Valravn diversifies Cedar Point’s lineup of record-setting coasters

By | May 5, 2016

The park turns to B&M for fourth time

valravn_4c_ribbonRSANDUSKY, Ohio – Setting records is nothing new for Cedar Point. In fact, it is a reputation for which the park has become  famous. With a lineup of world-class roller coasters climbing into the upper double digits, the park has set records more than ten times with its coasters.

For a fourth time, B&M has delivered one of its massive giants to Cedar Point. Following in true fashion of its predecessors, Valravn takes on the namesake of a “creature.” This follows Raptor, Rougarou (formerly Mantis) and GateKeeper, each with its imposing edge.

What differentiates the new Valravn from the other breeds is its signature moment of pause – for four seconds – at the precipice of a 214-foot drop. What took riders by complete surprise during previews was the spectacular view of not only the park, but the expanse of Lake Erie beyond the shore. Cedar Point is given high praise for the perfect positioning of the ride.

What is particularly impressive of about Valravn is not just its record-setting statistics, but the quality of the installation. Notable details are vast, including a brand new midway that not only eliminates the dead end toward the park’s venerable Blue Streak, but provides new seating, shade, ornamentation, an expanded restaurant patio and spectator areas. The artistry of pavers, bench walls and shape design of the midway are appreciated even more so from Valravn’s dramatic view.

Valravn’s position in the park also made it an opportune time to renovate Cedar Point’s Marina Gate, which now looks modern and strikingly beautiful.

The dive coaster’s statistics are the park’s marketing focus: 223 feet tall, 3,415 feet long, 75 mph and three inversions – all of which are records for a dive coaster. Guests, however, will find the installation goes beyond the coaster itself. Cedar Point has delivered the complete package.

Lake Compounce and Phobia Phear Coaster set to open on Saturday, May 7th

By | May 5, 2016

BRISTOL, Conn. – Lake Compounce and its much anticipated new rollercoaster Phobia Phear Coaster are opening at 11am on Saturday, May 7th.

12 terrified riders have been chosen through an online contest to be the first to experience Phobia Phear Coaster on the park’s opening day at park opening immediately following a ribbon cutting to celebrate the new attraction. The Phobias of these 12 lucky riders span from clowns, butterflies, chainsaws, to of course rollercoasters. The general public is encouraged to attend this event on May 7th to watch the 12 brave riders and to then ride Phobia themselves.

Guests who are not 2016 Season Pass Holders yet can purchase Buy 1 Get 1 Free Regular Admission tickets on the park’s website that can be used on opening day.

Phobia features an inversion at 150 feet in the air—one of the highest in existence and the tallest in the Northeast. Guests will experience speeds of 65 mile per hour with many exciting and unique elements including multiple launches, a twisting heart-line Inversion, and ascending and descending twists.

Erie County Fair Signs 10 Year Contract with the Strates Shows

By | May 3, 2016

image005HAMBURG, NEW YORK – The Erie County Agricultural Society announced today that it has extended its contract with the Strates Shows Inc. by 10 years as the sole carnival midway provider for the Erie County Fair in Hamburg, New York (Buffalo). The contract for amusement services between Strates Shows and the Erie County Fair now extends to 2026.

“We are pleased to have secured a long-term relationship with the Strates Shows,” said Dennis R. Lang, CEO & Erie County Fair Manager. “For the past 91 years, the Strates Shows has provided Western New York with an exceptionally entertaining and safe family experience.”

Three generations of Strates family members, E. James Strates, his son John image003Strates and grandson Nick Strates joined representatives of the Erie County Fair for the announcement and ceremonial contract signing at the Fairgrounds.

“Beyond just a contractual relationship, we truly regard the Strates as part of the Erie County Fair family. The 10 year contract means that the Strates Shows will be part of the Erie County Fair beyond their 100th anniversary with us,” said Lang. “We look forward to a centennial celebration with Strates in 2024.”

“Strates Shows and the Strates family are delighted to be part of the time-image001honored tradition of the Erie County Fair,” said E. James Strates, President of the Strates Shows. “In 1924, when my father signed the first contract, little did we know or expect that nine decades later the relationship would still be flourishing and growing. There is a bond between not only the show and the fair, but with independent operators, agricultural people, the local community and our many lifelong friends. It’s an unbroken tradition that few fairs and carnivals share.”

The exclusive relationship between the Erie County Fair and the Strates Shows, now in its 92nd year, is considered a historical milestone in the modern amusement industry.

According to Robert Johnson, President of the Outdoor Amusement Business Association, the relationship between the Strates Shows and the Erie County Fair is the longest continuous run of any carnival midway in the United States. The next longest run would be 84 years between Reithoffer Shows and the Delaware County Fair in Walton, New York.

“I can’t think of another carnival operator in the United States with a longer run than what the Erie County Fair has with Strates,” said Johnson. “It’s rare in modern business times to see such a strong relationship. It is a tribute to the Erie County Fair and the Strates family. The Strates Shows ongoing commitment to quality, safety and innovation, added to its close relationship with the Erie County Agricultural Society’s management, makes for a great partnership. It’s this type of partnership that we would like to see emulated at fairs across the county.”

