No Coaster Con 2008 Trip & Photo Report
The following is a Trip report for ACE's No Coaster Con held at the Holiday Inn Willowbrook, in Willowbrook, IL. The event was Saturday January 19th, 2008. The links will take you to photos of most of the slides throughout the night. Not wanting to retype all the info, you will need to get it from there. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to try and answer the. I'm sure I forgot some things, as it is hard to listen, write and take photos all at the same time.
Marty once again delighted/tortured us with his ever whimsical puns, while Mark introduced the different regional reps and other committee members in attendance. He mentions that Paul Blick has taken over for Yvonne Janik as Events Director. 2008 is an Election year. The 2009 Spain trip is on, no details yet.
Bryan Edwards joins us for his 9th consecutive No Coaster Con. He's been with CP for 17 years now. (1992) 2008 will have a family focus. Improvements include: Planet Snoopy, All Wheels Extreme, 2 other new shows, Charlie Brown's Cafe (he thinks that's the name). about 12 of the 16 Saturday & Sundays of last year's Halloweekends had record breaking attendance. Look for this years HW, to possibly involve Millennium Island. There will be other new things for HW as well (to be announced later). The park now has a total of 75 rides. Coaster Mania will have the most coasters for ERT than any previous CoasterMania. Finally, Cedar Point will have the old Paramount Gate System implemented this year.
Key Lime Cove
Michelle Hoffman talks about the new Key Lime Cove indoor water resort in Gurnee, IL. The park will not have day passes, but will have a 15% ACE discount. KLR will be the first COMPLETELY cashless water park, indoor or outdoor, in the U.S. Even the vending machines will be cashless. Everything will be on RFID bracelets. Parents can load any amount they want onto the kids band. And if desired, they can specify what it can be used for. The park opens on Feb 29th. They are looking for 29 people with a leap year birthday to kick off the opening. They have plenty of land and are already looking at possible expansion and future locations. Their long term plans include possible franchising of their retail shops and restaurant located within the park.
Duane took us on a tour of the new coasters coming to us in 2008. He started us off with a list of corrections form last year. I.E. Coasters that were supposed to be open but didn't, parks that were supposed to close but didn't.
Six Flags Great America
Brook started off by letting us know that DejaVu, Splash Water Falls, and Space Shuttle America are leaving. Deja Vu will be gone before the park opens, but the other 2 might sill be there. She said they are land locked and these rides need to be removed for future expansion of the park. The park was blunt and to the point. Deja Vu ran like crap, and when it was running, the capacity was crap. 300 to 350pph. Splash Water falls is old and the park has other water rides, so they feel is is an acceptable loss. Space Shuttle America is also old. They feel these were not First Class Rides. Giant Drop will continue to operate. Manny (an entertainer) will be back. Miss Spy Girl is gone and is being replaced with concerts. At some point during the year, there will be a PBA tournament, and a Cornhole (Bags) tournament. These will be over in the area where Deja Vu was. Demon will be running an additional train, for a total of 3. More DC Characters will be in the park this year. Deja Vu's "line sign" was auctioned. It sold for $110 to Scott Heck. The proceeds are going to the preservation fund.
Dark Knight cost $7.5. It will be heavily themed and have a preshow. The Cars will not stop in the station (similar to Disney). The rides story line is themed to you trying to escape Gotham City. The queue will be in the Theater Royale. Christopher Nolan, the director of Dark Knight, was extremely hands on with the theming of the ride to ensure it followed the story line of the movie. It is extremely rare for a ride themed to a movie, to be allowed to open before said movie. There will be an event at the park. Probably the 10th or 17th of May. It's not set yet. Everyone at the event received a "Font of the Line" pass for Dark Knight.
Another topic covered was security. They are getting a lot more of it. The Smoking and Line Jumping Policies will be strictly enforced with zero tolerance. People smoking outside designated areas and people caught line jumping will not receive any warnings. They will be ejected from the park and will not receive a refund. The park asked everyone to spread the word. Lockers are being added/brought back to the front of the lines. No loose articles will be allowed in the stations. The 2003 Mr. Six Sports Bottle will no longer be accepted for refills. The VIP will continue next season. It costs $299. Season pass holders get a 20% discount.
