Still here. But mostly in 140 characters.
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Thursday, December 12, 2002
 
Six Flags New Orleans to be New Flagship of Chain, Reports Say

The near-bankrupt Jazzland, now to be dubbed "Six Flags New Orleans," never able to come close to even the modest attendance goals used to justify millions of public dollars in investment, will be Six Flags Theme Parks' next mega-park, according to Internet sources. This year's addition of two "previously-owned" coasters "is just the beginning," according to JazzLandRulez.com's webmaster. "Next year, it's an enormous GCI wooden coaster and a record-breaking coaster so big it's designed by both B&M and Intamin!"

"We're going to pretty much abandon Magic Mountain and Six Flags Great Adventure and focus on this park scenically located on a swamp," said chain head Gary Story, according to the same sources. "Sure, the main population centers in the region are hours away and are already well-served by other major parks, and sure, New Orleans has like a million people at most, and, yes, sure, most people go to New Orleans for the hookers and booze, but, um, er...why the hell are we doing this again?" queried Story.

Upon a reminder from the rest of his management team that nobody doesn't like a town with hookers and booze -- including those people in charge of theme park companies who are forced to travel to the parks all the time -- Story got back on track. "After a late night of debauchery on Bourbon Street, who wouldn't like a ride on an Arrow coaster too lame even for Fiesta Texas?" he concluded, referring to the former Joker's Revenge, on its way to the park. After an assistant leaned over and whispered to him, sources indicate that he added, "It's a Vekoma? Even better!"

Posted at 1:49 PM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Wednesday, December 11, 2002
 
Disney's California Adventure to Create Beach, Ocean Simulator

In what is being termed a "revolutionary effort" to revitalize Disney's ailing California Adventure theme park, the company announced plans to create a totally immersive beach and ocean simulator. The nearly five-minute attraction will feature the newest technology to make patrons feel that they are actually at the beach, including the sights, sounds, smells, and sensations they expect from a visit to the beach.

The park, located approximately forty miles from the Pacific Ocean and its hundreds of miles of largely pristine beaches, is expected to market the experience aggressively to native Californians as a "one-of-a-kind chance to walk on the beach." Target markets are primarily those living in communities such as Santa Monica -- a beachfront city where the average temperature is 77 year round -- and similar communities. "We don't think there's anything Santa Monicans will want to do more than drive through congested L.A. traffic for two hours to enjoy a relaxing day -- er, 278 seconds, give or take -- at the beach," said Disney spokeswoman Martha King.

If the attraction proves as popular as expected, Disney is expected to explore a "French Bakery" simulator for Disneyland Paris and a "Semi-Locked Down Retirement Community" for Disney World.

Posted at 10:11 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Tuesday, December 10, 2002
 
Applause Award Scandal: Busch Gardens Stripped of Title

In a shocking development that rocked the amusement park industry tonight, Busch Gardens Williamsburg was stripped of its honor as the 2002 Applause Award winner. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) made the decision to strip an Applause Award winner of its crown for the first time in history because of the park’s “conduct unbecoming a worldwide representation of fun and wholesomeness.”

Although IAAPA did not officially list the particular reasons for Busch Gardens’s exit from the organization’s acclaim, ARN&R can exclusively report that the Williamsburg-based themer will be appearing in a sexy centerfold for the next issue of Amusement Business. An IAAPA source who demanded anonymity stated that “The rule guide for parks seeking this award clearly states what is acceptable and what is not acceptable for contestants. And explicit centerfolds involving Applause Award winners are certainly not acceptable.” The spokesman also added that the “hot park-on-park action,” featuring shots of coasters at both Busch Gardens Williamsburg and sister park Busch Gardens Tampa, was considered "incredibly tasteless” by the organization.

According to a statement by IAAPA, the Applause Award lauds an amusement park "whose management, operations, and creative accomplishments have inspired the industry with its foresight, originality and sound business development."

IAAPA announced that it will acknowledge a different park as the Applause Award winner for 2002: Maine’s Palace Playland. IAAPA officials claimed Palace Playland is the most logical choice to receive the highest and most respected honor bestowed upon amusement venues, as “[its] superior image, infrastructure, rides, theming, customer service, and entertainment package will distance IAAPA from such riffraff as Busch Gardens.” An organizational spokewoman added, “It was a really close vote anyway, so we feel Playland’s victory is an untainted one.”

In making its decision, IAAPA representatives stressed the small Maine seaside resort’s “only sort-of rusted and overbraked” production-model Galaxi coaster, “at least 37%-operable” fun house, “kind-of-nearby vagrant parking operations,” food that “verges on being fit for consumption by farm animals,” and “merely occasional open fistfights” as primary factors in the park’s being chosen.

When queried about the honor by ARN&R, an undisclosed Palace Playland employee stated, “I guess with all this extra attention, we’ll have to hire someone to hose down the bathrooms three or four times next season, huh?”

--JCK

Posted at 8:35 AM | Link | 0 comment(s)

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Sunday, December 08, 2002
 
Teenage Enthusiasts Sue Six Flags: Too Frightening

A lawsuit filed against Six Flags on behalf of eight frightened Georgian children is threatening to unleash a wave of class actions similar to those that have won huge pay-outs from the tobacco industry.

The suit brought by lawyer Sameole Hush is being heard in an Atlanta federal court -- the first time such a case has appeared before a US judge. The suit charges Six Flags with responsibility for the frightening of the eight plaintiffs, saying the thrill ride giant did not provide the necessary warnings regarding scariness associated with its attractions.

Lawyers acting for the coaster chain filed a motion for dismissal, arguing that the issue was one of individual choice and, therefore, there was no case to answer. "Every responsible person understands what is involved with thrill rides such as spinners and coasters, as well as the consequences to one's airtime," the motion said.

Hush, however, argued that aggressive advertising campaigns encouraged teenagers and compromised individual choice. Hush has already made it clear that if his suit goes to trial, he would seek to turn it into a class action on behalf of all Georgian children under the age of 18 who claim they got frightened from riding thrill rides at Six Flags.

George (Go Jo) Johnson, 13, 48", one of the eight children involved in the lawsuit claims, "Yeah, they have warnings all over the place: No Heart Problems; No Back Problems; No Outwardly Visible Psychological Problems; and, shoot, you can't even have a bun in the oven! Nowhere on the sign does it say, 'This ride may be considered frightening.'" Go Jo paused to take a deep breath. "The only other warning I noticed was the height restriction of 48 inches. And, boy, ... once I reached that height, ... slam! I was the first in line." Another deep, painful breath. "Who would have thought rides like '˜The Great American Scream Machine', 'Serial Thriller', 'Mind Eraser', or 'Acrophobia' would be scary!" After being shaken back into consciousness, Go Jo finished, "I can't count how many rides I've been on or how many times I've been frightened on any one of them."

The IAAPA has dismissed such lawsuits as frivolous and a blatant attempt to capitalize on the recent publicity given to the growing rates of popular thrill rides in the United States. However, the progress of the lawsuit will be closely watched by the amusement industry, which fears it could follow the tobacco sector in becoming the target of huge compensation claims from thrill-related lawsuits.

--RAS

Posted at 10:21 PM | Link |

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