Joel

The Best Non-Disney Theme Parks for Kids

Since I’ve been a parent, I’ve had a much greater appreciation for the kids areas at the theme parks that I’ve visited. Even when I’ve taken solo trips without the family, I’ve noted the good and not-so-good kids areas that I’ve encountered. The Golden Ticket Awards has two categories related to the best theme parks for kids and best areas for children. Out of t...

The Best Theme Park Shows

Continuing my series of the best in the amusement industry, it’s time for one of the “grown-up categories”. I’m kidding. In terms of my theme park fandom, I’ve always been a roller coaster specialist. So, I’m treading in deep water when it comes to breaking down the best theme park shows. So, I asked my colleague Arthur of the About Theme Parks Guide for some he...

Debating the Top Wooden Roller Coasters on The Season Pass Podcast

I joined Doug Barnes of The Season Pass Podcast and Arthur from The About.com Theme Park Guide for a new edition of The Seasoned Pros List Show. This time, we discuss (and debate!) our Top 10 Wooden Roller Coasters. Our special guest for this episode was Robert Coker author of the popular book Roller Coasters: A Thrill Seeker’s Guide to the Ultimate Scream Machines and of ThrillRide.com.Our ...

The Latest on Houston’s Grand Texas Theme Park

Maybe I ‘m a bit jaded after covering proposed parks over the years that never came to be, but it looks like the Grand Texas Theme Park project might be the real deal. The Houston-area theme park is scheduled to open in New Caney, Texas in the summer of 2015. AstroWorld’s Greezed Lightning Will Not Be Returning to Houston Recent updates include news that AstroWorld’s Schwarzkopf ...

Coming in 2020: Kodiak Canyon the Multi-Path Roller Coaster

Kodiak Canyon: Roller Coasters Meet “Choose Your Own Adventure” Theme Park Tourist asked me what theme park rides might look like in the future. I remembered that I wrote about some ride futuristic ride concepts that I’d imagined a while back. I shared my concept for Kodiak Canyon; a mine train roller coaster where riders choose the layout that they’ll experience. At two br...

What Was Your Single Best Ride Experience of 2013?

With the year coming to a close, I thought I’d write about my single best ride experience of 2013. I’d also like to hear about your most memorable or best ride. Last year, for me it was quite a surprise. Even though I’d ridden the exciting new wing coasters, Wild Eagle and X-Flight, my pick was Mystery Mine’s Beyond 90-Degree Goodness. 2013 Contenders for Best Ride Experien...

Valleyfair Adding Route 76 – A New Area & Family Ride

Valleyfair will be opening a new family area in 2014 called Route 76. It will be located near Steel Venom and it will incorporate a relocated rides like an Antique Autos car ride, Tilt-a-Whirl, and Scrambler. The signature ride of the area will be a new family ride called Northern Lights. Similar to Cedar Point’s Pipe Scream that was announced a few weeks ago, Northern Lights is a Zamperla f...

Check Out These Christmas-Themed Amusement Parks & Rides

Here’s a quick tour of some Christmas-themed amusement parks. This is by no means an exhaustive list and was mostly just compiled by searching the Roller Coaster Database for “Christmas” and “Santa”. It’s probably a good thing that “Jesus”, didn’t bring back any results, but with more than 6,500 roller coasters from the past and present from al...

2013 Theme Park Year in Review

Here’s a wrap up of 2013 including the state of roller coasters and some of the biggest news stories of the year. The Year of the Wooden Coaster Comeback If 2012 was the year of the wing roller coasters, then 2013 was definitely the year that wooden roller coasters made a comeback. We saw genre-bending roller coasters with wooden coaster characteristics, but elements like loops and other inv...

The Coaster Critic Comes to An End

Life’s just too short to do things half-hearted and not give them your all. The best creative works, movies, music, and yes, blogs, are created by those who are fully committed. Last month, news had come out about a new roller coaster so I went to YouTube to find some animated ride footage. I came across a video that had a detailed analysis of the ride and all of the park’s upcoming pl...

Silver Dollar City's Old Time Christmas Event

When I interviewed Brad Thomas, he shared that nobody does Christmas like Silver Dollar City. Apparently, with over 5 million lights (350 miles worth!) he wasn’t kidding. Here’s an excerpt from a press release about Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas: One of the nation’s most acclaimed Christmas festivals, Silver Dollar City’s An Old Time Christmas presents tw...

Coasters 101 by Nick Weisenberger | Book Review

While I’ve been a fan of roller coasters for close to twenty years, I wouldn’t claim to be an expert on how they work and how they’re designed. I’ve studied construction photos and viewed roller coaster documentaries like the next coaster fan, but that doesn’t begin to really get into how these modern thrill machines are born. Thankfully, Nick Weisenberger’s new...

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