Monday, December 5, 2011

First Look at WOF 2012

As promised I wanted to move from 2011 to 2012 and take a first look at what is in store for next spring. At ACE Coaster Christmas we invited parks from the region to present for the upcoming season. Since the ACE Heart of America Region spans Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas we had a great turn out, and included presenters from Worlds of Fun, Six Flags St. Louis, Schlitterbahn Vacation Village and Silver Dollar City (of course).

Now since this IS a Worlds of Fun blog, I wanted to start with Worlds of Fun. But as I am the writer of said blog, and what I says goes (right out the window), I will also discuss the other parks too.

So Worlds of Fun. Now we all knew going into this that this will not be a year of big rides. However, for me sometimes that's not a bad thing. We saw how this year the gate area was transformed with the addition of the Grand Carousel and Festhaus II. Concrete, wood, and non-moving attractions may not look exciting on a press release, but certainly make a big statement to guests in the park. Like I mentioned in my previous blog, rides bring guests in one time, atmosphere brings them back.

First here's Brandon

Next Here is THE slide.

So what's on the slide...

1. Caribou Coffee, which appears it is replacing Plaza Gifts. To be honest I wouldn't be at all surprised if Baltic Bazaar was completely demo'd and a new structure re-built. While it would be mildly depressing to loss the structure, as long as the new structure is somewhat themed, I'm okay with this. From my experience many years ago working merchandising in the area, back in the 90's the structure was in bad shape. I can't imagine the situation has improved.

Here is some info on Caribou Coffee:

2. It also looks like another dining option will be located near Caribou Coffee. Though Brandon could not share any more specific details except that it involves barbeque and a local bbq chain...

3. As far as Scandinavian merchandise, the old Scandi Skees will be pr-emptied by merchandise and become a retail store instead of an arcade. Probably a good idea as the few times I have stuck my head inside there were less then half a dozen guests inside. It seems a good size for a retail store, much more so then Plaza Gifts, and seeing how Retail has handled the renovation of various other stores throughout the park I think the outlook looks positive.

4. Haunt Expansion. You would have to be living under a rock these last five to six years not to realize just how big Halloween Haunt has become. So it comes as no surprise that Worlds of Fun is making plans to expand Halloween Haunt. Brandon stated that the plans are for another permanent structure (like Dollhouse and Slaughterhouse). No specific ideas on location per say, but the story line should revolve around high school zombies. Night of the Living Dead... lives again.

5. Wacky Worm incorporation into Planet Snoopy. Well it looks like the rumors about the worm moving up the hill were right. Woodstock's Express (Too Too Train) is history, with Wacky Worm taking its place. No official word on if it will receive a new name, but it does sound like it will receive some much deserved love.

6. ADA, many updates to the park in regards to the American Disability Act. Making restrooms, queue lines, etc more accessible. To silence the few rumors out there about Viking Voyager receiving the axe, Viking Voyager looks like it will be with us for many more years. A very good thing, as those Arrow Flumes are a vanishing breed all by themselves.

7. Fast Lane, the Front of the Line Pass that the park tried out during Halloween Haunt this year will be expanded to the regular season. Brandon mentioned that 10 rides, spanning thrill rides to family rides will receive the Front of the Line pass.

8. Live Entertainment. Probably one of the more exciting developments. Over the past few years we have seen tentative steps for the park to bring back a few of its old stand-by's, concerts, festivals and now possibly the train robbery. Yes, the old Train Robbery may be returning after an almost 20 year hiatus. The park will also be developing various additional midway entertainment, jugglers, street performers, etc.

9. Infrastructure. While Brandon did mention that most of the infrastructure improvements would focus on Oceans of Fun, he did also mention that all newly renovated areas will feature the same paving stones used in Planet Snoopy.

Moving on beyond Worlds of Fun, we return to our first presenter and host, Silver Dollar City. General Manager of Silver Dollar City Brad Thomas spoke of the 2012 season and its upcoming festivals. I have to apologize as I did not keep detailed notes as far as the details. I do remember the Blue Grass and BBQ festival sounded fun, and tasty. :)

Of course the big news was his teaser at the end. He mentioned that if we should come back for Coaster Christmas next year... that there would be some exciting news to talk about. Hmmmm..... sounds very interesting. Coaster Christmas next year (unless things change) is tentatively scheduled for Saturday December 1. Mark your calendars.

Next up was Chris Ozimek from Schlitterbahn Kansas City, KS. He spoke about several new attractions that will be opening for Spring 2012. I have to say though I may not like the totally dark waterslide (yes I will admit I am afraid of the dark), the 3,000 foot rapids ride sounds like a great time. For a look at the entire line up of new attractions for Schlitterbahn Kansas City, KS for 2012 check out their website:

One important aspect of Schlitterbahn parks that Chris mentioned but bears repeating for those that havent experienced it, is the Schlitterbahn concept of transportainment. Where instead of having to get out of the water and moving by foot to the next aqua attraction, at Schlitterbahn guests can float to and from all of the various attractions. We have talked about it for three years, it looks like for 2012 the concept will become a reality.

Our last presenter was Mike Neace from Six Flags St. Louis. Mike was able to discuss the new attraction to Six Flags Hurricane Harbor next year, the Bonzai Pipeline.

You can read a little bit more about it here:

I would recommend watching the video, it looks completely insane. I wouldn't touch it with a 10 foot pole.... Reminds me a bit of the first generation drop towers.

Overall it was a good time, and I hope everyone enjoyed themselves that attended. I look forward to seeing everyone next year for the 9th Annual ACE Coaster Christmas!


Todd said...

I'm really excited about WOF says they'll be doing for 2012. The park's live entertainment has always been quality and I'm glad to finally see it expand. Things like the train robbery and midway performers really do make a difference. I hope the park can get back to attracting a more diverse clientele by focusing on more than just rides.

223seutter said...

What is going to happen with Pony's Promenade is it getting the ax to like woodstocks express?

cdevry said...

It sounds good to me!

Rob said...

Hate to see Scandi Skees going away but I agree with you about crowd levels inside there. I still remember its days as Arctic Arcade, THE original arcade at WOF. A lot of great pinball and video game memories in that building.