After months of speculation and anticipation, all was revealed this morning by Dolly Parton herself for what her namesake park (Dollywood) has planned for 2016.
For 2016, Dollywood will be investing $22M in a launched Rocky Mountain Construction wooden coaster, the first of its kind in the world. Riders will experience a 0 - 45 mph launch up a 200 ft. lift hill via LSM technology, similar to the launch lift found on Maverick at Cedar Point. Following the lift hill, riders will plummet 165 ft. at 73 degree, reaching 73 mph; the fastest speed for any wooden coaster on earth. In true RMC fashion, riders will then swoop and dive across over and outter banked turns, while also experiencing 20 - yes, 20 - seconds of airtime on the return voyage back to the station. While the roller coaster will not feature any inversions, the emphasis will be placed on airtime, including what Dollywood is calling a "Quad Down" airtime hill feature. Lightning Rod will feature a 1950's hot rod theme, with a layout spanning 3,800 ft.
While what could possible be the world's tallest roller coaster is expected to open in 2018, the roller coaster's developer US Thrill Rides announced recently that Intamin Worldwide would be taking over the project from Utah-based S&S Worldwide. “This is a very important milestone for the development team,” says Joshua Wallack, one of the principle developers of the $460 million dollar Skyplex project in Orlando, FL. “After over a year of extensive design and engineering work focusing on the recordbreaking track layout and rider experience, as well as an extensive industry review, we are very excited to announce the supply contract award to Intamin, one of the world’s premier roller coaster manufacturers.”
S&S Worldwide was originally announced as the supplier in 2013 when the Skyscraper project was announced, showcasing a layout over a mile long and 450 ft. tall, with 7 swooping inversions and speeds over 50 mph. Based on concept rendering, it appeared that S&S would be using their El Loco design to complete the large, custom roller coaster. Newcomer Intamin is no stranger to building world's tallest roller coasters however - 6 of the top 10 tallest roller coasters in the world are built by Intamin. It is still unknown what design changes will be required with the new track supplier.
After an exciting reopening of the park in 2014, including the addition of the Chance Hyper GT-X coaster Lightning Run, Kentucky Kingdom announced today the addition of the park's fifth roller coaster, Storm Chaser. The roller coaster will be a 100 ft. tall Rocky Mountain Construction roller coaster, a firm famous for its IBox steel conversions of wooden coasters and wild designs.
Similar to Iron Rattler, New Texas Giant, and Medusa Steel Coaster, Storm Chaser will be an IBox conversion of the former Twisted Twins. Storm Chaser will feature a 2,744 ft. long course of weaving airtime hills, stalls, and two inversions (one of which is during the ride's first drop). The hybrid coaster will also reach speeds of 52 mph, which should prove for great airtime moments throughout the ride.
Baron 1898, the new B&M dive coaster in Efteling, officially opened today for a media preview event and tomorrow it will be open to the general public. Riders will be invited by Gustave Hooghmoed to take a seat in a cart to descend down the goldmine to claim the treasure, but the White Women will do their best to stop you. The coaster features a 123 foot (37.5 meter) freefall drop, two inversions, a 360° helix and an airtime hump. It is extensively themed and will immerse guests from the moment they enter the attraction until the very end of the ride. It also reaches speeds up to 60 mph (90 km/h)!
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In a surprise decision by the local Land and Environment Court today, Kolmården's Djurpark has won their appeal and Rocky Mountain Construction can resume building Wildfire. After receiving planning permission in October 2014, the provincial government revoked the permits saying the coaster would cause such an impact and influence on the environment that it required a detailed plan. The zoo's appeal went before the County Administrative Board that decided today that the coaster will have a significant impact on the environment, but does not believe that it will have significant environmental effects.