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Posts tagged “#RideWithACE

The Seven Days of Arrow Development – Day One

The Legacy of Arrow Development, Day One

With the upcoming premiere of our documentary, “The Legacy of Arrow Development” we wanted to do something cool in the final week leading up to it.

Each day, we’re going to post a new graphic, both here and on all our social media channels. It will feature the company’s “A” logo – and an important ride or person related to it.

Today’s post is of the Alum Rock Carousel – Arrow’s first ride and the moment the company shifted forever. The Legacy of Arrow Development, Day One

Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT or SHARE with the amusement park fans in your life – and don’t forget that “The Legacy of Arrow Development” premieres one week from today in the Montgomery Theater in San Jose. Tickets for the premiere are still available – get yours at: bit.ly/ArrowTixSJ

See you there next Saturday!

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Five Ways California’s Great America Can Make It’s 40th Anniversary Better

Photo by Steven Wilson

Can we talk?

California’s Great America is about to celebrate it’s 40th anniversary this year. And from the feeling I’m getting via their social media and press releases, it sure is starting to feel like the park is about to blow a major opportunity to celebrate it properly.

Yes, the park is getting a revamped 4D theater – but that’s all so far for their 40th season. A milestone season. A season many people didn’t think the park would ever get to the first place (if you know it’s history).

Maybe I’m nuts, but as a fan, here’s five things the park can easily do to make the 40th beyond just “good” – they’ll make it GREAT:

 

5.) Bring back the history museum:

One of the coolest parts of ACE’s Coaster Con for me two years ago was the opportunity to be involved in designing and curating the history museum at the park. It was hoped it would help the park do a better job of bragging about it’s history – and gave the park the excuse to dust off a WORKING model of their Flight Deck coaster.

Great America history museum

Photo © 2014, Kris Rowberry

Sadly, the very next day – it was closed to the public. All that work for less than 12 hours of total operation. If you’re going to celebrate your history – you better be prepared to be PROUD of it and COMMIT to it.

 

4.) Have roving, themed performers in the park:

Again, a highlight of Coaster Con a few years ago (for local park fans at least) was the apparent return of themed dancers and singers to Orleans Place. Even the general public stopped in awe. This piece of Marriott-era showmanship evoked Disney-like tones and really should be made permanent, rather than just used for one event and discarded.

Photo © 2014, Kris Rowberry

Photo © 2014, Kris Rowberry

 

3.) Bring back the Demon’s theming:

A sore spot with me for YEARS (Ha! It’s funny ’cause it’s an older Arrow coaster, get it?) I’ve got on at length about this before, so I’ll make it as clear as I can – the Demon MUST have it’s special effects brought back for the 40th anniversary. Bonus points if you re-create the “Turn of the Century” sign.

Demon Great America night

Photo © 2003, Kris Rowberry

Speaking of nostalgia…

 

2.) Retro merchandise in the gift shops:

Nothing is hotter right now than nostalgia – and theme parks tend to accumulate a ton of it in their lifetimes. Great America is no exception. If you’re looking for a perfect example of how to pull this off, take a gander at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, who’s most popular shirt this year – was for a ride that’s been gone for three seasons now (The Big Bad Wolf).

Busch Gardens retro shirts

Photo © 2015, Kris Rowberry

Admit it, you don’t just want a Sky Whirl, the Edge or Tidal Wave t-shirt now…

…you NEED one.

 

1.) Nix the fountains up front and bring back the swans:

Quick backstory: The fountains were added in 2001, to celebrate the park’s 25th anniversary. I think it’s time to revert the front pool to what it was originally intended as – a reflecting pool.

And what better way to class up the joint, than to bring back the elegant, trumpeter swans!

Photo by Steven Wilson

Photo credit: Steven Wilson collection, http://www.GreatAmericaParks.com

And yes, California’s Great America, I’m available for consulting – perhaps compensation via funnel cake is in order. Either way, you have my info…don’t keep me waiting.

What do you think? Are there any other things the park can do to help truly celebrate it’s 40th season? Leave me a comment below, or chat with me on your favorite social networks!


What Happened to Lost Parks of Northern California?

Many of you have been asking, “When will we see another episode of “Lost Parks of Northern California?”

Well, “Lost Parks” has been on a bit of a hiatus this year – but there’s a perfectly good explanation for it:

We’ve been working all year on a documentary on the history and legacy of former amusement ride manufacturer (and Bay Area company) Arrow Development!

Harold Poster Draft IV LOW

But, don’t worry – the award-winning show will return – just as soon as we recover from the workload of the “Legacy of Arrow Development” project!


