Monday, September 30, 2002

Bonfante Gardens To Feature Rita Rudner As In-Park Character

In an endorsement coup, Bonfante Gardens (Gilroy, California) announced today that its 2003 season would open with the near-constant presence of Rita Rudner throughout the park. Rudner, believed to be the most popular actress among amusement park goers of all ages, will both appear in person at autograph sessions and through dozens of local actors wearing eight-foot foam-rubber Rita Rudner costumes, delighting children of all ages.

In connection with the endorsement, Bonfante Gardens will retheme many of its rides, including at least one ride themed after Hollywood Squares and the new coaster, Gleaming the Cube, themed after Rudner's wildly popular 1989 record-breaking smash hit.

Rudner was reportedly in talks with Six Flags to replace the Warner Brothers characters, but Bonfante Gardens, with its $200 million annual offer, won out for her enormous drawing power.
Lakemont: "Screw History, We Want Some Money"

Altoona, Pennsylvania --- Lakemont Park, known largely for reopening the oldest still-operating coaster in the world, Leap the Dips, released a press release today entitled "Screw History, We Want Some Money." The essence of the release is that the park has decided to abandon any pretense of caring about coaster history and will be installing an all new set of rides for the 2003 season.

Reached for comment, Lakemont's spokesperson said, "Yeah, 'Leap the Dips' was great for us. We were able to collect a ton of money from the suckers, I mean enthusiasts, over at ACE. That paid for quite a few parties for the administrative staff, let me tell you. The actual restoration cost about twenty bucks. But here's some news for you -- the ride sucks! It has all the excitement of a new Corey Feldman movie and just about as much commercial potential. Oldest, schmoldest. We're going extreme."

Early plans indicate that the park will install a next-generation coaster from S&S Power as well as at least two Intamin coasters and a full complement of Huss Giant flat rides. The park will be renamed The Edge: The XXXTreme Park. Lumber from tearing down Leap the Dips is expected to be used to build dancing cages framing the new giant stage. The park is said to be in negotations with Kid Rock to open the season, and is expected to be the new regional home of Ozzfest.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Six Flags Pantses Cedar Fair

Reliable sources told ARN&R yesterday that Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. pantsed Cedar Fair Ltd. last Thursday.

"Cedar Fair was just walking along when Six Flags came up behind them and just pantsed them, right in front of IAPPA and Paramount and everybody!" said one witness who declined to be identified. "It was, like, incredible. I don't remember anything like it since all the popular parks got together and TPed Visionland. Cedar Fair is totally not going to live that down, especially the Batman underwear."

A search of news stories indicates that this is the first pantsing in the modern era of amusement parks. As for past amusement park pantsings, some historians believe that Pittsburgh's famed Luna Park once pantsed Playland in Rye, New York, but, given the constricting clothes styles of the time, that has not been confirmed. In any event, there is broad consensus that this represents the first pantsing of an entire amusement park chain.

Cedar Fair, in a press release, noted that Six Flags would have to "watch its back for when the wedgiemaster comes a-callin'."

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Hershey Parks to Sell Appliances, Lumber

Hershey Parks's small chain of amusement parks announced today that it would start selling a wide selection of appliances and lumber throughout the parks. The appliances are expected to range from microwaves to full washer-dryer combinations, and the lumber selection is said to rival those of major lumber yards such as Home Depot and Lowe's.

The move has struck some as odd, but marketing director Marvin Douglas says it was an obvious niche. "We'd always thought about starting to sell big-ticket items at the parks, and our marketing research indicated that our guests spent a lot of time in line thinking about home improvements. So we expect to sell off about half of our flat rides in each of our parks and fill the space we save with an incredible number of appliances and a huge array of lumber."

No delivery or loading zones will be provided for customers. Douglas says that the parks' market research shows that their guests feel that they're more like true "do-it-your-selfers" if they are really involved in getting the lumber and appliances home.

In related news, Kennywood Parks announced that it would start selling farm equipment at its parks, focusing on cattle-feed systems.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Fiesta Texas to Improve Realism of Boardwalk Area

Six Flags Fiesta Texas has long been known as having one of the most beautiful settings of any amusement park, and its theming has been outstanding to match. But its management has always felt that its "Fiesta Bay Boardwalk" was somehow lacking. It had the boardwalk, the games, the flat rides, and a beautifully-located ferris wheel -- but it still didn't quite click, according to park manager Maria Valdez.

