Basically, ACE members were sent e-mails to particpate in a special Hurricane Harbor tour for last Saturday. That was cancelled and rescheduled for today.
So I get up at 5:30 this morning and head out to Gurnee by 6:15. Arrived at the park by 7:45. The gates weren't open yet, but it appeared that there were TOO many cars. Yes, there were regular park-goers already at the park. Acers(although you didn't really need to be in ACE) were sent into the parking lot and went to parking. We went to the main gate where we were greeted by two of our Pr ladies. (Lisa and Katie) Then Ron Sevart(Gm and tour leader) came out and welcomed us to the tour.
Since there is so much to say, I will just post random thoughts about the tour which consisted of no more than 20 people.
1. Tour was supposed to last only 1 hour(8-9) but lasted all the way to 10:10 or so.
2. It was a very neat experience walking through the main park before the public was even let into the parking lot. There were lots of cars and trucks driving around and getting the park ready for opening.
3. Sevart mentioned that a new sign for Nascar Experience will be added at the Pictorium. It should be up soon.(June?)
4. Much of Hometown Square is expected to be repaved(?) soon. It is to upkeep a lacking area of the park.
5. Many new roofs were added this year.(About $7,000 a roof).
6. The area near Orbit is expected to be the busiest part of the park. Hence the reason that games were stacked in that area.
7. The fountain by Orbit was removed intentionally. Sevart said it didn't meet the park's standards.
8. The 6 new games near SWT are coming along very nicely. Many of the games are already in place and some stuffed animals are already present.
9. It was confirmed that the Shooting Gallery is indeed becoming a restaurant. Nothing special though as it will just be an "everything" snack area. A patio is being contructed next to the restaurant. It is a prime location for a new snack shack.
10. The entrance to Hurricane Harbor is coming along VERY nicely. The pillars sort of form a star and in the middle is a fountain. The whole "pillar" entrance area will be bricked.
11. The Hurricane Harbor path will be split in two parts. An entrance and an exit path.
12. Signs are beginning to appear everywhere. Sevart mentioned that the best ones are yet to be placed.
13. There is an iron entrance gate at the "pillar" entrance.
14. The park pondered over 3 different path locations, but decided on the current one.
15. There is a shelter area right at the end of the path back toward Viper. This will be a stopping area(hopefully only on peak summer days) to hold people who wish to enter a full capacity waterpark.
16. The first thing I noticed is that, the paths aren't just regular concrete. They are special paths which have shapes encripped in them.(IG lobsters, fish, leaves, etc.)
17. The first attraction/shop you encounter is Hurricane Hanks. It is the main gift shop in which will sell many swim products, etc. The highlight of this shop will be the interactive parrot. You can say things to it and it will repeat what you said. The floors will be wooded.(I can't recall what the real name is.)
18. The Pink Flamingo will be the largest food outlet in any system waterpark. It has over seven counter areas. The patio area is also the largest food patio in the system. This area is huge!!!
19. Down the way, you will encounter tube rentals, changing shower rooms, lost parents, etc. We needed a little imagination for this right now.
20. The changing/shower rooms are going to be very high quality with lots of room! It will also contain the hand-dryers that "blow you across the room."
21. Restroom #7 in the main park is going to be continuously revamped.(I think it is the one near Orbit.)
22. Sevart said he has been part of the contruction of 4 different waterparks.(SFGAm, SFGadv, SfNE, and I think Oceans of Fun at WOF.) This is the only one that he feels that was right on schedule.
23. Sevart stressed that the waterpark may look like a long way off, but that it will go to the crunch time and open as ready as it's going to be.
24. The lazy river is ready to be filled. They were cleaning the lazy river today and washing it down. It is expected to be filled (I forget, today?) and will take 24 hours to be filled.
25. The family raft slides are on the same system, so they should be ready to be filled soon, too.
26. Hurricane Mountain's pool was filled.
27. Banking was added to the bottom of the green and blue family slide.
28. They were working hard on the other family slide. A piece was slid off for some work.
29. Sevart expects the green and blue family raft ride to be more popular than the other.
30. The raft lift was installed, but ended up being 8 inches too short. It will work out somehow.
31. There were TONS of workers working, even at 8am!
32. There are tiki fountains in the lazy river that will shoot water, along with many other surprises. The rock sides of the lazy river look amazing!
33. The area near the wave pool is actually rather small, with quite a few shading units outlining the "beach" area. The park expects most families to claim "base" near Skull Island.
34. The atomic coasters have undergone slide testing and a few slight modifications are expected to be made.
35. There are two entrances for this complex. One for the body slides and the other for the tube slides.
36. We were invited to climb the 6 slide tower. There were some amazing shots from up there. There will also be shade units at the top of each tower.(This is something you don't see too often at waterparks.)
37. We were led to the back part of the wavepool. This is something that most people will never do.
38. Speed boats are placed right behind the wavepool. 2 of the three of them are expected to be painted.
39. The lounge chairs are going to be high-quality. Not the normal lounge chairs you see at waterparks.(I can't really describe what he said.)
