What Does Disney’s Space Mountain Look Like With The Lights On?

Ever wondered what Disney’s famous Space Mountain roller coaster looks like when the lights are on? If so, you’re in luck because the video below was posted to The Disney Blog a few days back and it gives us all a behind-the-curtain look at one of the most iconic rides in all of the Disney parks.

The first Space Mountain opened at Magic Kingdom in Orlando, Florida, in 1975 and became an instant hit with visitors. The indoor coaster sends riders hurling through a series of sharp twists, turns and drops while remaining almost completely in the dark. That combination of speed and the tension of not knowing what would happen next has made it one of the top attractions in Disney parks ever since.

Rarely do guests in the park ever get to see what Space Mountain looks like when the lights are on, but in the video below riders on one of the park’s “Peoplemovers” passed by while the interior was completely illuminated. The result is a great look at the inner-workings of the ride, which still look impressive.

Video of the Day: Sheer terror on the Slingshot

I hate scary amusement park rides. I understand that some people love roller coasters and loops and sudden plunges into dark caverns, but it’s just not for me. You can save your trips to Cedar Point and roller coaster road trips for someone else. Because, quite frankly, the looks on the faces of the two men in this video, combined with their deafening screams, basically sum up how I react to amusement park rides. Theme parks can be fun but mostly because so many of them serve turkey legs.

And seriously, that was not a countdown!

Iraq War veteran dies from roller coaster accident at Darien Lake

Buffalo-area theme park Darien Lake was the site of a tragedy on Friday when a man, former Iraq war vet Sgt. James Hackemer, died after falling from a roller coaster. Hackemer was a double leg amputee after losing his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq three years ago.

The accident happened on the twenty story tall roller coaster called Ride of Steel. It has large hills, banked curves, and speeds in excess of 70 mph. The roller coaster’s trains use a lap bar restraints (pictured here).

Hackemer’s nephew Ashton Luffred, who rode with him, shared his account of the horrible accident in a New York Post article. According to Luffred, Hackemer asked guest services which rides were safe for him to ride and he was told that he could ride all of them. Hackemer was ejected on one of the smaller camel back-shaped hills on the trip back to the station.

In statements to the press and on Darien Lake’s home page, the park says that they are investigating the accident with the local authorities and safety experts. The Ride of Steel roller coaster will remained closed until the investigation is complete while the rest of the park will be open.

[Photo Credit – Flickr User OliverN5]

Morey’s Piers plans a massive new wooden roller coaster

Morey’s Piers, located in Wildwood, New Jersey, is planning on building a $10 million wooden roller coaster. The yet-to-be-named attraction will be so large that it will span two of the park’s piers. Two names that the park’s owners are considering are ‘Wildwoody’ and ‘Boardwalk Flyer’. The new wooden coaster is rumored to be designed by Great Coasters International (GCI). They are the designers behind such world-class rides as Thunderhead at Dollywood and Lightning Racer at Hersheypark. The new ride is scheduled to open in 2013.

Morey’s Piers is my favorite seaside amusement park as they already boast a fun wooden coaster in Great White and two steel looping roller coasters in the Great Nor’Easter and the Sea Serpent. I’ll definitely be planning a trip back to Wildwood to check out the park and the new ride. NJ.com has more about Morey’s Piers new roller coaster.

[Photo credit – Flickr User wfyurasko]

Busch Gardens Tampa’s Gwazi to reopen with new trains

According to the official SeaWorld Parks blog, Busch Gardens Tampa’s Gwazi will reopen soon with new trains aimed at providing a smoother ride. The dueling wooden roller coaster is named after a mythological African creature with the head of a tiger and the body of a lion. During the ride, the lion and tiger trains perform six fly-bys or near misses where they pass each other at high speeds. Gwazi opened in 1999 and, like many wooden coasters, has become rough over the years. The park has chosen to add new millennium flyer trains to reduce the roughness. More from SeaWorld Parks:

The new trains provide the smoothest way to ride a wooden coaster and are highly regarded for their spacious, cushioned seats and individual row design that resembles wooden roller coaster trains from the early 1900s.

The last few times that I rode Gwazi, it was pretty rough and only one side was running. It’s been a weak spot in an otherwise beautifully-themed and well-run theme park. I’m curious to see how much of a difference the new trains make as theme parks typically re-track wooden coasters to smooth out a rough ride. Hopefully, the millennium flyers will provide a much more enjoyable experience. Gwazi will reopen on January 22nd.