"And then it came to us -- it doesn't feel like a real beach boardwalk because it's too darn clean!" exclaims Valdez, clearly enthusiastic about the park's plans to revitalize the area. "So we went out to California and walked around Santa Cruz a bit. We picked up all the garbage we found there and dumped it all over that area of our park, and every day, we bus in a bunch of day laborers to urinate all around the area to add to the ambience, and they then loiter around glaring at guests -- some really get into it and mutter obscenities all day long. And after we just hinted at moving the park out of the city limits, San Antonio has allowed us to bring in crack dealers to wander the area selling our guests a high beyond that provided by our rides, with no risk of criminal liability on our part."

Future plans for "realityfying" the area (Valdez's term) include bringing in prostitutes to wander the area, the spreading of medical waste in the "beach" area, and convicted criminals operating the games.
End-of-Summer Employee of the Week Not Really All That Good

The Six Flags New England "Employee of the Week" program seemed like a great idea at the start of the summer: choose a different employee every week to praise as the best in the park. Morale would go up, visitors would see the park trying to improve service, and the employees would enjoy a $25 gift certificate to TGIFriday's.

But the park management didn't think about one problem: they don't have that many great, or even marginally good, employees. With the policy requiring no repeats, this week's winner, Charles Krisling, who works the counter at a pizza stand near Superman: Ride of Steel, is universally regarded as a barely acceptable employee at best but the best employee left at this late date.

Krisling came to SFNE at the urging of his friend, Dale Nothberg (also a food service employee at SFNE), with whom Krisling got stoned virtually every day of the school year. That tradition continued at SFNE, with frequent breaks behind a men's room roughly equidistant from each employee's work station.

Park Manager Bob Frankman, who chose Krisling for the award, explained his decision: "Krisling was on time upwards of seventy percent of the time and prepared a pizza with the correct toppings nearly eighty percent of the time. Those numbers are sufficient to avoid termination and, this late in the season, get you an employee of the week award."

Krisling termed the award "kinda cool, I guess. Friday's has those jalapeno popper things, and those things rule when you're stoned, dude. And I know the bartender at one near my house, and he won't card me."

Monday, September 23, 2002

Guy Way Too Into Old Amusement Park Trash Cans

According to witnesses, a recent visitor to Denver's Lakeside Amusement Park was way too into old amusement park trash cans. Mark Magaziner, a resident of nearby Littleton, Colorado, stated that the guy talked for an amazingly long time about how Lakeside's trash cans were "so much cooler than Elitch's," raving about the "attention to detail" and "amazing paintings on the side."

"It was the weirdest damn thing I've ever seen," said Magaziner. "I mean, come on. They're trash cans. Lakeside's are older because the park is older and they just don't really replace stuff here. And the paintings on the cans were clearly done by stoned seventeen-year-olds in about 1967. Have you seen the urinals here? They're probably fifty years old. I suppose there's some guy who's really into old amusement park urinals, too."

The trash can afficionado was identified by long-time park employees as Jon DeGagne, a visitor from Toronto, Canada, who visits the park every year (on what he calls his "pilgrimage"). "Yep, that's Jon," said Elaine French, who has been taking tickets at the park for fifteen years. "He comes, pays his two-dollar general admission, buys one soda, and spends five hours just looking at the trash cans. Occasionally we've found him, um, caressing them, and we had to ask him to stop. He was scaring the kids."

DeGagne, reached by e-mail through his website,, offered ARN&R a complimentary subscription to his newsletter, "Without Trash Cans, Parks Stink!," a print quarterly with what DeGagne described as "a lot more than ten subscribers." He also emphasized that, while Lakeside has the best North American vintage trash cans, he's saving up for a trip to Japan, which he describes as "old amusement park trash can heaven." "You should see the cans at Nagashima Spaland Mie. I heard they imported them from the great old Rubbish Park outside London, and they still have the original slate on them."

Sunday, September 22, 2002

Six Flags Launches "Switch" Ad Campaign

In what is being described as a unique advertising campaign approach, Six Flags has started a national campaign trying to convince Windows users to switch to Six Flags.

