Here’s Lookin’ At You, Shockwave!
There’s another long-time coaster that’s about to retire in the Cedar Fair portfolio. This time it’s Kings Dominion’s Shockwave, located in Doswell, Virginia; the stand-up coaster had been operating since 1986 and will ride for the final time on this Sunday, August 9th. As we told you this past week, Carowinds’ Thunder Road has kicked the bucket and there’s expansion planned on that plot of land, with a highly-anticipated announcement coming August 27th. Shockwave had much love during it’s nearly 30 year existence, to the tune of more than 22 million rider, however, stand-up coasters have been receiving diminishing love from coaster crazies. The biggest issue facing this classic coaster was how rough the ride was and riders deemed it uncomfortable. An announcement on what will be added to the Candy Apple Grove section of the park is expected to come this month. For riders keeping tabs on stand-up coaster’s history, you will recall that Kings Island had King Cobra from 1984-2001, which was manufactured by TOGO like Shockwave was. With King Cobra being dismantled over 13 years ago, recycling it’s parts is apparently a good reason why Shockwave stayed open as long as it had been. Cedar Fair loves keeping the classics but ridership numbers don’t lie and that’s what helps make the decision on a ride’s fate, along with cost of maintenance!
One thing that can be counted as a benefit for Kings Dominion taking out Shockwave is that it’ll possibly allow for the 40 year old park to open a marquee ride in the coming year or few that’ll grab national and international attention. Cedar Fair’s commitment to significantly investing in Carowinds in the last 5 years has been paying off, namely with adding the big-bad Fury 325, which has been a big hit, including appearing on the Travel Channel this past Sunday. Another possibility is adding an incredible dark ride that’ll be in line with thrill fan’s expectations; Cedar Fair will eventually roll them out to all parks. As it currently stands for Shockwave (I love a good intended pun), the coaster has a 95 foot lift hill, goes up to 50 MPH and has 2,231 feet of length in track.
With other parks like Cedar Point and Knott’s Berry Farm getting significant upgrades and headline grabbing new rides in recent years, this could mark the start of such attention for K.D. (not Kevin Durant but Kings Dominion). Adding Intimidator 305 in 2010 was fantastic and a great way to honor the legacy of Dale Earnhardt and engage NASCAR fans; however, the park does call for adding something new that has that level of excitement. With all the 2016 announcements expected from Cedar Fair parks this month, you have to believe that this year or the next will usher in a refreshing new era for the park. If Cedar Point’s GateKeeper and Kings Island’s Banshee are any indications, then Kings Dominion guests should be in for a magnificent treat very soon. C.F.’s commitment to maximizing value out of it’s portfolio is undeniable and evident with the name and building restorations that have been completed at parks since their 2006 Paramount Parks acquisition.
Another “wave” of thinking that Cedar Fair might be onto is bringing back classic rides that were once at various theme parks in previous years. According to a recent article in the L.A. Times, Cedar Fair CEO Matt Ouimet has scavengers over in Europe looking for vintage theme park rides that can be brought to North America to install with their portfolio of parks. The article calls out some fun ones that once rode mighty like the Tumble Bug at Kings Island and there’s a nice shout-out to Cedar Point’s current legend, Cedar Downs, which still gives thrills and enchantment all these years later. Kings Dominion would be a good fit for being one of the first parks to get the vintage rides to gauge the excitement and success from adding classic rides that are familiar.
Nonetheless, this month is poised to be epic with the different attraction announcements that are coming from the different Cedar Fair parks. Sometimes a ride is destined to be a treasured memory and then featured in Kings Dominion Haunt for new life to be brought in. When you visit Kings Dominion this weekend and see Shockwave, give it a final wink and a smile!
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