Saturday, July 31, 2004

Internet Expert Demands: Top Thrill Dragster, Taer It Down!

Sandusky, Ohio

An emergency executive meeting was called Friday afternoon by Cedar Fair's CEO Dick Kinzel to address the future of Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point. ARN&R has learned that the sporadically running ride may be "reimagined" and may not open again as a roller coaster.

In its two seasons at Cedar Point, TTD has been a great success with the majority of the park's guests. "The general public doesn't seem to mind the frequent downtime of TTD. Heck, I've seen families that waited three hours to ride go right on over to a two-hour line Millennium Force without blinking an eye when told the ride will be down for the rest of the day. Regular folks from around these parts understand bad things just kind of happen," said a Cedar Point spokesman.

Coaster enthusiasts, it seems, are a bit harder to please. Over the years, Cedar Point has endured neverending accusations and rumors thrown about by their so-called biggest fans. Usually contained to junior high schools and internet postings, the latest message was delivered straight to the park. Found last week by a four year old in Camp Snoopy, it was made with letters cut from the latest ACE News pasted onto bright red construction paper. It contained just one demand "TAeR DOwn top ThriLL DragStER." It was not clear if the glued on glitter and Cheerios had been added by the child or were part of the original message.

ARN&R has learned that the hard copy of the message was merely a way to deliver the more forceful message found online:

Dismantle Top Thrill Dragster

Those chilling words were the centerpiece of a statement posted on rec.roller-coaster, a known haven for subversive coaster fans, all of whom have enormous expertise in the cost-benefit ratio of maintaining a coaster in its current status.

When asked if the company was taking the posting seriously Kinzel replied, "Goodness yes! How could you not? Someone takes the time to put extra space between words like that, you have to take notice."

Park security (aided by longtime Peanuts favorite Woodstock) is looking into the background of an underground group of rogue yet incredibly intelligent enthusiasts whose leader is known by the codename "ChrisCoaster." The notoriously secretive ChrisCoaster later added, "I will repeat: Dismantle Top Thrill Dragster or use the tallest part of it as an observation tower/restaurant. I for one wouldn't mind dining 40 stories above Lake Erie."

"That's a hell of an idea," said Kinzel in an exclusive ARN&R interview. "Sure, it'd be a little tricky to explain to our investors why we have a $25-plus million restaurant. On the other hand, this guy has visited our park twice in the last four years. Such a huge supporter of the park, with his extensive opportunities to review the engineering specifications, remedial plans, and all other technical information about the coaster obviously knows more about what is really going on than we do."

This same group is believed to be behind the removal of a coaster at another Cedar Fair property in 2003. Dorney Park's Hercules wooden roller coaster was shut down just before the end of the season without notice and dismantled soon after. It is thought that the pieces of Hercules given to attendees of this years Eastcoaster luncheon was to finally prove all the group's demands had been met, hoping that the group would then cease wielding its enormous power to intimidate the park chain.


Thursday, July 29, 2004

Six Flags New England Improves Customer Service
According to recent visitors, Six Flags New England has made major efforts to improve what many felt was a park with terrible customer servive, infrastructure, and cleanliness.  This season, several Six Flags parks announced intentions to make their parks cleaner and prettier and focus on guest relations improvements instead of adding large new rides.  Amongst them, to the happy squeals of many, was SFNE.

Although sources tell ARN&R that the park still runs one train on everything, assigns seats on some coasters, keeps as surly and poorly-trained a staff as possible, charges obscene amounts for parking and food, and maintains its legendary three-foot film of raw human excrement on all bathroom floors and some paths, it nonetheless has made major strides in bettering itself.  Indeed, the park's copiously overflowing urinals all now feature two -count them, two!- sweet-smelling urinal cakes.

