^ Not today, apparently!
But thank you.
Ok, so I know it has been a long
time since I have done a SFMM Update, and for that, I’m sorry! I used to pride myself on the frequency of updates and most definitely have lost that. But Life gets in the way, at times. *shakes fist at Life*
That being said, it isn’t doing anybody anything to dwell on that, especially when I DO have a SFMM Update ready for you today! 2007 is finally coming to a close and the park is already in full swing getting ready for the 2008 season. With rides coming out, rides going in, and rides getting painted, there’s plenty to update on today! So without further adieu, ONWARD!!!
This year was a most interesting
year, to say the least. It was the first time the park seemed to exhibit signs of TLC in a long
time. From Ninja (and now Viper) getting painted, to Psyclone (and now Flashback) coming down, many little modernization and refurbishment projects went on throughout the entire park.
What’s missing here?
With a focus on refurbishments, “New in 2007!” projects were a few—a Cold Stone, Johnny Rockets, the Justice League Feast (which was more sparingly open then the other two), and a Wii sample center, which is now closed. And a few projects were postponed for next year or fell-through, such as the return of the Metro and Valencia Falls.
Disappointingly, the Metro still sits dormant.
Operations were, as much as I hate the metaphor, a roller coaster ride of performance. As what seems to be the trend, operations slowly but surely improved from New Years to summer. Though rocky in the summer, they appeared as if they may hold steady. Regrettably by the time Fright Fest had smashed into the operators, the park was defeated. November and December, the park picked up the pieces and again, prepared for the uphill climb that will most likely repeat in 2008.
A “Take your Photo with Mr. and Mrs. Claus” photo op at the front of the park.
Though this is the case, I am personally optimistic for 2008. But let’s explore it together, shall we?—
So as it has been reported, in the past few weeks a bright, baby-blue wall has been erected around the Thomas Town location and Granny Gran Prix is no more. The tractors are busy chugging away, doing their thing to the dirt, and construction markers (everybody’s favorite!) are already popping up everywhere.
The wall starts to the right of Fort LeJohn (notice the absence of Gran Prix’s barn)….
….continues around the location of the Water Massage place (which is now at the former “Woody’s Signs” location, officially ending crafts at Magic Mountain)….
…and then tucks around the entrance of Goliath Jr.
For those who are curious enough, there is no wall on the other side of the Petting Zoo barn, leaving a wide window into the construction zone.
Our little construction marker friends are beginning to sprout up!
A few trees are marked for removal, but I’m very pleased to see that some are staying.
I’m not a “tree hugger”, by any means, but trees around a ride do provide a feeling of natural growth and permanence. A feeling that the ride wasn’t just purchased off of a shelf and plopped onto the ground, but rather was grown into the landscape, eliminating any “cheapness”—something that say, Scream, doesn’t provide.
Another unnecessary construction markers photo!
If I’m allowed to say so, the newly opened area does provide a very neat angle of Goliath!
As far as how well Thomas Town will please, who knows. I’ve heard lackluster reviews from SFDK’s Thomas Town, of which this concept has originated from. But it will be something fresh. I look forward to seeing what they do with the attractions.
The future of Flashback has been up in the air since the park closed the ride back in March of 2003. Finally, however, the ride’s long-time standing may be coming to an abrupt end.
Though Season Pass processing has reopened next to the dying attraction, the removal is expected to happen soon.
The rumors are that Flashback has finally been sold and rather cheaply for scrap metal. I have personally seen men scouring the structure recently, doing pre-demolition work and marking various components to be trashed and/or cutting-torched.
A horrible photo, proof of what I just said—the orange line I assume to be a line to “cut along”, if you will, and if you look very carefully, you can see orange “X”s over the wheels.
Semi-related, they have built a permanent wall covering the entrance and exit of the attraction. But it seems to be missing something…hmm…..
…There we go! Much better!
Though I don’t have a date for you, I would personally expect to see Flashback begin coming down soon and when it does, come down very quickly. We’ll see!
X Multiplied Quadradically by the Second Power!
