Monday, February 16, 2015

Building for a Big Summer

This frigid winter seems to have no end in sight, but that hasn't stopped work here at Waldameer and Water World. Construction crews are braving the cold and making daily progress on several ongoing construction projects. Thankfully, they have built some warm winter hideaways using tarps and things called "Torpedo Heaters." This week we get the chance to take a peek into couple these hideaways and see some projects as they come to life.

Back in September, this was just an empty plot of dirt. What could be inside?

It's the first set of new ticket booths! These lanes will be utilized for guests needing to purchase wristbands and Wally Cards.

Over here the Express Lanes are taking shape for guests with Season Passes and pre-purchased tickets.

Before you know it, you will be greeted to Waldameer with a bright new place to receive wristbands and Wally Cards. Look out for another similar set of Ticket Booths that will be located at the Park Entrance from the Peninsula Drive parking lot.

Across the Midway, a tasty new concession area takes shape. The all new Sub Shop will offer a wide variety of sub sandwiches adding even more concession options to Waldameer and Water World's delicious menu. 

The former Imagination Station is being transformed to accommodate food preparation areas and two guest entrances.

While guests are having their subs prepared, they will be treated to a nice view of the family-favorite Merry-Go-Round though these large windows.

We hope you enjoyed a much warmer WaldaBlog update on the winter happenings at Waldameer and Water World. Stay Tuned for next time as we venture our way into Water World for a highly anticipated Giant Wave Pool expansion update!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter at Waldameer: Journeying Into the Eye of the Storm

Temperatures have reached into the single digits, the snow has been falling, and the wind has been howling. There must be another infamous Erie Winter upon us. While we were blessed with a mild December, January has been the exact opposite so far. After a week of snowy frigid conditions keeping us inside, Cabin Fever sent some of the Waldameer Team out into the midways to explore the Winter Wonderland during a break in the lake effect snow. We had to move quickly, as this eye of the storm didn't last for long.

Our first stop is one of everybody's favorite classic wooden coasters, Comet. You would never know a massive Water World expansion is underway to the right with the blowing snow everywhere.

A winter look into the "Heart" of Water World.

Wild River or Olympic Bobsled Course?

Speaking of Olympic Sports, Thunder River could fool anyone as a Ski Jump, but be careful of that landing!

A little snow never stopped the Pirate from protecting his Cove from treasure hunters.

Some of our worst fears all in one shot: Spiders, Haunted Houses, Heights, and Snow!

Spider's tubs are in the Maintenance Shop for their annual "Spin Up."

 The Shack might be cold and snow covered on the outside, but the spirits inside are alive and well.

Did anyone inform these guests that it is 7 degrees outside?

Ravine Flyer 3 might be the smallest of the "Ravine Flyers" but we need some practice for the challenge ahead.

Make sure you sit upright, hold on tight, and enjoy your Snow Flight on Ravine Flyer II.
Are you nervous yet?

But this special ride on Ravine Flyer II is going to pause for a moment to take in the spectacular winter views.

To our right, the North End is looking more like the North Pole.

Kiddieland and its neighbors brace for the next band of lake effect snow.

click image to enlarge
Wow! What a view of the entire park! But watch out, a storm is brewing.

Correction: A storm is brewing with the exception of this part of the track where the snow never sticks, because it's always a hot 90 degrees.

One last chance to enjoy the spectacular winter view. Just a few days ago, Lake Erie was wide open with crashing waves. Weather sure changes quickly around here.

Would you dare to ride Ravine Flyer II in the snow?

A "snow bunny" hop ahead.

Now that was one Waldameer and Water World adventure you will never forget! Until next time, stay warm!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Over the Hill

Guess What? Did you know that we just passed the halfway point between our recent 2014 Season and the beginning of the 2015 Season? That's Right! January 4th was Day 125 of the 250 day off-season. We have made it over the hill, and what a better way to celebrate than to actually go over one of the largest "natural" hills at Waldameer and Water World. Lace up your boots and do some stretches, as we are about to take a rare opportunity climb the treacherous, but temporary, Mount Waveside.

Challenge Accepted!

(click on image to enlarge)
Made it to the top, but you may be asking why we are climbing this mountain? To make a long story short, a Giant Wave Pool expansion construction progress update is way overdue. So let's explore from an aerial perspective.