"We always used to keep just one urinal cake in each toilet," says an anonymous SFNE employee.  "We figured, why bother with more when the toilets all actively erupt like Yellowstone geysers every few minutes, and our clientele is of such low grade that they'll piss and crap all over the floor and sinks, anyway.  But it really makes a difference with the two cakes, I have to say.  It used to smell like shit and urine, and now it smells like shit, urine, and brain-damaging toxic industrial chemicals!"

According to the employee, in addition to the miraculous improvement of adding extra urinal cakes to its toilets, Six Flags New England also made the major guest relations enhancement of tuning the beat-up piano at the entrance of Houdini's Escape.


Wednesday, July 28, 2004

National Millennium Force Publicly-Not-Fitting-in-Seat Nightmare Over

It's a beautiful day.  You just shelled out a ton of money to park at Cedar Point, enter Cedar Point, and buy lots of crap with Cedar Point logos on it.  You've been waiting in line for three hours to ride Millennium Force.  You've already made your own succulent gravy by stewing in the sun, your ears are numb from the booty music being blasted at you by the stupid line DJ, and your nerves are frazzled from pointing out dozens of inaccuracies in what the people around you are saying about roller coaster lift hill heights.  But sweet relief appears in front of you, as you approach the gate for the front seat.  That blessed, spectacular, and pant-creaming ride on MF looms seconds away.  Eagerly you board the train. 
And then, it happens.  You squirm, you struggle, you suck in that gut, you lop off body parts with that machete, but to no avail.  You simply won't fit in that Millennium Force car, with its damn new short seatbelt!
If this scenario causes you to awake late at night, sweating and screaming and shaking, then we have just the website for you.  Our Site O' the Weak, MF Test Seat Guide: Can You Fit? provides the valuable service of explaining, with helpful pictures and text, how to test yourself at home to see whether you fit in the MF seats, sparing you the mortal shame of being kicked off of this coaster in front of thousands because you can't squeeze in. 

More importantly, there are crotch shots for your viewing pleasure.

Despite repeated requests, we have been unable to ascertain whether, in the near future,  any coaster enthusiasts will be developing any home practice products for the following: pulling their shorts halfway up their chest, wearing black socks and flip-flops together, chanting "one more time, one more time" at ride ops at higher volume,  giving random uninterested strangers lectures on coaster manufacturers and brake types, or failing to get dates.

Moonshine in Alabama

Note: Sometimes ARN&R is accused of making up stories.  To prove that the truth is more frightening than fiction we have conducted confidential interviews to bring you this disgusting deed, perpetrated by one of ACE’s highest-ranking members (no, not that one).  Some names have been changed to protect the scarred.

It was a hot day, the kind Alabama was known for in June.  The place was Bessemer, Alabama, home of Visionland Amusement Park and nothing else.  Back amongst the trees sat a large wooden monster called Rampage that enthusiasts were enjoying. But, these purveyors of coaster nonsense weren’t just having a day at the park, they were there for the annual event entitled Rip Roarin’ Rampage.

One enthusiast, whom we’ll call Tim, chatted with a friend, whom we’ll call Frank, in line.  They agreed the coaster had run great all day and was only getting better.

“It was a typical day at Visionland,” said Tim. “Good rides on Rampage, a dirty amusement park and a small crowd with ten teeth among them.”

Frank chimed in, “I remember our rides on Rampage like it was yesterday.  We queued for the back seat and noticed a badly dressed Coaster Tool in front of us.  However, with this being an ACE event that was commonplace throughout the day.”

The sun beat down as the pair climbed into the PTC train.  The seat belts were hot to the touch as Frank and Tim buckled in and lowered their lap bars.  Then, it happened.

Tim said, “I looked up and saw an ACE member trying to stand up from the train.  Of course it was a bit funny that he was too large to get out of the coaster train comfortably.  But then my jaw dropped.”

Standing in front of the pair was a rather large ACE member that was more than just “a little large.”  This gentleman stood up and featured so much girth that his pants and underwear stayed below in the seat because they got stuck.  Read that line again and let the thought of a large, pale, pimple-ridden white ass really sink in.

