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Topics - shavethewhales

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General Silver Dollar City Talk / 2021 Meetups
« on: February 26, 2021, 12:25:15 PM »
Use this thread to tell us when you are visiting next in case you want to bump into anyone from this site!

The 2021 season is less than 3 weeks away! Who is going to be there for opening week/weekend?

I am planning on being there the first Saturday my self.

Other Parks / Kentucky Kingdom/WA/FC Rumor
« on: February 19, 2021, 11:29:17 AM »
So Lance just posted a whopper of a rumor on about the possibility of HFEC buying up Kentucky Kingdom and possibly FC as well, while disposing of Wild Adventures.

The idea of them buying KK at least seems absolutely plausible, but I'm not sure I could see SF parting with Frontier City (even though they don't technically own it). Who knows though, it's a very tantalizing rumor.

Perhaps enthusiasts are just making too much out of a simple teaser image again, but after the craziness of the past year and Ed Hart's advancing age, it would make sense for some consolidation in the industry and for this park specifically to get bought out.

General Silver Dollar City Talk / New Rube Dugan's Diving Bell Book
« on: February 27, 2020, 08:16:30 AM »
Our very own Mark Kumming has finally produced a formally published book about Rube Dugan's Diving Bell and his time spent working on the attractions team. It is available here on Amazon:

Mark is an experienced author and is full of great memories about the park, so I am looking forward to reading this one.

Other Parks / SFOT Purchase Offer From HFEC?
« on: April 25, 2019, 09:02:31 PM »
Apparently Texas Thrillseekers is spreading a rumor that HFEC has put in a bid for SFOT and a couple other SF properties (presumably the adjacent water park in Dallas and maybe FC or DL?)

SFOT supposedly has an odd ownership setup that dates back to the original setup of the park. It's kind of like Dollywood, but somewhat dysfunctional with disputes about how the park should be developed. Supposedly that is one reason why investments have been fairly small despite the massive growth potential of the park. This is one reason why SF may be pressured or coerced into selling the park.

I don't know that the rumor has any weight, but I do know that HFEC has tried to purchase SF properties before. When SF sold off Elitch, Darien, FC and several other properties during their 2006 bankruptcy, HFEC put in a bid but was beat out by CNL. For some reason I believe SFMM was part of the deal at the time, but HFEC didn't want it, and that soured the deal.   

Announcements / Spam Attack
« on: December 27, 2018, 08:07:40 PM »
Just noticed and deleted a huge spam wave attack. Just a bunch of bot accounts trying to get through the filter to spread spam. Looks like a couple of them got through while I wasn't looking. Security settings have been tweaked.

General Silver Dollar City Talk / 2018 USA Today Holiday Event Poll
« on: November 21, 2018, 10:28:32 AM »
SDC is once again vying for the top spot on USA Today's Holiday park event poll.

This is a big marketing thing for them, so they really appreciate any votes you can send their way. You can vote once each day from any device.

Wild Adventures Discussion / Wild Adventures 2019 Alligator/Kids Area
« on: September 13, 2018, 01:19:00 PM »

Wild Adventures is getting a true HFE treatment again. This time they are taking an existing section of the park, adding a huge alligator exhibit, and retheming half a dozen smaller kids rides to make a cohesive gator-themed area.

It looks like such a brilliant move. They are saving money on new rides by giving live to some older ones, which makes a lot of sense considering how WA is already pretty stacked with rides. The alligator thing sounds awesome, and it adds to the uniqueness of the park as a whole. It feels like a big upgrade to the park without them necessarily doing that much.

I'm certainly OK with them continuing to develop as BGT North.  ;D

Other Parks / HFEC Starts Herschend Live
« on: August 17, 2018, 03:05:49 PM »
After a few years of owning the Globetrotters, it seems HFEC has elected to create a new company under the HFEC umbrella specifically focused on live entertainment. The Globetrotters seem to be the main focus of this at the moment, but obviously they seem to be looking at adding more. Hopefully this could spur some interesting new shows that may make the rounds at the parks.

Dollywood Discussion / Future DW Speculation
« on: July 17, 2018, 05:29:30 PM »
In a recent article featuring the President of HFEC, she mentioned that lodging has been very successful at DW and they want to keep expanding it. Makes you wonder if another resort is in the works, or just an eventual expansion of Dreammore.

Of course I also am still curious about SDC's hotel, but I'll try to keep that in the SDC speculation threads.

It sounds like they don't plan to slow down much with the DW expansions just because the big ten year push is coming to a close. The park is so far ahead of where they were back in the 00's, but it still feels like they are one or two big attractions away from being a true destination for most people who. They need something large and reliable, like a B&M hyper. Probably don't want to copy Carowinds though, but at least Vekoma, Intamin, and Mack are all competing in that space as well now...

Other Parks / HFEC Acquires Pink Adventure Tours
« on: July 05, 2018, 01:22:22 PM »

Interesting acquisition. They sold off Ride the Ducks last year, but now they picked up this similar business with a more niche business model. Curious what the numbers look like here. Pink seems to be a much better brand at the moment, in any case. Ride the Ducks is a fun concept, but apparently only the Branson location has ever done that great.

Interesting to see them continue to diversify, but personally I'm wondering when they'll go back to expanding their park portfolio.