Phill Wenz from Santa Clause Productions was supposed to be at the event, but got called away. He left us a video to watch. It was a pretty long video promoting the old Santa Claus Village that closed. We were given a cryptic message, that he is in talks with with some people and that we should be keep out ears open for some kind of announcement.
Pete Owens was there for Dolly this year. He said that they has over 3 million in attendance last year. Splash Country had 0.5 million. River Battle currently has a 42" requirement, but they are trying to get it lowered to a walking requirement. Targets trigger different effects. Wilderness pass is complete. They excavated over 180,000 cubic feet of dirt. The put a lot of it in the middle of the train's turnaround. This area was leveled and is being considered for future development. What used to be a long ways away, is now fairly close to the rest of the park. The path includes 3 pads for potential future rides. The park will be having it's first ever park sponsored event. It will be a 3 day ala carte event June 6th, 7th and 8th. It will be about $100 for all 3 days. They're trying to get representatives from GCI and Mack to come. The event will be open to all clubs. There will be an ACE and Season Pass Discount. Splash Country will be receiving a Bowl Slide. The zig zagging path that goes to Timber Canyon was supposed to be a temporary ADA solution. That area will eventually be developed more. During Q&A the following things came up. Dixi Orlando closed because they were made an offer for about 7 to 8 times the land's original value. Plus they got to keep everything they had there. Dollywood is looking to eventually upgrade the effects on Blazing Fury. This will most likely be small changes over a few years. The road changes help night time exiting be 50%+ The next major attraction will be in 2009. About $8-9M. (There are 3 different options. GCI is working on Cheetah. Craftsman's Valley will receive an overhaul themed to Dixie Stampede. The park is adding a 3-Point Shoot Out. In 2 or 3 years the park wants to switch from the Omni admission system to Biometrics. Thunderroad is returning to the simulator. Dollywood donated 3 pairs of Season Passes and 2 trips. They are given away in 2 "Heads and Tails" games. Everyone interested in the items pays $5. You put your hands on your head or butt, depending on if you think a coin will come up heads or tails. Play continues until the number of people are left equals the number of prizes. About 20 or 30 people played both games.
Steve gave us a brief history of the park and talked about the trials and tribulations of getting Ravine Flyer II off the ground. He brought up-to-date pictures of the progress. The retaining wall and access road alone cost about $1M. The park opens on May 10th, but for tax purposes they are trying to get the coaster running before the end of April. The reason being, that is their fiscal year end. The first rides of both trains will be auctioned off to benefit Juvenile Diabetes. Since all the families money, and future of the park are dependent on this coaster opening on time, they couldn't take their chances with an unproven product. The could possibly use the Articulating PTC trains in the future. Steve has the model from when CCI came up with the original design for the coaster. Only minor changes were made in the final design. Mostly steeper banked turns and other small tweaks.
Mary Lou gives us a history of Kennywood. Much of the presentation was done on the plane trip to the event. So, she isn't positive about some of the dates. Also, she called for someone to e-mail her certain photos. Not all got sent. Hence the slides with text and no photos. Some interesting things to note were: Log Jammer was the first $1M project; Half of Laser Loops station was cut out and used for Steel Phantom's Station to save money; Lost Kennywood is a tribute to Defunct parks. Mary Lou went on to talk about the Parques acquisition. The deal is not final yet. Though she doesn't see any reason it won't go through. They should be finalized by the end of March. In years past Kennywood has received at least to other offers, including Premiere. The previous offers, though lucrative, made them feel the park would head in the wrong direction. They feel Parques has their same vision and will continue to keep Kennywood the Traditional amusement park it is today. One big reason for the sale, are the shareholders. The park has been owned by 2 families since it opened. A feat amazing in and of itself. With about 100 current shareholders, many of them do not want to, or have the ability or knowledge to run an amusement park like their forefathers. In regards to the sale Mary Lou received lots and lots of hate mail. She shared some of the more amusing questions that she received. The land that Kennywood purchased a while back will likely only be developed if the new freeway is completed. Mary Lou is hoping that will be within the next 10 years or so. Mary Lou feels the "Taco" comment was best explained by a local reporter. It was a ridiculous comment that spoke to the ridiculous questions being asked at the press conference. She said, though she didn't mean anything by the comment, she did regret it and is sorry. She made a public apology on the 5 O'Clock news the same day.