Shortly-thereafter Frank looked up and felt that he was staring at a car wreck.  He said, “It was one of the most disgusting things I have ever seen, but I just couldn’t look away.  All I could feel was my retinas burning.”

The aloof enthusiast tried to pull his pants up, but the damage had been done.  Other enthusiasts, yokels and locals had all seen our fearless leader put his pasty cheeks in front of everyone.  

While disgusting, we at ARN&R felt we had to share this story.  Hopefully it makes you realize that if all we did was tell the truth about enthusiasts this medium would be decidedly negative.


Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Retirement of Ricky Williams Leaves Six Flags in Shock
The recent retirement of Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams, after only five seasons in the National Football League and just days before the opening of his team's training camp, came as a huge surprise.  It surprised the Miami Dolphins, whose hopes for the playoffs have all but vanished.  It surprised the NFL, which certainly enjoys marketing every major star it can.  It surprised about seven really naive people who never leave their houses that Williams hit the bong about seventy times a day and mentioned this as part of his individuality that football was crushing.

But it surprised Six Flags, Inc. the most.  Many people did not realize that the park chain giant held the exclusive rights to create park rides, attractions, and related merchandise themed to the All-Pro back.

"This may be the final nail in our coffin," announced Six Flags rep Ralph Waldo Blurpfer IV.  "It's not like we haven't had enough financial trouble as it is lately.  But we figured Ricky was a sure bet.  Who wouldn't have traveled across the world to experience a simulator or kiddie coaster or food item themed to an eccentric running back who took eighty percent of his team's carries the previous year?"

Blurpfer noted that Williams had received "gargantua" sums of money from Six Flags in exchange for the rights to use his likeness in any attractions or soft ice cream flavors at the chain's parks.  Blurpfer admitted that it was still possible the park would create new gigacoasters and stuffed koala bears themed to Williams, but it seemed more likely they would have to cancel anything that would have been Williams-themed, resulting in a huge financial hit, but not sinking the corporation even further into debt by creating attractions the public no longer wanted.

Blurpfer did note (off the record, naturally) that Six Flags, Inc., was also considering retheming the entire Williams entertainment package to widely-respected and dominant Ravens quarterback Kordell Stewart.


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Enthusiasts Lost in Canada Feared Deranged Hillbillies

According to a pair of coaster enthusiasts, Gabe Pappas and Darnell Cleaver, getting lost on a small Canadian road late at night was somewhat scary.  The time of apprehension for the pair occurred while they were traveling between La Ronde and Paramount’s Canada’s Wonderland, and were forced to detour onto small roads when the 401 was shut down due to a massive accident.

“We were really having a good time during our Canadian trip until then,” said Pappas.  “People were friendly, the cities were clean, we were able to feast upon mounds of poutine and suckle maple directly out of the trees, and pretty much nobody liked George W. Bush.  But then we hit that monster traffic problem, diverted into the wilderness, and couldn’t find our way back to the highway until about three in the morning.  Let me tell you, your mind starts racing in situations like that.”

Specifically, the pair became convinced that wild, scary, Deliverance-style inbred hicks would certainly descend upon them and commit violations to their buttocks.

“We were on this one particularly deserted stretch of country road,” said Cleaver.  “I was absolutely positive that some rednecks were going to jump out and tell us to ‘squeal like a pig, eh?’”

“Or, depending whether we were still in Quebec at that point, the rednecks might have leered at us, pointed their bows and arrows at us, and told us something like 'vous avez une belle bouche, garçon' instead,” said Pappas.  “Either way, it would have been pretty awful.”

The two enthusiasts did note that no incidents involving deranged, inbred crackers ended up occurring on the trip, and the pair arrived at their hotel late, but with their sphincters unviolated. 


