Thursday, April 20, 2006

Marineland Revisits Dragon Mountain Theming

Dragon Mountain, an Arrow four-inversion steel coaster located at Marineland, is one of the more unusual rides in existence. Part of the reason for its uniqueness is its sprawling layout, part is for some intriguing elements such as the dark tunnels and bowtie double inversion, and part is because of the bizarre unfinished theming that has permeated the area around the track since the coaster was first erected in 1983.

Some of the theming has always been in place, including the ominous carved entryway leading to a cavern containing the coaster's loading area. But other areas, primarily a massive volcano and a large recreation of nearby Niagara Falls, were never completed. Strangely enough, the decision to abandon these theming elements was made well into the ride's actual construction, so both large structures were partially built, but never brought close to fruition. Instead, passengers on Dragon Mountain have for years been treated to the gorgeous and inspiring sight of two huge piles of filthy, rusting steel that form the barely-begun volcano and waterfall.

ARN&R is pleased to report that Marineland has listened to the thousands of complaints it has received over the years, and has finally begun the long-awaited task of finishing the elaborate theming for this coaster. Soon visitors will not be faced with hideous, completely oxidized steel frameworks but with incredible scenery.

Of course, that scenery won't be exactly what people are expecting. Indeed, the park's managers felt that the original ideas had become overplayed and cliched in today's market, so they wanted to go for something more distinctive and original. With that in mind, the plans for a fiery volcano and roaring set of falls have been replaced with a fresh, creative, avant-garde interpretation, where the ugly metal supports are merely covered with a giant Hefty bag.

The new garbage-bag-enshrouded, corroded, collapsing metal is anticipated to be ready to entertain throngs of smiling visitors as soon as this weekend.