There’s a big chunk of me that, like so many others, really hopes today marks a new chapter for the future of Dreamworld. I often dance around the elephant in the room that seems to loom whenever I speak about the park, but the simple fact is it’s been a rough three years, not just for the park but for the Gold Coast as a whole. I personally continue to eye-roll in dismay whenever news stations dig up archive footage of what happened in 2016 – I guess as much as everyone tries to move forward, tragedy sells, right?
But I digress, despite all this, for months now, the Parkz community (who are well known for tracking new rides in Australia) have been swirling with discussion, conjecture and rumours of when Sky Voyager would open, why it wasn’t open yet, and perhaps more importantly, what would come next. Suffice to say, not only did we get an answer to when Sky Voyager would open (spoiler alert, it’s today) but fans were also treated to a $70-million dollar bounty of new hotness for Dreamworld, which includes a fantasticly new, yet to be named roller-coaster.
Let’s be real here for a second, it’s pretty kickass news to wake up to, but before we talk about new rides, let’s talk about what’s just arrived.
Sky Voyager – Soarin’ Lite
I’ve been covering Sky Voyager for a long while now. Without digging into the weeds of why it didn’t open on-time (that’s for others to do) we’ll keep it real brief – it’s open, it’s great, and you should go ride it, especially if you’ve got kids. The 100cm height minimum makes it a great experience for the family (something that theme parks in Australia need far more of) and if you can look past the somewhat out of place facades (the Dreamworld purist in me continues to wonder why Disneyland facades were knocked down over in place of the now ever-looming business park vibe) then the ride experience itself will delight – it’s unlike anything else in the country and will unequivocally help cement the first foot forward in Dreamworld recovering back to greatness.
Roller-Coaster – A stroke of genius.
Okay, enough rydingriding on about Sky Voyager, what you’re really here for is to read about the brand spankin’ new roller-coaster, right? In short, it’s going to be brilliant, and it’s brilliant because it hits all the right notes it’ll need to really nail in order to compete with both DC Rivals HyperCoaster at Movie World and the wooden roller-coaster yet to come at Sea World.
Here’s the facts – it’s a modified clone of the incredibly well received Blue Fire roller-coaster in Europa Park, Germany. This isn’t your dad’s Vekoma Boomerang clone folks (sorry Wonderland fans) – what Dreamworld is doing is taking something great and adding some real sizzle to seperate it from the competition. For one, it’ll have a triple launch. What’s that, you ask? See below.
In short, when you leave the station and line up for the launch, a piece of track (unbeknownst to you, the soon to be shocked rider) behind you will shift so that when your first launch doesn’t make it the whole way up the hill and you roll backwards, you get launched FASTER up a spiralling piece of track that almost somehow magically appears. Yup, terrifying.
From there, you’ve got two and a half minutes of going 105k/ph up 38 metres, through a 32m tall loop (tallest in the country, although there’s not much competition) and three other pretty solid inversions, including an in-line twist at the finale which hits you at breakneck speed.
FYI, did I mention the last car spins? Oh yeah, it totally does that. Checkout this video below for how that’ll pan out. (Hot tip: don’t do the back if you chunder easily.)
Launches & inversions are really what this roller-coaster is all about and as mentioned above, it’s the right notes to compete against other staples like Rivals and Superman. With Rivals, it simply just doesn’t do inversions, and whilst Superman’s launch might be more intense, this one will be faster, has a literal surprise twist, and you’ll get to do it three times every, single, ride.
As for how it’ll stack up against Sea World’s wooden coaster – while they are two different kinds of beasts (one’s more family, the other’s far more intense), they’re both now in direct competition to open first. And if Ardent’s earning call (Dreamworld’s parent company) is anything to go by, this new roller-coaster may just beat Sea World to the punch by a few months. In saying that, given the delays both Sky Voyager and Aussie World’s new ride has faced, it’s anyone’s guess.
Then there’s a slippery slope (or six) of everything else.
ABC Kids World is getting a make-over, the masterplan continues to muster steam into 2020 and WhiteWater World gets some much needed love with a new waterslide tower. Now look, they’re not epic slides to be fair, but when you take a step back it’s exactly what the park needs. WhiteWater World already has a collection of world class slides – what it doesn’t have is some simple, fun body slides to help pad out the day, and this addition does exactly that. A total of six different slides will be strapped to the tower, with the opening date expected for this summer.
WhiteWater World will also be returning as a seperate gate to Dreamworld, which i’m totally okay with. Season pass holders still get both parks, but if you want to hit up WhiteWater World with your season-pass faring mates, you won’t need to pay a full day into Dreamworld just to ride some slides. Winning.
In short, this is exactly what Dreamworld needed and i’m pretty chuffed. It’ll be amazing what a few wins on the board will do to help bolster Dreamworld’s team and the park’s fans in creating a new narrative for the future of the much beloved park. Now instead of doom and gloom, it might actually be “yep, yeah, yay!” – for real.