First thing we see is the progress on our Giant Wave Pool. Much of the concrete for the building holding the wave makers has been poured. The extension in the middle is the "peninsula" that will divide both sections of the massive pool. It might not seem like a lot of progress has been made since September, but this is the most complex section of the pool due to the amount of concrete needed for the very deep foundation in addition to the structures and plumbing needed to generate waves.

To the right of the Giant Wave Pool we can get a great aerial view of the progress on the new family restrooms and the expanded Locker House. The expanded Locker House (next to Comet) is actually the former Pizza Beach concession stand which will be recommissioned for locker rentals and some merchandise offerings. Each one of our new buildings will feature vibrant blue roofing seen here that will shine brightly in the sun.

Near Awesome Twosome and Liquid Lightning, the Waveside Grill is taking shape. You will find all of our most popular food items here as well as some new specialty items such as fresh handmade burgers and even spaghetti dinners. For you water slide dare devils, we left just enough space for a future giant bowl slide behind the Waveside Grill.

Looking South we see construction crews hard at work preparing the necessary drainage systems that will control runoff in the soon to be paved Peninsula Drive Parking Lot. Yes, that's right! Goodbye dirt and dust, and hello smooth, organized parking!

We might have a long Winter ahead of us, but it's okay to get excited for another Summer of Family Fun as we are more than halfway there. From here on out, expect the Giant Wave Pool and the surrounding area to really take off and begin looking more like their finished result. 

Until next time, Stay Warm!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Where in the World is Waldameer?

As the snow began to fly, a few members of the Waldameer and Water World Team packed their bags and headed South. Where did they find themselves you may ask?  Representatives from Waldameer spent the past week in Orlando, Florida. You might be thinking to yourself, they must be there to play with Mickey Mouse or to journey through the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but this was all for business. Their mission at hand for Waldameer is the annual conquering of the IAAPA Attractions Expo.
Goodbye Snow!
Hello Florida!
So what's an IAAPA? "IAAPA" stands for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions. IAAPA is the world's largest trade association for amusement facilities. These facilities include amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, and family entertainment centers. The goals of IAAPA include promoting safe operations, educating industry professionals, facilitating an environment for networking and consultation, and to bring the attractions industry together through conferences and trade shows.

Back to School for Waldameer
The annual IAAPA Attractions Expo in Orlando is one of the world's largest trade shows attended by over 30,000 industry professionals. The expo features education sessions, off-site facility tours, and a trade show floor that requires over 9 miles of walking to visit each booth. Before the trade show floor opened on Tuesday, Waldameer representatives went to school attending several education sessions. Topics included safety, guest service, leadership, and marketing among many others. Each session featured speakers representing other amusement parks as well as experts from consulting groups and other related fields who all work to share their knowledge and offer insight on how to make amusement facilities even more successful than they are now.

After a long Monday of education sessions, the real fun was about to begin. With over 500,000 square feet of booths and over 9 miles of walking to see each one of them, there is no time for doddling on the Trade Show Floor (except for the occasional pit stop for free Dippin Dots). Exhibits found on the floor include ride and water slide manufacturers, food and beverage suppliers, midway games suppliers, merchandise producers, and industry consulting groups.  Many of tomorrow's latest and greatest attractions start through meeting companies at IAAPA. You will even find Waldameer's attractions represented at several booths.

The latest and greatest starts with ProSlide who is working closely with Waldameer to create several new Water World attractions for the coming years. 
Gravity Group unveiled the first of it's kind, "Switchback" wooden coaster. And what is that we see at the top?
Ravine Flyer II continues to be a showcased attraction by it's designer, Gravity Group.
Speaking of showcasing, A.R.M. features XScream at their booth.
The Waldameer Team takes a photo at Philadelphia Toboggan Coasters exhibit.
PTC supplies parts for our Comet and Ravine Flyer II coaster trains. 
These are only just a few of the over 1,000 booths representing companies around the globe at the IAAPA Attractions Expo. From education sessions to interacting with vendors, Waldameer and Water World comes home with even more insight, knowledge, and new attraction ideas in order to keep the park growing and successful for generations to come.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Extreme Makeover: Rides Edition

To many, Waldameer and Water World is long asleep for the Fall and Winter.  To the year-round Waldameer and Water World Team Members, the park is as busy as ever.  The Wave Pool hole expands each time we pass by, the new Ticket Booths by the Arcade have broken ground, and some of our rides are undergoing some significant cosmetic and functional improvements.   Let's take a Fall walk in the park to see which of our favorite family and thrill rides are being refreshed for the 2015 Season.