The campaign, featuring "ordinary people" against plain white backgrounds, is one of the most aggressive efforts to date to convince users of a particular computer operating system to switch to an amusement park chain, with only Cedar Fair's long-ago "Cedar Point: Way More Fun Than the VIC-20" campaign being similarly extensive.

The first ad, featuring Anne Marie Osbourne of New Orleans, Louisiana, includes her discussion of why she switched. "Windows never provided any thrill to me. Sure, it was a fundamentally acceptable computer operating system, if a little buggy, but I was never able to get it to fling me around in all directions like the flat rides at Jazzland [a Six Flags property] or give me airtime like the Mega Zeph [wooden coaster] there. If Six Flags can provide all that, why can't Microsoft?"

Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, when reached for comment, immediately purchased every amusement park in the country not owned by Six Flags, priced each of them at $4 (including an open bar), and prohibited any customer who had visited a Six Flags park after September 23, 2002, from entering his parks. His attorneys denied any anticompetitive intent.

Friday, September 20, 2002

Cedar Fair, Six Flags Work Together Against Gluttony

Terry Schrag of Columbus, Ohio, was surprised to open a letter from Knott's Berry Farm and Six Flags Magic Mountain today containing a bill for $37.51. The statement said that Schrag, 32, ate four times his allotment at the Coaster Con that occurred at both parks earlier this summer. "I don't get this, I paid my registration fee for the Con, and they said 'all you can eat'!" said an exasperated Schrag, "This is ridiculous."

The letter is part of an ongoing joint loss recovery program started by Knott's Berry Farm General Manager Jack Falfas and Six Flags Magic Mountain G.M. Del Holland. "They ate us out of house and home," said Falfas. "It was really frightening," agreed Holland, "We knew some ate a lot, but this was insane. Our maintenance guys were wiping barbecue sauce off the Déjà Vu restraints all morning after E.R.T., and the smell remains to date. And I don't even want to tell you about what we found in the splashdown pool of Perilous Plunge." Falfas added: "Apparently, Schrag failed to note the asterisk next to the "All you can eat" sign, referencing a footnote providing a maximum poundage limit of three pounds of food per person per meal."

The collaboration marks the first time the two parks have been involved in litigation together against a common client. Schrag was targeted first because he was seen as one of the Con's worst food offenders. "The crew on the Ghostrider caught him eating a thigh and drumstick as the train ascended the lift. Not only were these potential problems for the coaster’s undercarriage, the grease flying off his jowls hit many riders in the eye," noted Falfas. He further observed that the park, when hosting a Con, typically has to buy as much food for 300 people as they do for an ordinary 1000-person corporate event, "with an even more disproportionate amount of Dippin' Dots. They love that stuff."

Schrag, a computer programmer, is not only offended that he has to pay more, but says that what he describes as a "ridiculously tiny" amount of food provided only adds insult to injury. "When gamers visit my booth at trade shows, I always have something for them to eat --- a moon pie, some Corn Nuts or a bag of Oreos. It is important your customer never go away hungry."

Falfas and Holland feel the parks have a solid case. Looking confident, Falfas shared the parks' key piece of evidence: "After the Con we were short a week's worth of chicken. But this will make up for it. The guy is shown on video shoveling potato salad in his mouth on the way up Supreme Scream. What jury would find him innocent?"

Thursday, September 19, 2002 To Launch

The "definative [sic] source for all things coasters," is scheduled to launch on Monday, September 23. Featuring what its creator, Michael Callahan, calls a "unique combination of pictures, rumors, top-ten lists, and forums," industry analysts stated that it holds the distinction of being the ten thousandth web site to claim to be definitive, and the four thousandth coaster-oriented site to spell "definitive" incorrectly. Additionally, it is believed to be bring the total count of sites stealing's copyrighted images up to five hundred, a new record.

Callahan says he knew there was a void in the online coaster community. "Sure, other sites have some of the things that has, but there's not one that has them all -- pictures, rumors, top-ten lists, and forums." When shown that, in fact, dozens of sites have precisely the same combination of materials, Callahan responded, "Well, yeah. But none of them have as cool a name. And I've got free e-mail addresses. Everyone's gonna want one of those."