Saturday, July 24, 2004

Stephen Hawking Reverses Opinion: Black Hole Alters Matter and Returns it to Current Universe 
In major news from the world of science, noted astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has reversed his long-held opinion that matter entering a black hole will be completely destroyed or perhaps even shot into an alternate universe.  At a presentation in Dublin, Hawking stated that he now believes that black holes hold onto matter they capture, and then release the material back into their own universe over a great period of time and "in mangled form."

Patrons visiting the water park Wet 'N Wild, in Orlando, were relieved by this news.  Said patron Rupert Malinow, 50, "I was a little disconcerted about taking my daughter on the Black Hole, to be honest.  I knew that it looked safe, but then when I started thinking about it, I wasn't too sure.  It's one thing to say that you'll challenge a ride that might suck you across its event horizon and crush you into nothingness, or maybe even whip you into an evil parallel universe, but it's another thing entirely to actually do it.  Especially in a little two-person raft."

He added, "but now that Professor Hawking thinks we'll just be smashed into subatomic particles and then released in vastly altered form back into our own universe as the Black Hole decays over millennia, I think we feel pretty safe hopping on and taking a chance."


Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Six Flags: That Customer Service Thing Didn't Work, Now We're Back to Hating You

After reporting that attendance was down 4% in the most recent quarter, Six Flags Inc.'s executives had a clear message: The old Six Flags is back.

"Yep, we tried improving customer service and periodically cleaning off the raw sewage from the queue lines," said chain spokesman Joe Linnell. "After a full two months of that, attendance was still down. So, screw that! We're back to hating you, the customer."

Effective immediately, employees will be rewarded for "most menacing snarl" and "least helpful directions," judged by a team of anonymous park visitors. Additionally, individual park managers will receive bonuses based on their refusal, even in the face of hours-long lines, to add additional trains to any coasters. And, in a new once-a-year event, E. coli bacteria will be measured in each park's food service facilities, with the highest concentration receiving $1,000 bonuses for each and every employee.

"We're back, baby!" yelled Linnell. "Screw the customer!"

Monday, July 19, 2004

Fluffers Hired for Coaster Event
Anticipating hordes of coaster enthusiasts needing to be kept "excited and at the ready," the Western Washington Fair recently announced that it would be hiring fluffers for its time as host for the 2004 ACE Summer Con.
"This is grand news," said enthusiast Jacques Off, 26.  "Sometimes when lots of enthusiasts are waiting in line for their turn, you can lose some of your arousal about the coaster you're about to experience.  I'm always just pumped and ready to go for it at the beginning, but after running around to the station area a few times and then standing there a while, I can't keep up the same level of excitement that I really should.  I want to perform at the highest level an enthusiast can, and that's why I'm happy that I'll have a fluffer available to service me."
Other parks could not be reached for comment as to whether or not they, too, would be providing this helpful enthusiast service in the future.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Enthusiast Ends Up Being Ugly American By Accident
Two United States coaster enthusiasts turned out to be Ugly Americans this past week, despite their best efforts.  According to Ben Gavel, 35, he and his friend, Don Timmerman, 37, had wanted to avoid this at all costs.
"We tried, we failed," said a despairing Gavel.
Claimed the enthusiast, "we did our best not to be typical jerk American tourists.  We both tried to study enough books on Spanish and German to make ourselves reasonably conversant and not make locals switch to English.  And we also read books on customs so we wouldn't insult anyone.  We were certain never to openly disparage anything and look like asses.  But then we ran into to trouble."
The trouble, according to Gavel, was when a raging thunderstorm hit Barcelona's Port Aventura, right as the pair of enthusiasts was waiting in line for Dragon Kahn, the park's signature looping coaster.
"We'd been waiting there patiently for a few minutes," he said.  "The rain was obviously not letting up for a while, but we figured we'd just stay there until it stopped and the ride got going again.  But then one of the ride ops said something extensive in Spanish and the gates opened.  We were like, huh, well, maybe they run it in the rain?  Heck, why not!  And we sat down.  That's when everyone started pointing and laughing, and the op had to angrily point for us to get off.  How awful.  How rude."
Apparently, the long-winded Spanish explanation was not a call to board the ride, but was the following: "We do not anticipate the ride opening for some time.  You may wait in the station as long as you choose, but we do not guarantee how long it will be.  We shall open the gates for you to walk through and leave via the exit ramp if you choose.  Thank you."
"We didn't know Spanish well enough to catch all that," said Gavel.  "Damn it!  We were tricked into being Ugly Americans!  Tricked, I tell you!"