To commemorate the extended relationship, Strates Shows and the Erie County Fair are inviting fairgoers to join in on the celebration. On August 18, 2016, “Strates Day at the Fair,” fairgoers to the Erie County Fair will be able to enjoy 90-minutes of free midway rides from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

“Together, we have been through decades of change and tremendous growth that brings us to the upcoming 2016 fair,” said Strates. “This wonderful, family-oriented event continues to promote and showcase the community’s agricultural traditions, talents, diversity and heritage. We look forward to seeing everyone at the fair!”

Unique among today’s amusement operators, The Strates Shows is the only “railroad carnival” in North America. Each spring, the Strates Shows leaves its winter quarters in Florida and begins an eight-month journey by rail that transports their equipment to fairgrounds across the eastern seaboard and northeast. The “fair train,” as commonly known in Western New York, currently is comprised of over 50 rail cars. The arrival of the Strates train at the depot in the Village of Hamburg, a living piece of Americana, will be celebrated this August.

City of White Settlement ends relationship with Hawaiian Falls

By | April 28, 2016

Hawaiian Falls full_color_waterparksWHITE SETTLEMENT, Texas — Just two years after opening, the city of White Settlement sent a notice to Harvest Family Entertainment Texas LP (HFE) that it was terminating the land lease it had to operate a Hawaiian Falls water park on city property.

Hawaiian Falls White Settlement, opened in 2014 as the first North Texas waterpark/adventure park combo, adding a ropes course, zip lines, rappelling walls, a 20,000 square-foot indoor arcade, and an event center to the typical water park offerings.

As with many Hawaiian Falls projects, the parks are a public-private partnership, with cities contributing funds or other incentives to have a water park built on city-owned land. The White Settlement Park cost $17 million to build. Typically, Hawaiian Falls borrows that money from the city then pays it back through a long-term lease agreement.

The City of White Settlement terminated the agreement on April 21, after just two seasons. According to the city, Hawaiian Falls had been in arrears on its lease payments. The city determined that it was unlikely that delinquent lease payments would be made any time in the near future, and that future lease payments were unlikely to be paid as scheduled.

Hawaiian Falls had already sold season passes to the park and had hired and started training employees for the upcoming season. The company has indicated that season passes are good at all Hawaiian Falls parks, and it will try to relocate current employees into its existing locations.

The City of White Settlement has assumed control of the facility and is fast at work removing signage and preparing the park for the upcoming season. Plans call for the establishment of a new name and to have the park open as soon as possible. The city is currently directing questions regarding season passes, tickets, and event bookings to Hawaiian Falls, instructing customers that Hawaiian Falls still exists but Hawaiian Falls White Settlement does not. The city of White Settlement website states, “The city is adamant to see the park facility grow, provide seasonal employment for our youth and other professionals, as well as ensure excellent customer service during and after the changeover.”

HFE operates six family-friendly water parks in accordance with Christian principles under the Hawaiian Falls brand. The company was founded by David Busch, of Horizon Family Holdings LLC, who had experience building multiple water parks in several states. He came to Texas to start a more community-based entertainment company. The first Hawaiian Falls Water Park open in Garland, Texas, in 2003.

HFE has had financial difficulties in the past resulting in the sale of the first two parks in Garland and The Colony to CNL Properties. CNL Properties leases the parks back to HFE to operate as Hawaiian Falls parks.

Showmen’s League creates scholarship fund to honor Mike Chance

By | April 27, 2016

Showmen's-League-(Multi-Color)CHICAGO, Illinois — The Showmen’s League of America has created the Mike Chance Memorial Scholarship to honor the Chance Family. The fund will help deserving college students for years to come. Donations to the fund can be made by contacting Cindy Herring at 312-733-9533.

The Showmen’s League has granted up to $40,000 a year in scholarship donations and has made more than $1.3 million in donations to deserving students in North America since the program began.

Michael Chance obituary released

By | April 22, 2016

MikeChanceWICHITA, Kansas — Michael (Mike) Dean Chance, 42, Wichita, Kansas, joined his loved ones in heaven Tuesday, April 19, 2016.

Mike was born May 26, 1973, in Wichita, Kansas, to Richard (Dick) and Penny (Pruter) Chance. He made many long-lasting friends at his alma maters, Wichita Northwest High School (1991) and Kansas State University (1995).

Mike embraced his gift of sales by joining his father in the family business at Chance Rides, a world-leading amusement ride manufacturing company, in 1998. In 2000, he was named the third generation president of the company. He led Chance Rides through many challenging and prosperous times. Mike took much pride in the company his grandfather, Harold Chance, built and was instrumental in expanding it into roller coaster design and new product development. Mike especially loved taking the first official ride on newly installed attractions, alongside his father.

Mike married fellow K-Stater Mindi Gibbs on June 26, 2000, in Maui, HI. Their son, Carter Michael, was the light of his life.