Future ACE Events
Paul Blick, the new ACE Events coordinator walked us through the national events that were coming up next year and beyond. Unfortunately, he ran through the slides so fast, I missed a few things. Hopefully I'll be able to get the rest at East Coaster.
Western Great Lakes ACE Region
Scott talked about the events from the previous year and what was to come in 2008.
Tom was there to tell us about Steel Hawg and the other changes for 2008. The coaster is being placed in the existing paid parking lot. Tom is the 3rd generation running the park. There is 4th generation also working at the park. The flooding from earlier in the year, did not affect the park. Due to Daylight Savings Time, the park is now able to have later shows. Chaos was removed because of the costly maintenance. The smoking ares in it's place is temporary. The sites permanent use has not yet been determined. The smoking policy this year was accepted and abided by fairly well. There is no more overhead wiring at the park. It has all been moved underground. During this off season, while doing some maintenance on some duct, the worker says, "Hey what's that room for?" through a small hole he could see a room that was apparently lost long ago. 1000 square feet of storage space was somehow walled in and forgotten about.
No Coaster Con brought back an old favorite. The ACE version of Family Feud. 100 ACE'rs were surveyed through e-mail prior to the event. I was one of them. 20 People comprised 4. Teams 1 and 2 played, and teams 3 and 4 played. The winners played each other and each player on the final team received a $25 gift certificate to the ACE General Store.
Brandon from Worlds of Fun was supposed to come, but apparently had complications with his travel arrangements. We watched a video that he made promoting the 3rd annual Coaster Mayhem.
Camile gave us a brief history of the park and talked about the upcoming season. The on-ride video system is not being used. There will be an on-ride photo. As was probably already figures out. None of the ride will be over water. The water issues they had been dealing with are all resolved. Now they are dealing with sewer issues. Camile sounded very frustrated with the whole thing.
Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom
Jane was with us to talk about Mega Wedgie. She was accompanied by her very flamboyant sidekick, Mega Wedgie Woman.
Don brought along a video promoting the park and culminating the the big addition for next year... "Twice as many Trashcans". It was funny. Everyone got a kick out of the video. They are looking to expand on the Halloween Haunt this year. All the paramount rides and attractions will be renamed. He rattled them off to quick for me to get them all. But, Top Gun = Flight Deck; Italian Job = Back Lot; and Face Off = Invertigo. Bubba Gump will still be around next year. At the end of the season, Drop Zone was ruining but not spinning. This will be fixed. New logos on Racer, No G-trains on Beast, New Shows, more events, the return of pay once visit twice. (does not need to be consecutive days) New website. www.visitkingsisland.com
After many years of absence, Jeff Seibert returns to no Coaster Con. He gives us an in depth history of the innovations that Schlitterbahn has brought us. We watched a promotional video of the parks. Schlitterbahn is German for Slippery Road. This year will include the best ACE event ever. I never met Jeff before, but from the video he created solely for promoting the ACE event make me wish I was around when he was at Kings Island. This was the coolest video I have ever seen promoting an event. I don't want to ruin the surprise for everyone else. It will be available on You Tube in about 2 weeks. I imagine he wants to show it at Eastcoaster too. I'll give you more details on the event after that.
As seemed to be the theme of the night, Tom gave us a history of PTC and showed us some shots from his facility. Unfortunately, my second and final battery died about a third of the way through the slide show. He mentioned there are about 4000 Herb Schmeck books left. Most of which are stored at his facility. The funds from the sale of this book will be used to make the next book. The next book won't be started until these are sold. Tom is on a 2 year rotation with Holiday World fort their train rehab. Last season he had the Raven and Legend trains. This year he has the Voyage trains. He said the Voyage Trains have held up great, considering the intensity of the ride. While Tom told us some stories, he showed us some of his personal video from when he went scuba diving.