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Rampage Revamps at Alabama Adventure and Other Coaster Refurbishments
Rides 4U - New & Used Rides
Fans of Alabama Adventure's hit coaster, Rampage, will have to wait awhile to ride the popular attraction. The high cost of maintenance on the ride has resulted in the need for a major upgrade and ride retracking, with the attraction set to become a hybrid coaster in 2025.

The park's own video blog detailed that the ride will be closed for the 2024 season, with annual maintenance costs topping $500,000 as the reason. Those high expenses make the ride unsustainable in its present form, but upgrades should fix the problem. These include “ground-up work” that should lower maintenance costs substantially while assuring the ride's longevity.

The planned retracking indicates that the park intends to replace the steel and wood mix of the track with solid steel. According to the park this will allow “smoother rides, faster drops, and even more thrills” when the attraction reopens in 2025.

Exactly how the hybrid coaster will be converted remains unknown: it could be tracking similar to RMC or GCI/Skyline conversions. RMC offers track such as iBox and 208-Retrak; GCI provides a Titan Track system.

The ride's history has been somewhat troubled from the start. While wooden coasters are considered somewhat less expensive to construct versus the use of steel tracking, maintenance issues and costs can make the use of wooden tracks inefficient, causing ride downtime for replacement parts and other accumulated problems in operation over time. Many a classic wooden coaster has had its track replaced by steel at least in parts over the years.

Rampage was retracked once back in 2014 and opened to the public again in 2015 after it was then revamped and refurbished. It offers a 120-foot lift hill and reaches a speed of 55 miles per hour. The Bessemer, Ala. coaster opened in 1998, when the park was called Visionland.

Questions remain as to whether or not the replacement of wooden track with steel will be a full conversion or not. As is more typical with refurbished coasters, only the highest stress sections of a ride's track are replaced. That was the case with the wooden coasters at Silverwood amusement park, and at Darien Lake's Predator ride.

Rampage is similar to the Megafobia coaster in the United Kingdom, a ride on which approximately 40% of the track was replaced with a vertically stacked track system from The Gravity Group, which also reprofiled some of the track sections. Rampage could receive this type of upgrade.

Along with the Rampage closure and changes ahead, Alabama Adventure has also announced a new attraction coming in the 2024 season. On the park's Splash Adventure side, a new waterslide will make its debut this summer. It will be a family raft attraction, offering tubes capable of holding as many as four riders at one time. The ride was named through a Facebook contest encouraging fans to offer name suggestions on the park's page. The chosen name is The SlideWinder; the naming winner received four season passes to the park. This new slide attraction may offer Rampage fans missing the coaster a little splash of fun to counteract the revamp closure this year.

Rampage is not the only coaster undergoing refurbishment. At Disney's Hollywood Studios in Orlando, the Rock n' Roller Coaster has closed for the second time after a recent revamp last year. The ride closed January 8th and is not scheduled to reopen until the summer. This year's closure is due to ongoing issues with attraction shutdowns. Disney is working with Adena Corporation which also performed the 2023 overhaul. The cause may be overheating in the ride's braking system; speculation as to changes to the coaster's theming appear unfounded.

At Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Virginia, the Loch Ness Monster roller coaster is due to reopen in May following its own closure and refurbishment. This coaster is one of the theme park's most popular and iconic attractions. The ride made its debut as the world's first interlocking loop coaster, 46 years ago. The Loch Ness revamp includes a new steel track as well as new thematic elements and effects as it zips riders through a thrilling adventure on the Scottish Highlands. A new queue area includes multiple enhanced and new story elements; once boarded, riders will experience a new soundtrack created as original to the ride. There will be some revamping to the monster in his cave as well. During the month of April, the park is offering a temporary walk-through attraction dubbed the Sighting Center, which offers photos of the ride, attraction milestones, and other Loch Ness Monster-related materials on view to fans.

Adventureland in Altoona, Iowa will be reopening its already closed-for-refurbishment coaster The Underground this year. The world's only fully enclosed wooden roller coaster originally opened in 1996. It was built by Custom Coasters International. Revamping includes new tech and effects as well as rebuilding upgrades. According to Adventureland, there will be new scenes as well as the enhancement of classic ones as guests sail through an abandoned mine in a search for lost gold and a legendary outlaw. The ride also underwent extensive work on its track and train, with the train sent to Philadelphia Toboggan Company in Hatfield, Pennsylvania for a complete rebuild. Adventureland general manager Mike Lusky reports that the enhanced return of the ride “represents a major milestone for Adventureland …We can't wait for our guests to embark on this new adventure as we celebrate the park's 50th birthday in 2024."
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