Mike was deeply loved and admired. He was an active member of the Kansas chapter of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO). He loved watching K-State football and WSU basketball games, traveling with his family and competing in triathlons (a half IRONMAN and Escape from Alcatraz were among his most gratifying feats). The love of family and friends fueled Mike in all his accomplishments. His contagious laugh, his smile and his sense of humor and adventure defined him and will never be forgotten.

In addition to his wife and son, Mike is survived by his father Dick and step-mother Carol Chance, grandmother Marjorie Chance, sister Amie (Alan) Green, brother John (Ritisha) Chance, stepfather Jim (Nancy) Stanelle, three nieces, two nephews and many other close aunts, uncles and cousins.
Mike was preceded in death by mother Penny Stanelle, grandfather Harold Chance and step-brother TJ Hernandez.

A celebration of Mike’s life will be held Wednesday, April 27, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at Chapel Hill United Methodist Church 1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive, Wichita, KS 67206. Memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations: KidzCope, 9415 E. Harry, Suite 501, Wichita, KS 67207; Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas, 555 N. Woodlawn, Suite 3105, Wichita, KS 67208.

Mike Chance video, courtesy Fidelity Bank and Chance Rides

Mike Chance funeral service set for Wednesday, April 27 in Wichita

By | April 21, 2016

Michael Chance_CRWICHITA, Kan. — The Chance family has announced that funeral service service for Michael Chance have been set for 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 27 at the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kan. A reception will follow at the Wichita Country Club.

An online register for comments to the family is in the process of being set up with the funeral home in Wichita that is handling the funeral arrangements. Amusement Today will post ( a full obituary and online comment information as soon as it becomes available.

Chapel Hill United Methodist Church
1550 N. Chapel Hill Drive
Wichita, Kan. 67206
(316) 684-1117

Wichita Country Club
8501 E. 13th Street North
Wichita, Kan. 67206
(316) 634-2882

Mike Chance loses battle with depression

By | April 20, 2016

Michael Chance_CRWICHITA, Kan. — In a prepared statement to the amusement industry, Chance Rides, Inc. has announced that company President Mike Chance lost his battle with depression on April 19 at the age of 42.

“Yesterday our family and company suffered a tremendous loss. Our son and company president Mike Chance lost his long‐term and well‐fought battle with depression. Mike had suffered from this tough disease for years and had faithfully sought treatment and relief from its effects. Like any other disease that is not yet well understood, depression is often difficult to successfully treat.” said Dick Chance, CEO of Chance Rides and Mike’s father.

“We are proud of Mike for bravely fighting this disease for years while living a full and rich life as a wonderful husband and father, son, grandson, brother, friend and a great company leader. He was a triathlete who competed alongside friends in Iron Man triathlons across the country. Mike valiantly fought this disease while focusing on doing great work together with our employees so the fact that he had this disease will come as a surprise to many who knew him. Just as with other diseases that take our loved ones too early, our family’s hope is that research into the treatment for depression will advance. And that those seeking relief from this disease will find a path to successful treatment.”

Michael Chance joined the family business in 2000 with the purchase of D.H. Morgan Manufacturing, Inc. and became President of Chance Morgan, Inc., today known as Chance Rides, Inc. He was instrumental in expanding the company into roller coaster design and manufacturing and in the development of new products. He graduated from Kansas State University with a marketing degree. He and his wife Mindi have one son.

Harold Chance formed the original Chance company in 1961. Dick Chance has been the Chance CEO since 1985. Company ownership remains within the Chance family.

Service arrangements and memorials are pending. Chance Rides announced the news to employees this morning and is offering ongoing grief counseling for its 100 employees. will post service information once arrangements are finalized.

Yas Island to open Warner Bros. themed destination in Abu Dhabi

By | April 19, 2016

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates- 19 April 2016: Miral and Warner Bros. officially announced that a Warner Bros. themed destination is set to open in Abu Dhabi.


Situated on Yas Island, one of the world’s leading business, leisure and entertainment destinations, the development will include the only Warner Bros. branded hotel alongside the immersive theme park.

The first phase of the project, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi, is set to open in 2018. Construction is underway and rides are in production.

Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi will bring together stories and characters from the Studio’s unparalleled portfolio of DC Comics Super Heroes universe including Batman, Superman and Wonder Women as well as Warner Bros. Cartoons such as Bugs Bunny, Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry. Guests of all ages will be able to step inside Gotham City and Metropolis, and experience the cartoon worlds of Looney Tunes, Hanna-Barbera and more, all under one roof.


SeaWorld releases Mako video

By | April 18, 2016

ORLANDO, Florida — Mako made its debut run along its 4,760-foot steel track at SeaWorld Orlando in April. During its inaugural test ride, Mako plunged 200-feet down from its initial lift hill, surged through nine air-time hills and reached topped speeds of 73 mph.

Mako’s tight turns and speed are inspired by reality. Mako sharks are known for their top speed, making extreme jumps and the ability to quickly change course as they pursue their prey. Riders will become submerged into the world of the mako shark and feel the power of the predator as they experience the thrill of the hunt starting June 10.