Rocky Mountain Construction designs some of the best roller coasters in the world. Here are some first-person POV videos, from newest to oldest: Wildfire, Kolmården (T); Lightning Rod, Dollywood (T); Joker, SF Discovery Kingdom (IR); Storm Chaser, Kentucky Kingdom (IR); Wicked Cyclone, SF New England (IR); Twisted Colossus, SF Magic Mountain (IR); Goliath, SF Great America (T); Medusa Steel Coaster, SF Mexico (IR); Iron Rattler, SF Fiesta Texas (IR); Outlaw Run, Silver Dollar City (T); New Texas Giant, SF Over Texas (IR). [more inside]
Just How Tall Can Roller Coasters Get? The New York Times tests out four Giga Coasters, super-tall roller coasters built for altitude, speed, and airtime. And there's video of each, so strap in. [more inside]
"Disney's Haunted Mansion has a devoted fan following. I get it. It's a classic attraction packed with beautiful artwork, memorable and creepy characters, and grand rooms with tons to look at. Even though I've gone on the ride dozens of times at Disneyland, I still come across new things. The ride is deserving of piles of fan art so I've gathered not quite 999 spooktacular examples from around the web. From Ghost Hosts, to Hitchhiking Ghosts, to Madame Leota – it's all right here. Ignore the hot and cold running chills and browse the below gallery." [more inside]
"The train would head back into the heart of the mountain, where more volcanic geysers lay in wait, followed by an earthquake – with a disorienting, rotating tunnel. Escaping this, the ride continued over a truly scary trestle, suspended over the ocean below, into the final scene, an indoor tropical thunderstorm, replete with lightning and strong gusts of wind. Exiting into the sunlight again, the farewell touch was the 'Goony Bird' – sitting on a clutch of cartoonish, oversized eggs – who chirped, 'Thank you for riding with us!'" [more inside]
Collectors Weekly takes a look at dark rides. "Most roller coasters put their stomach-dropping slopes and brain-twisting loops front and center for all the world to see. But the amusement-park attractions known as “dark rides” keep their thrills hidden. As you’re standing in line for a tour of a haunted house full of ghosts and ghouls, a high-seas adventure with pirates, or a ride on the range with gun-slinging cowboys of the Wild West, all you can see are the riders in front of you, who get into little cars before disappearing through swinging doors into the dark. You hear the sounds of screams and shrieks coming from within. And then, an empty car arrives, stopping before you with a mechanical ka-thunk. You’re next."
"The Texas SkyScreamer is now the park’s tallest attraction at 400 feet and will hold a world record title as the tallest tower swing ride in the world. Up to twenty-four riders sit in open-air swings while spinning in a 124-foot circle at speeds up to 35 mph. At its 40 story peak, guests have the ultimate view of the Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth." Watch it in action.
Plenty of people collect Disneyana, the toys, books, animation cels, and theme-park souvenirs. Then there are those fans who collect information and details on the Disney parks themselves, collecting official park maps or drawing up their own ride blueprints, assembling the design history behind the attractions, and even collecting vintage tickets and ticket books. Yesterland (previously: 1, 2, 3) is an ever-growing collection of Disneyland history, and has an updated collection of links to similar fan sites and Imagineering blogs, which is a whole collection of rabbit holes of nostalgia and behind-the-scense information. So grab a riding crop and pretend like it's the 60s all over again!
Elwin Wilson burned crosses. He threw jack handles at kids. He hung black dolls in nooses. He threw eggs at men. He beat people up at bus stations - people who would one day become United States Congressmen. He lay in wait for the Freedom Riders in Rock Hill, SC ( more Freedom Rides video 1, 2). And now Elwin Wilson is apologizing for what he did.
Sure, you're sad that Astroland at Coney Island has closed for good. But buck up, l'il Astro-nut! You can buy the rides and build your own! (Astroland's website is still active for now.)
Can't afford to get to Disney this year? Worry not: ride the rides on YouTube. There's The Haunted Mansion, The Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, The Tower of Terror, Peter Pan and plenty more. The best, though, are the ride-throughs for rides that are no longer there: EPCOT's Horizons, World of Motion and original Imagination are ones I remember vividly from my childhood. Maybe you will too.
It's a Big World After All. The Disneyland Small World ride is going to be closed for 10 months in 2008 due to refurbishing. The main reason for the refurbishing: the ride isn't built to accommodate today's average passengers' body weights.
Bike Hacks! Bored with your generic two-wheeler? Check out this collection of funky bicycle modifications. My favorite is the grocery cart.
Virtual Space Mountain! Wheeeee! (Click on the second video where you sit in front. What are you, a wuss?) Real video just can't do Space Mountain justice, but it does a pretty good job of capturing some other rides. Feel like revisiting some original Magic Kingdom rides without leaving home? Well here you go... Pirates, Mr. Toad, Small World, Haunted Mansion, Tiki Room, Thunder Mountain, Star Tours, Indiana Jones, Alice in Wonderland, The Jungle Cruise, Matterhorn, Roger Rabbit, the late Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse and a bunch of people covered in lightbulbs dancing to the world's most excruciatingly annoying synthesized music. During your virtual day at the park, please just remember to watch out for Goofy. That dude is nothing but a messed up troublemaker. And don't forget... the parking trams do not go to aisles B as in Bambi & C as in Cinderella.
Eejanaika the world's tallest, fastest [video] and longest 4th Dimension roller coaster. Google video. Stats.
CoasterSims.com. Just because nature is full of icy death outside doesn't mean you can't sit in your computer chair and scream like a damn fool on a roller coaster.
Danny's Land: a blog of amusement park, ride theory and oddball transportation links.
Yesterland. Discontinued Disneyland attractions. And make your restaurant reservations early for Casa de Fritos.
Coney Island, home to the Mermaid Parade, the nation's oldest and best wooden roller coaster, a swell new music festival, and Sideshow freaks so empowered they even teach classes. The park has a rich history, and the future? ...