40. Saltwater Sals is a Tiki Bar. This is expected to be very popular. There are bathrooms right behind it.
41. Behind Saltwaters Sals. I believe they will be adding cabana rental with servers from Saltwater Sals attending to your cabana.
41. There will be a stage right in this general area. There will be 3 or 4 different bands each day. One will include a Bob Marley type guy.
42. Slide testing for Hurricane Mountain is expected to take place today.
43. Wahoo Racers should be slide testing soon.
44. About 75-80 percent of concrete work is done.
45. Skull Island is massive and the waterslides look great. This will NOT be ready for Wednesdays media day but IS expected to be ready for opening day.(They will be working down to the last minute, along with the rest of the park.
46. The seating area for Skull Island as well as Bucaneer Bay is also massive. There is also tons of shade already in place.
47. A huge Funnel Cake stand is being added near the changing facilities.
48. The park is really pushing for atmosphere. They are trying to make it feel like you are not withing walking distance of roller coasters. Sevart was also asking for requests for park music.
49. Here's a huge surprise. There will be tons of sand all over the park. You will be allowed to take shade and "base" in a few of the beaches that will be made with real sand.
50. Many acers were videotaping/taking pictures of the tour.
51. The park has hired landscaping designers. Palms were sent in by refrigerated trucks from Florida. The first batch are currently being stored in the parking lot. Some of them are as much as 25 feet high. Many plants have already been planted. There will be tons of trees and palms everywhere! 4 more huge truckloads are expected to arrive soon.
52. The last parts for Skull Island arrived around 9:30.
53. We were allowed to go into the wavepool and put our feet in. I jumped at the chance and I believe I was the first member of the GP to step foot in the wave pool. Even Sevart hasn't even done it. Dan(DanHockey04) was second. (Dan told me it sounded as if we were one of the first if not the first people to actually go in.) BTW, it was only a few inches deep.
54. Wave programs are expected to be tested tomorrow I believe.
55. Condor now has its birds back on and is expected to open soon.
56. Sevart is very optimistic about the parks. He wants it to be the best in the whole system and believes it will once again be "Great America" and not just "Good America."
57. He is very open to ideas or requests.
58. Sevart talked a lot about the tolls.
59. The highway sign should be updated with HH's logo. A rodent(?) was killed by the sign. That's why the sign was not lit the last few days.
60. It was neat seeing Am tests! Every ride was doing some testing.
61. Warning, Warning, Warning! Take Cover! It's coming. (It wasn't confirmed, but it obviously wasn't denied. I was actually surprised we were even focused in this area.
62. The not so mystery catch pool has been filled with sand and the park expects to create a sitting area for the time being. This is the only area where sod should be used.
63. There will be a "summer stage" near Skull Island. I forget what this will be used for.
64. The games near Orbit that replaced the fountain are expected to become "Whack a Mr.Six" Corporate needs to finalize this one.
There is so much more to say and I hope I didn't forget anything.
I had to leave by 10:30 so I was only able to ride 2 rides. I rode DejaVu with a 10-15 minute wait. Then I hopped on Demon for a quick ride and left. Today was Joyfest, and the park was beginning to get REAL busy. Condor, IMS, and Roaring Rapids were the only rides expected to be closed. Bull had 3 trains running and Whizzer had 2, but I can only assume that they would add the third.
Until Next Time... *** Edited 5/21/2005 6:36:16 PM UTC by DejaVu The Ride*** *** Edited 5/21/2005 6:43:50 PM UTC by DejaVu The Ride***
NOTE: Severe fecal impaction may render the above words highly debatable.
Check out the webcam:
DejaVu the Ride:
I was there too. Good recap of what happened. I was really impressed by Ron Sevart. He seems very eager to please.
A few additional comments:
- Ron Sevart asked if we see something that needed attention to email him a picture and he would adddress the problem.
- He also said high priorities are complete revamps of Hometown Square and the entrance Plaza.
- Skull Mountain which is being advertised as the largest water play structure in the world really is big. In addition to the standard water features,it has a few good sized water slides as well as 3 tipping buckets. It also has an erupting water volcano.
Even though it's going to be on the cool side at 6am Wednesday, I can't wait for Media Day.
Riverview Mike said:
]( snipped)- Ron Sevart asked if we see something that needed attention to email him a picture and he would adddress the problem.
Who will be the first to send him a pic of American Eagle and the need for painting?
Actually I know it's been mentioned to him. I have a feeling there's a lot more projects that they would like to do first but coaster people generally mention AE and the peeling paint.
"Heavily medicated for your safety!"
Sfgamworld.com has updated their website with 211 images of the waterpark. Even these don't do the park justice.
And I felt like mentioning this. AE has little by little been painted starting last season into this season. The whole ride should be done by next season.
I'm not sure if they are cannonbowls or Behemothbowls
I believe they are cannonbowls. *** Edited 5/22/2005 2:49:35 PM UTC by skpdogg***
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