Dollywood Discussion / Dollywood 2019
« on: March 06, 2018, 09:17:47 AM »

Continuing the discussion over the MASSIVE clearing taking place at DW right now, it has now been leaked that an indoor play area (Fireman's Landing for DW), a Frisbee pendulum ride, and an indoor roller coaster are in the works, among other things. It's not clear whether they are all coming next year, or if it's being built in stages, but my assumption is that a few rides and the play area are coming next year with the new roller coaster following.

The news of a new indoor roller coaster is HUGE to me. Every indoor attraction HFE has built has been amazing. Plus, if DW is getting one, that means SDC will get one soon as well! Hopefully for both parks' sake, it's not at the cost of FITH and Blazing Fury.

White Water Discussion / White Water Development
« on: March 03, 2018, 12:04:23 PM »
It's been a long time since we've had much to discuss about White Water. We've pretty much all been in agreement for a long time that the park has fallen behind the competition, and now with a new $400+ million water and adventure park coming to town it looks like it will need to somehow put up or shut up.

Unfortunately, I'm not sure how much control HFEC has over the current property. It's been a long time since I looked into it, but I thought it was a lease or partial ownership situation. In any case, it's not a big property, though they could pack a lot more in.

They showed signs of life a few years ago when they added the new drop slides and replaced the lazy river. It seemed like they were slowly moving through the park revitalizing everything, but it's dropped off since then.

Think there's any hope for this property long term?

Construction/Rumors / Great Pumpkin LumiNights at SDC?
« on: October 08, 2017, 08:07:33 PM »
So Dollywood pioneered a new festival this year, "Great Pumpkin LumiNights". It's a whimsical, family-friendly take on halloween. What I think is really interesting about this event is that it splits DW into two areas: the modern halloween area with rides and the "old" park with the DW's version of the Gospel festival and the crafts. This is right in line with how DW is set up, it's already much more of a compartmentalized park with different areas with their own themes and ambiance. 

It begs the question though, how long until SDC tries to follow suit? By all accounts the event has been a massive success already, with the biggest problem being the massive crowds and DW's small pathways. Harvest time is SDC's "calm before the storm" ahead of Christmas. It's traditionally a time for the older patrons to come back and enjoy the things that originally made the park great like the various craft and gospel fests that have been tried at this time throughout the years. From what I hear though, visiting craftsmen are getting harder and harder to bring in, and we all know that halloween stuff of any kind is so, so hot right now. Just makes sense to go after something like this. The whole backside of the park from the Lumbercamp to FL would be perfect for it.

Other Parks / Adventureland
« on: June 09, 2017, 08:49:53 PM »
I finally made it to Adventureland last weekend. As a coaster enthusiast and specifically an enthusiast of classic parks and rides, I really fell in love with the place. I did a full photo TR on TPR that I'm too lazy to try to duplicate here:

In short, Adventureland has no theming at all per se, but it is a classic amusement park with a really nice selection of rides and some peculiar old-school operations. There are no station gates in a couple of the coaster stations which is super odd in 2017. They also don't give a flip about loose articles and in some cases even tell riders to take their backpacks and such with them on the coasters.

I love the classic Tornado wooden coaster, and the Underground is really unique and notable too as it is basically a wooden coaster that is entirely enclosed within a full circuit tunnel. They have massive new modern looping coaster called Monster that really steps them up in the coaster world. After Mystery Mine, I think it might be the best ride of it's particular "type".

It's definitely a very different experience than SDC, but if you are looking for a quality amusement park experience I suggest driving past Kansas City and hitting this place up. I stopped by Worlds Of Fun on this trip as well, and I just wasn't impressed at all. WOF still has some nice coasters, but seeing Adventureland right after it really drove home to me how important all the little details are in creating a fulfilling experience.

Dollywood Discussion / Lighting Rod's Continued Issues
« on: May 22, 2017, 09:19:58 PM »
So the park is now in full swing with the true start of summer coming fast this weekend, and Lighting Rod is still not fixed. If anything, it almost sounds like it has gotten worse with the way people have been complaining. I really thought they were going to hit this thing hard through the winter and have it running at least most of the time this season. I'm sure they tried, but it seems like there's no hope for this thing. There's a rumor going around that they will change it to a chain lift for the 2018 season.

I know there are all kinds of technical challenges that we can't even dream of, but I can't help but keep thinking that it shouldn't be so hard to add a launch to anything in this day and age. The material that the support structure is made out of really shouldn't make much of a difference, especially with RMC's designs where you could add a lot of steel in one part and no one could tell the difference. I've heard that one of the issues is the heat that the launch system produces and how they have to control it due to the wood structure - but couldn't they replace the wood with steel in the areas that are most affected? I'm sure that's a gross oversimplification, but I'm still trying to wrap my head around it.

They say that in a few years this will all blow over like TTD, but I'm not sure that's a fair comparison. CP has so many coasters and TTD was such a huge outlandish thing at the time that no one was too surprised when it had issues. This is DW where they previously had a sterling reputation for ride operations, and this is supposed to be a big feature of the park. It's going to leave a bad taste in people's mouths even years down the road.

And just to run this long post even longer: the fallout is really adding up over this. The poor reviews of DW that have been coming out really show that the park is now truly dependent on the operation of it's rides. Fewer people than ever care about the crafts, shows, and charm. If LR isn't open, and one of the other coasters is down then most people seem to think the day is ruined. Back when they had just a couple of coasters it was no big deal when a ride had to close because that wasn't the sole focus of the park... Crazy how much has changed in just over a decade.

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