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Feed Me Manflesh, Demands Shamu

Long a fixture of family fun at Sea World, the killer whale Shamu created quite a stir this week with his demand to have his diet of mackerel and squid supplemented with human flesh.

"I'm sick of this crap," noted the mighty Orca from his holding tank. "You splash around for four shows a day and then try to subsist on these stupid little fish and mollusks. They better set me up with the good shit. I won't perform again until Sea World agrees to provide me with succulent and tender manflesh at least once per week."

Shamu noted that he would prefer to dine upon full-sized men, but would probably be willing to compromise by feasting upon a bratty child each week, so long as the meat was "uniformly scrumptious and juicy."

At press time, Sea World employees had not officially responded to Shamu's demands; it is assumed that the park is calculating whether the loss of revenue from patrons not coming to the park due to Shamu's lack of performances would outweigh the loss of revenue from patrons not coming to the park due to the possibility that they might be fed to Shamu.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Helpful Tips on How to Make a Crappy Site for Your Amusement Park

For the second day in a row, ARN&R presents an insightful discussion on a real-life issue. Yesterday it was the ACE elections, today it's how to make your official amusement park website absolutely as shitty as humanly possible!

Follow these tips and you, too, could make visitors erupt in scathing peals of laughter:

1) Make the design costs as cheap as possible. Give five bucks to some stoner working the counter at Little Ceaser's and tell him to slap some stuff together in under six minutes. Or, better yet, let your cat do it.

2) Don't put any useful information on your website. You don't want people to actually come visit the park and give you money, do you? Be sure not to list the hours of operation or the cost of ride tickets. (You may feel free, however, to list the group rates, as this will get the school group brats in to irritate ordinary patrons who decide to come even after viewing your useless website.)

3) We can't stress this enough, because it's the single most important step in making sure no one ever comes back to view your website ever again: please, please, please have a really obnoxious MIDI song blasting on each and every page. If a potential visitor fails to ram their fist or a nearby friend's head through the monitor within five seconds of reaching your home page, then you have failed miserably.

An excellent example of an amusmement park website that fulfills all these criteria to the fullest potential is the one for Sylvan Beach Amusement Park, our Site O' the Weak. Follow the example of this website, and soon, you, too, can be designing a really crummy website for your very own park!


[Editor's Note: Another superb example of a terrible park site would, of course, be the Only in America website, though its failure to use a bad soundtrack leaves it just short of Sylvan Beach for this week's award.]

Monday, July 12, 2004

Courtney Love Accused Of Attacking Ninja

Los Angeles police this morning confirmed reports that Courtney Love was arrested on Friday at Six Flags Magic Mountain after attacking the park's inverted "Ninja" roller coaster. The attack reportedly occurred after the coaster failed to show Love what she termed "proper Ninja respect" and further refused her repeated requests that it "get all Ralph Macchio" on another park guest who observed that Love's recent solo album "blew chunks."

Love initially approached the coaster around noon and ceremoniously bowed to it in a manner based on the obscure Filipino martial art known as arnis, expecting the coaster to reciprocate with a formal Ninja bow. The coaster, however, simply continued to operate, entirely ignoring her entreaties to "Bow, you piece of sh*t!"

Things got worse when season pass holder Shawn Fanelli recognized the rocker while standing in line. Fanelli, who recently purchased Love's solo release "America's Sweetheart," yelled "Hey, Courtney! Your new album sucks ass! Guess you shouldn't have offed Kurt [Cobain]!"

