The announcement season is underway with two Pennsylvania parks already announcing new attractions for the 2015 season.
Hershey Park will construct Laff Trakk, an indoor, spinning so-called glow-coaster. It will be the park’s 13th coaster.
The coaster is set to open in May and will be built inside of a classic funhouse occupied by the likes of Laffing Sal, a hall of mirrors and a house of cards.
"Fun Houses are an American amusement park treasure and an important part of the historical fabric at Hersheypark," said Kevin Stumpf, general manager of Attractions & Entertainment in a statement. "We are thrilled to bring back some of the timeless elements from these classic attractions and, quite literally, put a new spin on them."
Because of its spinning cars riders will see different sights.
"The number and size of riders affects the rotation of the cars giving riders a different view of the bright, colorful elements and playful surroundings providing endless amounts of fun on Laff Trakk," said Stumpf.
The attraction will be located along Midway America between the Whip and the Midway Tent.
Hersheypark is teaming with Raven Sun Creative, a New York-based design group, for the interior of the attraction.
"Our team took inspiration from researching iconic Hersheypark Fun Houses," said Louis Alfieri, principal and chief creative officer of Raven Sun in a statement. "We looked at archival images of ‘WHOOPS,’ ‘Laugh Land’ and ‘Laffing Sal’ with the goal of re-creating the nostalgic Fun Houses of yesteryear with the latest in technology in Laff Trakk."
Maurer Söhne, a German company, will construct the coaster that will feature four-seat ride vehicles with two seats in two rows, back-to-back.
The top speed will be 40 miles per hour along 1,400 feet of track that includes an Immelman turn where riders enter a half loop and then go through a half twist and curve out in the opposite direction in which they came, high-banked curves and Camelback air time hills.
The ride will last 70 seconds and have a ride capacity of 850 passengers an hour.
Waldameer, situated outside of Erie, Pa., has announced what is being billed as the largest expansion in its history.
The park plans to spend a reported $25 million over the next five years to put in a wave pool along with a new children’s ride area, ticket booths, restrooms and expanded parking. It also plans to invest in the park’s stormwater management system.
With the expansion, the park plans to add 100 summer jobs and eventually be open seven days a week. It is now closed on Mondays.
The park’s owner, Paul T. Nelson, told reporters that he doesn’t want his park to become like the struggling Conneaut Lake and must invest to expand its reach for visitors.
As for Ohio’s parks, they have made no announcements about their plans for 2015.
Kings Island opened a new coaster this year, so speculation is a flat ride or two are in that park’s future.
As for Cedar Point, its PR folks keep hinting at a werewolf-themed attraction — perhaps a dark ride in either the Coliseum on the Midway or in and around the old Pirate Ride building.
The future of the stand-up coaster Mantis is also the subject of speculation. Some riders have complained over the years that the coaster is painful to ride — prompting some to surmise Cedar Point will rehab it and install new coaster cars.
There’s also the matter of naming a coaster after LeBron James.
The latest rumor has the Mean Streak wooden coaster being renamed King James for a week to make good on the park’s promise to name a coaster after the NBA superstar once he rejoins the CAVS.