Park Hoppin’

Dream Job

Dream Job

When testing his new Gale Force launched coaster at Playland’s Castaway Cove in Ocean City, New Jersey, owner Scott Simpson loads the train with test dummies. I’ve always wanted to be a test dummy, so asked Scott if I might take one of their places. That’s me pictured on the left, the one without the […]

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Training Ground

Training Ground

While at Planet Snoopy, the children’s area of Kings Dominion, I had this photo taken with Woodstock, one of the characters in the Peanuts comic strip about which Planet Snoopy’s rides are themed. For those of you unfamiliar with Kings Dominion, it is an 85-mile (137 km) long traffic jam south of Washington, D.C. Planet […]

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Hide it to ride it

Hide it to ride it

When a park operator adds a drop tower, one of the benefits is that it changes the skyline of the park. It towers imposingly over the adjacent rides, intimidating guests by its sheer height. Part of the thrill is being lifted to an extreme height before plummeting earthward. It’s a beacon to thrill seekers. So […]

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Still Pushing Dirt

Still Pushing Dirt

This year there is just one new amusement park opening in America. Midway between Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, the Poarch Band of Creek Indians are building OWA Amusement Park, part of a 520 acre (210 hectare) destination resort in Foley, near Alabama’s most popular beaches. The 14-acre (5.7 hectare) themed amusement park will feature […]

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
A True Family Coaster?

A True Family Coaster?

When Busch Gardens Williamsburg sent out their media kit for InvadR, they didn’t apologize for the misspelling. Rather, they touted the opening of the park’s first wooden roller coaster. I easily excused the spelling, since this ride was themed to a Viking invasion, and English was never the Viking’s first language. But what caught my […]

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
The great leap backwards

The great leap backwards

Park Hoppin’ with Paul Ruben  Pictured here on the Cosmic Coaster, a Zamperla powered family coaster at Valleyfair, Shakopee, Minnesota, I was thinking – what is the most reproduced roller coaster?

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Why I love VR (the Virtue of Reality)

Why I love VR (the Virtue of Reality)

Park Hoppin’ with Paul Ruben  If they are frightened during a rollercoaster ride, passengers will close their eyes and the fear is diminished. I’ve always contended that the visual experience on a rollercoaster is half the thrills.

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Fun House longings

Fun House longings

In the old days, just about every park had a fun house filled with crazy things to do, writes Paul Ruben. Today most of them are gone.

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Gone to the dogs

Gone to the dogs

Park Hoppin’ with Paul Ruben Recently I visited Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, New Jersey, and met the newest member of the Morey Organization, Hobbs Morey, a Weimaraner.

Posted in: Park Hoppin'
Socially acceptable road rage

Socially acceptable road rage

Park Hoppin’ with Paul Ruben The winter of 2014/15 brought an unusually large amount of snow to North America. And with the snow came scenes on my television screen of automobile carnage on the slippery snow-covered roads.

Posted in: Park Hoppin'