Callahan's last web venture,, launched on January 1, 1997, after a particularly long night of drinking, and was last updated on January 5, 1997.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

Enthusiast Hopes Hypersonic T-Shirt Gives Girl Ideas

Joel Gotto, a fifteen-year-old coaster enthusiast from Boise, Idaho, visited Paramount's Kings Dominion in Richmond, Virginia, home of S&S Power's Hypersonic: XLC, as part of his high school choir tour. He loved the ride, but more, he loved the t-shirt, which he readily admits he hopes gives ideas to Claire Barkley, a popular junior at his school.

"I don't want to say much, know. It's quite a coaster, and it's sure to put some thoughts into Claire's head," said Gotto in an interview with ARN&R. "And I'll be there, smiling, right above the picture." Hypersonic, an S&S Power-designed coaster, is known generically as a Thrust Air 2000, a fact Gotto intends to casually drop into conversation with Barkley, with a subtle emphasis on "thrust." If the conversation naturally turns to it, he also plans to discuss the erotic characteristics of stand-up coasters' restraints.

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

Holiday World's "Professional Assistant Day Village" to Open in 2003

Holiday World, located in Santa Claus, Indiana, announced a major expansion today, adding to its themed holiday sections including areas for Christmas, Halloween, and the Fourth of July. This time, it's Professional Assistant Day, the holiday previously known as Secretaries Day.

Holiday World announced that the themed section will feature bumper cars designed to look like desks, but other attractions have not yet been determined. "With the other sections, it was pretty easy to come up with ideas -- you know, Christmas with the reindeer, Halloween with the Sleepy Hollow thing, and patriotic stuff for the Fourth of July. For Professional Assistant Day, it's trickier. What, put a flat ride inside a giant pencil sharpener or something? But we'll figure something out, and our so-friendly-they-must-be-drugged employees will be there too!" said Paula Werne, spokeswoman for Holiday World. "Hey, maybe a giant slide where the bags look like envelopes! Or a Whack-a-Mole themed to knocking bosses on their heads!"

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Six Flags Astroworld to Receive Another Crappy Used Coaster

In a press release issued on Saturday, Six Flags announced that Six Flags Astroworld will get "another crappy used coaster" next season:

"Six Flags Parks Inc. is pleased to announce that Six Flags Astroworld will receive a Vekoma Suspended Looping Coaster for 2003, a genuinely boring and painful coaster that's been passed around from park to park like a bucket full of bat guano dipped in cat pee. Our valued Houston guests will get to stand in line for up to two hours at a time for the not-even-remotely-unique experience of having their heads smacked back and forth like they moved in on Mike Tyson's special friend in prison. This piece of crap has abused guests at two Six Flags parks in the past, and we're happy to dump it on Six Flags Astroworld!"

ARN&R contacted Six Flags Media Relations to point out that Six Flags Astroworld already has a Vekoma SLC, to which the spokesman commented, "What, another coaster's not good enough for them? Screw 'em, then. They can have that or another Batman stunt show with actors who couldn't cut it on the Home Shopping Network. What, they're going to go to that other major theme park in Houston?"
Halloween Event Goes Over Poorly at Sesame Place

Sesame Place, the Sesame Street-themed park aimed at young children, thought they'd give a shot at creating some October revenue through a Halloween event, as so many parks have done. And what seemed to do the best at most parks was the goriest, scariest events possible. So they came up with "Sesame Street Friends Go To the Doctor," with depictions of bizarre experiments being performed on favorite Sesame Street characters. The park had no marketing money left over for the year for TV advertising, so the park relied on in-park signs -- signs that did not indicate that the attraction was Halloween-oriented, to increase visitors' suspense at what awaited them.

To the surprise of park management, virtually every child came out of the attraction weeping, with fully a third of the parents (most of whom were splattered with fake Big Bird blood from the bird's lobotomy scene) threatening lawsuits seeking funds for what most call inevitable years of therapy.

"It's all just in fun!" said Jane Wiggins, park manager, who came up with the idea. "What kind of three-year-old can't handle a little Cookie Monster kidney removal with power tools and no anesthetic? Wussies."

