatronics courtesy of Sally Dark Rides, one of the world’s leading attraction designers.
As I’ve suggested with DarKoaster, another indoor coaster that is on the way from Intamin, perhaps Uncharted will be a multi-pass coaster, with the train going backwards as well as forwards over the same section of track. It is also possible that riders could pass through the same show spaces more than once but experience different media.
“The team at PortAventura World has designed a thrilling ride so that fans of the game and film can now step into Nate and Sully’s shoes and go on their own white-knuckle, treasure-hunting race,” says Jeffrey Godsick, EVP at Sony Pictures Entertainment.
What are your thoughts about ArieForce One? With the addition of the RMC coaster, might you plan a visit to Fun Spot America Atlanta? I know there isn’t much to go on, but what is your reaction to Uncharted? Clearly, we are seeing a trend of highly themed coasters, many of which are including sophisticated show scenes. It is a welcome development, in my estimation.