The sign found at the entrance to the attraction. What?! I hate doing captions for, what is essentially, another caption!
Certainly many of you may have already seen, but for those who didn’t know, X has jumped into full swing on its journey to becoming X2. Simply walking around the ride, the sounds of construction equipment were echoing from the direction of the station. It is practically impossible to tell the progress of the station work and tunnel (located around the turn approaching the lift, as did Psyclone’s), unless one were to travel up Sky Tower (if it were open). However, by simply staring at the ride, it is obvious the repaint has begun.
Soak it in now ladies and gentlemen—X’s pink and yellow days will be over very soon.
An unnecessary, but dramatic and artistic, if I may say so, shot of the wires which have been installed around the ride for winching painters to the necessary heights.
As the concept art suggested, the colors decided upon for X2 are blood-red track with charcoal-grey supports. Something tells me that it’s no secret that they’re simply sharing the scheme used by Eejanaika.
It’s rather fitting to me that the twisting flip of death is now painted red!
You can also see spots of red track and the new support color on the exit of the turnaround.
A close up of the new support color.
Though for some reason, the cheesy yellow and pink color scheme had grown upon me over the past six years, I personally like the new colors. Yes, they are identical to the one other 4D coaster’s colors—over 5,000 miles away in Japan. Yes, it is red track when the ride sits adjacent to another red-colored track ride. But the colors appear much more neutral and not obnoxious, which has been the recent trend for coaster colors. It’s safe to say that Magic hasn’t painted a ride with such decent colors, since the Riddler’s Revenge. Just my personal opinion.
Another terribly unnecessary shot, because I know a few people will really eat this up! So shiny!
Some paint going up around the “hard to touch” places.
There has been no noticeable sign of the new trains yet, but it is hard to tell from Magic Mountain Parkway. It is noticeable that the old trains are still sitting, transferred off in their shed. But the new trains aren’t needed at the moment, so I wouldn’t expect them to show up immediately.
As gimmicky as X2 sounds, I’m personally looking forward to it. Everyone who rode X its last day claimed the ride was operating as smoothly as it did opening day, ironically. But it is my belief these new trains aren’t so much just about smoothness as much as they are reducing maintenance costs and decreasing downtime. The colors, tunnel, and “attitude” are all simply marketing’s effort to yield some profit out of an otherwise maintenance decision. As to its success, as much as I hate to say it—only time will tell for sure.
The Snake gets a New Skin
Right next to X 1 1/2, another ride is in the process of receiving a makeover—Viper.
I sure hope this sign gets much use in 2008!
Viper closed down in November for a paint job, which is expected to take right up to January 1, when the ride is expected to reopen. The paint is the same exact color scheme as the ride opened with. And some would argue that Viper wasn’t necessarily the most needing
of a paint job, in comparison to a few other attractions (Goldrusher, Revolution, Batman, Superman, etc.). That being said, the attraction is very
visible (and will be so next to the news camera’s filming X2 on its Media Day), so the paint makes sense. And I’m certainly not going to complain—another Arrow glimmering with new paint in the sunlight! I’m all game for that!
Speaking of glimmering in the sunlight thanks to new paint! Taadaa!
You can definitely tell some difference between old and new, as the lift is new and all three loops are still old.
Regardless, the paint gives the ride a “clean” look, which is much welcomed.
Another shot comparing old (foreground) and new (background).
If you look carefully at the center of the photo, you can see where the old paint stops and yields to the new.
I’m sick of typing “old” and “new”, so let’s move on to something a little bit different!
Non-SFMM (but still somewhat SFMM) News!
I thought I’d take a bit of time to cover a few projects going on around the park, that are expected to effect the park in one way or another.
Foremost is what sits in the foreground of the park—that vast plot of land that seems to be graded forever, yet nothing done with it. Initially rumored to be a “citywalk” and outdoor mall, the future of the land went up in the air when it was announced that Magic Mountain would be closing. About a month or two ago, signs finally went up advertising office building space that would be constructed on the land.
Granted, the prepared land is only about one third the total land-mass. But still—as a Santa Claritian, I was sort of hoping for something new and interesting to do around here. Lord knows we need it!
