Six Flags America closes Skull Mountain

Six Flags America, located in Bowie, Maryland, has announced that they will be closing Skull Mountain. The unique water flume ride with roller coaster-like elements has been in operation since 1997 when it was originally opened as Typhoon Sea Coaster. The first-of-its-kind ride has underwent changes since it opened, but I remember one unique feature being its turning mechanism that spun the boats. At one point in the ride, the boats were turned around and then the riders traveled backwards.

To give the unique ride a proper send off, Six Flags America is having a two-day pirate festival on July 9th and 10th. Also, starting next week, one of Skull Mountain’s boats will be placed in the midway allowing guests the ability to take photos. The park is also holding a last rider auction and a boat from Skull Mountain will be donated to the National Roller Coaster Museum. Make sure you get another ride in before July 10th. Hopefully, the park has a new attraction in the works to take the place of this fun ride. Read the full press release here. [Photo Credit – Flickr user Milst1]

Disneyland’s Splash Mountain to be closed this spring

If you plan to visit Southern Cailfornia this spring, a ride on Splash Mountain won’t be in the cards. Disneyland’s famous water ride is closed for refurbishment until just before Memorial Day.

The 4-month closure is part of a regular refurbishment program at Disneyland. Big rides get spruced up every 5 to 10 years, and it was Splash Mountain’s turn, reports the Orange County Register.

Splash Mountain opened at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, in 1989. It is a 9-minute long log flume ride that winds through scenes from Song of the South, the classic Disney film that tells the stories of Brer Rabbit. At the end, Splash Mountain riders find Brer Rabbit’s laughing place – at the bottom of a five-story drop.

The ride has become one of Disney’s iconic attractions, and versions of Splash Mountain have spread to two other Disney theme parks, Tokyo Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

No major changes to Disneyland’s Splash Mountain are expected during the refurbishment period.

[Image credit: Flickr user lrargerich]

Fire erupts at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure

A ride – a water ride, of all things – caught fire at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure on New Year’s Day, causing the evacuation of a section of the theme park.

The fire happened around 5:30 p.m., according to Central Florida News 13. No injuries have been reported.

Universal Orlando officials evacuted the ride, Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls, as well as the surrounding Toon Lagoon area.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. According to witnesses at the scene, the ride fire started on the roof.

“My source tells me a vendor truck next to the ride caught fire. A tree spread the fire to the top of the ride,” according to Brian J. Smith on Twitter.

Smith tweeted the photo used here and attributed it to his sister, a theme park employee.

Ripsaw Falls is one of Islands of Adventure‘s original rides. It opened with the theme park in 1999.

The ride remains closed, the rest of the theme park will be open during its previously announced operating hours.