Tuesday 17 March 2015

Theme Park Nut News Update - 17th March 2015

What a huge week in theme parks we have had this week.

The big news for Australian Theme Park fans was the Green Lantern accident that left 13 Movie World patrons stranded on the ride, requiring rescue from Queensland Fire and Rescue authorities. One car has been confirmed as having an "issue with a wheel", while another was emergency stopped on the Life Hill. Firstly, can I say that we should all be very thankful that there have been no major injuries from this incident. From my understanding of what has occurred, the 6 riders who were in the car which had a wheel (or possibly multiple wheels) dislodged, were incredibly lucky. There was every chance this car could have completely flipped off the track and plummeted to the ground. This was a serious mechanical failure, and will no doubt close this ride for some months.

Secondly, we should applaud the ride ops and Rescue crews, who from what I have seen did an excellent job of securing the riders and preventing them for further risk.

There is going to be a major investigation into this incident, and I don't want to speculate as to the potential cause. I also don't want to fan the media inferno that has erupted from this incident. I don't want to be too flippant about it either, but mechanical failures happen. No one plans for them, indeed they do everything the can to prevent them. If nothing else this serves as a healthy reminder that even a controlled risk (like a roller coaster) is a risk. If there has been any issue with the maintenance or monitoring of this ride, this will be exposed in the post mortem that will occur. Rest assured steps will be taken to fix the issues.

Would I ride Green Lantern again when it was fixed? Absolutely. I've ridden it many times in the past, and it is a wonderful ride. Now that it has been shown that no major injuries occurred, my hope is for a speedy yet thorough investigation, that finds a clear and resolvable fault.

For the best Australian theme park coverage, you have to check out the parkz.com.au website. There article on this incident is one of the best I've read, and their forums were among the first to report the incident.

This has been a bad year for Movie World after this incident, and the accident in the Hollywood Stunt Driver show. Hopefully things start to come around for them in the next few months.

One thing that it does expose about Movie World, is how light on the park is for attractions. Having this sudden extended closure, has brought into question the timing of  other maintenance in the park, in particular the other headline roller coaster, Superman Escape. With (potentially) the two best coasters out of commission at the same time, the park is looking very empty indeed. This shows that this park needs to build it's attraction base in the next few years, if it wants to continue to be competitive.

Ironically, it was just a few weeks ago that we were making the same statements about Dreamworld, who had to suddenly shut their Buzzsaw ride after a comparatively minor incident.

In other Theme Park news this week, it was a officially announced that as part of the invigoration of Disney's Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, the park is going to have a brand new name... again. The park formerly known as Disney-MGM Studios, will soon have a brand new name. I don't want to be that guy that says I told you so, but we told you that this was on the cards about 5 months ago. If I was a betting man (and I'm definitely not), I would be putting money on Disney Hollywood Adventure. While I think he name itself is quite bland and safe, that is what I am expecting from Disney at this point. Prove me wrong Disney, prove me wrong.

Staying briefly in WDW, in the Magic Kingdom two fan favourite foods have swapped places. Disney has swapped the locations for Dole Whip and Citrus Swirl, in an attempt to ease congestion. You might not think that's news, but if you queued in the wrong place for one of these, you'd be mad.

Busch Gardens Tampa have announced that they are closing the Serengeti Railway to make way for their 2016 coaster addition. It's believed that the track is going to be quickly re-routed to make room for a Mack family coaster of some kind.

In Universal Orlando, Kongstruction continues at great pace. One big rumour that came out this week is that Volcano Bay (name may not be correct), the new water park that is going to be added to Universal Orlando may open as soon as next year! This would be a massively fast development, even if it is merely moving slides from Universal's Wet N' Wild water park.

Wired had an interesting article earlier this week about Disney's $1 Billion Bet on Magic Bands. If you are anything like me, it's worth a quick read.

For more Theme Park coverage, follow me on Twitter @themeparknut. Until next week, Cheers!


  1. Oh gosh you are lead to believe that theme park rides are 100% safe even though your gut (well at least my gut tells me they're not!). I guess one way of looking at it, is that they did find the fault and nobody got hurt, although I imagine that was one super scary experience for the riders involved. I wonder if the riders sensed something was wrong. I'm always sensing something is wrong, so I think if I was on that ride I'd be scarred for life! lol

  2. It turns out there was at least one injured rider, and the car was much closer to flying off the track that initially reported. It is a bit scary for sure. But you are still safer on a roller coaster (statistically) than you are driving to a theme park. Certainly feel for the people involved. In my latest post I've got a link to one of the riders telling her story on the Parkz forums. Definitely interesting to read. She has a great attitude though, so that is good to see.