Magnum XL-200 Filming for Legacy of Arrow – Throwback Thursday

Today’s Throwback Thursday comes from this past summer, when I had the privilege to cross the country with my good friends Robert Ingle and Nicholas Laschkewitsch to help tell the story of Arrow Development.

The documentary is coming out later this year – so for now, enjoy this great scene of Magnum XL-200 (world’s first hypercoaster) from Cedar Point in Sandusky, OH. The fire ants and muffleheads were INSANE!

CP_Kris

As for my hair – I’m pretty sure I was wearing a hat that day…


Matterhorn Bobsleds – Throwback Thursday

Copyright 2015, Kris Rowberry. All rights reserved.

Yes, that’s yours truly, Kris Rowberry – on my first ever ride on the historic Matterhorn Bobsleds. I suppose it’s ironic, considering I’m working with several of my ACE friends to tell the story of the company that built them.

Once an Arrow fan – ALWAYS an Arrow fan!

Copyright 2015, Kris Rowberry. All rights reserved.

Kris Rowberry and family take on Arrow’s Matterhorn Bobsleds at Disneyland.

Apparently, even back in 1997, I was analyzing rides for a later review…

Copyright 2015, Kris Rowberry. All rights reserved.

Your author, trying to figure out how the Matterhorn operated, even back in 1996!


Travel Channel’s Thrill Factor: Needs More Hosts, Less POV

I’ve written at length in the past about just how poor the current slate of amusement park shows are, but mid-summer this year, there was a glimmer of hope. A new show, starring former Mythbusters stars Kari Byron and Tori Belleci began filming and was being promoted on social media:

Byron Tweet 2

“Thrill Factor,” produced for the Travel Channel by BASE Productions, seemed to have everything going for it – personable hosts with a resume of quality, entertaining programming.  So, has the show lived up to the lofty expectations of both theme park and Mythbuster fans?

Sadly, not for me.

Let’s begin with the premise…something tells me the elevator pitch for this show was: “It’s Mythbusters – at an amusement park.” And the segments with Kari and Tori are the best parts of the show – as you’d expect from seasoned pros like them.

The hosts test a different theory revolving around rides each and every episode – which sounds great, but I suspect they’ll run out of things pretty quickly. But then – just as the show is about to eclipse the lift hill into excitement – the show quite literally goes off the proverbial coaster rails and quickly transitions from the host segment into a new one, where POV footage (forward and reverse) is shown.

Now, I’m not sure if the show just ran out content and had to fill time – but the seemingly random cuts to POV give the show a manic feel, as if the viewer is assumed to have ADHD and couldn’t possibly focus for more than five minutes at a time onto the screen.

The POV segments take what could have been a fun concept – and just kills it, whereas focusing on both Byron and Belleci would have sufficed and indeed, made the show better, in my opinion.

If the content isn’t there to fill the full half hour – something’s wrong with the concept. Kari and Tori – who are very good at interacting with their fans on social media and are genuinely nice people in real life, too – deserve better after helping refine one of the most successful, educational and entertaining shows ever to come out of Discovery Channel.

According to the most recent IMDB rating – it looks like I’m not the only one who thinks the show could use some off-season work:

Thrill Factor IMDB

FULL DISCLOSURE: Along with my producers on the “Legacy of Arrow Development” roller coaster documentary: Nicholas Laschkewitsch and Robert Ingle, we’re still looking for a partner on our own amusement park travel program, of which you can find our teaser trailer conveniently located below:

No wonder Travel Channel never called me back after my audition for “Travel Channel Star” back in February…this show was already in development…

BOTTOM LINE: Drop the POV segments from the show and expand the host’s time on screen – and you have the rare opportunity to have a “coaster show” that lasts longer than two seasons.


Roller Coaster Videos Moving From POV to Storytelling

There’s been a subtle, but noticeable trend recently when it comes to “roller coaster videos” online. And we think it’s for the better and far overdue.

While there are some that still continue to tape GoPros to the front of trains and then monetize (commericalize) their work – all without permits or sometimes without park knowledge – there is a growing trend among park fans to elevate the medium to a far more sophisticated level. What do I mean?

Well, check out this awesome, short documentary on Thunderbird at Holiday World:

Coupled with the work of Devin Olson Media, particularly on his “From Dreams to Screams” documentary series – the world of amusement fandom has gone from handheld ride footage to bona fide storytelling:

And we couldn’t be happier to see this trend. So, how can you help elevate the medium? Subscribe to these storytelling channels – while POV is fun, it’s telling a story that leaves a true mark on people.

Shameless plug: “Legacy of Arrow Development” documentary is still scheduled to make it’s debut later this year. Time to raise your game, everyone!