Darien Lake to get 'wet and wild' in 2015

Feb 12, 2015

Brain Drain DARIEN CENTER — Tom Turnbull remembers a time when Darien Lake Theme Park featured a small pavilion, a petting zoo, and paddle boats on the pond. But the past 25 years have seen the park evolve into what administrators have dubbed “The Coaster Capital of New York State.” Darien Lake’s evolution will continue this year with the addition of two new thrill rides: Brain Drain and Rolling Thunder. “To watch this place grow over the years has just been fantastic,” said Turnbull, president of the Genesee County Chamber of Commerce, during Thursday’s official announcement at the theme park. “Every year, there is something changing. Again, this is part of the evolution, two new attractions this year, which I’m sure is going to increase attendance and drive the local economy.” During the unveiling, Chris Thorpe, general manager of Darien Lake, showed video packages of the two new rides, promising that guests in 2015 could get “wet and wild.” “I’m not Punxsutawney Phil, but like him, I can predict that spring is coming, and opening day of Darien Lake is just (83) days away,” he joked. “Regardless, the shadows we plan to cast this year are very grand.” The Brain Drain is a 70-foot high water slide that includes what designers call the Skybox Launch System. That means riders will step into a fully enclosed capsule and fall through a trap door into the slide. According to Thorpe, riders will be propelled at 38-feet per second through 360-degree loops. The slide length is 333 feet and lasts about 10 seconds. “You can actually see through the floor at the slide below,” Thorpe pointed out. “There’s a little Plexiglas door.” The new ride will be located on what is currently an empty plot between the Tornado and the four-slide complex Swirl City near the front of the park. “It was actually held for future development when we expanded the water park in 2010,” Thorpe said. “When we built that water park, we knew we were going to continue expanding, so we saved that spot.” Rolling Thunder is a steel loop (73 feet high and 20 feet wide). A train will carry passengers back and forth until finally zipping all the way around. “When you load into Rolling Thunder, and you’re going back and forth, there is a moment of suspended animation at the very top,” Thorpe explained. “Uniquely, you can sit facing your friends, or looking at their backs. Depending on your preference, you get a different thrill experience.” Rolling Thunder will be located in what Thorpe called “the heart of the park,” where the Enterprise used to sit. “This is really going to create a new vista down there and change the profile of the property,” he said. Rolling Thunder is scheduled to be ready to go on opening day (May 9), while Brain Drain will be available as of May 16. Thorpe said the addition of these two rides have helped cement Darien Lake as the greatest entertainment value in Western New York. He also compared it to the growth and rebuilding going on in both Rochester and Buffalo. “I spent a year in Colorado last year, and when you come home and see all of the great things that are happening, what’s going on with Midtown in Rochester, or the waterfront in Buffalo, we can extend that now to Darien Lake and see the rebirth of this region,” he said. “It’s wonderful to be a part of that dialogue.” Turnbull called Darien Lake the greatest asset for family entertainment in the region and that since the park is the largest seasonal employer in the state, it’s good for the local economy. “And with not one, but two new attractions, I think we can expect a banner year at the park,” he said. Article from The Daily News and taken from http://www.thedailynewsonline.com/entertainment/article_1f4ad24c-b2de-11e4-a89c-bbd478bcb40a.html