Friday, September 13, 2002

Another Beautiful Afternoon Wasted Reading Rumor Sites

James Bardi, a coaster enthusiast in suburban Washington, D.C., wasted another beautiful afternoon constantly surfing through the dozen coaster rumor sites he checks obsessively. "Someone's gotta have new pictures of the vertical construction at Cedar Point!" Bardi muttered on his seventeenth visit to CoasterBuzz. During the four hours he spent in his windowless office, the average temperature outside was 79, the sun was shining, and a light breeze was blowing.

Bardi has previously ruined Thanksgiving with his family when looking for news about Six Flags Magic Mountain's progress on "X," and caused the breakup of a promising relationship when he interrupted a Valentine's Day dinner to check his e-mail four times on his Palm VII, hoping for an update on a rumored new coaster at Paramount's Kings Dominion, Bardi's home park.
Six Flags Working On Prototype "Parking Lot" Themed Coaster

More and more, amusement parks are considering the surroundings of roller coasters as critical to their long-term success. From Lake Compounce's Boulder Dash to the proposed Ravine Flyer II at Waldameer Park to the Beast at Paramount's Kings Island, the focus thus far has been putting coasters in close proximity to nature.

ARN&R can exclusively report that Six Flags is working on a new ride concept, though it might more accurately be described a reworking of an old concept: dropping a coaster into a corner of a parking lot, throwing a haphazard chainlink fence up around it, and making no effort to landscape or make the area look like anything other than a converted parking lot. But now, the generic name for this concept will be "Urban Chic: The Coaster."

Initial reports indicate that this project explains the park chain's recent announcement that Shockwave at Six Flags Great America would be shut down. Rather than being removed, Shockwave will in fact be renamed "Abandoned Lot: The Concrete Coaster" for the 2003 season. To add to the ambience, Six Flags intends to place abandoned cars, a check-cashing facility, and a methadone clinic in the parking lot below the coaster, and -- in yet another innovation -- add the overpowering odor of urine to the entire queue line.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Members of Ratt Don't Understand Why Disney Hasn't Themed a Coaster After Them

After the success of Aerosmith's "Rock 'n' Roller Coaster" at Disneyworld, the members of '80s metal band Ratt are furiously lobbying for a themed coaster of their own. Jizzy Pearl, lead singer, declared that "Round and Round" is just as important to the development of rock music as Aerosmith's dozens of major hits. "We make music good. Coaster fun up and down. Where beer?" said Pearl when reached for comment.

Ratt, which has recently been touring venues with capacities upwards of fifteen people, has released four albums, news that surprised every member of the ARN&R staff. To date, no interest has been forthcoming from Disney. However, ARN&R has learned that The Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando inquired about the possibility of hiring Ratt to represent the wages of sin in a dark ride under development.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Area Student, Hopeful to Become Coaster Engineer, Fails to Make Correct Change

Jon Yurtz, an area high school junior with aspirations of becoming an engineer designing roller coasters, failed to make correct change for a customer for the fifth time in a week, reported his supervisor at the 7-11. "For some reason, Jon just can't remember that when he's given a dollar for the paper -- which costs thirty-five cents -- the correct change is sixty-five cents. He just keeps giving back three quarters."

In the past several weeks, Yurtz has also built a deck for his grandmother that collapsed within a few days, defined friction as "a story that's not true" on a physics exam, and called Microsoft's customer support line when he could not turn off italics in Word.

Yurtz says he expects to major in physics and then go to "M.I.T. or one of those places" for a doctorate in "making kick-ass coasters."
Six Flags Executive's Discarded Tissue Examined for Hints About New SFGAdv Coaster

At a Jackson Township, New Jersey, Planning Commission meeting last night, Six Flags presented a proposal for a new B&M "flying coaster" to open next season at Six Flags Great Adventure, but provided few details. That wasn't good enough for Scott Hansen, a suburban New Jersey coaster enthusiast.

Hansen noticed that Six Flags's representative, Tom Limbacher, sneezed midway through his presentation and discarded his used tissue in a nearby wastebasket. Hansen waited in the back of the hearing room, trying to avoid attracting attention, for the crowd to clear out. Once there was nobody left, he picked through the wastebasket to find the tissue.

