What does the SeaWorld Orlando (Florida) theme park and the former Rocky Point Park (Warwick, RI) have in common? More than you might think!
The two parks are more than 1,000 miles apart and opened over a century apart — Rocky Point in 1847 and SeaWorld in 1973 – but those former Rocky Point patrons who visit SeaWorld will find some striking similarities. I can honestly report that I did when I visited SeaWorld last week.
1. Rocky Point’s Corkscrew and SeaWorld’s Kraken
When it opened in 1984, Rocky Point’s Corkscrew was promoted with the collateral below.
And the coaster looked quite imposing on the landscape of a mid-sized New England park.
In June 2000, SeaWorld Orlando opened Kraken. And this monster of a coaster looked equally imposing, as its 153-foot tall lift hill could be seen a distance from the park, down International Drive. It’s like the Corkscrew on steroids!
But compare the two photos and you’ll see that both coasters have a vertical loop – although Kraken’s is a whopping 128-foot tall, and there are two loops to be exact. Kraken features seven inversions including the beforementioned vertical loops, a dive loop, a spiraling camelback (zero-g roll), a cobra roll, and corkscrew. Of course, Rocky Point’s coaster claimed only two inversions, but who’s counting? I can honestly say that Kraken channeled the Corkscrew for me when I rode it last week.
True, the Corkscrew’s station had a rather passive appearance…
…while the Kraken’s is adorned with its title character of nautical mythology.
Kraken is a floorless coaster in which the floor drops out before the train is dispatched.
While of course, Rocky Point’s Corkscrew maintained solid footing.
2. SeaWorld’s Journey to Atlantis and several Rocky Point rides
“Journey to Atlantis”, a 1998 addition to SeaWorld, is a combination dark ride, flume, and roller coaster – so there’s lots to compare. Let’s start with flume drops. Journey disengages from the water canal onto a lift hill then emerges out of the darkness into a dry channel some 95-feet high.
It glides to a slightly lower elevation, then dives 60-feet into a pool of water.
Impressed? Well try this one on for size…Rocky Point’s Flume also had a 60-foot splashdown drop!
When it debuted in 1998, Journey had an elaborate storyline involving a menacing siren named Allura and a guardian named Hermes who tried to guide your boat out of harm’s way. The special effects and sound effects that supported the storyline were brilliant, and they blew me away during my first Journey ride in 2004. I was especially impressed by this frightening appearance of Allura back then.
As Brian Krosnick, in his article for Theme Park Tourist reported, “After an otherwise normally-scheduled winter refurbishment, the ride re-opened in March 2017 without much fanfare. But the first riders reported something unimaginable: any hint of a story was gone.”
“Allura and Hermes are entirely absent,” Kronisck continued. “Guests instead sail past remnants of the characters – often static figures – that remain unlit and unanimated. In fact, riders even sail beneath the enormous “Medusa” figure of Allura – now mostly-concealed by darkness – with the lift hill beyond lit with soothing blue. Allura’s piercing green eyes having gone dark.”
That said, below are some interior photos I shot riding Journey last week.
The dioramas are still impressive, but truth be told, I really missed the element of danger that Allura presented back in 2004. This reminded me somewhat of the 1980s redo of Rocky Point’s Castle of Terror/House of Horrors, when the park removed most of Bill Tracy’s original 1963 displays with contemporary props of that time. For instance, Tracy’s Torture Chamber below…
…was replaced by the Mummy and the Wolfman in the early 1980s.
But the fact is, some Rocky Point patrons preferred the 1980s redo to their dark ride, just as I’m sure some SeaWorld patrons fancy the current rendition of Journey to Atlantis.
At the end of Journey, your boat becomes a roller coaster car on a spiral descent. Tell me this Journey view below doesn’t remind you of Rocky Point’s Cyclone coaster.
There are even more comparisons to the present park and defunct park that I’ll make in a future blog post!
To be continued!
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