Love, outraged, initially sought to attack Fanelli herself, but then remembered the terms of her bond from one of her many recent arrests. She instead urged Ninja to attack Fanelli in the mode of Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio "to protect [Love's] honor." Ninja again ignored her requests and continued to operate as a simple suspended coaster.

At that point, Love lost control and ran at Ninja's first car, screaming and flailing about, holding a broken bottle. She was struck by the car and instantly knocked unconscious, with over a dozen items of drug paraphernalia falling out of her pockets.

Love is scheduled to be arraigned later today.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Enthusiast Apprehensive About Relationship After Rye Playland Visit

According to sources close to Guy Walter, the longtime coaster enthusiast is "somewhat apprehensive" about the future status of the relationship he has with his current girlfriend, Shannon.

"Everything seemed to be going really well," Walter noted. "Shannon's really cute and bright, and she actually makes about eight times the amount of money I do, so maybe she could function as a sugar momma for my coaster trips. But then she agreed to visit Rye Playland with me, and things turned sour."

Apparently, Walter's daydream became a nightmare when the couple rode on the park's exceptionally modest coasters, the wooden Dragon and the Crazy Mouse.

"She was terrified of both of them," he wailed. "Utterly terrified! She had to sit on a bench, and she was shaking, and then she said she liked me a lot, but she'd never ride another coaster with me ever again."

"She was scared of a friggin' mouse!" Walter screamed out, after a moment of silence. "A mouse! Augh!"

Walter stated that the situation was still up in the air. "I was initially just sick to my stomach over the whole thing," he said. "But Shannon's pretty hot, and she puts up with my hobby, and, much more importantly, dropped the terms 'enthusiasses,' 'upstop wheels,' and 'tick rides' in conversation recently. I guess I'll probably keep her around."

Cheney Blames Edwards For Lame-Ass BORG Name

In a strongly-worded statement, Vice President Dick Cheney today blamed Democratic VP candidate John Edwards for what Cheney called "the totally lame-ass name for [relocated Vekoma flyer] BORG Assimilator at Paramounts Carowinds" in Edwards's home states of North and South Carolina.

"The fuzzyheaded liberal thinking of trial lawyer John Edwards leads to the abandonment of just fine names like Stealth and selection of something called BORG Assimilator," said Cheney, gesturing wildly and cursing regularly. "Idiot punks like trial lawyer Edwards just love this sort of thing and probably threatened to sue Paramount if they didn't name it BORG Assimilator. Goddamn trial lawyers."

"Did I mention that he's a trial lawyer?" Cheney added later. "He can go f*ck himself."

Edwards, running his hands through his luxurious head of hair, denied Cheney's charges. "I didn't have anything to do with the theming, though I wish I had, since the theming is all part of making one America. What Mr. Cheney may not understand is that my father worked in a mill, and that, as the son of a mill owner, I resent the idea that theming this roller coaster to a television show popular among those who work in mills is a bad idea."

Monday, July 05, 2004

Enthusiast At National Fireworks Distracted

Long-time coaster enthusiast Martin Staples, traveling with a church youth group, braved rain and winds last night to attend the fireworks on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. While the magnificent display unfolded overhead, however, Staples could think of nothing other than the fact that, if the Smithsonian (much of which is located along the Mall) had a coaster, it would have had virtually no lines.

"Man, that would've been awesome," said Staples, who ended up watching only approximately a fifth of the display, spending most of his time jumping to look over the crowds at what he described as "potential lift hill sites" and "possible station locations" for an Intamin hypercoaster. "All these suckers would be watching the display and feeling a sense of national unity, and I would just be in airtime heaven. That would totally kick ass."

Staples has previously thought that Muir Woods National Park in northern California would have been better with a GCI twister and, just a few days ago while on the same trip, tried to determine whether a giant Top Scan would have fit inside the National Cathedral in northwest Washington.