There are also a few “road projects” going on.
For those bored enough to venture to the end of Magic Mountain Parkway, this sign greets them.
I’ve reported it before, but I’ve finally had a chance to see a map with future road plans in the Santa Clarita Valley, so I now know that Magic Mountain Parkway will go through, past X and Viper, through the mountains, and will meet up with Highway 126 at Commerce Center Drive. How long this project will take, or when it will even begin, is unknown to me.
Another BIG project going on for those who have visited the park, is the reconfiguration of The Old Road/Magic Mountain Parkway intersection (the one between the park and the freeway). Literally for months now (it has felt like YEARS), they have been working on actually MOVING the intersection about 30-40 feet uphill, allowing more room between the Old Road and the freeway.
A poor illustration of what I just described. The red will be the new intersection.
It is my understand that the hope is to relieve some of the gridlock that can occur during rush hour traffic with cars exiting the freeway, and on those busy nights at SFMM when cars are trying to enter
the freeway. I hope it works, because driving around this area has been a real pain in the A$$! The lanes have literally changed every week!
The road visible to the right is the OLD Old Road. The cars in the foreground are parked along the curb of the NEW Old Road. Across Magic Mountain Parkway, you can see a white sign advertising the office space.
Another unnecessary shot, looking the other way. I’m going to stop, because I realized I’ve resorted back to using “old/new” captions.
Next year is already shaping up to be more
interesting than this year. As nobody really seems to know how X2 or Thomas Town will end up, many look to the two attractions with curious, but anxious eyes, while others couldn’t care less. Though change is what the ultimate product is, I am sure that this will come about by more of the same of what is now. Next year, we will continue to see rides come down. Freefall, Sierra Twist, Spin Out, Circus Wheel are all either confirmed or rumored deconstructions.
Though not on the ride re-selling page, Circus Wheel is mechanically at the end of its operating life and is expected to be removed.
I would also expect to see more refurbishments and entertainment offerings present themselves over the next 12 months. That seems to be the current trend the park has taken, so a likely guess.
After Fright Fest, entertainment has gone fairly quiet until next season.
One 2008 project that hasn’t received much attention yet, is the possibility of, to use a Disney-term, “plussing” one of Magic’s oldest attractions—the Sky Tower.
The Sky Tower is personally my favorite ride in the park (no height limit and air-conditioning contribute to that), but it’s safe to say that it’s not so much an “attraction” as it is merely an elevator and platform. The rumors are that the Sky Tower will be turned into somewhat of a “museum”, showcasing the past history of Magic Mountain. Concept art, blueprints, props, a few interactive exhibits, all centered around the heritage which the park comes from. Essentially, turning Sky Tower into the ultimate “amusement attic”.
I cant really go into what the end product will be, as apparently new mementos are emerging from the closets and storage facilities every day. But I will say that, if all goes according to plan, this should be a very
neat attraction, for families
. Oh yes—and there will be trolls.
In conclusion, I think that people have a tendency to say “Oh, a new General Manager! Next time I go to Magic Mountain, it will be different!” Though I anxiously await it, change takes time. It’s hard to see improvements in the park when I visit it monthly. These updates reflect that. But the change is very similar to that of a diet. When you diet, you see yourself day by day, so you never truly get to gauge how much weight you are loosing. It isn’t until you look at a photo of yourself from 6 months ago that you realize how much weight you’ve actually lost! The same thing applies here. I loose perspective that in the last two years, the park actually has made some great improvements. It isn’t near being “fixed”, in my opinion, but there have been many improvements.
Though I am ridiculously biased, I do believe that more of these changes await. The park will continue to grow, improve (with setbacks, understandably), and with any luck, regain some of the dignity and glory it once had, as seen in Shane’s Amusement Attic. So have a happy New Year, folks! I’ll see you all in 2008.
Thanks for reading everyone! I’ve been doing these updates for 2 1/2 years now and would stop as soon as people would lose interest, but you have always been so interested in the happenings at this unique park! Here’s to another year of unique happenings!