"This tissue is the best source of information since the Dippin' Dots guy!" exclaimed Hansen, examining the tissue under a magnifying glass late last night. "To the general public, it just looks like tissue and snot with a slight tinge of blood from an earlier nosebleed. But to me -- a seasoned coaster enthusiast and 'Steel Coaster' poster on -- to me, there's more...much more. This blood clearly came from being at great heights, and the presence of a cold in the first place suggests that he was in the presence of the great Walter Bolliger, who, as we all know, has been feeling a bit under the weather lately. Obviously, this is no routine B&M being built. Nosirree Bob, this will be a B&M like we've never seen, breaking height and speed records and, as you can tell by the consistency of the fluids, a revolutionary combination of flying and stand-up coaster designs."

Hansen was not dissuaded by viewing the blueprints or artist conception drawings displayed at the meeting. "That's all a coverup, man. They just don't want us to know the reality so they can blow the doors off the industry next summer. Mark my words."

Hansen then carefully placed the tissue in a plastic bag, using tweezers, and filed it next to the napkin from a Bob Evans Restaurant used once by Lawrence Bill, former wooden coaster designer for Custom Coasters International, and the discarded paper plate on which Ron Toomer of Arrow Dynamics once received a slice of pizza at Paramount Kings Island.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

Coaster Decaptitates Twenty-Four Passengers; IAAPA Blames Rider Error

A roller coaster running at the new "Old Oklahoma" Theme Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, decapitated twenty-four passengers, its full capacity, on Monday. The coaster, called "The Head Remover," was considered a new breed of thrill ride, most notably due to its eight three-foot razor-sharp blades spinning rapidly approximately one foot above the trains -- or at roughly head level -- at its conclusion. The twenty-four dead were the first to ride the coaster after its opening after being assured by ride operators that the blades were "just for show" and that they would retract well before the train went under them.

Spokesmen for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, or IAAPA, blamed the deaths on rider error. "Upon examining the ride, it appears that any passenger could have easily avoided any injury by either extricating themselves from the restraints and leaping over the side or by merely doing the sensible thing and wearing plate mail armor on the ride. This clearly is purely rider misconduct and should not detract from the amusement park industry's excellent safety record."
Paramount Parks to Offer Free Lettuce for 2003

Recognizing the success that such parks as Holiday World and Lake Compounce have had offering free, unlimited soft drinks, Paramount has announced that all of its theme parks will offer guests free, unlimited lettuce for the full 2003 season.

"We'd heard about these independent parks giving away free soda, and we thought it was an interesting idea," said spokesman Brian Margolis. "But this is Paramount Parks, and you're not going to get something so lame as soda from us. We decided that the most exciting and extreme possibility for our giveaway would be the universal food, lettuce."

Like the parks giving away soda, the Paramount lettuce offer has some restrictions. Visitors can only fill one small salad bowl at a time and dressings are a quarter extra per bowl (fifty cents for Caesar dressing), with Baco-bits costing a dime.

If the promotion is as successful as expected, Margolis told ARN&R that it could be extended into the future and possibly include other green leafy vegetables.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Coaster Enthusiast Gets Date

Breaking News

Ian Morgan, a seventeen-year-old coaster enthusiast from suburban Cleveland, was reported by those close to the situation to have received assent from Ann Rakesply, another seventeen-year-old, to attend a high school dance with him. Remarkably, Rakesply is both a nonenthusiast and aware of Morgan's status as an enthusiast, and yet agreed to go out with him.

"It's pretty amazing," said Morgan's best friend, Jeremy Morris. "She knows he spends all of his money from his job at KFC to go to the various amusement parks around Ohio -- and he wears his homemade 'Millennium Force Rules!' t-shirt at least once a week -- and yet she's going out with him? Incredible."

Rakesply, who is active in the high school drama club and is fond of wearing capes, was nonplussed by the media attention. "Sure, I wish he was a bit more into the Renaissance Festivals instead of theme parks, but heck, there are huge roasted turkey legs available both places. And it's not like my social calendar is full. Still, you're right, the coaster thing is a little weird."