Sea Dragon has been in dry docked for the winter as Captain Tim and his Shipmates are overhauling the venerable viking ship. From the keel to the mast, nothing is going untouched. Once we complete our painting and refurbishment of the ship itself, look out for a new operator booth and enhancements to the exit ramp to increase efficiency and safety. Before you know it, Sea Dragon will be ship shape for another 22 years of swinging through turbulent waves. Watch where you step, there is a lot of wet paint! Smudge the paint, you may have to walk the plank!

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the snow holds off for just a little while longer as it's no quick task to cover all 60 feet in fresh paint.
No worries, this boring gray is just the primer. As we speak Sea Dragon's support structure is carefully being refreshed with a bold dark red color.
A closer look at the dark red paint being applied.
Over in the shop, the ship is stripped down to it's bare bones.  Once inspection and repainting are complete, the refurbished outer shell will be re-installed.
Tilt-A-Whirl is undergoing several changes to significantly improve accessibility and convenience. Most excitingly, a new ADA compliant exit ramp has been installed for the convenience of guests by eliminating those treacherous stairs. To direct traffic more efficiently, a new queue area has been installed to accommodate more guests in a more organized fashion on those busy weekends.

Now that is a much smoother transition from Tilt-A-Whirl back to the midway.
The queue area is looking fresh with a beautiful red paint job.
Speaking of fresh paint and organized queue areas, Spider and Merry-Go-Round are both undergoing or have underwent some functional improvements. For example, we have doubled the queue capacity of Spider to alleviate the congested midway on busy days.
No more confusion or overcrowding on those busy days anymore!
Last, but certainly not least, Merry-Go-Round will have a new queue area and exit ramp installed to make way for a delicious addition to Waldameer's concession selection. What kind of addition you may ask? The answer to that question will have to wait for another time.
Everyone will still board from the main midway, but Merry-Go-Rounds's exit will now conveniently share a wheelchair accessible ramp near Comet's exit.
No doubt about it, Waldameer and Water World is as "busy" as ever as we dive into November. As always, we are committed to improving and enhancing the park to meet the continuously evolving needs of our loyal guests.

PS: Pack your bags and warm weather attire, we are going on a road trip for our next WaldaBlog adventure!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

On the Right Track

Since Ravine Flyer II debuted in 2008, the wooden roller coaster renaissance has continued on stronger than ever.  Not only have wooden coasters made a comeback into amusement parks, but they now featuring layout elements unheard of only a few years ago. Ravine Flyer II was considered very innovative to feature a 90 degree banked turn in 2008, but now new technology allows several wooden coasters go completely upside down! One might think that Ravine Flyer II would be outmatched in a tight race to be honored as a Top Ten Wooden Coaster in the World for 2014.  Well, the results were tabulated, and Amusement Today's 2014 Golden Ticket Awards have been finalized....

Drum Roll Please...

For the seventh consecutive year, Ravine Flyer II has been ranked as the 6th Best Wooden Coaster in the World!  It is a honor and a privilege have our very own Ravine Flyer II stand proudly in the rankings alongside massive mega-wooden coasters such as The Voyage and El Toro, and longtime legends such as Phoenix and The Beast.

Now how to celebrate this once again proud achievement? The answer is simple, continue to maintain the ongoing success of Ravine Flyer II through annual smoothing and re-tracking. While the Wave Pool continues to take shape, professional wooden coaster carpenters are hard at work re-tracking and adjusting portions of Ravine Flyer II to ensure a fast, smooth, Top Ten wooden roller coaster.  Our last re-tracking WaldaBlog entry showed the finished results, but this time we are going to take you through the journey of the project.
First, steel track and several layers of the wooden track bed are removed.
Next, the new wood track bed is nailed down, and then we need cut down the planks to size before the rails can be re-installed.
Once all of the wood is replaced, the steel running rails are re-installed.

Lots of new track on top of the second giant drop.

A smoother transition into the bridge after dropping 120 feet.

All the re-tracking is complete. Now the fun part, cleaning up the mess.
Add some grease to the tracks...then...
The real fun part. Test Ride!
Sit Upright! Hold On Tight! Enjoy Your Flight On Ravine Flyer II!
(Video recorded professionally under controlled conditions. Courtesy of Scott Shaffer)

Once again, you can count on a fast, smooth, and out-of-control flight on Ravine Flyer II for 2015. Thank You to everyone who voted in the 2014 Golden Ticket Awards, and more importantly Thank You to our thrill-seeking guests who continue to experience the legendary Ravine Flyer II every year.