Word of Morgan's date spread through the enthusiast community with a rapidity approaching the reports -- later proved erroneous, or at least drastically overstated -- that a Pennsylvania-based enthusiast had engaged in sexual intercourse with a woman who was aware of his denim jacket covered with patches from amusement parks across the country.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Sources: C-SPAN to Open "C-SPAN World Theme Park" Outside Washington

(WASHINGTON) Well-placed sources have reported to ARN&R that C-SPAN (the Cable and Satellite Public Affairs Network) is close to signing a deal with several ride manufacturers and Arlington County, Virginia to open a 55-acre amusement park in 2004. The park will have a combined focus on public affairs and what C-SPAN insiders call "the greatest political public affairs coverage-oriented thrills on Earth!"

At opening, the park is expected to have over 800 televisions showing the three C-SPAN television networks, as well as disguised speakers throughout the park featuring highlights from C-SPAN Radio, including hourly playback of LBJ seeking custom Haggar pants with really deep pockets. On the flat ride front, the primary provider is Wisdom. The highlighted ride, "Washington Journal," is a customized Starship 2000 in which the ride rotates approximately once every minute, features all-fluorescent lighting, and a soundtrack made up entirely of Phil Gramm speeches.

C-SPAN executives and marketing staff are said to be particularly excited about the park's initial coaster, tentatively called the "Politicator," which will operate at speeds upwards of three miles per hour and have three queue lines -- one each for Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. A manufacturer has yet to be chosen.

Admission pricing is still under consideration. C-SPAN is reportedly requesting that Six Flags, Paramount, Cedar Fair, and other major park chains make voluntary contributions to provide C-SPAN World Theme Park for free. "The public relations appeal would be enormous," said an inside source at C-SPAN. "We expect our park to do even better in visitor count than C-SPAN does in viewership, and every one of those visitors would hear "C-SPAN World Theme Park: Created by America's Theme Park Companies."

If voluntary donations are not forthcoming, C-SPAN is expected to obtain Congressional action to mandate them.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Cedar Fair to Be Renamed "Seven Banners"; Denies Effort to be More Like Six Flags

Cedar Fair L.P. will be renamed "Seven Banners Theme Parks L.P." if a proposal made by its management is approved by its partnership shareholders. The press release announcing the change explained the genesis of the idea: "I was driving into the Cedar Point parking lot one day, when I happened to notice that there were seven banners identifying the different parking areas," said Dick Kinzel, who contemporaneously announced that he would change his name to "Greg Storied." "The name just came to me. And we were sort of tired of the Cedar Fair name already. This way, we can unify all of the parks under one name."

As alluded to by Kinzel/Storied, all of the parks will be renamed with a "Seven Banners" theme: Valleyfair! will become "Seven! Banners! Over! Minnesota!"; Knott's Camp Snoopy will become "Seven Banners Over Conspicuous Consumption"; Cedar Point will be "Seven Banners Over That Peninsula Thingie"; and so on.

Company officials denied that the name change was at all relevant to the ongoing competition with Six Flags. "As if," said Kinzel/Storied. "Until you asked, I hadn't even thought about the faint similarity between their name -- involving six, not seven, pieces of fabric. And ours are banners, with pictures of puppies and things on them; their fabric is flags -- you know, like a country's flags. To suggest a connection there is just ridiculous."

The press release also announced that every Seven Banners park will receive identical Intamin shuttle coasters themed after a newly-created comic book hero, "Excellent Man," and will be stripped of all individuality.
Jeeper's Park in Olathe, Kansas to Get Next B&M Flying Coaster

Jeeper's, a small, one-coaster indoor activity center in Olathe, Kansas, is said by knowledgeable insiders to be in line to receive the next B&M flying coaster. Details are still sketchy, but early word has it themed after the Faces of Death series of videos and reaching heights of twelve to thirteen feet.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Six Flags Acknowledges Inappropriate Accounting of Funnel Cake Sugar

In breaking news, Six Flags Theme Parks Inc. (NYSE: PKS) today issued a press release indicating that it had discovered that a seasonal employee at Six Flags Fiesta Texas had engaged in accounting malfeasance. Specifically, the employee misrepresented the volume of sugar used in preparing funnel cakes in order to cover up his near-constant eating of the sugar.

"Unfortunately, he just was too addicted to the sugar to get help," said Beth Cargill, human resources manager at the theme park. "He was eating upwards of ten tablespoons of the stuff a day. Fortunately, our outside audit team caught the discrepancy by comparing Fiesta Texas's sugar usage to that of other parks in the chain."

The employee, who has not yet been identified, was immediately fired and was said to be the subject of an SEC investigation.
Public Relations, Marketing, Planning, Budgeting, Administrative, Executive, Ride Operations, Finance, Food Service, Janitorial, Security, and Special Events Departments of Every Amusement Park Chain and Company Completely Unaware of "Open Letter to the Industry"

Joe Fredrickson, fifteen-year-old coaster enthusiast in suburban Madison, Wisconsin, recently posted an "open letter" to the amusement park industry listing his series of complaints about the parks he had visited. "It was a great letter," Frederickson told ARN&R in an exclusive interview. "I really hit them where it hurt, explaining, in detail, the problems with every part of the industry and how they had to change to keep my business. I focused mostly on better pizza sauce. Since I'm the heart of their target market -- and since I posted it on, which I hear gets, like, hundreds of hits a month -- I really thought it'd shake things up."

When reached for comment, spokespeople for the Public Relations, Marketing, Planning, Budgeting, Administrative, Executive, Ride Operations, Finance, Food Service, Janitorial, Security, and Special Events Departments of Six Flags, Busch, Paramount, Kennywood, and Universal Studios, as well as independent park operators representing approximately eighty percent of the parks in the United States, all but one said they had not heard of the letter or the site.

"Joe Fredrickson? Nope, never heard of him. You say he wrote an open letter to the industry? Hmm. Missed that one," said Thor Perseue, a Cedar Fair spokesman. "We take every visitor's concerns seriously, though, and we will be certain to examine his letter -- wait a minute. Did you say he was worried about pizza sauce? Nah, we're not gonna take that seriously."  Perseus called back later to add, "What a loser. Screw him." Similar comments were received throughout the industry. One ride operator who answered the phone at Big Chief's Karts & Coasters stated that the park was considering the letter "very seriously," but he was later determined to be Fredrickson's younger brother lowering his voice to sound more adult. webmaster John Pegsley, once he was reminded that he was webmaster of a site called, said, "Uh, we remain confident that our site is central to the industry. Why, looking at our logs, it's clear that we get a huge amount of traffic from AOL executives...or at least people who use AOL."
Intamin, Six Flags Announce Innovative Collaboration for Halloween Events

In what is being hailed as a breakthrough in Halloween events, Six Flags and Intamin announced yesterday a never-before-seen attraction to be premiered at Six Flags New England. The attraction, known presently by its trade name, "Kill a Guy," will be initially launched during SFNE's "FrightFest" Halloween event under the name "Kill a Foreign Guy." In the event, foreign exchange workers will be placed on the tracks of coasters throughout the park at random times. In almost every instance, the employee will be given sufficient time to escape the approaching coaster train.

"But a few lucky riders," says Gary Story, head of Six Flags Theme Parks Inc., "will get to be present at the end of a human life. None of this theatrical fake crap for us like at Knott's. Nope. This is actual death." Story then twitched visibly and was seen trying to keep his hat on over the apparent demonic horns growing from his head.

Intamin, a growing coaster and other ride company from Switzerland, is involved to ensure the complete safety of passengers on the death-bringing coasters, according to spokesman Jan Smagby. "No, we would not want any of the people on the trains to get hit by a limb or other body part; they might get hurt! So we have developed a special harness for the exchange workers, ensuring that their bodies will remain fully together, if not fully functional, after impact. Still, there might be a little blood." The workers are expected to have been tested for communicable diseases prior to being "volunteered" for duty in the attraction, so as to minimize any danger from flying blood or other fluids.

When reached for comment, the YMCA -- sponsor of the foreign exchange workers' trip to the U.S. -- was ambivalent. "On the one hand, we'd prefer that the workers be alive and able to return next summer. On the other hand, we and Six Flags pretty much treated them horribly this summer, so the odds of that were pretty low to begin with. And we've gotten a full summer of work out of them, so it's really not too big a deal to us."

In related news, Knott's was said to be in negotiations with California officials to feature the execution of a prisoner on California's Death Row during the Knott's Scary Farm event, held yearly at Knott's Berry Farm.